Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Leytenant M. N. Piskunov

In September 1941, Leytenant Piskunov served in the 152 IAP.

Between 09:25-10:25 on 27 September 1941, luutnantti Martti Kalima’s 1/LLv 10 was on an interception at Ontajoki engaging in a combat with four I-153s over Rukajärvi. The Squadron combat report recalled:

“On an alert mission at 09:25-10:25 hours we flew towards the front with eight aircraft. The lower patrol, where belonged luutnantti Kalima (FR-150), vänrikki Salomaa (FR-154), vänrikki Virtanen (FR-155), kersantti Nuorala (FR-148) and kersantti Kilpinen (FR-141), flew at about 100m altitude. The upper patrol, luutnantti Lehtonen (FR-156), vänrikki Ukkonen (FR-153) and vänrikki Leino (FR-138) about 200m higher. The top patrol leader, lutnantti Lehtonen observed on the sun side five Russian fighters of I-153 type picking up at the front-line. We were about 5km from them. Luutnantti Lehtonen tried to come and inform the lower patrol his observations, but before this vänrikki Salomaa flying the left wing of the lower patrol had already observed the enemies and informed the lead plane luutnantti Kalima this. We turned towards them and tried to obtain more altitude since the Russians were already at 500m. Only four enemies had remained, one had broken off earlier and the others were going east in a shallow climb. When noticing us they turned towards us and dived in a line towards us with a 150m altitude advantage. Our own aircraft were in an inclined echelon caused by the bank and that the top patrol had just tried to inform us of the Russians. We pulled at them and started firing and after the pass we turned after them, after which began a blind combat, where the Russians as more manoeuvrable in spite of their inferior numbers always got behind somebody’s tail, but then we were saved by good comrade spirit. This was exhibited in us trying to fire at a Russian plane, which had got behind the tail of some of us. At the very beginning luutnantti Lehtonen got an exploding bullet to the cockpit through the wind shield and was forced to break off, since the splinters of the bullet hit the eyes so badly that the sight blurred. Vänrikki Ukkonen shot at one I-153, which flew towards him so long that he had to make only a small dodge, but the Russian flew straight on. The result was that vänrikki Ukkonen’s landing gear swept off the port upper wing of the Russian, and the I-153 crashed; vänrikki Ukkonen had great difficulties in regaining control of his aircraft and was forced to break off the fight. The aircraft caught fire and vänrikki Ukkonen had to bail out 20km from the frontline on our side. An I-153 was behind the tail of kersantti Kilpinen firing at him. Luutnantti Kalima got behind the Russian and gave a burst. Then the Russian quitted firing and pulled into a shallow climbing turn, when luutnantti Kalima shot from a bank a burst and the Russian aircraft flashed up in flames and crashed in a pond. Liberated from the Russian kersantti Kilpinen pulled a bank, when he got from behind one banking Russian into his sight, fired a burst and the Russian caught fire and crashed. Vänrikki Salomaa got behind the last I-153 and shot a burst, when the Russian took a shallow dive to escape and while smoking broke off due to his higher speed.”
The returning Finnish pilots claimed three I-153s and 1 damaged. These were claimed by luutnantti Martti Kalima, vänrikki Leo Ukkonen (his fighter crashed at 09:50 at Kotskoma), kersantti Arvid Kilpinen and vänrikki Mikko Salomaa (1 damaged).
They had been in combat with I-153s from 152 IAP, which reported that Leytenant Piskunov collided with a Fokker (Ukkonen) while Starshiy Politruk Khotejev and Starshiy Leytenant Pavel Gavrilov reported having shot down a Fokker D.XXI each in the same combat.

Piskunov ended the war with 1 biplane victory.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
1 27/09/41 09:50 1 Fokker D.XXI (a) Destroyed I-153   Kotskoma 152 IAP

Biplane victories: 1 destroyed.
TOTAL: 1 destroyed.
(a) Claimed in collision with Fokker D.XXI FR-153 of 1/LLv 10, which crashed; the pilot vänrikki Ukkonen parachuted safely.

Suomen Ilmavoimat part III – 1941 – Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 2007, ISBN 978-952-99743-1-3

Last modified 17 November 2007