Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad was the largest confrontation of World War II, in which Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in Southern Russia. Marked by fierce close quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians in air raids, it was the largest and bloodiest battle in the history of warfare. After their defeat at Stalingrad, the German High Command had to withdraw vast military forces from the Western Front to replace their losses; the German offensive to capture Stalingrad began in August 1942, using the 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army. The attack was supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing; the fighting degenerated into house-to-house fighting. By mid-November 1942, the Germans had pushed the Soviet defenders back at great cost into narrow zones along the west bank of the Volga River. On 19 November 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus, a two-pronged attack targeting the weaker Romanian and Hungarian armies protecting the German 6th Army's flanks.
The Axis forces on the flanks were overrun and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded in the Stalingrad area. Adolf Hitler ordered that the army make no attempt to break out. Heavy fighting continued for another two months. By the beginning of February 1943, the Axis forces in Stalingrad had exhausted their ammunition and food; the remaining units of the 6th Army surrendered. The battle lasted one week and three days. By the spring of 1942, despite the failure of Operation Barbarossa to decisively defeat the Soviet Union in a single campaign, the Wehrmacht had captured vast expanses of territory, including Ukraine and the Baltic republics. Elsewhere, the war had been progressing well: the U-boat offensive in the Atlantic had been successful and Erwin Rommel had just captured Tobruk. In the east, they had stabilized their front in a line running from Leningrad in the north to Rostov in the south. There were a number of salients, but these were not threatening. Hitler was confident that he could master the Red Army after the winter of 1942, because though Army Group Centre had suffered heavy losses west of Moscow the previous winter, 65% of its infantry had not been engaged and had been rested and re-equipped.
Neither Army Group North nor Army Group South had been hard pressed over the winter. Stalin was expecting the main thrust of the German summer attacks to be directed against Moscow again. With the initial operations being successful, the Germans decided that their summer campaign in 1942 would be directed at the southern parts of the Soviet Union; the initial objectives in the region around Stalingrad were the destruction of the industrial capacity of the city and the deployment of forces to block the Volga River. The river was the Caspian Sea to central Russia, its capture would disrupt commercial river traffic. The Germans cut the pipeline from the oilfields; the capture of Stalingrad would make the delivery of Lend Lease supplies via the Persian Corridor much more difficult. On 23 July 1942, Hitler rewrote the operational objectives for the 1942 campaign expanding them to include the occupation of the city of Stalingrad. Both sides began to attach propaganda value to the city, based on it bearing the name of the leader of the Soviet Union.
Hitler proclaimed that after Stalingrad's capture, its male citizens were to be killed and all women and children were to be deported because its population was "thoroughly communistic" and "especially dangerous". It was assumed that the fall of the city would firmly secure the northern and western flanks of the German armies as they advanced on Baku, with the aim of securing these strategic petroleum resources for Germany; the expansion of objectives was a significant factor in Germany's failure at Stalingrad, caused by German overconfidence and an underestimation of Soviet reserves. The Soviets realized, they ordered that anyone strong enough to hold a rifle be sent to fight. If I do not get the oil of Maikop and Grozny I must finish this war. Army Group South was selected for a sprint forward through the southern Russian steppes into the Caucasus to capture the vital Soviet oil fields there; the planned summer offensive, code-named Fall Blau, was to include the German 6th, 17th, 4th Panzer and 1st Panzer Armies.
Army Group South had overrun the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1941. Poised in Eastern Ukraine, it was to spearhead the offensive. Hitler intervened, ordering the Army Group to split in two. Army Group South, under the command of Wilhelm List, was to continue advancing south towards the Caucasus as planned with the 17th Army and First Panzer Army. Army Group South, including Friedrich Paulus's 6th Army and Hermann Hoth's 4th Panzer Army, was to move east towards the Volga and Stalingrad. Army Group B was commanded by Field Marshal Fedor von Bock and by General Maximilian von Weichs; the start of Case Blue had been planned for late May 1942. However, a number of German and Romanian units that were to take part in Blau were besieging Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula. Delays in ending the siege pushed back the start date for Blau several times, the city did not fall until early July. Operation Fridericus I by the Germans against the "Isium bulge", pinched off the Soviet
Long-Range Aviation was the branch of the Soviet Air Forces and Russian Air Force tasked with long-range bombardment of strategic targets with nuclear weapons. During the Cold War, it was the counterpart to the Strategic Air Command of the United States Air Force; the first three Air Armies, designated Air Armies of Specific Purpose were created between 1936 and 1938. According to the predominant Deep operations doctrine the Workers-Peasant Red Army was reorganized in six echelones; the long-range aviation was the 1st echelon, 2nd echelon consisted of heavy tanks, 3rd echelon - medium and light tanks, 4th echelon - motorised infantry, 5th echelon - heavy artillery and the 6th echelon consisted of the bulk of forces - the rifle troops with integral tank support. The Airborne Troops were a separate echelon in the role of General Staff reserve force; the 1st Specific Purpose Air Army was formed on January 8, 1936 as 1st Air Army of the General Reserve Command headquartered at Monino Airfield. The initial TO&E established by the General Staff included two heavy bomber air brigades, one fast bomber air brigade and one fighter air brigade.
As Ilyushin DB-3 started entering service they formed long-range bomber squadrons. 2nd Army was created on 15 March 1937 in the Far East, headquartered in Khabarovsk. The 3rd Air Army was created on May 21, 1938 in the North Caucasus Military District, headquartered in Rostov-on-Don. On October 20, 1939 the three air armies' order of battle included: 1st Specific Purpose Army 27th Aviation Brigade at Monino 21st and the 53rd Long Range Bomber Air Regiments 13th Aviation Brigade at Migalovo 41st Fast Bomber Air Regiment and 6th Long Range Bomber Air Regiment at Ivanovo 2nd Specific Purpose Army 64th Aviation Brigade at Voronezh 7th and the 42nd Long Range Bomber Air Regiments 30th Aviation Brigade at Kursk 51st Fast Bomber Air Regiment and 45th Long Range Bomber Air Regiment at Oryol 3rd Specific Purpose Army 3rd Aviation Brigade at Rostov-on-Don 1st Heavy Bomber Air Regiment and 12th Long Range Bomber Air Regiment at Novocherkassk 7th Aviation Brigade at Zaporizhia 8th and 11th Long Range Bomber Air RegimentsOn 5 November 1940 the three Specific Purpose Air Armies were disbanded due to poor combat performance during the Winter War with Finland.
Their units were reshuffled from three air armies into five air corps, three separate air divisions and one separate air regiment into a Long-Range Bomber Aviation of the Red Army's Supreme Command. Постановлением ГКО от 5 марта 1942 г. дальнебомбардировочная авиация была преобразована в авиацию дальнего действия с непосредственным подчинением Ставке ВГК. Оn 5 March 1942 the service was once again renamed from Long-Range Bomber Aviation of the Red Army's Supreme Command to Long-Range Impact Aviation. The subordination to the Stavka was retained; the following strategic objectives were set: bomb strikes on administrative and military targets deep in the enemy's rear, disruption of enemy's transport networks, destruction of warehouses behind the line of front and for strategic operations. ADD was placed under the command of Alexander Golovanov. In addition, ADD was used to support guerrillas in the occupied territory of the USSR and Yugoslavia. Throughout its existence, the ADD was part of the Reserve of the Supreme High Command.
It only received orders from Iosef Stalin. The basis of the combat fleet were long-range Ilyushin Il-4 bombers, though Petlyakov Pe-8s and other aircraft were used. During the Battle of Stalingrad, the ADD, having taken crippling losses over the past 18 months, was restricted to flying at night; the Soviets flew 11,317 night sorties over Stalingrad and the Don bend sector between 17 July and 19 November 1942. These raids were of nuisance value only. Five long-range bomber corps were established which had in service at various times nearly 3000 aircraft, of which 1800 were combat aircraft. Heavy bombers struck the cities of Danzig, Königsberg, Kraków, Helsinki and others; the ADD took an active part in the operations in the Baltic States. On March 9, 1944 between 1500 and 2000 explosive incendiary bombs were dropped on residential areas of Tallinn. Results of two Soviet air raids: 40% of the buildings in the city destroyed, 463 dead, 649 injured and about 20,000 left without shelter. Harju Street was hard hit, along with the theater "Estonia", where a concert had just started.
From 6 to 8 March 1944 the historical part of Narva was wiped out. In the period July–December 1944, the ADD made more than 7,200 sorties, dropping about 62,000 bombs with a total weight of 7,600 tons. In December 1944 the ADD was transferred to the Red Army Air Force and converted into the 18th Air Army; the composition of 18th Air Army included: Headquarters 1st Guards Smolensk Long-Range Bomber Air Corps 2nd Guards Bryansk Long-Range Bomber Aviation Corps 3rd Guards Stalingrad Long-Range Bomber Aviation Corps 4th Guards Gomel Long-Range Bomber Aviation Corps 6th Long-Range Aviation Corps 19th Long-Range Bomber Aviation Corps Four sepa
Chernihiv Air Base
Chernihiv is an air base in Ukraine located 5 km north of Chernihiv. It was a training base, it was home to 701 UAP flying 101 Aero L-39C aircraft as of 1992. The Chernihiv Military Aviation School of Pilots was activated on 6.11.40 in Chernihiv. 17.7.41 renamed Zernograd Military Aviation School of Pilots, but reverted to its old name 21.10.41. 5.12.44 awarded the Red Banner. 9.45 had five training squadrons. 15.7.46 disbanded. Reformed 15.2.51 at Chernihiv, Chernihiv Oblast, as the 57th Military Aviation School of Pilots. Organisation 1960: 701st Training Aviation Regiment with MiG-15 and Yak-18 702nd Training Aviation Regiment with MiG-15 and Yak-18 703rd Training Aviation Regiment with MiG-15 and Yak-18In 1963 the school was renamed Chernihiv Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots. In October 1968 the school received the byname "Leninist Komsomol"; the school was subordinated to the: April 1964 - April 1968: VVS Kiev Military District April 1968 - June 1980: 17th Air Army June 1980 - May 1988: VVS Kiev Military District May 1988 - January 1992: 17th Air ArmyIn early 1992 the school was taken over by the government of Ukraine
Soviet Air Forces
The Soviet Air Forces was the official designation of one of the air forces of the Soviet Union. The other was the Soviet Air Defence Forces; the Air Forces were formed from components of the Imperial Russian Air Service in 1917, faced their greatest test during World War II. The groups were involved in the Korean War, dissolved along with the Soviet Union itself in 1991–92. Former Soviet Air Forces' assets were subsequently divided into several air forces of former Soviet republics, including the new Russian Air Force. "March of the Pilots" was its song. The All-Russia Collegium for Direction of the Air Forces of the Old Army was formed on 20 December 1917; this was a Bolshevik aerial headquarters led by Konstantin Akashev. Along with a general postwar military reorganisation, the collegium was reconstituted as the "Workers' and Peasants' Red Air Fleet", established on 24 May 1918 and given the top-level departmental status of "Main Directorate", it became the Directorate of the USSR Air Forces on 28 March 1924, the Directorate of the Workers-Peasants Red Army Air Forces on 1 January 1925.
Its influence on aircraft design became greater. From its earliest days, the force mimicked ground forces' organization in the 1930s, by which time it was made up of air armies, aviation corps, aviation divisions, aviation regiments. After the creation of the Soviet state many efforts were made in order to modernize and expand aircraft production, led by its charismatic and energetic commander, General Yakov Alksnis, an eventual victim of Joseph Stalin's Great Purge. Domestic aircraft production increased in the early 1930s and towards the end of the decade, the Soviet Air Force was able to introduce Polikarpov I-15 and I-16 fighters and Tupolev SB and SB-bis and DB-3 bombers. One of the first major tests for the VVS came in 1936 with the Spanish Civil War, in which the latest Soviet and German aircraft designs were employed against each other in fierce air-to-air combat. At first, the I-16 proved superior to any Luftwaffe fighters, managed to achieve local air superiority wherever they were employed.
However, the Soviets refused to supply the plane in adequate numbers, their aerial victories were soon squandered because of their limited use. Bf 109s delivered to Franco's Spanish Nationalist air forces secured air superiority for the Nationalists, one they would never relinquish; the defeats in Spain coincided with the arrival of Stalin's Great Purge of the ranks of the officer corps and senior military leadership, which affected the combat capabilities of the expanding Soviet Air Forces. Newly promoted officers lacked flying and command experience, while older commanders, witnessing the fate of General Alksnis and others, lacked initiative referring minor decisions to Moscow for approval, insisting that their pilots comply with standardized and predictable procedures for both aerial attack and defence. On 19 November 1939, VVS headquarters was again titled the Main Directorate of the Red Army Air Forces under the WPRA HQ. Between 1933 and 1938, the Soviet government planned and funded missions to break numerous world aviation records.
Not only did aviation records and achievements become demonstrations of the USSR's technological progress, they served as legitimization of the socialist system. With each new success, Soviet press trumpeted victories for socialism, popularizing the mythology of aviation culture with the masses. Furthermore, Soviet media idolized record-breaking pilots, exalting them not only as role models for Soviet society, but as symbols of progress towards the socialist-utopian future; the early 1930s saw a shift in ideological focus away from collectivist propaganda and towards "positive heroism." Instead of glorifying socialist collectivism as a means of societal advancement, the Soviet Communist Party began uplifting individuals who committed heroic actions that advanced the cause of socialism. In the case of aviation, the government began glorifying people who utilized aviation technology instead of glorifying the technology itself. Pilots such as Valery Chkalov, Georgy Baydukov, Alexander Belyakov, Mikhail Gromov—as well as many others—were raised to the status of heroes for their piloting skills and achievements.
In May 1937, Stalin charged pilots Chkalov and Belyakov with the mission to navigate the first transpolar flight in history. On 20 June 1937, the aviators landed their ANT-25 in Washington. A month Stalin ordered the departure of a second crew to push the boundaries of modern aviation technology further. In July 1937 Mikhail Gromov, along with his crew Sergei Danilin and Andrei Yumashev, completed the same journey over the North Pole and continuing on to Southern California, creating a new record for the longest nonstop flight; the public reaction to the transpolar flights was euphoric. The media called the pilots "Bolshevik knights of culture and progress." Soviet citizens celebrated Aviation Day on 18 August with as much zeal as they celebrated the October Revolution anniversary. Literature including poems, short stories, novels emerged celebrating the feats of the aviator-celebrities. Feature films like Victory, Tales of Heroic Aviators, Valery Chkalov reinforced the "positive hero" imagery, celebrating the aviators' individuality within the context of a socialist government.
Soviet propaganda, newspaper articles, other forms of media sought to connect Soviet citizens to relevant themes from daily life. For aviation, Stalin's propagandists drew on Russian folklore. Examples i
The Mil Mi-6, given the article number izdeliye 50 and company designation V-6, is a Soviet/Russian heavy transport helicopter, designed by the Mil design bureau. It was built in large numbers for both civil roles; the Mi-6 resulted from a joint civil-military requirement for a large vertical-lift aircraft, which could be used to add mobility in military operations as well as assist in the exploration and development of the expansive central and eastern regions of the USSR. Flown for the first time on 5 June 1957, the Mi-6 was the first Soviet turboshaft-powered production helicopter; the R-7 gearbox and rotor head developed for the project have a combined weight of 3200 kg, greater than the two turboshaft engines. Variable-incidence winglets were first mounted on the craft's sides in 1960 to the 30 pre-series units; these wings provide 20% of the lift required during cruise flight. The Mi-6 was by far the world's largest helicopter when it was designed in 1954–56, it was the world's fastest helicopter.
In its early days, the Mi-6 set many world records, including one for sheer circuit speed at 340 km/h. As of 2013, the Mi-6 still holds the FAI record of fastest 5-tonne lift over 1,000 km, in which it flew 284 km/h in 1962. From 1959 to 1972 at least 500 units were built for various general-transport, utility and flying-crane duties, the last two sub-types not being fitted with the large fixed wings, which in other versions bear part of the lift in cruising flight and thus enable higher speeds to be attained; the twin nose wheels and large low-pressure main wheels do not retract. Flown by a crew of five or more, the Mi-6 seats 65 armed troops and can alternatively carry 41 stretcher patients and two attendants, or a wide range of bulky loads, including vehicles, loaded through rear clamshell doors. In exercises, fleets of these aircraft have airlifted many kinds of weapons, including FROG-7 rockets on their PT-76 tracked chassis, as well as large radars and heavy artillery. All Soviet armoured personnel carriers, armoured cars and light mechanised infantry combat vehicles can be carried.
The CIS Interstate Aviation Committee cancelled the Mi-6's Type Certificate in October 2002 after the crash of RA-21074 in the Taimyr Peninsula. There have been reports that the wooden tail rotor blades have reached the end of their service life. Data from: Mil's heavylift helicopters: Mi-6, Mi-10, V-12 and Mi-26 izdeliye 50 The product or article number for the V-6 prototype. V-6 First prototype series. Mi-6 Heavy-lift civil and military transport helicopter. Mi-6A Troopships and commercial transport helicopters built to a new baseline standard with improvements in reliability and new avionics. Mi-6AYa OKB designation for the Mi-6VzPU and Mi-22 airborne command posts, with SLAR. Mi-6APS A limited number of search and rescue helicopters converted from Mi-6A standard aircraft. Mi-6ATZ Fuel transport helicopter variant of the Mi-6A. Mi-6 Boorlak Prototype ASW/MCM helicopters, used for research into ASW equipment when delays to the mission equipment forced cancellation. Mi-6BUS airborne command post helicopter of 1975.
Mi-6L Flying laboratory variant with D-25VF engines used for flight improvements of the Mi-6 and testbed for the powerplant of the Mi-12. Mi-6M Anti-submarine variant armed with four aerial torpedoes and ASW rockets, equipped with various experimental ASW systems. First modified in 1965 for the "Barge Hauler" program. Mi-6M A projected redesign of the Mi-6 to carry 11 to 22 t over 800 km, cancelled due to the limitations of the five-bladed rotor specified. Mi-6P Passenger transport helicopter, with accommodation for 80 passengers. One prototype was converted from a stock Mi-6. Mi-6PP A prototype Counter-ELINT aircraft to protect air-defense radars from enemy ECM and/or ELINT activities. Mi-6PR Development in 1962 for jammer/electronic warfare variant. Mi-6PRTBV A few modified as mobile missile maintenance technical bases and missile transporters. Mi-6PS Search and rescue helicopter developed in 1966 for pick-up of the landed Vostok and Soyuz space modules. Mi-6PSA Alternative designation, used in some sources, for the Mi-6APS.
Mi-6PZh Fire fighting variant, with a 12,000 l tank in the cabin and six 1,500 l bags suspended from the fuselage. The sole prototype crashed in France fighting a fire, soon after display at the 27th Paris Air Show. Mi-6PZh2 A second firefighting helicopter prototype and several conversions with a steerable water cannon in the nose. Mi-6R Specialised radio communications relay variant developed in 1974, prototype conversions only. Mi-6RVK Tested in 1965 loaded with 9K73, 9M21 Loona-MV or 8K114 mobile missile systems. Mi-6S Medical evacuation helicopter, which can carry 41 litters. Mi-6T Military transport helicopter, which can seat up to 70 people on tip-up seats along the cabin sides, with additional seat along the center-line. Mi-6TP Convertible freight/
Samarkand, alternatively Samarqand, is a city in modern-day Uzbekistan, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Central Asia. There is evidence of human activity in the area of the city from the late Paleolithic era, though there is no direct evidence of when Samarkand was founded. Prospering from its location on the Silk Road between China and the Mediterranean, at times Samarkand was one of the greatest cities of Central Asia. By the time of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia, it was the capital of the Sogdian satrapy; the city was taken by Alexander the Great in 329 BC, when it was known by its Greek name of Marakanda. The city was ruled by a succession of Iranian and Turkic rulers until the Mongols under Genghis Khan conquered Samarkand in 1220. Today, Samarkand is the capital of Uzbekistan's second largest city; the city is noted for being an Islamic centre for scholarly study. In the 14th century it is the site of his mausoleum; the Bibi-Khanym Mosque, rebuilt during the Soviet era, remains one of the city's most notable landmarks.
Samarkand’s Registan square was the ancient centre of the city, is bound by three monumental religious buildings. The city has preserved the traditions of ancient crafts: embroidery, gold embroidery, silk weaving, engraving on copper, ceramics and painting on wood. In 2001, UNESCO added the city to its World Heritage List as Samarkand – Crossroads of Cultures. Modern-day Samarkand is divided into two parts: the old city, the new city developed during the days of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union; the old city includes historical monuments and old private houses, while the new city includes administrative buildings along with cultural centres and educational institutions. The name originates in the Sogdian samar, "stone, rock", kand, "fort, town". Along with Bukhara, Samarkand is one of the oldest inhabited cities in Central Asia, prospering from its location on the trade route between China and the Mediterranean. Archeological excavations held within the city limits as well as suburban areas unearthed forty-thousand-year-old evidence of human activity, dating back to the Late Paleolithic era.
A group of Mesolithic era archeological sites were discovered at Sazag'on-1, Zamichatosh and Okhalik. The Syob and Darg'om canals, supplying the city and its suburbs with water, appeared around the 7th to 5th centuries BC. There is no direct evidence. Researchers of the Institute of Archeology of Samarkand argue for the existence of the city between the 8th and 7th centuries BC. Samarkand has been one of the main centres of Sogdian civilization from its early days. By the time of the Achaemenid dynasty of Persia it had become the capital of the Sogdian satrapy. Alexander the Great conquered Samarkand in 329 BC; the city was known as Maracanda by the Greeks. Written sources offer small clues as to the subsequent system of government, they tell of an Orepius who became ruler "not from ancestors, but as a gift of Alexander". While Samarkand suffered significant damage during Alexander's initial conquest, the city recovered and flourished under the new Hellenic influence. There were major new construction techniques.
Alexander's conquests introduced classical Greek culture into Central Asia. This Hellenistic legacy continued as the city became part of various successor states in the centuries following Alexander's death, i.e. the Seleucid Empire, Greco-Bactrian Kingdom and Kushan Empire. After the Kushan state lost control of Sogdia, during the 3rd century AD, Samarkand went into decline as a centre of economic and political power, it did not revive until the 5th century AD. Samarkand was conquered by the Persian Sassanians around 260 AD. Under Sassanian rule, the region became an essential site for Manichaeism, facilitated the dissemination of the religion throughout Central Asia. After the Hephtalites conquered Samarkand, they controlled it until the Göktürks, in an alliance with the Sassanid Persians, won it at the Battle of Bukhara; the Turks ruled over Samarkand until they were defeated by the Sassanids during the Göktürk–Persian Wars. After the Arab conquest of Iran, the Turks conquered Samarkand and held it until the Turkic khaganate collapsed due to wars with the Chinese Tang Dynasty.
During this time the city paid tribute to the ruling Tang. The armies of the Umayyad Caliphate under Qutayba ibn Muslim captured the city in around 710 from Turks. During this period, Samarkand was a diverse religious community and was home to a number of religions, including Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Manichaeism and Nestorian Christianity. However, after the Arab conquest of Sogdiana, Islam became the dominant religion, with much of the population converting. Legend has it that during Abbasid rule, the secret of papermaking was obtained from two Chinese prisoners from the Battle of Talas in 751, which led to the foundation of the first paper mill of the Islamic world in Samarkand; the invention spread to the rest of the Islamic world, from there to Europe. Abbasid control of Samarkand soon dissipated and was replaced with that of the Samanids, though it must be noted that the Samanids were still nominal vass
Konotop Air Base
Konotop is an air base in Ukraine located 4 km west of Konotop. It is a training base. During the end of the Cold War years it was home to 105 UAP flying 101 Aero L-39 training jets. A large number of helicopters and jet trainer are parked on a grassy area. RussianAirFields.com