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Curtiss P-40K white 23 of N.F. Kuznetsov, 436 IAP
Updated on April 14, 2014
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Drawing by Tapani Tuomanen

 

The drawing represents the P-40 K White 23 of 436th IAP, flown by Nikolai Fedorovich Kuznetsov in in January 1943.

In 1941 he was assigned to 191 IAP near Leningrad, flying at first I-16s and later Hurricanes.

During 1942 he was assigned to 436th IAP on the North-West Front, where he flew P-40s, and was promoted Starshii Leitenant.

In the photo below, the pilot is chaired by his comrades after he has claimed his 27th victory, in December 1942 or January 1943. He was shot down and wounded on January 6, 1943, after two further victories (29, of which 12 shared, forthemost obtained on the P-40). Comparing the photos, we can see 14 victory stars, all identical; so, he marked only the individual victories.

Probably this plane had up to 15 stars painted on (29 victories - 12 shared ones - 2 of its last fight = 15, or 14 on the photos + 1 for which the pilot was chaired in the photos below = 15).

 

Photos from Red Stars 4, of Geust, Keskinen. Stenman, ed. Apali

 

After being healed, he returned to his Regiment (that has become 67th GIAP and re-equipped with P-39s) in May 1943, when he was decorated as HSU and with the Order of Lenin.

Later he flew Yak-3s and P-63s, raising his total claims to 36 victories.

He remained in the Air Force after the war, became commander of a training center for cosmonauts, and retired in 1978 as General Major.