Aviation of World War II

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Organization of the Red Army Air Force



The system of fronts organized by the Headquarters with the aim of concentrating army groups, as well as improving their command and air support forces. The first fronts were organized between July and September 1941, i.e. during the invasion of Germany and its allies in the western regions of the Soviet Union. In the direction from north to south, the following fronts were created:

Leningradsky - with the center in this large port city, located at the entrance to the Gulf of Finland;

North-West - south of Leningrad and north of Moscow;

Western - around Moscow;

Bryansk - from Moscow to Kursk;

South-West - around Kharkov;

Yuzhny - around Rostov-on-Don, a port on the Sea of ‚Äč‚ÄčAzov;

Yugo-Zapadny - located on the northern coast of the Black Sea - around the mouth of the Dnieper, including the Crimea and Odessa.

As the Axis troops advanced deep into Soviet territory and seized the Baltic republics, Belarus and most of Ukraine, the length of the front line constantly increased as the defending troops retreated. To the north of Leningrad, the Karelian Front was created, between the Leningrad and Northwestern Fronts, the Volkhov Front; Kalinin Front appeared between the Northwestern and Western fronts.

After Leningrad was cut off and blockaded, Moscow at the end of 1941 was subjected to continuous attacks from the air, withstanding a total of 122 air raids. However, in the spring of 1942, the offensive of the German army unfolded mainly in a southerly direction. Here, in the first months of the year, the Voronezh Front was created between the Bryansk and Southwestern Fronts, as well as the Stalingrad Front - north of the Southern Front and this city. As the German troops advanced into the Caucasus region, to the territory between the Black and Caspian Seas, the Caucasian front was divided into the North Caucasian and Transcaucasian fronts. Later, in 1942, the Don Front was created between the Southwestern and Stalingrad fronts, and the Northern Front was created in the northern direction between the Leningrad and Karelian fronts.

After the collapse of the German 6th Army and the defeat of the Romanian and Italian armies supporting it in the winter of 1942/43, Soviet troops launched a steady offensive, which began in the spring of 1943 in the Caucasus, in the region of the Kuban River.

The Stalingrad Front was merged with the Don Front, the border of which moved in the direction to the west and south, which preceded the last powerful German offensive on the central part of the front, which had the goal of "cutting off" the huge ledge that had formed here. To support the operations of Soviet troops in this area behind the Bryansk and Voronezh fronts, the Central Front was organized in the immediate vicinity of the city of Kursk, and behind it, as a reserve, the Steppe Front. Thus, in the colossal battle that broke out here, the troops of the Bryansk, Central, Voronezh, Southwestern and Steppe fronts took part.

After the failure of the German plan, the Soviet troops themselves went on the offensive throughout the southern direction. The Steppe Front moved forward and took up a position between the Voronezh and Southwestern fronts, and the offensive developed towards the northern coast of the Sea of Azov to force the Germans out of the Donbass region at the mouth of the Don River and begin the liberation of Ukraine and Crimea. In September, the Dnieper was crossed, and by the end of the year, Ukraine was largely liberated.

Taking into account the possibility of a new German offensive next year, in December 1943, a complete reorganization of the fronts was launched. In the southern direction, the South-Eastern Front became the 4th Ukrainian, and it was given the task of the final liberation of the Crimea. To the north, in the region of Zaporozhye, the 3rd Ukrainian Front was located, in the region of Dnepropetrovsk - the 2nd Ukrainian, and east of the Ukrainian capital Kiev - the 1st Ukrainian Front.

To the north, in front of Kursk, was the 1st Belorussian Front. To the east of this line, the situation has not changed much since the beginning of 1942. To the north of the swamps of Pripyat were concentrated the 2nd and 3rd Belorussian fronts, as well as the 1st and 2nd Baltic fronts. The territory up to the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland was occupied by the 3rd Baltic Front. To the east of this area, in January 1944, the blockade of Leningrad was finally broken, and the Volkhov and Leningrad fronts remained here.

At the beginning of 1944, the Leningrad, Volkhov and 3rd Baltic Fronts completed the liberation of the Leningrad-Novgorod region and launched an offensive through Estonia towards the Latvian border. In June, the offensive of the forces of the Karelian Front against Finland was unsuccessful, but it led to the conclusion of a truce with that country in September. At the same time, as a result of a massive summer offensive in the central part of the front, the German Army Group Center was defeated, which allowed the three Belorussian fronts to completely liberate Belarus and advance into the territory of East Prussia and Poland.

Then the 1st and 2nd Baltic fronts, which were joined by the 2nd and 3rd Belorussian fronts, tried to capture the southern coast of the Baltic Sea; the resistance of the German troops located on the Courland Peninsula in Lithuania and in Koenigsberg (East Prussia) continued literally until the very end of the war.

In the south, after the liberation of the Crimea, the 4th Ukrainian Front moved to the main line between the 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts, joining the first of them when moving into southern Poland; The 2nd and 3rd fronts liberated Moldova and crossed the borders of Romania and Bulgaria. A truce was concluded with both of these countries in August 1944, after which the Romanians began to fight against their former allies. These fronts then crossed into the territory of Yugoslavia, Slovakia and Hungary, the latter resisting until September. The units that were part of these fronts, before the end of the war, had to capture Budapest and Prague, liberate Hungary and Czechoslovakia, where they met with the US army, and enter the territory of Austria.

The final attack on Germany was carried out, located from north to south, by the 2nd and 1st Belorussian, 1st and 4th Ukrainian fronts; the ultimate goal of the 1st Belorussian and 1st Ukrainian fronts was Berlin. The city was surrounded and fell on May 2, 1945; the rest of the Soviet forces advanced west until May 7 and met with the allied armies of the US, Britain, Canada and France.

During the final offensive of 1945, the following Air Armies (VA) were assigned to the fronts:

Front Air Armies
Leningradsky Front 13th
2nd Baltic Front 15th
1st Baltic Front 3th
3rd Belorussian Front 1st
2nd Belorussian Front 4th
1st Belorussian Front 16th
1st Ukrainian Front 2nd
4th Ukrainian Front 6th
2nd Ukrainian Front 5th
3rd Ukrainian Front 17th

VVS KA - Voyenno vozdushnyye Sily Krasnoy Armii - Air Force of the Red Army

AP - Aviatsionnyy polk - Aviation Regiment

IAP - Istrebitel'nyy aviatsionnyy polk - Fighter Aviation Regiment

GIAP - Gvardeyskiy istrebitel'nyy aviatsionnyy polk - Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment

IAD - Itsrebitel'naya aviatsionnaya diviziya - Fighter Aviation Division

SAD - Smeshannaya aviadiviziya - Mixed air division

ShAP - Shturmovoy avia polk - Attack Aircrat Regiment

ShAD - Shturmovaya avia diviziya - Attack Aircrat Division, (includes several regiments)

VA - Vozdushnaya armiya - Air Armie

SZF - Severo zapadnyy flot - North Western Fleet

LF - Leningrad fleet - Leningradskiy flot

ChF - Chernomorskiy flot - Black Sea Fleet

YuZF - Yugo zapadnyy flot - Southwestern fleet

KBF - Krasnoznamennyy Baltiyskiy Flot - Red Banner Baltic Fleet

SF - Severnyy flot - Northern Fleet

PVO - Protivovozdushnaya oborona - Air defense


During the Great Patriotic War, the production and supply of fighter aircraft under Lend-Lease are characterized as follows:

Polikarpov I-16 9,450
Polikarpov I-152 2,408
Polikarpov I-153 3,437
LaGG-3 6,528 (until June 22, 1941.-322)
MiG-3 3,222 (until June 22, 1941-1301)
Yak-1 8,721 (until June 22, 1941-399)
Yak-7 6,399
La-5 9,920
Yak-9 16,769
La-7 5,753
Yak-3 4,848
Bell P-39 Airacobra 4,952
Bell P-63 Kingcobra 2,400
Curtiss P-40 2,397
Hurricane II 2,952
Supermarine Spitfire V and IX 1,351
Republican R-47 Thunderbolt 197

According to available information, in June 1941 there were a total of 11,500 fighters, and until 1945, an additional 62,880 aircraft entered aviation units. 46,800 aircraft were lost, including 20,700 during combat operations.

During the war, Soviet fighter pilots scored about 40,000 victories, including 4,900 with naval aviation and 3,900 with air defense fighter aircraft.

Fighter Aviation Guards Regiments
GIAP Former number of IAP GIAP Former number of IAP GIAP Former number of IAP
1st 29th 54th 237th 113th 437th
2th 526th (23th(1)) 55th 581th 115th 146th
3th 155th 56th 520th 117th 975th
5th 129th 57th 36th 129th 27th PVO
9th 69th 63th 169th 137th 160th
11th 44th PVO 64th 271th 139th 20th
12th 120th PVO 65th 653th 145th 253th PVO
14th 7th 66th 875th 146th 487th PVO
16th 55th 67th 436th 147th 630th PVO
18th 168th (6th SZF) 68th 46th 148th 910th PVO
19th 145th 69th 63th (10th) 149th 6th YuZF
20th 147th 72nd 485th (17th LF) 150th 183th
21st 38th 73th 296th 151st 427th
26th 26th PVO 84th 788th PVO 152th 270th
27th 123th PVO 85th 2th 153th 516th
28th 153th 86th 744th 156th 247th
29th 154th 88th 166th 159th 88th
30th 180th 89th 12th 163th 249th
31th 273th 100th 45th 176th 19th
32th 434th 101th 84th 177th 193th
38th 629th PVO 103th 158th PVO 178th 240th
39th 731th 104th 298th 179th 297th
40th 862th (131st) 106th 814th 181th 239th
41st 40th 107th 867th 212th 438th
42nd 8th 111th 13th 213th 508th
53th 512th 112th 236th 211th 9th
102nd 124th 180th 181th 54th 237th
116th 563rd 83 572nd 168th 737th
133th 42nd        
Naval Aviation
2nd, SF 72nd, SF 4th, KBF 13th, KBF 10th, KBF 71st, KBF
3rd, KBF 5th, KBF 6th, ChF 8th, ChF 11th, ChF 32nd, ChF
        14th, KBF 13th (2), KBF


  • Aces of Stalin /Thomas Polak and Christopher Shoura/
  • avia-hobby Mikhail Bykov