Aviation of World War II

Aviation of World War II

Home  Russian

The aviation industry of the USSR on the eve and during the Great Patriotic War (1943-1945)

G.V. Kostyrchenko


The first months of 1943 were marked by the greatest event in the course of the Great Patriotic War: the Soviet troops, having completed the encirclement and then the complete defeat of the largest Nazi military group in the Stalingrad region, won a historic victory on the Volga, which was decisive in achieving a radical change in the course of the war in favor of the USSR. The success of this battle was largely predetermined by the growing combat power of the Red Army Air Force, which by this time had at its disposal a large number of first-class combat aircraft with high flight performance and weapons.

The conditions of national economic development, which had changed in many respects by the second period of the war, brought to the fore such effective economic levers as increasing labor productivity, the use of advanced technology, the technical re-equipment of enterprises, the introduction of a scientific organization of labor, the improvement of planning, supply and the entire mechanism of industry management. These requirements were the main content of the GKO resolutions “On the Logistics of the NKAP Plants”, which, starting from 1943, began to approve quarterly plans for the supply of products to aircraft plants through a system of intersectoral cooperation. Starting from the same year, quarterly plans for the production of aircraft and engines were also approved by GKO resolutions. Every month, the NKAP sent reports to the State Defense Committee on the delivery of aircraft that had been flown and ready for combat, on the implementation of ammunition production programs, and other reports. The Operations Bureau, formed in December 1942 [20], began to deal directly with the development of the aircraft industry in the apparatus of the State Defense Committee [20]. The production of gross output (metal products, materials, etc.) was carried out according to quarterly plans approved by resolutions of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR.

By strengthening its control over the aviation industry, the GKO at the same time sought greater coherence and clarity in the activities of its suppliers. At the same time, an order was given to the Councils of People's Commissars of the Union and Autonomous Republics, regional, regional and city executive committees of workers' deputies, as well as authorized by the State Planning Committee of the USSR, to immediately begin, together with the directors of aircraft factories, to find additional reserves of local and republican industry with their subsequent activation in the interests of the development of the aviation industry [3 , d. 943, l. 83-94].

With the support of the NKAP, a large-scale introduction of advanced technology into aircraft production was also launched everywhere. Machining was replaced by stamping, riveting was replaced by welding, foundries were transferred to chill casting, pneumatic riveting was replaced by press riveting. The transition to the new technology was accompanied by the renewal of production facilities. The factory forges were equipped with horizontal forging machines, and along with other state-of-the-art equipment, special metal-cutting machines manufactured at the enterprises of the NKAP began to be installed in the workshops. Aircraft builders repaired all the old equipment that was freed up and fell into disrepair on their own. The technical re-equipment of aircraft production made it possible to carry out in April 1943 an industry-wide increase in production rates by 15% and at the same time reduce prices by 13% [3, d. 53, l. 49]. These and other organizational and technical measures were aimed at achieving higher labor productivity.

During the first three months of 1943, the aviation industry produced 8014 aircraft, of which 6372 were combat aircraft. In the second quarter, the volume of aircraft production increased even more; 853] aircraft were handed over to customers, of which 7369 were combat. In total, in the first half of 1943, aircraft were built by 69.8% more than in the same period of 1942; in combat vehicles, the increase was 66.2% [2, vol. 6, p. 353].

Such indicators were achieved mainly due to an increase in labor productivity, which in just a year (since May 1942) was raised by 30%. During the same time, the number of workers who overfulfilled the norms in the aircraft industry increased by 22% [21].

A radical means of further intensifying aviation production was the mass introduction of flow-conveyor methods of organizing labor into aircraft and engine building, which made it possible to significantly increase labor productivity without resorting to additional capital investments. The transfer of assembly operations to the flow began to take on a massive character from the beginning of 1943. By the autumn of 1943, the flow method, having proved its obvious advantage and promise, began to be introduced everywhere. This was facilitated by the order of the NKAP "On the organization of in-line production methods" issued in early October 1943, which contained the following results of the application of the flow at the enterprises of the industry: at plant No. 153, the organization of in-line assembly of aircraft fuselages increased labor productivity by 2 times, reduced the use of 4 times and accelerated the process of assembling cars by 75%; at the N9 45 plant, the in-line processing of the motor block head made it possible to reduce the labor intensity of the product by 25% and the cost by 27.6%. According to the order, the enterprises were to develop plans for the creation of in-line production, and the Orgaviaprom trust and Giproniyaviaprom were to form integrated teams of qualified specialists to train production workers in in-line methods [3, file 976, l. 64].

The main problems of introducing the in-line method became the subject of discussion at an industry-wide conference that opened on November 1, 1943. It was followed by a series of similar conferences, but already within the main production departments of the NKAP. These conferences, in relation to the specifics of a particular production, outlined plans for the development of tray lines, approved target figures for reducing the labor intensity of products and determined other practical steps to master the new method. In 1944, production lines for the final assembly of Il-2 were put into operation at factories No. 1, 18, 30, 39. That year, assembly operations for bombers were transferred to the stream: Pe-2 at factory No. 22, Tu-2 - at plant No. 23 and IL-4 - at plant No. 126, for Yak-type fighters - at plant No. 292 and La-5 - at plant No. 21. Significant progress has been made in the development of flow methods and engine-building enterprises of the industry. Only at one plant number 16 in 1944, 25 production lines were launched, which covered 65% of the entire labor intensity of manufacturing motors. The directors of aircraft-building and engine-building enterprises reported on their successes and unresolved problems in the field of in-line organization of labor at a meeting of the NKAP board held in March 1944 [3, file 6861, l. 216].

By the end of the war, most of all assembly and assembly operations used in aircraft construction were transferred to the stream. Increasing the level of use of flow-conveyor methods in the assembly of combat aircraft in 1943-1945. characterized by the data given in table. 4 [5, d. 33, l. 22].

NKAP - Narodnyy Komissariat Aviatsionnoy promyshlennosti - People's Commissariat of Aviation Industry

GKO - Gosudarstvennyy Komitet Oborony - State Defense Committee

TsAGI - Tsentral'nyy Aerogidrodinamicheskiy institut - Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute

Table 4

Production of Aircraft
Plant No Aircraft type Number of production lines Note
1943 1945
1 IL-2 18 38 -
18 IL-2 9 32 Final assembly line launched in 1944
18 IL-10 - 33 -
21 La-5 21 - -
21 La-7 - 28 Final assembly line launched in 1944
22 Pe-2 - 28 Same
153 Yak-9 - 27 Same
292 Yak-3 - 30 Assembly was also carried out on 37 overhead tracks

By the end of the war, the engine-building enterprises of the industry also successfully mastered the in-line assembly. At the beginning of 1945, 35 production lines operated at plant No. 16, and 28 production lines each at plants No. 19 and 24. In addition, at engine-building plants No. 19 and 24, conveyors for chill casting of cylinder heads were put into operation [5, d. 33, l. 209].

The main result of the transfer of the aircraft industry to the flow was the achievement of a higher organization of production, an increase in its culture. And what was most important - we managed to significantly raise the level of labor productivity and thereby reduce the cost of production. Only at engine-building plants, the introduction of the flow gave an increase in labor productivity in 1943 by 20–25% [10]. And if, on average, in the national economy, labor productivity increased by 39.2% from April 1942 to October 1943, then in the aviation industry over the same period it rose by 40.9% [11]. In the future, this trend further intensified: in April 1944, compared with April 1942, labor productivity in the aircraft industry increased by 47%, while its overall level in industry increased by 40% over the same period [21]. And in just the last three years of the war, the increase in labor productivity in the aircraft industry amounted to 70.2% [20]. The decrease in the cost of the main products that occurred at the same time was expressed in the figures given in Table. 5 [3, d. 6881, l. 73].

Table 5

Aircraft Type Plant's No Cost per aircraft
1941 1943
Yak-7 153 161.4 111.1
IL-2 18 236.1 165.6
Pe-2 22 442.0 279.4

Table 6

Aircraft Type Live labor costs, man-hours
1941 1943
IL-4 20 12.5
IL-2 9.5 5.9
Pe-2 25.3 13.2

In total for 1941 - 1945. savings from cost reduction in aircraft construction alone amounted to 5.4 billion rubles, or 1.7 billion rubles more than in the tank industry, and was equivalent to the supply of 42,475 La-5 aircraft to the front [20].

Largely due to the wide development of flow methods by aircraft manufacturers in 1943, compared to 1941, labor costs have significantly decreased, as can be seen from Table. 6 [22].

Every year, capital investments directed to the aircraft industry were reduced. If in 1941 they amounted to 3460 million rubles, and in 1942 - 1980 million rubles, then in 1943 - already 1030 million rubles. However, in general, the factors of extensive development continued to be of priority importance in the further increase in the production of combat aircraft. In 1943, compared with 1941, the total number of employees in the industry increased by 17%, which amounted to 640,213 people on January 1, 1944, including 435,385 workers; the average duration of a work shift increased by 24.5%: if in 1940 it was 7.66 hours, then in 1943. 9.54 hours [3, file 1314, l. 192-196].

The mobilization of all resources of the aviation industry carried out by the NKAP, combined with measures to increase the productivity of aircraft factories, ensured the successful fulfillment of planned targets. In 1943, 34,884 aircraft were produced, including 29,887 combat aircraft, thereby exceeding the planned target by 2.5%, the volume of aircraft production in 1942 by 37.1% and the productivity of the German aircraft industry in 1943. — for 9700 cars [10]. If in 1940 an average of 35.6 aircraft were produced per 1,000 workers in the Soviet aircraft industry, then in 1943 it was already 78.8 aircraft [3, file 6861, l. 52]. The engine-building enterprises of the industry produced 48,825 aircraft engines in 1943 [5, d. 33, l. 187]. This allowed Soviet aviation to finally gain strategic air supremacy. As of July 1, 1943, 10,252 aircraft from the Soviet side and 2,980 aircraft from the German side took part in the battles [10].

But forcing the production of military aircraft was associated with many difficulties, which could not but affect its quality. In May 1943, when preparations for the summer campaign were in full swing, the Yak-1 and Yak-7 fighters, manufactured by factories No. 292 and 153, were found to have a massive defect in manufacturing finish. On many aircraft, peeling of the calico coating, delamination and deformation of the plywood sheathing occurred; the putty cracked, and there were cases when the skin was torn off the wings in flight. The situation was serious. In the 13th Air Army alone, 84 IL-2 attack aircraft, 11 La-5 fighters, and 70 Yakovs failed [3, d. 998, l. 15, 42], A similar picture was observed in other air armies. On June 3, 1943, to explain what happened to I.V. Stalin was summoned by the deputies of the people's commissar A.S. Yakovlev and P.V. Dementiev. After that, the industry leadership took emergency measures to overcome the critical situation. During the day, repair teams were created at more than ten plants, they were headed by process engineers. These brigades immediately flew to the front. But in addition to the repair teams, other forces were also involved in this important matter. So, in the 13th Air Army, where the repair of aircraft began on June 8, 1943, the stationary workshops of factories No. 26 and 201, as well as a group of auxiliary workers from factory No. 162, launched their activities. By June 25, 1943, all defective fighters in this army were returned to combat formation, and aircraft equipment in other air armies was repaired at approximately the same time [3, d. 998, l. 43].

As it turned out later, the causes of aircraft defects were not unambiguous - these were low-quality finishing materials (varnishes and paints that included poorly tested substitutes as components); individual design flaws (the area of ​​attachment of the skin to the power frame of the wing was insufficient); this, finally, is a manufacturing defect that arose due to violations of the technological process of wood processing. The situation improved only after the creation in June 1943 of the Main Inspectorate for Quality as part of the NKAP. The customer's military missions operating at aircraft factories, independent of the factory administration and formed mainly of highly qualified engineers, also contributed to improving the quality of military aircraft.

The industry's enterprises located in the central and western regions of the country experienced a rebirth. Immediately after the expulsion of the enemy, production of the products needed by the front began on their sites. In Voronezh, on the pre-evacuation territory of plant No. 18, which was heavily damaged by the hostilities, plant No. 64 was created, which immediately began to master the production of IL-2 attack aircraft, and the assembly of La-5 fighters began at the site of plant No. 39 evacuated to Irkutsk [5, 33, l. 18, 71]. In 1943, several engine-building enterprises were also restored. So, on the production sites of factories No. 16 and 20 previously relocated to the east, factories No. 265 and 41 appeared, which began to manufacture pumps for ASh-82FN motors and M-11D motors [5, case 33, l. 18-25]. In 1944, after the final lifting of the blockade, the aircraft factories of Leningrad began to revive literally from the ruins. Only in the Main Directorate of Radar Technology, formed in 1944, restoration work was launched at 7 Leningrad enterprises. About 80 artillery shells hit the shops of one of these enterprises during the blockade, as a result, 76,800 m² production areas. In March 1944, the NKAP sent 1,500 workers from aircraft factories in other cities to help the Leningrad aircraft builders.

The war did not spare the educational institutions of the aviation industry, and especially those that were located in the territory temporarily occupied by the enemy. For example, the Kharkov Aviation Institute was completely destroyed, for the reconstruction of which the NKAP allocated 3 million rubles.

The starting point for the development of branch science and technology in 1943 - 1945. was the decision of the State Defense Committee of December 1942, which obliged the NKAP to significantly improve the operational and combat qualities of the main production aircraft [2, v. 6, p. 353]. In order to mobilize teams of research and development organizations of the aviation industry to carry out this important task, the NKAP held a series of scientific and technical conferences during 1943, in which scientists, aircraft designers, representatives of serial enterprises and military pilots took part. One of the first was a conference of research institutes, which was held from January 4 to 8, 1943. Such major centers of aviation science as TsAGI, LII, VIAM and CIAM were represented at it. In May 1943, the NKAP organized a technical conference in the 1st reserve aviation brigade dedicated to the analysis of the experience of the combat use of the IL-2 attack aircraft, and in December 1943, scientific and technical conferences were held for the chief designers of aircraft engine, aggregate and propeller plants. In 1944 - 1945. the practice of holding such scientific and technical forums was continued [3, file 974, l. 177].

Measures were also taken to strengthen the material and technical base, as well as the personnel of research institutes and experimental design bureaus. For the creation of new and reconstruction of old laboratories and experimental facilities of the NKAP in 1943-1944. 92.7 million rubles of capital investments were allocated. During the same period, their machine park of metal-cutting equipment doubled and by 1945 consisted of 3.6 thousand machine tools. The number of employees in research and development organizations also doubled: if in 1942 it was 13.1 thousand people, then in 1944 it was already 26.8 thousand people [3, file 1314 , l. 192-196].

In December 1942, after the re-evacuation of the main scientific units at TsAGI, the T-106 transonic wind tunnel was put into operation. At the beginning of 1943, the first test “purges” were carried out on it, while the design data on the main operational parameters of the pipe were blocked. Work was also carried out to improve full-scale pipes T-101 and T-104. To introduce and popularize scientific achievements, the Bureau of New Technology at TsAGI in 1943 organized weekly lectures for employees of departmental experimental and serial enterprises of the capital [3, d. 9335, l. 136].

On August 15, 1943, the NKAP approved the new "Regulations on the procedure for conducting flight tests to determine the range and duration of the flight of aircraft", which established a uniform methodology for testing aircraft equipment conducted by the Flight Research Institute, the Air Force Research Institute and all flight test stations of aircraft factories [3, d 941, fol. 50-53]. In order to generalize and systematize the experience accumulated by aircraft design bureaus during the war years, in 1943 TsAGI published a multi-volume "Guide for Designers" [3, file 970, l. 160].

In the same year, a reorganization was carried out at VIAM, which was reoriented to research work, primarily in the interests of the further development of mass production, and the overall leadership of VIAM in the NKAP was transferred to P.V. Dementiev, First Deputy People's Commissar for serial production. The convergence of science with industrial enterprises has yielded good results. Some time later, VIAM, together with a number of plants, managed for the first time in the USSR to produce common standards for the spectral analysis of aluminum alloys, which made it possible to conduct their express analysis directly during melting and thereby achieve a reduction in casting defects and an increase in labor productivity. In collaboration with VIAM Plant No. 23, in December 1943, he received a new zinc-aluminum alloy AC-13, from which stamps were cast 12-15 times stronger than stamps from other alloys. And cooperation with aircraft plant No. 33 and cooperation with the Kauchuk plant made it possible to develop and implement in the 1st quarter of 1943 a technology for manufacturing rubber membranes for injection carburetors for engines designed by V. Ya. Klimov. These parts were previously purchased abroad. The year 1944 also became fruitful in terms of meeting the practical needs of aircraft construction for VIAM. Institute specialists created soft gas tanks with walls made of rubberized fabric, which were 25–40% lighter than metal ones and significantly increased the survivability of aircraft. In the same year, VIAM reported to the government about the creation of a new alloy that surpassed cobalt stellite in its properties and made it possible to launch the production of such powerful engines as AM-42 and VK-107A [3, file 1125, l. 27 - 28; house 1135, l. 244; d. 1096, l. 1120].

CIAM made a great contribution to the creation of improved modifications of aircraft engines. In 1943, he successfully completed the conversion of engines with a carburetor fuel supply system to direct injection into the cylinders. Work began on automating engine control; in combat units, the joint propeller and gas control system created by the institute, which simplified piloting and increased the flight range, was widely used; The specialists of the Institute organized the repair and adjustment of foreign carburetors, and also launched the training of the Air Force flight crew for the operation of Anglo-American aircraft engines received under Lend-Lease.

From the middle of 1943, the NKAP began to pay more and more attention to the creation of jet technology. An intensive search was launched for new ways of creating jet aircraft, which were significantly intensified after the appearance in 1943 of the first German jet aircraft. It was decided first of all to develop a reliable jet engine, for which the GKO and the NKAP held a concentration of design forces related to jet engine building. The first step in this direction was the creation of specialized units within the structure of the leading departmental research institutes. In August 1943, a laboratory for the research and development of air-breathing engines (AJE) was organized in CIAM, headed by A. M. Lyulka. At the same institute, scientific divisions headed by V. V. Uvarov, A. I. Tolstov, K. V. Kholshchevnikov, A. A. Fadeev and others were connected to the creation of jet engines. In TsAGI, on November 19, 1943, a reactive department was created under the leadership of G. N. Abramovich [3, file 866, l. 13]. The beginning of the next stage was laid by the issuance of GKO resolutions of February 18 and May 29, 1944, according to which the NKAP was appointed as the head department for all work carried out in the USSR on the creation of jet engines; and the State Institute for Jet Technology under the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR, which previously performed these functions, was abolished. Instead, the Scientific Research Institute of Jet Aviation (NII-1) was formed in the NKAP system, which began to collect all the scientific personnel involved in the problems of creating a VRE and liquid-propellant jet engines (LRE) [3, file 1085, l. 80-85]. The group of A. M. Lyulka was transferred from TsIAM to NII-1, and the group of V. P. Glushko was transferred from plant No. 16; plant No. 293 was transferred to the new institute as a production base. P. I. Fedorov was appointed head of NII-1, and V. F. Bolkhovitinov was appointed his first deputy. At the direction of the GKO, a priority material and technical supply of enterprises and organizations dealing with reactive topics was soon introduced, which also began to enjoy the pre-emptive right to receive equipment, fuel, raw materials and electricity. For the creation of the first mass-produced jet engine, the State Defense Committee set a bonus of 150,000 rubles for development enterprises [3, file 1085, l. fifteen].

In September 1944, the Design Bureau of A. A. Mikulin was connected to work on jet engine building, and a little later, the Design Bureau of V. Ya. Klimov [3, file 1120, l. 13-14].

The idea of ​​creating a jet aircraft became the starting point for the development of a creative competition between aircraft design bureaus for the right to transfer their prototype to mass production. The design bureau of S. A. Lavochkin, A. I. Mikoyan, P. O. Sukhoi, A. S. Yakovlev and V. M. Myasishchev took part in this competition, S.P. Korolev, future chief designer of spaceships. Departmental higher education institutions also promptly responded to new trends in the theory and practice of aviation: in 1945, departments on jet aircraft engines were formed at the Moscow and Kazan Aviation Institutes. Thus, despite the fact that the war was still going on and the front was absorbing almost all resources, even then the foundation was laid for the creation of a fundamentally new generation of aviation technology.

Work on the creation of Soviet reactive unmanned weapons began shortly after the use by the Nazis against the allies in June 1944 of the V-1 missiles. V.N. Chelomey, the chief designer and director of plant No. 51, was entrusted with supervising these works. Thanks to the hard work of the staff of this enterprise, after a few months, the first practical results were obtained: on December 25, 1944, V.N. Chelomei reported to the people's commissar on the successful completion of factory tests of the 10X projectile and the start of testing an even more advanced modification of unmanned weapons - 14X. At the beginning of 1945, after successful launches of new weapons from Pe-2 bombers and other aircraft, they were basically ready for combat use. However, guided by the principles of humanity and considering that the projectiles can cause the death of a large number of civilians, the government decided to stop using them [6].

In 1944, the volume of experimental work on aircraft construction increased by 21.4% compared to 1943 [3, d. 1314, l. 196]. For all the war years, it was possible to master and put into serial production 25 new types of aircraft, including modifications: 10 fighters, 8 bombers, 2 attack aircraft, 4 transport aircraft and 1 training aircraft. As they replaced the old machines, the release of the latter was discontinued. Of the 8 types of fighters produced at the beginning of the war, in 1945 only 3 continued to be produced, and of the 9 types of bombers, only 5; over the same period, the range of serial aircraft engines was reduced by 2 times [13]. Thus, the Air Force of the country had the opportunity not only to steadily increase, but also to constantly update and modernize its materiel. All this ensured the superiority of Soviet military aviation over the Nazis, which increased from year to year, and, in the end, a complete victory over it.

The industrial base of the construction and installation trusts of the NKAP developed and improved. In the last months of the war, part of the production potential of construction trusts was switched over to the construction of housing and hostels for workers in the industry. But boosting the pace of housing construction was not an end in itself. It was dictated primarily by the needs of production in securing personnel at their jobs. After all, domestic disorder was among the main reasons for the increasing turnover of personnel in the industry from year to year. In 1943, when the plan for housing construction was completed by only 68%, 107,200 workers, or 1/4 of the average number of workers in the aviation industry, left the aviation enterprises. In 1944, the personnel problem became even more acute. If earlier it was somehow possible to maintain the number of employees in the industry at the required level due to the extensive mobilization of the local population, now it has begun to decline. In the first half of 1944, out of 37.2 thousand people employed in the aviation industry, there were 50.8 thousand laid-off [3, d. 1136, l. 328 - 332]. The growth of labor turnover at aircraft factories was also due to such reasons as poor consumer services for workers.

The serious difficulties that the industry had to face in the social sphere had a negative impact on the production activities of aircraft factories and could only be overcome through radical changes in this area. Therefore, at the meeting of the board of the NKAP, held in August 1944, the development of a comprehensive program to consolidate the workforce at enterprises, improve labor discipline among workers and promptly meet their social and domestic needs was put at the forefront. The decision of the board on these issues was announced by the order of the People's Commissariat of August 29, 1944, which, in particular, established the procedure for systematic personal visits by directors and their deputies to canteens, hostels and other social facilities; obligated the management of enterprises to conduct a weekly reception of workers on personal issues; demanded to ensure the implementation of the housing construction plan, to expand individual construction, and also to transfer all workers settled with local residents to factory dormitories during the year, to organize overnight stays for workers living far from aircraft factories, to take measures to create rest houses, youth hostels, youth camps , improve the work of canteens and introduce three meals a day for workers under 18 years old, using products received from subsidiary farms [3, d. 87, l. 55-61].

In 1944, the NKAP conducted a technical and economic analysis of the production and economic activities of subordinate enterprises, which revealed a number of significant shortcomings in the economy and economic mechanism of the industry. At large aircraft factories, public reviews of the organization of labor and the use of advanced equipment were held, after which the number of production lines increased significantly and a mass transition of workshops and entire factories to an hourly work schedule began. In May 1944, starting from 1943, the production rates were revised for the second time: they were increased by an average of 10%, while prices were reduced by an average of 9.1%. Technologists, foremen, standard-setters and trade union activists took part in the campaign to revise the norms. Only at 32 aircraft factories of the industry, 18,682 people took part in this event, who collected a total of 3,500 proposals and outlined 3,800 organizational and technical measures to improve production [11]. The increase in production rates was a natural action. After all, despite the fact that during the war years many untrained youth and women joined the ranks of aircraft manufacturers, the output per worker in 1944 increased by 68% against the pre-war level, and the number of workers who did not fulfill their standards decreased from 11.5% in 1943 to 6% in January 1945. This was the lowest figure in the national economy. In the first quarter of 1945, the level of average output of workers in the aviation industry increased even more: it was 9.1% higher than in the first quarter of 1944 [3, case 6854, l. 135].

The conversion of industry that began at the end of the war made its own adjustments to the production and economic activities of aviation enterprises. They began to plan the production of a number of civilian products and consumer goods. In 1944, many aircraft factories were given orders for the manufacture of spare parts for tractors, combines and other agricultural machines. The capacities of aircraft factories began to be used for the repair of cars, tractors, steam locomotives, wagons and other civilian equipment. They also turned to the NKAP for help when it was necessary to perform technically complex, unique work, which could only be handled by such an advanced industry as the aircraft industry.

The aircraft industry approached 1945 as a powerful, technically equipped branch of the military industry, staffed by experienced workers and engineering and technical personnel. By the end of the war, the number of employees in the industry increased by 23.8% compared to 1940. The growth in numbers was mainly due to the influx of women and youth into the aviation industry. If on May 15, 1941 the proportion of women among workers was 29.5%, then on January 1, 1945 it was already 39.5%, which corresponded to approximately 162.5 thousand people, and the proportion of women employed in metallurgical enterprises industry, increased over the same period from 18.5 to 51%. By the end of the war, 40% of machine operators and 42.3% of blacksmiths and stampers were women. The number of teenage workers under the age of 18 was 50,622 in 1945, or 13% of all workers in the industry [3, d. 4495, l. 5]. But, being one of the leading branches of the military industry and being equipped with sophisticated technology and equipment, the aviation industry focused mainly on qualified and highly trained workers, who for the most part managed to be retained from the pre-war period.

In total, Soviet aircraft manufacturers produced 116,296 aircraft in 1941-1944, of which 97,140 were combat aircraft, while the German industry produced 88,900 aircraft during the same period, including 78,890 combat aircraft [5, d. 33, l. 21]. The Nazi aviation industry could not overcome its lag even with the help of a large-scale recruitment of its own labor force and the merciless exploitation of hundreds of thousands of foreign workers and prisoners of war who worked in hard labor conditions in underground aircraft factories. For 620 thousand people employed in 1944 in the Soviet aviation industry, there were 785.9 thousand people (June 1944) who worked for the German aviation industry.

By the end of the war, the production capacity and machine park of the Soviet aircraft industry increased significantly. Only at the aircraft-building and engine-building plants of the industry they increased by more than 2 times in comparison with 1941. At the same time, the number of employees at these enterprises increased only 1.3-1.6 times (Table 7) [5, d. 33, l. 26-27].

Table 7

Production figures Aircraft Plants Engine Plants
1941 1945 1945/1941 % 1941 1945 1945/1941 %
Number of machine tools 12,095 26,572 219 14,616 37,845 259
Production area, thousand m² 1410.2 3070.8 217 7791,7 1897.6 239
Number of workers, thousand people 105.4 179.5 160 69.0 93.6 135

The data is as of January 1 of the indicated year.

In 1944, the aviation industry produced a record number of aircraft for the entire war - 40,241 aircraft (of which 33,205 were combat) and 52,776 engines [2, v. 8, p. 396].

The victorious year of 1945 began. Starting from the 1st quarter, the main indicators of aviation production began to be approved by the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR in the form of national economic plans, which ensured the gradual transfer of the industry to the path of peaceful development. By January 1945, the Soviet Air Force outnumbered the enemy by 7.9 times in terms of the number of aircraft [10, vol. 6, p. 48]. In the first half of 1945, the same number of Yak-3 fighters were sent to the active army as in the whole of 1944; 1.2 times exceeded the indicators of 1944 for the production of Tu-2 bombers and 6.4 times for the production of IL-10 attack aircraft [10]. In total, from January to June 1945, 20,202 aircraft were manufactured, including 19,418 combat ones [2, vol. 16, p. 416].

Table 8

Number of aircraft built by year
Type Number of aircraft built by year Total
1941 1942 1943 1944 1945
Fighters 7,081 9,918 14,627 17,895 11,136 60,657
Bombers 3,754 3,534 4,057 4,200 3,120 18,665
Attack aircraft 1,542 8,229 11,193 11,110 6,645 38,719
Transport 257 469 1,241 1,543 1,231 4,741
Training 3101 3286 3766 5493 4347 19993
Total: 15.735 25.436 34.886 40.241 26.479 14.2775

The aviation industry of the Soviet Union came to the end of the war with a "genuine triumph" [23]. On the Soviet production of certain classes of aircraft in 1941-1945. can be seen from the data in Table. 8. During the war years, the industry's factories also produced 208,875 aircraft engines [2, d. 33, l. 217]. Such impressive results were achieved by aircraft manufacturers despite the fact that during the Nazi aggression, significant material damage was inflicted on the aviation production of the western and central regions of the European part of the USSR, amounting to 2.6 billion rubles [3, file 6009, l. one]. Dynamics of production by aircraft factories of the main serial aircraft in 1939 - 1945 is given in table. 9. Of certain importance for maintaining the combat power of the Soviet Air Forces were the deliveries of Lend-Lease aircraft by the Allies, which amounted to a total of 18,753 aircraft, or 13% of the output of Soviet aircraft during the war years [10]. The most important source of successful development of the Soviet aviation industry in 1941-1945. was the large-scale assistance of workers, who donated more than 2 billion 350 million rubles to military aviation, which made it possible to produce an additional 2.5 thousand combat aircraft [24].

Data from archival documents stored in TsAM (f. 14, op. 2, file 623); TsGANKh (f. 2097, op. 3, d. 2, l. 23; f. 8328, op. 1, d. 59, l. 691; d. 255, l. 78-79) and also from the Collection of laws of the USSR , 1932, No. 1, p. four.


  • 1. Shumikhin V.S. Soviet military aviation. — M.: Nauka, 1986, p. 222 - 223.
  • 2. History of the Second World War, 1939-1945. T. 2. - M .: Military Publishing House, 1974, p. 187 - 188.
  • 3. TsGANKh, f. 8044, op. 1, d. 104, l. 123; d. 115, l. 78 - 79.
  • 4. History of the CPSU. - M .: Politizdat, 1970. T. 5, book. 1, p. 118 - 119.
  • 5. CIAM, f. 25, op. 1, d. 31, l. 1-250.
  • 6. Shakhurin A.I. Wings of Victory. - M .: Gospolitizdat, 1983.
  • 7. Gazette of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. - M., 1941, l. 340.
  • 8. 50 years of the Armed Forces of the USSR. - M .: Military Publishing House, 1983, p. 259.
  • 9. History of metallurgy of light alloys in the USSR. — M.: Nauka, 1988, p. 231.
  • 10. The Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union. Short story. - M .: Military Publishing House, 1984, p. 94.
  • 11. Soviet economy during the Great Patriotic War. — M.: Nauka, 1970, p. 478.
  • 12. The work of party organizations during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. - M .: Pravda, 1982, vol. 1, p. 93-96, 99-102.
  • 13. Kravchenko G.S. Economy of the USSR during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. - M .: Economics, 1970, p. 171.
  • 14. History of the Soviet working class. - M .: Nauka, 1984, vol. 3, p. 376.
  • 15. Aviation industry, 1985, no. 5, p. 9 - 10.
  • 16. Central Party Archive, f. 17, op. PO, d. 103, l. 76 - 79.
  • 17. Aviation and cosmonautics of the USSR. - M .: Military Publishing House, 1968, p. 120-121.
  • 18. Golovanov Ya. Catastrophe. - Banner, 1980, No. 2, p. 136, 149.
  • 19. German industry during the war 1941 - 1945. — Per. with him. — M.: Ed. foreign lit., 1956, p. 270.
  • 20. Soviet rear in the Great Patriotic War. - M .: Thought, 1974, book. I, p. 77.
  • 21. Essays on the history of the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945. - M .: Publishing House of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, 1955, p. 265.
  • 22. Voznesensky N.A. The military economy of the USSR during the Patriotic War. — M.: Gospolitizdat, 1948, p. 117.
  • 23. Izvestia, 1945, July 4.
  • 24. Air fleet of the Land of the Soviets. - M .: Publishing House of the Political Directorate of the Air Force, 1979, p. 8.
<< |