Military Review

100 years of Russian glory. Russian Imperial Air Fleet

10
100 years of Russian glory. Russian Imperial Air Fleet



It is believed that of the main countries participating in the First World War, Russia possessed the largest, but at the same time the most backward army. Infantry and cavalry - our everything, the rest, if there was, then in scanty amounts, but something like tanks, did not appear at all.

Speaking of the Russian Imperial Air Force navy, with great pleasure I will debunk a part of this myth.

Indeed, Russia was very far behind the leading European aviation powers in the most important thing: in the production of aircraft engines. More precisely, it actually did not exist. By the beginning of the First World War, there was only one factory in Russia, where, under license, they assembled French engines of the "Gnome" company in the amount of 5-6 pieces per month. The rest of the needs were covered by supplies from abroad.

But given that the chief of the Russian Air Force was Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich Romanov, a great-uncle of Emperor Nicholas II, there were no problems with financing.



It was through the efforts of Alexander Mikhailovich in 1910, a group of Russian officers was sent to France to learn how to fly. Returning to Russia, these officers began training other pilots.

Thus, in Russia, the first school for the training of military pilots appeared in Gatchina, for which French aircraft were purchased in France. And at the end of the same 1910, a second flight school was opened in Sevastopol. So began история Kaczynski Higher Military Aviation Order of Lenin of the Red Banner School of Pilots named after AF Myasnikov. In short - “Kachi”.

In 1911, the first experiment on creating an armed airplane was conducted in Russia - a machine gun was installed on one of the airplanes. In addition, in the year 1911 was first conducted an experience of aerial photography area.

“Russia's air fleet must be stronger than our neighbors' air fleets. This should be remembered by everyone who cherishes the military power of our Motherland. (Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich Romanov, “Towards the Russian people”, magazine “Heavier than air”, 1912 year, №6).

The Russian Imperial Air Force was divided into air / air units, which were combined into aviation groups (air groups).

By the beginning of World War I, Russia had 39 air detachments, four to six aircraft in each.



By the number of Russian air fleet before the war was the largest in the world and consisted of 263 airplane (of which 224 - as part of the 39 aircraft units, the rest in reserve) and 14 airships.

The composition of the air force of Russia was very heterogeneous. Despite the presence of a certain number of domestic structures, most of the Russian air forces were foreign aircraft. They were both purchased in France, England and Italy, and were built under license at our factories (Dux, RBVZ (Russo-Balt), Schetininsky PRTV, Lebedevsky, Anatra). French brands prevailed, among which Newpore was the leader.

We will talk about the types of aircraft a bit later, since this is a rather extensive topic.
How backward was Russia of that time? Let's argue. Yes, the development and construction of aircraft engines was, alas, in its infancy. However, let's look at the planes that were in service with the imperial air force.

Let's start with the import.

Single:
Newpore Xbis, XI, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XXI, XXIII, XXIV, XXIVbis, XXV, XXVII;
AIDS VII, XXIII;
Moran F, N, I;
Vikkers FB;
Sopwith Triplane.

Double room:
Newpore IX, X, XII;
Moran Parasol L, P;
Sopwith 1 1 / 5;
Voisin L, LA, LAS, LBS;
Farman F.15, F.16, F.20, F.22, F.27, F.30, F.30bis, F.40, F.42;
Codron G.3, G.4; SPAD A.2, A.4; BE2; FE2.

Quite quietly used captured airplanes.
German: Albatross B, C; Rumpler; Roland; ElFauGe; Brandenburg C; Aviatik;
Austrian: Berg, Schneider;
float: Friedrichshafen-49c, Brandenburg-Hansa, GW, W-12, W-25, W-32, Sablatnig-5;

There were even several squadrons, fully staffed with captured aircraft.

More than 200 enhanced copies of Albatross C ("Cygnus XII") were built at the Lebedev factory.

Domestic:

Villish VM-5, BM-6; Moska MBbis, Sikorsky C-16, C-18, C-20; Grigorovich M-5, M-20, M-9, M-11, M-12, M-15, M-17, M-16, "Anatra" type D and DS.


Sikorsky С16



Swan-12



Grigorovich Flying Boat M-9


And, of course, the crown of the Russian aircraft industry, "Ilya Muromets." Russia in general was the only country to enter the war, having its long-range bomber aircraft.





In general, the picture is quite clear: the Russian pilots flew on everything that had wings and a motor.

Yes, the airplanes of that time were not something so complicated, not amenable to mastering. But, if we are talking about technical backwardness, then the question arises not to the pilots, but to the technicians.

It was not so difficult to assemble an airplane of that time. In the literal sense of the word gash and glue. However, the engines of that time required maintenance and repair. The same applied to the few instruments and machine gun synchronizers that appeared a little later.

How simple it was to synchronize the work of the four engines of Ilya Muromets, I can not judge. But from the above list of models, it is clearly seen that the study and application of such a large number of foreign engines was not a problem for Russian engineers.

Russian pilots did not just fly to explore or bomb the enemy troops, but also won victories. The most productive pilot of the imperial fleet was Lieutenant Colonel of the RIVF Alexander Kazakov, who for three years shot down 17 personally and in group battles also 15 of enemy aircraft. In addition, Kazakov became the second pilot in the world who committed an air ram and the first to remain alive after him.

Having started a war with three hundred airplanes, by its end in October 1917, the RIVF had about 1500 machines. 300 of various parts and divisions, including 14 aviation divisions, 91 aviation squad, 4 squadron of Ilya Muromets aircraft, 87 aeronautical squadrons, 32 naval aviation detachment, 11 aviation and aeronautic schools, naval aviation division, eight aeronariums, eight aeronautical units, eight aeronautical aviation divisions, eight aviation departments, eight aviation sectors, XNUMX aviation and aeronautic schools, naval aviation division, eight aerospace forces, eight aviation departments, eight aviation departments, eight aerospace forces, eight aviation departments, naval aviation divisions, XNUMX aviation and aeronautic schools, naval aviation division, eight aerospace forces, eight aviation departments, eight aerospace forces, eight aviation departments, eight aviation departments, eight aviation sectors, XNUMX aviation and aeronautic schools, a naval aviation division, eight aeronarions, eight aviation departments, eight aerospace forces, eight aviation departments, eight aviation departments, eight aviation departments, eight aviation sectors, aircraft XNUMX, XNUMX aviation divisions; , airbases, aeronautical parks.



In the air units served to 35000 soldiers and officers.

Speaking about the backward industry, I want to give these figures:

Before the First World War, the productivity of Russian aircraft factories was about 480 aircraft per year, then 1916 of the airplane was launched in 1384 (in the Soviet Union, this quantitative indicator would be reached only after 15 years) and 1398 aircraft engines were assembled.

In October, 1917 in Russia already existed 34 airlines, which worked up to 12 thousands of workers.

Fourteen factories produced airplanes, seven (!) Engines, three — propellers and skis, two — magneto, one — aviation equipment, the other seven were in one or another stage of completion.

The government heavily funded the aircraft industry, allocating large funds to contractors. The industry “worked”, mainly private or share capital, not constrained by bureaucratic restrictions.

Domestic aviation bombs and torpedoes, bomb spreaders, machine gun installations, synchronizers, aircraft radio stations, aerial cameras, navigation instruments, Kotelnikov’s backpack parachute were created.

The largest increase in capacity was observed in the engineering industry, mainly due to the investment of French firms. In Moscow, in addition to the Gnom and Ron plant, the Salmson plant arose, and the construction of Renault company workshops began in Rybinsk. In 1916, the factory “Duflon and Konstantinovich” (DeCa) was organized in Aleksandrovsk. RBVZ (Russo-Balt), Motor Joint-Stock Company, P. Ilyin Automotive Factory were also engaged in the production of aircraft engines of their own design.

In 1917, it was planned to manufacture 2250 aircraft at all plants, and a year later it was planned to bring the productivity of the aviation industry to 3000-4500 machines.

Russian planes were inferior to the newest German or French vehicles, but nevertheless, the Russian air fleet during that war was a force to be reckoned with. But already in February of the 1917, the imperial air fleet began to decline, and the October events put a bold cross on the development of aircraft manufacturing in Russia.

After the February Revolution, foreign entrepreneurs began to gradually phase out production and export capital abroad. Igor Sikorsky, brothers Alexander and Vladimir Lebedev, emigrated, returned to the homeland of Francesco Mosca. Many pilots and engineers left Russia.

The Imperial Air Force, which became a worthy rival to the German and Austro-Hungarian air forces, ceased to exist.

Sources:
http://авиару.рф/aviamuseum/aviatsiya/russkij-imperatorskij-voenno-vozdushnyj-flot
http://www.wio.ru/ww1arus.htm
Author:
10 comments
Information
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must to register.

I have an account? Sign in

  1. andrewkor
    andrewkor 16 November 2017 06: 36 New
    +4
    Literally from the first words, the author correctly identified the main problem of domestic aviation - the lack of production of aircraft engines of very high-tech products. If the glider of an aircraft of that time could be trimmed, glued and covered with percale literally at a furniture factory or even at home, the USSR got the solution to the engine problem!
    1. CTABEP
      CTABEP 16 November 2017 10: 08 New
      0
      Lack of production at the beginning of the war. By the end of the war - 7 factories for the production of engines, large volumes. The USSR got this problem due to the fact that during the years of the Civil War everything was stolen, we had to start all over again.
      1. FID
        FID 16 November 2017 12: 57 New
        +3
        Now, they have poher again ... and not only motors ....
  2. Amurets
    Amurets 16 November 2017 07: 16 New
    0
    The largest increase in capacity was observed in the engineering industry, mainly due to the investment of French firms. In Moscow, in addition to the Gnom and Ron plant, the Salmson plant arose, and the construction of Renault company workshops began in Rybinsk. In 1916, the factory “Duflon and Konstantinovich” (DeCa) was organized in Aleksandrovsk. RBVZ (Russo-Balt), Motor Joint-Stock Company, P. Ilyin Automotive Factory were also engaged in the production of aircraft engines of their own design.
    But the main emphasis was on rotational engines. With its advantages (low weight), there were also disadvantages. the main one was low power. What is a rotational motor, see the link.
    http://авиару.рф/aviamuseum/dvigateli-i-vooruzhen
    ie / aviamotorostroenie / aviamotory-rossijskoj-imper
    ii / statya-rotativnyj-dvigatel /
    The rest of the article is interesting. Thanks to the author. Only the author forgot to mention A.N. Prokofiev-Seversky and A.M. Kartveli, who created the company Seversky Aircraft Corporation, later renamed to "Republic." whose planes brought glory to the USA
    1. venik
      venik 16 November 2017 09: 41 New
      0
      Quote: Amurets
      Only the author forgot to mention A.N. Prokofiev-Seversky and A.M. Kartveli, who created the company Seversky Aircraft Corporation, later renamed to "Republic." whose planes brought glory to the USA

      =========
      Well, if Prokofiev was directly related to the Russian imperial air fleet (after all, the “ace” pilot of the First World War, and he started his developments in Russia), then Kartveli - well, ANYTHING! He served in the artillery unit, and finished flying school after emigrating to France. Well, the company "Ripablik" - to the Russian aviation - doesn’t have well, no relation at all!!! (Did you read the title of the article?)
  3. The comment was deleted.
  4. barbiturate
    barbiturate 16 November 2017 14: 38 New
    +2
    How positively did the author describe our lag - no motors? Bullshit! We produce few aircraft? Bullshit! Worst quality? Bullshit !! Tactically staying? Bullshit !! But we plan wow! though the war is already ending ... the planes were needed the day before yesterday, and industry and trained workers were the day before yesterday, but the tsar was still well done !! laughing
    1. cast iron
      cast iron 16 November 2017 23: 43 New
      +2
      And then the bloody Stalin came and ruined everything !!!
  5. The comment was deleted.
  6. Curious
    Curious 16 November 2017 15: 21 New
    +1
    For those interested in the issue, I recommend the article "Domestic Aircraft during the First World War" Source and details: http://www.airaces.ru/stati/otechestvennoe-samolj
    otostroenie-v-gody-pervojj-mirovojj-vojjny.html # f
    ootnote_0_4146
  7. Loki_2
    Loki_2 21 November 2017 20: 07 New
    +2
    But already in February 1917 the sunset of the imperial air fleet began, and the October events put an end to the development of aircraft manufacturing in Russia.

    Yak, MiG, Il, An, Su, Tu - all these are examples of the domestic aircraft industry on which the Bolsheviks put a bold cross.
    Roman Skomorokhov don't tell my horseshoes
  8. fighter angel
    fighter angel 22 November 2017 16: 51 New
    +2
    The author is trying to idealize. It turns out badly. The root of the entire aviation problem in tsarist Russia is that at the very top, the grand dukes and the emperor himself believed: "A Russian peasant can never be compared with a European and make a normal airplane. He is a lapotnik who only knows how to poke around in the ground!" Therefore, airplanes were purchased abroad, along with production licenses, and these were already obsolete cars. What is the foolishness to sell the latest airplane ?! An exception to the rule were nuggets - Sikorsky, Grigorovich, who in time found their patrons, like Shidlovsky. And then, their cars, a drop in the ocean, if we take as a percentage of the obsolete models - Voisenov Newport and Farmanov, produced by Russian factories under licenses. It is well known what this led to — during the war, Russian aviation was left without supplies, the Allies did a good job here. Anatra and Swans is the day before yesterday aviation, already at the start of production. And the moral is this: Russia needs its own aircraft industry! Its completely, from start to finish! Not dependent on anyone! The Bolshevik-Communist comrades understood this and embodied. Thank you so much for that! And with the tsar-priest, Russian pilots would fly on Newport and SPAD until the 30s, waiting for the supply of spare parts from abroad ...