Russian Aces of World War 1 (Aircraft of the Aces)
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Although the Russian Imperial Army Air Service consisted of no more than four BAGs (Boevaya Aviatsionniy Gruppa – battle aviation groups), each controlling three or four smaller AOIs (Aviatsionniy Otryad Istrebitelei – fighter aviation detachments) equipped with a variety of aircraft types, its fighter pilots nevertheless gave a good account of themselves. Indeed, during three years of war they claimed more than 200 Austro-Hungarian and German aircraft shot down, creating 13 aces – these elite aviators accounted for around half of the victories claimed on the Eastern Front. Pilots flew a variety of fighter types, with French Nieuport scouts and SPAD VIIs proving to be the most popular, and effective, aeroplanes to see service on this front. The exploits of these aces are detailed here, with information based on material newly sourced by the author from Russian military and private archives. Many previously unpublished photographs are used to illustrate this book, supported by full-colour profiles that reveal how striking some of the aces' fighters were in this often-forgotten theatre of World War I.
shot (camouflaged in Western Front dark brown and greyish green) from Smirnov’s album was identified by researchers as belonging to the 19th KAO. However, according to archive documents, N1514 and Nieuport 11 N1232 in the background, belonged to the 7th AOI, which, like the 1st BAG, was included in the 7th AD. Moreover, their airfields were not far from one another on the Southwest Front © Osprey Publishing • www.ospreypublishing.com 31 CHAPTER TWO 32 Eight days later Praporshchik Smirnov
the overturned aircraft I saw shells burst near it. The second aeroplane was shot down over Zbruch, falling on enemy wire entanglements near Zelena village and being destroyed by our artillery. A third Hansa-Brandenburg flew off to the rear, this aeroplane having been significantly lower than the other two.’ According to information in the Austrian archives, Hansa-Brandenburg C I 269.08, shot down by Smirnov, ‘fell in flames on enemy territory south of Zelenaya Sloboda village’. It belonged to
metal darts on it, whereupon the blimp fell to the ground. Another encounter occurred on 7 February 1916, when pilot Praporshchik Strzhizhevsky and observer Praporshchik Eremenko took off in Morane-Saulnier Type L MS507 to reconnoitre Ocna-Yurkuts-Zastavki-Zalischyky-Shchitovtse. Over Zastavki they came across an enemy aeroplane and attacked it. After an exchange of fire the enemy machine descended rapidly and forced-landed near Zalischyky. © Osprey Publishing • www.ospreypublishing.com 79
9781782005537 9781782005858 64 Yakovlev Aces of World War 2 9781780963495 9781780963488 68 Bf 109 Defence of the Reich Aces 9781782006817 9781782007432 70 F-86 Sabre Aces of the 51st Fighter Wing 9781782005544 9781782005865 74 Soviet Lend-Lease Fighter Aces of World War 2 9781782005346 9781782005704 76 More Bf 109 Aces of the Russian Front 9781782008507 9781782008866 82 Soviet MiG-15 Aces of the Korean War 9781782005445 9781846038617 85 Ki-43 ‘Oscar’ Aces of World War 2
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