Kozakov was born in the Russian Kherson Governorate ( now part of the Ukraine ) his family were Russian nobility. Kozakov graduated from Yelisavetgrad cavalry school in 1908, he did a stint in the cavalry. But in 1913 began his formal training as a pilot and graduated at the beginning of World war One from Gatchina Military Aviation School.
Alexander Kazakov flew a great variety of aircraft, among them, Morane-Saulnier, Spad A2, Nieuport 11 and Nieuport 17 and is alleged to have the largest number of victories among Russian Imperial Air Force Pilots. Unofficially he shot down 32 German and Austro- Hungarian aircraft, although his official tally is only 20, because only planes that crashed in Russian held territory were counted. Many Aces of various countries lost out because of similar scoring anomalies.
On the 31st of March 1915, Kazakov successfully repeated the aerial ramming attack first attempted by Pyotr Nesterov, using a Morane-Saulnier ‘G’ as his piloted projectile. For this piece of daring he was awarded the Order of Saint Anne, first in the fourth class and later in the third. He was appointed to command the 19th Corps Fighter Detachment in September 1915, here he had Nieuport 10’s and 11’s to fly. Between the 27th of June and the 21st of December 1916, he racked up four more victories to become an ace.
Five months later Kazakov resumed his winning streak with his sixth victory on May 6th 1917, which was shared with Ernst Leman and Pavel Argeyev. On the 25th of May with his eighth victory, he switched to a Nieuport 17, which he used from then on. Between 1915 and 1917 he fought on the Russian Front as well as in Romania, and participated in the Brusilov Offensive as a Commander of 1st Combat Air Group. In January 1918, in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution, Kazakov resigned his Russian Commission.
During the Russian Civil War, Kazakov joined the Slavo-British Allied Legion in Arkhangelsk and fought against the Workers and Peasants Red Air Fleet. On the 1st of August 1918 Kazakov became a Major in the Royal Air Force and was appointed to become Commanding Officer in charge of a Squadron of the Slavo-British Legion made up of Sopwith Camels. After the British withdrawal from Russia which h left tbhe White Russian Army in a desperate situation, Kazakov died in a plane crash during an Air Show that was designed to boost the morale of the Anti – Bolshevik troops. Most witnesses to the incident, Including British ace Ira Jones believe Kazakov committed suicide. yet another tragic end to a great pilot.
(C) Damian Grange 2018