June 22, 1941 Soviet pilot Ivan Kalabushkin in air battles over Brest destroyed two Hitler's "Junkers", the same number of "Messerschmitts" and "Heinkel". All in all, on the personal combat account of the heroic pilot who went through the whole war and made over 350 sorties, there were 15 units of downed enemy equipment.
Burning sky over Brest
The heroic Soviet pilot Ivan Kalabushkin was born into a peasant family. He graduated from a factory school and a workers' school. In 1936, Kalabushkin was drafted into the army. The smart guy was admitted to the Voroshilovgrad Military Aviation Pilot School.
Kalabushkin met the war as a lieutenant of the 123rd Fighter Regiment, and in the very first Great Patriotic War he took part in air battles with Hitler's aces in the sky over the Brest Fortress. A flight of I-153 "Chaika" fighters under the command of Kalabushkin attacked a group of Ju-88 bombers ("Junkers"). "Seagulls", before starting the battle, following the example of the leader, gained altitude and found themselves above the enemy aircraft.
Kalabushkin hit the leading Junkers with well-aimed machine-gun fire, then, having made an air maneuver, shot down the second bomber. Several more Nazi vehicles were destroyed by the lieutenant's comrades. The German pilots panicked, dropped their bombs aimlessly and turned their planes around. At that time, Soviet fighters were already running out of fuel and ammunition, so they did not pursue enemy aircraft.
After refueling, the I-153 flight took off again. In that battle, Kalabushkin shot down another enemy plane, going into the tail of the enemy.
The third air battle with the participation of the lieutenant's flight took place on the evening of June 22. Ivan Nikolaevich's "Seagull" launched a frontal attack on a group of Hitler's Me-109s ("Messerschmitt"). Having made a dizzying turn and again finding himself in the tail of the fighter, the Soviet pilot hit him with machine-gun fire. Another such maneuver - the next Messer, shot down by Kalabushkin, caught fire.
In that battle, the lieutenant was seriously wounded in both legs, and he barely made it to his airfield. In total, the 123rd Fighter Regiment on the first day of the Great Patriotic War destroyed 30 enemy vultures in the skies over Brest.
"Red Plow" presented a plane
Recovering from an injury in a hospital near Moscow took a little time - already in July 1941, the pilot insisted that he be sent to the front in his unit. Kalabushkin began to master the new Yak-1 fighter.
At the end of July, over 20 Nazi bombers and fighters attacked the Soviet airfield. Link Yak-1 under the command of Ivan Nikolaevich entered the battle with enemy aircraft. In this battle Kalabushkin shot down the Heinkel, but his fighter also got it. The pilot jumped out of an airplane engulfed in flames with a parachute. With wounds and burns, the lieutenant was again taken to the hospital.
The second time Kalabushkin was hit in October 1941 near Yukhnov - an enemy shell pierced the fighter's oil tank. It was risky to jump with a parachute - the Germans would have easily shot a parachutist in the air. Kalabushkin barely landed the plane in a swamp behind enemy lines. For four days the lieutenant went to his own, changing his military uniform for civilian clothes, which had been given to him by a peasant family. Meanwhile, the comrades considered Ivan Nikolaevich dead.
In the early spring of 1942, Senior Lieutenant Ivan Kalabushkin was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union for the heroism and courage shown in air battles. By that time, the pilot had eight shot down enemy planes on his personal account. The fellow villagers from the Krasny Plug collective farm, having learned from the newspapers about such a high award of their fellow countryman, collected 125 thousand rubles for the construction of a personalized plane for Kalabushkin. The son was handed a fighter, built at one of the Volga factories, by his father Nikolai Dmitrievich.
The squadron of Ivan Kalabushkin as part of the air defense regiment guarded Moscow from enemy air raids, and also attacked Nazi airfields, participated in other raids behind enemy lines. By the spring of 1945, Guards Major I. N. Kalabushkina had more than 350 sorties on his account, in which he shot down 15 fascist fighters and bombers. In addition to the Star of the Hero on the chest of Ivan Nikolaevich, apart from medals, there were two Orders of the Red Banner, the Order of Alexander Nevsky, and two Orders of the Red Star.
At the end of World War II, Kalabushkin was sent to the Air Force Academy. At first, a combat pilot studied himself, then he became a mentor to the younger generation of air fighters. Ivan Nikolaevich graduated from the Academy of the General Staff, commanded a division, and subsequently an army. For health reasons (the injuries suffered) at the age of 49, Major General Kalabushkin was forced to retire, but continued to work in civilian specialties. The Hero of the Soviet Union died at the age of 70. Ivan Kalabushkin was buried in one of the cemeteries of St. Petersburg.