Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

General Leytenant Dmitriy Alexandrovich Medvedev HSU

21 September 1918 – 26 November 1992

Dmitriy Medvedev was born on 21 September 1918 in Uzlovaya in the Tula region.

He joined the army in 1935, graduating two years later from the Odessa Military Air College.
After graduating he served in the Byelorussian military district.

He served in Mongolia during the fighting over the Khalkin Gol River in 1939 in the 22 IAP, equipped with I-16s.

On 15 September, the IJAAF attacked Tamsag Bulag airfield.
Some 30 16th and 31st Sentai bombers appeared in the air in perfect combat formation. Their targets this time were the airfields some 45km south-west of Khamardaba Mountain; home of the main strength of 22 IAP (Tamsag Bulak). The Soviet duty forces comprising nine I-16s scrambled. The giant white arrow on the ground indicated the intercept heading for the enemy. The white rectangle next to it meant the enemy was flying at one level. This was not high; barely 2000m for the strike formation, yet some of the 25 direct cover fighters from 1st Sentai were far higher. Using this advantage to stall the approach of the enemy, they lunged into immediate attack. The lack of serious defence assisted the Ki-30 crews to drop their bombs at 11:00. The threat of enemy attack made the bombers actions hasty although they claimed to have destroyed three SBs (reported as SB-2s) on the ground (in reality, the type was absent from the raided airfields), and the gunners claimed to have shot down an 1-16. However, overall, the raid was ineffective. The number of Soviet fighters in the air grew gradually, with duty crews arriving from 56 and 70 IAPs and the Japanese began to retreat across the border. On their way, several Ki-30s dived over a remote ambush airstrip where they had spotted several I-16s, setting one of them alight by strafing. As to 1st Sentai pilots, they claimed to have seen another four I-16s fall in flames during the battle. Sergeant Major Megumu Ono of the 2nd chutai, 1st Sentai, claimed his 15th and last victory over Tamsag Bulag, having flown more than 70 operational sorties (he had claimed seven victories in July during 45 sorties).

The next raid was at lunchtime. Apart from the single-engined Ki-32, it involved two chutais of ”heavy” bombers from 61st Sentai. The mission was covered by 21 Ki-27s (12 from 11th Sentai and nine from 64th Sentai). Targets included the 56 IAP base 35km west of Khamardaba Command Post. The regiment had a great number of I-153s, whose silvery shapes were clearly visible on the ground, highlighting the unit’s position. Apart from the great number of new aircraft, the regiment also had a great number of new and inexperienced pilots. Though three squadrons of I-16s scrambled from nearby airfields, the Japanese got there first. The Chaika crews scrambled haphazardly from beneath the raid, fleeing the bombs, only to face a battle from a position of extreme disadvantage. One biplane was shot down in flames, followed by another which lost the wings under the great g-load its pilot subjected it to; the pilot perished in the crash. Another Chaika started burning, its pilot managing to bale out. The flame then stopped, and the uncontrolled aeroplane began a descending manoeuvre that ended with its crashing. Other I-153s - the main targets of Japanese air attack, were also in trouble. They were only relieved as I-16s reached the battle. Their pilots were from 22 IAP, plus pilots from kapitan Zvonarev’s group. The battle now raged anywhere from ground level to 7000m.
The 64th Sentai claimed two victories but lost one Ki-27, which while attempting to make a forced landing on the steppe, was blown up. The 11th Sentai lost two Ki-27s with Captain Kenji Shimada (Class 45) (CO 1st chutai and with 27 victories) and his wingman Sergeant Major Bunji Yoshiyama (Sho-1 with 20 victories in Mongolia) of the 1st chutai. They were last seen over Tamsag Bulag, pursuing some I-16s, but neither returned.

These unexpected raids angered the Soviet Command which organised a ”free hunt” with four I-16 eskadrily. Keeping within the border, they effected the closing engagement in the conflict. They encountered 18 Ki-27s from the two shutai of 59th Sentai led by its CO Lieutenant Colonel Isaku Imagava. This was the 59th Sentai, first and last engagement in the conflict and they suffered the loss of six pilots when the 2nd chutai was taken by surprise, although the surviving pilots claimed 11 shot down in return. Sergeant Major Takeomi Hayashi of the 2nd chutai claimed two victories, one of them over Tamsag Bulag while his own aircraft was hit 13 times. Isamu Kashide of the 2nd chutai claimed to have shot down two of eight fighters which attacked him, then escaping at low level. Yasuhiko Kuroe claimed two victories over Tamsag Bulag while Katsutaro Takahashi claimed two more victories. Killed pilots were Captain Mitsugu Yamamoto (Class 46) (CO 1st chutai), Sergeant Major Kiyoji Noguchi (Sho-2), Sergeant Yoshinori Kono (Yobi NCO), Warrant Officer Tadamasa Ishizaki (NCO39), Sergeant Major Munetoshi Nakano (NCO59) and Sergeant Major Masashi Saruta (NCO72).

Soviet statistics for the day show 212 fighter sorties and 180 enemy overflights, of which reportedly at least 20 were brought down. The loss of six aircraft, of which five were Chaikas, was acknowledged. The battle brought successive proof that the new type was far from perfection and was unfit for modern aerial warfare.
The I-16s from 22 IAP was in combat with Ki-27s (reported as a ”I-97s”) over their own airfield at around 09:00. Leitenant Medvedev, starshiy leitenant Nikolay Arsenin, Georgiy Marchenko and mladshiy leitenant Aleksandr Smirnov claimed one shared Ki-27. Smirnov also claimed a second Ki-27 as a single victory. Kapitan Konstantin Kuzmenko claimed one individually and starshiy leitenant Mikhail Glazatov claimed two ”in group” while leitenant Ivan Krasnoyurchenko and leitenant Sergey Podorozhnyy claimed one together with two other pilots. Starhiy leitenant Aleksandr Murmylov claimed one together with two other pilots. Starshiy leitenant Petr Grayevskiy claimed one Ki-27 destroyed and two shared ”in group”. Starshiy leitenant Fedor Golub, leitenant Ivan Groshev, batalyonnyy komissar Ivan Golyshev, leitenant Aleksandr P’yankov and starshiy leitenant Mark Shpan also claimed one shared Ki-27 each in ”in group”. Starshiy leitenant Sergey Shankov claimed one and one shared ”in group”. Starshiy politruk Vasiliy Uschev and mladshiy leitenant Viktor Suvirov each claimed one Ki-27 destroyed. Leitenant Anatoly Yanovich claimed two Ki-27s ”in group” (according to some material he claimed one destroyed and two shared).
Leitenant Aleksandr Silin (I-16) from 56 IAP claimed two Ki-27s ”in group”. The regiment suffered four losses when leitenant Nikolay Kochetkov (I-153), leitenant Nikolay Lebedev (I-153), leitenant Stepan Matrosov (I-153) and leitenant Mikhail Samylenko (I-153) were all shot down and killed in the Tamsag-Bulag area.
Mladshiy leitenant Mikhail Sakhonchik from 70 IAP was killed when his I-16 crashed on landing at Tamsag-Bulag airfield.

Though the revenge raids were deemed a success by the Japanese. It had led to the claimed destruction of 39 Soviet aircraft in air battles, with another four to eight probable losses, nine aircraft damaged, and four or five destroyed on the ground. Yet it was in reality the final failure, leading to the loss of nine fighters, one bomber, eight pilots (of whom two were squadron leaders). This was a senseless loss, far more hurtful to the Japanese than any loss they had suffered on the Soviets.
During this two-day attack on Tamsag Bulag, the 24th Sentai claimed nine I-15s and four I-16s,

Totally, during the Khalkin Gol conflict, Medvedev flew 75 combat missions and claimed 1 shared victory. For this he was decorated with the Order of the Red Banner and the Mongolian Order. He was also promoted to starshiy leitenant.

On 17 November 1939, he was decorated with the Order of the Red Banner.

In 1939-40, he took part in the Soviet-Finnish Winter War, flying in the 7 IAP which was equipped with Polikarpov I-153s.
This unit was tasked with ground attack and bomber escort duties and he didn’t claim any victories during this campaign.

In the beginning of March 1939, he was shot down by anti-aircraft fire and injured. He was hospitalized but was soon back in operations.

In June 1941, Medvedev served as the leader of an eskadrilya in the 92 IAP. This unit was at the time based at an airfield near Brody.

He was shot down in his I-153 on 20 July and parachuted over enemy territory. It took him three days to reach the Soviet lines.

In the beginning of August, he was again shot down.

Soon after this, the regiment was sent to Kharkov for re-equipment with the MiG-3 but in November they were sent to the rear without aircraft.

On 12 March 1942, he was decorated with the Order of the Red Banner (second time).

In the beginning of 1942, 92 IAP moved to the Volkhov Front to protect Leningrad.
The unit had at this time been equipped with the LaGG-3 and Medvedev promoted to deputy commander.

On 22 April 1942, he was decorated with the Order of Lenin.

Between 2 and 27 September 1942, he served as a temporary regiment commander of 160 IAP.
He returned to 92 IAP later in the same month.

In February 1943, the regiment was withdrawn to Gor’kiy to re-equip with the La-5.

During the Kursk battle in June-July 1943, he claimed three enemy aircraft in five days while flying La-5s.

In July 1943, he was then posted to command the 486 IAP.

During the autumn, 486 IAP was withdrawn to Gor’kiy to re-equip with brand new La-5Ns and in the beginning of 1944, they were sent to the 2nd Ukrainian Front.

By 1945, he was a podpolkovnik and ended the war in Czechoslovakia flying La-7s.

On 11 May 1945, he flew his last combat mission.

On 11 June 1945, he was decorated with the Order of the Red Banner (third time).

Medvedev ended the war with 1 biplane victory and a total of 14.
These were claimed during 317 sorties and 53 air combats.

He continued to serve after the war.

On 15 May 1946, he was decorated with the Golden Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union (no. 7522) and the Order of Lenin (second time).

He graduated from the Air Academy in 1951 and from the General Staff Academy eight years later.

On 4 June 1955, he was decorated with the Order of the Red Banner (fourth time).
He received the same decoration for a fifth time on 30 December 1956 and a sixth time at an unknown date.

Medvedev retired as a general leitenant in 1975, going to live in Leningrad.
During his career he was also decorated with the Order of the Patriotic War 1st Class (twice) and the Order of the Red Star (on 15 November 1950 and 29 April 1954).

Medvedev passed away on 26 November 1992.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  15/09/39 09:00 ca 1/3 Ki-27 Shared destroyed I-16   22 IAP's airfield/Tamsag Bulak 22 IAP
1 23/06/41   1 Ju 88 Destroyed I-153   Brody airfield 92 IAP
  10/07/41   1/2 Ju 88 Shared destroyed I-153   Lutsk 92 IAP
  28/07/41   1/? Ju 88 Shared destroyed I-153   Kremenets 92 IAP
  11/08/41   1/? Ju 88 Shared destroyed I-153   Kamensk 92 IAP
  05/09/41   1/3 Ju 88 Shared destroyed I-153     92 IAP
  15/03/42   1/4 Bf 109 Shared destroyed LaGG-3     92 IAP
2 22/03/42   1 Bf 109 Destroyed LaGG-3     92 IAP
3 29/03/42   1 Ju 88 Destroyed LaGG-3     92 IAP
4 06/04/42   1 Ju 88 Destroyed LaGG-3     92 IAP
  06/04/42   1/2 Ju 88 Shared destroyed LaGG-3     92 IAP
5 23/06/42   1 Hs 126 Destroyed LaGG-3     92 IAP
6 23/06/42   1 Bf 109 Destroyed LaGG-3     92 IAP
7 25/06/42   1 Bf 109 Destroyed LaGG-3     92 IAP
  29/06/42   1/4 Bf 109 Shared destroyed LaGG-3     92 IAP
  12/09/42   1/3 He 111 Shared destroyed LaGG-3     92 IAP
  12/09/42   1/3 Ju 88 Shared destroyed LaGG-3     92 IAP
8 05/07/43   1 Ju 87 Destroyed La-5     92 IAP
9 06/07/43   1 Ju 88 Destroyed La-5     92 IAP
10 06/07/43   1 Bf 110 Destroyed La-5     92 IAP
11 04/08/43   1 Ju 87 Destroyed La-5   Krasnikovo 486 IAP
12 05/08/43   1 Ju 87 Destroyed La-5   Kolki 486 IAP
13 05/08/43   1 Ju 87 Destroyed La-5   Kolki 486 IAP
  05/08/43   1/9 Ju 87 Shared destroyed La-5     486 IAP
  05/08/43   1/9 Ju 87 Shared destroyed La-5     486 IAP
  05/08/43   1/9 Ju 87 Shared destroyed La-5     486 IAP
  05/08/43   1/9 Ju 87 Shared destroyed La-5     486 IAP
  05/08/43   1/9 Ju 87 Shared destroyed La-5     486 IAP
  05/08/43   1/9 Ju 87 Shared destroyed La-5     486 IAP
14 06/08/43   1 Ju 87 Destroyed La-5     486 IAP

Biplane victories: 1 and 4 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 14 and 16 shared destroyed.

All aces of Stalin 1936–1953 – Mikhail Bykov, 2014
Russian Fighter Aces of 1914-1953 years
Soviet Aces 1936-1953
Soviet Fighter Pilots 1936-1953 - Mikhail Bykov
Stalin's Falcons - Tomas Polak and Christhoper Shores, 1999 Grub Street, London, ISBN 1-902304-01-2
Triumf a tragedie - Milos Sedivy and Valerii Dymich, 2001 Svet kridel, ISBN-80-85280-70-1 kindly provided by Tomáš Polák
Additional information kindly provided by Ondrej Repka.

Last modified 04 October 2021