Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Fly high, the red plane!

“He who’s strong in the air, is strong full stop“

Deni V. N., Dolgorukov N. A., 1938

This is a quote by Kliment Voroshilov, who was appointed Marshal of the Soviet Union in 1935. This was a period of industrialization with thousands of heavy industry sites being built across Soviet Union. By 1938 the high probability of world war was evident for Joseph Stalin, although he was not sure about the exact adversaries. Nevertheless defensive potential was increasing at a surprising pace: military R&D facilities were constantly developing new means of destruction, tanks, submarines and explosives. And soviet people were working 6-7 days a week, 10-12 hours a day to make those designs a reality.

Special attention was paid to the airforce too. During 1939-1940 Russian army received about 15 000 of various airplanes, albeit of not very modern design. Unfortunately during the first days of the War, unexpected German aero-strikes destroyed a great many of airplanes right on the airfields near the border of the country – before they could ever take off. This was one of the causes why Russians had to retreat during the first years of War.

Only in 1943 the Red Army got hold of new advanced airplanes, which could fight German Messerschmitts on equal terms. These were Yak-3, MiG-5, La-5 models, manufactured by several Soviet factories. The turning point of the war was reached in 1944, Russians along with allied French, English and American forces launched full scale counteroffensive and finally got into Berlin – the capital of the Third Reich. The war was won, it was high time to rebuild the Europe in ruins.