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Attack of the Airacobras: Soviet Aces, American P-39s, and the Air War Against Germany (Modern War Studies)


Attack of the Airacobras: Soviet Aces, American P-39s, and the Air War Against Germany (Modern War Studies) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

During its titanic military struggle with Germany, the Soviet Union received a major boost with the arrival and deployment of nearly 5,000 Bell P-39 Airacobra fighter planes-courtesy of America's Lend-Lease program. The impact was dramatic, as the Soviets quickly adapted the planes into a devastatingly lethal force. Dmitriy Loza's account, admirably translated and edited by James Gebhardt, vividly re-creates the battle campaigns of this odd coupling of capitalist planes and Marxist pilots and shines a bright light on a little known part of the air war on the Eastern Front.

The P-39 proved to be the right plane at the right time for a beleaguered Red Air Force. Built for short range and relatively low altitudes, the P-39 was equipped with a powerful engine and weapons that enabled it to outduel and eventually dominate the Luftwaffe from the Caucusus foothills to Berlin.

Focusing on the combat operations and daily life of one unit—the 9th Guards Fighter Division—Loza refutes the myth that the P-39 was used mainly as a "tank buster" or "flying artillery." Instead, its primary mission was to protect Red Army operations from aerial attacks by the enemy. So despite the occasional strafing of trains, truck convoys, and troops, most P-39 operations involved attacks on Luftwaffe bombers and dogfights with their fighter escorts.

Center stage in Loza's story are the P-39 pilots and ground crews themselves, including remarkable Captain Aleksandr Pokryshkin and Major Gregoriy Rechkalov, two of the Soviets' top four aces. In addition, Loza details the organization and operations of the unit's noncombat personnel—who refueled and maintained the aircraft, cleaned and reloaded the guns, packed the parachutes, treated the wounded, guarded the airfields, and commanded the squadrons and regiments.

Based on interviews with Soviet veterans and extensive access to squadron histories and logbooks, Loza provides a rare and insightful look at what it was like to live and fight in this victorious air unit.

Table of Contents





Part One

August 1942-May 1943

-Transition Training

-The Skies of the Kuban

-On the Left Wing of the Soviet-German Front

-First Air Battles

-The New Methods Win Out

-The Sky Was Ablaza

-Wild Vadim

-Pass the Experience Along

-Combat Successes and Losses

-First Priority--the Aircraft

-Logistical Support

-Command and Control of Fighters

-Navigational Support

Part Two

August-December 1943

-A Wingman's Feat

-You Won't Get Away

-Over the Molochnaya River

-Covering and Amphibious Landing

-A Costly Mistake

-Adjusting Artillery Fire

-More Battles

-Free Hunting

-Over the Perekop

-Relocation to New Airfields

-The Airfield--the Aviators' Home

-Documents Tell the Story

Part Three

May 1944-May 1945

-Three Years Later

-He Flared Like a Comet

-The Chase

-Look, See, Find

-At the Western Border

-A Gift from the Bell Factory

-Flights from the Autobahn


-The Airacobra as Shturmovik

-The Last Combat Sorties

Appendix A: Order of the People's Commisar of Defense

Appendix B: Soviet Aces Who Flew the P-39 Airacobra

Appendix C: Lineage of 216th (9th Guards) Fighter Division



Product Details

Loza, Dmitriy
University Press of Kansas
Gebhardt, James F.
Gebhardt, James F.
Military - World War II
Military - Aviation
Military - Strategy
Military-World War II General
Edition Description:
Modern War Studies
Publication Date:
9.10x6.10x.90 in. 1.30 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Military » Aviation History
History and Social Science » Military » General History
History and Social Science » Military » Strategy Tactics and Deception
History and Social Science » Military » World War II » General
History and Social Science » Politics » General

Attack of the Airacobras: Soviet Aces, American P-39s, and the Air War Against Germany (Modern War Studies) New Trade Paper
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