Why Soviet fighters were afraid of German aces

History 11/01/20 Why Soviet fighters were afraid of German aces

on 9 September 1942 there was a secret message in the name of I. V. Stalin signed by the Deputy Supreme commander Zhukov, the Deputy Commissar of defense for aviation A. A. Novikov, a member of the State defense Committee G. M. Malenkov and said the following:

“…On the basis of numerous facts have come to believe that our fighter aircraft is working very badly. Our fighters even in cases where they are several times more than the enemy fighters in battle with the latter does not come. In those cases, when our fighters perform the task of covering the attack, they also in battle with the enemy fighters do not come and past with impunity, attack attack, bring them down, while our fighters fly into the side, and often just go away on their airfields…”

based On the reports released order number 0685: September 9, 1942, “On the establishment of the concept of sorties for fighters.” The order stated that henceforth the pilots of fighter aircraft sorties count only those in which accompanying gunships or bombers had no loss. Enemy aircraft shot down to count only those that are confirmed by photos or by ground observers. For the avoidance of combat fighter pilots to prosecute and to transfer to the infantry.

against this document new look numerous mentions in the memoirs of German pilots that the Soviet fighters into battle with them didn’t enter. There are many examples, when our army suffered defeat due to the lack of air support. In the summer of 1942 abandoned the offensive at Voronezh 5 tank army suffered huge losses from attacks by German aircraft, and their planes in the sky the tankers are not seen at all. Despite the fact that support was to provide 1 fighter andrmiya, which was 231 fighter (which is more than in all of the 4th Air fleet of the Luftwaffe), and in the Bryansk front was also its 2nd air army. Soviet fighters in the battle is not joined in the result and bombers were without cover and also the battle did not go. Because of this, in the summer of 1942, the bombers PE-2 had used at night, although they were quite unsuitable for such work.

Usually, all problems of that time in the Soviet Union was explained by the qualitative superiority of German aircraft and bombed at the beginning of the war, the Soviet airfields. In 1942, the red Army really was very little aircraft. So, on may 1 in the army was only 3160 serviceable combat aircraft (excluding 320 scouts and 375 night light bombers U-2) and 1200 defense fighter aircraft and up to 400 combat aircraft of the Northern, Baltic and black sea fleets. But they were opposed by only 1370 German, Finnish 205, 165 70 Romanian and Italian combat aircraft.

the Correlation of forces in specific areas was not in favor of the Germans. On August 1, consisting of the 8th army had 454 serviceable aircraft (including fighter 172), but in the interests of front operated and the 102nd fighter air division air defense (85 fighters). From the German side acted the 8th air corps, which was at the same time 96 234 fighters and bombers.

Reasons why Soviet pilots avoided combat with German fighters, there were several. Of course, this low level of training of Soviet pilots. Most of them in 1942, had a crash course in flying schools military time without assigning officer ranks. They were produced senior Sergeant.

But the main reason still should consider quality fighters. In 1942 the Red Army were mostly armed with Yak-1 and Yak-7. Were the fighters LaGG-3 and MiG-3, but they all already transferred to the air defense.

Fighters “Yak” was appreciated for the simplicity and cheapness of production. The plane was going from abundant materials: the frame of steel pipes, linen lining, the wing was wood and covered with canvas. Duralumin was used minimally, only in some nodes. The fighter was easy to pilot, which allowed him to quickly master even the most inexperienced pilots. But all of these wonderful qualities greatly devalued characteristics of the aircraft. Whatever the numbers are not cited in defense of the fighter, in a dogfight it’s hopelessly inferior to the “Messerschmitt”. Of course, on “Yaks” and flying aces, but most of the pilots did not have such training and experience as the German pilots.

In the book “the Business of life” by A. S. Yakovlev, praising their fighter, compares its characteristics with the German “Emil” (the so-called modification of the Bf.109E). But the fact that fighters Bf.109E was a major in the Luftwaffe in 1940, and the beginning of operation Barbarossa, they were less than half. And the main opponents of the Soviet pilots became “Friedrich” (Bf.109F), the rate of which steadily rose past 600 km/h, 50 km/h more than the Yak-1 and LaGG-3. And from may of 1942 on the arms of the Germans began to receive more sophisticated and high-speed “Gustave” (Bf.109G).

to Understand the Soviet fighter pilots can. They did not want to engage in a hopeless battle with a known outcome. And even their lives to carry out the order still could not. “Messer” had the opportunity to fight in a disadvantageous situation. Easily walked away from prosecution, and could, linking Soviet fighters battle to deal with the bombers and attack aircraft. Moreover, interactions in the air, the Soviet pilots were not, the radio station had only a command. The situation only changed with the advent of large quantities of new La-5 fighters, as well as the entry into force of the American Airacobra, which flew aces like Pokryshkin.

Cyril Shishkin

© Russian Seven

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