Additional Notes on Northern Fleet Naval Aviation subject logo: MILGAM
Posted by: badanov

After some reading online we found must add some additional notes on the Soviet Northern Fleet Naval Aviation.

Apparently, the air war was quite active in the north. The German Luftwaffe routinely raided Murmansk and the Kirov rail line between Murmansk and the rest of the Soviet Union as well as attacked Archangelsk in the White sea.

It was part of the Northern Fleet's mission to defend that railway and Murmansk, as it is likely Karelian Frontal Aviation was engaged in supporting troops of the 14th Army, the only component of the Soviet Karelian Front.

Also we found that Northern Fleet Naval Aviation engaged in counter strikes against German air and naval targets in Norway. Naval Aviation interceptor units was also used to escort Frontal Aviation bombers to its targets as well.

The way it is described, the naval fighter regiments had two basic missions in defending the rail line. First was the engage to escorts, usually ME-109 and then the bombers. For these missions the British Hawker Hurricane and the Bell P-39 Aircobra were used against the cap while the P-40s, in their various versions went after the bombers.

In this air campaign Soviet naval pilots were not especially aggressive, preferring to turn away bomber missions rather than engage in pursuit operations against German bombers and their escorts: To live and fighter another day.

In our reading we also were able to identify four of the eight fighter regiments in Northern Fleet Naval Aviation: The 2nd Guards Mixed Aviation Regiment (P-40Es and P-39s), the 255th Interceptor Regiment (P-40Es and P-39s), the 78th Interceptor Regiment (P-40Es, P-40Ms, Hawkers and P-40K-15s ) and the 27th Interceptor Regiment (Hawkers and P-40Es).

A fifth regiment, the 118th Separate Air Recon Regiment (P-40M-10s) we were unable to determine if this unit was a component of Norther Fleet Naval Aviation or a part of the White Sea Flotilla naval component. Since the White Sea Flotilla was a separate command it is possible the 118th SRAR was the air recon unit used by the Flotilla.

Two other interceptor regiments, the 53rd and the 54th Interceptor Regiments were part of the White Sea Flotilla and they flew Hawkers and P-40Es.

Since the Germans has such a basic mission that did not include interdiction, we suspect this would bolster our contention that the Germans suffered far fewer losses in planes and air crews, especially if Soviet pilots had only to turn away German bombers.

One last correction:

Apparently night flying for Soviet and German pilots was apparently routine. We read a section on the P-40s which said the P40 was ill equipped for night flying, which suggests that the Germans did do a lot of flying during the winter in the north.

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