Previous material caused the expected perplexity. But it was obviously premature to draw conclusions at that level, if not difficult, although some commentators, as is customary for us, made them easily and naturally. Although a lot of letters and minutes separate us from the true disclosure of the topic and acceptable conclusions.
I am very grateful to everyone who wrote another article in the comments, especially to Alexei. Very balanced and logical.
But really, it makes sense to sort things out, trying to get answers to questions, since everything is wrong in our stories definitely. I understand that some would like "fried and hot" facts right now, but alas. Everything should take its course, because I continue.
In the first article, we (though not all) were convinced that with the new types of airplanes in the SC Air Force, not everything was as rosy as we would like and as many historians write. And indeed, why it was necessary to increase the number of new aircraft by 4 times before the start of the war, it is not yet entirely clear. But the road will be overpowered by the walking one. Especially in a country where distortion of history is commonplace.
But now we’ll talk about what gave the Luftwaffe a real advantage in June 1941. So far - without the human factor. Separate material should be given to this component, and we will do this in the near future.
So, on 22.06.1941/1540/377, on the contact line there were not XNUMX new types of aircraft, but XNUMX. A little less. But also a figure, whatever one may say.
But only airplanes standing at airfields are half the battle. The second half was needed, namely, trained and trained pilots, engineers, technicians, engine drivers (for some machines). Gadgets, radio engineers and gunsmiths, thank God, were not required, but there were enough problems with the above.
Probably, it is not worth explaining in detail to our audience that introducing new technology into the business is always fraught with certain efforts. Our Air Force was no exception, and on the equipment that was already in the troops, even on the eve of the war, various improvements were constantly being made to eliminate detected structural-production and operational defects and defects.
You must admit that it is one thing to operate and test an airplane under ideal conditions of a factory airfield and quite another to use unpaved runways and taxiways at the majority of airfields of that time.
Plus, the training of technical staff is also a very significant aspect, but the human factor, I repeat, is for now set aside.
In general, it would be like the planes had to go through a full cycle of tests, including in the troops, under the control of already no fancy bison test pilots, namely those who would later have to use the machines in combat mode.
Opinions, reviews, acts, everything had to be put together in one heap, and ...
And in the end, full instructions for the use of aircraft in a combat situation should have appeared.
By the way, these instructions are a very important point in the further training of pilots and facilitate their combat work.
And here you are - on June 20, 1941, an order was issued by the Air Force Research Institute, which required by August 1, 1941 to complete operational tests and tests for combat use in both day and night conditions of all new type combat aircraft.
Based on the test results, the Air Force Research Institute planned to develop the very instructions that were to be sent to the troops.
1. According to the technique of piloting these aircraft, both day and night, at all heights to the working ceiling of the aircraft.
2. For combat use in day and night conditions: bombing from horizontal flight and diving, air combat at all heights to the practical ceiling of the aircraft.
3. On the operation of the aircraft, motor, weapons and special equipment.
Smart? Cleverly. Especially with night flights, which we basically have learned units, and night aviation was never created at all.
It is clear that the tests were not completed, since the war began. This is a very sad fact, since in reality these documents would be very useful for our pilots who, in fact, went into battle on new types of unfinished aircraft, without the necessary knowledge and skills in the combat use and operation of them in the air.
And here is a difficult situation for you: which is worse, inferior in all respects, except for the maneuver, the I-16, or the same MiG-3, from which it was generally not clear what to expect in a real battle?
Once again referring to Pokryshkin’s memoirs, how did he start the war on the MiG-3? But it was Pokryshkin, but Golodnikov, whom I respect no less, has a story about how one commander was unable to open fire on an enemy aircraft, because he did not know the nuances of handling the command weapons.
The fact that the new aircraft entered the troops did not solve the problem of confrontation at first. Note this, because the pilots really did not have time to master these machines.
The Luftwaffe also had one more total advantage: the radio.
There are two components here: radio communication and radar. And here it is very difficult to object to those who say that it was very sad with us.
Fighters of new types, although they had regular seats for radio stations such as RSI-3 "Eagle", but they were not equipped. Radio transmitters were placed only on commander’s vehicles, approximately one on 15 aircraft. Receivers were placed more often, but the use of Soviet radio stations was very much hampered by the lack of normal protection against interference, so that the receivers caught all the work of the engine and electrical systems of the aircraft.
But even the presence on our aircraft of receivers and transmitters would not greatly facilitate the combat work of pilots. It was very important to have the appropriate infrastructure on the ground that would search for enemy aircraft, organize air battles, coordinate with ground troops and air defense, target designation and guidance.
In principle, there was only the service of air navigation monitoring (air surveillance, warning, communications), but it worked according to the principles of the First World War. There are enough memoirs to date on how the posts of the airspace monitoring and logging department worked. The towels that were laid out on the ground, indicating the direction where the enemy planes flew, miraculously seen through binoculars, is, of course, not a masterpiece.
Plus no responsiveness. Even if the AEROS post noticed German planes, even if he reported over the telephone to the airfield, it was simply unrealistic to target planes that were already in the air. Therefore, it was necessary to raise (if any) free squadrons and aim them somewhere towards the enemy. Because VNOS posts at the beginning of the war had no connection with airplanes.
“They flew, but they didn’t find the enemy” (we look at Pokryshkin, he often sees this, and not only him).
The lack of radio communications, normal guidance and adjustment services for aviation, the possibility of real control of aircraft in the air, lack of coordination with ground forces - this was such an advantage for the Luftwaffe that it was impossible to level even thousands of new aircraft.
Indeed, what is the use of hundreds and thousands of airplanes if it was impossible to control them?
It turned out to be a very ugly situation in which our pilots had to constantly catch up with the enemy, look for him, completely not receiving support from the ground in the form of information, while the Germans, having an advantage in this area, chose more advantageous positions for attack and caused damage.
It is difficult to blame someone for this state of affairs. Yes, if our electronic industry at the time the war began was not in its infancy, then in any case it was losing the German one for a clear advantage. The plants were so weak that they simply could not meet the needs of the army and the air force in radio stations. We are not even talking about radar.
But the enemy was all right. Before the war, a commission led by Alexander Yakovlev purchased a number of aircraft models in Germany, including Bf.109E, Bf.110, Ju.88, Do.215.
It turned out that a German aircraft could not be imagined without a radio station, radio half-life, without equipment for blind landing and a number of systems designed to make life easier for a pilot in battle.
In Germany, the beacon and direction finding service was very well developed. Airfield radio stations, radio beacons, direction finders, light beacons, airfields equipped for night flights and day flights in difficult weather conditions with blind landing equipment - all were designed to serve one purpose: safe and easy flights of German pilots.
When the war began, it is clear that all this equipment was used to work at the front.
For example, when the Germans raided Moscow, they used Orsha and Warsaw beacons. Soviet bombers flying to Berlin relied solely on navigational skill and precision. There was a relative order with this, but there were cases when the planes went astray and flew off to the wrong place.
In general, I believe that the absence of a radar detection service, a radio control service for aircraft and communications in the air force of the spacecraft in general created more problems than the absence of the latest types of aircraft. Agree, it would be possible to have not 10 thousand aircraft in the western direction, but 15. There would be only one effect - more organized, "sighted" in terms of information, German aces would beat even more, taking advantage of their advantage in the organization.
There was one more important moment. Now the old-timers will say: well, again ... Yes, again. Again about the motors.
How many times have I mentioned the eternal problem of avimotors, but motors were indeed the weakest link in our aircraft industry. Alas, it’s true. The only excuse can be considered the lack of engine building as such at the time the reference began, that is, 1917.
This is not to say that the Germans began their journey with roses and schnapps, they had no better after the defeat in the First World War. More precisely, comparable to us. But the Germans had their great engineering school, they had the potential.
And so they also started with licensed engines.
Nevertheless, when Yakovlev dragged a Bf.1940E fighter at the VSS Research Institute and the testers of the institute turned the Messer inside out, I had to admit that the DB 109 motor was simply magnificent both in terms of performance and reliability. It was even proposed to copy it and start producing in series.
The idea, let's say, was good, as was the motor itself. However, our engineers, unfortunately, could not cope with the automation, which was stuffed with DB 601.
Proposal for the introduction of direct fuel injection equipment into the engine cylinders, a supercharger start-up machine, an afterburner start-up machine for installing them on our engines. Alas, they could not. All this appeared with us, but much later than with the Germans.
However, looking ahead, I note that when the first normal automatic machines appeared, the Germans did their best to operate the so-called Kommandogerat, a central control unit that not only made the pilot easier to control, but simply did it amazingly: one movement of the handle of the gas sector at the same time controlled air dampers, fuel equipment, radiator shutters, ignition timing, propeller angle of attack ...
If the German pilot needed to fly faster and higher, he simply moved the control handle. The Soviet octopus had to move, twist, push, controlling modes. Because usually the screw stood in one position, the radiator flaps stood upstream and so on.
It is not surprising that thanks to the automation of the DB 601, not only was it more powerful than the VK-105, it also consumed less fuel than our engines. For one horsepower of power when working in comparable mode, the DB 601 consumed less fuel than our M-105 and AM-35A by 25,5 and 28,5 percent, respectively.
In general, of course, the Germans were comfortable flying and fighting with such a set of automation. Moreover, automation was planned during the development of the aircraft, as it were, so to speak, it was standard equipment.
Judge for yourself by the same Ju. 88:
- when the air brakes were opened on Ju.88, the plane automatically went into a dive, while the device automatically limited to limit overloads when exiting the dive;
- when dropping bombs from a dive, the plane automatically leaves the dive;
- when flaps are released for landing, the angle of the stabilizer is automatically changed and both ailerons acting as flaps deviate downward;
- on take-off exactly after 1 minute, the afterburner of the motors automatically turns on;
- at a climb after reaching a certain height, the 2nd supercharger speed is automatically turned on;
- motor temperature is automatically adjusted;
- the quality of the mixture and the suction pressure are automatically adjusted depending on the density of the air (flight altitude);
- airplanes, blind landing equipment, radio compass are installed on airplanes.
In principle, the last four points were valid for fighters.
What happens: Bf.109E was not much better in terms of performance characteristics than the same MiG-3, Yak-1 and LaGG-3. However, all this automation gave the Germans a huge advantage, incomparable with superiority in the performance characteristics.
While our pilot fought with handles, toggle switches, levers and buttons (and you can also recall the 45 revolutions of the landing gear handle on the I-16), the German was engaged in his immediate business - he was looking for a target, the direction to which he was prompted by radio radar operators and observers from the ground , choose a favorable position and prepare for battle.
The experience of the Great Patriotic War, especially the first and part of the second periods, showed that we failed mainly due to the technical backlog of our fighter aircraft, which had a significant impact on operations in ground operations.
In the early days, the Luftwaffe gained strategic dominance in the air throughout the front and held it until the Battle of Kursk and the battle in the sky over the Kuban.
And now it will be possible to draw a preliminary conclusion.
By the beginning of the war, we had in the five western border districts 377 fighters of new types, which were at the stage of refinement and testing.
In addition, 3156 fighters of outdated types: “maneuverable” fighters I-15, I-153 and “high-speed” fighters I-16.
The fact that the main load fell on them in the first period of the air war is understandable. The fact that even on these aircraft our pilots inflicted damage on the enemy suggests that at least the training of the flight crew of the Air Force was not inferior to the training in the Luftwaffe.
However, the maximum speed of Bf.109F was higher than the speed of the I-153 fighter with the M-63 engine by 162 km / h, and compared with the speed of the I-16 fighter with the M-63 engine by 123 km / h.
Plus technical innovations, plus the availability of radio communications.
Incidentally, of the 1233 Luftwaffe fighters on the Eastern Front, the latest Bf.109F were 593 units. That is, there were more of them initially than our new aircraft. If we add to this 423 pieces of Bf.109E, which was on an equal footing with our new types, then the picture is generally sad. 1016 new “Messers” versus 377 new ours.
Given all the above, it is clear why the Luftwaffe easily and naturally ensured air superiority for three years, right?
But there is a third nuance, which we will discuss in the next part, and then we will make the final conclusion.