Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Kapitan Aleksei Stepanovich Khlobystov HSU

Aleksei Khlobystov was born on 23 February 1918 in Zakharovo in the Ryazan region and learned to fly at the Uhtomskom aeroclub during 1938.

In 1939 he joined the army and attended Kachin Military Air Collage where he won his wings in 1941.

He was posted to the 20 IAP before the war.

In June 1941 he was serving as Leitenant at the 153 IAP on the Leningrad Front flying I-153s.

On 22 July, he was decorated with the Order of the Red Banner.

During the autumn of 1941, he was wounded and hospitalized.

Later he served with the same unit at the Volkhov Front flying MiG-3s.

On 1 January 1942, he was posted to the 147 IAP on the Karelian Front near Murmansk flying Curtiss P-40C Tomahawks.

By March 1942, he had become a flight commander.

On 4 April 1942, 147 IAP was designated the 20 GIAP.

On 8 April, he was approved for Communist Party membership, Khlobystov receiving his party card in a ceremony held on the flight line.
Later the same day, four Hurricanes and two Tomahawks of the 20 GIAP rose to intercept a formation of 15 Ju 87s of I/StG 5 that were returning after an unsuccessful mission against Murmansk. The Stukas was escorted by a Bf 110 Schwarm of 10.(Z)/JG 5.
The Soviet fighters caught up with the Germans near Restikent, southwest of Murmansk. One of the Bf 110s was badly shot up before eight Bf 109s intervened. Kapitan Aleksei Pozdnyakov and Leitenant I. D. Fateyev claimed a shared Bf 110. Starshii Leitenant Khlobystov singled out a Bf 110, which was under attack from Serzhant M. Ye. Bychkov and Leitenant V. R. Semen’kov, and chased it down to the deck but the German aircraft simply refused to go down. He flew closer through the Bf 110s propwash and rammed the tailplane with one of his wings whereupon the Bf 110 fell out of control and crashed.
Khlobystov maintained effective control over his fighter and re-joined formation with Kapitan Pozdnyakov and Leitenant Fateyev to bounce the Stukas. One Ju 87 blew up and plunged earthward after their first attack while the others broke formation and dove away.
Pozdnyakov was then seen to engage a Bf 109 head-on with both planes exploding in a mid-air collision, as neither would weaver. Khlobystov wound up with two more Bf 109s on his tail but racked his P-40 around and struck the tailplane of one of these with his damaged wing. While breaking away he observed his victim go down and explode, giving the pilot no chance of survival. To make the whole thing even more remarkable he managed to return with his damaged aircraft and landing it with part of one wing missing!
In all 20 GIAP claimed 5 enemy aircraft including three by ramming, with only one loss (Kapitan Pozdnyakov).
Oberfeldwebel Theodor Weissenberger of 10.(Z)/JG 5 claimed one Soviet fighter in this combat (Totally 208 victories). According to German records only one Bf 110 was lost and the Stukas managed to slip away without losses.


Khlobystov checking the wingtip of his Curtiss P-40C Tomahawk after the combat on 8 April 1942.

Shortly after the combat on 8 April, he was promoted to Kapitan.

On 23 April, he claimed six shared enemy aircraft (1 Bf 110, 2 Bf 109s and 3 Ju 87s) over the Piaive-Jar Lake together with Starshii Leiytenant Adam Kontsevoj, Starshii Leitenant Ivan But, Starshii Leitenant Dmitrij Gorelysev, Mladshii Serzhant Michail Bychkov, Serzhant A. I. Chibisov, Serzhant Petelin and Serzhant Zurov.
But and Chibisov were both shot down and killed during the day by Unteroffizier Rudolf “Rudi” Müller of 6./JG 5, who claimed five victories during one sortie on this date. Whether this was in the above-mentioned combat or in a later one, the same day, is not known.

Two shared Bf 109s were claimed on 29 April in the Bolsaia Zapadna area together with Kapitan Georgiy Gromov, Starshii Leitenant Dmitrij Gorelysev, Starshii Leitenant Kotov, Starshii Leitenant V. I. Krymskiy and Starshii Leitenant Nikolai Yurilin.

On 9 May, he claimed a shared Bf 109 in the Bolsaia Zapadna area together with Starshii Leitenant Dmitrij Gorelysev, Starshii Leitenant V. I. Krymskiy, Starshii Leitenant Nikolai Yurilin, Leitenant Lomakin and Krutikov.

On 14 May 1942, he claimed a third victory by ramming when after that his P-40 had been set on fire by a Bf 109’s 20mm shells, he rammed another Bf 109.
However, no German fighter is listed as lost in this area on this date.
Khlobystov was wounded in an arm and in a leg after this combat.

On 6 June, he was awarded the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union and the Order of Lenin for his more recent actions. He had by this time claimed 5 and 7 shared victories on 266 sorties and 16 air engagements as of 10 April 1942. At the time he was convalescing in hospital from his wounds.
The day before (5 June), he had been decorated with a second Order of the Red Banner.

Following months of recuperation whilst performing non-combat duties, he eventually managed to return to active service with 20 GIAP.

On 13 December 1943, by which time he was leading an eskardrilia in the 20 GIAP, he flew a free hunt mission together with another pilot over the front and along the Petsamo-Titovka road. Neither of the pilots returned from the mission.
Khlobystov’s body was found in 2009.

At the time of his death, Khlobystov had claimed 3 biplane victories and a total of 6. These were claimed on 335 sorties.

Claims:
Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  1941                
1 05/07/41   1 Bf 109 Destroyed I-153   N Konevista Island  153 IAP
2 07/07/41   1 I-15 Destroyed I-153   Sakkola 153 IAP
3 04/08/41   1 Gladiator Destroyed I-153   -Lahti 153 IAP
  1942                
  13/02/42   1/6 Bf 109 Shared destroyed Tomahawk     147 IAP
  13/02/42   1/6 Bf 109 Shared destroyed Tomahawk     147 IAP
  13/02/42   1/6 Bf 109 Shared destroyed Tomahawk     147 IAP
  13/02/42   1/6 Bf 109 Shared destroyed Tomahawk     147 IAP
  13/02/42   1/6 Bf 109 Shared destroyed Tomahawk     147 IAP
  08/04/42   1/5 Bf 110 Shared destroyed Tomahawk ”58” Restikent area 20 GIAP
  08/04/42   1/5 Ju 87 (a) Shared destroyed Tomahawk ”58” Restikent area 20 GIAP
4 08/04/42   1 Bf 110 (b) Destroyed Tomahawk ”58” Restikent area 20 GIAP
5 08/04/42   1 Bf 109 (c) Destroyed Tomahawk ”58” Restikent area 20 GIAP
  23/04/42   1/8 Bf 110 Shared destroyed Tomahawk   Piaive-Jar Lake 20 GIAP
  23/04/42   1/8 Bf 109 Shared destroyed Tomahawk   Piaive-Jar Lake 20 GIAP
  23/04/42   1/8 Bf 109 Shared destroyed Tomahawk   Piaive-Jar Lake 20 GIAP
  23/04/42   1/8 Ju 87 Shared destroyed Tomahawk   Piaive-Jar Lake 20 GIAP
  23/04/42   1/8 Ju 87 Shared destroyed Tomahawk   Piaive-Jar Lake 20 GIAP
  23/04/42   1/8 Ju 87 Shared destroyed Tomahawk   Piaive-Jar Lake 20 GIAP
  29/04/42   1/6 Bf 109 Shared destroyed Tomahawk   Bolsaia Zapadna area 20 GIAP
  29/04/42   1/6 Bf 109 Shared destroyed Tomahawk   Bolsaia Zapadna area 20 GIAP
  09/05/42   1/6 Bf 109 Shared destroyed Kittyhawk   Bolsaia Zapadna area 20 GIAP
  09/05/42   1/5 Bf 109 Shared destroyed Kittyhawk   Bolsaia Zapadna area 20 GIAP
  09/05/42   1/5 Bf 109 Shared destroyed Kittyhawk   Bolsaia Zapadna area 20 GIAP
6 14/05/42   1 Bf 109 (d) Destroyed Kittyhawk ”812”   20 GIAP

Biplane victories: 3 destroyed.
TOTAL: 6 and 18 shared destroyed.
(a) Claimed in combat with Ju 87s from I./StG 5, which didn’t suffer any losses.
(b) Claimed by ramming in combat with Bf 110s from 10.(Z)/JG 5. 20 GIAP claimed 2 victories in this combat but only one Bf 110 was lost.
(c) Claimed by ramming.
(d) Claimed by ramming. However, no German fighter is listed as lost in this area on this date.

Sources:
Aeroram
All aces of Stalin 1936–1953 – Mikhail Bykov, 2014
Black Cross/Red Star Volume II - Christer Bergström and Andrey Mikhailov, 2001 Pacifica Military History, ISBN 0-935553-51-7
Soviet Aces 1936-1953
Soviet Lend-Lease Fighter Aces of World War 2 - George Mellinger, 2006 Osprey Publishing Limited, Oxford, ISBN 1-84603-041-2
Stalin's Eagles - Hans D. Seidl, 1998 Schiffer Publishing, ISBN 0-7643-0476-3
Stalin's Falcons - Tomas Polak and Christhoper Shores, 1999 Grub Street, London, ISBN 1-902304-01-2
Additional information kindly provided by Ondrej Repka.




Last modified 15 January 2018