Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Podpolkovnik Andrei Stepanovich Petrunin

1911 – 9 August 1942

Andrei Petrunin was born in 1911.

He graduated from Jengelsskaja flight school in 1935.

Leitenant Petrunin served as a volunteer in China between June 1938 and April 1939, flying the I-15bis.

At 13:50 on 20 February 1939, the Air Defence Command at Sian notified the 1st Air District Command that 30 Japanese aircraft (Mitsubishi Ki-21s and Fiat BR.20s) were heading towards Lanzhou in the Kansu province in Northwest China.
Nine I-15bis from 17th PS were scrambled first to intercept the Japanese aircraft and was later joined by two more. Later Russian volunteers were scrambled at 14:05 with seven I-15bis and one I-16. At 14:10 four I-15bis from the 15th PS, one I-16 and one Curtiss Hawk took off from the Siku field.
The first formation of nine Japanese aircraft attacked the Lanzhou airfield from north-west at 14:50. The second formation of twelve aircraft attacked from west at 15:15 together with a third formation of nine aircraft.
Captain Shen Tse-Liu, commander of the 17th PS, shot down the lead aircraft of a squadron of nine Japanese aircraft. His vice-commander Ma Kwok-Lim shot down the second aircraft of the third flight. Kuo Yao-Nan downed one Japanese aircraft. They were soon joined by the I-15bis flown by Russians and the 15th PS led by Lee Teh-Piao and Chang Tang-Tien. Shen later shot down another aircraft from the third Japanese formation.
Six of the Russian pilots taking part in this combat was Petr Abramov (I-16), kapitan Nikolai Gavrilov (I-16), Mikhail Naydenko (Polikarpov I-15bis or I-16), Vladimir Vasilievich Zolotarev (Polikarpov I-15bis or I-16), leitenant Sergei Donchenko (I-16) and leitenant Petrunin (I-15bis), who all six are credited with nine shared enemy bombers over Lanzhou during the day. This indicate that the Russian volunteers received credits for all the shot down aircraft and that no individual claims were recorded.
Abramov was to become an ace during the Great Patriotic War when he claimed five victories (and a total of 25 shared) before being killed in air combat on 11 September 1941. Naydenko also became an ace during the Great Patriotic War when he claimed seven victories. Zolotarev claimed two victories during the Soviet-Finnish Winter War of 1939-1940.
On this day, the bombs fell on the city and not the airbase and totally nine of the bombers were claimed destroyed by the returning Chinese pilots. One of the Soviet volunteers was wounded during the combat. The Air Defence Command at Sian observed only 21 Japanese aircraft retreating to the east after the battle.
It seems that the Japanese bombers were from the 12th, 60th and 98th Kokutais.

During his time in China, he flew 12 combat missions and took part in 2 air combats.

As a kapitan, he took part in the Soviet-Finnish Winter War of 1939-1940, flying Polikarpov I-153 first in 38 IAP between December 1939 and January 1940 and then in 152 IAP from January 1940 until the end of the conflict in March.

He was awarded the Order of the Red Star on 21 May 1940.

As a major, he served in the headquarter of 3 BA between May and July 1942.

In July 1942, he was posted to 728 IAP.

He was posted away from 728 IAP in July 1943 when he was posted to 32 IAP where he remained until the end of the war.

He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner on 22 October 1943.

He was awarded a second Order of the Red Banner on 18 August 1944.

On 5 April 1945, he was decorated with the Order of the Patriotic War 1st Class.

Petrunin ended the war with 9 shared biplane victories and a total of 4.
During the Second World War, he had flown 89 combat missions (as of 22 February 1945).

After the war, he was decorated with a second Order of the Red Star (20 June 1949), a third Order of the Banner (26 October 1955) and a second Order of the Patriotic War 1st Class (11 March 1983).

Claims:
Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  1939                
  20/02/39 14:50- 1/? Enemy bomber Destroyed I-15bis   Lanzhou  
  20/02/39 14:50- 1/? Enemy bomber Destroyed I-15bis   Lanzhou  
  20/02/39 14:50- 1/? Enemy bomber Destroyed I-15bis   Lanzhou  
  20/02/39 14:50- 1/? Enemy bomber Destroyed I-15bis   Lanzhou  
  20/02/39 14:50- 1/? Enemy bomber Destroyed I-15bis   Lanzhou  
  20/02/39 14:50- 1/? Enemy bomber Destroyed I-15bis   Lanzhou  
  20/02/39 14:50- 1/? Enemy bomber Destroyed I-15bis   Lanzhou  
  20/02/39 14:50- 1/? Enemy bomber Destroyed I-15bis   Lanzhou  
  20/02/39 14:50- 1/? Enemy bomber Destroyed I-15bis   Lanzhou  
  1942                
1 31/08/42   1 Ju 88 Destroyed I-16   Kalinin Front 728 IAP
  1943                
2 16/07/43   1 Ju 88 Destroyed Yak-7B   Voronezh Front 728 IAP
3 16/07/43   1 Ju 88 Destroyed Yak-7B   Voronezh Front 728 IAP
  1944                
4 11/02/44   1 Ju 52/3m Destroyed Yak   1st Ukrainian Front 32 IAP

Biplane victories: 9 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 4 and 9 shared destroyed.

Sources:
All aces of Stalin 1936-1953 – Mikhail Bykov, 2014
Soviet Aces 1936-1953
Soviet Fighter Pilots 1936-1953 - Mikhail Bykov




Last modified 31 October 2019