Mehtidis, Alexis - Soviet Military Aviation (1917-1941)
Soviet Military Aviation 1917-1941
Notes on its Orders of Battles and types of aircraft used
An impressive sum that covers the entire organization of the Soviet air force and naval aviation from the day after the October Revolution until the Soviet Union entered the war with Germany in 1941.
In the first part, Prof. Mehtidis manages to draw up a precise organization chart of the confused air situation after 1917: not only of the RKKVF (the Red Workers' and Peasants' Air Fleet), but also of the White Russian Air Force, as well as of all the air detachments that France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Poland, Germany, the United States and Japan sent to fight alongside the White Russians. Not to mention the Czech, Ukrainian, Georgian, Finnish, Lithuanian and Latvian autonomous legions. At the end of the Civil War, all intact aircraft were left behind and recovered by the Soviet victors, totalling nearly 80 different types.
All units and deployments are listed. Reading the different orders of battle and the reorganizations that followed until 1941, one can see the varying degrees of autonomy that the central communist regime granted to the regional commands, the changing level of political confidence it had in the naval air force, as well as its constant concern to have an adequate schooling and training infrastructure. One can even note the creation of embryonic aeronautical research institutes, whose further development will be the heyday of Cold War Soviet aerospace research.
The second part - by far the longest - is devoted to all types of aircraft that flew on Soviet territory between 1917 and 1941. No less than 190 types are reviewed with, for each of them, the manpower and the units that used them. An impressive nomenclature, because, in the aftermath of the First World War, all Western aircraft manufacturers sold impressive quantities of military aircraft of all types not only to the Soviet Union, but also to the various belligerents in the long civil war.
Several Western models were licensed-produced in Russia, sometimes at several thousand units. One of the most famous was the Polikarpov R-1, which is a licence of the British DH.9.
An indispensable reference for all those interested in the origins of "red" aviation.
112 pages – in English