Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Kapitan Alexei Stepanovich Khlobystov HSU

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

In 1939 he joined the army and attended Kacha 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 Leytenant at the 153 IAP on the Leningrad Front flying I-153s.

On 26 June (alternatively on 27 June) he claimed a Ju 87.

A second Ju 87 was claimed during June or July over his own airfield.

During the autumn of 1941, he was wounded and hospitalized. During this period he was awarded with the Order of the Red Banner.

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

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

He claimed four shared Bf 109s on 18 December in the Bolsaja Zapadna area together with Starshiy Leytenant Dmitrij and pilots from 145 IAP.

By March 1942, he had become a flight commander.

On 7 March 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/StG5 that were returning after an unsuccessful mission against Murmansk. The Stukas was escorted by a Bf 110 Schwarm of 10.(Z)/JG5.
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 Aleksey Pozdnyakov and Leytenant I. D. Fateyev claimed a shared Bf 110. Starshiy Leytenant Khlobystov singled out a Bf 110, which was under attack from Serzhant M. Ye. Bychkov and Leytenant 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 rejoined formation with Kapitan Pozdnyakov and Leytenant 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)/JG5 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 Pjajve-Jar Lake together with Starshiy Leytenant Adam Kontsevoj, Starshiy Leytenant Ivan But, Starshiy Leytenant Dmitrij Gorelysev, Mladshiy 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 Bolsaja Zapadna area together with Kapitan Georgiy Gromov, Starshiy Leytenant Dmitrij Gorelysev, Starshiy Leytenant Kotov, Starshiy Leytenant V. I. Krymskiy and Starshiy Leytenant Jurilin.

On 9 May, he claimed a shared Bf 109 in the Bolsaja Zapadna area together with Starshiy Leytenant Dmitrij Gorelysev, Starshiy Leytenant V. I. Krymskiy, Starshiy Leytenant Jurilin, Leytenant 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 with the Order of the Red Banner for his actions over Leningrad, together with both 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 4 and 6 shared victories on 266 sorties and 16 air engagements as of April 1942. At the time he was convalescing in hospital from his wounds.

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 eskardrilya in the 20 GIAP, he was killed in action.

At the time of his death, Khlobystov had claimed 2 biplane victories and a total of 7. These were claimed on 335 sorties.

Claims:
Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  1941                
1 26/06/41 (a)   1 Ju 87 Destroyed I-153     153 IAP
2 ??/06-07/41   1 Ju 87 Destroyed I-153   Over own airfield 153 IAP
  18/12/41   1/4 Bf 109 Destroyed P-40C   Bolsaja Zapadna area 147 IAP
  18/12/41   1/4 Bf 109 Destroyed P-40C   Bolsaja Zapadna area 147 IAP
  18/12/41   1/4 Bf 109 Destroyed P-40C   Bolsaja Zapadna area 147 IAP
  18/12/41   1/4 Bf 109 Destroyed P-40C   Bolsaja Zapadna area 147 IAP
  1942                
3 08/04/42   1 Bf 110 (b) Destroyed P-40C ’58’ Restikent area 20 GIAP
  08/04/42   1 Ju 87 (c) Shared destroyed P-40C ’58’ Restikent area 20 GIAP
4 08/04/42   1 Bf 109 (d) Destroyed P-40C ’58’ Restikent area 20 GIAP
  23/04/42   1/8 Bf 110 Shared destroyed P-40C   Pjajve-Jar Lake 20 GIAP
  23/04/42   1/8 Bf 109 Shared destroyed P-40C   Pjajve-Jar Lake 20 GIAP
  23/04/42   1/8 Bf 109 Shared destroyed P-40C   Pjajve-Jar Lake 20 GIAP
  23/04/42   1/8 Ju 87 Shared destroyed P-40C   Pjajve-Jar Lake 20 GIAP
  23/04/42   1/8 Ju 87 Shared destroyed P-40C   Pjajve-Jar Lake 20 GIAP
  23/04/42   1/8 Ju 87 Shared destroyed P-40C   Pjajve-Jar Lake 20 GIAP
  29/04/42   1/6 Bf 109 Shared destroyed P-40C   Bolsaja Zapadna area 20 GIAP
  29/04/42   1/6 Bf 109 Shared destroyed P-40C   Bolsaja Zapadna area 20 GIAP
  09/05/42   1/6 Bf 109 Shared destroyed P-40C   Bolsaja Zapadna area 20 GIAP
? 14/05/42   1 Bf 109 (e) Destroyed P-40E ’812’   20 GIAP

Biplane victories: 2 destroyed.
TOTAL: 7 and 24 shared destroyed.
(a) Alternatively on 27 June 1941.
(b) Claimed by ramming in combat with Bf 110s from 10.(Z)/JG5. 20 GIAP claimed 2 victories in this combat but only one Bf 110 was lost.
(c) Claimed in combat with Ju 87s from I/StG5, which didn’t suffer any losses..
(d) Claimed by ramming.
(e) Claimed by ramming. However, no German fighter is listed as lost in this area on this date.

Sources:
Aeroram
Black Cross/Red Star Volume II - Christer Bergström and Andrey Mikhailov, 2001 Pacifica Military History, ISBN 0-935553-51-7
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 November 2011