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  • The Air War Over Russia & Germany 41-45...

    We in the west of Europe are all too familiar with the exploits of the Lufwaffe when it was the ground breaking blizkrieg component, that put the 'icing on the cake', and truly revolutionized the 3d full spectrum approach to warfare...

    Then came the brave exploits of the RAF in the Battle of Britain, and ofcourse the long haul of RAF coastal command, in the war against the U-boats, and the Royal Navy's, old but effective Swordfish carrier based planes, with just one hit from a Swordfish planes torpedo, dooming the Bismark, and the raid that hit Taranto bay, and paralyzed the main part of the Italian navy, just long enough... This was copied by the Japanese at pearl harbour, and then ofcourse followed the great Carrier war in the pacific...

    Then the USAAFs 8th airforce's increasingly large raids deeper into occupied Europe, with fierce resistance from the Lufwaffe, and the RAF bomber commands night raids, again strongly paying a high price as the Lufwaffe night fighers shot down four engined RAF bombers like fish in the barrel...

    But, again, I suspect, that at least 50% of the Lufwaffe's losses, and probably more, went into the huge combat of the EASTERN FRONT.

    The land forces were about 70% of the German army was in the East, I gather that more units were on the Eastern front, but the bomber offencive of the allies did drain the Luftwaffe's resources from the Eastern front just when it needed it the most, meaning when the Red Airforce became a serious player!

    More into the tactical support, just like the Lufwaffe was when the Germans were on the offencive, the Red Airfoce, had many things that were strange to the western air war.

    Russian woman aces. Pilots refusing to take credit for german planes shot down, but giving the kills to their unit instead!

    I know that the Soviets had some pretty impressive aces when the war was at it's end, the highest scorer will never be known, for many kills were just put for the unit themselves, but there were men with tens of kills, and some women too...

    Who was Russias top aces? I have little info, and I know that the Russians had a great regard for a good ground attack ace too... There were some usually flying the Sturmovik, feared by Finnish troops also, who called them 'Musta Kustaa', or 'Black Gustav' as the translation goes...

    Also, all of the super aces of the Lufwaffe scored their monster scores on the eastern front. This is quite understandable, for flyers going against 800 B-17 & B-24 flying in defencive formation, and maybe with P-38s, or P-47s lurking still with their last fuel, and after the end of 43, the P-51 Mustangs, were there to stay, so it's understandable, that from pilots engaged, in first maybe western France (against Britain in 40 & 41, then starting to defend against the first USAAF raids, with ever increasing violence in 43, until a rookie was expected to survive three missions in 44)!

    The best Europe only against bombers, in a FW-190 pilot got fifty something kills, and he probably had already about 20 when coming out of the Battle of Britain...

    Still, I bet the Eastern front had similar statistics at this time for new Lufwaffe pilots, what with red aviators, with tens of kills, and flying a plane as good as the late versions of the Me-109, the YAK-5, or YAK-7, or the equivalent to the US P-47, the LA-5 and perhaps the equal of the longnose FW-190, the LA-7)!

    And these planes were flown by guys with tens of kills, veery dangerous for a rookie pilot, just like the sky's of 44 anywhere...

    Anyway, I will put some pictures of Russian planes, maybe I have labelled them wrongly, if so I appologize, and would like to know their correct name, or number.

    Mr Poundr.

    P.S. and please share anything about the RED AVIATION DURING WW2!!!

    pp.ss. In the end, the last two pics, are of the two first fighters to tangle in anger on the Eastern front. They were in the Winter war of the Soviet Union vs Finland, the Soviets used Polikarpov (rata), fighters, and the Finns, had many Fokkers, like the one in the picture...

    (note, the 'straight' swastik, was an old Finnish symbol from over a thousand years ago, and was called the 'sun wheel', 'Aurinkokehrä', in Finnish. And old symobol of indo-european origins, as in hindu symolism where the same symbol, being straight not 'tilted as the nazi emblem', is called simply a 'swastik', and is at least a two thousand year old symbol, which has connotations to eternal movement, and sun energy...

    The Finns, undestandably, changed their airforces and tanks emblems to roundels with the blue and white colours after 1944.

    Does anybody know, why the Russian airforces of today, still have often the red star? Do they feel, that it's just a good id symbol, and isnt nothing to do with Communism?

    I can see that there is often a two folded way of marking their jets, like the RAF.

    On the tail, you see the colours of the Russian flag, in two tones, but on the wings, you see the red star, as on the RAF planes, the tail would have a red and blue in a half and half mini flag, but on the wings, and the fuselage, the familiar RAF roundel was employed...
    Attached Files
    "SI VIS PACEM, PARA BELLUM" - " If you want peace, prepare for war".

    If acted upon in time, ww2 could have been stopped without a single bullet being fired. - Sir Winston Churchill

  • #2
    While there was great lose of aircraft over Russia, The West was the most important theatre for the Luftwaffe and had the greatest loses of German aircraft.

    1944 -all combat types Total West Eastern Front
    Sorties 182,004 342,483
    Losses 9768 2406
    losses/ sortie 0.0537 0.00703

    http://www.lesbutler.ip3.co.uk/jg26/thtrlosses.htm

    Since German had air superiority in 1941-1942 and equality in 1943 I think the important year to look at German loses is 1944
    FoxNEWS "The World is unfair and we are running scared"

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    • #3
      I think those number also have relevance when considering whose air force was most powerful in July 1945, Stalin's or the West
      FoxNEWS "The World is unfair and we are running scared"

      Comment


      • #4
        Ok, why don't we focus on this thread on actions of the Soviet Airforce itself rather than another "who did what to win the most" and how it's doctrine and tactics developed during the GPW. I also would like to discuss it's relative effectiveness in its support mission to the Red Army. In itself a fascinating story.

        Comment


        • #5
          Read Red Phoenix, by Von Hardisty (Smithsonian, ca 1983.) It remains, IMHO the best Engish-language history of the VVS-RKKA. Using many Soviet (and some German) sources, he provides a scholarly description of the rebirth of the Red Air Force after the catastrope of 1941, in the process debunking many of the myths about the air war on the Eastern Front, many of which persist to this day in the English-speaking world, and many of which form the basis of your description above.

          Most English-language histories are based on German documents and memoirs. They are also stronlgy influenced by the postwar policy of the USA, which, given their perceived need to dominate the USSR, led to the dismissal of Soviet capabillitiies and demonixation of the USSR, and the trivialization of their achievements against Nazi Germany.

          It also resulted in the wholesale recruitment of Nazis to aid the USA in maintaining superiority in the arms race, assist in espionage against the USSR, and to establish NATO. That created the need to whitewash the record of these new 'allies' and led to the glorification of their accomplishments (and dismissal of their transgressions) against the USSR.

          This perversion of history went on for decades, the effects linger with us still, and this tainted the corpus literati that most English-speaking writers use when doing their 'research'.

          Pat, due respect, I disagree that 1944 is the year to examine. By 1944 the Luftwaffe had been chased from the skies of the Ostfront. The Luftwaffe was able to establish local air superiority, briefly, to support ground operations, but by that stage of the war they were few and far between in the East.

          Very briefly, the air war iin the East proceeded more or less as follows:

          1941: The Germans attack, launch pre-emptive strikes on Soviet bases that destroy 1800 aircraft in a few hours. Many thousands more are destroyed in following months, as the VVS find themselves outnumbered and outclassed by the Luftwaffe.

          1942: The Soviets are able to hold the line at Moscow and Leningrad, but suffer more huge defeats in the South. The Luftwaffe goes from strength to strength. New aircraft (LaG-5, Yak-1 / 7) are starting to appear in numbers that are capable of matching the German types. The turning point comes at the end of the year.

          Stalingrad. The importance of this battle cannot be uneremphasized. Apart from the considerable loss of VI Armee, the Germans lost huge numbers of aircraft and personnel. The unsuccessful airlift led to the loss of almost all of the transport arm, as well as most of the multi-engine aircraft from the Kampffliegerschule. They also lost their cadré of instructors for multi-engined aircraft, which had grave implications for the Luftwaffe's offensive capability.

          1943: Following almost immediately on Stalingrad came the air battle over the Kuban peninsula, which was the turning point in the air war. Over a period of three months in the Spring of 1943, the Luftwaffe poured aircraft into this theatre in a doomed attempt to maintain air superiority to ground forces. They failed. This was the first time where the VVS was able to sieze and maintain air superiority, saw the first use of the P-39 and only combat use of the Spitfire, and led to the ascendance of several prominent pilots — Pokryshkin, Kozhedub, Rechkalov, Bobrov, Gulyaev, and others. Pokryshkin, in particular, scored most of his victories during this period. More importantly, from here he drew his conclusions about better tactics, which he went on to teach to Soviet pilots and thus level the "playing field". For their part, the Luftwaffe stripped the Eastern Front of aircraft in an attempt to reinforce their position, most of these were lost, and when the next decisive ground engagement took place (at Kursk), these losses had still not been made good.

          Over the rest of 1943, the VVS was able to establish local superiority whenever they saw fit to concentrate their air assets, until finally they were strong enough to be able to claim complete air superiority over the entire front. Newer aircraft and better tactics gave them parity with the Bf-109G and Fw-190A, the Il-2 came into its own as an astounding close-support aircraft, and the Luftwaffe was on its heels.

          1944: was anti-climactic. What was left of the Luftwaffe was stripped of fighter strength for Rechsverteidigungsdienst, leaving only the remnants of the bomber force, supported by a handful of scattered fighter Staffeln. The VVS went from strength to strength, until they finished the war as the largest air force in Europe, if not the world.

          As for capabilities, one must keep in mind the nature of the war, and the situation of the combatants. Western 'experts' are wont to criticise the VVS for the lack of a strategic bombing force like the USAAF had developed, without realizing that the USSR did not need strategic bombers — their war was very much an in-you-face, close-range struggle where direct support was a far more pressing need. For that they had the Sturmovik, and they had thousands of them!

          The Anglo-Americans, on the other hand, were hampered by the same ditch that protected them. They needed long-range bombers to reach the Germans, so they built them, and learned to use them. The impact these bombing operations had on the Nazi war machine is debatable, but the bombing certainly did bait the Luftwaffe into basing the remains of the Jagdflieger in Germany for Reichs Defense, and when they rose to attack the bombers, they in turn became vulnerable to the escorting fighters. However, I would maintain that by that late stage of the war, the Luftwaffe was already a largely spent force. It had been bled white over the USSR long before D-Day, most of the Experten had been killed or captured in the East, and what the Anglo-Americans faced, while still a potent force, had lost much of the edge from what had been a very sharp sword a few years before.

          So. Read Hardisty's book, if you can fiind it. It is excellent, and worth tracking down. The title, Red Phoenix, says it all — the VVS, risen from the ashes of 1941, emerging with new vigour and strength. It will give you a new insight into air operations during the Great Patriotic War.

          Cheers
          Scott Fraser
          Canada
          Ignorance is not the lack of knowledge. It is the refusal to learn.

          A contentedly cantankerous old fart

          Comment


          • #6
            Before the Revolution Russian Armed Forces had no famous national sign.

            So red star sign on planes haven't altenative sign.

            A few years ago putin officially return red banner as official banner of armed forces.

            Comment


            • #7
              About high ratings of German experts:

              1. Nobody checked their clams, often it was impossible to define what happened with the plane been attacked. Simply, the Nazi propaganda machine needed heroes and the fighter experts were those heroes.

              To get true level of their victories check the German and British data about RAF casualties during Battle for Britain.

              2. the ussr had to send in fight green novices. the ussr had no time to prepare new pilots for a year like the usa had. so their losses were high especially in 1941-43.

              3. in 1941 the most of the soviet air forces consisted of archaic planes.

              later better planes began to arrive.

              4. for the germans to shoot one more enemy plane often was the primary target of a mission. they often did it independently from the interests of ground forces. for example, if a large group of soviet planes attacked a german ground position a couple of experts ("free hunters") didn't try to prevent it but hunted for damaged planes which went away from the formation and were easy victims. of course in such case the score of those hunters increased very much but the ground forces suffered.

              in the soviet air forces the personal score never was so important, they tried to fulfil their task at first. If the task of a group of pilots was to defend an important bridge they ought to do it at first and not to shoot as more as possible enemy planes. So Soviet fighter often began to fight at any conditions but the gErmans tried to fight only in the conditions favourable to them.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Andrey View Post
                About high ratings of German experts:
                4. for the Germans, to shoot one more enemy plane often was the primary target of a mission. They often did it independently from the interests of ground forces. For example, if a large group of soviet planes attacked a german ground position a couple of experts ("free hunters") didn't try to prevent it but hunted for damaged planes which went away from the formation and were easy victims. of course in such case the score of those hunters increased very much but the ground forces suffered.
                This is only partly true, Andrey. They were given the task to protect ground forces, but failed to follow orders when they went off to chase "cripples". There was no enforcement of discipline for these failures, so they continued to do so.

                In the West, similar events took place. During the Battle of Britain and during the Defense of Germany. Göring's famous rebuke of the Jagdflieger, when he called them cowards, was a result of their failure to protect German bombers, preferring to leave them and engage RAF fighters. The same thing happened later, over Germany, when they were criticized for choosing to engage US fighters instead of attacking the bombers.

                German propaganda, by glorifying such "heros", created a situation where they became a bunch of "hot-dogs". (Не знаюю как переводится на русски. "hot-dog" значит человек, более интересен с медальями, чем задачу выполнить.) In the VVS, as in other air forces, such behavior was not tolerated. George "Buzz" Buerling, a very successful Canadian ace with the RAF, was forever in trouble with his superiors for abandoning his mission and going off on his own — they grounded him, shipped him back to Canada on a Bond Drive, and that basically ended his flying career.

                Cheers
                Scott Fraser
                Ignorance is not the lack of knowledge. It is the refusal to learn.

                A contentedly cantankerous old fart

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Andrey View Post
                  Before the Revolution Russian Armed Forces had no famous national sign.

                  So red star sign on planes haven't altenative sign.

                  A few years ago putin officially return red banner as official banner of armed forces.
                  Yeah...it was this:

                  A dubious looking series of circles.... quite boring and passive. The star is much better!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Emil_G View Post
                    Yeah...it was this:

                    A dubious looking series of circles.... quite boring and passive. The star is much better!
                    it is not a famous national sign, it was only on service caps.

                    before the revolution the Russian army even had no national banner!!!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Scott Fraser View Post
                      German propaganda, by glorifying such "heros", created a situation where they became a bunch of "hot-dogs". (Не знаюю как переводится на русски. "hot-dog" значит человек, более интересен с медальями, чем задачу выполнить.)
                      You can use english for your remarks, i understand english but the others don't understand russian

                      I can describe it as undisciplined, vainglorious.
                      Last edited by Andrey; 16 Mar 08, 01:05.

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                      • #12
                        A nice and refreshing topic

                        I can't really add anything here, I am more than clueless on this interesting subject, but I may have some questions from time to time, as this thread developes. And I really have to agree with what Andrey stated before as to the "intent" to shoot for on this.

                        Cheers, to new topics in this forum, very good 17poundr!!!

                        Tom

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                        • #13
                          MIG-13 ... never heard about this plane

                          what you call rata is I-16

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Andrey View Post
                            MIG-13 ... never heard about this plane

                            what you call rata is I-16
                            Cool plane.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Andrey View Post
                              You can use english for your remarks, i understand english but the others don't understand russian

                              I can describe it as undisciplined, vainglorious.
                              LOL! Okay, because I can't find "hot-dog", or even vainglorious in my little Russian-English dictionary! It's a very colloquial term for such people.

                              Cheers
                              Ignorance is not the lack of knowledge. It is the refusal to learn.

                              A contentedly cantankerous old fart

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