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Old 15th May 2019, 04:55
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Air War Above Rzhev - Zubtsov

I am going to add some episodes about the air war in this area a little at a time. My friend, Kirche will I am sure add corrections were I make mistakes and his corrections are always welcome. I usually go by my alias “Nokose” but many already know my name is Michael Barrentine.

27 August 1942

The Soviet command dispatched a Shturmovik raid against the German airfield to the northeast of Dugino this day. 5 Il-2 from the 685 met up with their fighter escort at 14:54 (Moscow Time). This consisted of 5 Yak-1 from the 1 GIAP led by Starshiy Leytenant Zudilov and 4 Yak-1 from the 163 IAP led by Starshiy Leytenant Zhuykov. The Soviet pilots reported being intercepted by 16 Bf 109 as they traveled to the target. (TsAMO f. 311, o. 0004495, d. 0051, l. 106 Operational Report of the Staff 210 IAD)

The Germans had Bf 109s from III/JG 51, I/JG 52 and I/JG 54 pounce on the Soviet aircraft as they moved to the target. The Soviet fighters were distracted from escorting their charges by I/JG 52 and I/JG 54 struck the Il-2s. Feldwebel Peter Siegler of 3./JG 54 shot down an Il-2 (34) at 14:22 at an altitude of 800 m and followed with another Il-2 (35) at 14:23 at an altitude of 500 m. The Soviet fighters felt their first loss as Feldwebel Rudolf Trenkel of 2./JG 52 shot down a LaGG-3 (7) at 14:23 at an altitude of 800 m. The JG 52 pilots then attacked the Il-2s. Hauptmann Helmut Bennemann of Stab I/JG 52 shot down an Il-2 (48) at 14:24 at teifflug and at the same time Unteroffizier Gerhard Hübner of 2./JG 52 shot down an Il-2 (10) at 14:24 at teifflug. The Shturmoviks were then attacked by JG 51. Gefreiter Erich Hobein of 8./JG 51 shot down an Il-2 (6) at 14:25 at teifflug. Again the Soviet fighters suffered another loss, this time Feldwebel Karl Hammerl of 1./JG 52 shot down a LaGG-3 (52) at 14:28 at an altitude of 20 m. Again the Shturmoviks were attacked, this time by Unteroffizier Otto Würfel of 9./JG 51 shooting down an Il-2 (1) at 14:30.

As the Soviet aircraft reached the airfield, they met German flak. The Soviet fighters still engaged in a dogfight suffered another loss. Oberfeldwebel Berthold Grassmuck of 1./JG 52 shot down a LaGG-3 (61) at an altitude of 500 m. The last Il-2 claim was made by Hauptmann Hans Oehlschläger of Stab I/JG 52 shooting down an Il-2 (2) at 14:3 at teilfflug.

The Soviet fighter pilots stated that they observed an Il-2 go down to German flak but it seems that the Germans would have denied one of the claims if it had occurred. As for the actual Soviet losses on the Soviet fighters making their landing at 16:10 (MT) missing were 3 Yak-1: Starshiy Serzhant Sergey Shuykov from 1 GIAP, Starshiy Leytenant Ivan Sharoyko from 163 IAP (Sharoyko had 8 victories and 2 group victories at this time) and Starshiy Leytenant Sergey Kotyuko ( Kotyuko would return from a German POW camp). The Soviet fighter pilots claimed to have shot down 2 Me-109 and damaged another Me-109, actually there were no Bf 109 losses.

The Soviet Shturmoviks suffered nearly a total loss in this raid with 4 Il-2 and one that was so damaged from flak and attacks from Bf 109, it was sent to be repaired. Missing were Mladshiy Leytenant Aleksandr Belyakov, Mladshiy Leytenant Mikhail Vladimirov, Starshiy Leytenant Stepan Isupov and Leytenant Ivan Radchenko (Radchenko would return from a POW camp in 1945). The Il-2 piloted by Starshina Dol’nikov returned his Il-2 to Soviet territory and landed on the frame, having been hit by German flak and finally by Bf 109s before escaping into the clouds. (TsAMO f. 311, o. 0004495, d. 0054, l. 180 Operational Report of the Staff 212 ShAD)

There was one further claim made by Feldwebel Peter Siegler of 3./JG 54 for an Il-2 (36) at an altitude of 800 m. This was far to the northwest of Dugino over Soviet territory but there is no way to connect this claim.
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Old 15th May 2019, 09:52
Stig Jarlevik Stig Jarlevik is offline
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Re: Air War Above Rzhev - Zubtsov

Very interesting Michael

Thanks for this, and please....just keep going

Cheers
Stig
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Old 15th May 2019, 13:09
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: Air War Above Rzhev - Zubtsov

Very interesting Nokose, keep this coming as most of us can't read the Russian books/sources where you can find such stories.

My only small critic would be that in the text, I would rather say " this time by Unteroffizier Otto Würfel of 9./JG 51 claiming an Il-2 (1) at 14:30." rather than " this time by Unteroffizier Otto Würfel of 9./JG 51 shooting down an Il-2 (1) at 14:30." In the example above, 4 Il-2 were lost and one damaged, against 7 German claims for Il-2 (and even 8 if the claim by Siegler is included). On the other hand, the Soviet fighter losses and German claims match in number (3), even if all German were wrong on type (LaGG-3 vs Yak-1).
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Old 15th May 2019, 14:55
kirche kirche is offline
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Re: Air War Above Rzhev - Zubtsov

Hi Michael,
I did the analysis of this fight in 2017 - I have a report on 11 pages of A4 format (for Zhuykov's relatives). Similar conclusions. Add - Kotyukov and Sharoiko survived in captivity. There are pictures of 8 Russian pilots from 10 and 7 well-known German pilots of the 9 with this fight. Of all the known list of Germans, only two survived the war, and of the Russian - probably six. I only forced landing Dolnikov lost then - apersuade was not even Operational Report of the Staff 212 ShAD two years ago.
Excellent work. I'll send my materials - can you do the article?
Best regards,
Kirill

Last edited by kirche; 15th May 2019 at 17:23.
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Old 16th May 2019, 16:02
yogybaer yogybaer is offline
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Re: Air War Above Rzhev - Zubtsov

Nice one, thank you Michael!
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Old 16th May 2019, 21:44
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Re: Air War Above Rzhev - Zubtsov

Thank you everyone for your comments. I don’t write as a profession, as you can see. I am more of a “source contributor” and was given the honor of being a co-author in a future work by Brian Cull. Kirche, I’ll contact you by email. For anyone that doesn’t know Kirche, he’s a member of Russian recovery team, they locate both German and Soviet aircraft to recover the remains of the aviators so that they can be given the proper burial that they deserve.

9 August 1942

In the sky above the positions of the Soviet 31st Army in the area of the Vazuza River, were 5 Yak-1 from the 163 IAP led by Kapitan Viktor Volkov, having taken off at 05:45 (MT). Approaching the Soviet pilots observed up to 20 Ju 88 in groups of 6 - 8 aircraft under escort of three groups of 4 Bf 109 F. The Soviet pilots moved to attack these formations. Kapitan Volkov’s group attacked the 1st group of 8 Ju 88 with its 8 Bf 109 F escort. Kapitan Volkov and Starshiy Leytenant Sergey Katyukov as a pair reported shooting down a Ju 88 to the south of Zubtsov. Kapitan Volkhov was attacked by 2 Bf 109 from above on the front from the sun. He was reported to have been attacked at the same time from below to the rear. The engine caught fire and Kapitan Volkov parachuted over Soviet territory. From the German side the victor appears to be Feldwebel Heinrich Wefers of 4./JG 54 who shot down a Yak-1 (25) at 05:19 in this area.

Leytenant Aleksandr Nikulina was attacked by 2 Bf 109 from the rear above and left with a smoking aircraft. His fate was listed as missing. From the German side this was possibly Hauptmann Heinrich Jung of 4./JG 54 claiming a Yak-1 (25) at 05:20 to the southwest of Zubtsov.

Leytenant Ivan Sharoyko and Starshiy Leytenant Arkadiy Pokroskin met in air battle with 4 Bf 109 F, as a result Pokrovskin’s fighter was damaged. This was the possible claim made by Leutnant Karl-Heinz Weber of 7./JG 5, who reported shooting down a Yak-1 (22) at 05:15 to the west of the Vazuza River to the south of Zubtsov. He left with a decline from the battle. Leytenant Sharoyko covered him from attacks of the German fighters. Sharoyko observed for several minutes the attempt to escape by Pokroskin, before observing his Yak-1 tilt over on the wing and hit the ground. The aircraft burned but the fate of the pilot was unknown.

Leytenant Sharoyko’s Yak-1 was damaged and began to leave the battle because of control damage. As a result of the damage, he headed in the direction of Torzhok. He was pursued and attacked by 2 Bf 109 as he continued to his airfield with his burning fighter. As Sharoyko came to the Soviet airfield at Torzhok, he lowered his landing gear and made a normal landing. Sharoyko fled his fighter, which burned up on the ground. The German fighter pursuing the Yak-1, appears from from the location to be Obgefr Herbert Rauchfuss of 4./JG 54, who claimed a Yak-1 (5) at 05:25 to the east of Staritsa. This would be the direction that Sharoyko passed in his flight towards Torzhok. (TsAMO f. 311, o. 0004495, d. 0051, l. 86 Operational Report of the Staff 210 IAD)
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Old 17th May 2019, 09:14
kirche kirche is offline
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Re: Air War Above Rzhev - Zubtsov

Arkadiy Pokroskin (Pokrovskin) = Pokrovsky Arkady Vasilyevich (3+8 claims)
Aleksandr Nikulina = Nikulin Aleхandеr Matveevich (2+1 claims)
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Old 17th May 2019, 09:55
CENTURION CENTURION is offline
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Re: Air War Above Rzhev - Zubtsov

Hello Michael,
very interesting thread.
Thank you very much.
Cheers

Marco
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Old 17th May 2019, 15:50
kirche kirche is offline
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Re: Air War Above Rzhev - Zubtsov

Quote:
The last Il-2 claim was made by Hauptmann Hans Oehlschläger of Stab I/JG 52 shooting down an Il-2 (2) at 14:3 at teilfflug.
This pilot was shot down not far after 8 days - we found him in the winter of 2014 - though there was little on the spot, except for the remains. the numbers were never found, but few options.

Quote:
The Il-2 piloted by Starshina Dol’nikov returned his Il-2 to Soviet territory and landed on the frame, having been hit by German flak and finally by Bf 109s before escaping into the clouds.
Literally: "One Il-2, pilot Starshina DOLNIKOV, in the area of the target fired by anti-Aircraft artillery fire and attacked by two ME-109. Made the attack (on target) and went into the clouds. As a result of the shelling of anti-Aircraft artillery and fighter attacks, the aircraft has 40 shell and bullet holes. Damaged chassis. Landing was made on one wheel. The plane requires an average repair."
So he landed the plane on the airfield - a Bolshoye Illino. Peter Siegler could fire dolnikov plane on the way back, if dolnikov went home bypassing Rzhev West (where there was a strong anti-Aircraft artillery), and then turned right to the airfield (56.922791, 34.311530).

German fighters knew that Il-2 fly to them and raised large forces - indicated on 16 Bf-109 (if you look at the number of different units in combat, it is real). Russian band while on the way to the goal met the aircraft Hs-126 on the parallel exchange rate (left above). But apparently all Il-2 were able to target. All the losses were on the way back from the goal - apparently the order of battle was destroyed after the attack.

Last edited by kirche; 17th May 2019 at 17:43.
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Old 17th May 2019, 17:20
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Re: Air War Above Rzhev - Zubtsov

For the 27 August there was an interesting additional piece of information provided by Kirche on this incident. The reason for the “wasp nest” being so active was as the Soviet aircraft were traveling east there was a Hs 126 going the opposite direction. That would account for the hot reception they received.
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