NQM Soviet Air Defence Commands

In addition to an air army  as previously mentioned supporting each front commander, the Soviets had military district air defence commands as follow :

Leningrad, Baltic, Western, Kiev, Odessa, Transcaucasus, Archangelskii, Kharkov, Moscow, North Caucasus, Orel, Volga, Central Asia, Transbaikal, Ural, Siberia.

These were in addition to the air army that each front had for direct ground support. Each geographically named military district air defence command had a subordinate front air defence command (PVO) and an air command that was tasked with protecting a geographic area, being independent of the army front commands with their own supporting air armies.

The numbers of air divisions in each military district were variable, but might typically number some 6 Divisions containing 20-30 air regiments (About (12 + 18) NQM fighter models). We are still dealing with big numbers here, The Moscow Military District had (30) NQM models plus (23) from the Moscow front and more from the flanking army fronts, say another (46) to give perhaps (99) NQM models in total, across an area of 3 army fronts. This compares to the (15) NQM models that the allies had at Gazala for one army of 2 corps (equivalent to 2 Soviet armies).

Caution :  I have taken these sums from a direct count of the orbats on the excellent (niehorster.orbat.com)  for 1941.To see the number of models available in any part of the front, you would have to look at the relevant military district and then extrapolate. I would suggest that by summer 1942 orbats were running around 1/3 of their 1941 strengths, and newer aircraft would be trickling in on the Soviet side. This would give perhaps (20) rather than (55) NQM models, a more maneagable total. PVO fronts normally covered airspace over several ground army fronts. That gives us 3 independent forces for the Soviets :

Ground forces (RKKA) – Rabočě-Krěst’janskaja Krasnaja Armija (Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army)

Air defence forces (PVO)ProtivoVozdushnaya Oborona Strany, PVO Strany (Anti-Air Defense of the Nation)

Air Forces (VVS) – Voenno-Vozdushnye Sily (Military Air Forces)

The acronyms above were all sourced from Wickepedia

Military District Air Defence Command

(1-5) Front Air Defence Command (PVO)

(Moscow had 4 commands with 8 regiments and 6 battalions)

(3-7) Air Defence Artillery Regiments

1 AA gun (s3)

These may be 57mm, 40mm or Maxim MMG regiments

(0-2) Barrage Balloon Regiments

Designate a line as having barrage balloons, which prevents low level attacks

(0-3) Air Warning Regiments

0-1 Radar (late war lend-lease)(s3), 0-1 searchlight (s3)

1-6 Air divisions (Moscow had 2) comprising :

24 PVO Division

(2 – 10) PVO Fighter Regiments (Moscow Command had 2 divisions of 5 as follow:)

11PVO – (2) I-16

16PVO – (2) I-16

24PVO – (1) LaGG-3

27PVO – (2) I-16

34PVO – (2) I-16

78 PVO Division (forming June 1941)

176PVO – (1) I-153

177PVO – (1) I-16

178PVO – (1) I-16

233PVO – (1) I-16

309PVO – (1) I-16

In addition Moscow had an Air Command of 3 Divisions with 1 forming, containing 11 regiments and 7 forming.


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