P-39 Airacobra of F. I. Shikunov, 69 giap, 23 giad

by Michal Sekula

September 11, 2019

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Fedor Ivanovich Shikunov was born in 1921. He served in the red Army since June 1942. He fought on the Eastern fronts since October 1943. He was squadron leader with 69 giap. Guard Captain F.I. Shikunov achieved 25 victories in 52 fights and was proposed to the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. However, he was killed in action in March 15, 1945 and he did not received HSU. Finally, he was posthumously awarded Hero of Soviet Union in May 1996.
According to M. Bykov he achieved 21 individual and 1 shared victories.

Short wide white stripes on the rudder were elements of the fast recognition of the 23 giad. Color propeller spinners distinguish individual regiments (21 giap, 69 giap and 211 giap) within this Division. Also note overpainted serial numbers on the tail.

This Shikunov's Cobra is usually identified as N-version. However, it has a little vent between propeller and front leg that is typical for the late Q-versions:

Photo of F.I. Shikunov with Alexander Nevsky emblem painted on his Cobra is dated to 1944.
F. I. Shikunov was awarded with Alexander Nevsky Order in April 29, 1944 and he died in March 1945. 69 giap was awarded Order of Alexander Nevsky in April 26, 1945. Therefore A. N. emblem painted on his Cobra was his personal marking, not regimental.

References and sources of the photos: