Leonid Kalian

Leonid Kalian

Fighter pilot
Date of Birth: 17.03.1917
Country: Ukraine

Biography of Leonid Kalyan

Leonid Petrovich Kalyan, a fighter pilot, was born on March 17, 1917, in Melitopol, now part of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast in Ukraine. He came from a working-class family and completed his education at an incomplete secondary school and a factory technical school in 1934. After his education, he worked as a locksmith and toolmaker at the Vorovsky Factory in Melitopol.

In 1936, Kalyan graduated from an aeroclub and started working there as an instructor and pilot. He joined the Red Army in 1937 and completed his pilot training at the Kachin Military Aviation School in 1938. Kalyan actively participated in the Great Patriotic War from November 1941, serving as a Lieutenant and commanding the 2nd Squadron of the 487th Fighter Aviation Regiment.

During 1941-1942, Kalyan achieved several victories while leading his squadron. He continued to distinguish himself in the spring and summer of 1943 while serving in a different unit. On March 12, 1943, as the commander of the 573rd Fighter Aviation Regiment (101st Fighter Aviation Division, Air Defense Forces), Captain Kalyan led six fighters in a battle against 84 German aircraft attacking the railway station in Valuyki, Belgorod Oblast. In the intense 40-minute battle, the Soviet pilots shot down seven enemy planes, including two destroyed by ramming tactics. Kalyan personally shot down two bombers in this fight.

For his courage and military valor demonstrated in battles against the enemy, Leonid Kalyan was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union on April 21, 1943. However, this was not his only victory. According to the book "Air Defense Forces in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945" on page 302, on June 6, 1944, Kalyan, now a Captain and a hero, along with other pilots, successfully repelled a group night attack on the railway junction in Vinnytsia, destroying three enemy bombers and foiling the enemy's plans.

Throughout his military career, the brave fighter pilot personally destroyed at least six enemy aircraft and one as part of a group. After the war, Leonid Petrovich continued his service in the Air Forces. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1953 and settled in Kiev. He worked as a senior engineer at Ukrhiprograd. Leonid Kalyan was honored with the Orders of Lenin, the Patriotic War 1st Class, and the Red Star. His name was given to the instrumental shop of the Vorovsky Factory.