Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

General Leitenant Ivan Ivanovich Tsapov HSU

13 November 1922 – 24 April 2011

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 leitenant.

Tsapov took part in the Second World War from the start and initially flying Polikarpov I-15bis

In September 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 leitenants Tsapov and Nikolai Korolev 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 Nikolai Korolev, starshiy leitenant Vladimir Abramov, starshiy leitenant Ivan Minayev and starshiy leitenant 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 become the 3 GIAP-KBF. With this unit he flew LaGG-3s and La-5s.

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

On 15 January 1943, the LaGG-3s from 3 IAP-KBF fought with Bf 109s over Shlisselburg. Kapitan Tsapov claimed one shared together with serzhant Petr Prasolov while kapitan Semen Lvov (CO 2./3 GIAP-KBF) claimed a second.

On 14 February 1944, naval kapitan Tsapov 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 two Ju 87s and one FW 190 with his eskadrilia 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 (#3941) 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 flying La-7s in 38 IAP.

Tsapov ended the war with 7 shared biplane victory and a total of 11.
These had been claimed during 546 sorties.

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 leitenant.
During his career he had also been decorated with the Order of the Red Banner (four times; incl. 23/03/42, 01/04/43, 20/11/43), the Order of Aleksandr Nevskiy (08/03/44), the Order of the Patriotic War 1st Class (twice; 11/03/45 and 20/09/45) and the Order of the Red Star.

Tsapov passed away on 24 April 2011

Claims:
Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  1941
               
  23/08/41   1/3 Bf 109 Shared destroyed I-15bis   Raazik 5 IAP-KBF
  13/10/41   1/2 Bf 109 Shared destroyed I-153   Duderhof lakes 71 IAP-KBF
  12/12/41 14:45-14:55 1/2 Fokker D.XXI (a) Shared destroyed I-153   near Seiskari Island 71 IAP-KBF
  1942
               
  01/01/42   1/3 Bf 109 Shared destroyed I-153   Zelenets Island 71 IAP-KBF
  13/07/42 20:20-21:20 1/4 Buffalo (b) Shared destroyed I-153   NE Someri 71 IAP-KBF
  30/07/42   1/2 Ju 88 Shared destroyed I-153   Lipovo 71 IAP-KBF
  21/08/42   1/3 Ju 88 Shared destroyed I-153   S Someri 71 IAP-KBF
  1943
               
  15/01/43   1/2 Bf 109 Shared destroyed LaGG-3   Shlisselburg 3 GIAP-KBF
  23/01/43   1/6 Ju 88 Shared destroyed LaGG-3   S Sinyavino 3 GIAP-KBF
  23/01/43   1/6 Ju 88 Shared destroyed LaGG-3   S Sinyavino 3 GIAP-KBF
1 24/01/43   1 Bf 109 Destroyed LaGG-3   Mga 3 GIAP-KBF
2 14/02/43   1 Ju 87 Destroyed LaGG-3   Stepanovka 3 GIAP-KBF
  14/02/43   1/2 Ju 87 Shared destroyed LaGG-3   Stepanovka 3 GIAP-KBF
  14/02/43   1/6 Ju 87 Shared destroyed LaGG-3   Stepanovka 3 GIAP-KBF
3 20/03/43   1 FW 190 Destroyed LaGG-3   Puskhin 3 GIAP-KBF
4 26/07/43   1 FW 190 Destroyed La-5   NE Gogland 3 GIAP-KBF
  1944
               
5 14/02/44   1 Ju 87 Destroyed La-5   Chudskoye Lake area/Kannuk-Toila 3 GIAP-KBF
6 14/02/44   1 Ju 87 Destroyed La-5   Chudskoye Lake area/Kannuk-Toila 3 GIAP-KBF
7 14/02/44   1 FW 190 Destroyed La-5   Chudskoye Lake area/Kannuk-Toila 3 GIAP-KBF
8 16/05/44   1 FW 190 Destroyed La-5   Machu 3 GIAP-KBF
9 16/05/44   1 FW 190 Destroyed La-5   W Gakkovo 3 GIAP-KBF
10 28/05/44   1 FW 190 Destroyed La-5   S Lavensaari 3 GIAP-KBF
11 30/05/44   1 FW 190 Destroyed La-5   Ballast 3 GIAP-KBF

Biplane victories: 7 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 11 and 12 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.

Sources:
All aces of Stalin 1936–1953 – Mikhail Bykov, 2014
Russian Fighter Aces of 1914-1953 years
Soviet Aces 1936-1953
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 15 May 2020