3rd Air Army

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3rd Air Army
Active 1942–49
Country Soviet Union
Decorations 1st Rzhev-Sychevskaya Operation
Luki operation
Smolensk Operation
Nevelskaya operation (1943)
Gorodok operation (1943)
Vitebsk–Orsha Offensive
Byelorussian Operation (1944)
Baltic Offensive
East Prussian Offensive
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Mikhail Gromov (May 1942 – May 1943)
H. F. Papivin (May 1943 – May 1945).

3rd Air Army (3 VA) was an Air Army of the Soviet Armed Forces during the Second World War. It was formed May 16, 1942 in accordance with a People's Commissariat for Defence order of 5 May 1942 on the basis of the Air Forces of the Kalinin Front.[1]

Combat path[edit]

The formation's combat path began in July 1942 during a defensive operation in the town of Bely, Tver Oblast, then participated in Rzhev-Sychevskaya and in the Luki operation. In February 1943 a number of its formations supported the troops of the North-Western Front in the liquidation of the Demyansk pocket. Later the Kalinin Front (October 20, 1943 renamed to 1st Baltic Front) participated in the front Smolensk Nevel, Gorodok, Vitebsk, Belarusian and the Baltic Offensives. In February 1945 and the direction of the Koenigsberg became operational command 1st Air Army 3rd Belorussian Front and participated in the East Prussian Offensive. On 5 May 1945 it was transferred to the operational command of the Leningrad Front and with 15th Air Army took part in the blockade of German forces in the Courland Peninsula.

During the war 3VA flew over 200,000 sorties.[2] It destroyed 4,000 enemy aircraft on the ground and in the air.[citation needed] Thousands of its soldiers were awarded orders and medals, many of the pilots and navigators the title Hero of the Soviet Union and Ivan Pavlov and Alexei S. Smirnov won the title twice.

Composition[edit]

The Combat Composition of the Soviet Army for 1 June 1942 shows the 3rd Air Army with the 209th, 210th Fighter Aviation Divisions (иад), the 211th and 212th Mixed Aviation Divisions, the 684th and 695th Lighter Bomber Aviation Regiments, the 195, 708, 881, 882, 883, 884, 885, and 887th Mixed Aviation Regiments, and the 3rd Reconnaissance Aviation Squadron.[3] By 1 April 1943, 3rd Air Army was reported by Soviet official sources to comprise 1st Guards Fighter Aviation Corps (3rd and 4th Guards Fighter Aviation Divisions, including 63rd Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment), 1 шак (266, 292 шад), 2 шак (231, 232 шад), 2nd Fighter Aviation Corps (иак) (209, 215 иад), 211 нбад, 80th Guards, 780th Bomber Aviation Regiments, 6th Guards, 230, 280 шап, 11 рап, 887 шап, and 13, 36 каэ.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 3rd Air Army
  2. ^ Bonn et al, 'Slaughterhouse,' 2005, 336.
  3. ^ Combat Composition of the Soviet Army, 1 June 1942
  4. ^ Combat Composition of the Soviet Army, 1 April 1943

Further reading[edit]

  • Anishchenkov, Panteleimon Stepanovich and Vasilii Yerofeyevich Shurinov. Tret'ia vozdushnaia: Voenno-istoricheskii ocherk o boevom puti VVS Kalininskogo fronta i 3-i vozdushnoi armii v gody Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny. [The Third Air Army: a military-historical essay of the campaign record of the Air Forces of the Kalinin Front and the Third Air Army during the Great Patriotic War] Moscow: Voenizdat, 1984. (Russian)