Military Review

English card failed to play

English card failed to play10 years after the Great October Socialist Revolution, trade and economic relations with the advanced aviation powers. Germany, France and the USA began willingly to sell the USSR metal-working machines and technologies for the manufacture of engines, equipment and aircraft. Only England remained aloof, still dreaming of destroying the socialist system. Perhaps politicians from other countries spoke about this, but then money turned out to be more important, and therefore trade flourished. The orthodox approach of London to the Soviet-English relations and subsequently led to the emergence of a hotbed of tension in Europe.


The Kremlin was well aware of that, therefore, in September 1939, the deployment of the Air Force of the Transcaucasian Military District (ZakVO) began with the redeployment of district aircrafts to field sites and airfields of civil aviation.

In October-November 1939, when Soviet-German relations intensified, Britain’s hostility to the USSR and Germany intensified markedly. Achieve something with fleet in relation to the USSR, the British did not seem possible, so the stake was on the Air Force. A special role in them was to be played by bombers, the number of which was planned to be brought to 1939 by 1360. By the beginning of World War II, the Wellington and Wheatley bombers were in service with the British Air Force, having a large carrying capacity and a decent radius of action.

By the 1940 year, England, although it was in a state of war with Germany, was in no hurry to begin active hostilities on land, explaining that by its lack of readiness. In fact, in London, they thought how to push their opponents together, and at the first opportunity they provided assistance to the countries that fought with the USSR. So, already two weeks after the start of the armed conflict with Finland, the British agreed to start supplying arms to it, including aircraft.

At the same time, London was developing plans for a preemptive strike on the oil-bearing regions of Baku. The possibility of delivering such strikes was also studied by the French, because in those years the Baku oil-bearing region gave the country 80% aviation gas, 90% naphtha and kerosene, 96% automotive oils from their total production in the USSR. It was not excluded and the bombing of oil production sites and in the areas of Grozny and Maikop. Moreover, strikes on these areas were supposed to be inflicted from the airfields of Iran and Turkey.


It should be noted that shortly after the start of the Second World War, the NKVD’s intelligence and operational activities to detect and prevent sabotage acts in the Baku oil fields became more active. So, on 23 September 1939 of the year, according to the NKVD, “foreign centers of the emigrant counter-revolutionary organizations of the Caucasus, on the instructions of French intelligence, are actively working to transfer saboteurs to Transcaucasia, and first of all to Azerbaijan, to complete sabotage acts on Baku oil fields.”

A note by French Prime Minister Daladier dated 19 January 1940 about the alleged operation to invade the USSR to destroy oil sources has been preserved. “To ask General Gamelin and Admiral Darlan,” the document said, “to prepare my thoughts on the proposed operation to invade Russia in order to destroy oil sources.”

The 1 hypothesis is the interception in the Black Sea of ​​oil tankers going to Germany. This is primarily about the German courts. This hypothesis does not provide for military action against Russia;

The 2 hypothesis is a direct invasion of the Caucasus;

The 3 hypothesis - bypassing direct actions against Russia, to act by supporting the liberation movement of Muslim nations in the Caucasus. "

In response to this, on March 22, Commander of the French Ground Forces, Gamelin, informed Reynaud of the Council of Ministers Chairman:

“The interception of ships carrying oil from the Black Sea from the Caucasus to Germany is only of limited interest due to the small amount of oil exported by Germany from Russia compared to the total volume of oil consumed by the Third Reich.

On the contrary, actions aimed at the destruction of the Russian oil industry are of great interest to the allies. These actions make it possible to deliver a sensitive, if not decisive blow to the Soviet economy and military might. It is assumed that these difficulties will increase so much in a few months after the attack, that the country will be exposed to the risk of total defeat.

As soon as this happens, Germany will face the fact of stopping oil supplies from the East and will have to be content with what it receives from the Scandinavian and Balkan countries - its last economic source, thanks to which it can still resist the blockade ...

Military actions against the oil regions of the Caucasus will either become political in nature, with the aim of calling for unrest of Muslim ethnic groups in the Caucasus, or they will simply be a military operation directed against the most important centers of the Russian oil industry. ”

The French were aggressive. Apparently, having forgotten the lessons of Bonaparte’s campaign in Russia, they threatened to sever diplomatic relations with the USSR and destroy our country with the help of cannons.


The danger was great, especially since on the eve of Ankara, English General S. Butler, 1940, in Anhara, discussing the problems of the Anglo-Turkish military cooperation, he raised the issue of the use of airfields and ports in Eastern Turkey by the British to attack the USSR. How the negotiations ended - it is not known, only one thing is clear: the British were apprehensive that in the event of a strike on the USSR a retaliatory strike would follow, and Iraq and India could have been the first to suffer.

As follows from the minutes of the meeting of the French Air Force coordination groups that took place on 4 – 5 on April, “based on the use of French bombers, at the moment only one French base in the Levant (in particular, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and Turkey. - N.Y. .) only one city can be attacked from the air - Batumi.

It is planned to use Glenn-Martin bombers, their characteristics are as follows:

800 kg bombs per 600 km;

400 kg bombs per 700 km.

To increase the range, it is necessary to put additional fuel tanks (760 km in a straight line from Mosul to Baku).

Build complex; completion date is postponed indefinitely.

In Batumi, either oil refineries, storage facilities, power plants, or port facilities for the export of oil can be bombarded ...

Assuming the effectiveness of the bombardment, the losses of the USSR as a result of the destruction in Batumi will amount to 10% of all products of the oil refining industry of the Caucasus ...

It is assumed that the destruction of ports and railway stations in the cities of Batumi and Poti is achieved in a manner similar to the destruction of oil refineries.

As a result of these disruptions, Russia will lose its ways of exporting oil products, the volume of which will be 25% of the total oil products of the Caucasus, or 20% of the total volume of oil products in Russia ...

The British believe that the 6 squadrons of the Wellington-type bombers are enough for the destruction of the Baku and Grozny oil refineries.

They consider it inappropriate to bombard wells, oil storages and power plants due to the dispersal of these vulnerable objects.

The bombing of Baku and Grozny achieved the destruction of 90% of the entire oil refining industry in Russia ...

The air operations of the French-British forces to carry out Operation Caucasian Oil will be directed exclusively against oil refineries and port facilities of the cities of Batumi – Poti – Grozny – Baku.

It is believed that during the first 6 days from 30 to 35% of all oil refineries of the Caucasus and the port facilities of Batumi will be destroyed.

For the operation, 90 to 100 aircraft will be used as part of 6 French groups and 3 British squadrons. French groups will be ready to attack Baku at the appointed time: they will be staffed with two Farman-221 groups and four Glenn-Martin groups, equipped with additional fuel tanks; for each departure, they will be able to drop a total of maximum 70 tons of bombs per hundred refineries. ”

In addition to American-made Glenn-Martin bombers, the British, according to the MA-6 plan, wanted to attract four groups of Blenheim bombers. Bomb attacks were intended to be inflicted day and night in order to destroy Baku in 15 days, Grozny in 12 days and Batumi in a day and a half.

But before starting this operation, it was required to build 1940 20 airfields of the 1 class by June.

Although the oil-bearing areas of Baku were within the range of British aviation, this was possible only if Iran and Turkey were allowed to use their airspace.

The preparation of the upcoming operation against the USSR began with the reconnaissance flights of British aviation in the spring of 1940. One of these flights, which were extremely successful, took place on March 30. On that day, the reconnaissance aircraft converted from the passenger Lockheed-12А and equipped with several cameras, taking off from the Habbania airfield, set off towards Baku. On the approach to the target, the reconnaissance pilot scored 7000 m and made several laps over the capital of Azerbaijan.

Six days later, the spy reappeared in the sky of Baku. This time he was greeted by explosions of anti-aircraft shells, but could not harm him.

According to the Deputy Commissar of Interior Affairs of the Comnore Maslennikov of 5 on April 1940, “in 11.15 in the Soviet village of Sarp (14 km south-west of Batumi), at the height of 2000, one twin-engine aircraft of silver color flew over from Turkey. Identification marks are not defined. The plane was heading for Batumi.

The 11.22 plane is above Fr. Nuryu-Gel, in the south-western outskirts of Batumi, was fired with four artillery shells, then headed for the northeast at the Batumi refinery (about 15 km from the border).

Being fired at 30 for the second time by anti-aircraft artillery shells and anti-aircraft machine guns, the plane headed east and disappeared into the mountains. A few minutes later, the same plane flew over the 2000 m. Adzharis-Tskhali and near the border with. Oglauri fled to Turkey. The Turkish Border Commissioner is protesting. ”

Naturally, they could not identify the reconnaissance aircraft.

April 20 USSR Ambassador to the UK I.M. Maysky sent an urgent dispatch to Moscow, where, in particular, he reported:

“April 15 squadron of bombers flew from Heston (London) to Habaniya (Iraq). Apparently, all this has to be considered not in the plane of any immediate action by the British against us (the general military-political situation is now of a slightly different order), but in the plane of preparation for a conflict with the USSR in the future course of the war. ”

For the bombing of oil-bearing areas, the British planned to attract squadrons of the Blenheim Mk.4 aircraft with their deployment at bases in Iraq or Syria.


Such preparations of Britain and France did not escape the leadership of the USSR, which at the same time began to strengthen the air defense of the oil-bearing regions of Baku and prepare for a retaliatory strike.

In connection with the activation of the British in the areas controlled by CAMDO, 4 March, March 1940, the head of the Red Army Air Force, Ya.V. Smushkevich and Chief of Staff F.K. Arzhenukhin was informed by the chief of the General Aviation Supply Administration P.A. Alekseev:

“According to the instructions of the General Staff, the CABD, ZakVO and OdVO acquire a particularly important operational value, which means that now it’s necessary to prepare them.

I ask you to provide these districts with the necessary material and technical means for accumulating untouchable reserves and replenishing incomplete parts of these districts.

For orientation, I inform you about the approximate number of units of the Air Force, taking into account those already located in these Districts, which, if necessary, can be concentrated:

ZakVO - 20 – 22 regiment, of which 4 - long-range bomber regiment, 6 - high-speed bomber regiment and 10 – 12 fighter;

SAVO - 10 – 12 regiments, of which 3 - long-range bomber regiment, 3 - high-speed bomber regiment and 4 – 6 fighter;

OdVO - 20 regiments, of which 4 - long-range bomber regiments, 6 - high-speed bomber regiments and 10 fighter.

Ammunition stocks need to be focused on 1 month of combat work. ”

A month later, on April 4, the same persons reported to the Commissar of Defense K.E. Voroshilov:

“One of the main methods of defense of Baku and other objects of the Transcaucasian Military District from an air attack, in addition to covering fighter aircraft, will be the destruction of enemy aircraft on its airfields.

In Turkey and Iran, the enemy does not have ample opportunities for airfield construction due to the mountainous terrain conditions. Therefore, the actions on the enemy's airfields will be extremely effective ...

I ask your petition to the Government to send a group of pilots and navigators of the 15 – 20 people to Turkey and Iran under some convenient pretext.

At the same time, I request petitions to the Government to conclude a treaty with Iran on opening the Tehran-Tbilisi international air line. This will enable the study of typical flight conditions and some of the objects of action. "

9 April 1940, the leadership of the Air Force ordered the commander of the Air Force ZakVO Lieutenant-General MG Efremov and the commander of the 42 th long-range bomber air regiment:

“In order to master the Middle Eastern theater of military operations, immediately begin to study the geographical, climatic and meteorological conditions of the theater. Special attention should be paid to the ports of Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Turkey, in particular: Alexandretta, Beirut, Haifa, Alexandria, Port Said.

Cyprus island with English bases: Nicosia, Larnaca, Famagusta.

B) Suez Canal.

D) Aleppo (Aleppo) ...

Work with the pilots and navigators possible route, specified in the application.

2. To conduct two training flights on its territory with a range and navigation conditions corresponding to the routes. In the flights include bombing at the site and training air battles with meeting fighters ... ".

Possible routes.

“1. Lake Chaldyr-Gel (IPM - the starting point of the route), Art. Hynis-Kem (70 km southeast of Erzurum, Aragana-Maden (70 km north-west of Diyarbakir), Kalt Balis (on the Euphrates 90 km southeast of Aleppo), Cyprus island (Famagusta, Larnaca, Nicosia, return via Mer Shebenkarahisar (Kara-Jar), ​​Black Sea, Ozechety.

The length of the route 2620 km.

2. Route length 2640 km.

3. Route length 2900 km.

Navigator Air Force KA Kombrig Belyakov.

Following this, the leadership of the Air Force informed the head of the General Staff of the Red Army, B.M. Shaposhnikovu:

"... The commander of the Air Force ZakVO, the commanders of 6, 42 and 83 of the air regiments of long-range bombers (27-I divisions. - N.YA.) gave instructions about the study of possible objects of action - Beirut, Haifa, Alexandretta (now Iskenderun. - N.YA.) , Aleppo (Aleppo), English bases on Fr. Cyprus, Alexandria, Port Said, Suez Canal ...

2. The same instructions are given to the commander of the OdVO and the commanders of 8, 11, 21 regiments of long-range bombers with respect to the facilities - Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Bosphorus and Dardanelles, Kırıkale (center of the Turkish military industry), Samsun, Sinop, Trapezun, Izmid ports. In this case, the 21 regiment of long-range bombers will specifically study the actions of the ships of the navy.

One squadron of the 21 regiment, equipped with the best personnel, will be prepared for possible actions in the Alexandria region, Port Said, the Suez Canal (total distance around 3000 km) ... ”.

To implement the idea of ​​delivering reciprocal (or preemptive?) Bombing attacks on the enemy to the airfields of the Transcaucasian Military District, several regiments of long-range bombers DB-3 were deployed. In particular, in May 1940 in Transcaucasia relocated 42 dbap to DB-3, and in Yevlakh (Azerbaijan) - 18 dbap (RGVA, 29-35-105).

On 1 September 1940 was deployed in Vaziani (near Tbilisi), in Yevlakh - 83 (commander - Major Nikitin), in Kutaisi - 6-th long-range bomber air regiments.

By the standards of the prewar years, 180 DB-3 is a great power. Let me remind you: the long-range bomber DB-3 with M-87B engines had a maximum speed of 437 km / h, climbed to a height of 9300 m and flew a distance of 3820 km. By that time, the industry had already released a DB-3F aircraft with even higher flight data, so it cannot be ruled out that these vehicles could also attract Englishmen in the Middle East to deliver retaliatory strikes on objects.

Replenishment began to flow into air defense aviation. In 25 th ip (Pump), 60 th air unit (Kishly) and 68 th iap (Navtlug) ZakVO, put the latest domestic fighter aircraft I-16 type 24, equipped with the most secret weapons - PC-82 rockets and 28 type with ShVAK guns. Both types of fighters had the most powerful domestic 1100-powerful engines M-63, significantly improved flight data of morally aging machines. This fighter, although it had a low 470 km / h speed for that time, was able to successfully fight the British blenders Blenheim and Wellington.

By the summer of 1940, the ZakVO and SAVO had concentrated the 185 of the most high-speed domestic fighters at that time, and this is up to nine wartime regiments.


However, the unexpected happened. In the summer of 1940, the Germans defeated the French and almost completely occupied their country. The British troops fled from Dunkirk. This circumstance, which reduced the likelihood of British intervention in the Transcaucasus, made it possible to take a fresh look at the possibility of further developments not only in Europe, but throughout the world.

Alone, the British could not cope with the USSR. Due to the lack of resources for war and without the support of the United States, they would have suffered a crushing defeat.

After the fall of Paris, 3 – 4 July 1940, the plenipotentiary in London, I.M. Maisky reported by telegram to the People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs:

“1. Today, Churchill invited me to his place and spoke about the war and related matters. He categorically and decisively refuted the rumors about the possibility of peace negotiations. If there are even individuals or groups in England who rush in with the thought of a rotten compromise with Germany, the government and parliament will not follow this path. The government is completely unanimous in its determination to wage war to the end. The fate of Paris can not comprehend London. London will be protected by all means at the disposal of the government and the population. And the same will happen with every other city, with every other locality in the British Isles. It is about the life or death of England and the British Empire. Do not turn a blind eye: the danger is very great. What will end the struggle with Germany, will show the future. Churchill does not want and does not consider it possible, going into battle, to boast about victory in advance. However, in any case, he can say with complete certainty now: England will render Germany the most decisive resistance, and the task of Hitler will be very difficult. The rest will finish the events. The main task which the British Government is currently setting itself is to “survive” over the next three months. There you will see later what to do and how to act.

2. In response to my question of whether Churchill was expecting a German attack in the very near future, the prime minister replied that for the time being, he had difficulty expressing a definite opinion. On the one hand, the logic of the situation, the climatic conditions and the character of Hitler seem to suggest that the attack should follow now, but, on the other hand, the difficulty of the operation and the serious possibility of its failure seem to dictate to Hitler a certain restraint and caution. Churchill did not believe that England could be conquered from the air, but Germany lacked a fleet for an invasion from the sea. From this point of view, the fate of the French fleet is of great importance, and the British government is well aware of this circumstance. But, although the question of the timing of the attacks for Churchill is still not completely clear, he and the entire government act as if the attack were to take place tomorrow. The prime minister thinks that the measures taken by the British government are very serious, but, of course, only a check on the fact will make a final judgment about them. However, in relation to Ireland, which is undoubtedly the weak link in the chain of British defense, Churchill discovered some strange levity. He sort of casually threw that if the Germans had landed troops there, then this would not have been of great importance. In Ireland, they will be easier to beat than in France. "

The Germans were then still resolute in their attitude towards England. Although it was already clear that they were only “puffing up their cheeks,” since the resources of Germany also left much to be desired. Nevertheless, 13 July 1940, during a reception organized by the trade mission in connection with the signing of the contract for the sale of cruisers "L" ("Lutz"), the plenipotentiary of the USSR in Germany A.A. Shkvartsev had a conversation with the liaison officer of the German Foreign Ministry K. Ritter. As follows from his telegram to the People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs, when asked about the state of the war between Germany and England, he replied that “Germany is preparing for a general offensive against England. Since the center of gravity in this attack will lie in the air fleet, it is necessary to prepare and restore the airfields destroyed by the Germans in France. To take off the German bombers, it is necessary to build concrete tracks on the former French as well as on the newly constructed airfields. The execution of these works takes time. ”

A month later, during the August 18 air parade in Tushino, the German air force attache Ashenbrener boastfully stated that “within four days, England will be finished. The British cover their defeat lies about the alleged losses. " However, this statement was a bluff. England at that time was too tough for Germany and could only be crushed together with the USSR. But no one was in a hurry to fight with her.

In August, England, judging by the note of the People's Commissar of Defense Tymoshenko and the Chief of the Red Army General Staff Shaposhnikov, directed to Stalin and Molotov, was not even mentioned about the basics of the strategic deployment of the USSR Armed Forces in the west and east for 1940 and 1940. In particular, the note stated:

“The current political situation in Europe creates the likelihood of an armed clash on our western borders.

This armed conflict may be limited only to our western borders, but the likelihood of Japan’s attack of our Far Eastern borders is not excluded.

At our western borders, Germany will be the most likely adversary; as for Italy, then its participation in the war is possible, or rather, its performance in the Balkans, creating an indirect threat to us.

An armed clash between the USSR and Germany may involve Finland and Romania, and possibly Hungary, in a military conflict with us - for the purpose of revenge.

With a possible armed neutrality on the part of Iran and Afghanistan, an open rebellion against the USSR by Turkey, inspired by the Germans, is possible.

Thus, the Soviet Union needs to be ready to fight on two fronts: in the West against Germany, supported by Italy, Finland and Romania, and possibly Turkey, and in the East against Japan as an open enemy, or an adversary of armed neutrality, always able to go into an open collision. "

The strengthening of ZakVO favorably affected the combat readiness of all the armed forces, which follows from the report of its commander, Lieutenant General MG G. Efremova at a meeting of the senior management of the Red Army 23 – 31 December 1940.

The note also noted that, in addition to ground forces, the 172 air regiment, which included 10 320 aircraft, was assigned to conduct operations in the West.

Against this background, the intentions of the British look naive. Apparently, they did not know about the state of the USSR military grouping around the oil-bearing regions and continued, now alone, to develop their plans. So, 31 of January 1941 of the year, W. Churchill, in a letter to Turkish President Inonu, in particular, said: “The position of Russia is unclear and we hope that it can remain loyal and friendly. Nothing will keep Russia from assisting Germany - at least indirectly - more than the presence of powerful British bomber aircraft, which could (from Turkey) attack the oil fields of Baku. Russia's agriculture is more dependent on the supply of oil from these sources, and their destruction would have caused severe famine in the country.

Thus, Turkey, protected by aviation, would probably have the opportunity to keep Germany from occupying Bulgaria and defeating Greece, and would also be able to temper the fear that the Russians are experiencing before the German army. ”

The British historian George Butler, speaking of the 1941 situation of the year, pointed out: “At the end of May in London there was an opinion that, by creating a threat to Caucasian oil, it would be possible to put pressure on Russia in the best way so that it would not yield to German requirements. 12 June, the Chiefs of Staff Committee decided to take measures that would allow without delay to strike from Mosul (in 396 km north of Baghdad. - N.Ya.) by medium-bomber attacks on Baku oil refineries.

It should be noted that the USSR Air Force was not inferior to the British in technical equipment, and surpassed them in combat capabilities. England has always been considered the lord of the seas and oceans, so the main danger from her was the navy. The possibilities of the USSR to fight at sea were severely limited, so they relied on aviation, since attracting the fleet to fight against us in the Black Sea was not excluded.

Subscribe to our Telegram channel, regularly additional information about the special operation in Ukraine, a large amount of information, videos, something that does not fall on the site:

Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. cap
    cap 24 December 2016 08: 12
    Interesting facts in the article. And the conclusions are unambiguous, all the conversations of the "partners" about the world are nothing more than waiting for a convenient moment to hit you in the back, and better with someone else's hands.
  2. Basil50
    Basil50 24 December 2016 09: 58
    The mastery of the author is how * streamlined * describes preparation for aggression and attempts * to justify * this aggression on the part of the British and French. In reality, everything happened more openly, a real attempt to capture the north of the Soviet Union under the pretext of protecting the Finns failed, but there remained plans for the capture of the Caucasus, which the Germans thwarted and then published these plans with great gloating. In the context of the war with the Germans, the Anglo-French showed in advance the boundaries allowed for Hitler. That's just the Germans wanted to build Europe in their own way, and the conflict was that the Germans wanted to become masters, not executors of someone else's plan.
  3. Slug_BDMP
    Slug_BDMP 24 December 2016 15: 21
    I don't like stories like: "But my uncle / grandmother / neighbor ... told me ...", but I can't resist.
    My grandfather lived in Baku at that time, worked in the oil fields. He said that in the winter and spring of 1940, a state of emergency was introduced in the city: mandatory blackout, curfew. They did not explain anything to ordinary citizens, but there were rumors among the people that "the British were going to bomb us because of Finland ..."
  4. Andrey Zh
    Andrey Zh 24 December 2016 20: 06
    Thank! Very interesting article. The Anglo-Saxons kept their dirty games against the Rus-Russian Empire-USSR all the time! Dirty and smelly s ...