6th Air Army
|6th Red Banner Leningrad Army of VVS and PVO (1998–2009)
6th Independent Army of PVO (1960? - 1998)
6th Air Army (1 June 1942-1949)
|Active||1942 – 2009|
|Role||Air support and air defence|
|Nickname||Army of the "Road of Life"|
|Motto||"Securely guarding the North-West sky of Russia" (Russian: “Надежно охраняем небо Северо-Запада России")|
|Equipment||Interceptors, S-300 SAM system|
|Engagements||Siege of Leningrad|
|Decorations||Order of the Red Banner|
|Transport||An-12, An-26, Mi-8, Tu-134;|
The 6th Red Banner Leningrad Army of Air and Air Defence Forces (Russian: 6-я Краснознамённая Ленинградская армия Военно-воздушных сил и противовоздушной обороны) was an Air Army of the Russian Air Force active from 1998 to 2009. There were two earlier 6th Air Armies: 6th Air Army itself was formed in 1942 and redesignated in 1949. After the war, the Soviet Air Defence Forces' main command in the Leningrad area for some years was the 6th Independent Army of the Air Defence Forces.
The 6th Air Army was first formed in 1942 from the Air Forces of the North-Western Front, and its first commander was General Major of Aviation D.F. Kondratyk, who held command to August 1943. During its World War II service, the 6th Air Army included for a time the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, the all-female 'Night Witches'. It was assigned initially to the North-Western Front until February 1944, and after that to the 1st and 2nd Belorussian Fronts. 6th Air Army appears to have been redesignated 73rd Air Army on 10 January 1949.
From March 1960, the 6th Army of the PVO (6-я отдельная армия ПВО) was active as an air defence formation. It was composed of regiments of interceptors and anti-aircraft missiles. It had two major tasks: to protect the most industrialized European part of the Soviet Union against possible U.S. cruise missile attack from the north via the North Pole (using MiG-31 interceptors), and to protect the deployment of nuclear submarines stationed in the Kola Peninsula (using Su-27 fighters). In 1988, the 6th Army, headquartered at St Petersburg, consisted of the 27th Corps of PVO at Riga, 54th Corps at Gatchina, and 14th Division of PVO at Tallinn, with nine fighter interceptor regiments (possibly including the 54th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment at Vainode), five SAM regiments, five radar regiments, and the 498th PVO Training Centre.
In turn, the 27th Corps of the PVO consisted in 1988 of the:
- 54th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment PVO (Vainode, Latvian SSR)
- 689th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment PVO (Nivenskoye, Kaliningrad Oblast)
- 77th Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade (Ventspils, Latvian SSR)
- 85th Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade (Kaunas, Lithuanian SSR)
- 158th Guards Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade (Liepaya, Latvian SSR)
- 169th Guards Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade (Neman, Kaliningrad Oblast)
- 183rd Guards Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade (Gvardeysk, Kaliningrad Oblast)
- 205th Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade (Riga, Latvian SSR)
- 529th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment (Ukmerge, Lithuanian SSR)
- 466th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment (Vilnius, Lithuanian SSR)
- 80th Radio-Technical Brigade (Tukums, Latvian SSR)
- 81st Radio-Technical Brigade (Pereslavskoye, Kaliningrad Oblast)
- 5th Radio-Technical Regiment (Paplaka, Latvian SSR)
The Army was reformed within the Russian Air Force on June 1, 1998, from the 76th Air Army of the VVS and the 6th Independent Army of the Voyska PVO, both headquartered in Saint Petersburg. Its new title was the 6th Army of Air Forces and Air Defence. The 6th Army had responsibility for the Leningrad Military District. General Lieutenant Gennadiy A. Torbov was appointed commander of the army by a presidential decree of 6 April 2000. He replaced Lt-Gen Anatoliy Basov, who retired due to age. Its commanding officer was General Lieutenant Vladimir Sviridov from June 2005 until at least 2007. Economic stringency and the reduction of the threat led to drastic cuts in the formation, as previously the 6th and 10th PVO Armies, which covered the area, had twelve fighter regiments between them. 10th PVO Army appears to have disbanded in August 1994. The 174th and 470th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiments, at Monchegorsk and Afrikanda air base, both disbanded on September 1, 2001. There were also formerly fighter regiments at Amderma (72nd), Talagi Airport (where the 518th Fighter Regiment disbanded in 1998), Lodeynoye Pole (177th), Gromovo (180th), Poduzhemye (265th, originally flying Su-15s), Letneozersky (524th, flying MiG-25s), and Rogachevo (641st, Su-27 Flankers).
In 2009 the army was disestablished and reorganised as the 1st Air and Air Defence Forces Command.
- Headquarters, 6th Army of Air Forces and Air Defence - Saint Petersburg
- 21st Air Defence Corps - Severomorsk
- 9th 'Vienna' Fighter Aviation Regiment - HQ at Kilp-Yavr (Poliarnyi) - Su-27; (see ru:Гвардейский Виленский ордена Кутузова III степени истребительный авиационный полк)
- 458th Interceptor Aviation Regiment - HQ at Savatiya (Kotlas) - MiG-25U, MiG-31;
- 531st Невельско-Берлинский Guards Anti-Aircraft Rocket Regiment
- ?th Anti-Aircraft Rocket Regiment — Severodvinsk
- 583rd Anti-Aircraft Rocket Regiment — Olenegorsk, Murmansk Oblast
- 145th Radiotechnical Brigade — Arkhangelsk
- 5th Radiotechnical Brigade — в поселке Дальние Зеленцы — Североморск
- 54th Air Defence Corps - HQ at Taytsy
- 149th Composite Aviation Division
- 98th Guards Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment - HQ at Monchegorsk (air base) - MiG-25RB/U, Su-24MR;
- 87th Aviation Base - HQ at Levashevo - An-12, An-26, Mi-8, Tu-134; (ex 138th Independent Composite Air Regiment)
- Army Aviation Component
- 21st Air Defence Corps - Severomorsk
- 1080th Mixed Aviation Base (смешанная авиационная база) — Gromovo, Priozersky District, Leningrad Oblast - An-72, An-30, An-26, Mi-8,
- 714th Base for Reserve Helicopters — Kasimovo — Mi-8, Mi-24
- 396th Centre for Special and Physical Preparations — St Petersburg
Structure 1st Air and Air Defence Forces Command 2010-
- 1st Brigade of Air-Space Defence (на вооружении С-300ПМ, С-300ПС) — Severomorsk
- 2nd Brigade of Air-Space Defence (на вооружении С-300ПМ) — Хвойный
- 6961st Airbase (Su-27, Su-27UB) — Besovets (Бесовец)
- 6964th Guards Висленская Red Banner Order of Kutuzov авиационная база (на вооружении Су-24М, Су-24МР)— Monchegorsk (Мончегорск)
- 6965th Airbase (на вооружении Ми-8, Ми-24) — Vyazma (Вязьма)
- 7000th Guards Борисовско-Померанская дважды Краснознаменная ордена Суворова авиационная база (на вооружении Су-24М,Su-24MP, Su-34) — Voronezh (Воронеж)
- Историческая справка
- Keith E. Bonn/David Glantz, Slaughterhouse, Aberjona Press, Bedford, PA, 2005, 337.
- Michael Holm, 18th ADC, accessed March 2012
- Feskov et al, The Soviet Army during the Period of the Cold War, Tomsk University Press, Tomsk, 2004, 150.
- Michael Holm, 27th Air Defence Corps, accessed February 2012
- Agentstvo voyennykh novostey, 11 Apr 2000, cited by Federation of American Scientists, http://www.fas.org/irp/world/russia/fbis/AirForce.html#6thAir/AirDefenseArmy, accessed June 2010
- http://www.aviation.ru/data/Regiments.html, accessed April 2009
- http://knn.dvvaiu.net/content/view/239/1/, accessed June 2010
- http://gv470iap.narod.ru/, accessed April 2009
- See also http://www.ww2.dk/new/air%20force/regiment/iap/72gviap.htm
- These five units were inserted from the corresponding Ru-wiki article April 2009
References and further reading
- Air Forces Monthly, July & August 2007 issues.
- http://samsv.narod.ru/Arm/av06/arm.html - Russian language source on World War 2 history
- Historical detail  from Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation.