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Red Air Force - Great Patriotic War

As a result of measures taken by the Communist Party, the combat power of the Soviet Air Force at the time of the attack of Nazi Germany on the Soviet Union had increased significantly. It formed 79 air divisions and five air brigades. The main tactical formation was the Air Division mainly of mixed composition. The number of air regiments grown to June 1941 compared to the beginning of 1939, more than 80 percent.

The structure of the western border military districts to the beginning of the war were 32 aircraft division, 119 aviation regiments and 36 squadrons of aircraft hull. Long-range bombers in the western sector was represented by four air corps and a separate aviation division with 1,346 aircraft. It was designed to address separate operational and strategic objectives.

On January 3, 1931 The Chief of the Air Force of the RKKA wrote for No. SN 10 / with the Chairman of the RVS of the USSR On the creation of an interdepartmental body for the affairs of the Air Fleet". With the formation of the All-Union Civil Air Fleet, directly subordinated to the SRT, an artificial division of civil and military air fleets was created. coordination of measures for military and civil air fleets was achieved by the entry of the Inspectorate into the Military Air Bills. Quite naturally, with the growth of the Civil Air Fleet planned by the development plan, "the previous situation was unsatisfactory. But at the same time, the artificial separation of the two departments working in the same field creates a number of difficulties. It goes without saying that the issues of placing orders with the aircraft industry for aircraft and engines, other industry bodies for fuel, air navigation instruments, electrical equipment, ignition devices, etc. require some kind of "unity, resolving of disputable issues that sometimes arise in the light of insufficient production opportunities." An even greater need for combining activities arises in connection with the organization of aerodromes, their equipment, the network of schools, the dislocation of such devices, their arrangement, capacity, etc.

Because of repression, the Air Force did not have a firm, stable command in its highest level. Over three and a half years in the Air Force changed four chiefs. With knowledge of the case, the Air Force commander of the Red Army Commander 2nd Rank Ya. I. Alksnis, who was arrested in 1937. He was charged with template accusations of betrayal of the Motherland, espionage, undermining the country's defense, although it was from 1931 to 1937, when he was Chief of the Air Force, aviation was characterized by quantitative and qualitative growth. The life of Alksnis broke off on June 29, 1938.

Replacing Alksnisa in the midst of the campaign against "traitors" and "wreckers," agents of German and Japanese fascism, Colonel-General of the Aviation A.D. Loktionov tried to qualitatively decide plans for combat training, but in November 1939 he was released from office. In March 1941 he was sent for treatment, but instead of the hospital he was sent to prison. In 1939, the Chief of the Air Force was appointed twice Hero of the Soviet Union Lieutenant-General Aviation V. Smushkevich - a member of the people's revolutionary war in Spain and fighting on the river Khalkhin-Gol, where he commanded the air group. Since December 1940 Smushkevich became an assistant to the Chief of the General Staff for Aviation, and in early 1941 he was arrested.

In August 1940, as a result of the regular reshuffle of the leading personnel of the Air Force, the twenty-nine-year-old Lieutenant-General PV Rychagov was appointed to the post of Chief of the Main Directorate of the Air Force. Six months later, he became the Deputy People's Commissar of Defense of the USSR, and in April 1941 he was suddenly removed from all these posts and arrested. At the beginning of June 1941, on the very eve of the war, three NKVD chiefs were at once in the dungeons of the NKVD: AD Loktionov, YV Smushkevich and PV Rychagov. On October 18, 1941 on the personal order of Beria they were shot.

Leading positions in the newly formed corps, divisions and regiments were mostly assigned to young commanders and chiefs who did not have sufficient experience in organizing operational, tactical, combat and flight training. There were few aviators with higher military education. In connection with the formation of the new 15 regiments there were largely incomplete commander and navigator units. Many regiments that were in the process of retraining for new equipment were not fully prepared for conducting combat operations at night and in difficult weather conditions using radio navigation aids. Only a small part of the flight and command staff had combat experience gained in Spain, China, on Khalkhin-Gol and the Karelian Isthmus.

On November 9, 1941 the Force of Air Defence of the country acquired the status of an independent Arm. In January 1942, in their composition the Aviation of the Air Defence was organizationally formalized. Besides the Fighter Aviation (Russian abb. FA), the Arms of the Air Defence were the Anti-Aircraft Artillery (Russian abb. AAA) and the Troops of Aerial Surveillance, Warning and Signal Communications (Russian abb. TASWSC).

Production of military aircraft in the USSR by one account was as follows: in the second half of 1941 - 8.2 thousand., In 1942 - 21.7 thousand., In 1943 - 39.9 thousand., In 1944 - 33.2 thousand. And January - August 1945 - 19.1 thousand. aircraft, for a total during the war produced 112,100 aircraft.

Invaluable for the Soviet Union was help from the United States in the form of Lend-Lease . Total for 1941 - 1945 years : lend-lease 14,126 aircraft were delivered Curtiss "Tomahawks" and "Kitihouk", Bell P-39 "Cobra" , the Bell P-63 "Kingkobra", Douglas A-20 "Boston", North -America B-25 "Mitchell" , Consolidated the PBY "Catalina", Douglas C-47 "Dakota" , Ripablik P-47 "Thunderbolt". These supplies certainly played an important role in defeating the common enemy. The volume of aircraft deliveries from the USA and the UK accounted for almost 12% of the total number of Soviet aviation. During the Great Patriotic War the Air Force and the Air Defence Force had operational-strategic formations: Air Armies, Fronts and Air Defence Armies. During the war the Air Force and the Air Defence Force destroyed more than 64 thousand enemy aircraft during air combat, by anti-aircraft fire and on the ground. More than 280,000 airmen and warriors of the Air Defence were awarded orders and medals, and 2,513 people were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, 65 pilots were twice awarded this title, and two A.I. Pokryshkin and I.N. Kozhedub thrice.

The most common misconception in foreign literature relates to the fact that after 22 June 1941 the decisive battle not only on land but also in the air took place on the Soviet-German front. Western military historians, detailing fighting American, British and German aircraft, often say nothing about the Soviet Air Force - and then if they did not exist. Foreign authors tend to ignore the air battle in the Kuban region in 1943, which cost 1,100 aircraft Nazi air and seriously undermined its fighting power; on the air battles over the Kursk in the summer of the same year, which was destroyed 3,700 enemy aircraft, about fighting our pilots in strategic offensive operations of 1944 and the final phase of World War II.

Analyzing the course of the armed struggle waged on the Soviet-German Front, the command of the Air Force, it was concluded that the role and importance of air battles and engagements are continually increasing. At the beginning of the war they mostly occurred spontaneously, depending on the prevailing situation at the front. The first air combat elements have become viewed in the first days of the war, followed by reflection German air raids in the system of air defense of Moscow and Leningrad. Subsequently, they have acquired a wide swing in the sky of Kuban, Kursk and Berlin offensive. During the last held in 1317, our air dogfights, shot down enemy aircraft in 1132 and 100 destroyed on the ground.

In all the years of the Great Patriotic War, the Soviet Air Force made about 3,125,000 sorties and inflicted heavy losses in manpower and materiel. Of the 77 thousand. Airplanes, lost the enemy on the Soviet-German front, Soviet aircraft destroyed 57 thousand., Of which 44 thousand. In aerial combat and 13 th. On the ground. The troops of the country's air defenses destroyed 7313 enemy aircraft: fighter aircraft defense - 4168, anti-aircraft artillery, machine gun fire and barrage balloons - 3145.

During the war, the Soviet pilots used more than 600 aircraft and about 500 "fire" rams, which also indicates the highest degree of heating of air warfare. In the struggle for supremacy in the air all sorts of aviation was produced about 1.5 million sorties (up to 40% of the total departures). Air fights of the group often degenerating into air battles involving large aviation forces.

The Soviet Air Force had a lot of help partisan movement behind enemy lines. Jets AFLRO (December 1944 - 18 BA) and the Civil Air Fleet was made about 110 thousand sorties, transported by air over 83 thousand partisans, delivered to them 17 tons of arms, ammunition, food and medicine.

For successful performance of combat tasks of command, courage and bravery than 200 thousand. Soldiers, airmen, and over 80 thousand. Soldiers antiaircraft defense were awarded orders and medals of the USSR. More than 2,400 airmen and 100 air defense soldiers was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union (later - the Hero of the Russian Federation).

Some 65 pilots and Air Force commanders were awarded the title twice: AI Warlocks, AN Efimov, GA Rechkalov, SD Lugansk, NDGulayev, VD Lavrinenkov, PM Kamozin, PA Pokryshev, AF Clubs, AV Vorozheikin, NM Skomorokhov, GF Sivkov, EM Kungurtsev, GM Myl'nikov, GM Parshin, VI Andrianov, TY Begeldinov, IN Stepanenko, I.X. Mikhailichenko, MP Odintsov, and many others, and two - three times (AI Pokryshkin and Kozhedub IN). Orders of the USSR were awarded 897 large air and the parts 708 (Air Force) and 29 (Troops CU defense) received honorary titles and 228 (Air Force) and 11 (Troops CU defense) awarded the Guard ranks.

With the defeat of Nazi Germany and its allies in the European theater of war the victorious countries (USSR, USA and Great Britain) in the Yalta and Potsdam (1945) decided on joint action to defeat Japan and the end of the second world war. during the Manchurian strategic offensive operation to defeat the Japanese Kwantung army in August September 1945, the Soviet air force and air defense forces (composed of the Trans-Baikal, the 1st and 2nd Far Eastern fronts), using a wealth of experience of the Great Patriotic war, were able to provide effective assistance to ground forces to defeat the main forces of the enemy.

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