It began like this. The American squadron was given to the 2 and 3 Polish armies. At dawn 25 April 1920, she began combat work. The first two-hour departure and search for parts of the Red Army in the Miropol - Zhytomyr sector ended without result. Pilots dropped bombs on the forest. About ten o'clock in the morning, Cooper and Noble flew for the second time in the direction of Berdichev. They managed to find a small cavalry patrol and disperse it. Having finished chasing horses, the aircraft bombed the Berdichev railway station. On this day, the American pilots made two more sorties for the bombing of an armored train at Chudnov station and the Zhytomyr railway station.
The next day, the squadron was completely placed at the disposal of the 2nd Army, leading an attack on Berdichev. Only Lieutenant Shresbury flew to Novograd-Volynsky, having received a special task to provide air cover for Jozef Pilsudsky, who had gone to the front, who was afraid of the Soviet aviation. The 7th squadron became, in essence, the main striking force operating from the air against our troops in Ukraine. American pilots bombed the positions of the red artillery, shrapnel mowing the Polish cavalry, disrupted communications, severely attacked the civilian population of cities and villages of Ukraine.
Overseas "gentlemen of fortune" did not feel completely safe, rising into the Ukrainian sky. So, the gunners of the red armored train managed to knock out one of the aircraft. Lieutenant Noble was injured. He was sent to the medical train of the American Red Cross mission, which accompanied the Polish troops. Brooks and Rorison were later shot down, and in the attack on the ships of the Dnieper River flotilla serious damage to the aircraft of Cooper and Clark. Many American pilots hardly reached their damaged cars to airfields.
The Paris newspaper "Tan" and the Berlin "Abend" reported that during the fighting for Kiev, the American squadron made 79 combat missions to the locations of the Red Army troops. The squadron relocated further east, from Polonny to Berdichev. Then she was transferred to Belaya Tserkov, and from there a part of her, headed by Cooper, flew to Kiev. The number of American military pilots was continuously increasing, and in reality, not one but two air squadrons fought on the Soviet-Polish front. Aviation units during the fighting were re-equipped. This issue was dealt with in the initial period of intervention by Fawitlera. Albatrosa was replaced by the newly released Italian Balilas. New aircraft and weapons in a continuous stream went to the front.
Skvira, Kazatin, Mironovka and many other settlements were subjected to severe bombardment by American aviation, during the temporary success of Polish troops in Right Bank Ukraine. In the book of Murray was placed a schematic map with arrows going to the north and northeast. They indicate the distance: to Moscow about 380 miles, to Petrograd no more than 600. The Polish invaders were not going to linger in Kiev and be content with the lands of Ukraine. They planned to move on to Moscow.
The reality was different. The Red Army prepared a decisive counterstrike. And the position of the Poles was becoming increasingly difficult. In Kiev, there were active underground workers who did not make the interventionists feel safe. The American envoy to Poland, Hugh Gibson, who is an "honorary member of the squadron," specifically informed Washington of the growing resistance of the Kiev workers' intervention. In a telegram to Squadron commander Fountler, who was in Belaya Tserkov, Cooper demanded to send new French Breguet aircraft to deploy bombing campaigns and relocate the entire air division to Kiev, where, in his opinion, it would be safer for the American squadron to be still. Cooper did not wait for an answer.
At the end of May, the First Mounted Army, transferred to Ukraine, approached the front. The American pilots who were in Belaya Tserkov were assigned to discover the Red cavalry units approaching the front. US pilots regularly flew in the direction of Cherkasy, Korsun, conducted air reconnaissance over the Dnieper and crossings.
Yet the appearance of red cavalrymen was unexpected. In the morning of May 25, 1920, Crawford set off, as Karolowitz and Fenn write, on an “ordinary reconnaissance” flight. Passing over Uman, he made a turn to the east, towards the Dnieper. Here Crawford and saw a column of horsemen. An hour later, after sending the above-mentioned telegram to Belaya Tserkov, Cooper received an urgent dispatch for transmission to the Polish command, which reported that movement of parts of the First Horse was detected.
The powerful blow of the red cavalry exposed the adventurism of Polish hopes to conquer the eastern neighbor, the illusiveness of the strategy of the Polish generals. “Konarmiy,” recognize Karolevitz and Fenn, “put the entire Polish campaign at risk.” Immediately there was a question about the retreat from Kiev. The New York Times, wanting to reassure readers, to assure them that with the numerous Americans who are with the armies of Piłsudski or in their composition in Ukraine, everything is in order, assured that the issues of "evacuation" (and essentially flight) , they are decided seriously, and not only by the Poles themselves. In view of this, the names of influential Americans engaged in interventionist actions on seized Soviet territory were disclosed. In addition to the impressive mission of the Red Cross, the former director of the United States tsenovy administration, food counselor of the Polish government E.Dh., hastily fled from Kiev. Durand, Colonel G. Shaw, Red Cross Liaison Officer, Head of the US Railway Mission in Poland, Colonel C. Gaskell, ARA Representative J. Gregg.
After a hasty discussion of the situation created due to the arrival of the First Horse on the Soviet-Polish front, the proposal was rejected to mobilize all possible forces and means to help the Poles defend Kiev. It was introduced by Cooper, who, as Murray sarcastically observes, “did not see a single Russian Cossack in his life”. More experienced in the general situation, Fauntleroy decided to relocate the American airfield to the Fastov region to help the Polish army stop Budyonny's horsemen with aerial bombardments. But nothing came of this venture. Overseas mercenaries were able, based on the area of Fastov, heavily fortified by the invaders, to fire at a division advancing to Uman. However, the courageous workaround of the First Horse forced the interventionists to leave Fastov. American pilots barely managed to get their feet out of there. They did not even wait for the return of the wounded and wounded Weber to the airport.
The American air squadron arrived at its next stop in Kazatin, having lost its ammunition and equipment, which went to the advancing Soviet troops. Aviators managed to load only holed airplanes. The 9-I Polish Aviation Squadron, which consisted mainly of Polish pilots, was officially stationed here. The next stage of the “combat activity” on the Ukrainian land began - a stampede, an attempt to delay retreat in any way, the evil actions of the murderers, the senseless shooting of civilians from the air.
The American military pilots dropped armaments and products to Polish units that were encircled in the area of Lipovets and Ruzhin, carried out air cover for the Polish divisions, retreating from Kiev, took away Polish officers who could be captured, destroyed pontoon bridges thrown by the Red Army across the Dnieper and Cherkasy . The attacks of the First Cavalry increased, in the vicinity of Kazatin the partisans who mined the railroad near Chernorudk intensified their actions. The invaders were very frightened by the bold actions of the underground workers in Kazatin itself. In the battles for the city of American pilots first saw the Soviet military aircraft.
Being in Casatine almost ended in tragedy for the American air squadron. American pilots were ordered on June 6 at dawn to launch a massive attack on the red horsemen advancing from Squire to Kazatin. “However, Budyonny,” Murray remarks melancholyly, “did not wait for the dawn.” They did not save the Poles and transferred to them Tanks. At night, the Red Army broke through the defenses of the Polish troops. There was a threat of captivity for the American air squadron. Waving a gun, Fountleroy managed to pick up railway platforms at the station for the export of American aircraft. Pilots of the 9th Polish squadron did easier; they fled, leaving entire airplanes to the advancing red units. “The rest of the night,” Murray recalls in horror, “seemed to last a thousand years.” An attempt by overseas warriors to escape through Berdichev failed - the city was already occupied by the troops of the First Horse. The train went to Polonnoye, and from there, without stopping, to Novograd-Volynsky, Ternopol and Lviv. True, Captain Corsi and Lieutenant Weber were seconded to conduct aerial reconnaissance in the cavalry group of General J. Romer.
Those who sent the American squadron to participate in the intervention against Soviet Russia, with increasing energy, continued to supply it with military equipment. By summer, the 7 I squadron moved to the two-seater French Roland. In the summer of 1920, the initiators of the intervention spared no effort and resources to save the invaders from the advancing units of the Horse Army. The need for continuous aerial reconnaissance increased, for which the US military observers, possessing extraordinary speed, were handed over to US military pilots.
Losing hope of escape, the Polish invaders highly appreciated the support received from US military pilots. In the memorable book "In Honor of the Fallen Aviators," a statement was made by the division commander Pakhutsky: "Without the support of American pilots, we would have fallen to shit long ago."
However, overseas pilots became increasingly difficult to act. At the front appeared more Soviet aircraft. In addition, the red cavalry have developed tactics for successfully countering aircraft. Polish researchers of the Soviet-Polish war talk about one of the methods of the successful struggle of the First Horse against the American military aviators. Small horse detachments, knowing that the enemy aircraft several times a day, fired at our units in the area of Lutsk - Dubno - Rovno, raised vast clouds of dust on the roads. The Americans, believing that large equestrian units were moving along these roads, were heading to these places, and the soldiers, sitting in ambush, opened up an organized machine-gun fire on the airplanes.
The pilots suffered heavy losses. Just arrived from the United States of America Tsiterski was shot down; the same fate befell Captain Kelly, along with the accompanying pilot; Fauntleroy himself was hit, he was barely able to reach the airfield; Budyonnovtsa shot down a Crawford plane, but the latter managed to escape.
But the notorious Captain Cooper, who had by then become a major, could not escape. Red Army soldiers captured him. During the search, Cooper found two serious exposing documents. It was a letter to Colonel B. Kastll, who was already known to us, testifying to the most active participation of US military pilots in Pilsudski’s eastern march. Moreover, there were some important goals for this participation. They should pay special attention. It was about preparing for new wars. Over the ocean, it was reported about the study and development of new methods of using aviation in a field war, and also noted the fact that the American mobile detachment had become the most effective force against infantry and cavalry than any other branch of troops. The captain pointed to the need to revise the experience of the "French campaign" (military operations in Western Europe during the 1914-1918 war - R.S.) and to learn new ways of fighting.
However, the experience of military operations of the US military air squadron was carefully studied not only overseas. In one of the Berlin libraries there is a copy of the book of Murray, the fields of which are dotted with pointed gothic script. In fascist Germany, some inaccuracies made by the author were pedantically noted.
The second document, which fell into the hands of konarmeytsev, was a military order, addressed to Cooper. The task was to carry out a reconnaissance of the Dubno-Brody road during the flight from Lvov and strike in the most efficient way the red cavalry that was leading the offensive south-west from Dubno. All these documents with all certainty denounced him as a mercenary who flew to the Ukrainian land to kill.
But Cooper was cunning and dodgy. Knowing perfectly well that Soviet soldiers tremendously respect the working people of the United States, the son of a landowner from Florida declared himself a worker named Frank Mosher and declared that he was taking part in the war solely under duress. He received an officer’s uniform from the American Red Cross mission. And I must say that Red Army men believed Cooper. Moreover, even the “Red Cavalier” correspondent I.E. believed him. Babel He was proficient in several European languages and, quite naturally, when they brought the shot down pilot to headquarters, he read the documents held by the prisoner and spoke with him. Naturally, Babel was not only interested in military data. The writer was worried about the most acute and tragic contradiction of that time: people who wanted to live in peace and the war with its murders and the mass death of people. “Human cruelty is indestructible! I hate war "- this diary recording of Babel appeared on August 1 1920 of the year in the midst of fierce battles in Western Ukraine, under Lvov. In the course of communication with the American pilot, Babel could not help but notice the unnatural behavior, manners and words of the pilot. But Cooper's callous hands still persuaded the writer to believe that he had a “lost proletarian”.
The actions of the American pilots reached their peak in the fall of 1920. Karolevits and Fenn wrote that the role of the Kosciusko squadron during the critical period of the Polish-Soviet war was expressed in the need to support General Ivashkevich’s troops on the Southern Front with all its forces and means, to participate in the defense of Lviv and make Budyonny get bogged down so that he could not reach Warsaw. Since the actual issues of today are touched upon here, the dispute over one of the key problems of the Polish-Soviet war and its outcome, we turn to the judgments of American historians. “The latter circumstance, they emphasize, was the greatest danger for the fate of Poland. If Budyonny had not been detained in Galicia, he would have had the freedom to unite with Tukhachevsky and take the capital into ticks. There is no doubt that the division of Budyonny could tip the scales and ensure the triumph of the Bolsheviks on the Vistula. ”
Accordingly, American pilots stepped up hostilities. Commanders of the First Horse units reported an increase in the flight of enemy aircraft.
Yet the US military pilots did not look like triumphs. Around this time, Colonel B. Kastl, prompted by Fauntleroy, appealed to President W. Wilson. The patron of the squadron on the basis of the letter of Fountleroya in extremely pessimistic tones described her condition. Yet the loss data was exaggerated. After all, they were called upon to reinforce the request to allow 23 volunteers from the US Air Force to leave for the Polish-Soviet front. Wilson was in no hurry to give the appropriate instructions to the State Department, but in the end five military pilots received the necessary permission and arrived in the Kosciusko squadron.
By this time the squadron continued to conduct combat operations. Fauntleroy was appointed commander of the entire aviation of the 6 of the Polish Army. Squadron received from the United States a new replenishment. At the same time, part of the American pilots fought in squadrons, where the bulk of the Polish pilots were. The lieutenant colonel of the US Army now commanded all the air forces operating against our Southwestern Front. Chief of Staff T. Rozvadovsky of September 1 1920, in his order, indicated that only two days, August 16-17, Fountleroy pilots completed more than 125 sorties, dropping more than 7,5 tons of bombs, and also spent a huge amount of other ammunition. These were by that time huge numbers.
A month later, Poland was forced to agree to a truce. Began peace negotiations in Riga. However, even during the negotiations, the American pilots continued their military operations. In spite of the declared truce, they conducted reconnaissance flights, dropped bombs on cities and villages, on the position of the Red Army. During one of these sorties, Red Army soldiers shot down an American captain McCulum, who had recently arrived from England. At the same time, attempts to fraudulently release Major Cooper intensified. American intelligence officer M. Harrison, who was in Soviet Russia as an Associated Press correspondent, established contact with Cooper, who was in a Moscow prison under the name of Corporal F. Mosher. After the conclusion of a peace treaty with Poland, he was released. Cooper was able to leave our country with impunity.
Cooper's "rescue" can be considered the last "feat" of US military pilots during the civil war and foreign intervention in our country. It is worth noting that while he was in captivity, Merion Cooper wrote an autobiography that was published in the US in 1927. However, later on, Cooper tried to buy up the whole print run and destroy it, since, according to him, he revised a number of the opinions expressed in it. In late spring 1921, all the survivors arrived in Warsaw. B. Castle arrived from the United States. The sharing of the money earned on the Ukrainian and Russian blood, money and awards began.
This could have been the end of the story about the fate of American aviators in the Soviet-Polish war, but I would like to mention one more fact from M. Cooper's biography. After returning from Poland, Merion suddenly became interested in studying the life and behavior of monkeys, primarily gorillas and chimpanzees. The result of this passion was written by Cooper in 1933, the script for the movie "King Kong". In the fifties, he actively supported the tough (if not cruel) policies of Senator J. McCarthy against Americans who sympathize with the Communists. He died in 1973 in San Diego.
Kuzmin N. The collapse of the last campaign of the Entente. M .: State publishing house of political literature, 1958. C.42-76.
Ivanov Yu. Essays stories Soviet-Polish relations 1917-1945's. // Our contemporary. 2003. No.10. C.38-46.
Shestakov V. How Americans Bombed the Americans // Nabat # 11 (166) from 30 March 2007.
Yu. Temirov, A. Donets. Americans in the Soviet-Polish War // Encyclopedia of Errors. M .: Eksmo; SKIF, 2004. C.6-9.
Simonenko R. American pilots in Ukraine // VIZH. 1993. No.2. C. 46-49.
Meltyukhov M. Soviet-Polish War. Military-political confrontation 1918-1939 M .: Veche, 2001. C.30-48.