Following the destruction wrought on the Red Army Air Forces during the first days of Operation Barbarossa in June 1941, the Soviet Union found itself desperately short of fighter aircraft. Premier Josef Stalin duly appealed directly to Prime Minister Winston Churchill for replacement aircraft, and in late 1941 the British delivered the first of 3360 Hurricanes that would be supplied to the Soviet Union under the Lend-Lease agreement. Specifically requested by the USSR, the Hurricanes were quickly thrown into action in early 1942 – the Soviet Air Forces' most difficult year in their opposition to the Luftwaffe. Virtually all the Hurricanes were issued to Soviet fighter regiments in the northern sector of the front, where pilots were initially trained to fly the aircraft by RAF personnel that had accompanied the early Hawker fighters to the USSR. The Hurricane proved to be an easy aircraft to master, even for the poorly trained young Soviet pilots, allowing the Red Army to form a large number of new fighter regiments quickly in the polar area. In spite of a relatively poor top speed, and only a modest rate-of-climb, the Hurricane was the mount of at least 17 Soviet aces.
No single volume in English has ever appeared in the West dealing with this intriguing subject area, but now that restrictions have relaxed in the former Soviet Union, records of the deeds of the elite pilots of the various Soviet Air Forces are coming to light. Although initially equipped with very poor aircraft, and robbed of effective leadership thanks as much to Stalin's purges in the late 1930s as to the efforts of the Luftwaffe, Soviet fighter pilots soon turned the tables through the use of both lend-lease aircraft like the Hurricane, Spitfire, P-39 and P-40, and home-grown machines like the MiG-3, LaGG-3/5, Lavochkin La-5/7/9 and the Yak-1/3.
By the end of 1941 the Soviet Union was near collapse and its air force almost annihilated, leaving large numbers of surviving pilots with no aircraft to fly. To help prevent this collapse the UK eventually supplied a total of 4300 Hurricanes and Spitfires to the USSR. After the United States entered the war, the Americans extended Lend-lease to include direct supply to the Soviets as well as the British, and among the aircraft sent were almost 10,000 fighters. Although the aircraft were outdated and often unsuitable to Russian conditions, they served when they were needed, and a number of Russian pilots became Heroes of the Soviet Union flying Lend-lease aircraft. The Soviet government tried to conceal or minimize the importance of Lend-lease fighters well into the 1980s, and the pilots who flew them were discriminated against as 'foreigners'. Only in recent years have these pilots felt free to admit what they flew, and now the fascinating story of these men can emerge.
Responsible for destroying 1294 enemy aircraft between June 1917 and November 1918, the Camel was the most successful fighting scout employed by either side in terms of the sheer number of victories that it scored. The Camel was renowned for its sensitivity and need for skill and experience, and casualties amongst pilots undergoing training on the type were very high. More than 5490 examples were constructed, and this book covers its combat use on the Western Front, in Palestine, on the Italian front, in the Home Defence role in the UK and in Russia.
Although the Russian Imperial Army Air Service consisted of no more than four BAGs (Boevaya Aviatsionniy Gruppa – battle aviation groups), each controlling three or four smaller AOIs (Aviatsionniy Otryad Istrebitelei – fighter aviation detachments) equipped with a variety of aircraft types, its fighter pilots nevertheless gave a good account of themselves. Indeed, during three years of war they claimed more than 200 Austro-Hungarian and German aircraft shot down, creating 13 aces – these elite aviators accounted for around half of the victories claimed on the Eastern Front. Pilots flew a variety of fighter types, with French Nieuport scouts and SPAD VIIs proving to be the most popular, and effective, aeroplanes to see service on this front. The exploits of these aces are detailed here, with information based on material newly sourced by the author from Russian military and private archives. Many previously unpublished photographs are used to illustrate this book, supported by full-colour profiles that reveal how striking some of the aces' fighters were in this often-forgotten theatre of World War 1.
Designed in a great rush at the end of 1917 just in time to take part in the German standard fighter competition held in January/February 1918, the D VII easily walked away with first prize. As Germanys premier fighter unit, von Richthofens JG I (led by Hermann Göring in the wake of the 'Red Baron's' recent death) received the first examples of the D VII to reach the frontline in late April. Built to oppose the new generation of French SPAD XIIIs and British SE 5as and Camel fighters, the D VII was arguably the best all-round fighting scout of the Great War.
The conflict in the skies above the combat zones of World War II bred a new legion of heroes. Boys became men in weeks and many became commanders and leaders before the age of twenty-five. These young pilots were flying for their lives on every dangerous sortie and in every type of aircraft. From the heavy bomber struggling to its target in the German Ruhr to the shipboard fighter fired into combat by a carrier's catapult in the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, every pilot honed his skills to take on the enemy and survive. They were all brave men - but some have become legends. Pilots like Guy Gibson - leader of the famous Dam Buster's raid; Don Gentile - an ace in the Mustang fighter defending allied heavy bombers deep over enemy Europe; John "Cat's Eyes" Cunningham - top scoring night-fighter ace; or Leon W. Johnson - leader of the low-level raid on Ploesti oil refinery complex in Romania. These are some of the hundred heroes included in this compact reference to the history and record of allied and enemy aces of World War II.
From the team that published the 'Famous Russian Aircraft' series comes Soviet Air Power in World War 2, the authoritative guide to all of the aircraft flown by the Soviet Air Force during the conflict. As well as exploring in-depth the individual aircraft types, this book also takes a closer look at the Soviet Air Force's structure and aircraft fleet. Included are all of the unit insignia of Soviet air armies, divisions and regiments, as well as the varied artwork and camouflage schemes used on individual aircraft. An extensive selection of unseen photographs and colour side views of all the aircraft types that operated in the immediate pre-war years and in World War 2 are featured, including many British and American aircraft flown by the Soviet Air Force and Soviet Naval Aviation. The book also reveals information about the Soviet Air Force commanders and famous aces of the period; the aces' aircraft and their personal insignia are illustrated, as well as the combat operations they flew against the Axis air forces between 1941 and 1945. Written by an acknowledged expert in Soviet and Russian military aviation, and illustrated with photographs, profiles and detailed line drawings, this guide to the Soviet Air Force in World War 2 will be of interest not only to aviation and military history enthusiasts but to modellers of this period.
A collection of true-life stories captures the triumphs, courage, and accomplishments of World War II aviators on both sides of the conflict, including American David McCampbell, Germany's Erich "Bubi" Hartmann, and Britain's James Edgar Johnson. Original.
This series provides a rich resource of information with maximum impact. 1000 facts are covered by 100 topics, each with 10 key points that provide a simple but memorable handle on the subject. Fascinating information panels as well as extended captions amplify this quick-fire approach.
Beretter om jagerpiloter, der under 2. verdenskrig i RAF opnåede nedskydninger af fjendtlige fly, herunder danskeren Kaj Birksted, som blev Wing Commander (Oberstløjtnant) i de norske flyvestyrker under RAF