Mikhail Baranov

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Baranov, Mikhail Dmitrievich
Born (1921-10-21)October 21, 1921
Gornye, near to Leningrad, USSR
Died January 15, 1943(1943-01-15) (aged 21)
Allegiance  Soviet Union
Service/branch Soviet Air Force
Years of service 1940-1943
Rank Starshiy Leytenant
Unit 183 IAP, 269 IAD
Battles/wars Great Patriotic War:
Awards Hero of the Soviet Union Order of Lenin (12.08.1942)
Order of Red Banner (2)

Mikhail Dmitrievich Baranov (in Russian: Михаил Дмитриевич Баранов) (born 21 October 1921 - died 15 January 1943) was a World War II Soviet pilot, who during the early stages of the Battle of Stalingrad became the leading Soviet ace of 1942 with 21 aerial victories[1] (other sources credit him with 24).[2] He died in an accident on 15 January 1943 while testing a Yak-1 fighter.

Early life

Baranov was born on 21 October 1921 in the small town of Gronye, in the Leningradskiy Oblast. After finishing the 9th year of school in 1937, he went to work to the factory Kirov in Leningrad. Simultaneously Baranov joined the DOSAAF, and participated in Leningrad's central aeroclub.

In October 1938 Baranov graduated as a pilot, with distinction, and was encouraged by the aeroclub's authorities to pursue a career as a military airman. With such support Baranov attended the Military School of Chugevkaya, where he graduated on October 1940 with the rank of Mladshiy Leytenant. Initially assigned to serve in 271 IAP (Baltic Military Region), he was later sent to 183 IAP in Southern Ukraine.[3]

World War II career

First victories

Flying a Yakovlev Yak-1 fighter, Baranov claimed his two first victories on 22 and 28 September (one Bf.109 each) but no actual German losses match those claims.[2] On 30 October 1941 he intercepted a Henschel Hs.126 on an artillery correction mission escorted by a quartet of Messerschmitts. Baranov shot down both the Henschel and a Bf.109. Later that same day shot down a Junkers Ju.88 whose crew was captured.[2][3] Luftwaffe records confirms a 40% damage on Hs.126 B-1 W.Nr. 3457 of 3.(H)/32, and the loss of Bf.109F-4 W.Nr.5288 of Oberleutant Walter Höckner (Staffelkapitän of 6./JG 77, an experte with 68 victories), and Ju.88A-5 W.Nr. 4037 of 1./KG 77[4][5]

Mikhail Baranov repeated this feat on 8 November 1941, shooting down a Henschel aircraft and one of the escorting Bf.109s.[2][3] - his victims were probably Hs.126 B W.Nr. 3412 and the Bf.109F-4 of 27-kill ace Oberleutnant Kurt Schade (Gruppenadjutant of III./JG 52).[6] Shortly afterwards Baranov was shot down by five Bf.109s and fell, wounded, behind enemy lines. In spite of a broken leg he evaded German troops and reached the Soviet lines.[3] Recovered from his wounds Baranov added a Ju.88 and a Hs.126 to his score on 24 December 1941 and 17 February 1942 respectively.[2]

Battle of Stalingrad

Baranov's unit -183 IAP (Istrevitelnyy Aviatsionyy Polk = Fighter Aviation Regiment) of the 269 IAD (Istrevitelnaya Aviatsionnaya Diviziya = Fighter Aviation Division)- was part of the 8 VA (Vozdushnaya Armiya = Air Army). In mid July 1942 the 8 VA faced the brunt of the assault of Luftflotte 4 supporting the drive of the German 6th Army towards Stalingrad across the river Don bend.

Among Baranov's daily adversaries were experienced elite fighter units like JG 3, II./JG 52 and I./JG 53, and the Ju.87s of StG 2. On 22 July Baranov claimed a Bf.109 (almost certainly Bf.109F-4/R1 of Unteroffizier Johann Dowoby of 5./JG 52, who perished),[7] his first victory during the Battle of Stalingrad, followed by a second Messerschmitt on the 24th.[2] On 25 July 1942 the commander of Luftflotte 4, Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen, sent the Stukas of I. and II./StG 2, escorted by Italian Macchi C.200 fighters, to suppress Soviet strongholds along the Chir river, and Baranov's 183 IAP intercepted. In the ensuing dogfight Mikhail Baranov shot down a Stuka and a Macchi C.200[8] - probably the Ju.87D-3 of Oberleutnant Martin Möbus (Staffelkapitän of 4./StG 2, Knight's Cross holder) and the Macchi of Sottotenente Gino Lionello (21 Gruppo Caccia). Both airmen were injured.[9]

Two days later on 27 July, Baranov claimed three more victories - two Messerschmitt fighters and a Stuka, followed by a third Ju.87 on 4 August, and two Bf.109s on the 5th. At that time his score stood at 21.[8]

Aerial battle on 6 August 1942

At dawn on 6 August 1942 three Yak-1s of 183 IAP took off to escort Il-2s of 504 ShAP, attacking targets near Abganerovo. Those aircraft were flown by Baranov and his wingmen Leytenant Yudin and Serzhant Savinov. Almost reaching the target, they met two dozen Stukas escorted by four Messerschmitts. Baranov performed a head-on attack, shooting down one of the Bf.109s. While his wingmen engaged the remaining German fighters, Baranov pursued the Ju.87s and downed one (the crew was captured), and forced the remaining to drop their ordnance prematurely. Baranov and his wingmen returned with the Il-2s in time to engage another group of Bf.109s. Baranov managed to shoot down two of them, but ran out of ammo, ramming a third Bf.109 (this event is known in Russian as taran). One of his legs was severely injured.[3][8][10]

Two of his victims that day can be corroborated - the Ju.87D-3 W.Nr. 2293 of Unteroffizier Herbert Oswald (4./StG 2, POW) and Bf.109G-2 W.Nr. 13480 of 8-kill ace Leutnant Hans Röhrig (3./JG 53. Röhrig later would claim 67 more victories.[10] Other German losses match Baranov's claims, but the Luftwaffe reported them as accidental or downed by anti-aircraft fire. Baranov not only was a prominent ace, but also a capable leader: inspiring the men of 183 IAP's to score some 35 victories 1 July to 8 August 1942, more the remaining four regiments of the 269 IAD (6, 148, 254 and 864 IAPs) scored in total; 32. The 183 IAP however lost 12 Yak-1s (the whole division lost 47 Yaks and LaGGs).[11]

On 12 August Baranov was awarded with the Zolotaya Zvezda (Golden Star), receiving the Title of Geroy Sovietskogo Soyuza (Hero of the Soviet Union) and the Order of Lenin. Now a national hero, he performed several publicity tours to front-line aerodromes, training schools and factories to boost moral.


By late 1942 Baranov had recovered from his wound and was allowed to return to combat duties. He was picked by regimental commander Lev Shestakov to be a member of his all-ace unit, the 9 GIAP. On 15 January 1943 while testing a new Yak-1 recently arrived from the factory, he suffered a technical problem and had to perform an emergency landing. He requested permission to fly another Yak-1 and while performing aerobatic figures at 3,000 meters, his aircraft rolled inverted and plunged to the ground, killing the pilot. The cause is still unknown.[3]


List of victories

Date (dd.mm.yyyy) Soviet Unit Aircraft flown Enemy Aircraft Pilot & Fate Axis Unit
22.09.1941 183 IAP Yak-1 Bf.109 Luftwaffe (**)
28.09.1941 183 IAP Yak-1 Bf.109 Luftwaffe (**)
30.10.1941 183 IAP Yak-1 Hs.126B-1 W.Nr.3457 Unknown (40% dam) 3.(H)/32
30.10.1941 183 IAP Yak-1 Bf.109F-4 W.Nr.5288 Walter Höckner (68-kills ace) 6./JG 77
30.10.1941 183 IAP Yak-1 Ju.88A-5 W.Nr.4037 4 POWs 1./KG 77
2.11.1941 183 IAP Yak-1 Hs.126 W.Nr.3186 A. Siegel - WIA (50% dam) 3.(H)/13
8.11.1941 183 IAP Yak-1 Hs.126B W.Nr.3412 Unknown (85% write off) 1.(H)/23
8.11.1941 183 IAP Yak-1 Bf.109F-4 W.Nr. 7183 Kurt Schade (27-kills ace) III./JG 52
24.12.1941 183 IAP Yak-1 Ju.88A-5 W.Nr.3122 4 MIAs Wekusta 7
17.02.1942 183 IAP Yak-1 Hs.126 Luftwaffe (**)
22.07.1942 183 IAP Yak-1 Bf.109F-4/R1 W.Nr.13252 Johann Dowoby - KIA 5./JG 52
24.07.1942 183 IAP Yak-1 Bf.109 Luftwaffe (**)
25.07.1942 183 IAP Yak-1 Ju.87D-3 W.Nr.2280 Martin Möbus - WIA (Stuka ace) 4./StG 2
25.07.1942 183 IAP Yak-1 Macchi C.200 Gino Lionello - WIA 21° Gruppo
27.07.1942 183 IAP Yak-1 Bf.109 Luftwaffe (**)
27.07.1942 183 IAP Yak-1 Bf.109 Luftwaffe (**)
27.07.1942 183 IAP Yak-1 Ju.87 Luftwaffe (**)
4.08.1942 183 IAP Yak-1 Ju.87 Luftwaffe (**)
5.08.1942 183 IAP Yak-1 Bf.109G-2 W.Nr.14163 Unknown (20% dam) I./JG 53
5.08.1942 183 IAP Yak-1 Bf.109 Luftwaffe (**)
6.08.1942 183 IAP Yak-1 Bf.109G-2 W.Nr. 13480 Hans Röhrig (75-kills ace) 3./JG 53
6.08.1942 183 IAP Yak-1 Ju.87D-3 W.Nr.2292 Herbert Oswald - POW 4./StG 2
6.08.1942 183 IAP Yak-1 Bf.109 Luftwaffe (**)
6.08.1942 183 IAP Yak-1 Bf.109 Luftwaffe (**)
6.08.1942 183 IAP Yak-1 Bf.109 (by taran) Luftwaffe (**)

(**) = Overclaim. Not known German combat loss match this claim.

Note: In many of the dates when Baranov made his claims but no German losses in air combat are reported, in fact the Luftwaffe suffered losses, but credited them to accidents or flak.


  1. Bergstrom, Dikov & Antipov (2006) p.225
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Bykov (2008) p.102
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Zilmanovich (1985) <http://militera.lib.ru/bio/zilmanovich_dj/13.html>
  4. http://www.airwar.ru/history/av2ww/axis/luftloss/luftloss21-31-10-41.html
  5. LW Loss Report (microfilm roll #4); Prien, JG 77, II, p.842
  6. Niko Fast, JG 52 Vol.4 Loss Reports p.53
  7. Fast, JG 52, IV p. 70
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Bykov (2008), p.102
  9. Bergstrom, Dikov & Antipov (2006) p.58
  10. 10.0 10.1 Bergstrom, Dikov & Antipov (2006) p.61-62
  11. Bergstrom, Dikov & Antipov (2006) p.62


  • Dmitriy Yakovlevich Zilmanovich, “На крыльях Родины” (Na krylyaj Rodiny = Beneath the Wings of the Motherland) Alma-Ata, Khalyn, 1985. <http://militera.lib.ru/bio/zilmanovich_dj/13.html>
  • Christer Bergstrom, Andrey Dikov & Vlad Antipov, Black Cross – Red Star. Air War over the Eastern Front. Volume 3. Everything for Stalingrad. Eagle Editions Ltd., 2006.
  • Mijail Yurevich Bykov, “Асы Великой Отечественной Войны: Самие ресултативные лётчики 1941-1945 гг.” (Asy Velikoy Otechestvennoy Voyny. Samye resultativnye liotchiki 1941-45 gg = “Aces of the Great Patriotic War: The Pilots with the better results 1941-1945”), Yauza-EKSMO, Moskow, 2008.
  • Prien, Jochen - Stemmer, Gerhard - Rodeike, Peter - Bock, Winfried: Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945 - Teil 6 Tielband I Unternehmen "Barbarossa" Einsatz im Osten 22.6. bis 05.12.1941, Struve Druck, 2003.
  • Prien, Jochen - Stemmer, Gerhard - Rodeike, Peter - Bock, Winfried: Die Jagdfliegerverbände der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1934 bis 1945 - Teil 9 Tielband II Wom Sommerfeldzug 1942 bis zur Niederlage von Stalingrad 1.5.1942 bis 3.2.1943, Struve Druck, 2006.

See also