Starshiy Leytenant Dmitry Semenikhin
In December 1941, Dmitry Semenikhin belonged to 65 ShAP, which was a ground-attack unit equipped with 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.
Semenikhin ended the war with 1 shared biplane victory, this one being claimed while flying the I-153.
|Kill no.||Date||Time||Number||Type||Result||Plane type||Serial no.||Locality||Unit|
|17/12/41||09:25-09:45||1/2||Brewster (a)||Shared destroyed||I-153||Sekehe||65 ShAP|
Biplane victories: 1 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 1 shared destroyed.
(a) 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
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.