Pavel Argeyev

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Pavel Vladimirovich Argeyev
Argeyev as a Capitaine of the Armée de l'Air
Native name Павел Владимирович Аргеев
Nickname(s) The Eagle of Crimea
Born (1887-03-01)March 1, 1887
Yalta, Russian Empire
Died October 30, 1922(1922-10-30) (aged 35)
near Trutnov, Czechoslovakia
Allegiance Russian Empire
Service/branch Imperial Russian Army
French Foreign Legion
Armée de l'Air
Years of service 1909 - 1922
Rank Lieutenant Colonel (Russia)
Captain (France)

Capitaine Pavel Vladimirovich Argeyev (Russian: Павел Владимирович Аргеев) (March 1, 1887 – October 30, 1922), also known as Paul d'Argueev and The Eagle of Crimea,[1] was a Russian-born flying ace of World War I, serving the French Armée de l'Air and Imperial Russian Air Service. Initially a high-ranking officer in the Imperial Russian Army, he transferred to France where he became an aviator. He received a variety of decorations, both French and Russian, before dying in a flying accident in 1922.

Early life[edit]

Born in Yalta, Crimea in 1887[2] to an engineer of steamships named Vladimir Akimovich Argeyev and his wife,[3] Argeyev graduated from the military academy in Odessa in 1907[4] and Odessa College in 1909 and joined the Imperial Russian Army as a sergeant in the 184th Reserve Infantry Regiment in Warsaw, Poland. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1912 and transferred to the 29th Chernigov Infantry Regiment, where he was made a lieutenant colonel.[3]

Move to France[edit]

In 1914, on the outbreak of World War I, Argeyev resigned his Russian commission (after refusing to carry out a punishment on a soldier that he considered undeserved[5]) and moved to France, enlisting in the French Foreign Legion with the rank of lieutenant on September 12, 1914. As with many airmen, he chose first to enlist in the infantry. He was assigned to the 131st Infantry Regiment, and participated in the Battle of the Marne, in which he received a head injury but returned to the front in October. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre, followed by an appointment as a chevalier of the Legion d'honneur in May 1915.[2] In the process of winning these honors, Argeyev was wounded thrice, on 23 September 1915, in April 1916, and again on 2 May 1916.[4]

Career as a pilot[edit]

In January 1916, having been ruled unfit for infantry service due to his injuries, Argeyev requested a transfer to the Armée de l'Air. After training at Pau, he was enlisted as a pilot on January 30, 1916.[6] After having accumulated flying hours on the Western Front with Escadrille N48,[4] he returned to Russia and was made a Captain of the Imperial Russian Air Service, assigned to the 12th Fighter Detachment on October 20, 1916.

A Nieuport 17, as flown by Argeyev on the Eastern Front in 1917.

Argeyev's first victory came four months later, on the morning of January 10, 1917 where he downed an Albatros C.V.[7] An uncredited victory came four months later, on the evening April 8, when he downed a Fokker near Mitau, in modern-day Latvia. His second official victory came at 9:45am on April 21, followed by his third on May 6, which he shared with Ernst Leman and Alexander Kazakov.[4] He downed a Hansa-Brandenburg C.I near Berezhany, Ukraine in his Nieuport 17. He then scored three more victories in three months - an LVG C.II at Jēkabpils on May 17, another Hansa-Brandenburg C.I near Kozova on June 8, and finally a Rumpler C.I on June 20. Now he was a flying ace, having scored more than five victories.[7]

Return to France[edit]

In May 1918, as the Russian Revolution raged on, Argeyev returned to France due to the hostile attitudes of the Bolsheviks towards the Tsar's officer corps.[8] Enlisting once more in the Armée de l'Air, he was assigned to Escadrille SPA.124, where he would spend the rest of the war.

His first victory came only days after joining the squadron, when he downed an LVG C.II on June 1, 1918.[7] Now flying a SPAD XIII,[2] within the few months he spent in the French air force, he considerably expanded his victory score.

A SPAD XIII as flown by Argeyev in France in 1918.

Now sporting seven credited and one uncredited victory, he added two more on June 14 and 15 when he downed, respectively, a Rumpler C.I and another two-seater aircraft on successive days. He scored his tenth victory on June 26, another two-seater.

Despite downing no aircraft in July or August, in September 1918 he scored three victories, bringing his total to 13. Firstly, a Fokker D.VII north of Cerny on September 27, followed by two kills the day after, two two-seater aircraft near Séchault at 10:10am and 3:20pm. He again scored a double victory on October 5, albeit one of them uncredited - another two-seater north-east of Autry at 11:25am. However, he scored a credited victory in downing a Pfalz D.III at Orfeuil at 6:25pm.[7]

His final victory of the war came on October 30, 1918, only 12 days before the end of the war. He scored a victory against a two-seater aircraft at 3.40pm near Quatre-Champs. By the end of hostilities, he had scored fifteen credited victories and two uncredited victories, making him Russia's third highest-scoring flying ace after Alexander Kazakov and Vasili Yanchenko.[7]

Post-war and death[edit]

Reluctant to return to the USSR, he continued flying as a test pilot and was killed on October 20, 1922 near Trutnov, Czechoslovakia when his Potez aircraft crashed in the Sudetes mountains.[9]

Honours and awards[edit]

Legion d'honneur Citation[edit]

"A Russian national who took command of a company in November. Has shown by his actions great alacrity and the highest energy. He has complete authority over his men. He was lightly wounded on 17 April 1915, but retained command of his company."[7]

List of aerial victories[edit]

See also Aerial victory standards of World War I

Confirmed victories are numbered and listed chronologically. Unconfirmed victories are denoted by "u/c" and may or may not be listed by date.

No. Date/time Aircraft Foe Result Location Notes
1 10 January 1917 Nieuport Albatros reconnaissance craft
u/c Morning of 8 April 1917 Nieuport Fokker Jelgava, present day Latvia
2 21 April 1917 past noon Nieuport Enemy two-seater
3 6 May 1917 @ 0945 hours Nieuport Hansa-Brandenburg C.I Berezhany Victory shared with Alexander Kazakov, Ernst Leman, another pilot
4 17 May 1917 Nieuport LVG two-seater Jakobstadt, present day Latvia Victory shared with Alexander Kazakov
5 8 June 1917 Nieuport Hansa-Brandenburg C.I Vicinity of Kozova, Ukraine Victory shared with Alexander Kazakov
6 20 June 1917 Nieuport Rumpler reconnaissance craft Vicinity of Nejnokov Victory shared with Alexander Kazakov
7 1 June 1918 Spad XIII LVG two-seater Between Puisieux and Beaumont, France
8 13 June 1918 Spad XIII Rumpler two-seater
9 14 June 1918 Spad XIII Enemy two-seter
10 26 June 1918 Spad XIII Enemy two-seater
11 27 September 1918 Spad XIII Fokker D.VII North of Cerny, France
12 28 September 1918 @ 1010 hours Spad XIII Enemy two-seater Séchault, France
13 28 September 1918 @ 1520 hours Spad XIII Enemy two-seater Between Séchault and Laval
u/c 5 October 1918 @ 1125 hours Spad XIII Enemy two-seater Northeast of Autry
14 5 October 1918 @ 1815 hours Spad XIII Pfalz fighter Orfeuil
15 30 October 1918 @ 1540 hours Spad XIII Enemy two-seater East of Quatre-Champs, France[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Philippe Saintes (September 2004). "Pavel Argeyev" (in French). Retrieved 2009-09-01. 
  2. ^ a b c Michael Duffy (August 2009). "First World - Who's Who - Pavel Argeyev". Retrieved 2009-09-01. 
  3. ^ a b Shabamov, V.M.; Neshkin, M.S. (2006). Авиаторы - кавалеры ордена Св.Георгия и Георгиевского оружия периода Первой мировой войны 1914-1918 годов. Moscow: ROSSPEN. pp. 25, 26. ISBN 5-8243-0661-3. 
  4. ^ a b c d Nieuport Aces of World War I. p. 84. 
  5. ^ Philippe Saintes (September 2004). "Pavel Argeyev" (in French). Retrieved 2009-09-01. pour avoir refusé d'infliger à un subordonné une punition qu'il jugeait imméritée. 
  6. ^ Philippe Saintes (September 2004). "Pavel Argeyev" (in French). Retrieved 2009-09-01. A l'issue d'un stage de perfectionnement à Pau, il est enfin affecté à l'escadrille de chasse N48. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f The Aerodrome (1997). "Pavel Vladimirovich Argeyev - The Aerodrome". Retrieved 2009-09-01. 
  8. ^ Philippe Saintes (September 2004). "PAVEL ARGEYEV" (in French). Retrieved 2009-09-01. Au mois de mai 1918, lorsque l'air de la Russie devient malsain pour les anciens officiers du Tsar, Argeyev rentre en France pour se mettre au service de la Spa 124 
  9. ^ Philippe Saintes (September 2004). "PAVEL ARGEYEV" (in French). Retrieved 2009-09-01. Le 30 octobre 1922, il se tue accidentellement aux commandes de son Potez dans les montagnes de Fer. 
  10. ^ Franks et al 1997, p. 206.


  • Allen Durkota. The Imperial Russian Air Service: Famous Pilots and Aircraft and World War I. Flying Machines Press, 1995. ISBN 0963711024, 9780963711021.
  • Norman Franks Nieuport Aces of World War I. Osprey Publishing, 2000. ISBN 1-85532-961-1, ISBN 978-1-85532-961-4.
  • Norman Franks; Russell Guest; Gregory Alegi. Above the War Fronts: The British Two-seater Bomber Pilot and Observer Aces, the British Two-seater Fighter Observer Aces, and the Belgian, Italian, Austro-Hungarian and Russian Fighter Aces, 1914–1918: Volume 4 of Fighting Airmen of WWI Series: Volume 4 of Air Aces of WWI. Grub Street, 1997. ISBN 1-898697-56-6, ISBN 978-1-898697-56-5.