Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Starshiy Leytenant Vladimir Iljich Salomatin HSU

When the Continuation War started Starshiy Leytenant Vladimir Salomatin belonged to 65 ShAP, which was a ground-attack unit and equipped with Polikarpov I-153s.

At 11:25 on 7 November 1941, a pair of Morane MS.406s from 1/LLv 28 was involved in combat with a reported four I-152s and three MiG-3s over Uikujärvi. MS-608 flown by kapteeni Jorma Varis was shot down and the pilot was killed.
This victory was shared between Starshiy Leytenants Peter Samokhin and Salomatin from 65 ShAP, flying Polikarpov I-153s.

Between 09:25 and 09:45 on 17 December 1941, a group of Finnish Brewsters from 3/LLv 24 flew a reconnaissance sortie over Liistepohja - Sekehe - Petrowskijdam - Danilova. The group was led by kapteeni Jorma 'Joppe' Karhunen (Brewster BW-366) with luutnantti Osmo Kauppinen (BW-388) as wingman. Top-cover was provided by luutnantti Lauri Pekuri (BW-351) and kersantti Paavo Mellin (BW-363).
When flying south at 2,000 metres from Sekehe, Karhunen spotted Soviet fighters flying in a mixed formation with three Hurricanes leading two formations of three I-153s on each flank. The Finnish fighters attacked and Karhunen immediately shot down one of the Hurricanes, which crashed burning into the woods. The rest of the Hurricanes retreated and the rest of the dogfight was between the Brewsters and the I-153s, which was quickly was at disadvantage since the Finnish pilots used zooming tactics and didn't went into a turning fight with the more nimble Soviet biplanes.
The Finnish pilots returned without losses and they claimed four Soviet aircraft: Karhunen claimed one Hurricane in the Byrstjagin area (from 152 IAP) and one shared I-153 with Kauppinen which crashed burning east of Bystrjag's railway station, while Pekuri claimed one I-153 and Mellin claimed one I-153 (both in the Romantsin area). Karhunen reported:

“I led a swarm on a railway reconnaissance mission. I saw below me three Hurricanes and six I-153s. I shot immediately down one Hurricane and in the ensuing “rocking chair” battle one I-153. During the combat the Bresters had a better control of the situation due to better tactics, where they remained all the time above the enemy aircraft making dive attacks. The enemy was using their Hurricanes very elementarily. The mixed formation flew in the same altitude with the same speed. Combat height 1,000-50m. My plane was BW-366.”
The Soviet I-153s most probable belonged to 65 ShAP, which reported being involved in combat with eleven Brewster.
In the combat, Starshiy Leytenant Peter Samokhin claimed a shared Brewster with his wingman Starshiy Leytenant Dmitry Semenikhin by using RS-82 rockets, Starshiy Leytenant Pavel Borisov claimed a second Brewster. Starshiy Leytenant Salomatin claimed a third.
Samokhin was shot down and killed in this combat while Semenikhin and Borisov (wounded) didn't return either after having made forced-landings due to combat damage.
The Hurricanes came from 152 IAP and Mladshiy Leytenant Nikolay Serdyutshenko claimed one Brewster before he was shot down and was wounded.
During this combat, the Finnish fighter pilots also reported the Soviet anti-aircraft were shooting intensively on all fighters.

In January 1943, he claimed a Ju 87.

Salomatin ended the war with one biplane victory and a total of 2.
During the war, he was decorated with the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union and the Order of Lenin.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  07/11/41 11:25 ½ Hurricane (a) Destroyed I-153   Uikujärvi 65 ShAP
1 17/12/41 09:25-09:45 1 Brewster (b) Destroyed I-153   Sekehe 65 ShAP
2 ??/01/43   1 Ju 87 Destroyed        

Biplane victories: 1 and 1 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 2 and 1 shared destroyed.
(a) Kapteeni Jorma Varis of 1/LLv 28 (MS.406 MS-608) KIA.
(b) Claimed in combat with 3/LLv 24, which claimed four Soviet aircraft without losses. Soviet fighters claimed four Finnish fighters while losing four fighters.

Suomen Ilmavoimat part III – 1941 – Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 2007, ISBN 978-952-99743-1-3
Additional information kindly provided by Ondrej Repka.

Last modified 16 March 2010