Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Podpolkovnik Nikita Timofeyevich Syusyukalov

1905 – 4 August 1942

Syusyukalov was born in 1905.

He joined the Red Army in 1931 and served as Starshii Leitenant in the 11 IAE of the 111 IAB in the Leningrad military district.

He served as a volunteer in the Spanish Civil war from 20 August 1937 using the nom du guerre ”Miguel Kosteros”.

In Spain he served in the 1a Escuadrilla of 26 Gruppo de Caza flying the Polikarpov I-15.

In August 1937, he claimed a shared destroyed Do 17 near Zaragoza together with Leitenant Yevgeniy Stepanov.

On 24 August, Starshii Leitenant Syusyukalov of the 1a Escuadrilla claimed a shared Ju 52 with Walter Korouzom over Baharalos while Leitenant Mikhail Yakushin claimed a second.

It is possible that both Syusyukalov's claims in August are the same.

On 13 October, Leitenant Syusyukalov of the 1a Escuadrilla claimed a shared Ju 86 over Baharalos.

On 4 November, Starshii Leitenant Syusyukalov of the 1a Escuadrilla claimed a shared an Italian SM 79 off the coast near Amposta together with Serzhant Vyacheslav Dmitrievich Popov. However, Syusyukalov was hit by return fire from the doomed bomber and his fighter caught fire (according to some sources the engine on his I-15 caught fire due to technical problems). He was forced to bale out and landed in the sea. He was picked up by fishermen and returned to duty.

He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner on 3 February 1938.

Leitenant Platon Smolyakov CO of the5a/21 (I-16) was wounded in late February and Starshii Leitenant Syusyukalov took command of the unit.

He left Spain on 25 April 1938. Totally during his time he had flown about 90 sorties (110 hours of combat flight) and taken part in 30 air battles.
He claimed two (both Fiat CR.32s) and four shared victories in Spain while flying the Polikarpov I-15.

He was awarded the Order of Lenin on 14 November 1938.

In 1938, after returning from Spain, he continued to serve in the Leningrad Military District where he commanded a squadron in 25 IAP.

From September 1938 to March 1939 he was the commander of 7 IAP.

After graduating from Lipetsk KUOS, he commanded 38 IAP until January 1940.
With this unit he took part in the Soviet-Finnish Winter War in 1939-1940 and was awarded another Order of the Red Banner on 4 July 1940 and promoted to Mayor.

In February 1940 he was appointed acting commander of 149 IAP.

On 15 February 1940, seven I-16s and four I-153s from 149 IAP were escorting 26 SB-bombers to target No. 20 (Imatra hydropower station). At Lappeenranta, six Fokkers tried to intercept. Mayor Syusyukalov’s flight (Batal'yonniy Komissar Shalimov and Leitenant Vladimir Litvinenko) claimed two Fokkers, of which one ”was set afire” and the other ”crashed uncontrolled to the ground”. The other Fokkers escaped.
Syusyukalov saw a ”SB-like aircraft” in flames.
The Ilmavoimat didn’t lose any fighters during the day.

At 11:45 on 19 February, eleven I-153s and I-16s from 149 IAP were escorting 36 SB-bombers. At the target area, seven “Bulldogs” were encountered. During the air combats five enemy aircraft were claimed in the Lappeenranta-Sippola area by I-153 pilots; Mayor Syusyukalov and Batal’yonniy Komissar Shalimov shared one claim, Starshii Leitenant Vilchik made two claims, Starshii Leitenant Pidyukov one claim and Leitenant Pavlov one claim. Four of the 149 IAP aircraft returned damaged; Mayor Syusyukalov (38 bullet holes), Leitenant Pavlov (33 bullet holes), Leitenant Vladimir Litvinenko (15 bullet holes) and Leitenant Pidyukov (6 bullet holes).
These claims can’t be verified with Finnish records.

In 1941, he was promoted to Podpolkovnik.

From June 1941, he commanded 43 IAP, which was based in Vasilkov with the task of protection Kiev. The unit was equipped with Polikarpov I-153s and I-16s.

He led this unit during the German invasion, which started on 22 June.

At the head of his regiment Syusyukalov, fought on the South-Western and Southern Front, took part in the battles over the Ukraine, in the battle of Kharkov and in the battle of Stalingrad flying the I-16 and Yak-1.

Syusyukalov was killed in combat on 4 August 1942.

At the time of his death, Syusyukalov was credited with two victories, both claimed while flying the Polikarpov I-15.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  ??/08/37   1/2 Do 17 Shared destroyed I-15   near Zaragoza 1a/Gr. 26
  24/08/37   1/2 Ju 52/3m Shared destroyed I-15   Baharalos 1a/Gr. 26
  13/10/37   1/2 Ju 86 Shared destroyed I-15   Baharalos 1a/Gr. 26
  04/11/37   1/2 SM 79 Shared destroyed I-15   off Amposta 1a/Gr. 26
1 ??/??/3?   1 CR.32 Destroyed I-15   Spain 1a/Gr. 26
2 ??/??/3?   1 CR.32 Destroyed I-15   Spain 1a/Gr. 26
  15/02/40   1/3 Fokker (a) Shared destroyed Polikarpov   Lappeenranta 149 IAP
  15/02/40   1/3 Fokker (a) Shared destroyed Polikarpov   Lappeenranta 149 IAP
  19/02/40 11:45 1/2 Bulldog (b) Shared destroyed I-153   Lappeenranta-Sippola area 149 IAP

Biplane victories: 2 and 5 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 2 and 7 shared destroyed.
(a) Not verified with Finnish records.
(b) Not verified with Finnish records.

Air Aces Home Page - Jan Safarik
Red Stars 7 - Talvisota Ilmassa - The Winter War In the Air - Carl-Fredrik Geust, 2011 Apali Oy, Tampere, ISBN 978-952-5877-04-5
Soviet airmen in the Spanish civil war 1936-1939 - Paul Whelan, 2014 Schiffer Publishing Ltd, ISBN 978-0-7643-0
Soviet Fighter On Three Fronts - John Guttman, 1995
Stalin's Falcons - Tomas Polak and Christhoper Shores, 1999 Grub Street, London, ISBN 1-902304-01-2
The Legion Condor - Karl Ries and Hans Ring, 1992 Schiffer Publishing, ISBN 0-88740-339-5
Additional information kindly provided by Ondrej Repka.

Last modified 25 October 2016