Ivan Semenowicz Polbin was born in 1905 in a prison cell. In the early years, he attended elementary school and worked as a shepherd. A little later he moved from his native village and was employed as a laborer on the railroad. He also joined the Komsomol. When in 1927 he was drafted into the army, he finally found his destiny. He quickly climbed the career ladder, in 1931 he graduated with honors from the military pilot school in Orenburg. For the rest of his life took a total of 157 sorties, and in less than 15 years from a private became a major general of the Red Army. He fought in the Middle East, in the Battle of Stalingrad and Sandomierz. In 1945 he was sent to Lower Silesia.

Why did Polobin become famous? Friends and subordinates certainly admired his impulsive character and courage. Even as a general, despite the prohibition, he continued flying combat. He never left his pilots in difficult missions, or at least in such a way Soviet propaganda showed him. Crazy ideas of Polbin connected with tactical aviation went down in history. Above all the first known use of bombers to shoot down enemy aircraft is attributed to him (usually addressing this with the escort fighters). In October 1943 his regiment destroyed six German planes while losing three of their own. That way the Soviet bombing avoided enemy positions. In 1942 he was awarded the highest title of Hero of the Soviet Union, and three years later he received it the second time. Unfortunately posthumously.

What happened in 1945 above burning Breslau? On February 10, 1945 there was held the first Soviet air raids on the capital of Lower Silesia. The next day, beautiful weather encouraged Polbin who stationed in Brzeg to lead the regiment of nine bombers over Oporów, a village near Wroclaw. He chose to fly over the city, hoping that would hide in the dense smoke bursting from the burning buildings. This courageous decision proved disastrous for him and the crew. Pe-2 aircraft was spotted and shot down by a cannon standing in Fiołkowa street near today’s FAT. The machine exploded, the remains of the general has never been found.

Nowadays, one of the streets of Kozanów is named after him.

Author: Tajemniczy Wrocław

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