Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Starshiy Leitenant Vladimir Nikolayevich Peshkov HSU

– 8 September 1941

Starshiy leitenant Vladimir Peshkov served in 49 IAP during the Winter War in 1939-40. This unit was at the time equipped with Polikarpov I-153s.

At 16:45 on 22 January 1940, 49 IAP claimed one Fokker D.XXI and one biplane fighter shot down over Sortavala.
These two claims were shared between starshiy leitenant Ivan Murazanov (I-16), starshiy leitenant I. S. Savushkin (I-16), mladshiy leitenant Sergey Goriunov (I-16), polkovnik Vladimir Kitayev (I-153), kapitan I. I. Popov (I-153) and starshiy leitenant Peshkov (I-153).
These claims can’t be verified with Finnish records and it seems that in fact the biplane was a Soviet I-15bis flown by mladshiy leitenant A. F. Rumayantsev, who became MIA.

At 15:40 on 26 January, starshiy leitenant Peshkov shot down a Fokker C.X in the Uuksu area.
This was Fokker C.X FK-81 from LLv 10, which was lost on a reconnaissance mission north of Lake Ladoga. The pilot 35-year-old lentomestari Toivo Heilä and observer 28-year-old luutnatti Reino Kullervo Vaittinen were both killed.

While returning from a photo-reconnaissance mission over Lake Ladoga on 18 February, starshiy leitenant Peshkov intercepted a Blenheim, which he shot down.
This was Blenheim BL-113 from LLv 44, which was shot down over Lake Ladoga at 11:15. The Blenheim was flying over Lake Ladoga, returning from a reconnaissance sortie flown over Salmi-Pitkäranta area (both villages lie on the north-east bank of Lake Ladoga) to photograph roads and to bomb suitable targets at the same area. The crew was probably easing up after completing their mission and they were well inside Finnish lines when they were caught by surprise by a Soviet fighter and the aircraft caught fire before the crew could react. The pilot, kersantti Kaarle V. Westermark parachuted successfully, but the observer vänrikki Erkki Laamanen and the gunner ylikersantti Toivo E. S. Koivuneva were both killed inside the burning Blenheim, which crashed on the ice between the islands Heinäsenmaa and Rahmansaari. Westermark later described the flight:

“We completed both our missions successfully. We had a well thought out plan which had worked in that we approached our targets over Ladoga, through enemy airspace, took the photographs from the altitude of 7500 metres as fast as we could and gave a farewell bombing. All went according to the plan. We did not spot any enemy fighters.
I was concerned about one detail tough. I tried to alternate our height to get rid of the contrails we were making, but that was not possible on that day, humidity and cold air made my efforts in vain. I told the other crewmembers to give a more alert lookout because I knew Soviet fighters would be drawing contrails too.
To make our return flight as safe as possible I suggested to Laamanen that we’d return to home over Ladoga. All went well. We flew west over Ladoga and we were quite near to our own shore when suddenly there was a loud bang. Our aircraft caught fire and I heard Koivuneva shout: ”We have been hit!”
I shouted, ”use your parachutes”! I tried to open the cockpit hatch, but it had frozen stuck. I struggled together with Laamanen to open the hatch, and another machine gun burst raked our doomed machine. I pushed the Blenheim into a steep dive to avoid any further bullets. We dived steeply towards Ladoga. Then I lost my conciseness.
First thing I remember after this was when I was on the ice of Ladoga. Any bullets had not hit me, but I had burns. Our Blenheim was burning on the ice nearby and engines had penetrated the ice. I did not see my comrades, so they lay dead in the wreck. But how had I made it out?
It could be that the ice on the stuck hatch we were trying to open had melted in the fire and the airflow had pulled me out. But how managed I to open the parachute? I had no idea.
A Finnish infantry patrol was approaching from Heinämaa. I heard gunshots and the bullets whizzed over my head. I waved my hand to stop them shooting at me. They advanced cautiously to a shouting distance and then I was able to tell them that I was a Finnish pilot. They took me to Heinämaa, and from there I was transferred to a military hospital via Käkisalmi.”

He totally flew 99 missions during the Winter War.

Peshkov was decorated with the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union and Order of Lenin on 20 May 1940.

Peshkov later served with 271 IAP.

He was killed on 8 September 1941 during a training flight with a Yak-1 at Batajsk when he crashed into a storage building at take-off.
He was buried in Rostovna-Donu.

At the time of his death, Peshkov was credited with 2 biplane victories.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  22/01/40 16:45 1/6 Fokker D.XXI (a) Shared destroyed I-153   Sortavala 49 IAP
  22/01/40 16:45 1/6 Biplane fighter (b) Shared destroyed I-153   Sortavala 49 IAP
1 26/01/40 15:40 1 Fokker C.X (c) Destroyed I-153   Uuksu 49 IAP
2 18/02/40 11:15 1 Blenheim (d) Destroyed I-153   Pitkäranta-Valamo 49 IAP

Biplane victories: 2 and 2 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 2 and 2 shared destroyed.
(a) Claim can’t be verified with Finnish records.
(b) Claim can’t be verified with Finnish records.
(c) Fokker C.X FK-81 from LLv 10 shot down and crew KIA.
(a) BL-113 of LLv 44 shot down.

Red Stars 7 - Talvisota Ilmassa - The Winter War In the Air - Carl-Fredrik Geust, 2011 Apali Oy, Tampere, ISBN 978-952-5877-04-5
Soviet Fighter Pilots 1936-1953 - Mikhail Bykov

Last modified 24 November 2020