Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Serzhant Abram Olshanskiy

In May 1943, Serzhant Olshanskiy served in the 71 IAP-KBF. This unit was at the time still equipped with I-153s.

At 06:45-08:08 (Moscow time) on 20 May 1943, four I-153s of 71 IAP-KBF flew top cover at 300 meters altitude to a ship convoy from Seiskari to Lavansaari. The radio announced that two Bf 109s were approaching. In the clash, Starshiy Serzhant Ramazan Rustamov’s aircraft was hit and he didn’t get back to base being wounded. One victory was claimed by Starshiy Serzhant Nikolay Karpenko and Serzhant Olshanskiy. Karpenko’s combat report stated:

“… Two Me109s attacked me and my wingman from behind at the deck. I turned steeply into them, but the Me109 passed me and began to bank to the right. After a 180o turn I fired two RS rockets, which were short. I aimed a shot barrage fire with the machine-guns. The Me109 broke off to north-west. The other Me109 attacked Olshanskiy, who also turned into it. The following three attacks took place right down the deck. In the last one the Me 109 attacked Olshanskiy at zero altitude from behind, while he was on my right side. I turned steeply towards the attacker and opened machine-gun fire from 650 m keeping on to 150 m. Then the Me109 pulled up, when I shot a well aimed burst from 150-100 to its belly. Right after this I fired the RS rockets which exploded in the right direction 10-15 m above. After this the Me109 dived in order to break off to north-west. Another Me 109 came to its wing for escort. Thereafter I did not see them above the convoy.”
They had been involved in combat with a search patrol of 2/LeLv 34, which reported having fought with an I-153 pair. The lead Bf 109 (MT-203) flown by luutnantti Esko Ruotsila was hit and fell into the sea outside Hamina at 06:19, killing the pilot.

Between 20:00-22:15 on 20 May, first four I-153s and then four I-16s from of 71 lAP flew top cover for a ship convoy from Lavansaari to Seiskari.
At 21:20, three Me 109s attacked the Chaikas in the vicinity of Lavansaari. Two Me 109s were damaged in head-on firing in the belly and both were seen to break off to the north smoking. Mladshiy Serzhant Mikhail Machabeli and Serzhant Olshanskiy claimed one air victory shared.
Between 19:50-20:50, in the evening in an air-battle in the vicinity of Peninsaari, luutnantti Paavo Myllylä’s swarm of 3/LeLv 34 claimed one and two damaged Chaikas out of a twelve-plane Chaika squadron when vääpeli Urho Lehtovaara (MT-218) claimed one and another damaged I-153 10km from Peninsaari and luutantti Myllylä (MT-229) claimed a damaged I-153 between Lavansaari and Peninsaari.

On 21 May, the Baltic Fleet chronicle states that at 10:40-11:35 (Moscow time) four I-153s and four I-16s of 71 lAP-KBF made an armed reconnaissance to the Someri-Suursaari-Tytärsaari area. Over the last island, they attacked a convoy, which consisted of two guard vessels and three minesweepers.
At 11:15, six Bf 109s attacked them. In the combat one Bf 109 was damaged and Chaika pilot Serzhant Abram Olshanskiy and Rata Pilot Mladshiy Serzhant Anton Deryabin were killed.
It seems that they had been intercepted by lentomestari Yrjö Turkka’s Bf 109 pair of 3/LeLv 34, which were out on an intercept mission to Lavansaari between 10:00-10:45. In the Lavansaari area, they engaged an I-153 squadron. Three German Bf 109s also arrived on the combat scene. Lentomestari Turkka (MT-218) claimed one I-153 while the Germans claimed one additional. The German pilot claiming a I-153 was possibly Hauptmann Klaus Mietusch, Staffelkapitän of 7./JG 26, who claimed an Chaika in the area of Lavansaari at 10:20 at an altitude of 800m while flying a Fw 190.

At the time of his death, Olshanskiy had claimed 2 shared biplane victories.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  20/05/43 06:45-08:08 ½ Bf 109 (a) Shared destroyed I-153   off Hamina 71 IAP-KBF
  20/05/43 21:20 ½ Bf 109 (b) Shared destroyed I-153   near Lavansaari 71 IAP-KBF

Biplane victories: 2 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 2 shared destroyed.
(a) Luutnantti Esko Ruotsila of 2/LeLv 34, shot down and killed.
(b) Probably claimed in combat with Bf 109s from 3/LeLv 34 which claimed 1 and 2 damaged I-153s without suffering any losses. 71 IAP claimed 1 and 2 damaged Bf 109s, apparently without suffering any losses.

Suomen Ilmavoimat part V – 1943 – Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 2007, ISBN 978-952-99743-3-7

Last modified 06 April 2009