At that very moment, when the outlines of the island flashed in the breaks in the clouds, the 28 heavy-loaded SB bomber with the identification marks of the Chinese Air Force muffled the engines and simultaneously went down. Ahead of the course, the panorama of Taipei opened, and three kilometers to the north - the peaceful Matsuyama airfield.
Japanese air base on about. Formosa (Taiwan) served as the main transportation hub and rear base of the Imperial Air Force fighting in China. Matsuyama Air Base, located far beyond the front line, was considered invulnerable to the Chinese aviation: reinforcements arrived here and new samurai squadrons were manned here. Aircraft delivered directly by sea. Brand new planes arrived in crates, which were neatly loaded onto the shore and delivered to the hangars of the air base; there they were final assembled and circled before sending the cars deep into mainland China. At the airbase, large stocks of spare parts, ammunition and aviation fuel were concentrated (according to some information, a three-year supply of fuel and lubricants intended for combat operations in China).
... And a group of Chinese bombers had already laid down on the combat course. Before the eyes of the pilots, the territory of a huge airbase was growing up — red circles on the wings of two-rowed aircraft were already distinguishable. Chinese pilot Fyn Po looked around and noted with satisfaction that not a single enemy fighter had yet risen into the air. Anti-aircraft guns were silent: the Japanese clearly did not expect a raid and took them for their own. The plane swayed slightly. The pilots watched the dropped bombs and managed to see how the fountains of explosions broke out in the middle of the parking lot. “Well done, I got Fedoruk,” flashed through my head when Phyn Po drove away with a car going down towards the sea. And the following groups headed by Yakov Prokofyev and Vasily Klevtsov came to the target. The Japanese air base was hiding behind a dense veil of smoke, anti-aircraft guns cracked in impotent rage, trying to reach the planes leaving for the North. Not a single Japanese fighter managed to get up to intercept - on that day, February 23 1938, General Fyn Po and his loyal comrades burned down the largest Japanese Matsuyama airbase.
View of the modern Songshan Airport from the Taipei 101 skyscraper.
This place was bombed by our pilots in 1938 year.
This place was bombed by our pilots in 1938 year.
The raid had a deafening effect: the planes of the Chinese Air Force, guided by Soviet pilots, brought down high-explosive and incendiary bombs on the 280 airfield. On the ground, more than 40 prepared aircraft were destroyed, many sets of aircraft and most airfield equipment were destroyed. The governor of the Japanese province of Taihoku (Taiwan) was removed from his post. The commandant of the airfield, like an honest samurai, made himself a seppuku. Panic began in Tokyo - it was decided that Chiang Kai-shek had strategic and naval aviation, which could affect Japanese plans and influence the outcome of the war.
Bombers sat, having committed an unprecedented in stories The 7-hour air raid over a range of over 1000 km, without fighter cover, successfully replenished at a secret aerodrome of hop and returned to Hankow in the evening without a single loss. To ensure maximum range, the entire flight took place in the most economical mode, in discharged air - at an altitude of more than 5000 meters. Without oxygen masks, in the mode of complete radio silence - with the full voltage of human strength and capabilities of technology.
Upon arrival, General Fyn Po (captain Fyodor Polynin) reported to the Air Force commander on the successful completion of the raid. Soon the Chinese comrades organized a chifan (banquet) in honor of the Soviet pilots, which was attended by the top leadership of the Kuomintang.
“As a team leader, Sun Mei-ling (wife of Chiang Kai-shek) was seated next to me. She proclaimed the first toast to Soviet volunteer airmen, for the successful raid of our bombers on the enemy’s largest air force base. In the midst of Chifan, the waiters, dressed in black tails, made a huge cake. The color cream on it was written in Russian: “In honor of the Red Army. Volunteer Pilots.
- From the memoirs of F. Polynin.
If for China's leadership the authorship of the feat was obvious, then the rest of the world was tormented by doubts. The Japanese, rightly believing that Soviet pilots were sitting at the controls of the bombers, sent a note of protest to their islands through their ambassador Segimitsu to Moscow, but were sent to their islands. The Soviet Union never advertised the volume of military aid to China and kept the names of volunteer heroes secret.
But the reward did not remain a draw for long - after a day she had found her “hero”. All the laurels of glory for the daring raid on Taiwan was appropriated by the American Vincent Schmidt. An experienced pilot with a 20-year experience, a hero of the First World and Spanish Civil War, he arrived in China at the head of an international group of volunteers and now willingly gave interviews about how he and his boys defeated the Japanese base. The deception was revealed pretty soon - from Japan it was confirmed that Soviet-made bombers, such as the Security Council, had struck the blow, and American volunteers had nothing to do with it. Instead of trying to make a nasty embarrassment, writing it off to the difficulties of translation and ignorance of Chinese, Vincent Schmidt demanded an apology for defamation from the Chinese leadership, and then filed a resignation report and went to Hong Kong. 14-th squadron of the Chinese Air Force, consisting of international volunteers, was soon disbanded, because of its complete uselessness, and sent the Americans to their homeland.
When the Chinese bombers raced through the Chinese Sea on Wednesday in their first daring raid on Japanese soil, they were led by the fearless veteran of many wars, Commander Vincent Schmidt, head of the international volunteer squadron. Commander Schmidt is an American. Along with him, an unknown number of foreign and Chinese aviators, including Russians, were in the Taihoku raid, in which 40 Japanese planes were destroyed at their aerodrome, radio station and other aerodrome equipment.
- The Hong Kong Telegraph, February 25 edition of the year 1938.
Forgotten Russian victories weapons
The participation of Soviet military experts in the fighting in China during the period 1937-41. still remains a taboo page in the history of our country. Unlike the PRC, where they remember well all the events that took place at that time and honor the memory of Russian volunteer pilots who fought in the skies of China. The Chinese erected several memorials in memory of the exploits of the pilots of the Red Army. In the military history museum of the city of Nanchang, where Soviet bombers were based, there is a special exhibition dedicated to the raid on Formosa.
In the period 1937-41. The Soviet Union handed over to China 1185 combat aircraft (777 fighters, 408 bombers), as well as 100 training biplanes. Dozens were delivered tanks and 1600 artillery systems. 5 thousand Soviet citizens — military advisers, engineers, technicians, and volunteer pilots — paid a business visit to China. F. Polynin himself later recalled that when he signed up as a volunteer, he assumed that they would be sent to Spain, but instead of the hot sky in southern Europe, the pilots fell into a bloody mess in Asia. According to official figures, 227 Soviet pilots laid their heads, defending the freedom of the Chinese people.
Fedor Petrovich Polynin
The bold 23 February February 1938 raid is just one of the high-profile operations carried out by Soviet pilots in the skies of China. Among other feats appear "raid" on the sacred land of Japan, produced by 20 May 1938 of the year. Operating from the airfield in Nanjing, the Soviet TB-3 whirled over the island of Kyushu, dropping dozens of boxes of anti-war leaflets. The operation caused a shock among the Japanese command. The answer was the Japanese military provocation, which turned into a massacre at Lake Hassan - there the opponents fought with open visors, without hiding their titles and names.
In March, the 1938 of the year once again distinguished itself the pilot of Fyn Po - again a sortie to the maximum range of 1000 km, with refueling in Suzhou. This time the bridge over the r. Yellow River
April 1938. Soviet and Chinese fighters engaged in combat with a large group of enemy aircraft over Wuhan. The Japanese lost their 11 fighters and 10 bombers. That day there were losses and from our side - 12 aircraft did not return to their airfield.
And how not to recall the destructive bombardment of the Hankow airfield, what happened on October 3 of the year 1939! A group of 12 DB-3, commanded by the military leader Kulishenko, broke through to the target deep in the rear of the enemy, flying at an altitude of 8700 meters, in full radio silence mode - and a hail of bombs rained down from a height of Japanese aircraft. The place known as “base W” has ceased to exist. According to Chinese intelligence, as a result of a sudden air strike, 64 was destroyed by Japanese aircraft, 130 people died, the base’s gas storage facility burned for more than three hours. Japanese casualty data looks more modest - 50 planes burned down, seven high-ranking officers were among the dead, and Admiral Tsukuhara, the commander of Japanese aviation, was injured. Such a major damage from a relatively small number of aircraft in the strike group is explained by the successful time of the raid - at that hour the construction and the ceremony of receiving the new aircraft were going on at the airfield.
Suddenly, silence was broken by loud cries from the flight control tower. And all of a sudden, without warning, the air was shaken by a terrible roar. The earth began to bounce and shake, the shock wave hit the ears painfully. Someone screamed, although it was no longer required: “Air raid!”
... The roar of exploding bombs merged into one continuous roar. A cloud of smoke rose above the airfield, I heard the whistle of fragments flying in different directions. Soon the storage of machine-gun belts with a terrible roar blew up into the air in a cloud of smoke and fire. Then a series of bombs fell across the airfield. The explosions hurt our ears and covered us with earth ...
And then I completely lost my head. I jumped to my feet and ran again. This time I rushed to the runway, every now and then looking anxiously at the sky. Above my head, I noticed 12 bombers in a clear line, which described a wide circle at a height of at least 20000 feet. These were the Russian twin-engine bombers of the Security Council, the main bombers of the Chinese Air Force. It would be meaningless to deny the deadly effectiveness of their surprise attack. We were caught off guard. Not a single person suspected anything until the whistling bombs went down. When I looked at the airfield, I was very shocked. High columns of flame rose when the fuel tanks exploded, huge clouds of smoke flew into the air. Those airplanes that had not yet burned were riddled with many fragments, and gasoline was whipped from punched tanks. The fire was thrown from a plane to a plane, greedily devouring gasoline. Bombers exploded like firecrackers, fighters burned like boxes of matches.
I ran around the burning aircraft, as if I were crazy, desperately trying to find at least one whole fighter. By some miracle, several “Claudes”, standing separately, avoided destruction. I jumped into the cabin of the plane, started the engine and, not waiting until it warmed up, led the fighter along the path.
- Memories of the Japanese ace Saburo Sakai from the book "Samurai"!
(The veteran is mistaken, his airfield was bombed with a DB-3. Sakai was the only one who managed to get airborne, but the Japanese failed to catch up with the Soviet aircraft).
The story of the Yamato-Maru aircraft carrier drowning on the Yangtze River stands apart - unlike the reliable evidence of the bombing of Japanese airfields, the story of the aircraft carrier still raises many questions. In the names of Japanese warships the prefix "...-maru" was never encountered. At the same time, this does not exclude the fact that the "aircraft carrier" was a remake on the basis of a civilian steamer and hung on the balance of the Air Force - there is evidence of the use of such "mobile airfields" on major rivers of China, where there was no developed network of ground air bases. If all the cards fall in the appropriate way, the Soviet pilots can be the first to manage to sink the aircraft carrier (even if it is as small and slow as the Yamato-Maru).
The story of a raid on Taiwan should have been reserved until Defender of the Fatherland Day, but I can't wait to tell you about it today. Indeed, what our military pilots were doing in China was very good. Such victories should be known, remember the names of the heroes and be proud of them.
Obelisk to Soviet pilots in Wuhan
China's sensational raid on Formosa
In contrast to Japanese reports of yesterday’s raid of Chinese aircraft on Formosa in Hankow, they claim the destruction of at least 40 Japanese aircraft at the Taihok airfield at the northern tip of the island.
A spokesman for the Chinese Air Force told reporters last night that the planes were standing in line on the airfield, and the attack was so sudden that the Japanese could not take them to shelter.
The Chinese report also claims the destruction of three hangars and gasoline stock.
The Chinese statement does not mention the number of aircraft participating in the raid and the place from which they took off.
The China Mail (Hong Kong), a note from February 24 of the year 1938
High-speed front bomber SB with the stars of the Kuomintang