1st Air Army

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1st Air Army
Red star.svg
Active May 10, 1942—January 10, 1949
July 1, 1957-1998
Country Soviet Union
Branch Air Force
Type Air Army
Size Several
Part of Western Front[1][2]
3rd Belarusian Front
Engagements Battles of Rzhev
Battle of Kursk
Battle of Smolensk
Battle of Memel
Operation Bagration
East Prussian Offensive
Commanders
Notable
commanders
T. F. Kucevalov (May — June 1942)
S. А. Khudyakov (June 1942 — May 1943)
М. М. Gromov (May 1943 — July 1944)
T. T. Khryukin (July 1944 — May 1945)[3][4]

The 1st Air Army (Russian: 1-я воздушная армия) was an Air Army in the Soviet Air Force which served during World War II. It was formed on May 10, 1942 within the Soviet Western Front, and renamed the 26th Air Army on January 10, 1949 in the Belorussian Military District.[5]

After the war, it was reformed on July 1, 1957, and was active until 1998.[6]

Second World War[edit]

When it was formed, the 1st Air Army was made up of two fighter aviation divisions (with four fighter aviation regiments each), two mixed aviation divisions (with two fighter aviation regiments, two assault aviation regiments and one bombing regiment each) a training aviation regiment, a long-range reconnaissance aviation regiment, a communications squadron, and a night close-range bombing aviation regiment.[citation needed]

Structure 1942[edit]

May 10, 1942:

  • 201st Fighter Aviation Division
  • 202nd Fighter Aviation Division
  • 203rd Fighter Aviation Division
  • 214th Assault Aviation Division
  • 215th Mixed Aviation Division

May 23, 1942:[7]

  • 201st Fighter Aviation Division
  • 202nd Fighter Aviation Division
  • 203rd Fighter Aviation Division
  • 234th Fighter Aviation Division
  • 235th Fighter Aviation Division
  • 204th Bomber Aviation Division
  • 213th Night Bomber Aviation Division
  • 215th Mixed Aviation Division
  • 214th Assault Aviation Division
  • 224th Assault Aviation Division
  • 231st Assault Aviation Division
  • 232nd Assault Aviation Division
  • 233rd Assault Aviation Division

In March 1943, the Air Army also included the French Normandie-Niemen squadron, which was later reorganized into a regiment.[4] In 1942, the 1st Air Army fought alongside the troops of the Western Front, supporting them near Yukhnov, Gzhatsk and Rzhev. The Air Army later participated in the Rzhev-Sychevka, Rzhev-Vyazma, Oryol, Smolensk, Belarusian, Memel and East Prussian offensive operations.[citation needed]

In May 1945, the 1st Air Army comprised the:[8]

  • 129th Fighter Aviation Division
  • 130th Fighter Aviation Division (Chernyakhovsk, Kaliningrad Oblast)
  • 303rd Fighter Aviation Division (Elblag, Poland)
  • 330th Fighter Aviation Division
  • 1st Guards Assault Aviation Division (Ketrzyn, Poland)
  • 182nd Assault Aviation Division
  • 277th Assault Aviation Division (Yudino, Kaliningrad Oblast)
  • 311th Assault Aviation Division
  • 6th Guards Bomber Aviation Division (Chernyakhovsk, Kaliningrad Oblast) (later a division of Military Transport Aviation)
  • 213th Night-Bomber Aviation Division (Paslek, Poland)
  • 276th Bomber Aviation Division
  • 1st Free French ('Normandie-Niemen') Fighter Aviation Regiment (Mamonovo, Kaliningrad Oblast)
  • 406th Night-Bomber Aviation Regiment
  • 10th independent Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment
  • 90th independent Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment
  • 142nd Transport Aviation Regiment
  • 117th independent Artillery Correction Regiment
  • 151st independent Artillery Correction Regiment
  • 1st Medical Aviation Regiment
  • 354th independent Communications Aviation Regiment
  • 1st independent Agitation Aviation Squadron
  • 33rd independent Communications Aviation Squadron
  • 203rd independent Communication Aviation Squadron

Throughout the war, the 1st Air Army made 290,000 sorties. Five of the Air Army's formations where reorganized as "Guards Units", 50 formations were given "honourable titles", 44 formations received various awards, 145 pilots and navigators received the title "Hero of the Soviet Union"[9] and over 17,000 of its servicemen were also given various medals and decorations.

Command structure[edit]

Source: Militera.lib.ru[10] Commanders:

Chiefs of Staff:

  • Major General (of Aviation) Aleksandr S. Pronin (5 May 1942 — 9 August 1944)
  • Major General (of Aviation) Ivan M. Belov (12 February 1945 — May 1945)[4]

Postwar[edit]

After the end of the war, the army was reformed within the Soviet Air Forces and served in the Far Eastern Military District until 1998.

The army's order of battle c.1988 according to Vad777 was:[11]

  • HQ 1st Air Army (Khabarovsk)
    • 257th Mixed Aviation Regiment (Хабаровск): транспортные самолеты и вертолеты
  • 33rd Хинганская Division of Fighter-Bombers (Переяславка):
    • 300th Aviation Regiment of Fighter-Bombers МиГ-27(Pereyaslavka-2, Khabarovsk Kray, 70 km south of Khabarovsk). Disbanded November 1989.[12]
    • 302nd авиационный полк истребителей-бомбардировщиков (Переяславка): Су-17М4. Reequipped with Su-24 1990 and redesignated a Bomber Aviation Regiment.
  • 303rd Смоленская Red Banner Aviation Division of Fighter-Bombers (Ussuriisk, Primorsky Krai)
    • 18th Guards Витебский дважды Краснознаменный ордена Суворова Aviation Regiment of Fighter-Bombers (Galenki, 30 km north-west of Ussuriisk): MiG-27[13]
    • 224th Aviation Regiment of Fighter-Bombers (Novoshakhtinsky under Ussuri): MiG-27. Disbanded 1992.[14]
    • 523rd Orsha Red Banner Orders of Suvorov and Kutuzov Fighter-Bomber Regiment (Vozdvizhenka under Ussuri): Su-17МЗ, М4.[15] Disbanded October 1994.
  • Regiments reporting directly to Army HQ included:
  • 277th Mlavsky Red Bomber Aviation Regiment (Khurba under Komsomolsk-on-Amur): Su-24. (Holm: 83rd Bomber Aviation Division)[16]
  • 26th Guards Aviation Regiment Fighter-Bombers (10th Precinct/10-й участок, under Komsomolsk-on-Amur): Su-17.
  • 299th Aviation Regiment of the fighter-bombers (Birofeld, Jewish Autonomous Oblast): Su-17.
  • 293rd Aviation Regiment of the fighter-bombers (Vozzhaevka, Belogarsky District Amur Oblast): Su-17.
  • [41st?] Fighter Aviation Regiment (Orlovka, Amur Oblast): MiG-29. (Holm says this was the 404th, disbanded 2000-2001 with awards and banners to the 23 IAP.)[17]
  • 216th Fighter Aviation Regiment (Kalinovka[disambiguation needed], near Khabarovsk): Su-27. (disbanded May 1998)[18]
  • 187th Attack Aviation Regiment (Chernigovka, Primorsky Krai under g.Sibirtsevo): Su-25.
  • 799th Separate Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment (Varfolomeyevka (village), Primorsky Krai, in the district of Arseniev): Su-24.[19]

In 1989 the 1st Air Army disbanded two air division headquarters, в связи с чем имелся "излишний комплект" отдельных авиаполков, часть из которых расформировывалась.

The 1st Air Army was merged with the 11th Air Defence Army in 1998 to form the 11th Air Force and Air Defence Army.

References[edit]