Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

General Leytenant Ivan Tsapov HSU

Tsapov was born on 13 November 1922, in Voskresensk in the Smolensk region.

He joined the army in 1940, training at the Serpukhov Military Air College.
However, upon graduating, he was transferred to the navy and posted to the Baltic See Fleet Air Force in the Leningrad area.
In November 1940, he was posted to 5 IAP-KBF as a Mladshiy Leytenant.

Tsapov took part in the Second World War from the start.

In the autumn of 1941, he was transferred to the 71 IAP-KBF, which was equipped with Polikarpov I-153s.

Between 14:45-14:55 on 12 December 1941, a pair of Fokker D.XXIs of kapteeni Veikko Karu’s 2/LLv 30 engaged I-153s during a combat patrol over Koivisto-Seiskari. Karu (FR-160) and kersantti Helge Krohn (FR-159) claimed a shared I-153.
They had been in combat with I-153s from 71 IAP-KBF, which claimed one Fokker shot down as a shared between Starshiy Leytenants Tsapov and Nikolay Korolyov near Seiskari Island.

On 13 July 1942, I-153s from 71 IAP-KBF were involved in combat with a reported group of “Severskies” north-east of Someri. One of them was claimed as a shared by Kapitan Nikolay Korolyov, Starshiy Leytenant Vladimir Abramov, Starshiy Leytenant Ivan Minayev and Starshiy Leytenant Tsapov.
It seems that they had been involved in combat with luutantti Joel Savonen’s swarm of Buffaloes from 1/LeLv 24, which reported that they intercepted eight Chaikas in the Lavansaari area between 20:20-21:20. One of the I-153s was shot down over the island by ylikersantti Reino Malin (BW-366).

In January 1942, Tsapov was transferred back to the 5 IAP-KBF, which on 18 January 1942 had became the 3 GIAP-KBF..

On 19 January 1943, Kapitan Tsapov claimed a shared destroyed Fw190 together with Serzhant Aleksandr Shilkov.

On 18 August, he became CO of the 3 GIAP-KBF.

On 14 February 1944, he led four La-5s in an attack on a formation of 18 Ju 87s and four fighters over Chudskoye Lake (north Pskov). In the ensuing melee, Tsapov accounted for a Ju 87 and an Fw190 with his eskadrilya mates bringing the day’s tally to four.

In June 1944, he had reached the rank of Naval Kapitan, undertaking 530 sorties and claiming 15 victories in 58 engagements.

On 22 July 1944, he was decorated with the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union and the Order of Lenin.

He continued to fly with the unit until the end of the war in Europe.

After the conclusion of hostilities in Europe, he was posted to the Far East to the Pacific Fleet Air Force, seeing brief action against the Japanese in August 1945.

Tsapov ended the war with 1 shared biplane victory and a total of 22.

He remained in service after the war, graduating from the Air Academy in 1955 and from the General Staff Academy in 1960.

He retired in 1965 as a General Leytenant.
During his career he had also been decorated with the Order of the Red Banner (four times), the Order of Aleksandr Nevskii, the Order of the Patriotic War 1st Class (twice) and the Order of the Red Star.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  12/12/41 14:45-14:55 ½ Fokker D.XXI (a) Shared destroyed I-153   near Seiskari Island 71 IAP-KBF
  13/07/42 20:20-21:20 1/4 Buffalo (b) Shared destroyed I-153   NE Someri 71 IAP-KBF
  19/01/43   ½ Fw190 Shared destroyed LaGG-3     3 GIAP-KBF
? 14/02/44   1 Ju 87 Destroyed La-5   Chudskoye Island area 3 GIAP-KBF
? 14/02/44   1 Fw190 Destroyed La-5   Chudskoye Island area 3 GIAP-KBF

Biplane victories: 2 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 22 and 6 shared destroyed.
(a) Claimed in combat with Fokker D.XXIs from 2/LLv 30, which didn’t suffer any losses.
(b) Claimed in combat with Brewster Buffaloes from 1/LeLv 24, which claimed one I-153 without losses. 71 IAP-KBF claimed one Buffalo and it seems that they didn’t suffer any losses.

Russian Fighter Aces of 1914-1953 years
Stalin's Eagles - Hans D. Seidl, 1998 Schiffer Publishing, ISBN 0-7643-0476-3
Stalin's Falcons - Tomas Polak and Christhoper Shores, 1999 Grub Street, London, ISBN 1-902304-01-2
Suomen Ilmavoimat part III – 1941 – Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 2007, ISBN 978-952-99743-1-3
Suomen Ilmavoimat part IV – 1942 – Kalevi Keskinen and Kari Stenman, 2007, ISBN 978-952-99743-2-0

Last modified 28 January 2008