Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Grigoriy Shakbaz

In March 1942, Grigoriy Shakbaz served in the 71 IAP-KBF.

On 27 March, Finnish forces invaded Gogland. This resulted in some heavy air combats over the island. On 28 March, 2/LLv 30 flew a cap mission to Gogland at dawn with kapteeni Veikko Karu’s seven Fokkers engaging a formation of about twenty fighters flying in two groups. During a ten minute turning fight the Finns sent down two aircraft, when the enemy planes split and began to break off. The Fokkers entered a fruitless chase. Luutnantti Veikko Sauru claimed one and one shared fighters:

“At 05:45-06:10, altitude 1,500-100m. When I observed the enemy formation I attacked directly towards those flying at the lowest height. During the approach I reached the same altitude of a formation consisting of six I-153s. I got a chance to turn into one I-153 and shooting I saw smoke puff out of the aircraft. After this vänrikk Helle stayed to follow this plane. Soon after this I shot from opposite directions at one I-153. I avoided colliding by pulling over the Chaika in the last moment. Vänrikki Mattila and kersantti Krohn, who were following this encounter saw the I-153 go in a spin and hit the deck. I fired at a few other I-153s and one I-16. My plane FR-124.”
Over Suursaari between 05:45-06:10, luutnantti Sauru claimed one I-153 and one shared with vänrikki Juha Helle (FR-123), kapteeni Veikko Karu (FR-136) claimed one probable I-16, kersantti Helge Krohn (FR-135) claimed and damaged I-16 and vänrikki Tauno Saalasti (FR-159) claimed one damaged I-16.
Majuri Olavi Ehrnrohts’s six Curtiss of LLv 32 fought against the same mixed formation and claimed two Chaikas and one Rata over Suursaari. Kersantti Aaro Kiljunen (CU-544) and Kersantti Niilo Erkinheimo (CU-551) claimed a shared I-16 from 11 IAP-KBF between 05:30-07:20. Between 05:30-07:30, ylikersantti Uuno Alpinnen (CU-572) claimed an I-153, vänrikki Jaakko Hillo (CU-553) claimed a probable I-16 while majuri Ehrnrooth (CU-571) and lentomerstari Viljo Ikonen (CU-565) claimed a shared I-153.
Totally the Finnish pilots claimed five shot down, two probables and two damaged without losses.
It seems that the I-153s were from 71 IAP-KBF and the I-16s from 11 IAP-KBF. The chronicle of the Baltic Fleet air forces reported:
“At 07:00 (Moscow time) nine I-153s of 71 IAP-KBF’s commander Podpolkovnik Aleksei Koronets engaged on a ground attack mission 8 km north of Gogland nine Fokkers and two Curtiss and the escort detachment made a frontal attack. In this attack Koronets was killed. The I-153s of the strike detachment joined the combat after dropping their bombs on the ice. The combat lasted for ten minutes as individual clashes, were Grigoriy Shakbaz, shot down one Fokker, but he himself did not return from the mission.”
11 IAP-KBF lost one I-16 in this combat.

At the time of his death, Shakbaz was credited with 1 biplane victory.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
1 28/03/42 07:00-07:10 1 Fokker (a) Destroyed I-153   8 km N Gogland 71 IAP-KBF

Biplane victories: 1 destroyed.
TOTAL: 1 destroyed.
(a) Claimed in combat with Curtiss 75As from LLv 32 and Fokker D.XXIs from LLv 30. The Finnish aircraft claimed five shot down, two probables and two damaged without losses. 71 IAP-KBF claimed one shot down while losing two I-153s and 11 IAP-KBF lost one I-16.

Suomen Ilmavoimat part IV – 1942 – Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 2007, ISBN 978-952-99743-2-0

Last modified 03 February 2008