Some Soviet pilots were sent to the

Another 16/01/20 Any of the Soviet pilots sent to “the heavenly battalions”

About the penalty part for the land army they know everything. What is a penalty unit for pilots of combat aircraft?

Why was born this Directive

it was a second year of the war, but the Soviet air force is still inferior to the enemy control of the air.
in the Summer of 1942 the German army rushed to the Caucasus and to Stalingrad, but this time the Soviet command tried unsuccessfully to intercept the enemy has the initiative in the Central direction. Since late July troops of the Western (General of the army Zhukov) and Kalinin (Colonel-General Konev) fronts were the Rzhev-Sychevka offensive operation. Suffering enormous losses, the Red Army barely moved forward.
Stalin and the General staff very unnerving that the Soviet aircraft, even much superior to the enemy forces, was not able to cover its troops from German bombers. In the air, as in the first weeks of the war, hosted the “Junkers” and “messersmith”.
the Reasons for this were obvious. First, the Soviet fighters were inferior in their tactical and technical characteristics of German (this lag was not eliminated until the end of the war). It is necessary to consider also that the technical reliability of Soviet aircraft was low, as their riveting at an accelerated pace. Defense enterprises responsible for production “shaft”, composed, as always, without taking into account the realities. Therefore, in the technique was the high percentage of married (after the war it was repressed the people’s Commissar of aviation industry Shakhurin, but he was guilty only in the fact that zealously carried out Stalin’s directives).
second, the Soviet pilots, after the death of the qualified personnel in the first months of the war, were trained in an abbreviated program. In fact, untrained mass they rushed into battle, as Stalin needed the immediate result at the front. This led only to neoprewanna high losses and further pushed away the idea.
As usual, Stalin and his entourage did not want to see their own mistakes, and tried to put the blame on subordinates. Like twice, in August 1941 and July 1942 he was falsely accused of cowardice ground troops posed with rifles against tanks, now “extreme” has become the Soviet pilots accused of sabotage of orders and damage to the aircraft before combat missions.


on 4 August 1942, Zhukov and Konev were sent Bids Directive No. 170549. It was stated that of the 400 fighters allocated to the fronts, before the operation is out of order 140. It was further noted that “in the absence of enemy aircraft on the first day of battle and threefold superiority over the enemy in the days that followed, our military casualties were 51 fighter, 89 fighters that are out of order due to technical malfunction”.
Rate is unacceptably high considering a share of a faulty aircraft, saw here “the presence of apparent sabotage, shkurnichestva from some part of the flight personnel, which, seeking some small problems on the plane, seeking to evade the fight.” Apparently, Stalin and his strategists did not realize that the plane wasn’t a rifle, to which, if it jammed, you can at least attach a bayonet and stab the enemy with a bayonet. “Minor problems in the plane” means that plane just does not take off or taking off, will fall together with the pilot, unable to harm the enemy.
Noting, in her opinion, “ugly is supplied in units technical supervision and control over the material part, and for combat missions pilots”, the Rate prescribed to check the “everyone failed” the plane and to identify the perpetrators of these incidents. Flight same composition, “convicted of sabotage,” was ordered “to reduce the penalty of the squadron and… to use to accomplish the crucial tasks in the most dangerous directions.”
Probably, the use of aircraft on the front was presented to Stalin, something akin to throwing infantry against entrenched enemy. The death of a bomber pilot meant also the loss of units of military equipment, despite the fact that the Directive, it would seem, was aimed at saving the material part of aviation. But Stalin and the chief of the General staff Vasilevsky (whose signature also adorns the document) this apparent contradiction is not confused.
But the penalty squadron was still a light punishment for the perpetrators is weak. “Bad, malicious scroungers” in the same Directive ordered to deprive of honors and the rank and file to send to the penal company infantry “to perform the most difficult tasks in the terrestrial parts.”


apparently, the implementation of the Directive No. 170549 did not bring the results that expect her to Stalin, as a month later followed the order of people’s Commissar of defense No. 0685 dated 9 September 1942. Unlike the Directive, it was intended for the whole army. The order was directed this time to “shkurnichestvo” fighter pilots in combat.
it was Noted that “our fighters even with numerical superiority over the enemy fighters shy away from a fight… and allowed with impunity to shoot down our bombers and attack planes”. The real causes of this phenomenon we have described above.
Particular outrage of Stalin was the fact that the pilots of this behavior, demanding payment of the established order of people’s Commissar of defense No. 0299 cash rewards for combat missions: “sortie incorrectly believe every departure on the battlefield, regardless of performed combat task or not.” Now sortie of fighter jets was required to consider only the one which took place dogfight. And under sortie to cover the bombers and attack aircraft – only one in which the latter would not have suffered losses from the enemy. Anyone even slightly familiar with the realities of war realize that the last condition is almost impossible.
fighter Pilots, “evading combat with the air enemy” were subject to direct opive also in the penal infantry company. It is clear that the aforesaid order in aviation only encouraged mutual surveillance, whistleblowing and suspicion, but not bravery in battle.


Reliable data on how to perform these absurd directives, a bit. It is known that in August of 1942, part of the 3rd air army in the Kalinin front was created by a group of pilots-shtrafnikov, commanded the famous later as the hero of the Soviet Union Ivan Fedorov. In the autumn of 1942 there were also three penalties of an aviation squadron consisting of 8-th air army, Stalingrad front. It is also known that the professionalism and honor of the worthy commanders (same Fedorov, for example) rebelled against the literal fulfillment of such orders, and many of them in all ways tried to leave the good pilots who for some reason fall under the suspicion of the officer in “shkurnichestve” in their parts.

Yaroslav Butakov

© Russian Seven

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