“There was an interweaving of two approaches in our and the German Air Forces - rationalism and window dressing,” Dobrovolsky notes. - And yet - the different price of living on the scales stories. The Germans took care of their soldier. Ours about such categories - a lone soldier - didn’t really care. And just recently, a monument was erected to another commander, whose whole skill was in mercilessness towards his soldiers, plugging holes on the front with “cannon fodder”.
We built airplanes, rescued Chelyuskites, delivered Papanins, we had Chkalov, the great pilot of his era, flew across the North Pole to America. “We are not poor, we have thousands of them!” - this is about airplanes. Cinema is shown - "If tomorrow the war!" And when she burst out, it turned out that all those thousands of people are not suitable for hell. And 15, and 16, and 153 ... Why were they only baked in such quantities? And our newest, most secret Yaks, LAGGs, MIGs were burned on the front-line airfields on the very first day.
And on that first day it turned out that our pilots do not know how to fight. And not because they did not study well, but because they were taught the wrong thing - they crammed the party’s history, worked up the leader’s speech, brought up loyalty to their homeland, but how they showed up to the enemy’s tail, they showed more and more fingers but not the air ... will turn into quality, we will mass en masse, we cast hats.
And this is the result: at the beginning of the war, the German Air Force commanded the pilots who shot down the enemy's 25 machines by November, at the height of the battle for Moscow, raised the bar to 1941, and to 40 mu - to 1944. Some German pilots raised their score too quickly.
In his memoirs, Gerd Barkhorn, commander of the 2 th fighter squadron, where Hartmann served, wrote: “At the beginning of the war, Russian pilots were imprudent in the air, acted with constraint, and I easily knocked them down with unexpected attacks. But you still have to admit that they were much better than the pilots of other European countries with whom we had to fight. During the war, Russian pilots became more skilled air fighters. One day in 1943, I had to fight on Me 109G with one Soviet pilot on the lagg Z. The side of his car was painted red, which meant a pilot from a guards regiment. Our fight lasted about 40 minutes, and I could not beat him. We got on our planes everything we knew and could. All were forced to break up. Yes, it was a true master! ”
And this despite the fact that our pilots did not like LAGG and called it “Flying Aviation Guaranteed Coffin. " I must say that all the parameters of mass aircraft were lower than those of the Germans, and this inequality, contrary to popular belief, persisted until the end of the war, when under the bombing of the Allied aircraft they managed to release about two thousand fighter jets, the speed of which reached 900 kilometers in hour!
So all our talk about the fact that such large personal accounts with the Hitlerite aces were only because they made records on the number of engines - they shot down a four-engined plane, so they considered it for four right away - this is, excuse me, from the evil one. More often, we recorded the aircraft, shot down in the general heap, on the personal account of the most eminent one - you see, it will become a Hero. By the way, to get the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, as far as I know, it was enough to knock down 25 enemy machines of any class.
Let us try to understand why the army of the winners of losses was three times more than the losers. And in aviation, the gap is even more significant ...
It all started as if for us not bad. In the skies of Spain, the pilots of our Air Force volunteers, despite the fact that the famous "donkeys" - fighters AND 16 - were inferior to German planes in speed, gave the Nazis a light as well. The advantages of our pilots in flight skills were not shy to recognize the Germans themselves. Here is just one of the testimonies.
In the center of I.F. Petrov and S.P. Suprun with a parachute. Germany. 1940
In the spring of 1940, B. P. Suprun, a member of the delegation of Soviet specialists, visited Germany - our well-known ace, at that time the Hero of the Soviet Union (he received the second Star posthumously during the battles during World War II). The Germans showed us their fighter Me 109. Our specialists appreciated the car quite restrained. Then the somewhat annoyed designer E. Henkel suggested Suprun to try out the newest fighter Xe 100. Here is what he himself wrote about this in his memoirs:
“As part of the Russian mission was a young pilot, Hero of the Soviet Union, whose airmanship made a big impression. It was a tall, handsome man. Before the first flight on Xe 100, the fastest of all, on which he had ever flown, he had a ten-minute consultation with one of my best test pilots. Then he lifted the car into the air and began to fling it across the sky, carrying out such figures that my pilots were almost numb with surprise. ”
What can I say, if the Luftwaffe commander Hermann Goering, as already mentioned, passed flight universities in our country, under the guidance of Soviet instructors! ..
And suddenly everything changed so drastically with the start of the Great Patriotic War. The first months, the German aces had a distinct advantage in the air. Why did this happen?
The reasons for this, in my opinion, several. First, almost all of the aviation was concentrated on the front-line airfields, where it was destroyed in the first days, and even hours, after the outbreak of hostilities.
However, the famous historian Roy Medvedev believes that such concentration turned out to be a necessary measure due to the fact that our Air Force began to receive new equipment for which the old runways were not suitable. They began to urgently modernize (and at many airfields at once), as a result of which a huge amount of equipment was concentrated on the remaining (mostly civilian) flight platforms ...
Perhaps this is so. Nevertheless, in any case, bungling is evident. You cannot hide anywhere from the fact that by June 1941, the 70 – 80, the percentages of the USSR aircraft were inferior in their flight technical qualities to Germany’s same-type machines. And the few pilots who were still able to take off and engage in battle with superior enemy forces often had to use only “secret Russian weapon- ram.
However, this weapon is of the same grade as the infantryman’s attempt to close the embrasure of the enemy’s bunk with his own breast. Taran, as a rule, led simultaneously to the loss of his own car, despite all the instructions, and even to the death of the pilot. It was not by chance that our pilots resorted to this last resort, for the most part, only at the beginning of the war, when the enemy had overwhelming air superiority. If in the first year of the war 192 was made a ram, then in the last - only 22 ...
Over time, our designers and production workers were able to turn the tide. The front began to receive in ever-larger quantities a new, more advanced technique, and by the end of the war no longer Germanic, but the Soviet Air Force had an overwhelming advantage in the air. However, one should not think that we no longer had anything to learn from German specialists.
Usually, when it comes to this type of aircraft, they immediately recall the famous “pawn” - the Pe 2 Pe plane by designer V.M. Petlyakov. However, let's not forget that the “Petlyakovs” appeared at the front later than the famous “laptezhnikov” - diving bombers of Yu 87.
Moreover, the engineer Joseph Goldfain unearthed this interesting story about this ...
Shortly before the Great Patriotic War, L. P. Beria called the aircraft designer A. N. Tupolev and ordered an urgent “high-altitude, long-range, four-engined, diving bomber” to be made. Here's how Deputy General L. L. Kerber told about this: “Tupolev came back angry, like a thousand devils ... The idea of Beria was clearly untenable. A lot of arguments "against" and no "for". If only the Germans and Americans have single-engine dive bombers, we should surpass them and create the next not even the Tsar Bell, but the Tsar the Dive Biker. ” According to Tupolev, "to make such an aircraft was pure madness."
U-87 dive bombers after returning from a combat mission.
Indeed, during a dive, the machine is experiencing huge overloads, which means that its design must be particularly durable, which is impossible to achieve with a four-engined aircraft. A high-altitude bomber will certainly have to have an airtight cabin for the crew, equipped with a remote control weapon, and this, in the USSR, did not release such control. There were other, no less compelling arguments against the creation of this aircraft, but Beria stubbornly insisted on his own. Tupolev as he could, citing the workload on Tu 2, and then the war broke out ...
Of course, what happened above all could be explained by the technical illiteracy of the NKVD chief, if not for one circumstance - then the Germans worked on the project of such a pikeman!
It turns out that in the summer of 1935, the German aircraft designers were ordered to create a heavy bomber with a range of 2500 kilometers, capable of bombing and diving. In the summer of 1937, the Heinkel firm began work on the XE 177, equipped with the original power plant - four motors, placed in pairs, rotated two propellers.
In November 1939, the plane made the first flight, and then a losing streak went: five prototypes of the new machine crashed, and two crashed during a dive, 17 test pilots died.
In the end, with Xe 177 they removed the aerodynamic brakes and turned them into an ordinary bomber, which has been mass-produced since March 1942. Total "Luftwaffe" received 545 bombers of several modifications (in the literature there are other numbers). The most successful was Xe 177 A5, manufactured since February 1943, as a torpedo bomber and carrier of two air ship class missiles.
Heinkel He 177
Three years earlier, the Heinkel company also offered a variant with four motors installed in the wing singly and with an airtight cabin; however, until the end of the war, only a few experienced Xe 274 and Xe 277 with ordinary cabs managed to do.
We do not have detailed information about the combat use of Xe 177. But the fact that quite a few (according to some sources, up to half) were lost due to accidents, speaks for itself.
Why did Hitler need such a monster? The absence of strategic bombers in the "Luftwaffe" is usually explained by the short-sightedness of the leaders of the Third Reich. However, by the same token, the essence of the matter is obscured, because the German designers worked on such equipment, only to no avail. It is known that diving bombing accuracy is much higher than from horizontal flight. Therefore, the leaders of Nazi Germany could be tempted — by launching a small number of Xe 177 dives, effectively hitting strategic targets in the rear of the enemy.
Since there were no objective reasons to replenish the Soviet Air Force with a similar combat aircraft, it remains to be assumed subjective. Pay attention to a strange coincidence - in 1939, the first sample of Xe 177 flew in, and after a while, Beria instructs Tupolev to create the same one. If we assume that the agency of his department was able to get top-secret information about the German superpicker, the seemingly incomprehensible, stubbornness of Beria becomes quite understandable ...