Transport - Great Patriotic War
The Soviet Russia had two main newspapers. Pravda, which means "Truth", was the official voice of the Communist Party. Izvestia, which means "News", was the official voice of the Soviet Government. As is well known, “There is no Pravda in Izvestiya and there is no Izvestiya in Pravda” - in English "There is no truth in News, and there is no news in Truth."
Most Soviet aircraft from the 1920s, had designations that indicated their mission type. For example, the Polikarpov 1-2: the "I" standing for Istrebitel' (fighter or pursuit). "R" stood for Razvedchik (reconnaissance), TB for Tyazhyolyy bombardirovshchik (heavy bomber), SB for Skorostnoy bombardirovshchik (fast bomber), and Dallnyy bombardirovshchik (long-range bomber).
In 1925 the U.S. Army adopted a new designation system for cargo/transport aircraft. Between 1919 and 1924, aircraft used a T- (Transport) designation and in 1925 the system was changed to C- (Cargo). The C- system is still in use today although the numbering started over in 1962 when the Army, Navy and Air Force systems were combined and simplified. The Douglas C-1 was the first plane assigned in the new C category. The Soviet Union's approach was very un-America. The Perevozchik Samolet renders as "transport aircraft", though Perevozchik might also render as "carrier". The P might also stand for Passazhira = Passenger - or Poshtova = Postal. Unlike some other designators, there was no strict numerican sequence to the P series, so the PS-84 [the Li-2, the license-built DC-3], did not imply the existence of 83 previous models in the P series.
There was a madness to this method. Initially, in the late 1920s and early 1930s, designers and aviators did not draw a clear distinction between large long-range aircraft types - a single design might with minor modifications be used as both a transport and a bomber. But the United States drew a clear distinction in requirements [the C designator], even if the capability meeting that requirement was also capable of meeting other requirements with no more than minor modification.
There was no Pravda in Izvestia. The Soviets were slow to recognize that while early bombers and transports had much in common, over time these requirements diverged. Good bombers need to be fast and to fly at high altitude, requirements that were of secondary importance to a transport. In contrast, transports required a large fuselage to acommodate paratroopers and other cargo that was far less dense than iron bombs.
This discrepancy persisted through the end of the war. The United States emerged from World War II with a fleet of cargo planes that surpassed the rest of the world combined. During the War Britain and America had agreed to a division of labor under which America contrated on Cargo aircraft, which gave America a major post-War advatange in the field. But in 1945, when America dropped atomic-bombs from the B-29, the Soviets were still dropping bombs from DC-3s, and using bombers to drop paratroopers.
The USSR was a pioneer in the development of airborne troops. As early as 1927, small airborne units were employed against outlaw bands in central Asia. M. N. Tukhachevsky, the Leningrad Military District commander, and his staff in a paper entitled "Operations of an Airborne Assault Force in an Offensive Operation" in 1928. The seminal early work positing the Soviet belief that large fast-moving ‘deep’ operations could lead to the rapid disaggregation of an enemy’s combat power was V.K. Triandafillov’s 1929 "The Nature of the Operations of Modern Armies". From Minov's initial demonstration with seven jumpers in August, 1930, the Soviets progressed to 600 jumpers in September, 1934 at another demonstration. The following September, in an exercise in the Belorussian Military District, 1800 paratroopers were successfully airdropped and 5700 more were airlanded. These troops were used "to disorganize control and operations of the rear area of the enemy.
During the the first two Five-Year Plans, the military leaders found a novel use for their proliferating aircraft, namely to carry paratroopers and their support equipment behind the enemy lines to disrupt the opponent at some depth. The parachute troops, an idea which Tukhachevsky pushed vigorously, were first organized in 1931 in two small units. The available aircraft, such as the TB-l and R-5, were not adequate for anything beyond small operations, but the introduction of the TB-3, the four-engine bomber and its transport version, changed the picture by 1934 so that the build-up of the airborne forces could proceed apace. By 1935 the military leaders had enough confidence in their airborne troops to inject them into the main maneuvers at Kiev and before foreign military observers.
An important role in the offensive strategy of the Red Army was assigned to airborne assault forces. They had to seize bridges and crossings, airfields, road junctions, important industrial facilities, as well as support partisans and underground workers behind enemy lines.
The Soviet Union was the first to really set about preparing for airborne assault. At the end of the Great War, Germans and Frenchmen delivered saboteurs through the front line on the airplanes. These were the first combat landings. But two or three people participated in them, no more. In the 1920s, the British gained some experience in transporting troops through the air. In the process of "maintaining order" in the colonies in India and the Middle East, they transported small units, weapons and ammunition for them on airplanes, and also tried to supply remote posts and small garrisons by air.
The Soviet scope was completely different. This was due primarily to the fact that only the Soviet Air Force then had high-capacity aircraft - heavy multi-engine bombers. The first parachute landing in the world was thrown out on August 2, 1930 during the exercises of the Moscow military district from the plane Farman "Goliath"; with him in two batches dropped landing of 12 people. Commanded the group LG. Minov, the aircraft was piloted by the pilot Gromov (the namesake of the famous test center). The landing took place in the area of the Klochkovo farm. After the landing of the paratroopers, three R-1 biplanes dropped their weapons and ammunition in special containers. The paratroopers were armed with revolvers, carbines and grenades; the structure of the dropped cargo included two machine guns.
Only a month passed, and near Leningrad, at the station Siverskaya, landed a much larger landing with equipment. For its transfer, the aircraft used were Ju-1 and TB-1. This reflected the concept of "raid assault", quickly moving around the enemy's rear. For this purpose a squad of paratroopers received cars, motorcycles and bicycles. The disembarkation lasted from 8 am to 1 pm on September 3, 1930. Ford A cars were delivered only under TB-1. The vehicles were transported in partially disassembled form, without front wheels and a windshield, which were stacked in the bow cabin. Some of the cars were converted into self-propelled gun rigs with an ammunition of 14 shells and a crew of three.
Soviet military theorists believed that strategic bombers would be a cheap and effective means to protect their country. One of the first aircraft created in the USSR was the heavy bomber "TB-1" designed by Tupolev. It was a twin-engine all-metal monoplane. In 1929 - 1932, at least 218 aircraft of this brand were built. Very soon, the TB-1 aircraft were considered obsolete and withdrawn from the first line of bomber aviation. And later they were used only as transport. The first heavy Soviet bomber became the first main transport aircraft for the Soviet airborne paratroopers. For this purpose, a plywood cradle designed by P.I. Grokhovsky had 12 seats.
In 1930, Tupolev created an even more powerful heavy bomber - "TB-3". It was a four-engine monoplane with a free-carrying wing. In 1937, serial production of machines was stopped, making 818 aircraft in various versions. Part of the aircraft "TB-3" was immediately produced for military transport aviation. Another part of the bombers was redone for military transport aircraft as they became obsolete. In this capacity, "TB-3" was used until 1944.
The 4-engine heavy bombers TB-3 were produced in several versions, including special transport vehicles, adapted for the transport of 30 paratroopers or infantrymen with full equipment, or 3,500 kg of military cargo. Some 16 people from this number, bent down, were placed in the wings of the aircraft. A considerable amount of cargo cabin allowed transportation of machine guns, mortars, boxes with ammunition, fuel tanks and light guns (for example, 45 mm anti-tank guns) in it. Larger systems were attached to the lower surface of the fuselage of the aircraft in a special drop-shaped capsule with a hole for the trunk and two small wheels.
Many writers criticize the aircraft "TB-1" and "TB-3" for the fact that they were very obsolete. But the whole point is that in the 1920s and 1930s the planes in general quickly became obsolete. The airplane could be adopted as the most modern in the world, and in 3 years it could become obsolete.
Stalin preferred to use the old "TB-3" aircraft for the transfer of paratroopers, in spite of the fact that they were very inconvenient for the paratroopers. Before the release of the "TB-3", a part of the paratroopers had to get out. From the right side door they climbed to the right wing. Through the cockpit of the pilot to the left. Through machine gun turrets on the roof of the fuselage. Another part of the paratroopers jumped through bombers, cargo compartments and from the radio operator's cabin. Jumping from different places, they had to manage to jump in a certain order with minimal intervals, so that there was not a lot of scatter in the air.
In 1932, the PD-O parachute system was successfully tested for dropping a 76 mm mountain cannon. 1913. It was suspended between the racks of the chassis of the bomber TB-1, the parachute in the box of the cylinder-conical form was attached to the bomb-holder Der-13 under its fuselage. Later, in the Oskonbureau, the PD-M2 suspension was made for two Harleys with strollers. It was carried by a bomber TB-1 under the fuselage. In terms of the same carrier, a parachute suspension PD-A for a Ford car (GAZ-A) was designed. The car was not quite ordinary. First, in the Oskonbureau, it was converted into a pickup truck, in the back of which it was mounted on the tripod of the DRP. Secondly, the car received reinforced springs, hubcaps on the spokes of the wheels and a fairing in front of the radiator.
They proposed the original idea of an "airbus" - cabins for parachute dropping from a flying flight. "Airbus" had the appearance of a short and thick wing and after the discharge had to plan a little, and then roll on wheels ("summer airbus") or on skis ("winter"). This device was intended to throw the first wave of assault, providing a surprise for its appearance and reducing the risk for carrier aircraft that might not have passed over the chosen site, which could be defended by anti-aircraft weapons. "Airbuses" had several options, passenger and cargo, wooden, mixed and metal construction. The device did not reduce the vulnerability of the carrier in comparison with the parachute systems; on the contrary, it substituted the aircraft for the fire of small arms - in fact, the discharge was carried out from a height of no more than 12-15 m (dropped from 5-8 m on tests).
On what were all these going to transfer to the enemy's rear? Initially, the bet was made on the Tupolev ANT-9 three-engine aircraft. Although formally he was considered civilian, he created it mainly on the money of the Air Force as a military transport. One of the boot options was the transfer of 10 skydivers on the wing, but this installation led to the fact that the Air Force Office refused the order of these aircraft. It decided to drop the paratroopers from the heavy bombers TB-1 and TB-3. Since both of them were once designed by OTB as a machine for the transportation of bulky goods, they had considerable opportunities for carrying armored vehicles, artillery and cars on the external suspension between the racks specially made by a very high chassis.
TB-3 was sometimes specially modified for the release of paratroopers. The paratroopers jumped into the bomb bay, the hatches in the wing and the front door. In March 1936, M.N. Tukhachevsky ordered: "All airplanes of TB-3 will be adapted for the landing of the landing (second doors, underwing hatches)." But really not many planes were converted, and the second doors, it seems, did not do at all. And when landing the landing, the carrying capacity of the bombers was not fully used. The fact is that the bombs - the cargo is heavy, but compact. A capacious fuselage bomber is not really needed. A huge TB-3 could accept only 20 paratroopers.
They started with small "cradles". Most of all, this thing looked like a metal-bound coffin without a lid. The parachutist was placed in the cradle and lay there until the moment of discharge. Above the required place the airplane of the plane was yanked by the handle of the bomb-thrower, the cable pulled out a safety pin, the rubber shock absorber turned the cradle. The parachutist fell out, and the halyard attached to the cradle pulled the parachute ring. For the paratrooper, everything happened automatically, that's why the device was officially called the "automatic ejector of the Red Army men". TB-1 carried sixteen cradles, located under the wings and fuselage.
"Ejector" gave two advantages: it allowed fuller use of the carrying capacity of the aircraft and ensured the simultaneous discharge of the entire group of paratroopers. But the military tests of TB-1 with this device, which took place in 1931, revealed quite a few shortcomings. Parachutists "cradles" were directly associated with coffins: you lie alone, it's cold, you can not see anything, there's no connection with the crew and other paratroopers, and then bang - and suddenly fly down. From the paratroopers and the designer it received the nickname "Grokhovsky's coffin". The commission for trials "cradle" came to the conclusion that such an approach "adversely affects the morale of the fighters". The main role was played by the soldiers, who felt themselves the living dead, being in a "Coffin". Grokhovsky was sympathetic to this, an the "automatic ejector" was rejected.
In parallel, they worked on hanging cabins for heavy bombers. The first such cabin was made in 1931 for TB-1. Cab KP -1 was attached under the fuselage and was designed for 16 people. She weighed about a ton. The carrier aircraft decreased speed and ceiling, aggravated maneuverability, increased takeoff on takeoff. But the paratroopers in KP-1, of course, was more comfortable than in the "cradles". From the second time in 1932, the cabin overcame the line of state tests. October 7, it was formally accepted for the supply of the Air Force. In 1932-1933, industry produced KP-1 in 50 copies.
Landing paratroopers was considered in those years only as the first phase of a major landing operation. Following the parachute landing was to follow the landing. From the first wave it was required to seize a suitable platform, where planes with infantry, guns and tanks were to land. For the transport of heavy machinery, suspension and cargo platforms were designed and manufactured. They were attached between the racks of the chassis of the bombers TB-1 and TB-3.
Soviet airborne doctrine and forces continued to grow throughout the 1930s as the fledgling Soviet aircraft industry produced larger, more capable transport aircraft. The TB-3, a four engine bomber, was converted to a transport that could carry 32 paratroopers in the late 1930s, a major step forward. At the battle of Khalklin-Gol in August, 1939, Soviet airborne troops made their first combat jump against the Japanese. This mission was to relieve Soviet ground forces temporarily cut off by the enemy. Although successful, these airdrops were so small as to be unmentioned by most Soviet historians - they were recorded only by one of the pilots who participated in the operation.
Throughout the war, Soviet Airborne forces were employed at the tactical level in conjunction with land attacks. Drop zones were usually no more than 100 km in advance of the front with units being dropped that were seldom bigger than a battalion. The normal mission called for the paratroopers to hold a position for as long as 48 hours or until the tanks of the main force arrived. Several airdrops involving 400-500 paratroopers were ordered by Marshal Zhukov against the Germans in December 1941-May 1942. However, most of these were not successful due to a variety of reasons. Poor planning doomed most of them, while lack of aircraft or fighter support rendered the others ineffective.
At the beginning of the war, part of the military-transport tasks was entrusted to the TB-3 heavy bombers from the long-range aviation, and in the spring of 1942 the first airborne transport unit was created, equipped with the Li-2 and DC-3 aircraft. In the VTA, passenger aircraft PS-40, SS-41, FS-7 and PS-9 were also mobilized. During the war, new Yak-6 and Shche-2 military transport planes were created and put into serial production. they were extremely simple, to the maximum extent appropriate for the production of wartime. The serial production of the most massive domestic military-technical cooperation of the 1940s also continued - the Li-2. In total for the years of the Great Patriotic War the Air Force 1214 planes of this type were transferred.
The construction of A-7, G-11, KS-20 and BDP-2 landing gliderswas also conducted. However, during the war years gliders were not widely used in the Soviet armed forces.
The Soviets' use of their airborne troops during the Great Patriotic War was severely restricted for lack of aviation assets. Throughout the Great Patriotic War, VDV paratroopers used modified bombers and civilian airliners. As a consequence, paratroopers could only exit aircraft slowly, which increased dispersion upon landing and added to the number of serials needed to deliver paratroopers to their targets. After the war, the VDV blamed its wartime failures on these inadequate transport arrangements and lobbied for specialized airborne transport aircraft, whose size and spacious rear exits would facilitate rapid mass paratroop drops.
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