Chris Kemp’s Not Quite Mechanised
Author’s cheerfully inexact Pe-8 conversion from a 1:44 Flying Fortress
Air Army HQ (1943)
Night bomber division: 5 regiments = 5 Po-2
Fighter division: 3 regiments = 3 Yak-7B
Sturmovik division: 3 regiments = 3 IL-2
Sturmovik division (from GKO Reserve) : 2 regiments = 2 IL-2
Fighter Corps (from GKO Reserve)
Fighter division: 3 regiments = 3 Yak-9
Fighter division: 2 regiments = 2 LaGG-5
Bomber Corps (from GKO Reserve)
Bomber division: 3 regiments = 3 Pe-2
Bomber division: 2 regiments = 2 Pe-2
Air Elements at Sub-divisional Level
Transport regiment = Li-2?
Recce regiment = R-10 or Pe-2? (I am using a lend-lease Kittyhawk)
Artillery spotting regiment = Po-2?
HQ elements including communication, training and ambulance. (there should be 1 ground crew strength point per aircraft model)
Quoted from table on p. 185 with author’s guesses marked by “?”
Boyd, A., (1977), The Soviet Airforce Since 1918. Macdonald and James, London.
Strategically, forces were organised into Air Armies which, in 1943 contained 10 organic regiments and 13 attached from GKO Reserve, 23 in total:
Additionally, each air army had a regiment each of transport (GVF), recce and artillery spotting aircraft – a total of 23 regiments – (23) NQM aircraft models.
November 1942 saw the introduction of air corps, eventually producing 14 fighter, 6 bomber and 9 Sturmovik corps, some 30 in total divided amongst 13 air armies. But it is important to bear in mind that 40-50% of all forces were allocated to air armies as occasion demanded from GKO reserves
Operational aircraft strengths fluctuated wildly (Boyd, 1977).
The Soviets saw the Air Force as a close partner to the ground forces, and the large number of attack, and tactical bomber aircraft reflect this. Unlike the Germans, who produced a bewildering number of designs, the Soviets concentrated on quantity, and when a design worked, they stuck with it.
The following aircraft types were used by the SVVS. I have not included purely strategic aircraft, trainers or interceptor night fighters, nor aircraft where only small numbers saw service at the very end of the war. , I have included the Soviet designation, (first operational use) and [Type]. If I have been able to determine, I have given operational areas and any comments that help: If it looks a bit like an easily available aircraft that it can be modelled from, I have noted that. The main source for this section is Gunston, (1978), Combat Aircraft of WWII. Arranged by date of entry into service
Polikarpov Po-2. (1928), [Utility, Army Support]. Biplane, over 6,500 produced. Zvezda produce a nice one in 1/144 scale now (since 2014).
Polikarpov I-15. (1934), [Fighter]. Biplane, (Il-153 from redbanner.co.uk in early “”sky laquer”).
Polikarpov I-16. (1934), [Fighter]. Monoplane, Thousands produced. (http://www.dipity.com/tickr/Flickr_rata/)
Karkhov R-10. (1937), [Recce]. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kharkov_KhAI-5)
Tupolev SB-2. (1938), [Medium Bomber]. (http://www.hyperscale.com)
TB-3 bomber (1938) [Heavy Bomber]. 800 produced, later models had closed cockpits and turrets or were converted to transports. See YesThatPhil’s approx 1/144 scale conversion TB-3 here
Petlyakov Pe-2 and Pe-3. (1939), [Attack Bomber & Recce]. (redbanner.co.uk)
Petlyakov Pe-8. (1940), [ Heavy Bomber]. (wp.scn.ru)
Sukhoi Su-2. (1940), [Attack Bomber]. (wp.scn.ru)
Lavochkin LaGG-3. (1941), [Fighter]. (vvs.hobbyvista.com)
Mikoyan MiG-3. (1941), [Fighter]. (Converted by the Author from a Spitfire before kits became available from Zvezda)
Ilyushin IL-2 Stormovik. (1941), [Close Support, Attack]. (42,330 produced! Author’s collection, Mustang conversion and 1/200th metal model)
Yakolev Yak-1. (1941), [Fighter]. Looks a lot like a Hurricane.
Lavochkin La-5 and La-7. (1942 and 1943), [Fighter]. Looks a bit like a stretched FW190.
Lisunov Li-2 ([1942) [Transport, Tug and Bomber]. Licence-built Douglas Dakota with extensive modifications.
Tupolev TU-2. (1942), [Attack Bomber]. Rare, overshadowed by the earlier Pe-2.
Yakolev Yak-3. (1943), [Fighter]. Looks a bit less like a Hurricane .
Yakolev Yak-9. (1943), [Fighter]. Looks like the child of a Hurricane and a Tempest.