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Red Air Force - Interwar Period

After the Civil War in the RSFSR (later - the USSR) in the short term restored and partially expanded aviation enterprises which launched production of domestic aircraft construction. This allowed in 1924-1933 adopting Soviet Air Force fighter I-2, I-3, I-4, I-5, the scouts - P-1, P-3 and heavy bombers TB-1 and TB-3.

On September 24th, 1924 the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR adopted a three-year plan for development of the Air Force of the Workers 'and Peasants' Red Army (Red Army), later called "Plan 1200". It is envisaged to increase the number of operating aircraft in the 1925-1926 biennium to 575, and 1927-1928 up to 1,200 combat vehicles.

Simultaneously with the development of the Red Air Force was going institutionalization of air forces (1928 - antiaircraft) defense (IN). In accordance with the decree of the Council of People's Commissars (SNK) of the RSFSR of January 17, 1921 "On air movements" (entered into force on 1 March of the same year) was established and legally full and exclusive sovereignty of the Soviet state in the airspace above its land and water territories. With the signing of the Union Treaty of 30 December 1922 this rule applies to all the republics of the Soviet Union.

The main load of the Organization in the country fell on the Red Army Air Force. August 31, 1924 it formed anti-aircraft artillery regiment in Leningrad for the first time in the Red Army in the interests of air defense. In the following years for the Air Defense (PVO) in Moscow and other major cities in the country formed Fighter and air defense artillery brigade, set up special units equipped with spotlights, sound locator, as well as part of the air monitoring, warning and communication.

In accordance with the decision of SNK on April 15, 1924 Red Air Fleet was transformed into the Red Army Air Force, which in the new concept of the reform of the Red Army were considered an important part of the armed forces. There was a marked increased the role and importance of air defense of the country.

The rapid development of air attack in foreign countries demanded that the military and political leadership of the USSR taking drastic steps to further improve the construction and operational principles for the air force and air defense forces. This period was marked by the rapid qualitative and quantitative growth of Soviet aviation, the beginning of the formation of major aviation associations and connections, carrying out large-scale tactical exercises with the use of a large number of aircraft.

In 1925, a twin-engine all-metal monoplane ANT-4 (military version of TB-1) was built in the Soviet Union, one of the most powerful heavy bombers of its class in the world. On October 13, 1929 the crew of S. Shestakova, F. Bolotov, B. and D. Sterligov Fufaeva on ANT-4 "Land of the Soviets" for the first time in world practice implemented Outbound flight across three continents (from Europe to America through Asia). In the 1930s Soviet aircraft continues to set world records. In July 1936 a group of Soviet pilots: VP Chkalov, GF Bajdukov and AV Belyakov made transarctic flight from Moscow to the Far East, covering a distance of 9374 km in 56 hours and 20 minutes.

From 18 to 20 June 1937 the same crew made the first in the history of aviation transpolar non-stop flight on the route Moscow - North Pole - the United States, first flying over the North Pole and the pole of inaccessibility. Soviet women participated in the ultra-long-haul flights. On September 24-25, 1938 the plane "Rodina" (ANT-37bis) female crew: V. Grizodubova, Osipenko and M. Raskova flew for 26.5 hours, 5908 km from Moscow to the Far East in extremely adverse weather conditions and at low temperature.

The development of military aviation was accompanied by institutionalization of the Forces of Aerial Defence (from 1928 the Forces of Air Defence (Russian abb. AD). For aerial defence some anti-aircraft artillery divisions were created, from 1924 anti-aircraft artillery regiments.

In 1932, the Air Force acquired the status of an independent Arm. The Air Force of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army was organizationally divided into the Military, the Army and the Front Aviation. In 1933, the Heavy Bombardment Aviation (as a means of the Main Command) was structurally organized.

On May 10, 1932 the Administration of Air Defence of the Red Army was created. Some brigades, divisions, corps of air defence were formed. The attack was seen as the main and decisive form of military action. The theory of the deep offensive operation, developed before the war, was an outstanding achievement of Soviet military art. The essence of this theory is that the front-line combination, using sharply increased fire power and impact of aviation, land and airborne forces were to strike crushing blows and striking the enemy at the depth of his operational formation. At the same time aviation was seen as a powerful tool to support agile and cover ground troops on the battlefield and as the main long-range means to destroy the enemy in the operational depth.

In the interwar period there was an accumulation of combat experience of the Soviet Air Force in various military conflicts, directly or indirectly affect the interests of the USSR in the Eurasian continent. The country gained new heroes in 1936-1939, when 35 Soviet volunteer pilots and Air Force military advisors, who took an active part in the national-revolutionary war of the Spanish people, were awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union: the brigade commanders PI Pumpur, YV Smushkevich; Colonel BA Turzhansky; Major EG Schacht; IT Masters Eremenko, SF Tarhov; senior lieutenants VM Bocharov, SI Gritsevets, AI Gusev, SP Denisov, II Dushkin, II Eusebius, KI Kolesnikov, II Kopec, AS Asipenka, GM Prokofiev, II Proskurov, PV Leverage, AS Senators, AK Serov, PF Shevtsov, VI Shevchenko; Lieutenant NF Balanov, NS Gerasimov, KI Kovtun, IA Lakeev, AG Romanov, IA Khovanskii, SA Black, NI Shmelkov; junior commander PP Desnitsky; VS Goranov, PA Dzhibelli, VS Holzunov.

In 1936 the leadership of the Soviet Union decided to send volunteers and military equipment to Spain to support the government in Spain. The first air fights showed that the level of tactical and flight training of Soviet aviators did not always correspond to the requirements that existed at the time. A. Galland, who headed in 1937-1938 gg. one of the squadrons of the German legion "Condor", so spoke about the level of training of Russian pilots: "The Soviet Air Force, the only ones used by the Reds in Spain, demonstrated fundamental shortcomings in command, organization, training and technical equipment. They could not cure these diseases, despite their aggressiveness, flight skills, savvy and ruthless methods of control".

In the second half of the 1930s, the Air Force of the Red Army got the opportunity to improve the operational and tactical skills of the flight crew not only on the maneuvers and maneuvers of troops, but also during armed conflicts, in real air battles. However, if after the return of the first groups of pilots from Spain and China attempts were made to generalize and analyze the experience of combat operations of aviation, to compare the aircraft equipment of the opposing sides and the level of training of the pilots, then later, after the change of the leadership of the Air Force in 1937, this work practically ceased. Critical remarks were treated with caution.




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