Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Leitenant Aleksandr Lavrent'yevich Piskunov

1913 – 4 September 1939

Decorations
Date Decoration Note
17/11/39 Order of the Red Banner  
17/11/39 Medal ”for bravery”  

Aleksandr Piskunov was born in 1913.

He graduated from Borisoglebskaya flight school in 1937.

During the summer 1939, he saw action in 22 IAP, flying Polikarpov I-15bis and I-153s against the Japanese over the Khalkhin Gol River in Mongolia.

On 21 August, kaptain Aleksandr Nikolayev from 22 IAP (I-153) claimed one Ki-27 destroyed, one shared with another pilot and a third ”in group” while leitenant Piskunov (I-153) claimed one Ki-27. Leitenant Pavel Solov’yev (I-16) claimed one Ki-27.
Leitenant Ivan Rybkin (I-16) claimed a shared Ki-27 with another pilot (possibly kaptain Nikolayev). Leitenant Ivan Groshev (I-16) claimed one shared Ki-27 ”in group” at an unknown time and place while leitenant Aleksandr Suchkov (I-16) claimed one enemy bomber as a shared ”in group”. Starshiy leitenant Nikolay Tochkov (I-16) claimed two enemy bombers as shared ”in group”.

Around 08:00 on 22 August, I-16s from 22 IAP was in combat with enemy bombers (reported as a ”SB-96s”) over Dzun-Khan-Ula and leitenant Ivan Krasnoyurchenko claimed one while a second was claimed by starshiy leitenant Viktor Rakhov together with two other pilots.
Leitenant Nikolai Baranov claimed a shared enemy bomber with another pilot at an unknown time.
East of shiren-Obo at an unknown time. a Ki-27 was claimed as shared among four pilots including kapitan Konstantin Kuzmenko and starshiy leitenant Aleksandr Murmylov.
Leitenant Piskunov (I-153) claimed a shared Ki-27 together with another pilot during the day. Georgiy Marchenko claimed a shared Ki-27 (reported as a I-97”) ”in group” during the day.

The 22 IAP was in combat on 25 August and leitenant Mikhail Abzianidze (I-16) claimed a shared Ki-27 together with three other pilots north-east of the source to Orshun Gol River. Starshiy leitenant Aleksandr Yakimov (I-153) claimed two shared Ki-27s with four other pilots south of Lake Kuhun-Hu. Leitenant Ivan Krasnoyurchenko (I-16) claimed one shared Ki-27 north of Lake Usur-Nur together with seven other pilots. South of Lake Kuhun-Nu, he claimed another shared Ki-27 and a shared bomber (reported as a ”LB”) together with twelve other pilots (including major Vasily Naydenko). Major Naydenko claimed a second Ki-27 together with four other pilots south of Lake Kuhun-Hu. Kapitan Konstantin Kuzmenko (I-16) claimed one destroyed over Dzhinzhin, one shared with another pilot north-east of Lake Uzur-Nur and a third shared with four other pilots south of Lake Kuhun-Hu (shared with Naydenko?). Major Grigoriy Kravchenko (I-16) claimed a Ki-27 north of Lake Yanhu. Mladshiy leitenant Aleksandr Smirnov claimed one shared Ki-27 north of Lake Usur-Nur together with another pilot, a second shared Ki-27 south of Lake Kuhun-Hu together with ten other pilots. Finally he claimed a shared bomber (reported as a ”LB”) south of Lake Kuhun-Hu together with ten other pilots. Leitenant Pavel Solntsev (I-16) claimed a shared Ki-27 with seven other pilots north of Lake Usur-Nur. Starshiy leitenant Aleksandr Kostygov claimed two shared Ki-27s during the day. Starshiy leitenant Vasiliy Trubachenko (I-16) claimed one Ki-27 and one enemy bomber south of Kuhun-Hu River together with twelve other pilots. These claims are included among the claims above. Leitenant Piskunov (I-153) claimed one Ki-27 and two shared ”in group” during the day. Batalyonnyy komissar Ivan Golyshev claimed a shared bomber (reported as a ”LB”) and a shared Ki-27, both together with another pilot while starshiy leitenant Nikolay Tochkov did the same but claimed as shared ”in group”. Leitenant Aleksandr Suchkov (I-16) claimed a shared Ki-27 ”in group”. Georgiy Marchenko claimed a shared Ki-27 (reported as a I-97”) together with another pilot. Leitenant Aleksandr P’yankov claimed one Ki-27 destroyed as did Aleksandr Tsygankov (who also claimed two more Ki-27s as shared ”in group” at unknown dates between August-September). Kapitan Ivan Solyannikov claimed one Ki-27 together with two other pilots south of Lake Kuhun-Hu. Leitenant Ivan Rybkin (I-16) claimed three bombers (reported as ”LBs”) and one Ki-27 during the day; all these claims were made ”in group”. Leitenant Pavel Solov’yev (I-16) claimed three shared bombers (reported as ”LBs”).
A pair of I-16s from 22 IAP forced three bombers (reported as a ”LBs”) to land and two of them was destroyed; one during landing, which was shot down by starshiy leitenant Vasiliy Vuss and a second which was destroyed by strafing on the ground after landing.

On 30 August, the 9th Hikodan flew missions against 29 artillery regiment forward positions. The bombers set 14 vehicles on fire, yet the 40-odd escorting Ki-27s from 1st, 11th, 24th and 64th Sentai failed to withstand the pressure of the numerous enemy patrol (88 I-16s and 25 I-153s) and, though claiming 28 destroyed (seven by 64th Sentai) and 5 probables, in reality lost the initiative and allowed two 31st Sentai Ki-30s to be shot down. They lost two fighters and one pilot when Sergeant Major Katsutoshi Kato (NCO67) of the 1st Sentai was killed. Bomber gunners claimed another seven confirmed and one probable victories.
A Ki-30 (s/n 99) from 16th Sentai was shot down by enemy fighters 3 km north of Lake Abutara and the crew was KIA; pilot Staff Sergeant Makoto Itô and gunner Sergeant Tomie Ishizuki.
VVS claimed to have shot down 19 Ki-27 while losing one I-16.
Leitenant Nikolai Grinev of 22 IAP (I-16) claimed a shared Ki-27 north-west of Lake Buir-Nur together with three other pilots while leitenant Pavel Solntsev (I-16) claimed a single Ki-27 and a second as a shared with four other pilots (including Vasily Naydenko) west of Lake Usur-Nur. Vasiliy Smirnov (I-153) claimed one Ki-27 and a second shared Ki-27 together with another pilot in the Lake Usur-Nur area. Leitenant Ivan Krasnoyurchenko (I-16) claimed two shared Ki-27s west of Lake Uzur-Nur. One with another pilot and one with four other pilots. Starshiy leitenant Aleksandr Kostygov (I-16) claimed a shared Ki-27 together with another pilot. Leitenant Piskunov (I-153) claimed one Ki-27. Georgiy Marchenko (I-16) claimed a shared Ki-27 together with another pilot as did leitenant Pavel Solov’yev (I-16).
Leitenant Pavel Dolzhenko from 56 IAP (I-16) claimed one Ki-27 while leitenant Aleksey Novozhilov claimed a shared together with anoth pilot.
Platon Smolyakov of 70 IAP (I-16) claimed a Ki-27 northwest of Nomunhan-Burd while major Sergey Gritsevets (I-153) claimed a shared Ki-27 north of Lake Buir Nur together with two other pilots. Eskadrilya commander starshiy leitenant Mitrofan Noga (I-16) claimed a shared ”LB” north-west of Lake Uzur-Nur probably together with leitenant Aleksey Gudkov, who reportedly claimed a two-seater. Major Aleksandr Mochalin (I-16) claimed a Ki-27 over Nomunhan-Burd. Nikolay Zheredev also claimed a Ki-27 but at an unknown place.

Over Lake Buir-Nur on 2 September, three Ki-10s from the 33rd Sentai’s 2nd chutai led by 1st Lieutenant Soichi Okamoto, met some reported 30 I-16s. Okamoto claimed the unit’s first four victories of the Incident while Sergeant Major Shozo Saito in vain tried to ram one, but was instead obliged to force-lend.
They had met 22 IAP led by starshiy leitenant Fedor Cheremukhin. This experienced leader rightly reasoned that the I-16 tip 10 had significantly greater speed and firepower, and less manoeuvrability, and initiated the correct tactic for the fight: shooting from further away and avoiding close level manoeuvres. After the skirmish, his unit reported two downed Kawasaki Ki-10s for no own losses.
The encounter again escalated into an air battle. Excellent visibility allowed a great area to be observed, and each engagement was as visible as a flare by pilots on the ground; they immediately scrambled and flew across to assist their comrades. First to arrive were the 1st Sentai Ki-27. More Soviet fighters followed them, and the previous day’s events repeated themselves. The fight developed overhead Hamar-Daba Mountain and the Humurgin-Gol River, at the same levels that offered optimum performance to both sides: 3500 to 5000m. After 45 minutes that had witnessed over 250 machines fighting (175 of them Soviet), the sky grew quiet.
The Japanese admitted losing one Ki-27 when Sergeant Yukio Kijima (Sho-4) of the 1st Sentai was killed and suffering damage to four more fighters and totally claimed seven victories (four by Okamoto).
The Soviets fighters only lost one aircraft and totally claimed eight victories, six of them Ki-27s (reported as a ”I-97”). Known claiming pilots from 22 IAP were leitenant Petr Agafonov (I-153), who claimed a shared Ki-27 together with six other pilots north-west of Lake Uzur-Nur, leitenant Pavel Solntsev (I-16), who claimed two Ki-27s together with five other pilots over squares 531-533 and 633, kapitan Andrey Dekhtyarenko (I-16), who claimed a shared Ki-27 south-east of Lake Uzur-Nur together with three other pilots and kapitan Aleksandr Nikolayev (I-153), who claimed a Ki-27. Leitenant Piskunov (I-153) claimed one shared Ki-27 ”in group”. Kapitan Mikhail Dolbyshev from 56 IAP (I-16) claimed one shared Ki-27 (”in group”).

On 4 September, fighters clashed south-east of Shirin-Obo and overhead the Numurgin-Gol River in the morning when the Soviets flew 68 fighter sorties and the Japanese 40.
Initially, eleven I-153s and 39 I-16s from 22 IAP fought with and pursued 20 Ki-27s, and then eleven I-16s and seven I-153s from 70 IAP did the same with seven Ki-10s from 33rd Sentai led by Captain Takeo Kawada. The Japanese encountered a reported 20-30 Soviet aircraft at a height of 5,000 metres. Kawada had been personally forbidden to engage, but 2nd Lieutenant Tadashi Harada (NCO54) and Sergeant Major Akira Ishikawa (Sho-1) charged in, followed by the rest of the formation. In this combat the Japanese claimed nine and three probables, including three by Ishikawa personally, although he force-landed after suffering severe wounds, from which he died next day. Harada and Sergeant Major Seizo Hiraki (NCO66) were also killed.
The 33rd Sentai’s 3rd chutai was also engaged in combat claiming 13 victories and 13 probables.
Soviet reports were filed with claims of nine enemy fighters (one Ki-27 and the remaining Ki-10s) in the morning while losing two I-16 tip 10s and one I-153.
Seven of the claims can be identified when starshiy leitenant Pavel Ankudinov (I-16 from 22 IAP) claimed a single Ki-10 (reported as a ”I-95”) and two more as shared together with 14 other I-16 pilots (including kapitan Andrey Dekhtyarenko (22 IAP), starshiy leitenant E. E. Evkudinov (22 IAP), starshiy leitenant Vasiliy Vuss (22 IAP), starshiy leitenant Fedor Golub (22 IAP), leitenant Aleksandr Mel’nikov (56 IAP), starshiy leitenant Mark Shpan (22 IAP) and leitenant Pavel Solov’yev (22 IAP)) at “Square 787” while kapitan Grigoriy Boychenko (I-153 from 70 IAP) claimed a Ki-10 over the mouth of the Numurgin-Gol River. Mikhail Abzianidze (I-16 from 22 IAP) claimed a Ki-27 while Vasiliy Smirnov (I-153 from 22 IAP) claimed a Ki-10, both over “Square 787”. Two I-16s from 22 IAP piloted by starshiy leitenant Fedor N. Cheremukhin and an unknown pilot (possibly Georgiy Marchenko) shared a Ki-10 in the Khalkhin Gol area in the morning. Leitenant Ivan Rybkin (I-16 from 22 IAP) claimed two shared Ki-27 ”in group”.
Leitenant Piskunov from 22 IAP (I-153) was wounded in air combat and killed when his fighter overturned on landing back at his airfield.

At the time of his death, Piskunov, was credited with 3 biplane victories.
These had been claimed during seven air combats.

Claims:
Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  1939                
1 21/08/39   1 Ki-27 Destroyed I-153   Nomonhan 22 IAP
  22/08/39   1/2 Ki-27 Shared destroyed I-153   Nomonhan 22 IAP
2 25/08/39   1 Ki-27 Destroyed I-153   Nomonhan 22 IAP
  25/08/39   1/? Ki-27 Shared destroyed I-153   Nomonhan 22 IAP
  25/08/39   1/? Ki-27 Shared destroyed I-153   Nomonhan 22 IAP
3 30/08/39   1 Ki-27 Destroyed I-153   Nomonhan 22 IAP
  02/09/39   1/? Ki-27 Shared destroyed I-153   Nomonhan 22 IAP

Biplane victories: 3 and 4 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 4 and 4 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 27 September 2021