Biplane fighter aces

Soviet Union

Podpolkovnik Vladimir Aleksandrovich Mikhalev HSU

15 July 1914 - 31 May 1990

Date Decoration Note
21/04/40 Order of the Red Banner 1st
13/08/41 Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union  
13/08/41 Order of Lenin  
13/05/44 Order of the Red Banner 2nd
30/04/47 Medal ”For Military Merit”  
27/12/51 Order of the Red Star  
11/03/85 Order of the Patriotic War, 1st Class  

Vladimir Mikhalev was born in Rtishchevo on 15 July 1914.

Before the war, he lived in Moscow and joined the Navy in 1936. He graduated from the Yeyskoye Naval Air School in 1938 and was posted to the Baltic Fleet.

He took part in the Finnish-Soviet Winter War of 1939-1940, flying Polikarpov I-153s in 12 OIAE-KBF between November 1939 and March 1940.
During this conflict he flew 32 combat missions.

When Germany invaded the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941, he served as a leitenant and flight commander in the 71 IAP-KBF, which was equipped with Polikarpov I-153s.

On 17 July I-153s from 71 IAP-KBF patrolled over the Narva River in Estonia. When returning to their base they were immediately scrambled to intercept enemy Henschel Hs 126s. Over the city of Narva, Mikhalev intercepted one of the enemy aircraft. He attacked it twice but didn’t succeed in shooting it down. After running out of ammunition, he decided to ram it. His propeller chopped off the tail on the enemy aircraft and it crashed to the ground.
This claim can’t be verified with Luftwaffe records.
Mikhalev managed to return his damaged fighter to his airfield and land but he was seriously wounded and hospitalized and remained in hospital until January 1942.

On 13 August, he was awarded the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union and the Order of Lenin for this combat.

Between 17 January 1942 and 4 September 1942, he studied at the VMAU.

In September 1942, he was posted to 3 IAP-KBF. He didn’t, however, start flying combat missions until April 1943.

He left 3 IAP-KBF in January 1944, when he was posted to 25 IAP-ChF of the Black Sea Fleet.
On 12 February 1944, he claimed two Ju 87s.

25 IAP-ChF was disbanded on 1 November 1944.

Mikhalev ended the war with 1 biplane victory and a total of 4.
These had been claimed during 86 combat missions.

He continued to serve in the Navy after the war before retiring as a Podpolkovnik in 1954.
During his career, he was also decorated with a second Order of the Red Banner, the Order of the Patriotic War 1st Class and the Order of the Red Star.

He lived in Khoste (Sochi) before passing away on 31 May 1990.

Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
1 17/07/41   1 He126 (a) Destroyed I-153   Narva 71 IAP-KBF
2 12/02/44   1 Ju 87 Destroyed LaGG-3     25 IAP-ChF
3 12/02/44   1 Ju 87 Destroyed LaGG-3     25 IAP-ChF
4 02/03/44   1 FW 190 Destroyed LaGG-3     25 IAP-ChF

Biplane victories: 1 destroyed.
TOTAL: 4 destroyed.
(a) Claimed in a “taran”-attack.

All aces of Stalin 1936–1953 – Mikhail Bykov, 2014
Soviet Aces 1936-1953
Soviet Fighter Pilots 1936-1953 - Mikhail Bykov
Additional information kindly provided by Ondrej Repka.

Last modified 07 April 2021