Soviet Fighter Air Divisions in WWII UPDATED subject logo: MILGAM
Posted by: badanov

I found out today that Soviet Air Fighter Divisions during WWII were a fraction of the size modern fighter air divisions were.

For example, in 1990, a Soviet Fighter Air Division was 124 fighters, three Regiments each with each 36 aircraft including a four aircraft command flight.

In 1943, Soviet Fighter Air Divisions were 76 aircraft, three regiments of 20 aircraft each with a command flight, plus a divisional command flight.

The difference presumably was the amount of aircraft and personnel the average Soviet regimental/divisional commander could handle in one unit, plus the size and competence of his air staff.

During the waning days of the Soviet Union, heavy emphasis was placed on education of all commanders including staff. I can safely assume that rank was similarly constricted as US in that a commander get gain rank above major with a graduation from a command and staff college.

That was not available during WWII partly because the excesses of the Stalinist regime forced a number of otherwise ill qualified individuals to rise in rank in the wake of the Purges.

That's my theory anyway.


It is entirely possible that Soviet Air Fighter Divisions did have an establishment strength of 124 aircraft.

The Red Army had an elaborate system for their line rifle units whereby an establishment rifle division would renamed a "static" division when they rotated a regiment out of theater to refit or retrain, rotating the regiment back to theater when an offensive is planned.

It is hard to believe they didn't apply a similar system for their air units, given that even in the Red Army in WWII aviation technology was advancing constantly and pilots as well as maintenance crews were kept updated on the latest by being rotated to the rear for additional training.

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