JG 54: The Fighting Over the Soviet Leningrad and Volkhov Fronts
6 January – 6 July 1942
JG 54 versus the Soviet Aviation units
By Michael Barrentine (01 August 2020)
I wrote this brief history of this forgotten Soviet Offensive with the point of interest being on the German Bf 109 units of JG 54 involved. Still it was necessary to include the side of the Soviet units involved to give it a fair and balanced perspective but only involving interaction with JG 54. Documenting the bomber, assault and reconnaissance aircraft of both sides would have been enormous undertaking for every mission. Even so, I have mentioned Soviet fighter activity as far as some missions to show that both sides didn’t always have constant contact during this campaign. Sadly, not all the Soviet reports are accessible online to be viewed and it was necessary to use secondary sources from the Soviet Union era for answers. I tried to verify them but sometimes loss records in the online OBD Memorial were the only way. I have found the OBD Memorial to be a tricky minefield. For example, there are times a pilot will be listed with two dates of death contrary to the report. I have tried to confirm as much as possible.
Also, I have tried to leave favoritism out and personal bias towards certain German pilots established during my studies of JG 54 and look at them objectively from available source material. As for the Soviet fighter pilots, there are numerous claims for Bf 109, which I listed what they were claiming He-113, Me-115 and Me-109 in their reports. Many Soviet claims lacked times for the German losses making it hard to determine who got the few actual ones shot down in aerial combat. As historians, we must keep in mind that a pilot is less concerned of logging the specific time, aircraft type and location while simultaneously trying to survive three-dimensional and intense aerial combat.
Often times it is mentioned that a Bf 109 was seen leaving the area trailing smoke, justifying a pilot to file a claim. It wasn’t until author Christopher Shores came out to explain this phenomenon was also seen by Western pilots in battle. It seems that black smoke is emitted by the Bf 109 when the supercharger is used, thus explaining many of these damaged Bf 109. As for the times used the regular 19:00 is the German time and 19:00 (MT) is for Moscow Time (at this stage of the war it was only one hour difference and would not revert back to two hours difference until the Fall).
I want to thank my friend Kirill “Kirche” Chekmarev for his help with Russian names and narratives, which I could not read in cursive Russian writing.
Josef Stalin and Stavka had planned for a counteroffensive to liberate Leningrad from the German siege held in place by Army Group North. One thing that they did not send for the offensive was reinforcements for the Soviet air force. The aviation to support the offensive was to come from the units at of the VVS 54th Army and VVS KBF (Air Force Red Baltic Fleet) from the direction of the Leningrad Front. All along the Volkhov River were units made up of many groups (1 RAG and 1 YAG) and small air armies (VVS 4th Army and VVS 52nd Army); they would be the main support for the Soviet 2nd Shock Army and 59th Army that would cross the Volkhov River to break the siege. Facing them in the air were the Bf 109 fighters of Jagdgeschwader 54 (JG 54). Other Luftwaffe units of Bf 110, Ju 88, Ju 87, He 111 and reconnaissance units also participated but the main focus of this work will be on the Bf 109’s in service of JG 54. The air war would stretch from the northern shore of Lake Ilmen to Lake Ladoga. The fighting below Lake Ilmen will be out of the domain of this work.
On the 6 January 1942 would begin the blood bath for the Soviet troops along this front that would last until the 6 July 1942. As stated, this article focuses on the aerial combatants, the ground forces and fighting will not be the subject. For the infantryman, bitter fighting would start on frozen ground and transition to ground thawed into swamp. The Germans had cut off the Soviet forces and aerial supply was necessary for their survival.
8 January 1942
From 09:17 – 10:20 (MT) to cover Cape Osinovets and Lake Ladoga took off 5 I-16 from 123 IAP by Leytenant Kvezev with his wingmen Leytenant Sheknov, Leytenant Sergey Golikov, Starshiy Leytenant Nikolaev and Starshiy Leytenant Sergey Kharitonov. In the area of O.V. Zeleyers at an altitude of 3000 m engaged 2 Bf 109 attacking from below head on. After attacking 1 Bf 109 went in the direction of Cape Naziya and the other towards Shlissel’burg. They suffered no losses. (Brief History 123 IAP – 27 GIAP Leningrad GIAK page 33 TsAMO f. 22044, o. 0483464s, d. 0001, l. 1)
From the German side the German opposition is found with 1. Erg./JG 54. Leutnant Walter Nowotny of 1. Erg/ JG 54 claimed an I-16 (11) at 09:00 and another I-16 (12) at 09:05 at Morye. Unteroffizier Alfred Dettke of 1. Erg./JG 54 claimed an I-16 (5) at 09:05 and another I-16 (6) at 09:20 at Morye.
14 January 1942
On this day the 5 IAP KBF had Regiment commander Petr Kondrat’ev and Starshiy Leytenant Aleksandr Myasnikov perform an escort mission for a Shturmovik raid (the target area was not listed). The Soviet fighters circled above the Il-2s when two “Messers” attacked them. In the ensuing battle Kondrat’ev claimed a Me-109 (2). (Book “ Baltic Winged Guards”)
On examination of the loss records of JG 54 there is no confirmation for Kondrat’ev’s victory claim for a Bf 109. No German claims were made for this day.
19 January 1942
The Soviet command supplied the ground forces and population by driving across the ice of Lake Ladoga and flying over it. For this latter the PS-84 transport aircraft needed fighter escort as they crossed Lake Ladoga and for this purpose the 286 IAP filled this mission. For this day a description is found from the Soviet-era book “Air Bridge” about the loss from this regiment.
“There was such a day to the regiment, when three young Leytenants did not return from the mission immediately the young Leytenants – Eskadril’i commander Arkadiy Khonyak, deputy eskadril’i commander Petr Volnukhin and section commander Viktor Cherepanov.
It was snowing. In such weather, usually fighters did not fly. But it was necessary to cover a large group of aircraft. And the choice fell on the best pilots of the regiment. Everyone understood the risk of flying in this weather. What then was just a combat operation, now, as time passes, it is recognized as a feat. It is a feat consciously undertaken by the three men from the 286th Regiment. From the combat report, it became known that they completed the mission, an accepted an unequal battle with “Messerschmitts”, covering their wards. But how the battle proceeded, remains unknown. No one from the mission returned.”
In the loss records of 286 IAP, listed as missing in action was Starshiy Leytenant Aradiy Khayak, Mladshiy Leytenant Petr Volnukhin and Leytenant Viktor Chrepanov. There resting place possibly lies beneath the waters of Lake Ladoga.
From the German side the only claims were found in I./JG 54. Hauptmann Franz Eckerle of Stab I./JG 54 claimed an I-16 (44) at 11:05 and another I-16 (45) at 11:10 with no location. So did Eckerle get the third I-16 but not confirmed or another pilot?
Another mystery was also found for this day in the Soviet loss records. The 15 MRAP KBF had the 2 Che-2 flown by deputy AE commander Kapitan Aleksandr Groshenkov and Starshiy Leytenant Aleksandr Kuzichev for a total of 6 men killed in an air battle. The records of JG 54 and the Finnish Air Force do not show any claims for these losses.
Also during this day an unknown pilot of 1./JG 54 was shot down by Soviet antiaircraft fire in the area of Lyuban on Bf 109 F-2 (Wk.nr. 5483) suffering 90% damage.
20 January 1942
With no time established from the Soviet records, a dogfight took place in the area of Pogostye. The 154 IAP equipped with the Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk met in battle with Bf 109 fighters. A P-40 Tomahawk (AK111) flown by Leytenant Andrey Chirkov charged head on against a Bf 109. Soviet pilots above watched as they saw the two aircraft close and appeared to collide. Leytenant Chirkov escaped from his disabled fighter over German territory. In the days ahead Chirkov evaded through German territory and crossed back into Soviet territory. Believing that Leytenant Chirkov had rammed his opponent his comrades confirmed him a claim of a Me-109 (4). (Journal of Combat Operations 275 IAD TsAMO f. 20245. o. 1, d. 5, l.)
On examining the loss records for JG 54 there were no reported losses from aerial combat and especially no Bf 109 that was damaged by collision. There was a claim listed in the records of I./JG 54. Leutnant Horst Ademeit of 1./JG 54 claimed an I-26 (17) at 11:23 with no location. The Soviet pilots possibly mistook the exploding P-40 for a ram as the two fighters passed.
From 14:45 – (MT) 2 Bf 109 and 4 Bf 109 raided the Soviet airfield at Malaya Vishera. Two MiG-3 from 2 GIAP flown by Mladshiy Leytenant Nikolay Rybakov and Leytenant Anishchenko attempted to intercept the raiders and were shot down (Mladshiy Leytenant Rybakov would perish on 26.01.1942). (Journal of Combat Operations BVS 52nd Army page 27 TsAMO f. 408, o. 0010015, d. 0003, l. 1)
From the German side a possible answer to this battle is found in the records of I./JG 54. Hauptmann Heinrich Jung of 3./JG 54 claimed an I-26 (5) at 14:11 with no location. Oberleutnant Max-Hellmuth Ostermann of 3./JG 54 claimed an I-26 (52) at 14:12 with no location.
21 January 1942
During a Shturmovik raid in the area of the village of Vinyagolovo the escort of Soviet fighters from the 13 IAP KBF engaged in a dogfight with Bf 109. The following Soviet reports describes the dogfight.
From the report of Guards Starshiy Leytenant Semen L’vov: “…I was on a LaGG-3 paired with St. Leytenant Kostylev on a MiG-3 and two I-16 took off to cover Il-2s in the area of the village of Vinyagolovo. At 10:20, while in the area of Maluksa station at a height of 1500 m, when leaving the Shturmoviks, have observed an attack of four Me-109. They made the first attack from above head on, with further transition into a left turn. At the time of the turn made four aimed bursts on one of the Me-109, who responded by diving and began to leave in a westerly direction.”
From the report of Starshiy Leytenant Georgiy Kostylev: “… I followed L’vov From below with a turn began climbing another Me-109, we attempted to get on its tail, but on turning on him, I attacked in the front 2/4 compression. The enemy left with a sharp turn to the right into the clouds. I observed, that a Me-109, attacked L’vov coming out of the turn. Catching up with the enemy at low-level flight, I opened fire from a distance of 100-150 m with BS and Shkas precisely into the tail. Making 3-4 aimed bursts, that on the Me-109 started falling off pieces, and it with flakes fell into fell into the forest two kilometers west of the village of Lodva. When I came out of the attack, there is above us under the clouds observed three Me-109, but in the battle have not engaged, because of pulling away from an Il-2. One Il-2 found in the area of Voybolkalo station and have led to the airfield.”
Guards Starshiy Leytenant L’vov claimed a Me-109 (2) at Zhikharevo and Starshiy Leytenant Kostylev claimed a Me-109 (4) to the west of Lodva. (Book “Baltic Winged Guards”)
The loss records of JG 54 had no losses this day to confirm these victory claims, so the damage inflicted might have been less then 10% and not listed.
From the German side the opposition was probably I./JG 54. Hauptmann Franz Eckerle of Stab I./JG 54 claimed an Il-2 (46) at 09:30 with no location. No Soviet loss was found to confirm his claim with records available.
Another incident on the Soviet Volkhov Front occurred when the LaGG-3 from 156 IAP flown by Starshiy Leytenant Fedor Trubnikov was shot down near the airfield at Malaya Vishera and perished. No other German claims were made to match this loss.
23 January 1942
From 09:40 – 10:45 (MT) took off 4 LaGG-3 from 522 IAP led by Mayor Ivan Krupenin with Leytenant Il’ya Kaynov, Starshiy Leytenant Viktor Loginov and Mladshiy Leytenant Mikhail Karabanov. Their mission to cover Soviet forces in the areas of Spasskaya Polist’, Ol’khovka, Myasnoy Bor, Gorelovo and Selishchenky (Selisshchi). In the area of Shevelevo – Gorodok they became involved in a dogfight with 4 Bf 109. They claimed 1 Me-109 shot down as a group with Kaynov and Karabanov each claiming 1/3 but who got the other 1/3 was not found. In the fight the LaGG-3 of Karabanov was damaged and he was forced to make a landing in the forest 7 km west of Kr. Visherka. His fighter was wrecked but the future ace was unharmed. (Journal of Combat Operations 522 IAP page 1 TsAMO f. 22751, o. 0143528s, d. 0001, l. 1)
From the German side there was no loss from JG 54 to confirm the Soviet claim. Strangely, in the records of the III./JG 54 for the time of this fight there was a claim but not a LaGG-3. Oberleutnant Helmut Zilken of 7./JG 54 claimed an I-16 (13) at 09:08 with no location. So was this a misidentification by Zilken or just an unclaimed victory?
At 12:10 (MT) on approaching the Soviet airfield at Uglovo to land the I-16 from 123 IAP flown by Serzhant Aleksey Aleksashkin was dived on by 4 Bf 109 raiding the airfield. Aleksashkin’s I-16 crashed onto the field with the dead pilot. (Journal of Combat Operations 7 IAK page 5 TsAMO f. 20506, o. 1, d. 125, l. 1)
From the German side from the records of I./JG 54 is the possible victor. Oberleutnant Max-Helmuth Ostermann of 3./JG 54 claimed an I-16 (53) at 11:03 with no location.
Returning to their airfield were 2 Il-2 from 57 ShAP KBF in the area of Karedzhi on being attacked by 6 Bf 109. The Il-2 flown by Serzhant Novitskiy was forced to make an emergency landing on the ice at Sumskoye, after losing all steering control. (Operational Report of the Staff VVS Leningrad Front 23.01.1942 TsAMO f. 217, o. 1221, d. 1588, l. 79)
Oberleutnant Ostermann claimed an Il-2 (54) at 11:27 with no location given. In the loss records of the VVS KBF there is a reported loss of an Il-2.
At 12:05 (MT) MiG-3 fighters of 124 IAP took off for a mission to the area of Pogost’e but on their return were engaged in a dogfight with 3 Bf 109. The MiG-3 flown by Starshiy Leytenant Vladimir Malyshev was damaged in the fighting and was listed as missing by others in his regiment. Malyshev was able to nurse his MiG-3 to the airfield at N. Ladoga and made an emergency landing. (Journal of Combat Operations 7 IAK page 6)
From the German side in the records of I./JG 54 appears an answer for this battle. Feldwebel Werner Nelte of 1./JG 54 claimed an I-18 (3) at 13:31 with no location.
At 14:40 (MT) at the Soviet airfield at Manushkino the LaGG-3 from 44 IAP flown by pilot named Bogomolov was preparing to make a landing. Suddenly two Bf 109 attacked the LaGG-3 from the rear shooting it down on the airfield. The right wheel came off the fighter and fuselage was full of holes as it came to rest. The pilot escaped unharmed as the airfield’s antiaircraft guns drove off the two attacking Bf 109. (Journal of Combat Operations 2 GIAK (7 IAK) PVO page 7 TsAMO f. 20506, o. 1, d. 125, l. 1 and Operational Report of the Staff VVS Leningrad Front 23.01.1942 TsAMO f. 217, o. 1221, d. 1588, l. 79)
From the German side this encounter is possibly found in the claims of I./JG 54. Feldwebel Werner Nelte of 1./JG 54 claimed an I-18 93) at 13:31 with no location.
Even the Staff of the Soviet 7 IAK was no exempt from the touch of war behind Soviet lines at Leningrad. The U-2 from 7 IAK flown by Starshina Yakov Boburov with passenger Leytenant Petr Lepesh were caught making a landing at the airfield at Vsevolozhski and shot down by 2 Bf 109. Both men were killed with the attack. (Journal of Combat Operations 7 IAK page 8)
It seems that once again Feldwebel Werner Nelte of 1./JG 54 had found another victory as he claimed a R-5 (4) at 13:39 with no location given.
25 January 1942
From 14:10 – 15:00 (MT) 3 LaGG-3 from 522 IAP led by Leytenant Il’ya Kaynov with Mladshiy Leytenant Mikhail Karabanov and a pilot named Shinkarenko were covering Soviet forces in the area of Spasskaya Polist’. At 14:35 in the area of Mostki claimed a Ju-88 with each receiving a 1/3 in a group kill. (Journal of Combat Operations 522 IAP page 4)
26 January 1942
From 12:45 – 13:45 (MT) 6 LaGG-3 from 522 IAP led by Leytenant Il’ya Kaynov to cover the Soviet forces in the area of Ol’khovka. They intercepted a German formation of 3 Ju 88 with 6 Bf 109 escorts in the area at 13:05 (MT). Mladshiy Leytenant Mikhail Karabanov claimed a Ju-88 (1) and as group 2/6 Me-109 and 2/3 Ju-88 in the areas of Ol’khovka – Spasska Polist’ – Mostki. Leytenant Kaynov claimed 2/6 Me-109 in a group victory in the same areas. Mladshiy Leytenant Viktor Alekseev claimed 2/6 Me-109 in a group I the same area. The LaGG-3s of Alekseev and Shinkarenko were shot down. (Journal of Combat Operations 522 IAP page 5)
From the German side as concerns the loss of Bf 109 in JG 54 there were no losses. There were claims made during this time by III./JG 54. Hauptmann Reinhardt Seiler of Stab III./JG 54 claimed an I-26 (45) at 11:55 to the southeast of Gryady. Leutnant Hans-Joachim Heyer of 8./JG 54 claimed an I-26 (11) at 11:58 with no location. Hauptmann Seiler claimed another I-26 (46) at 12:00 to the east of Dora (southeast of Malaya Vishera).
The Soviet 7 IAK reported no victories and no losses in aerial combat this day around Leningrad.
From 15:36 – 16:56 (MT) three P-40 “Tomahawks” from the 196 IAP when to cover Soviet forces in the area of Maluksa station. At 16:30 (MT) at an altitude of 2500 m the P-40s were pounced on by 2 Bf 109 and engaged in a 5-6 minute dogfight. The P-40 flown by Leytenant Konstatin Byrlakov went crashing down with the dead pilot. (Journal of Combat Operations 196 IAP page 12-13 TsAMO f. 22433, o. 0272851s, d. 0003, l. 2)
From the German side the I./JG 54 provides the victor of this battle. Oberleutnant Siegfried Graf Matuschka of 2./JG 54 claimed an I-180 (14) at 15:28 with no location.
28 January 1942
From 09:40 – 10:48 (MT) the Soviet 39 IAD had 9 Curtiss P-40 Tomahawks from the 196 IAP led by Starshiy Leytenant Nikolay Berzhichinskiy conduct a reconnaissance in the areas of Zharok station – Olomna. Kapitan Leonid Belkov’s P-40 began having engine trouble on his antifreeze boiling and accompanied by Shipov and Kapitan Georgiy Zhirnov returned to their airfield. There Kapitan Belkov made an emergency landing on his P-40. The rest of the Tomahawks took up covering Soviet forces in the areas of Maluksa station and Pogost’e station. The Tomahawks of the 196 IAP became involved in an dogfight to the north of Pogost’e in which they claimed to have shot down a Heinkel He-113 in which the pilot parachuted out of the fighter. The battle did not go well for the Soviet fighters in this fight. In the area to the north of Pogost’e, Mladshiy Leytenant Aleksandr Bilyukin and Starshina Vasiliy Vorob’ev both wounded had to parachute from their burning aircraft. The Tomahawks of Starshiy Leytenant Nikolay Verzhichinskiy and Leytenant Aleksandr Kashirin were reported missing but Verzhichinskiy would return to the regiment later. (Journal of Combat Operations 196 IAP page 14-15 TsAMO f. 22433, o. 0272851s, d. 0003, l. 2)
From the German side the participants in this fight came from I./JG 54, in which the number of claims fall short of the actual losses. Hauptmann Franz Eckerle of Stab I/JG 54 claimed an I-180 (48) at 09:03 and another I-180 (49) at 09:06 with no given location. Unteroffizier Gerhard Proske of Stab I/JG 54 claimed an I-180 (5) at 09:10 with no location. Having previously observed a possible under claiming by Eckerle on the 23rd could the same ting have happened again or maybe Proske did not have a witness to confirm a kill. As far the Soviet claim there was no recorded loss from JG 54 to confirm it.
The 3 GIAP KBF was involved in a dogfight while covering the areas of Voybokalo station and Zhikharevo but no time was mentioned for the battle. The group consisted of 3 MiG-3 flown by Starshiy Leytenant Dmitriy Buryak, Starshiy Leytenant Aleksey Rudenko and Leytenant Evgeniy Terlov. Also flying with the group was Kapitan Se en Lvov on a Yak-1 and Starshiy Leytenant Matvey Yefimov on a LaGG-3. Four Bf 109 were observed to come out of the clouds above the Soviet group. One of the Bf 109 took advantage of a lower altitude MiG-3 to attack it. Yefimov took his LaGG-3 around to par the attack and claimed a Me-109 (4) in the area of Zhikhrevo. Another Bf 109 went to the tail of Yefimov’s fighter but Lvov attacked it and claimed a Me-109 (2) in the same area. No Soviet loss was reported by the group.
With no time provided it is not possible to determine if one of the claiming German pilots this day was involved in this fight. The one thing that can be established is that JG 54 did not have a loss to air combat this day.
1 February 1942
In the area of Kingsepp, an I-15bis flown by Leytenant Peregudov was shot down by two Bf 109. The report only listed his unit as the 61 AB KBF but the 71 IAP KBF was the one regiment equipped with this type aircraft. Peregudov seems to have survived being shot down this day. (Operational Report of the Staff VVS Leningrad Front 01.02.1942)
In the records of JG 54 there is no matching claim for this Soviet loss.
3 February 1942
In the area of Ul’yanovka the 10 BBAP made a bombing raid. They were intercepted by Bf 109 fighters from II./JG 54. In the ensuing battle the Pe-2 bombers of Starshiy Leytenant Mikhail Ratnikov, Starshiy Serzhant Nikolay Fomin and Mladshiy Leytenant Vladimir Perepellitsa with their crews were all listed as missing in action.
The victors were Oberleutnant Wolfgang Späte of 5./JG 54 claiming a Pe-2 (49) at 15:02 in the area of Ul’yanovka. Feldwebel Gustav Walter of 5,/JG 54 claimed a Pe-2 (4) at 15:03 with no location. Leutnant Otto Schmidt of 5./JG 54 claimed a Pe-2 (9) at 15:04 with no location.
4 February 1942
From 09:40 – 10:30 (MT) 4 LaGG-3 from 522 IAP escorted 4 Pe-2 bombers to bomb targets in the areas of Gudovo and Lyuban. They reported being attacked by 3 He-113 in the target area. The LaGG-3 piloted by Koryunov claimed to have shot down a He-113 and was wounded in the arm and leg. (Journal of Combat Operations 522 IAP page 9)
On examining the loss records of JG 54 there are no losses in aerial combat and no claims during the time of this battle.
5 February 1942
From 09:30 – 10:00 (MT) 4 LaGG-3 from 522 IAP took off to protect the airfield at Malaya Vishera. The Soviets reported the German formation as 8 Ju 88 with an escort of 5 He-113 and intercepted at 09:35 (MT). Leytenant Fedor Vorob’ev engaged two He-113 and claimed a He-113 (1). Leytenant Vorob’ev was shot down and landed his burning LaGG-3 on the airfield (He received the Order of the Red Star). Another claim was made for a He-113 in group kill by Razunov and Shelanakov. Another LaGG-3 was also shot down from 522 IAP. (Journal of Combat Operations 522 IAP page 10)
From the German side there was no Bf 109 recorded as lost in JG 54. In the records of II./JG 54 there was a victory claim. Feldwebel Herbert Brönnle of 2./JG 54 claimed an I-18 (23) at 08:50 at 9 km to the southeast of Malaya Vishera.
7 February 1942
At 09:45 (MT) six I-16 from 4 GIAP KBF took off to conduct a reconnaissance mission for the Soviet 54th Army in the areas of Tosno – Shapki. In the area of Shapki a Bf 109 dived on them and shot down the I-16 of Starshiy Leytenant Mikhail Alekseev who was listed as missing in action. (Book “Baltic Winged Guards”)
From the German side the only possible answer is from I./JG 54. Hauptmann Franz Eckerle of Stab I/JG 54 claimed an I-16 (56) at 09:15 with no location. Considering that 09:45 (MT) was most likely the take off time it would be 10:15 (MT) at the time of attack.
14 February 1942
At 15:00 (MT) 4 I-15bis from 71 IAP KBF took off to perform a reconnaissance of German forces in the areas of Voronovo – Mga – Maluksa for the Soviet 54th Army. At 15:35 (MT) at Turyshkino they came under attack from the bottom left by two Bf 109 at an altitude 1100 meters. The leader of the attacking Bf 109 was Hauptmann Franz Eckerle of Stab I./JG 54 who made two attacks on the I-15bis flown by Leytenant Aleksey Baranovskiy who’s aircraft burst into flames and fell near Turyshkino. The three remaining I-15bis continued to fight the German fighters and shot down Eckerle’s Bf 109 F-2 (Wk.nr 9728) near Voronovo on Lake Beloe never to be seen again. Eckerle’s wingman filed a claim for Eckerle for an I-153 (59) at 16:25. (Book “Baltic Winged Guards”)
During a mission this day the U-2 from 662 NBAP flown by Serzhant Aleksandr Saraev with navigator Kapitan Dmitriy Prokof’ev were listed as missing in action, Serzhant Saraev was later found to have died as a POW.
From the German side a possible result is found in the records of II./JG 54. Leutnant Horst Hannig of 6./JG 54 claimed a R-5 (32) at 14:50 with no location.
15 February 1942
From 14:10 – 14:45 (MT) 3 I-16 from 123 IAP led by Leytenant Sergey Medvedev patrolled in the area of Kabona. The completion of the mission saw only two I-16 return with Medvedev listed as missing. (Journal of Combat Operations of 7 IAK 13.02.42 – 10.03.42 page 5 TsAMO f. 20506, o. 1, d. 126, l)
The German records do not give any hint as to the cause of his loss.
17 February 1942
This day was a difficult day to research with checking numerous sources to obtain the information. The lack of on line reports for the Soviet 2 RAG, required checking multiple different units including service records.
With no given time, 6 P-40 Tomahawks from the 154 IAP led by Kapitan Petr Pokryshev in the area of Pogostye – Baraki met in a dogfight with 6 Bf 109 (described as 3 Me-109F and 3 He-113). Kapitan Pokryshev claimed a He-113 (4) during this fight. The P-40 of Starshiy Leytenant Georgiy Marmuzov was damaged and the wounded pilot was able to return to his airfield. (Operational Report of the Staff VVS Leningrad Front 17.02.1942 TsAMO f. 217, o. 1221, d. 1588, l. 197 and the Hero of the Soviet Union medal award information for Kapitan P.A. Pokryshev)
On checking the claims for II./JG 54 a “possible” answer is found. Unteroffizier Rudolf Gereck of 4./JG 54 claimed an I-18 (7) at 13:16 with no location.
In the area of the Volkhov Front there was reported one air battle reported with two losses from 2 RAG but information was reported in a report of the VVS 52nd Army. On approach to land at the airfield at Malaya Vishera was the LaGG-3 from 520 IAP flown by Mladshiy Leytenant Semen Fesyura and the MiG-3 from 41 IAP flown by Mladshiy Leytenant Vladimir Smelov. Both fighters were attacked and shot down by 2 Bf 109 and the pilots perished. (Journal of Combat Operations VVS 52nd Army page 75 TsAMO f. 408, o. 0010015, d. 0003, l. 1 and death records in the OBD Memorial for full names and ranks)
In the claims made by I./JG 54 there were only two that “possibly” matched this encounter. Hauptmann Hans Philipp of Stab I/JG 54 claimed an I-18 (79) at 13:40 with no location. This was followed by Unteroffizier Gerhard Proske of Stab I/JG 54 claiming an I-18 (10) at 13:45 with no location.
The only other claim made by JG 54 this day was Leutnant Wolfgang Kretschmer of 1. Erg/JG 54 claiming an I-18 (5) at 10:03 in the area of the Karmylenye See (Ösel). This was possibly a fighter from the VVS KBF in which no information was found on this dogfight.
18 February 1942
At 13:15 (MT) in the area of Minaevka, two Bf 109 flown by unknown pilots attempted to attack a group of Il-2 escorted by 3 GIAP KBF. They were unsuccessful and were driven off by the navy fighters who claimed a Me-109 as shot down. No Bf 109 for this fight can be confirmed in the loss records of JG 54.
Four I-16 from 4 GIAP KBF spotted two Bf 109 attempting to attack them from an altitude above 2000 m from out of the sun to the southeast of Lavrovo. They engaged them in turning and climbing dogfight. The I-16 flown by Starshiy Leytenant Efim Badaev was shot down and he perished 12 km south of Labrovo. Badev had a score at this time of 1 personal and 14 group victories. (Book “Baltic Winged Guards”)
The victor in this battle was Leutnant Horst Ademeit of 1./JG 54 claiming an I-16 (20) at 13:15.
19 February 1942
From the reports of the 7 IAK there were no air battles for the regiments of this unit. For the regiments of the VVS 52nd Army there were two air battles with no claims and no losses on the Volkhov Front. (Journal of Combat Operations VVS 52nd Army page 75 TsAMO f. 408, o. 0010015, d. 0003, l. 1)
In the case of the air battles involving the Soviet VVS 52nd Army there is an answer from the German side in this area. Leutnant Herman Leiste of 1. Erg./JG 54 claimed an I-153 (10) at 07:20 at 6 km to the east of Maluska. Unteroffizier Rudolf Schöchlin of 1. Erg./JG 54 claimed an I-153 (2) at 07:22 3 km north of Olomne. Oberfeldwebel Robert Bohr of 1. Erg./JG 54 claimed an I-18 (3) at 08:33 at 5 km northeast of Shum.
From 10:30 – 11:17 (MT) 3 MiG-3, 4 LaGG-3 and a Yak-1 from 3 GIAP escorted a group of Il-2 for a raid in the areas of Lake Boloye – Lake Linevo. In the area of Voronovo – Zhikharevo at altitudes ranging from 2000 – 2500 m the Soviet fighters observed 10 Bf 109 (described as 8 Me-109 and 2 He-113) approaching to go after the Shturmoviks. A dogfight ensued with the Bf 109 fighters being kept from the Shturmoviks. In the ensuing melee the Soviet pilots made some claims. Podpolkovnik Petr Kondratiev (Regiment commander) claimed a Me-109 (3) in the area of Zhikharevo. Starshiy Leytenant Matevey Efimov claimed a He-113 (6) in the area of Voronovo – Zhikharevo. The Shturmoviks finished their mission withdrew to Soviet territory safely. The MiG-3 flown by Viktor Terekhin was damaged by a Bf 109 and came down for an emergency landing near the village of Kipuya. The fighter landed on one wheel with console and plane damage. (Book: Baltic Winged Guardians)
From the German side the answer to this battle is found in the claims for I./JG 54 that had the only claim for this day for JG 54. Hauptmann Hans Philipp of Stab I/JG 54 claimed an I-18 (80) at 10:10 with no location. As for the Soviet claims there were no losses suffered by JG 54 this day.
22 February 1942
From 09:28 – 10:20 (MT) two LaGG-3, two MiG-3 and 2 Yak-1 from 3 GIAP KBF consisting of Kapitan Aleksandr Myasnikov, Leytenant Igor Kaberov, Kapitan Boris Romanov, Starshiy Leytenant Yuriy Fedorov, Starshiy Leytenant Sergey Sukhov and a pilot named Kachur took off for a reconnaissance on the route of Mga, Tosno, Shapki and Maluska. At an altitude of 3000 m in the area of Turyshkino they spotted 18 Ju 87 in three formations with 12 Bf 109 escorts. The Soviet fighters attacked the Ju 87 bombers and shot down for a group victory one Ju-87 to the southwest of that location. They were then attacked by the escorting Bf 109 fighters from the rear above. In a turning battle the dueling opponents moved to the east. The LaGG-3 flown by Kapitan Myasnikov was hit in the engine radiator and he was hit by splinters in the left shoulder blade. He was able to bring the fighter down for an emergency landing on the airfield at Shum. (Book: Baltic Winged Guardians)
From the German side the answer to the Bf 109 fighters can be found in the claims of Erg./JG 54. Unteroffizier Rudolf Schöchlin of 1. Erg./JG 54 claimed an I-18 (3) at 09:11 at 3 km south of Kansy. Leutnant Hermann Leiste of 1. Erg./JG 54 claimed an I-18 (11) at 09:14 at the airfield to the south of Shum. It seems apparent that Leiste was the victor over Myasnikov.
There was one loss suffered in an air battle this day in which the Bf 109 F-4 Wknr. 7545 was damaged in the area of Chudovo and made an emergency landing at Luga-2, the aircraft suffered 60% damage and Oberleutnant Gero Schmidt was killed. Not enough information can be found to determine who was the opponents in this battle.
14 March 1942
From 09:23 – 12:05 (MT) 4 Tomahawks from 154 IAP led by Mayor Aleksandr Matveev with Kapitan Petr Pilyotin Kapitan Andrey Chirkov and Leytenant Lev Gilfenbaum. At 10:00 (MT) met in battle with 3 Bf 109 F in the area of Pogostye but reported no results. At 11:30 (MT) they intercepted 5 Ju 87 in the area of Zharok – Shala. Mayor Matveev claimed a Ju-87 to the east of Shala. They were joined by a KBF group. At 12:05 met in air battle with two Bf 109 without results. Leytenant Lev Gelfenbaum was listed as missing at the end of the mission. (Operational Report of the Staff VVS 54th Army 14.03.1942 TsAMO f. 410, o. 10122, d. 73, l. 31)
From the German side a possible victor is found in the records of I./JG 54, even though misidentified. Unteroffizier Hans-Günther Reinhardt of 3./JG 54 claimed an I-18 (1) at 10:57 with no location given.
From 09:35 – 11:25 (MT) 5 Tomahawks from 159 IAP conducted 2 air battles in the area of Pogostye. Both dogfights were without results.
From13:20 – 14:30 (MT) 4 Tomahawks from 159 IAP conducted an air battle with 2 Bf 109 that ended with no results.
From 15:55 – 16:55 (MT) 6 Tomahawks from 154 IAP consisting of Starshiy Leytenant Georgiy Glotov, Mladshiy Leytenant Nikolay Ivin, Starshiy Leytenant Evgeniy Chernetsov and Kapitan Anton Grinchenko covered Soviet forces. From 15:55 – 16:05 (MT) engaged in a dogfight with 4 Bf 109. One Bf 109 left the fight going south. The Tomahawk of Starshiy Leytenant Glotov was damaged and departed. At 16:20 (MT) they intercepted 2 Ju 88 to the south of Baraki. Theresult was 1 Ju-88 that was claimed as a group by Glotov, Ivin, Chernetsov and Grinnchenko. At 16:35 (MT) intercepted 3 Ju 88 in the area of the Sokoliy Mokh swamp. Starshiy Leytenant Glotov claimed a Ju-88.
15 March 1942
From 09:30 – 09:45 (MT) 5 Tomahawks of 154 IAP engaged in battle with 6 Bf 109 at an altitude of 1000 m to the west of Baraki. The Bf 109 were apparently performing fighter bomber missions against the Baraki – Pogostye road. The fight ended without results for both sides. (Operational Report of the Staff VVS 54th Army TsAMO f. 410, o. 10122, d. 73, l. 1 15.03.1942)
At 09:45 (MT) 4 Tomahawks from 159 IAP in the area of Pogostye at an altitude of 1000 -1200 m met in battle with 6 Bf 109 making ground assaults on Soviet ground forces. The Soviet pilots claimed to have shot down a Me-109 at 3 km southwest of Pogostye station. The P-40 (# 314) flown by Serzhant Aleksandr Illarionov was shot down and killed to the southeast of the Maluksinskiy Mokh swamp. (Operational Report of the Staff VVS 54th Army TsAMO f. 410, o. 10122, d.73, l. 36 15.03.1942)
From the German side the only possible victor appears in the records of I./JG 54, even though the identification is wrong. Feldwebel Gerhard Lautenschläger of 3./JG 54 claimed an I-18 (23) at 08:55 with no location given. Misidentification by both sides at this stage of the war was common. As for the the shot down Bf 109 were no losses this day for JG 54.
From 11:15 – 11:50 (MT) 6 Tomahawks from 154 IAP met in battle with several pairs of Bf 109 (referred to as He-113 by the Soviet pilots). In result during the fight there were 2 P-40 damaged and Leytenant Chirkov (?) received a wound.
From the German side there appears on one possible claim during this time period from II./JG 54. Leutnant Walter Noeken of 5./JG 54 claimed an I-61 (3) at 10:20 with no given location.
At 12:40 (MT) 12 I-16 from 12 KOAE KBF was attacked by 4 Bf 109 at an altitude of 600 – 50 m but provided no location in the VVS 54th Army report. During this dogfight the I-16 of Starshiy Leytenant Aleksandr Troshin came down for a belly landing.
From the German side it appears that the unit involved was I./JG 54. Oberleutnant Gerhard Koall of 3./JG 54 claimed an I-16 (12) at 11:50 with no given location. Oberfeldwebel Rudolf Rademacher of 3./JG 54 claimed an I-16 (6) at 11:56 with no given location.
At 16:55 (MT) 6 Tomahawks from 154 IAP in the area of Baraki met in a dogfight with 4 Bf 109. In the resulting fight the Soviet pilots reported that a Me-109 left from the battle towards German territory.
From the German side the closes matching unit for this fight was I./JG 54. Unteroffizier Gerhard Proske of Stab I./JG 54 claimed an I-18 (17) at 16:30 with no given location. Hauptmann Hans Philipp of Stab I./JG 54 claimed an I-18 (89) at 16:34 with no given location.
At 17:45 (MT) 3 Tomahawks of the 159 IAP in the area of Voybokala at an altitude of 500 – 300 m were attacked by 2 Bf 109. Into the dogfight entered 5 I-16 from 127 IAP . The P-40 Tomhawk flown by Leytenant Plekhanov took fire in the cockpit from a Bf 109 and went over on the wing in a glide down. Plekhanov jumped out with his parachute at 70 – 80 m and landed safely.
From the German side the victor in this battle is found in I./JG 54. Leutnant Hans Götz of 1./JG 54 claimed a Curtiss P-40 (22) at 16:55 with no given location.
At 16:55 (MT) 6 Tomahawks from 154 IAP in the area to the west of Baraki engaged in a dogfight with 4 Bf 109. One Me-109 was damaged and left the battle towards German territory and thus ending the fight.
No German records indicate who was involved in this battle.
16 March 1942
During the morning on the Soviet Volkhov Front delivering supplies a German fighter intercepted and shot down 2 U-2 biplanes from 679 NBAP at Aleksandrov. The crews survived but the planes could not fly again individually, so resourceful work crews combined them into one to later fly out.
In this case a possible victor is found in II./JG 54. Oberleutnant Wolfgang Späte of 5./JG 54 claimed a Doubledecker (57) at 06:33 at Bolotowo, a Doubledecker (58) at 06:45 and another Doubledecker at 06:45 at Narostynia.
At 07:40 (MT) 3 P-40 Tomahawk 154 IAP and 3 Tomahawk from 159 IAP in the area west of Baraki and Maluksa at an altitude of 1000-1500 m engaged in a 50 minute dogfight with 4 Bf 109. The battle ended after Leytenant Dneev attacked a Me-109 that left with a decline to the south. (Operational Report of the Staff VVS 54th Army 16.03.1942 TsAMO f. 410, o. 10122, d. 73, l. 45)
From 08:40 – 09:55 (MT) 5 Curtiss P-40 Tomahawks from 159 IAP at an altitude 2000 m while on patrol in the area to the southwest of Konduya observed a Hs 126 spotter. Kapitan Georgiy Glotov dove to attack and claimed a Hs-126 (4) which fell in that area. (Operational Report of the Staff VVS 54th Army 16.03.1942)
At 09:25 (MT) 4 LaGG-3 from 2 GIAP were patrolling above Soviet forces in the areas of Lyubtsy, Koptsy and Zemitsy. They spotted a Hs 126 spotter and went to attack it from the rear but were attacked by 4 Bf 109 from out of the sun. Leytenant Salakhutdinov turned to the attack and fired RS rockets attacking 4 Bf 109. Leytenant Salakhutdinov was confirmed a Me-109 with the rockets and was confirmed another Me-109 with an attack. His LaGG-3 was hit forcing him to bail out with a parachute. He came down in the composition of a Soviet artillery unit which the commander confirmed both Me-109 as shot down by Leytenant Salakhutdinov, who was wounded in the area of Piolerskiy Lager’. (Journal of Combat Operations VVS 52 Army page 13 TsAMO f. 408, o. 0010015, d. 0004, l. 1)
From German records of III./JG 54 for this time appears one possible claim but no location. Oberleutnant Max-Hellmuth Ostermann of 8./JG 54 claimed an I-26 (64) at 08:26 with no location. As far as the two claims by Leytenant Salakhutdinov only one loss in air combat can be found but no way to verify it to his claims.
From 12:05 – 13:00 (MT) 2 Tomahawk and 4 Kittyhawks of the 159 IAP led by Kapitan Glotov in the area of Larionov Ostrov at an altitude of 2000 m fought with 4 Bf 109. As a result 1 He-113 was attacked and turned on the wing and began to fall randomly, with smoke observed, falling to the north of the railway at Zharok – Kaz. The Tomahawk of Mladshiy Leytenant Pivin was damaged and the pilot wounded in the right hand. Pivin managed to land on his airfield on the fighter’s frame.
Despite the lack of reports of the Soviet 1 UAG from the loss records it is possible to establish that 4 Pe-2 bombers were lost to German fighters. In the area of Lyuban the Soviet 771 BAP conducted a bombing raids, apparently in two wave, that resulted in the loss of the 4 Pe-2 with loss of the crews flown by Serzhant Pavel Ozhigin, Leytenant Vladimir Kondrantenko, Mladshiy Leytenant Filipp Galyshev and Kapitan Veniemin Vinogradov. All were listed as killed and missing in air attack by German fighters.
In this case even though it is not possible to establish the different times of loss of the Soviet crews it is possible to say that the victors were from I./JG 54 and II./JG 54. Feldwebel Heinrich Bruhn of 1./JG 54 claimed a Pe-2 (5) at 10:31 in between Lyuban – Chudovo. Leutnant Hans Götz of 1./JG 54 claimed a Pe-2 (23) at 10:40 at 8 km southeast of Nirischi (Kirishi?). Hauptmann Dietrich Hrabak of Stab II./JG 54 claimed a Pe-2 (38) at 11:42 that fell into the forest south of Lyuban. Leutnant Hans Beisswenger of 6./JG 54 claimed a Pe-2 (34) at 11:45 with no location.
From 16:40 – 17:45 (MT) 5 Tomahawks from 154 IAP in the area of Pogostye fought three battles. The first with 4 Bf 109, in result 1 Me-109 left with a dive, switching to a level the rest of the way going south (presumably shot down). Each pilot shared in a 1/5 group victory of a Me-109 north of Larionov Ostrov. The second battle was with 1 Bf 109 about the same time with a low-level attack and left after the second attack towards German territory. After this at an altitude of 600 m, they met in battle with 2 Bf 109 in which the Tomahawks of Leytenant Sidorenko and Leytenant Aleksandr Gorbachevskiy were shot down to the east of Baraka. (Operational Report of the Staff 54th Army 16.03.1942)
From the German side there is no claims for the two Tomahawks that were reported as lost by 154 IAP during this time period.
From 15:30-15:55 (MT) 4 LaGG-3 and 1 MiG-3 from 3 GIAP KBF patrolled in the area of Pogost’e – Zharok. They were met in battle by 2 Bf 109. According to the Soviet pilots the two Bf 109 split in different directions in which 3 LaGG-3 caught one of them. Starshiy Leytenants Matvey Efimov, Georgiy Kostylev and Sergey Sukhov claimed a group victory over a Me-109 at Konduya. The battle was joined by 4 more Bf 109 at an altitude of 300 – 400 m, and the MiG-3 flown by Starshiy Leytenant Yuriy Fedorov was shot down in the area of Pogostye with the pilot perishing.
From 17:45 – 18:35 (MT) 6 I-16 from 13 IAP KBF led by Starshiy Leytenant Gennadiy Tshokolaev patrolled in the area of Zharok. At an altitude of 1200 m they intercepted 8 Bf 109 and 15 Ju 87. In the resulting battle they claimed to have shot down 3 Me-109 and 2 Ju-87, which fell in the area of Zharok and Shala. Serzhant Nikolay Shchegolev claimed a Me-109 (1) that fell at Zharok at Sokoliy Mokh swamp. Serzhants Evgeniy Gerasimenko and Gennadiy Tsokolaev each claimed a Me-109 in a head on attack that fell in the area of Zharok. Tsokolaev and Gerasimenko shared a group victory of a Ju-87. Starshiy Leytenant Alim Baysultanov and Mladshiy Leytenant Vladimir Dmitreev fired PS rockets into the Stukas and claimed a shared group victory of a Ju-87. (Operational Report of the Staff VVS 54th Army 16.03.1942 TsAMO f. 410, o. 10122, d. 73, l. 45)
In reference to this battle involving the 13 IAP KBF it is necessary to clear up a mistake in the date. In the Russian book by I.I. Tsapov, V.N. Konev and Yu. A. Myasnikov, they listed the date as the 17 March 1942. The report of the VVS 54th Army clearly states the date was the 16th and thus the mistake on the website www.allaces.ru.
As for the Soviet claims for shot down Me-109 fighters this day there is only one for air combat. The III./JG 54 reported the only such loss this day. Oberleutnant Helmut Zilken of 7./JG 54 with 12 victories to his score was shot down and killed on Bf 109 F-2 Wrknr. 9651 in the area of Myasnoy Bor, 3km west of the Tigoda River. Because of a lack of time of the battle it is hard to match up the victor or victors in this case. Also not all the Soviet combat reports are available to determine all the units and pilots claiming.
17 March 1942
From 09:20 – 10:20 (MT) 6 I-16 from 127 IAP led by Leytenant Ivan Belov covered the battlefield and made a reconnaissance of the Germans in the area of Pogostye, Maluksa and Konduya. At 09:35 (MT) 1 km south of Konduya from an altitude of 600 m attacked 4 motor vehicles, the last wrecked.
From 10:20 – 10:55 (MT) 5 Tomahawks from 154 IAP patrolled in the area of Arok-Shala. They met in combat with 2 Bf 109 (they classified as He-113), they were joined by another Bf 109 above them that covered the withdrawal of the Bf 109 from the battle. Leytenant Gneev’s aircraft suffered damage to the hydraulic system, along with Leytenant Anton Grinchenko aircraft suffering propeller screw problems. (Operational Report of the Staff VVS 54th Army TsAMO f. 410, o. 10122, d. 73. l. 48 17.03.1942)
From 11:56 – 13:05 (MT) 6 I-16 from 127 IAP patrolled above the battlefield and conducted a reconnaissance in the areas of Konduya and Dubovik. At 12:10 (MT) in the area 2-3 km northeast of Pogostye at an altitude of 1500 m, Trushov’s section joined with the KBF group and met in battle with 2 Bf 109, as a result 1 Me-109 was damaged and left with a sharp decline, presumably fell 5 km east of Kostovo.
At 12:05 (MT) 6 I-16 from 13 IAP from 13 IAP KBF led by Starshiy Leytenant Mikhail Vasil’ev met in battle with 3 Bf 109 in the area of Pogostye at an altitude of 2000 m. As a result 1 Bf 109 left smoking at ground level over the forest background.
From 13:08 – 13:55 (MT) 6 I-16 from 13 IAP KBF led by Starshiy Leytenant Petr Kozhanov conducted patrol and a reconnaissance of the roads in the areas of Dubovik, Zenino and Smerdynya. 2 I-16 met in battle with 2 Bf 109 in the area of Maluksinskoye at an altitude of 1500 m – without results.
At 13:10 (MT) 6 I-16 from 13 IAP KBF led by Starshiy Leytenant Gennadiy Tsokolaev after performing a mission of covering Soviet forced at an altitude of 500 m was attacked by 2 Bf 109, which tried to attack the wingmen. Starshiy Leytenant Tsokolaev made a frontal attack and drove them off.
At 14:10 (MT) 4 LaGG-3 and 2 I-16 from 5 IAP KBF in the area of Zharok – Pogostye at an altitude of 1800 m in battle with 2 Bf 109. At 14:15 (MT) appeared 4 more Bf 109, 2 from these entered into the battle. In the resulting battle, 1 LaGG-3 left from the battle because of a damaged hydraulic system. After two attacks, the pilots Leytenant Sergey Sukhov and Starshiy Leytenant Matvey Efimov shot down 2 Me-109, which fell chaotically out of the battle in the area of Pogostye. The VVS 54th Army listed data requires confirmation.
From the German side the answer is found in the records of II./JG 54. Oberleutnant Wolfgang Späte of 5./JG 54 claimed an I-26 (62) at 13:20 in the area of Pogostye. There were no losses reported by II./JG 54.
From 16:15 – 16:40 (MT) 6 I-16 possibly from 13 IAP KBF (not stated in the report) in the area of Zharok at an altitude of 2800 – 3500 m met in battle with 2 Bf 109 – without results.
At 16:20 (MT) 6 I-16 from 127 IAP patrolling in the area of Pogostye at an altitude of 2000 m met in battle with 2 Bf 109. In the air battle was a group of KBF LaGG-3. The battle seemed without results but the I-16 of Leytenant Mamykin was missing on landing. (Operational Report of the Staff VVS 54th Army 17.03.1942) He would return on the 18 March 1942. He reported being attacked from the rear above by a Bf 109 and came down on the frontline in the forest on the southeast outskirts of the swamp of Malukisnckiy Mokh. (Operational Report of the Staff of VVS 54th Army 19.03.1942 TsAMO f. 410, o. 10122, d. 73, l. 63)
From 16:36 – 16:40 (MT) 2 Il-2 under escort of 3 LaGG-3, 1 MiG-3 and 2 I-16 from an unknown regiment of the KBF at an altitude 900 -100 m assaulted transport on the road 2 km west of Shala. The results were not observed.
At 16:35 (MT) 2 LaGG-3 and 1 MiG-3 possibly the same KBF unit in the area of Zharok – Pogostye at an altitude of 1200 m met in battle – ending without results.
From 17:05 – 18:00 (MT) 6 I-16 from ? IAP KBF (regiment number not listed) covering Soviet forces in the area of Pogostye, one I-16 piloted by Mladshiy Leytenant Orlov was listed missing on return to their airfield.
From the German side the answer is found in the records of I./JG 54. Unteroffizier Peter Siegler of 2./JG 54 claimed an I-16 (16) at 16:55 with no location.
From 18:18 (MT) 6 I-16 from 13 IAP KBF at an altitude of 1500 m., met in an air battle with 6 Bf 109 in the area of Pogostye – Zhikharevo. In the resulting battle Starshiy Leytenant Kokanov shot down a Me-109, which crashed dived into the ground in the area of Settlement # 1 and 3, the crash was confirmed by all the crews present. In this area the I-16 of Serzhant Putov, as a result of the battle made an emergency landing. Another Me-109 was shot down by Kapitan Konstantin Teplinskiy and Starshiy Leytenant Aleksandr Ovchinnikov, the aircraft fell in the area of Settlement #2. The I-16 of Mladshiy Leytenant Gir’yaniv was damaged (punctured planes, gas tank, steering wheel and screw).
From the German side the answer is found in the records of I./JG 54. Oberfeldwebel Anton Döbele of 1./JG 54 claimed an I-16 (4) at 17:57 with no location.
As for Hauptmann Hans Philipp of Stab I./JG 54 90th victory claim, he might have been in the fight at 16:20 (MT) with the 127 IAP as no German claims were made at that time but with his claim of no aircraft type, time and location it can only be considered as a possibility.
As for matching the Soviet victory claims with the air combat losses of JG 54 besides the lack of times, another problem number of losses comes into play. An unknown pilot of 2./JG 54 flying Bf 109 F-2 Wrknr. 9234 made a forced landing in the area of Pogostye with 20% damage, after a fight with a Soviet fighter (s). An unknown pilot of 5./JG 54 flying Bf 109 F-4 Wrknr. 7530 crashed at Bol. Samoschje suffering a 100% loss. It would be tempting to link the latter to the 14:10 (MT) dogfight but with no time it would be a problem.
21 March 1942
In an air battle with Ju 88s and the escorting Bf 109s in the area of Konduya the I-16s of 127 IAP engaged them. Starshiy Leytenant Vladimir Plavskiy claimed a Me-109 (9) to the west of Konduya. The pilots of the 127 IAP claimed 3 Ju-88 in the fight. The 127 IAP reported 1 loss to AAA but 2 I-16 to German fighters. (Journal of Combat Operations of the Units of the 2 SAD 25.6.41 to 24.05.42 TsAMO f. 20013, o. 1, d. 22, l. 3 pages 45 – 46)
There are no recorded victory claims for I-16 in the records of JG 54 for this day. There is a recorded loss for I./JG 54 in an air battle. Unteroffizier Fritz Ebner of 1. Staffel went missing flying Bf 109 F-2 (# 8235) listed as 100% damage at Pogostye (Volkhov). Ebner had one victory to his score and was possibly the victim of Plavskiy.
22 March 1942
In the morning hours the U-2 from 662 NBAP flown by Serzhant Petr Severov was listed as missing in action in the area of Novoselitsy.
From the German side in the records of III./JG 54 a possible match is found. Leutnant Friedrich Rupp of 7./JG 54 claimed a RZ (11) at 06:12 at Nowosswlitschi (Novoselitsy).
Starshiy Leytenant Vladimir Plavskiy (section commander) with 127 IAP was flying an I-16 an became involved in a dogfight with a Bf 109. It was reported that a He-113 was damaged in the battle. Plavskiy’s I-16 was shot down 4 km north of Olomna that resulted in the death of the 9 victory and 2 group Soviet ace. (Journal of Combat Operations of the Units of the 2 SAD 25.6.41 to 24.5.42 TsAMO f. 20013, o. 1, d. 22, l. 3 pages 47-48)
Only the III./JG 54 had the only possible victor this day. Unteroffizier Josef Brechtl of 7 Staffel claimed an I-16 (6) at 08:55 with no location.
29 March 1942
Leytenant Fedor Khimich of the 127 IAP had 8 I-16 on patrol and at 10:00 (MT) was attacked by 2 Bf 109 at an altitude of 100 m from out of the side of the sun in the area of Zenino. The dogfight ended without results. Then at 10:10 – 10:40 (MT) in the area of Zenino there returned 6 Bf 109. In the resulting dogfight the Soviet pilots claimed to have damaged a He-113, which left smoking towards German territory. The I-16 flown by Starshiy Leytenant Ivan Petrenko was damaged and made a landing on Lake Tanegozhskoye. The aircraft burned but the pilot returned. (Operational Report of the Staff VVS 54th Army TsAMO f. 410, o. 10122, d. 73, l. 101)
On the German side the answer for this fight is found in the records of III./JG 54. Oberleutnant Max-Hellmuth Ostermann of 8./JG 54 claimed an I-16 (78) at 09:28 with no location given. If there was a Bf 109 damaged it was under 10% and did not show up on records.
From 12:00 – 15:00 (MT) Soviet fighters of the 2 GIAP in the area of Lyubtsy were attacked by 2 Bf 109. Mladshiy Leytenant Viktor Moiceev fired RS rockets at one of his attackers which was claimed shot down, that fell in the area of Otenskiy near the Volkhov River. Moiseev’s MiG-3 was damaged and the mortally wounded pilot came down in the same area and died. (Journal of Combat Operations VVS 52 Army page 13 TsAMO f. 408, o. 0010015, d. 0004, l. 1)
From the German records of III./JG 54 there is two claims for this day for this time period. Oberleutnant Max-Hellmuth Ostermann of 8./JG 54 claimed an I-18 (79) at 11:57 and another I-18 (80) at 12:05 both with no given location. No German Bf 109 fighters were lost in this battle.
A Soviet reconnaissance mission was made along the German roadways from Vitagolovo – Smerdynya with 6 I-16 from 4 GIAP KBF led by Leytenant Gennadiy Tsokolaev as escort. The reconnaissance aircraft consisted of 7 I-16 from 4 GIAP KBF led by Starshiy Leytenant Petr Shyshatskiy. At 10:50 (MT), on approaching Pogostye at an altitude of 2300 – 2500 m out of the sun and at the rear suddenly came in the first attack 4 Bf 109. The “Messerschmitts” of JG 54 had noticed the two groups and began moving in above them. On arrival of two more Bf 109 both Soviet groups were engaged in combat. For the two Soviet groups the battle seemed inconclusive but not from the German point of view. Leutnant Rudolf Patzak of 9./JG 54 claimed an I-16 (3) at 10:00. The Soviet groups called off the mission and returned to their airfield at Vystav.
The fighting was not over for 4 GIAP KBF as two Bf 109 of 9./JG 54 followed behind. In the area of Lake Tyanegozhskoe at an altitude of 400 m, suddenly attacked Oberfeldwebel Wilhelm Schulling and his wingman Unteroffizier Reinhold Höger on the rear of Tsokolaev’s group of I-16. Their presence had not gone entirely unnoticed as Starshiy Leytenant Petr Kozhanoc and his wingman Serzhant Viktor Golubev turned to meet the Germans with guns blazing. The German pilots turned away on seeing the approaching I-16 and began to climb. Kozhanoc stated that he caught one of the Bf 109 and from a distance of 100 m gave it a long burst. He claimed that the Bf 109’s nose lifted up and that it abruptly dropped and crashed. Kozhanov claimed a Me-109 (2) but both German Bf 109 survived and returned to base. Leutnant Schilling claimed an I-26 (22) at 10:15 and Unteroffizier Höger claimed an I-16 (1) at 10:15. (Book “Baltic Winged Guards”)
German fighters from 8./JG 54 took off from Siverskaya for a “freie Jagd” on the eastern side of the Volkhov and spotted five Soviet aircraft in the area of Volkhostroy. The aircraft were thought to be RZ bombers but actually were Curtiss O-52 Owl two-seat lend-lease spotters that were on a transfer flight to Leningrad led by Mladshiy Leytenant Petr Zhilinskiy of 12 OKAE. Gefr, Josef Hofer dived to attack and fired on Zhikinskiy’s Owl, who’s rear gunner’s light machine gun was ineffective for defense. With the aircraft burning, Zhilinskiy turned sharply to meet Hofer’s attack and the two collided. Both aircraft went crashing to the ground taking Zhilinskiy to his death. Hofer and a bruised rear gunner Mladshiy Leytenant Samuil Novrozhkin parachuted out over Soviet territory. Novrozhkin landed to a hero’s welcome and Hofer as a prisoner of war. Hofer was listed as killed by JG 54 but was confirmed a RZ (2) at 16:32.
31 March 1942
The Soviet airfield at Klenino reported a Ju 88 approaching at an altitude of 200 m and they fired antiaircraft guns to fend it off at 04:40 (MT).
Oberleutnant Hokan von Bülow of 9./JG 54 claimed a R-5 (6) at 07:09 at 07:09 in the area of Malaya Vischera (PlQu. 29154).
Operating from Malaya Vishera were 2 LaGG-3 from 10 IAP at 07:00, which ran into fog resulting in a collision in the area of Dobraya Voda that killed one pilot. Just an indication that weather could be as dangerous as combat.
Another LaGG-3 from the 425 IAP flown by Babanov had to make an emergency landing 4 km northeast of Aleksandrovskoye with no cause stated.
At 11:30 (MT) 5 LaGG-3 were covering Soviet forces in the area of Mostki. They were engaged in a dogfight with 2 Bf 109 that lasted 5 minutes, after which the Messerschmitts departed into the fog.
At 12:00 (MT) 6 LaGG-3 patrolled the area of Novki and were engaged in a dogfight for 5-6 minutes with 2 Bf 109 and once again the Germans departed. No losses were reported by the Soviet pilots and no claims.
The Soviet airfield at Klenino was revisited again at 18:00 (MT) at an altitude of 1500 m by two Bf 109 but no action was taken.
With no time listed 4 I-26 from 123 IAP took up patrol over Cape Osinovets and the city of Leningrad. At an altitude of 3500 m they engaged in battle with two Bf 109. Starshiy Leytenant Ponarin got behind the led Bf 109 and fired 4 M-8 rockets at it. The Bf 109 with smoke left from the battle but no Soviet claim was made and no Soviet loss occurred. There was no German claims made and no losses but also no clue as to the two Bf 109.
1 April 1942
The Soviet 7 IAK listed the following missions performed for this day on the Leningrad Front both in supporting and defensive. Notice the lack of combat with German fighters.
From 07:30 – 08:40 (MT) 2 LaGG-3 from 11 GIAP covered the area of Leningrad at an altitude of 6000 m and reported no enemy contact.
From 08:28 – 09:25 (MT) 3 MiG-3 from 124 IAP covered Leningrad at an altitude of 4500 – 5000 m and reported no enemy activity.
From 08:28 – 09:20 (MT) 4 I-16 from 123 IAP at an altitude of 3000 m patrolled over Cape Osinovets but encountered no German aircraft.
From 09:27 – 10:30 (MT) 2 Yak-1 from 123 IAP at an altitude of 7000 m covered Cape Osinovets and observed no German aviation.
From 10:25 – 11:40 (MT) 3 LaGG-3 from 11 GIAP covered the area of Leningrad at an altitude of 5000 – 6000 m but did not encounter German aircraft.
From 11:23 -12:23 (MT) 2 LaGG-3 from 11 GIAP covered the area of Leningrad at an altitude of 5500 m with no enemy contact.
From 12:30 – 13:30 (MT) 2 MiG-3 from 124 IAP covered the area of Leningrad at an altitude of 3500 m with no enemy contact.
From 13:29 – 14:35 2 Yak-1 from 123 IAP covered the area of Leningrad at an altitude of 7400 m with no enemy contact.
From 15:46 – 16:37 (MT) 2 Yak-1 from 123 IAP covered the area of Leningrad at an altitude of 5000 m with no enemy contact.
From 16:38 – 17:38 (MT) 3 I-16 from 123 IAP covered Cape Osinovets from an altitude of 3500 m with no enemy contact.
From 16:28 – 17:33 (MT) 3 MiG-3 from 124 IAP covered Leningrad from an altitude of 1100 m with another 3 LaGG-3 at 1000m but again no enemy contact.
From 16:00 – 17:20 (MT) 4 LaGG-3 from 11 GIAP covered the area of Leningrad from an altitude of 3000 m with no enemy contact.
From 17:28 – 18:38 (MT) 3 Yak-1 from the 123 IAP covered the area of Leningrad from an altitude of 1200 -1400 m with no enemy contact.
From 16:00 – 17:20 (MT) 11 GIAP covered the area of Leningrad from an altitude of 4500 to 3000 m with no enemy contact.
From 18:25 – 19:25 (MT) 2 MiG-3 from 26 IAP covered the area of Leningrad from an altitude of 900 m with no enemy contact.
The Soviet 2 RAG operating on the Soviet North West Front sent 4 Il-2 from the 568 ShAP led by Leytenant Mikhail Gavrilov to assault German positions and tanks at Mikhalkino, Dimitievo and M. Gorby at 14:45 (MT) but seem to have also went to the area of Staraya Russa. They were under escort of 7 LaGG-3 during their mission. The Il-2s made their first attack through heavy antiaircraft fire and on pulling away from the 2nd attack the Il-2 flown by Starshiy Serzhant Ivan Shtevnin was blow out of the air by German antiaircraft fire. On the third attack Leytenant Gavrilov noticed rounds going above his three Il-2 and spotted 4 Bf 109 attacking them. Three LaGG-3 came to their aid but couldn’t prevent the German fighters from splitting them up. Only Leytenant Gavrilov survived to return to base after the 15 minute dogfight. Starshiy Leytenant Aleksandr Kireev would be shot down but would later return to his regiment. The Il-2 of Starshiy Serzhant Nikolay Belov would not be so lucky and would be listed as missing. (Winged Knights by K.K. Latypov M. OOO “ Del’ta HB” 2005 [Russian text])
Even though III./JG 54 had made claims for Il-2s in the Staraya Russa sector, all of theirs were from 15:10 – 15:20 and to the southeast of Staraya Russa. Taking into account the flight time to the target area for 568 ShAP it would have been after 16:00 (MT) and Mikhalkino is to the northwest of Staraya Russa. It seems very possible that they fell victim to Major Hannes Trauloft of Stab/JG 54 who claimed in the area of Staraya Russa an Il-2 (34) at 15:42 and another Il-2 (35) at 15:50.
On this date the VVS 52nd Army posted their unit inventory available for service along the Soviet Volkhov Front:
2 GIAP: 1 LaGG-3 and 1 I-16
10 IAP: 1 LaGG-3
425 IAP: 6 LaGG-3
796 IAP: 5 LaGG-3
662 AP: 11 U-2
667 AP: no aircraft available
(Journal of Combat Operations of the VVS 52nd Army TsAMO f. 408, o. 0010015, d. 0004, l. 1 page 2)
At 08:50 (MT) in the area of Myasnoy Bor, at an altitude of 3500 m patrolling above Soviet forces were 3 LaGG-3. They were engaged by 2 Bf 109 in a dogfight for 10 minutes and then left from the battle. The result was the LaGG-3 from 2 GIAP flown by Serzhant Shchekotikhin was damaged. There is no indication who the two German fighters were that had initialed the fight. As for Serzhant Shchekotikin is problems did not end with their departure. The engine on his fighter started cutting out on him and he was forced to make an emergency landing on the chassis in the area of Kamenka but he was unharmed.
At 12:00 (MT) 5 LaGG-3 patrolling at an altitude of 2500 m were engaged by two Bf 109 that engaged them for 10 minutes. The two Messerschmitt then climbed back into the clouds with no results by either side.
At 13:00 (MT) in the area of Myasnoy Bor at an altitude of 2700 m approached 4 Ju 88 for a bombing raid on Soviet forces. Patrolling this area were 3 LaGG-3 from the 425 IAP who intercepted them. In the first attack one Ju 88 was damaged by Mladshiy Leytenant Smyslov but had to leave the battle, after being wounded. He landed his aircraft at his airfield with 28 holes in his fighter and was taken to the hospital. The remaining two LaGG-3 made another two attacks and two Ju 88 were seen smoking on departure. (JCO VVS 52nd Army)
4 April 1942
At 11:45 (MT) 3 LaGG-3 from 425 IAP escorted 9 Pe-2 bombers from 10 BAP in the area of Koptsy. Politruk Sokolov went to intercept 2 Me-115 that attacked the bombers. The 2 Bf 109 from III./JG 54 made their attack in the area of Krasnaya Visherka and shot down in flames two Pe-2 in which Sololov stated the crews escaped by parachute. The 2 Bf 109 then left towards the German frontline. Despite the statement of Politruk Sokolov the crews of deputy regiment commander Kapitan Aleksandr Shchukin and Serzhant Vasiliy Konev both perished in the attack. (Journal of Combat Operations VVS 52 Army page 12 TsAMO f. 408, o. 0010015, d. 0004, l. 1)
The German records indicated that Oberleutnant Günther Fink of Stab III/JG 54 claimed a Pe-2 (5) at 10:37 with no location. Also Oberfeldwebel Rudolf Klemm of 8./JG 54 claimed a Pe-2 (2) at 10:42 with no location.
6 April 1942
From 05:55 – 06:40 (MT) from the Soviet airfield at Malaya Vishera took off 3 LaGG-3 from 522 IAP consisting of Tekhnik Leytenant Aleksey Kargashev, Mladshiy Leytenant Dmitriy Alekseev and Starshiy Leytenant Stepan Aleshkin for reconnaissance of German forces in the area of Apraksin Bor. In the area of Finev Lug at an altitude of 1000 m they engaged 4 Bf 109 at 06:15 (MT). In the ensuing battle the LaGG-3 of Starshiy Leytenant Alesnkin was shot down and crashed with the pilot perishing at that location. (Journal of Combat Operations 522 IAP page 31 TsAMO f. 22751, o. 01435285, d. 0001, l. 1)
From the German side a match is found in the records of III./JG 54. Leutnant Hans-Joachim Heyer of 8./JG 54 claimed an I-18 (13) at 05:23 with no location. No other claim is made for this time period by JG 54.
15 April 1942
From 05:35 – 06:53 (MT) the Soviets launched a surprise air raid against the German airfield at Krasnogvardeysk. The units making the raid consisted of 4 I-16 from 26 IAP and 3 Yak-1 from 123 IAP. The Soviet aircraft strafed with machine gun and cannon fire interspersed with rocket fire at the parked aircraft. The Soviet pilots claimed the destruction on the ground of 4 Ju-87, 2 Ju-88 and 4 Me-109. Above the melee on the airfield at an altitude of 2000 – 2500 m covered 4 MiG-3 from 26 IAP. Leytenant Georgiy Zhidov from 123 IAP claimed a Me-109 trying to take off and Starshiy Leytenant Iriney Belyaev from 123 IAP claimed a Me-109 in an air battle in the area of Pushkin. In the area of Listed as missing in action was the I-16 flown by Podpolkovnik Boris Romanov from 26 IAP and the Yak-1 flown by Starshiy Leytenant Aleksandr Baklanov from 123 IAP. (Journal of Combat Documents of 2 GIAK (7 IAK) 01.04.1942 – 19.04.1942 page 74 TsAMO f. 20506, o. 1, d. 129, l. 1)
On the German side from the point of JG 54 there was only one loss. An unknown pilot of 3./JG 54 during a dogfight suffered engine damage to Bf 109 F-2 (# 5694) resulting in 25% damage at Krasnogvardeysk. No German victory claims were made for the Soviet losses.
16 April 1942
From 14:45 – 15:20 (MT) another Soviet raid was made on the German airfield at Krasnogvardeysk. This time there was 2 Yak-1 from 123 IAP and 3 MiG-3 from 26 IAP accompanied by two Il-2. (Journal of Combat Documents of 2 GIAK 01.04.42 – 19.04.1942 pages 81 – 82)
No claims were made by I./JG 54 this day. Losses at Krasnogvardeysk consisted of unknown pilot of 1. Staffel having a start accident with Bf 109 F-1 (# 6619) of 20% damage. Also a belly landing of Bf 109 F-1 (# 6632) by an unknown pilot of 2. Staffel resulting 25% damage.
Another I./JG 54 was from enemy fire with a belly landing at Lyuban by an unknown pilot of Stab I on Bf 109 F-2 (# 5755) with 30% damage.
17 April 1942
At 05:20 – 06:15 (MT) another Soviet raid was made on Krasnogvardeysk by 4 LaGG-3 from 11 GIAP, 2 MiG-3 from 26 IAP and a Yak-1 from 123 IAP. The Soviets claimed 4 Ju-88 destroyed and had an air battle with Bf 109s. (JCD of 2 GIAK pages 84 – 86)
No claims were made by I./JG 54 this day but one loss occurred. An unknown pilot of 1. Staffel had a landing accident on Bf 109 F-2 (# 8905) at Krasnogvardeysk with 30% damage.
18 April 1942
At 05:37 (MT) took off from Kronstadt 12 I-153 of 71 IAP KBF in two groups of 6 each for an assault on the airfield at Krasnogvardeysk. On approaching the airfield at an altitude of 1200 m they encountered heavy German antiaircraft fire. They dived on the target on the southwest side of the airfield and found well camouflaged aircraft on the on the southeastern outskirts. The Soviet pilots observed 8 Bf 109 attack them on exiting the dive. The Soviet covering group was attacked by 4 Bf 109. The Soviet aircraft were able to crater the runway with their bombs.
In their withdrawal back to Soviet lines the Bf 109s continued their attack with diving attacks from above. Vladimir Abramov and Konstantin Solov’ev claimed a group victory over a Me-109 near Pushkin. The I-153 flown by Mayor Vladimir Zakharov was the first to be shot down by a Bf 109. The next to fall to the Bf 109 was the I-153 of Starshiy Leytenant Aleksandr Voloshin which landed in the area of Kokkolovo between the trenches of the front line. The aircraft was eventually destroyed by German troops but it was reported that the wounded pilot and the Germans were killed by Soviet artillery fire. (Book “Baltic Winged Guards”)
The victors over the I-153 appear to be the pilots of I./JG 54. Feldwebel Gerhard Beutin of 3. Staffel claimed an I-153 (3) at 05:04 with no location. Oberfeldwebel Rudolf Rademacher of 3. Staffel claimed an I-153 (9) at 05:07 with no location. Rademacher also was denied a claim of another I-153 for no witness.
An unknown pilot of 1. Staffel flying Bf 109 F-2 (# 8100) was hit by Soviet antiaircraft fire and made a forced landing in the area of Shlisselburg and suffered 30% damage.
At 10:45 – 11:36 (MT) 3 Yak-1 from 123 IAP performed escort for 2 Il-2 on another Soviet raid against the German airfield at Krasnogvardeysk. At 10:42 – 11:34 (MT) on the same the mission were 2 MiG-3 from 26 IAP escorting 2 Il-2. With them from 10:35 – 11:30 (MT) 2 LaGG-3 from 11 GIAP and 2 Il-2. The Soviets claimed 4 Ju-88 and 1 Ju-87 destroyed on the airfield but no mention of opposition from Bf 109s. (JCD of 2 GIAK pages 88-90)
In the area of Krasnogvardeysk, an unknown pilot of 2. Staffel had a start accident on Bf 109 F-2 (# 12 826) resulting in 25% damage. Another incident involved a landing accident at Krasnogvardeysk in which the Bf 109 F-2 (# 8140) flown by Leutnant Theodor Spanke of 2. Staffel suffered 20% damage.
In the area of Shlisselburg, while making a ground assault the Bf 109 F-2 (# 12 735) flown by Unteroffizier Josef Meier of 2. Staffel suffered 100% damage and disappearance of the pilot, after being hit by Soviet antiaircraft fire.
The Soviet VVS 52nd Army despatched a Shturmovik raid against German positions in the areas of Vitka and Pedberezye. The group of Il-2 was escorted by 3 LaGG-3 from the 10 IAP. The LaGG-3s on completing the escort took up covering Soviet forces in the areas of Lesopunkt and Spasskaya Polist’. At an altitude of 3000 m in the area of Aleksandrovskoye, they reported being attacked by two Me-115. In the 15 minute dogfight the LaGG-3 piloted by Botovkin was shot down but he later returned to the regiment at Malaya Vishera. (Journal of Combat Operations VVS 52nd Army page 50 TsAMO f. 408, o. 0010015, d. 0004, l. 1)
The possible victor in this dogfight was Unteroffizier Herbert Brönnle of 2. Staffel claimed a Yak-1 (30) at 12:30 with no location.
19 April 1942
From Kronshtadt to Krasnogvardeysk to attack the German airfield there flew Soviet naval fighter-bombers and their escort. The force was made up of 6 I-153 and 6 I-16 from 71 IAP KBF with the latter covering the I-153 an altitude of 900 – 1000 m to the target. The I-153 made their attack against the concrete runway on which they estimated to be 25 Ju 88 and Ju 87 at 10:10 (MT). During the assault took off four Bf 109, from which Kapitan Biskup flying an I-153 claimed a Me-109. The German antiaircraft fire shot down at an altitude of 50 m the I-153 flown by Starshiy Leytenant Aleksandr Shitov, which crashed on the airfield and thus killing the Soviet ace of 9 victories. Leytenant Yuriy Spitsyn flying an I-153 was shoot down by German antiaircraft fire and crashed with his burning aircraft on the northern outskirts of the airfield (He would survive as a prisoner of war). In an air battle above the airfield with 3 Bf 109 and 6 I-16 the Soviet pilots claimed 1 Me-109 damaged. In this same battle the I-16 flown by Politruk Mikhail Studenikin was shot down by a Bf 109 killing the pilot. (Book “Baltic Winged Guards”)
The possible victor over Studenkin appears to be Oberfeldwebel Karl Fuchs of 2. Staffel who claimed an I-16 (20) at 09:16 with no location.
At 14:32 – 15:30 (MT) another raid was launched with 3 LaGG-3 from 11 GIAP against the German airfield at Krasnogvardeysk. From 14:22 – 15:25 (MT) 6 MiG-3 from 124 IAP escorted 2 Il-2 to the same airfield. From 12:30 – 13:28 (MT) 3 Yak-1 from 123 IAP escorted 2 Il-2 from 15 GShAP. Again the Soviets claimed 4 Ju-88 on the ground destroyed. This time there was opposition from the Bf 109s, besides the airfield antiaircraft defenses. The Soviet’s reported the loss of the Il-2 from 15 GShAP flown by Leytenant Ivan Burma, which was listed as missing. (JCD of 2 GIAK pages 92 – 96)
From the German side of I./JG 54 there was no reported losses but one victory was claimed. Feldwebel Gerhard Lautenschläger of 3. Staffel claimed an Il-2 (26) at 14:14 but with no location. Thus the time matches the Soviet time of 15:14 (MT).
20 April 1942
The Soviet VVS 52nd Army had 4 LaGG-3 from the 10 IAP escort Pe-2 bombers to bomb German artillery positions to the area to the southwest of Spasskaya Polist’. In the area of Aleksandrovskoye the escorts had to block German fighters and were joined by 4 LaGG-3 from 2 GIAP. The first attack was made by 2 He-113 which then departed but 2 Me-115 came in for the second attack. The LaGG-3 from 2 GIAP flown by Mladshiy Leytenant Petr Babkhov was shot down but later returned to Malaya Vishera. (Journal of Combat Operations VVS 52nd Army page 56 TsAMO f. 408, o. 0010015, d. 0004, l. 1)
As the LaGG-3 from 10 IAP flown by pilot Shelest was coming in for a landing was attacked by 2 Bf 109. The pilot was wounded and on landing on the fuselage the aircraft was wrecked and not repairable. (Journal of Combat Operations VVS 52nd Army page 68)
With no times given in the Soviet report it is not possible to determine the German pilots involved. On examining the claims made by III./JG 54 there was no claims for this day. As for II./JG 54 there was a claim for one I-15, 3 Yak-1 and 1 MiG-3 but these were possibly all in the Staraya Russa – Demyansk sector, not to say that there was not a possibility of flying in the Volkhov sector. Only the I./JG 54 operating in the Leningrad-Volkhov sector made a claim. Unteroffizier Peter Bremer of 2./JG 54 claimed a MiG-3 (11) at 14:15 but did not list a location.
21 April 1942
From 09:00 – 09:30 (MT) 5 LaGG-3 from 10 IAP engaged in a 30 minute dogfight with 6 Bf 109 (described as Me-115 and He-113) in the area of Kolomenka. In the ensuing fight a Me-115 was reported as smoking and fell in the area to the east of Mostki. The LaGG-3 flown by pilot Tivyakov was wounded in both legs and landed in the area of Gorneshno with aircraft wrecked but the pilot survived. The LaGG-3 piloted by Yevlanov was damaged in the battle, the engine was damaged, the hydraulic system was interrupted and with landing was landed on the fuselage at its airfield – the aircraft was wrecked. The aircraft could not be sent for repair and the pilot was lightly injured. Another LaGG-3 flown by Serzhant Bogatchuk had 26 bullet holes found in it on landing. (Journal of Combat Operations VVS 52nd Army page 59 TsAMO f. 408, o. 0010015, d. 0004, l. 1)
From the German side the Soviet pilots faced the I./JG 54 which reported no loss to aerial combat. Oberfeldwebel Hans Clausen of 1./JG 54 claimed a MiG-3 (16) at 08:01 at 6 km to the northeasth of Orelye and another MiG-3 (17) at 08:10 at 9 km west northwest of Vishera (10 IAP was stationed at Malaya Vishera).
24 April 1942
At 07:30 (MT) from the Soviet airfield at Malaya Vishera took off 3 U-2 from 844 OTAP for Aleksandrovskoye. They were reported as attacked to the south of the airfield by 2 Bf 109 and the U-2 piloted by Mishakov was shot down. The pilot was wounded in the leg and two crew members were killed.
From German side a possible match is found in the records of III./JG 54. Oberleutnant Max-Hellmuth Ostermann of 8./JG 54 claimed a RZ (87) at 06:41 with no location, approximately 11 minutes after the Soviets took off.
26 April 1942
Oberleutnant Werner Pichon Kalau von Hofe (7. Staffelkapitän) had conducted freijagd over the Soviet fighter airfields to the east of the Volkhov River without success, he then started his return trip to base. While flying over the Volkhov pocket, he decided to check out a grass airstrip used by U-2 biplanes to supply the encircled Soviet 2nd Shock Army. Having circled it a few times to confirm that no aircraft were still there, he started to make his departure. It was at that moment that concealed Soviet antiaircraft guns opened up on his fighter. Oberleutnant von Hofe took hits and brought his Bf 109 F-4 Wknr. 7465 down in a swamp with a clearing, the fighter was written off as 100% damaged. Having survived the landing, he cleared the area and began traveling north at night. After two days traveling at night, he reached German lines without having encountered Soviet troops on the 28 April. (Book: Alarmstart East by Patrick G. Eriksson)
27 April 1942
From 10:20 – 11:00 (MT) from the Soviet airfield at Malaya Vishera took off 3 LaGG-3 from 522 IAP comprised of Kapitan Iy’ya Kaynov, Tekhnik-Leytenant Aleksey Kargashev and Leytenant Aleksandr Petrov for patrol in the area. At 10:45 (MT) they reported being attacked by 3 Me-115 (The Soviet pilots operated in 3 aircraft sections and assumed that the Germans did also). In the ensuing battle the LaGG-3 of Leytenant Petrov was damaged and came down for a forced landing in which he perished. (Journal of Combat Operations 522 IAP page 38 TsAMO f. 22751, o. 01435285, d. 0001, l. 1)
From the German side a match is found in the records of III./JG 54 for this battle. Feldwebel Alfred Kromer of 9./JG 54 claimed a Yak-1 (7) at 09:50 with no location. Despite the misidentification this is the only claim for this period and III./JG 54 was operating in this area, which also matches the Soviet time of battle.
In a mission in the area of Lyuban
29 April 1942
Two LaGG-3 with pilots Skrynik and Mayorov were both wounded and made forced landings at the airfield at Malaya Vishera resulting in wrecked aircraft, after an air battle. While the LaGG-3 from 10 IAP flown by Mladshiy Leytenant Dmitriy Datsko was killed during a mission. (Journal of Combat Operations of the VVS 52nd Army page 83)
One of these could be the victory claim of Oberleutnant Günther Fink of Stab III./JG 54 claiming a Yak-1 (6) at 11:20 with no location given.
In the area of Koptsy a Soviet bombing raid was intercepted resulting in two losses. The 10 BBAP listed the Pe-2 of Mladshiy Leutnant Vasiliy Kornienkov and crewman killed and the gunner of the second Pe-2 as killed.
The German III./JG 54 was the possible victors in this battle. Unteroffizier Walter Saynisch of 7./JG 54 claimed a Pe-2 (6) at 15:35 in the area of Njeblassowa. Obergefreiter Herbert Biermann of 7./JG 54 claimed a Pe-2 (1) at 15:40 with no location.
From 17:15 – 18:10 (MT) at 1-2 km west of Spasskaya Polist’ – Myasnoy Bor occurred an air battle with the interception of 4 Ju 88 and their escort. The 2 GIAP had 1 MiG-3 and 4 LaGG-3 make the attack at an altitude of 1500 m on the 4 Ju 88 as they bombed Soviet forces. The Soviet fighters closed to a distance of 500 – 800 m, shooting down two Ju-88, at this same time attacked 8 Bf 109 in the area of Teremets – Kurlyahdskiy.
In this battle, the Komissar of the Regiment, Battalion Komissar Vlasov, expended his ammunition, being paired with one LaGG-3, he continued to deflect the German fighters with demonstrative attacks, thereby, giving freedom to maneuver to his comrade and only when his LaGG-3 was damaged, went to his airfield.
The reported the loss of 4 LaGG-3 in the area of Myasnoy Bor – Spasskaya Polist’ with Serzhant Il’ya Kuznetsov (10 IAP), the following from 2 GIAP: Kapitan Nikolay Vereshchagin were listed as MIA, pilot Kakrin was wounded in the leg and arm, his fighter was wrecked on coming down at 2 km to the south of Zmeysko, he was given medical assistance on the spot, pilot Butov survived his crash landing. (Journal of Combat Operations VVS 52nd Army page 83)
From the German side this fight possibly involved III./JG 54. Leutnant Hans-Joachim Heyer of 8./JG 54 of 8./JG 54 claimed a MiG-3 (14) at 16:20 with no location. Oberleutnant Max-Hellmuth Ostermann of 8./JG 54 claimed a MiG-3 (91) at 16:22 and another MiG-3 (92) at 16:25 with no location. Finally, Leutnant Karl Wunschelmeyer of 8./JG 54 claimed a MiG-3 (1) at 16:34 with no location.
9 May 1942
From 06:25 – 06:50 (MT) 3 LaGG-3 from 10 IAP in the area of Malaya Vishera engaged in a dogfight with 4 Bf 109 (described by Soviet forces as 2 Me-115 and 2 He-113). Starshina Nikolay Andrianov and Starshina Boris Gutarenko both perished after their LaGG-3 were shot down. (Journal of Combat Operations VVS 52nd Army page 107)
From the German side it appears that the III./JG 54 was involved. Leutnant Fritz Waller of 7./JG 54 claimed a Yak-1 (2) at 05:27 with no location. Obergefreiter Herbert Biermann of 7./JG 54 claimed a Yak-1 (2) at 05:32 with no location. Finally, Leutnant Friedrich Rupp of 7./JG 54 claimed a Yak-1 (18) at 05:40 in the area of Malaya Vishera.
16 May 1942
Sent to intercept a German bomber raid in the Volkovskiy region were 6 I-16 from 4 GIAP KBF led by Starshiy Leytenant Gennadiy Tsokolaev. At 11:27 (MT), at an altitude of 4000 m to the south of Volkhovshtroya was observed 5 Ju 88, leaving after bombing their target. Their attempt to attack them, was foiled by two attacking Bf 109 from their right above. The Soviet naval fighters turned to do battle but the German fighters went back into the clouds. At 11:32 (MT) at an altitude of 4000 m to the south of Shum, they met 6 Bf 109 which they attacked head on, firing from a 400 to 100 m at them. One of the Bf 109 was observed to leave, apparently being hit.
The 4 GIAP KBF was flying patrol in the Volkhovskiy region, with 4 I-16 led by Starshiy Leytenant Mikhail Vasliev with Mladshiy Leytenant Efim Dmitriev, Starshina Dmitriy Kirollov and Mladshiy Leytenant Serafim Filatov providing cover for Soviet ground forces. At 11:32 (MT) at an altitude of 3500 m the Soviet naval pilots observed to the south of Zvanka on the Volkhov River that 12 Ju 88 had finished a bombing raid and were withdrawing to the west. Just as they prepared to attack the German bombers, they were pounced by two Bf 109 from their left rear. The I-16 fighters turned on their opponents who dodged their attack and went into the clouds. By this time the Ju 88 were gone and safe. In the area of Shum, the 4 I-16 observed the approach of 4 Bf 109, two of which dived to attack the group of 6 I-16 led by Starshiy Leytenant Tsokolaev. Starshiy Leytenant Vasliev turned his group and attacked the pair of Bf 109 head on firing from a distance of 400 – 500 m at their foes. One Bf 109 caught fire, reducing speed went to the south. Soviet air defense posts observed the pilot parachute out near Aleksandrovskoye. None of the Soviet pilots in these two groups made a claim of a Me-109 as a personal or group victory.
Leutnant Walter Nowotny of 3./JG 54 claimed an I-16 (18) at 10:40 and a Curtiss P-40 (19) at 10:43 in the area of Shum. Examination of Soviet loss records this day show no P-40 loss and no losses of Soviet aircraft in the Operational Report of the Staff VVS LGV Leningrad Front.
A post-humorous claim was filed for Feldwebel Gerhard Lautenschläger of 3./JG 54 for a claim of an I-16 (31) at 10:45 with no location. The confirmation was probably from Leutnant Walter Nowotny. As can be seen from the above description of the dogfight there were no losses and this with high probability was the dogfight that Feldwebel Lautenschläger was involved in this day.
The German official cause for the death of Feldwebel Lautenschläger flying Bf 109 F-4 Wknr. 9685 was being hit by Soviet antiaircraft fire in the area to the southwest of Shum.
In another interception of a German bomber raid in the area of Kobana, along Lake Ladoga the 4 GIAP KBF again were involved. This time 5 I-16 led by Starshiy Leytenant Sergey Suvorkin with Leytenant Nikolay Yezhov, Mladshiy Leytenant Grigoriy Guryanov, Serzhant Shakro Bedukadze and Serzhant Gennadiy Rochev. Another group of 5 I-16 from 4 GIAP KBF led by Leytenant Vasiliy Golubev with Starshiy Leytenant Petr Kozhanov, Serzhant Viktor Golubev, Serzhant Vasiliy Zakharov and the fifth pilot was unnamed, also were sent to intercept this bomber raid of 15 Ju 88 under escort of 13 Bf 109. Over Lavrovo the group led by Leytenant Guryanov, attacked head on and the rear of the bombers, six of the bombers dropped their bombs on the ice but three hit the target. Mladshiy Leytenant Gurynanov claimed a Ju-88 (1), after having machine gunned it head on and then from the rear fired RS rockets at the tail form 600 m distance.
On making an attack on a second Ju 88, Guryanov was attacked by a Bf 109 in which he turned on it to fire head on at up to 150 m. Serzhant Bedukadze attacked the Ju 88 from head on with machine guns and reported one engine stopped working. It then turned heading in the direction of the village of Bugry, where it fell. The third Ju 88 was attacked from the rear by Vasiliy Golubev, Viktor Golubev and Serzhant Zakharov from the rear with RS rockets from a distance of 600 – 300 m, reporting it fell in the area of the village of Lipka. They made a group claim for a Ju-88.
Leytenant Vasiliy Golubev with a distance of 200 m claimed a Me-109 (5). This kill was reported as confirmed by observations from the Soviet airfield at Vystav. Despite this verification by ground witnesses there is no loss of another Bf 109 in the records of JG 54.
18 May 1942
At 11:10 (MT) Soviet personnel at the airfield at Malaya Vishera reported a raid by 6 Bf 109 dropped 8 25 kg bombs, 3 of which fell on the runway. There was one Soviet antiaircraft gunner that was wounded. (Journal of Combat Operations VVS 52nd Army page 127)
No German claims were made during this dogfights.
24 May 1942
At 05:50 (MT) three LaGG-3 from 10 IAP approached the airfield at Malaya Vishera and were attacked by 4 Bf 109. After a dogfight without results the German Bf 109 went back into the clouds. At 15:30 (MT) 3 LaGG-3 on approaching the airfield were again attacked by 4 Bf 109. After a dogfight without results the German fighters went back into the clouds. (Journal of Combat Operations VVS 52nd Army page 143)
30 May 1942
At 06:14 (MT) in the area of Gorodok – Dubovitsy at an altitude of 3000 m, assembled 2 MiG-3 and 3 LaGG-3 from 2 GIAP for a reconnaissance mission. Observing antiaircraft shells exploding at 3 Bf 109 (Soviet pilots identified as He-113), they attacked and became involved in a maneuvering dogfight. One of the Bf 109 left with a descent at high speed in the direction of Lyubtsa. The Soviet fighters went in pursuit. From above pounced 4 Bf 109 (identified as Me-115) from two directions. After a 10 minute battle, which separated the Soviet fighters into two groups the battle with a gradual deviation into German territory and in the direction of Aleksandrovskoye was over. No losses were observed for German aircraft. As the Soviet fighters attempted to land at their airfield, a Bf 109 attempted to attack them but was driven off from antiaircraft machine guns on the ground. Missing in the LaGG-3 from 2 GIAP flown by Leytenant Anatoliy Pyshkin, who was shot down and died in the area of Nov. Morozovichey (Journal of Combat Operations VVS 52nd Army pages 157 – 159 TsAMO f. 408, o. 0010015, d. 0004, l. 1)
At 10:20 (MT) the 2 GIAP had fighters take off to defend Malaya Vishera from a raid by Ju 88 bombers. In the area of Krasnenko was shot down the Yak-1 from 2 GIAP flown by its commander Podpolkovnik Petr Metelkin, who perished. The LaGG-3 from 2 GIAP with a pilot named Pankin was initially listed as missing but had landed at the airfield at Aleksandrovskoye. (JCO VVS 52nd Army page 159)
It is highly possible that the victors were from Stab/JG 54 and II./JG 54. Major Hannes Trautloft of Stab/JG 54 claimed a MiG-3 (41) at 09:24 at Malaya Vishera. Hauptmann Dietrich Hrabak of Stab II/JG 54 claimed a MiG-3 (50) at 09:15 to the west of Wyshitino.
From 19:58 – 20:55 (MT) 3 Yak-1 from 123 IAP led by Kapitan Georgiy Zhidov took off to cover the area of Cape Osinovetsky on Lake Ladoga. At an altitude of 4500 m they became involved in a dogfight with 2 Bf 109. Kapitan Zidov claimed a Me-109 (6) in the area of Lesari. At this moment 8 more Bf 109 joined the battle. Kapitan Zidov claimed another Me-109 (7) in the area of Manushkino. As the battle continued Kapitan Zidov and one of his wingmen claimed a group Me-109 (1/2 each) in the area of Rabochiy poselok # 14 (Workers village #14). These victories were not without loss. The Yak-1 flown by Leytenant Ivan Gurov was shot down and crashed to the ground with the dead pilot. (Journal of Combat Operations 2 GIAK (7 IAK) PVO pages 14 – 16 TsAMO f. 20506, o. 1, d. 133, l. 1ob)
On examining the records of JG 54 there is no claims for this time period for the Soviet loss and no loss of Bf 109 to confirm the claims of the 123 IAP pilots.
5 June 1942
Along the Volkhov Front in the area of Malaya Vishera the VVS 52nd Army had its 2 fighter regiments conduct combined escort and covering of Soviet forces along this front. There were two reported air battles that apparently occurred in the morning but no times were recorded. The first battle involved the LaGG-3 fighters of the 10 IAP that were attacked out of the clouds by 2 Bf 109 and went back after the pounce. The leader of the Soviet group was Starshiy Leytenant Simon Maksimenkov who left with his LaGG-3 smoking in the direction of Malaya Vishera. His body would be recovered at the crash site. The second dogfight involved a mixed group of 2 GIAP and 10 IAP fighters made up of 4 LaGG-3 and 1 MiG-3. This group was attacked by 2 Bf 109 out of the clouds but this time the fight lasted 5 minutes before they left. Guards Starshina Pavel Kotov of 2 GIAP was shot down near Aleksandrovskaya but didn’t state what kind of fighter he flying. A check of the inventory for the VVS 52nd Army showed that 10 IAP had 5 LaGG-3 on the 4 June and only 4 at the end of the 5th. While in the 2 GIAP on the 4th there were 3 MiG-3 and 4 LaGG-3 and at the end of the 5th there only remained 2 MiG-3 and 4 LaGG-3. So with high probability Kotov was flying the MiG-3 and most probably with out a wingman. (Journal of Combat Operations VVS 52nd Army pages179 -180 TsAMO f. 408. O. 0010015, d. 0004, l. 1)
On examination of the records for JG 54 there was only two claims made for this day and one was a Pe-2 bomber. The sole claim for a fighter was made by I./JG 54 that would have been operating along that front. Leutnant Hans Beisswenger of 3./JG 54 claimed a MiG-3 (58) at 07:20 with no location. Could Beisswenger also have missed claiming Maksimenkov’s LaGG-3 because it left the area and was not seen to have crashed? A mystery that only his flug book could possibly answer as maybe a not confirmed.
7 June 1942
On the night of the 7 – 8 June, the Soviet U-2 from the 662 NBAP flown by Islam Khayrullin was attacked by a Bf 109 in which he managed to bring his damaged biplane down at 4 km south of Krechno inside the encircled Soviet 2nd Shock Army lines. His navigator Starshina Vladimr Pansyuk was mortally wounded in the attack and died in the hospital of the 305th Rifle Division. The aircraft had 22 holes in the fuselage and was being repaired on site. (Journal of Combat Operations VVS 52nd Army page 186 – 187)
From the German side flying Nachtjagd missions this night was III./JG 54. Oberleutnant Günther Fink of 8./JG 54 claimed a R-5 (8) at 23:35 in the area near Krechno.
10 June 1942
At 10:40 (MT) the Pe-2 from 117 ORAE flown by Starshiy Leytenant Stanislav Kozlov took off for a photo reconnaissance mission to the German airfield at Krasnogvardeysk to access the damage of a bombing and Shturmovik raid. On the return course in the areas of Krasnoe Selo and Oranienbaum it was reported to have been attacked by 8 Bf 109. The surviving crew member claimed that they had shot down 2 Me-109. Kozlov and the gunner-bombardier both perished, despite the report the crew had parachuted out. (Operational Report of the Staff VVS Leningrad Front 10.06.1942 TsAMO f. 217, o. 0001221, d. 1590, l. 77)
From the German side this loss can be found in the claims of I./JG 54. Feldwebel Fritz Tegtmeier of 2./JG 54 claimed a Pe-2 (9) at 10:20 with no location.
It appears that the airfield at Krasnogvardeysk had been dealt a blow this day but JG 54 indicated by Soviet artillery fire. Listed was a Stab I./JG 54 K1 35 B Wknr. 3060 with 95% damage, with 1./JG 54 losing Bf 109 F-4 Wknr. 7631 at 95% and Bf 109 F4/R1 Wknr. 13 025 at 70%.
The Soviet VVS 8th Army reported that a dogfight had occurred between the 4 Tomahawks of one or more of its IAP (not specified) and 3 Bf 109 in the area of Volkhov. The P-40 pilots claimed a Me-109 but reported suffering no losses. (ORS VVS LF 10.06.1942)
The records of the III./JG 54 operating in that area reported a claim that morning for a P-40. Leutnant Hans-Joachim Heyer of 8./JG 54 claimed a Curtiss P-40 (23) at 05:04 with no location. As far as the Soviet claim it was also empty of any aerial combat loss with JG 54.
During the early morning of the 10th the U-2 flown by Islam Khayrullin on being brought down on the night of the 7th – 8th was made flyable again and returned to his airfield.
The night of the 10 – 11 June would once again see Soviet U-2 performing supply and bombing missions on the Volkhov Front. Having taken off at 00:12 (MT) to perform a mission the U-2 from 662 NBAP flown by Mark Orekhov with his navigator Boris Ladukhin was attacked. Flying at an altitude of 600 m in the dark, Orekhov brought his U-2 down for a landing at 3 km south of Olkhovka and would not fly back to his airfield until the 12 June with both aircraft and crew unharmed. (Journal of Combat Operations VVS 52nd Army page 194)
From the German side this incident can be found in the claims of III./JG 54. Oberleutnant Günther Fink of 8./JG 54 claimed a R-5 (12) at 23:35 with no location and another R-5 (13) at 23:52 with no location. Only one report was made of a U-2 being attacked during this time, so it is possible that Orekhov evaded both the 1st and 2nd attack.
11 June 1942
At 24:00 (MT) a U-2 from 662 NBAP delivered supplies to Soviet 305th Rifle Division airstrip in the pocket. At 00:30 (MT; 12th of June for the Russian pilot) on taking off the U-2 was attacked by 2 Bf 109 and set ablaze in the air. The aircraft came down 2 km east of Myasnoy Bor in the positions of the 65th Rifle Division. The remains of the dead gunner-bombardier Mladshiy Leytenant Andrey Osadchiy but the remains of the pilot Mladshiy Leytenant Onstantin Myakishev were not immediately reportedas found. (Journal of Combat Operations VVS 52nd Army page 194)
From the German side performing Nachtjagd missions was III./JG 54. Oberleutnant Günther Fink of 8./JG 54 claimed a R-5 (14) at 23:10 with no location. Hauptmann Reinhard Seiler of Stab III./JG 54 claimed a R-5 (48) at 23:35 to the east of Myasnoy Bor. It thus appears from the time and location only the claim of Hauptmann Seiler’s can be confirmed as no losses occurred before that time.
12 June 1942
From the VVS Leningrad Front was launched a bombing raid against the airfield at Siverskaya. From 00:06 – 01:26 (MT) 5 SB from 44 BAP and 3 SB from the VVS KBF went at an altitude of 3200 – 3700 m to bomb the airfield. One of the SB was reported to have had a engine set on fire by a “Focke Wulf”. The 44 BAP did report two missing SB during this mission with the crews of Kapitan Nikolay Zhdanov and Leytenant Igor Dostovalov. (Operational Report of the Staff VVS Leningrad Front 12.06.1942 TsAMO f.217, o. 0001221, d. 1590, l. 83)
These to Soviet losses fall within the time of the claims of III./JG 54. Leutnant Hans-Joachim Heyer of 8./JG 54 claimed a SB-2 (25) at 00:01 with no location. Oberleutnant Dr. Werner Feise of Stab III./JG 54 claimed a SB-2 (3) at 00:10 with no location.
Still flying after his earlier kill was Hauptmann Reinhard Seiler of Stab III/JG54 who claimed a R-5 (49) at 00:30 to the east of Myasnoy Bor. In this case no further losses occurred involving Soviet U-2 biplanes.
16 June 1942
In the Soviet reports there is loss that is not shown for the pre-dawn hours. Normally, this would not be covered because of the lack of information. The U-2 from 121 OAES flown by Starshiy Leytenant Aleksey Shuvalov took off from Shum traveling to the airfield at Malaya Vishera, he never arrived and was listed as missing.
There is a possible cause for his disappearance listed in the claims of III./JG 54. Hauptmann Reinhard Seiler of Stab III./JG 54 claimed a R-5 (57) at 00:20 at Priyutino. There was no reported attacks on the night bomber regiments this night.
25 June 1942
From 05:30 – 05:40 (MT) 2 LaGG-3 from 2 GIAP and 7 Yak-7 from 283 IAP engaged in an air battle with 4 Bf 109 in the area of Myasnoy Bor. After the battle 2 Yak-7 did not return to their airfield. (Operational Report of the Staff VVS Volkhov Front TsAMO f. 204, o. 0000089, d. 0049, l. 77)
The German opposition in this battle is unknown.
From 13:10 – 13:35 (MT) 2 LaGG-3 and 5 Yak-1 from 2 GIAP engaged in an air battle in the area of Teremets Kurlyaidskiy. Kapitan Medvedev claimed a Me-109 in the battle. One Soviet fighter with a pilot named Prokof’ev made an emergency landing in the area of Aleksandrovskoye. (ORS VVS Volkhov Front)
From 14:10 – 14:30 (MT) 8 Yak-1 from 283 IAP and 4 Yak-7 from 845 IAP intercepted 2 Ju 88 and their escorting 2 Bf 109 at Myaskoy Bor. In the air battle Starshiy Tekhnik Leytenant Aleksey Sidorov of 845 IAP claimed a Ju-88 and a Me-109. (ORS VVS Volkhov Front)
From 16:00 – 16:20 (MT) 1 Yak-1 from 845 IAP and 6 Yak-1 from 283 IAP intercepted 2 Ju 88. Starshiy Leytenant Mikhail Galkin claimed a Ju-88 (5) at Myasnoy Bor. (ORS VVS Volkhov Front)
From 21:40 – 22:00 (MT) 8 Yak-1 from 252 IAP intercepted and shot down a Ju-87 and Ju-88 in the area of Lyubyano Pole and Myaskoy Bor. (ORS VVS Volkhov Front)
At 22:10 (MT) 845 IAP and 283 IAP while returning from performing a mission became involved in an air battle with 2 Bf 109. A Yak-7 was shot down but the report doesn’t list the unit but it was possibly the 845 IAP. Starshiy Leytenant Mikhail Galkin scored again claiming a Me-109 (6) at Malaya Vishera. (ORS VVS Volkhov Front)
From the German side during the day there was an unknown pilot of 2./JG 54 flying Bf 109 F-4 (# 7454) had 20% damage done by antiaircraft fire in PlQu. 19271. In an air battle, Unteroffizier Günther Normann of 1./JG 54 was shot down and killed in Bf 109 F-4/R1 (# 13 039) in the area of Schewelewo (PlQu. 19274). Like the mystery of who shot down the Soviet fighters, the same applies for the one Bf 109 lost this day in an air battle.
26 June 1942
The German bomber aviation conducted raids against Soviet railway depots in the early morning at Volkhovstroya (outside of Chudovo) and Station Zvznka at the Volkhov River. Besides Soviet antiaircraft defense, there was approximately 40 Soviet fighters in the air from 4 GIAP, 158, 154, 159 and 160 IAP.
The Soviet defense recorded the 1st wave coming in at 05:03 (MT) as a formation of Ju 87. Mayor Sergley Vlasov from the 159 IAP flying a Custiss P-40 Kittyhawk claimed a group victory of ¼ Ju-87 and a personal Ju-87 (5) at Station Maluksa.
The second wave was a formation of Ju 88 coming in at 05:54 (MT) under escort of 12 Bf 110 and Bf 109 fighters. Starshiy Leytenant Ivan Plehanov from 158 IAP flying a P-40 Tomahawk attacked the formation of Ju 88 bombers. Plehanov claimed a Ju-88 (6) at Pogost’e and another Ju-88 (7) at Zales’e but was seriously wounded and had to make a forced landing. Another 158 IAP P-40 flown by Leytenant Kokin also had to make an emergency landing after battle damage. Starshiy Leytenant Yuriy Golovach from 158 IAP flying a P-40 Kittyhawk claimed a Me-109 to the south of Vaybakalo and then a Ju-88 at Olomna. Mladshiy Leytenant Il’ya Shishkan’ from 158 IAP claimed a Ju-88 (6) at Pogost’e. Overall the Soviet pilots claimed 11 German bombers and 6 fighters with a further bomber and fighter damaged. The P-40 Tomahawk flown by Starshiy Leytenant Merluzeev from 158 IAP was damaged in a dogfight forcing him to bail out with his parachute. (Operational Report of the Staff Volkhov Front TsAMO f. 204, o. 0000089, d. 0049 l. 71 27.06.1942)
On examining the German claims for that morning only I./JG 54 stands out. Feldwebel Heinrich Bruhn of 1./JG 54 claimed a Curtiss P-40 (6) at 05:13 with no location.
The Soviet 1 UAG also had its units of operating over the Volkhov Front this day. At 09:30 -10:45 (MT) 12 Il-2 from 569 and 313 ShAP under escort of 8 LaGG-3 from 283 IAP assaulted and bombed German artillery and a column of forces in the area of Zemtitsy.
Also its other fighter regiment the 845 IAP had Yak-7 fighters covering the Soviet 52nd Army in the areas of Myasnoy Bor, Lyubino Pole and Hill 40.5 along the front line. They claimed 4 Me-109 in 8 air battles. They reported the loss of 2 shot down Yak-7 and 4 fighters having to make emergency landings, from these one was wrecked beyond repair. (Operational Report of the Staff Volkhov Front TsAMO f. 204, o. 0000089, d. 0049, l. 70 26.06.1942)
Just from the above mentioned paragraphs there appears claims for at least 10 Me-109 on the Soviet Volkhov Front this day. On examining the losses of JG 54 for the day there is a different story. For I./JG 54, an unknown pilot from 1./JG 54 flying Bf 109 F-4 (# 8439) had engine failure and came down for a belly landing at Tosno with 20% damage. While II./JG 54 was operating from the airfield at Rel’bitsy around Lake Ilmen – Staraya Russa sector it had only start accident on Bf 109 F-4/R1 (# 13 100) that resulted in 35% damage. While III./JG 54 was operating from the airfield at Siverskiy, the 7. Staffel was flying from airfield at Kotly. Oberleutnant Werner Pichon Kalau von Hofe (Staffelkapitän) while flying Bf 109 F-4 (# 13 059) made a belly landing at Kotly, which resulted in 80% damage. Thus, there were no combat losses reported by JG 54 this day.
Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945 by Jochen Prien, Gerhard Stemmer – Peter Rodeike – Winfried Bock
Teil 9/I Winterkampf im Osten 6.12.1941 bis 30.4.1942
Teil 9/III Vom Sommerfeldzug 1942 bis zur Niederlage von Stalingrad 1.5.1942 bis 3.2.1943
Воздушный Мост. (Air Bridge) by V.I. Mikhel’son and M. I. Yalygin ; M.: Politizdat, 1982
Гвардейцы Балтики Крылатой (Baltic Winged Guardians) by I.I. Tsapov, V.N. Konev, Yu. A. Myasnikov; “Delta NB” Moscow 2006