Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Polkovnik Alexei Mikhailovich Reshetov

23 March 1921 – 26 February 2001

Reshetov was born on 23 March 1921 in Mykanino, a village near Moscow.

He joined the army in 1938, attending the Borisoglebsk Military Air College, from where he graduated in 1940.

When the war started in June 1941, he was servicing in the 239 IAP.

On the first day of the German invasion on 22 June, he claimed a Ju 87 over Chernovitsami at 04:30 while flying an I-153.
During the day, he totally flew 10 sorties.

In August, he was posted to the 273 IAP.

By the summer of 1942, he was flying Yak-1s on the South East Front with the 273 IAP, operating near Stalingrad.

On 17 May, Starshiy Leytenant Reshetov claimed an Hs 126 in the Nepokrytor-Kharkov area.

Next day, on 18 May, he claimed a He 111 in the same area.

During May, he claimed two additional victories in the Kharkov area.

In June, he was shot down by anti aircraft fire during a reconnaissance mission and wounded.

On 17 August, he flew three armed reconnaissance missions and claimed a Bf 109 shot down and a second damaged.

Next day, on 18 August, he flew four missions and claimed another Bf 109.

On 19 August, he was engaged in combat three times with enemy aircraft.

On 21 August, he flew a photoreconnaissance mission.

During 23 August, he was involved in combat twice.

In all during August, he was credited with 5 victories and 1 damaged during 52 sorties and 15 combats.

During the autumn, he claimed a Ju 87.

On 21 November 1942, the regiment became the 31 GIAP.
During November, he was also promoted to Kapitan, commanding an eskadrilya.

During a mission in January 1943, four Yak-1s from 31 GIAP became involved in combat with Ju 87s south of Stalingrad. Reshetov claimed one shot down but got his own fighter damaged. He made and emergency landing in enemy territory. He made good his escape from his aircraft under the cover of his squadron mates’ guns.
Fotiy Morozov borrowed a car and went for his rescue. Reshetov was found hiding in a haystack and after four days, the two friends were back at their regiment.

On 27 January 1943, Kapitan Reshetov led four Yak-1s to engage seven Ju 88s and four Bf 109s. He claimed a shared Ju 88 over Mechetinskaya together with Leytenant Fotiy Morozov while Leytenant Nikolai Yalizarovich Glazov destroyed a second. Reshetov then made a firing pass against the two German crews as they hung in their parachute straps. In return, both Reshetov’s and Morozov’s Yak-1s were hit by the gunners of the other Ju 88s. KG 51 lost two Ju 88s. One was an aircraft from I/KG 51 piloted by Hauptmann Alfons Berger, which was shot down (probably by Reshetov and Morozov). This was Berger’s third mission of the day and when hit, he urged his crew to parachute, which two managed to do including his co-pilot Puls. These two were later rescued by members of SS Division Wiking patrolling the no man’s land. Several hours later, the same Wiking soldiers found Berger’s body, along with the beheaded corpse of his ventral gunner and another crewmember,

On 1 May 1943, Reshetov was decorated with the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union and the Order of Lenin. This in recognition for 432 sorties, 100 combats and 1 and 8 shared victories.

He then flew on the South Front, taking part in the liberation of Donbas.

On 15 September, he claimed a Bf 109 over Krasnyi Luc.

During September, he claimed a Bf 109 over Donbas.

In November, he was in action over Nikopol.

During the spring of 1944, serving on the 4th Ukrainian Front, he was involved in the Liberation of the Crimea.

In August 1944, the unit re-equipped with Yak-3s, operating these aircraft on the 2nd Ukrainian Front over Rumania and Hungary.

Operations took place over Debrecen and Donau in March 1945, and here on one occasion he led six Yak-3s against 48 Fw190s over Estergom, eight of the latter being claimed by the Soviet pilots without loss.
For this action, he was awarded with the Order of Suvorov, 3rd Class.

Resehetov ended the war with 1 biplane victory and a total of 35.
He had flown 821 sorties and been engaged in 200 combats.

He remained in the Air Force after the war, commanding an IAP, and the graduating from the Air Academy in 1954.

He retired as a Polkovnik in 1964 to live in Moscow.
During his career he was also decorated with the Order of the Red Banner (twice), the Order of Alexandr Nievskiy, the Order of the Patriotic War 1st Class (twice) and the Order of the Red Star (three times).

Resehetov passed away on 26 February 2001

Claims:
Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  1941                
1 22/06/41 04:30 1 Ju 87 Destroyed I-153   Chernovitsami 239 IAP
  1942                
? 17/05/42   1 Hs 126 Destroyed Yak-1   Nepokrytor-Kharkov area 273 IAP
? 18/05/42   1 He 111 Destroyed Yak-1   Nepokrytor-Kharkov area 273 IAP
? ??/05/42   1 Enemy aircraft Destroyed Yak-1   Kharkov area 273 IAP
? ??/05/42   1 Enemy aircraft Destroyed Yak-1   Kharkov area 273 IAP
? 17/08/42   1 Bf 109 Destroyed Yak-1   Stalingrad area 273 IAP
? 17/08/42   1 Bf 109 Damaged Yak-1   Stalingrad area 273 IAP
? 18/08/42   1 Bf 109 Destroyed Yak-1   Stalingrad area 273 IAP
? ??/08/42   1 Bf 109 Destroyed Yak-1   Stalingrad area 273 IAP
? ??/08/42   1 Bf 109 Destroyed Yak-1   Stalingrad area 273 IAP
? ??/08/42   1 Bf 109 Destroyed Yak-1   Stalingrad area 273 IAP
  1943                
? ??/01/43   1 Ju 87 Destroyed Yak-1   S Stalingrad 31 GIAP
  27/01/43   1 Ju 88 (a) Shared destroyed Yak-1   Mechetinskaya 31 GIAP
? 15/09/43   1 Bf 109 Destroyed Yak-1   Krasnyi Luc 31 GIAP
? ??/09/43   1 Bf 109 Destroyed Yak-1   Donbas 31 GIAP

Biplane victories: 1 destroyed.
TOTAL: 35 and 8 shared destroyed, 1 damaged.
(a) Ju 88 from I/KG 51 shot down, pilot Hauptmann Alfons Berger and two of thee crew were killed while two parachuted.

Sources:
Russian Fighter Aces of 1914-1953 years
Stalingrad – The Air Battle: 1942 through January 1943 – Christer Bergström, 2007, Chevron Publishing Limited, ISBN 978-1-85780-276-4
Stalin's Eagles - Hans D. Seidl, 1998 Schiffer Publishing, ISBN 0-7643-0476-3
Stalin's Falcons - Tomas Polak and Christhoper Shores, 1999 Grub Street, London, ISBN 1-902304-01-2
Additional information kindly provided by Verbena Volpi 'Ben' Pastor and Ondrej Repka.




Last modified 13 January 2009