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Soviet Naval Aviation (Авиация военно-морского флота in Russian, or Aviatsiya Voenno-Morskogo Flota, literally "aviation of the military maritime fleet") was a part of the Soviet Navy.

The first naval aviation unit in Russiamarker were formed in 1912–1914 as a part of the Baltic Fleet and the Black Sea Fleet. During World War I, the hydroplane units were used in the Black Seamarker for conducting aircraft reconnaissance, bombing and firing at coastal and port installation and enemy ships, and destroying submarines and enemy aircraft on the airfields.

The regular Sovietmarker naval aviation units were created in 1918. They participated in the Russian Civil War, cooperating with the ships and the army during the combats at Petrogradmarker, on the Baltic Seamarker, the Black Sea, the Volga, the Kama River, Northern Dvina and on the Lake Onegamarker. The newborn Soviet Naval Air Force consisted of only 76 obsolete hydroplanes. Scanty and technically imperfect, it was mostly used for resupplying the ships and the army.

In the second half of the 1920s, the Naval Aviation order of battle began to grow. It received new reconnaissance hydroplanes, bombers, and fighters. In the mid-1930s, the Soviets created the Naval Air Force in the Baltic Fleet, the Black Sea Fleet and the Soviet Pacific Fleet. The importance of naval aviation had grown significantly by 1938–1940, to become one of the main components of the Soviet Navy. By this time, the Soviets had created formations and units of the torpedo and bomb aviation. At the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, all of the fleet (except for the Pacific Fleet) had a total of 1,445 aircraft.

The Morskaya Aviatsiya (Naval Aviation) was the Soviet Navy's air service during World War II. Such air units provided air support to the Voyenno-Morskoy Flot SSSR (Soviet Navy) in the theaters of operations in the Barentsmarker, Baltic and Black Seas and also to the Soviet Naval Detachment in the Sea of Okhotskmarker.

Russian Navy Aviation managed all land, shore and vessel-based (tender seaplanes and catapult vessels) hydroplanes and aircraft, as well as flying boats. The air units also conducted land operations in support of the Red Army during landings and disembarkations and served in special wartime operations. Naval Aviation provided some air cover to Allied convoys bringing equipment to Soviet forces from North Sea to the Barents Sea and via the Pacific Oceanmarker to the Sea of Okhotsk.

In particular, Naval Aviation was deployed in defense of Odessamarker (June–October 1941), in operations in the Crimeamarker and the Black Sea and carried out successful air strikes in the last stages of the conflict on the European and Pacific Fronts.

During the war, Naval Aviation delivered an immense blow to the enemy in terms of sunken ships and crews—two and a half times more than any other unit of the Soviet Navy. Seventeen naval aviation units were honored with the title of the Soviet Guards, while 241 men were awarded with the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union (including five pilots—even twice).

Because the Soviet Navy never constructed an aircraft carrier fleet during the Cold War, as the U.S. Navy possessed, the Soviet Navy was unique in deploying large numbers of bombers in a maritime role for use by Naval Aviation. Aircraft such as the Tupolev Tu-16 "Badger" and Tu-22M "Backfire" were deployed with high-speed anti-ship missiles. The primary role of these aircraft were to intercept NATOmarker supply convoys, acting as part of Operation REFORGER, en route to Europe from North America.


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