Aviation of WWII
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Topic Summary - Displaying 2 post(s).
Posted by: Forum Admin  Mark & Quote Posted on: Sep 27th, 2015 at 12:31pm
One of the first offensives supported by Yak fighters in significant numbers took place in the Staritsa-Rzhev area when the Red Army launched a counterassault in late December 1941 in an effort to relieve the pressure on Moscow. 31st SAD found itself in the thick of the action, the division being periodically reinforced with fresh units. One such regiment posted in on 10 January 1942 was 237th IAP, which arrived with 19 Yak-1s under the command of Hero of the Soviet Union Col A. B. Yumashev, widely known in the USSR for his participation in a record-breaking pre-war flight to the USA by an Antonov ANT-25, together with M. M. Gromov and S. A. Danilin. Under his command, the regiment entered combat for the second time with Yak-1s (it had been decimated in the weeks after Barbarossa flying in the Ukraine) and began patrolling over Soviet troops.

"by an Antonov ANT-25" need to write "Tupolev ANT-25" !!!
ANT-25 - it's the aircraft of Andrei Nikolayevich Tupolev.
Posted by: Forum Admin  Mark & Quote Posted on: Sep 27th, 2015 at 12:17pm
Bf 109 E/F vs Yak-1/7
Eastern front 1941-1942. /Dmitriy Khazanov & Aleksander Medved/


During the 70 years since the end of World War II there has developed in the West a rather blinkered understanding regarding the course and nature of air combat over the
Soviet-German war theatre, influenced to some extent by the subsequent Cold War.
It has included such principal notions as the following:
– The Soviet’s manifold but obsolete aviation equipment was eliminated by the Luftwaffe during the very first massive strikes, with minimal losses.
– This was mainly due to the totalitarian regime established by Joseph Stalin, and the foolish commissars who lined up the aeroplanes on the airfields, making them easy targets for German pilots.
– Tens of thousands of the most talented Soviet commanders were shot by the tyrant Stalin during the pre-war ‘cleansings’.
– Stupid Soviet pilots, bamboozled by communist propaganda, were unable to learn even basic tactics, avoided dogfights after brief manoeuvring and generally appeared to be cowardly.
– The exceptions to this rule were the Guards regiments, most of which were equipped with the aeroplanes supplied by Western allies under Lend-Lease, and manned by specially trained airmen.
– The most important factor that disrupted the plan to eliminate the USSR was the sudden and bitter winter of 1941–42 and, before that, the impassable mud, which prevented regular use of Germany’s wonderful military vehicles.
– German aces were cheerful chaps, who regarded the war as a sort of sporting contest, immediately offering a cigarette and a bar of chocolate to any enemy pilot brought down in their vicinity.

These ideas formed the basis of hundreds of aviation publications issued in the West. They present a very simplified and ugly picture, seeking to explain the causes of the initial defeat and completely ignoring the subsequent victories of the Red Army and its air force. While not totally dismissing some of these arguments, the authors of this book have sought to provide a more balanced and reliable analysis of the successes and defeats of the Red Army Air Force (Voenno-Vozdushniye Sily Krasnoy Armii, abbreviated to VVS-KA), using as an example two opposing fighter aircraft, their designers and the airmen and commanders of the Soviet and German air forces.

First of all, readers should be reminded that, while many thousands of German, French and British aeroplanes were fighting over the World War I battlefields, Russia’s aviation industry was mainly building obsolete French aeroplanes in rather modest quantities. Moreover, there was no domestic aero-engine industry – without foreign input not a single engine could be produced. There were no designers. The revolution of 1918–20 resulted in the almost complete destruction of both aeroplane and engine manufacturing capabilities, and the measures taken during the succeeding decade appeared insufficient to correct this very bad situation.

It was not until the early 1930s, starting from nothing, that the USSR’s aviation industry began developing at a rather fast rate. But even then there was no domestic aero-engine manufacturing, which led to the building of Hispano-Suiza, Wright and Gnome-Rhone engines under licence. There was no aluminium production, and there were no cockpit instruments or radios in production locally. The situation was worsened by the lack of well-qualified workers, engineers and designers, and less then a decade was to pass before the outbreak of a new war.

In this period young aircraft designer Aleksander Yakovlev made himself known by creating some experimental aeroplanes, followed by trainers that were built in large quantities. His career has many parallels with that of his direct German counterpart, Willi Messerschmitt, who also started with small aircraft, and trainers in particular. In a short time both designers came close to achieving the power that helped them to attain their ambitious goals. Both established complicated cooperation between the different factories that were producing the vast variety of components required for the aircraft, built in tens of thousands of units. However, the conditions under which they worked were different, and these made their mark upon the general philosophy and design details of the aircraft engineered under the direction of Messerschmitt and Yakovlev.

In creating his first fighter, Yakovlev chose a tried and tested engineering approach by utilizing a simple steel-tube-truss fuselage structure and a joint-free wooden wing, with linen covering applied to the plywood skin, and having all weaponry concentrated in the engine compartment. In his Notes of an Aircraft Designer Yakovlev wrote:
In developing the aeroplane’s design, every one of us [i.e. chief designers] thinks not only of its combat qualities and of tactics, but also of technology and economics. One has to be very cautious, choosing the primary materials for the vehicle. On this occasion great wariness was demanded of the designer, as during the war some materials were in extremely short supply. A production and supply base might be knocked out by enemy bombing, or even end up in occupied territory. This particularly occurred during the Great Patriotic War.

As a result of intentional limitation in the choice of materials and technological solutions, the team led by Yakovlev succeeded in creating a fighter that had perfect horizontal manoeuvrability and quite good aerodynamic properties, using only available serially built engines of modest power. It was easy for inexperienced pilots to fly, two to three times cheaper than its German opponent, the Messerschmitt Bf 109, and could be built by poorly qualified workers, including teenagers, ex-peasants and householders. Eventually, the Yak fighters of various versions became the most populous in the VVS-KA, and in May 1945 an aircraft of this particular type dropped the red wreath of victory onto the defeated capital of the Third Reich.