Aviation of World War II
On September 7, 1936, the Soviet foreign trade organization "Amtorg" signed an agreement with the Airplane Development Corporation concern, according to which the Main Directorate of the Aviation Industry under the People's Commissariat for Heavy Industry (GUAP NKTP) acquired licenses for the construction of V-11 in attack aircraft versions (V-11G ) and a light bomber (V-11GB). On September 7, 1936, the Soviet foreign trade organization Amtorg signed an agreement with the Airplane Development Corporation, which then included Valti. According to the agreement, the Main Directorate of the Aviation Industry under the People's Commissariat for Heavy Industry (GUAP NKTP) acquired licenses for the construction of A-19 (V-11).
The American side provided working drawings, specifications, various instructions and descriptions, bills of materials and purchased products, documentation on machine tools and technological processes, data from flight and ground tests of the aircraft, blowing in wind tunnels, materials on strength calculations, more than 300 photographs parts, assemblies and assemblies in different stages of manufacture. Separate applications provided for the purchase of aircraft samples, parts, components and assemblies for the deployment of serial production. Subsequently, the contract was supplemented with a clause on the transfer of all drawings to the metric system. It was also planned to buy two fully assembled reference samples.
Externally, the serial BSh-1 differed from the V-11G engine, the presence of frontal hood louvers and additional ventilation punchings on it, as well as the spinning screw, the absence of a rifle scope front sight bracket and a radio antenna mast.
The internal equipment has almost completely become Soviet - the starter, electric generator, sights, bomb releasers have been replaced. Although it was quite quiet in the cockpit, they installed an SPU-2 intercom and, additionally, an alarm with colored lights. On tests, the head BSh-1 failed miserably. In the conclusions of the report, the Air Force Research Institute wrote: "The BSh-1 M-62IR aircraft does not meet modern requirements for an attack aircraft and a light bomber either in terms of flight technical data, or in terms of defense capability, or in terms of the view from the cockpit of the Letnab during wind measurements and bombing. ".
Armament. Four wing 7.62-mm machine guns ShKAS (total ammunition 3600 rounds), turrets MV-3 (above) and MV-2 (below). Combat load: four KD-1-10 cassettes (or alternative for 400 kg bombs), ventral suspension of two DAP-100 or two VAP-4m with ZAP incendiary devices.
Unsuitable for military service aircraft were offered to civil aviation for mail transportation. The Main Directorate of the Civil Air Fleet (GU GVF) claimed the "Valti" back in 1937, having drawn up technical requirements for its "civilian" version.
In December 1938, the Defense Committee decided to transfer 30 BSh-1 without weapons to the Civil Aviation, allocating 15 million rubles for this to the Main Directorate of the Civil Air Fleet. "In civilian life" the car was given the designation PS-43.
With the beginning of World War II, PS-43, together with other Aeroflot aircraft, was involved in military transport. On June 25, 1941, they began to form special air groups and detachments attached to the fronts and fleets. The first two PS-43s, which previously belonged to the Ukrainian Civil Air Fleet Directorate, became part of the Kiev air group. By July 1, they were already lost, but the group received a third car.
One PS-43 ended up in the 69th Fighter Regiment operating near Odessa. He was included in the freelance assault squadron created in the regiment. How and with what this aircraft was armed is unknown. It operated in conjunction with four Il-2s, one P-5 and the former Yugoslav Savoy S.79 bomber.
During the evacuation from Odessa in October 1941, the car was transferred to the Crimea, but there was an accident at landing. The pilot, Major Rykachev, and the passengers were not injured, and the plane had to be written off.
Since July 1941, PS-43 began to be concentrated in the 2nd squadron of the Moscow Special Purpose Air Group (MAGON). In July, it received eight vehicles, in August - four and in September - eight more. The fact is that in July-August, the Civil Air Fleet specialists came to grips with the repair of aircraft that were still standing on the edge of the Central Airfield. Something had already been stolen by that time, something had deteriorated from time and careless storage. Several cars were damaged when the MiG-3, which missed the landing, crashed into the "iron row".
Senior engineer I.A. Ivanov. Time was running out, and PS-43 was "put into operation" without any tests. The ferry to the front was carried out by the pilots P.S. Gusev, V.N. Ilyin and V.S. Mineev.
The planes mainly carried mail and couriers of the field service, sometimes staff officers. On August 13, 1941, the PS-43 of pilot Mineev, who was transporting a courier, was attacked by a Messerschmitt. The pilot dodged the German for half an hour and still left. But it was not always so lucky. In the conditions of German air supremacy, the group suffered losses. One plane was shot down in July, another in August. In response, the PS-43 began to be equipped with protective weapons. In the role of shooters were flight mechanics, and when transporting passengers - the couriers themselves. However, there was little sense from such machine gunners, who did not have aerial shooting skills. In September, the group lost two more aircraft.
In the fall, when the enemy approached Moscow, MAGON was attracted to reconnaissance of enemy troops near Maloyaroslavets, Mozhaisk, Volokolamsk and Kaluga, and Valti acted quite successfully in this role.
On September 25, from the 2nd MAGON Squadron and the 200th Detachment of the Moscow Directorate of the Civil Air Fleet, they created a Special Air Communication Group (OAGS), based at the Myachkovo airfield near Moscow. All the surviving PS-43s were transferred there; by the beginning of October there were 16 of them. Over the next month, the group lost another car. The last PS-43 entered the OAGS in December. In the same month, one car was shot down by German anti-aircraft guns during reconnaissance. By the end of 1941, all the Valti were in the front-line air groups, there were no such machines left in the rear.
In the winter of 1941-42, PS-43 took part in the "air bridge" between the "mainland" and besieged Leningrad. The plane under the control of M.G. Skrylnikov was knocked out by German fighters over Ladoga, and they had to make an emergency landing on the ice. As a result, the chassis was broken and the tail was completely torn off. But in 10 days the car was put into operation again, and the pilot I.I. Tukish flew on it until the end of the war!
In the spring of 1942, a sharp increase in the accident rate was recorded. This was due to the fact that the group lost the most experienced pilots sent to combat units. During the 2nd quarter, there were eight accidents, with one plane completely destroyed.
On May 1, 1942, three PS-43s were in the Kiev air group, 13 - in the OAGS. Another car, during the evacuation from Ukraine, ended up in Grozny, where it was appropriated by the Air Force Flight School. After a long correspondence, the plane was returned to the North Caucasian Air Group of the Civil Air Fleet. But this "Valti" was unlucky. On June 27, 1942, his landing gear did not come out. The car got on the "belly" and got into repair. And on October 24, when landing in Sochi, the Grozny Valti was attacked by two Messerschmitts. PS-43 was shot down and fell into the sea, the pilot Nikonov and the passenger were killed.
In 1942, the effective, but impractical in operation, American chassis depreciation was declared unsuitable. Instead, they began to install Soviet pneumatic-hydraulic shock absorbers. By the fall, such a replacement was made on all aircraft. Another novelty is the use of frost-resistant grease in the landing gear retractable mechanism. Previously, they used American oil, which thickened at 15 degrees below zero. Therefore, in the winter they flew without removing the wheels, losing 25-30 km / h of speed.
At the end of 1942, the OAGS was transformed into the 3rd communications aviation division. In the midst of the Battle of Stalingrad, PS-43 carried mail to the units and formations that participated in it. True, the Valti were unloaded in Astrakhan, and the P-5 was delivered directly to the front line at night.
The number of PS-43 in the division gradually decreased, but this process was rather slow. Thanks to its solid all-metal construction, the American turned out to be a very durable and tenacious machine. If on January 1, 1943 there were 14 "Valti" in the ranks, then by the beginning of December -12.
The losses were caused by both combat and non-combat reasons. So, on March 12, pilot Egupov, while flying at low altitude along the Don, crashed into a ship's mast, the pilot and passenger were killed. And on April 29, "Messerschmitt" shot at takeoff in Krasnodar, Timofeev's car. The plane burned down, and the pilot and flight mechanic were hospitalized with burns.
By June 1, 1944, nine PS-43s remained in service, by the end of the year - eight. Three aircraft in January 1945 were based in Lvov. They transported mail to the 1st and 4th Ukrainian fronts, as well as to the 1st Belorussian fronts. One car each was in Kaunas and Minsk. They worked for the 1st Baltic, 2nd and 3rd Belorussian fronts.
From the beginning of 1945, more modern A-20 and B-25 aircraft began to arrive in the 3rd communications division. This made it possible to write off the old and extremely worn out PS-43. By September, not a single such machine remained in the Soviet Union.