Aviation of World War II
Ar-2. Combat Use.
The arrival of the Ar-2 in military formations began in the second half of 1940. A distinctive feature was the transfer of single aircraft copies simultaneously with conventional and dive SB (i.e. equipped with PB-3 bomb racks). This practice was tracked later, which led to the presence of one or two squadrons or even single aircraft as part of high-speed bomber regiments armed with security forces. In 1940, the troops received about fifty dive bombers (still under the designation SB-RK). In 1941, before the German attack, deliveries amounted to 120 Ar-2. Thus, by the beginning of hostilities, most of the two hundred built Ar-2 dive bombers were in the army. In the Red Army Air Force, their deployment in June 1941 looked like this:
Leningrad Military District.
2nd sbap (high-speed brmbarding aviation regiment) as part of the 2nd mixed air division - 20 Ar-2 and 39 SB at the Kresttsy airfield near Leningrad.
Baltic Special Military District.
46th SBAP as part of the 7th mixed air division - 61 SB and Ar-2 at the Shavli airfield. 54th SBAP as part of the 54th mixed air division - 68 SB and Ar-2, 7 Pe-2 at the Vilno airfield.
Western Special Military District.
13th SBAP as part of the 9th mixed air division - 51 SB and Ar-2 at Ross and Borisovshchina airfields.
Kiev Special Military District.
33rd SBAP as part of the 14th Bomber Division - 54 SB and Ar-2 at the airfields of Belaya Tserkov and Gorodishche.
One of the first in the fall of 1940, he received the Ar-2 (still under the designation SB-RK) of the 13th squadron of Colonel Ushakov (later the regiment was headed by Captain Gavrilchenko, even later Captain S. Bogomolov) from the 9th Mixed Air Division of the Western Special Military District. According to the memoirs of P.I. Tsupko, then a young pilot, who had just arrived in the regiment as part of a young replenishment from the Voroshilov-grad flight school, they were immediately put on the Ar-2 and began to practice diving flights. The polygon was located in the area of Belovezhskaya Pushcha. On the ground were drawn the outlines of tanks, vehicles, artillery batteries and just large white circles with crosses in the middle. Training cement bombs were used for training. By the spring of 1941, the pilots of the 13th sbap were quite confident in dive bombing.
In 1940, the 13th sbap was based not far from the border, in the Ross air town near Bialystok. Since March 1941, they began to equip a hard-surface runway, so the regiment was transferred to the Borisovshchina field airfield. For this period, the regiment had 5 squadrons of 12 crews each. For three months, three crews were constantly on duty in a state of high alert with suspended bombs. Ironically, the first day off on the 13th was given on June 22nd.
In June 1941, the 13th sap was armed with 51 SB and Ar-2. The quantity of each type has not been established. According to the official data of the USSR Ministry of Defense, 5 Pe-2 aircraft were also listed there. The latter is unlikely, because part of the regiment's crews went for retraining near Moscow on the Pe-2 and arrived there only on June 21, 1941.
On June 22, 1941 the Borisovshchizna airfield was repeatedly bombed, as a result of which most of the aircraft were lost. Before the onset of July, the regiment completely lost its military equipment and its personnel were sent for retraining on the Pe-2. On these planes, the 13th sap began to fight in mid-July 1941.
The 33rd SBAP, which is part of the 19th Bomber Aviation Division of the Kiev Military District in June 1941, was based near the White Church. In total, the regiment numbered 54 SB and Ar-2. According to the memoirs of the pilot of the regiment B.C. Efremov, all cars were silver-gray. Already on the first day of the war, the regiment was involved in combat activities and, despite the losses, acted quite effectively. Retreating together with the troops of the Red Army, the 33rd Sap fought near Voronezh, Kharkov and Stalingrad. In May 1942, when the 33rd sabp operated as part of the Southwestern Front, it had 10 SB (of which two were faulty) and 2 Ar-2. In August 1942, the regiment was renamed the 10th Guards Bap. The regiment used old equipment until 1943, after which it was re-equipped with Bostons.
At the beginning of 1941, Ar-2 aircraft entered service with the 27 IAP of the Moscow Military District. Previously, the regiment operated fighters I-14, I-15 and I-16 as part of five squadrons. Pilots of some squadrons took part in the Soviet-Finnish war of 1939-40. By the time of rearmament, the regiment was based at the Central Aerodrome of Moscow, consisted of three squadrons, its commander was Lieutenant Colonel P.K. Demidov. In February 1941, the 2nd squadron (commander I.I.Voronin) consisting of 11 crews began retraining on the Ar-2, with the main goal being to practice diving flights.
On June 23, 1941, the 2nd squadron of the 27 IAP in full force flew to the Western Front in order to counter the offensive of enemy mechanized columns. Based at the Borisov airfield in Belarus, the first blow to the German troops was inflicted in the area of the village of Vileika. In total, the squadron flew 89 sorties, of which 41 were dive missions. Before the withdrawal for reorganization, 15 aircrew of the squadron died and disappeared without a trace.
In the aviation of the Navy in June 1941, there were 26 Ar-2. Of these, 19 machines are in the aviation of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet (KBF), 6 are in advanced training courses (that is, in fact, in training units) and one aircraft is subordinate to the Naval Air Force Directorate.
The Red Banner Baltic Fleet at the beginning of the war was mainly based on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, land - in the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland.
43 SB and 18 Ar-2 of the 73rd BAP of the 10th Mixed Air Brigade from the Red Banner Baltic Fleet Air Force on June 22, 1941 were mainly based in Pärnu. According to the chronicle of military operations of the aviation of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet, the dates and goals of most of the sorties are known.
On June 30, the 73rd BAP took part in the attack of German motorized columns in the Dvinsk region (Daugavpils). As you know, the Soviet bombers SB and DB-3, flying out with practically no fighter cover, suffered significant losses that day. The 2nd squadron of Captain Syromyatnikov from the 73rd bap flew twice that day as part of 7 - 8 Ar-2 and performed a combat mission without losses on its part. Perhaps there was elementary luck on the side of the crews, however, the higher flight characteristics of the aircraft also played a decisive role.
July 10, 1941 5 Ar-2 of the 73rd bap bombed sea transports in Pärnu, which had been abandoned by the Red Army shortly before.
July 13, 1941 11 Ar-2 participated in striking a German sea convoy near Ust-Dvinsk.
After the capture of Riga on June 30, the German command secretly concentrated a large number of sea transports and ships in the ports of Libava and Vindava with the task of a speedy passage to Riga. An enemy convoy consisting of 42 transports, 8 destroyers, 3 patrol ships and several boats managed to enter the Irbensky Strait unnoticed. On June 12, a German convoy discovered a Soviet reconnaissance aircraft and the commander of the Baltic Fleet gave the order to destroy it.
The blow was delivered in two groups. The 1st group, consisting of the Ar-2, at 7.37 in the morning, struck from a dive at the transports from an altitude of 2500 m. The second group, consisting of 5 Ar-2, returned to the Tallinn airfield due to bad weather conditions. At 11.00, this group of 5 Ar-2 took off again at 11.37 from a height of 1600 m and struck from a dive at the berths in the port of Ust-Dvinsk.
On July 20, 1941, 6 diving SB (possibly Ar-2) attacked and reported the sinking of an enemy destroyer near Kimito Island and damage to a ship identified as a battleship.
July 23, 1941 6 Ar-2 bombarded a Finnish battleship near the island of Nagu. According to the reports of the crews, the bombs exploded 15-30 m from the side of the ship.
On July 25, 1941, 16 Ju-88s raided the Laxberg airfield (Tallinn), where the 73rd bap aircraft were based. 2 Ar-2 burned down, 4 SB were damaged.
On July 30, 1941, an unknown number of Ar-2, I-153, MBR-2 bombed Pärnu.
August 13, 1941 2 Ar-2 bombarded the port of Pärnu, according to the report, hits were noted on the bridge. 4 Ar-2 on the same day bombarded transports in Riga.
The combat activity of the 73rd BAP continued until October 1941. Until the withdrawal for reorganization, the regiment lost 15 Ar-2 aircraft.
The above fragments of the use of Ar-2 aircraft in the summer of 1941 suggest that most of the aircraft of this type were lost in the first months of the war. A number of them were captured at airfields by the advancing German troops, most of them died in attacks on airfields and during combat missions. Individual copies were used no later than 1942.