Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Starshiy Leytenant Peter Yakovlevich Samokhin HSU

Peter Samokhin took part in the Finnish Winter War.

When the Continuation War started he belonged to 65 ShAP, which was a ground-attack unit and with this unit he took part in several ground attack sorties.

At 10:15 on 26 September, his unit was intercepted by kapteeni Jorma Karhunen’s 7-aircraft 3/LLv 24 north of Petäjäselkä. The Finnish Brewsters claimed all six ’Chaikas’ first met and after the return to the combat scene claimed another three out of eight. Karhunen reported:

“When I carried out a recce task at Mikonselkä station, I saw three I-153s under clouds southeast of Petäjäselkä. I went towards them meeting on the way I-153s at the surface heading north. I shot the left wing plane down to the forest, where a fire ensued. Promptly after pulling to the left, I saw a new I-153 coming on the surface from southeast about 4 km south of the impact spot of the previous one. I shot at it; the aircraft went to the forest at low speed cutting treetops on a distance of about 100 m. It did not catch fire.
In the second combat at 11:30 hours, I did not get to fire while chasing two I-153s under and in the clouds towards River Svir. I met or saw two I-15s, two I-16s and two I-153s. During the second encounter, they acted tactically in a very cunning manner taking advantage of the weather. Combat altitude 10-600 m. My plane was BW-366.”
Finnish pilots claiming in the first combat at 10:15 over Derevjannoje were kapteeni Karhunen (BW-366) (2 I-153s), lentomerstari Ilmari Juutilainen (BW-364), luutnantti Pekka Kokko (BW-363), kersantti Nils Katajainen (BW-368) (1 and 1 shared I-153) and vänrikki Martti Salovaara (BW-353) (1 shared I-153).
Claimants in the second combat at 11:30 were vänrikki Reino Lampelto (BW-365) (1 shared I-153 over Petäjäselkä), kersantti Katajainen (1 shared I-153 over Petäjäselkä), lentomestari Juutilainen (1 I-16 and 1 I-153 over Derevjannoje) and vääpeli Lauri Nissinen (BW-384) (1 I-53 over Derevjannoje).
It seems that 65 ShAP suffered some casualties since Leytenants G. I Vasilyev, Samokhin and N. G. Chernochenko were all three wounded.

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 Samokhin and Vladimir 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 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 Vladimir 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.

Samokhin was posthumously decorated with the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union and the Order of Lenin on 22 February 1943.
During his career, he had also been decorated with the Order of the Red Banner.

At the time of his death, Samokhin was credited with 2 shared victories, these being claimed while flying the I-153 during 120 combat missions.

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

Biplane victories: 2 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 2 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.

Geroi lenigradskogo neba - 1984 Lenizdat kindly provided by Vladislav Arhipov and Sergey Abrosov
Hävittäjä-Ässät (Finnish Fighter Aces) - Kalevi Keskinen, Kari Stenman and Klaus Niska, 1994 Apali, Tampere, ISBN 952-5026-00-0
Marskalkens Flygande Riddare - Joppe Karhunen, 1958 Söderström & C:o
Suomen Ilmavoimat part III – 1941 – Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 2007, ISBN 978-952-99743-1-3
Suomen ilmavoimien Historia 1: Brewster model 239 - Kalevi Keskinen, Kari Stenman and Klaus Niska kindly provided by Tuomo Lukkari
Additional information kindly provided by Ondrej Repka.

Last modified 11 November 2009