Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Polkovnik Ivan Fedorovich Balyuk HSU

30 April 1919 – 13 January 1993

Ivan Balyuk was born on 30 April 1919 in Krolevets, in the Sumy region.

Balyuk joined the army in 1937, attending the Chuguyevsk Military Air School from where he graduated in 1940.

He was serving with 38 IAP when the war broke out in June 1941, flying the Polikarpov I-153 with this unit.

Initially he was much involved in ground attack sorties, during which he claimed 15 tanks and 30 trucks destroyed.

On 13 July, Aristotel Kavtaradze was killed when he rammed a Bf 109 in a head-on “taran” attack over Soltsy airfield.
The German aircraft was a Bf 109 flown by Oberleutnant Gerhard Ludwig of I./JG 54, who also was killed. The German fighters were escorting Ju 88 against the airfield in the Novogorod region near Lake Ilmen.
It seems that the “taran” was performed in the evening, since Oberleutnant Ludwig claimed an I-15 at 17:45.
Leytenant Balyuk claimed an Bf 109 over the airfield in the same combat.

On 13 August, the I-153s from38 IAP fought with Ju 88s over Bol’shaya Gorushka and leytenant Balyuk and Lazar Chapchakhov claimed one each. Chapchakhov also claimed a Bf 110 over the same place. It’s possible that Aleksandr Yelkhov also took part in this combat since it’s known that he claimed a Ju 88 together with another pilot during the day.

Leytenant Balyuk claimed a shared Ju 88 over Kobylkino on 15 August. This claim was made together with two more pilots and it’s possible that one of them was Aleksandr Yelkhov.

On 26 August, he was severely wounded in combat and sent to hospital and didn’t fly any more missions with 38 IAP.

He was decorated with the Order of the Red Banner on 11 February 1942.

In May 1942 and upon recovery, he was then posted to 237 IAP on the Stalingrad Front.

In August, he became commander of the 1st eskadrilya.

On 7 December 1942, he was decorated with the Order of Patriotic War 1st Class.

He was decorated with a second Order of the Red Banner on 30 January 1943.

On 31 January 1943, he was promoted to kapitan, as the unit became the 54 GIAP on the same date.

The unit next moved to the Central Front.
By May 1943, he had taken part in 137 engagements.

He then took part in the Battle of Kursk.

On 24 August 1943, he was decorated with the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union and the Order of Lenin.

In October 1943, 54 GIAP was re-equipped from Yak-1s to Airacobras, then moving to the 1st Belorussian Front for the campaigns of 1944.

Balyuk ended the war with 4 biplane victories and a total of 16. These had been claimed during more than 348 sorties (by 31 March 1945) and 140 air combats.
During his career, he had also been decorated with the Order of Aleksandr Nevskiy, a second Order of Patriotic War 1st Class (on 11 March 1983) and the Order of the Red Star.

Balyuk stayed in the service after the war and graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1951, coming off active duty as a polkovnik in 1973.

He passed away on 13 January 1993 in Rostov on Don.

Claims:
Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  1941                
1 13/07/41 p.m. 1 Bf 109 Destroyed I-153   Soltsy airfield 38 IAP
2 18/07/41   1 Bf 110 Destroyed I-153   Staraya Russa airfield - Ivanovskoye 38 IAP
3 11/08/41   1 Bf 109 Destroyed I-153   Lake Ilmen 38 IAP
4 13/08/41   1 Ju 88 Destroyed I-153   Bol'shaya Gorushka 38 IAP
  15/08/41   1/3 Ju 88 Shared destroyed I-153   Kobylkino 38 IAP
  1942                
5 21/10/42   1 Bf 109 Destroyed Yak-1   NW Dubovka 237 IAP
6 24/10/42   1 FW 189 Destroyed Yak-1   Location 226 SD (Stalingrad) 237 IAP
7 24/10/42   1 Bf 109 Destroyed Yak-1   SE Grachi 237 IAP
8 24/10/42   1 Bf 109 Destroyed Yak-1   SE Grachi 237 IAP
9 01/11/42   1 Bf 109 Destroyed Yak-1   W Vinnovka 237 IAP
10 11/12/42   1 Ju 52/3m Destroyed Yak-1   S Pitomnik 237 IAP
  18/12/42   1/2 Bf 109 Shared destroyed Yak-1   Karpovka 237 IAP
  1943                
  13/01/43   1/2 Ju 88 Shared destroyed Yak-1   W Nizhne-Chirskaya 237 IAP
11 15/01/43   1 Ju 88 Destroyed Yak-1   N Bol'shaya Rossoshka airfield 237 IAP
12 31/05/43   1 FW 190 Destroyed Yak-1   Sadovaya - Borzenki 54 GIAP
13 02/06/43   1 FW 190 Destroyed Yak-1   Khitrovo 54 GIAP
14 05/07/43   1 Ju 87 Destroyed Yak-1   S Bogomosyev 54 GIAP
15 08/07/43   1 FW 190 Destroyed Yak-1   Skorodnoye 54 GIAP
  1944                
16 20/07/44   1 FW 190 Destroyed Airacobra   Berezhtsy 54 GIAP

Biplane victories: 4 and 1 shared destroyed.
TOTAL: 16 and 3 shared destroyed.

Sources:
All aces of Stalin 1936–1953 – Mikhail Bykov, 2014
Russian Fighter Aces of 1914-1953 years
Soviet Aces 1936-1953
Soviet Fighter Pilots 1936-1953 - Mikhail Bykov
Stalin's Eagles - Hans D. Seidl, 1998 Schiffer Publishing, ISBN 0-7643-0476-3
Stalin's Falcons - Tomas Polak and Christopher Shores, 1999 Grub Street, London, ISBN 1-902304-01-2
Асы Великой Отечественной. Самые результативные летчики 1941-1945 гг - Mikhail Bykov, 2007 Moscow, ISBN 978-5-699-20526-4




Last modified 13 March 2020