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Old 27th April 2020, 18:22
Mirek Wawrzynski Mirek Wawrzynski is offline
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Re: Red Wings in the Winter War 1939-1940

It is obvious that the border units of the PV NKVD have their own aviation. There is a matter of place of homing and its use. Certainly, your NKVD border aviation squadron would be in the Leningrad Military District, for sure the second air division was in Pribałtyki (Baltic Military District). The commander of this aviation, I. M. Czuprow, wrote in 1996 about the history of NKVD aviation.
Certainly, during the war with Poland in September 1939, 10 squadrons participated (10 OAE PV NKVD), pilots carried out liaison and courier flights. No combat tasks, back of the front.

I wrote about it in 2008 in my book. Then, the 10th Squadron of the PW NKVD deployed in November 1939 in Karolina near Grodno.
There were 5 squadrons and 2 Independent Sea Key in the Leningrad Military District.

In the Baltic Military District stood 11 squadron - and where she stood in 1939/40 I do not know, I was not interested. In June 1941 she stood on the island of Saarema (Ozylia). I wrote about it in my second book in 2015.

I believe that due to the very long Finnish-Russian border, the Russians had their squadron at that time and, additionally, a sea flight (zvieno) to protect and patrol the borders.
I did not study this issue in the Finnish section, because I only care about another region. I wrote about him in two of my books. If these air units were on my shorter section of the border in September 1939, then they had to be on the longer section of Finland.

The statement ”the Finns teached the Russians how to fight against a superior enemy in an Arctic environment. Without this lesson the outcome of war against Germany 1941-1945 could well have been have been different...”

Very beautiful political statements courtesy. Unfortunately, this is not true. The Arctic was a tertiary theater of war. Germany has never had significant strength there. Russians dominated there in terms of the number of people, equipment, tanks, warships - areas around Murmansk. Soviet aviation in the Murmansk region was much larger in June 1941 in terms of numbers than the weak numerical Luftflotte 5. I do not take into account Finnish aviation, which was also weaker than the Soviet in terms of equipment and quantity.

The results of the war with Germany, the most important strategic lessons for the Russians were: a counterattack in December 1941 near Moscow; battle of Stalingrad 1942-1943, fighting at Kursk in 1943; during Operation Bagration in June 1944, and the final of all lessons and the sum of experience was the Battle of Berlin in 1945.

The Russians took these lessons during the war directly from a very demanding teacher, which was the Third Reich and its army.

“Some of the lessons learned by the Soviet high commands after the Winter War (see the protocol of the Kremlin conference 14-17 April 1940, published in Russian, English [Stalin and the Soviet-Finnish War 1939-1940; Routledge 2014] and Finnish) include:
- The strong steel-beton bunkers of the Mannerheim-line (which was broken only on 10 February 1940) were thoroughly analyzed, and the experience later utilized when the Soviet KaUR -defence line north of Leningrad was constructed in 1940-1941.

- Subzero-hardy gun oil and other vital substances (both infantry weapons, artillery and aircraft) was urgently developed
- Winter adapted ski- and tent-equipped units were set up
- PPS-Submachine guns (similar to the famous Finnish Suomi-submachine gun) were introduced”.

How did the knowledge gained during the Winter War prevented a great catastrophe, gigantic losses of the Red Army and aviation in the summer and autumn of 1941.
I see no connection here.

The Russians only detained completely exhausted Germans under the walls of the capital - Moscow on December 5, 1941. Until then, losses in the number of soldiers; losses in the number of tanks lost; losses in the number of lost combat aircraft were gigantic, catastrophic, monstrous. The Russians lost more soldiers for six months than the Finns had population across the country. What are we talking about here, what lessons?

“The Commander of the 9th Army AF was Pavel Rychagov (fighter ace from Spain, Soviet AF Commander 1940-41, but after the big AF losses 22.6.1941 sentenced to death and executed 28.10.1941).

Pavel Rychagov was dismissed from the position of commander earlier, before June 22, 1941. The reason for the shooting of him and his wife (who was a major in military aviation) was not great losses in aviation, but accusation of conspiracy in the army against Stalin. For the same reason they were killed by the NKVD: Szmuszkiewicz, Jonow, Ptuchin, Kopiec and a dozen or so senior aviation officers. It is a small purge in the circles of the highest aviation commanders unleashed between May and July 1941. The last commanders of aviators accused by the NKVD of a plot were shot in February 1942 - among them Ptuchin.

"Finnish Air victory claims in Winter War:
- Finnish AF claimed 207 air victories
- Finnish A-A artillery claimed 314 aircraft shot down.
As the Red Air forces lost some 500 aircraft in combat, the Finnish claims are surprisingly exact (!), which is explained by the fact that almost all air combats took place over Finnish territory, and the aircraft wrecks were thus located by Finnish troops".

Each of the sides fighting on the front has its official data regarding the awarded victories and successes - this is normal. I do not intend to undermine or refute this. I'm interested in actual effectiveness during the war.

I have carried out such an analysis several times about war and losses over Poland or in June 1941 that I know that the number of actually completely destroyed or damaged aircraft was always lower than the number of victories reported by the other side. Such a calculation was done by Oleg Kisielow a few years ago regarding the Winter War.

Best Reagrads,
Mirek Wawrzyński
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