Soviet Armed Forces
The Soviet Armed Forces called the Armed Forces of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Armed Forces of the Soviet Union were the armed forces of the Russian SFSR, the Soviet Union and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from their beginnings in the aftermath of the Russian Civil War to its dissolution on 26 December 1991. According to the all-union military service law of September 1925, the Soviet Armed Forces consisted of three components: the Ground Forces, the Air Forces, the Navy, the State Political Directorate, the convoy guards; the OGPU was made independent and amalgamated with the NKVD in 1934, thus its Internal Troops were under the joint management of the Defense and Interior Commisariats. After World War II, the Strategic Missile Troops, Air Defence Forces and troops of the All-Union National Civil Defence Forces were added, standing first and sixth in the official Soviet reckoning of comparative importance; the Council of People's Commissars set up the Red Army by decree on January 15, 1918, basing it on the already-existing Red Guard.
The official Red Army Day of February 23, 1918 marked the day of the first mass draft of the Red Army in Petrograd and Moscow, of the first combat action against the advancing Imperial German Army. February 23 became an important national holiday in the Soviet Union celebrated as "Soviet Army Day", it continues as a day of celebration in present-day Russia as Defenders of the Motherland Day. Credit as the founder of the Red Army goes to Leon Trotsky, the People's Commissar for War from 1918 to 1924. At the beginning of its existence, the Red Army functioned as a voluntary formation, without ranks or insignia. Democratic elections selected the officers. However, a decree of May 29, 1918 imposed obligatory military service for men of ages 18 to 40. To service the massive draft, the Bolsheviks formed regional military commissariats, which as of 2005 still exist in Russia in this function and under this name. Democratic election of officers was abolished by decree, while separate quarters for officers, special forms of address and higher pay were all reinstated.
After General Aleksei Brusilov offered the Bolsheviks his professional services in 1920, they decided to permit the conscription of former officers of the Imperial Russian Army. The Bolshevik authorities set up a special commission under the chair of Lev Glezarov, by August 1920 had drafted about 315,000 ex-officers. Most they held the position of military advisor. A number of prominent Soviet Army commanders had served as Imperial Russian generals. In fact, a number of former Imperial military men, notably a member of the Supreme Military Council, Mikhail Bonch-Bruevich, had joined the Bolsheviks earlier; the Bolshevik authorities assigned to every unit of the Red Army a political commissar, or politruk, who had the authority to override unit commanders' decisions if they ran counter to the principles of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Although this sometimes resulted in inefficient command, the Party leadership considered political control over the military necessary, as the Army relied more and more on experienced officers from the pre-revolutionary Tsarist period.
The Polish–Soviet War represented the first foreign campaign of the Red Army. The Soviet counter-offensive following the 1920 Polish invasion of Ukraine at first met with success, but Polish forces halted it at the disastrous Battle of Warsaw. In 1934, Mongolia and the USSR, recognising the threat from the mounting Japanese military presence in Manchuria and Inner Mongolia, agreed to co-operate in the field of defence. On March 12, 1936, the co-operation increased with the ten-year Mongolian-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, which included a mutual defence protocol. In May 1939, a Mongolian cavalry unit clashed with Manchukuoan cavalry in the disputed territory east of the Halha River. There followed a clash with a Japanese detachment; the Soviet troops quartered there in accordance with the mutual defence protocol intervened and obliterated the detachment. Escalation of the conflict appeared imminent, both sides spent June amassing forces. On July 1 the Japanese force numbered 38,000 troops; the combined Soviet-Mongol force had 12,500 troops.
The Japanese crossed the river, but after a three-day battle their opponents threw them back over the river. The Japanese kept probing the Soviet defences throughout July, without success. On August 20 Georgy Zhukov opened a major offensive with heavy air attack and three hours of artillery bombardment, after which three infantry divisions and five armoured brigades, supported by a fighter regiment and masses of artillery, stormed the 75,000 Japanese force entrenched in the area. On August 23 the entire Japanese force found itself encircled, on August 31 destroyed. Artillery and air attacks wiped out those Japanese. Japan requested a cease-fire, the conflict concluded with an agreement between the USSR, Mongolia and Japan signed on September 15 in Moscow. In the conflict, th
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
Major general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general; the disappearance of the "sergeant" in the title explains the confusing phenomenon whereby a lieutenant general outranks a major general while a major outranks a lieutenant. In the Commonwealth and the United States, it is a division commander's rank subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general. In the Commonwealth, major general is equivalent to the navy rank of rear admiral, in air forces with a separate rank structure, it is equivalent to air vice-marshal. In some countries, including much of Eastern Europe, major general is the lowest of the general officer ranks, with no brigadier-grade rank. In the old Austro-Hungarian Army, the major general was called a Generalmajor. Today's Austrian Federal Army still uses the same term. General de Brigada is the lowest rank of general officers in the Brazilian Army. A General de Brigada wears two-stars as this is the entry level for general officers in the Brazilian Army.
See Military ranks of Brazil and Brigadier for more information. In the Canadian Armed Forces, the rank of major-general is both a Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force rank equivalent to the Royal Canadian Navy's rank of rear-admiral. A major-general is the equivalent of a naval flag officer; the major-general rank is senior to the ranks of brigadier-general and commodore, junior to lieutenant-general and vice-admiral. Prior to 1968, the Air Force used the rank of air vice-marshal, instead; the rank insignia for a major-general in the Royal Canadian Air Force is a wide braid under a single narrow braid on the cuff, as well as two silver maple leaves beneath crossed sword and baton, all surmounted by St. Edward's Crown. In the Canadian Army, the rank insignia is a wide braid on the cuff, as well as two gold maple leaves beneath crossed sword and baton, all surmounted by St. Edward's Crown, it is worn on the shoulder straps of the service dress tunic, on slip-ons on other uniforms. On the visor of the service cap are two rows of gold oak leaves.
Major-generals are addressed as "general" and name, as are all general officers. Major-generals are entitled to staff cars. In the Estonian military, the major general rank is called kindralmajor; the Finnish military equivalent is kenraalimajuri in Finnish, generalmajor in Swedish and Danish. The French equivalent to the rank of major general is général de division. In the French military, major général is not a rank but an appointment conferred on some generals of général de corps d'armée rank, acting as head of staff of one of the armed forces; the major general assists the chief of staff of the French army with matters such as human resources and discipline, his role is analogous with the British Army position of Adjutant-General to the Forces. The position of major général can be considered the equivalent of a deputy chief of staff; the five major generals are: the Major General of the Armed Forces, head of the General Staff, the Major General of the Army, the Major General of the Navy, the Major General of the Gendarmerie, the Major General of the Air Force.
In the French Army, Major General is a position and the major general is of the rank of corps general. The French army had some sergent-majors généraux called sergents de bataille, whose task was to prepare the disposition of the army on the field before a battle; these sergents-majors généraux became a new rank, the maréchal de camp, the equivalent of the rank of major general. However, the term of major général was not forgotten and used to describe the appointment of armies chiefs of staff. One well-known French major général was Marshal Louis Alexandre Berthier. In addition,maréchal de camp was renamed général de brigade in 1793; the rank was decided to correspond to brigadier general after WWⅡ. In Georgia, the rank major-general has one star as for security forces; the army, does not follow the traditional soviet model and uses the now more common two-star insignia. The German Army and Luftwaffe referred to the rank as Generalmajor until 1945. Prior to 1945, the rank of Generalleutnant was used to define a division commander, whereas Generalmajor was a brigade commander.
With the remilitarization of Germany in 1955 on West Germany's admission to NATO, the Heer adopted the rank structure of the U. S. with the authority of the three lower ranks being moved up one level, the rank of Brigadegeneral added below them. The rank of Generaloberst was no longer used; the Nationale Volksarmee of the German Democratic Republic continued the use Generalmajor, abbreviated as "GenMaj", as the lowest general officer rank until reunification in 1990. It was equivalent to Konteradmiral. In the Magyar Honvédség, the equivalent rank to major general is vezérőrnagy. In the Iranian army and air force, the ranks above colonel are sartip dovom, sarlashkar and arteshbod.
Soviet Air Defence Forces
The Soviet Air Defence Forces was the air defence branch of the Soviet Armed Forces. Formed in 1941, it continued being a service branch of the Russian Armed Forces after 1991 until it was merged into the Air Force in 1998. Unlike Western air defence forces, V-PVO was a branch of the military unto itself, separate from the Soviet Air Force and Air Defence Troops of Ground Forces. During the Soviet period it was ranked third in importance of the Soviet services, behind the Strategic Missile Troops and the Ground Forces. Preparations for creation of the air defence forces started in 1932, by the start of the war there were 13 PVO zones located within the military districts. At the outbreak of war, air defence forces were in the midst of rearmament. Anti-aircraft artillery teams had 85 mm guns. Moreover, the troops were deficient in MiG-3s. Increased rates of production were initiated to provide the troops with new equipment. In July 1941, the National Defence Committee took several measures to strengthen the forces guarding Moscow and Leningrad and Gorky industrial areas, strategic bridges across the Volga.
To this end, the formation of parts of the IA, IN, anti-aircraft machine gun and searchlight units were accelerated. A classic example of a major political organization of defence and industrial center was the defence of Moscow, it was carried out by the 1st Air Defence Corps and the 6th Fighter Aviation Corps PVO. As part of these formations at the beginning of German air raids had more than 600 fighters; the presence of such large forces and their skilful management foiled enemy attempts to inflict massive air strikes. Only 2.6percent of the total number of Axis aircraft flew in the outskirts of Moscow as a result of their efforts. Air defence forces defending Moscow destroyed 738 enemy aircraft. Assaults by the 6th Fighter Aviation Corps inflicted heavy blows, destroying 567 enemy aircraft on the ground; the Air Defence Forces destroyed 1,305 aircraft and in combat with the armies of Nazi Germany and its allies, alongside the Air Force, destroyed 450 tanks and 5,000 military vehicles. On November 9, 1941, the post of the Commander of the Air Defence Forces was created and Major General Mikhail Gromadin was appointed.
In January 1942, to improve the interaction of forces and air defence systems, the fighter aircraft and crews manning them were ordered to be subordinated to the Air Defence Command. In April 1942, the Moscow Air Defence Front was founded, the Leningrad and Baku Air Defence Armies were raised. There were the first operational formations of the Air Defence Forces. In June 1943, the Office of the Commander of Air Defence Forces of the country was disbanded. Following the reorganization in April 1944 that created the Western and Eastern Air Defence Fronts, caused the division of the Transcaucasian Air Defence Area, which this year have been reorganized as the North, the South and the Transcaucasian Air Defence Fronts, air defence forces in the vicinity of Moscow were renamed the Moscow Air Defence Army. In the Far East in March 1945, three air defence armies were established: Maritime and Baikal. During the Second World War, the Air Defence Forces provided the defence industry and communication, allowing the breakthrough to the objects only a few planes, so that there were only few devastated enterprises and impaired movement of trains on some sections of railway lines nationwide.
In carrying out its tasks, the PVO destroyed 7,313 German aircraft, of which 4,168 and 3,145 were targeted by the IA antiaircraft artillery, machine guns and barrage balloons. More than 80,000 soldiers, sergeants and generals of the Country Air Defence Forces were awarded state orders and medals, 92 soldiers were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union and one was twice given the honor. During the war PVO formations were organised as Air Defence Armies. PVO Fronts covered airspace over several ground Army Fronts; the Air Defence Fronts had the following service history: Western Air Defence Front 1st formation 29 June 1943 – 20 April 1944 renamed to Headquarters, Northern PVO Front Northern Front PVO 21 April 1944 – 23 December 1944 formed from Headquarters, Western PVO Front.
14th Air Army
The 14th Air Army was an air army of the Soviet Air Forces during World War II and the Cold War and of the Ukrainian Air Force in the early Post-Soviet period. The Army was first formed from the Air Forces of the Volkhov Front in June 1942, in 1943 participated in the Novgorod-Luga operation. In February 1944 it was dispersed, with the command staff assigned to the Reserve of the Supreme High Command and its units to other air armies. Reformed in April 1944, when it served with the 3rd Baltic Front, it was again dispersed in November 1944, with its staff again been allocated to the Stavka Reserve and its units to other formations, it was active on 1 May 1945 with the 107th Air Signals Regiment and the 30th Air Regiment of the Civil Air Fleet, as part of the RVGK. However it became the 57th Air Army on 10 January 1949. 57th Air Army was included in 1964 Warsaw Pact war planning, being planned to be moved forward from the Carpathian Military District to become part of the Czechoslovak Front if war broke out between NATO and the Warsaw Pact.
Reformed from the 57th Air Army in April 1968, awarded the Order of the Red Banner, the 14th Air Army was serving in the Carpathian Military District when the Soviet Union fell. In 1988-91 it consisted of the 4th Fighter Aviation Division, the 289th Bomber Aviation Division, a regiment of Su-25s, a reconnaissance regiment of MiG-25s, a mixed regiment of transport aircraft, a helicopter electronic squadron, its units became part of the Ukrainian armed forces after the Dissolution of the Soviet Union on 25 December 1991. The formation was reorganized as the 14th Air Corps in accordance with an order of the Ministry of Defense dated 2 March 1994. In 2001, it included the 6th Fighter Aviation Division at Ivano-Frankivsk with the 9th and 114th Fighter Aviation Regiments and the 289th Bomber Aviation Division at Lutsk with the 806th and 947th Bomber Aviation Regiments; the 452nd Separate Assault Aviation Regiment at Chortkiv, 48th Separate Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment at Kolomyia, 243rd Separate Mixed Aviation Regiment at Lvov were directly subordinate to corps headquarters.
On 27 July 2002, 77 people were killed and around 300 wounded when a Su-27 crashed in the Sknyliv airshow disaster, held to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the 14th Air Army. As a result of the accident, corps commander Lieutenant General Serhiy Onyshchenko was transferred and corps deputy commander Major General Anatoly Tretyakov was sentenced to six years in prison, but was released early in 2007. In accordance with an order of the Commander of the Ukrainian Air Force dated 2 December 2004, the corps was disbanded and its units transferred to the new Air Command West. Lieutenant-General Ivan Petrovich Zhuravlev, 27.7.42 - 2.47 Lieutenant-General Vasiliy Georgievich Ryazanov, 2.47 - 4.49 Colonel-General Sergey Kondratevich Goryunov, 4.49 - 2.50 Chief Marshal of Aviation Konstantin Vershinin, 2.50 - 9.50 Colonel-General Vasliliy Vasilevich Stepichev, 9.50 - 1.53 Lieutenant-General David Yakovlevich Slobozhan, 1.53 - 9.53 Colonel-General Vasliliy Vasilevich Stepichev, 9.53 - 2.56 Colonel-General Fedor Petrovich Polynin, 2.56 - 8.59