I have put this thread here so we can gather up information on the units used, aircraft available and the unfolding of the battles e.c.t.
It will be difficult to find info from the Russians as it is not easy to find documents on the early part of the war from their perspective. Plus we have very few people in ACG who can read russian should we manage to find archived Soviet papers.
To get the snowball rolling we have the Wiki. As ireliable as it is it does contain the basics: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axis_and_ ... Barbarossa
Here some chap has made a list of Soviet Air Units available in 22nd June 1941: https://ww2aircraft.net/forum/threads/vvs.36185/
A book I have not read yet but looks very promising: https://books.google.se/books?id=UmwwBw ... 41&f=false
"Always strive to be better than who you were yesterday"
https://forum.il2sturmovik.com/topic/22 ... ent=354328
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"Hey guys, I found out that if you fly at 200 ft in a Beaufighter; you have time to run to the fridge and grab a beer without crashing!"
I don't rate Bergstrom's "Black Cross / Red Star Vol 1" very highly, but haven't found much else. According to him (and he's not good at annotating sources) only II, III, IV / JG51 (109F) and I, II / JG52 (109 E/F) were left supporting Army Group Centre by the end of Oct 41, and by then they could muster only 50-100 fighters between them (p232). Logistical problems in keeping aircraft serviceable, and further losses reduced them even more in Nov and the weather further limited sortie rates. He claims that a quarter of JG51 personnel were sent on leave as they did not have enough operational aircraft to employ a full staff. There are no details on deployments. It's appears there were no 110s left in this area at all after the withdrawal of ZG76 and SKG210 (the only 110 Gruppen in Luftflotte 2 supporting Army Group Centre) prior to Typhoon (p192). If these numbers are right, ACG could represent the Luftwaffe on a one for one basis!
For the Soviets it will need some detective work to find any consistency - the Jun 41 ORBAT was virtually wiped out and then Bergstrom mentions various units as part of the personnel accounts, but there is no overall view of who was where, doing what and when. It would appear that the force mix (in game terms) was roughly 50/50 I-16 and Mig-3, with a few LaGG3s mentioned in the personal accounts. There was only one unit of P40s (126 IAP), which was effectively destroyed and withdrawn during the campaign. I would guess some 20 aircraft, out of approximately 1000(?) the Soviets used on this front over this time period. Whether that constitutes enough of a contribution to be represented by an ACG unit is open to question.
A more comprehensive (and coherent!) account of the 41 air campaign on this part of the front would be very welcome...
Some good information for those interested in the ground pounders can be found here: http://mapswar2.x10host.com/Battle_of_M ... paigns.htm
and a good guide to the daily battles here: http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-bu ... scow-20960
Programme on Ruskie aircraft...
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B00KC3 ... ref=plSrch
Operation Barbarossa and the retreat to Moscow. Is a really good book with several pilots recollections of flying for the vvs in i16s LaGGs Migs and Yaks. Because they were interviewed many many years afterwards they have been a lot more free to say what they want without worrying so much about what the party line is. I have read two biographies from the Russian side and they both are completely soulless and are devoid of any criticism of anything russian!
The German aces speak is another similar book from the German side that is superb and available as an audiobook.
I intend to post some findings from reading these books sometime. There's some good info on tactics formations, mission types and numbers.
There is little or no analysis of what happened and why and Drabkin has just reformatted his interviews with veterans so it reads like their narrative. Perhaps its all the better for that but its worth bearing in mind that these are men recalling events from over 60 years before. It could provide ideas for representative missions, given the lack of data we have on historical operations and appropriate context of what was happening in the ground war at that time.
Some quick takeaways:
Nearly all missions by both sides were in direct support of ground troops or airfield attacks, so the fighting was predominantly at low and sometimes medium altitudes.
Soviet tasking very rigid and inflexible - severe penalties for not following orders and initiative was on the whole discouraged (although there were exceptions).
No Soviet radios and so obviously no ground control for them. [Germans had radio but no ground control beyond liaison officers with the ground forces C2 HQs]
No mercy – Shooting at parachuting / crashed pilots was commonplace by both sides.
Soviet ramming attacks – perhaps given undue prominence in Soviet accounts but apparently did occur with greater frequency than in West. Not necessarily a suicide attack – usually at an altitude to allow bail out (although obviously accounts only exist from those that did manage to bail out!). Successful ramming attacks were lauded by peers / superiors and survivors decorated.
I like these - strongly recommend ACG takes these on board
Soviet pilots always received 100g of vodka post sortie. Several instances of pilots flying while drunk – although this was frowned upon by the more professional pilots (ie the ones that survived!).
Soviet discipline - removal of pilots for cowardice (repeatedly disengaging or not following orders) and posting to a penal battalion. Squadron commanders / Political Officers would order summary executions in rare cases (ie self-inflicted wounds to avoid flying). [Don't miss Sunday Campaign nights!!]
Soviet squadron commanders liable to be arrested by Political Officer / NKVD for sabotage / treason if aircraft on squadron crashed accidentally or if orders were not followed exactly. [VVS sqns will need a Political Officer, or 'chief snitch'.]
That is just a quick skim through, combined with a few impressions from Bergstrom's book.
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