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American Airbases in USSR

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by PzJgr, Feb 4, 2002.

  1. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    I see that the USSR agreed to allow the USAAF to operate bases within. What information is there on this. How many bases? What type of operations? Did the US coordinate with the Soviets and performed any tactical bombing? Did the US participate in any Soviet offensives? I knew that they did allow emergency landings. Thanks.
     
  2. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    The only thing I know about this is that we could land damaged aircraft in russia, but I think the crews were made to stay in russia even though we were allies. Kinda like when damaged aircraft went over Swiss airspace and the survivors landing in Switzerland were collected then interred for the duration of the war.

    I may be wrong but, I remember reading a little about this many years ago, I just don't know if my memory is correct or not.
     
  3. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    That I know for a fact but only for those bombers that were operating against Japan since the Soviets were not at war with them yet. Looking at the date log at the home site, it just said that the USSR agreed to allow airfield usage to the USAAF. Thought it meant in the ETO.
     
  4. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Guys :

    I've got both of ya covered. Indeed there were a couple of hot spots that the Russians allowed fighter and bomber landings and even operations from. I will have to dig this week for them. Incidently a very large night bombing raid pretty much suffocated any more the continuation of the alliances between the Russiand and the Americans for the useage of the bases. In essence at least for the fighters originally was for the 8th A.F. P-51 escorts to be able to fly into southern Germany, Austria and even in Czech airspace, with the result that the 8th A.Force fighters could land in Soviet occupied airspace and then make the hop back to England once re-fuelled. Again I have much more on this and will look for ithe materials. Again because of the bombing raid I mentioned and also some very hard feelings between the US and the Soviets, this was not a long term friendship.....

    E
     
  5. Stevin

    Stevin Ace

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    There were several socalled Shuttle missions, called OPPERATION FRANTIC, first one was on June 21, 1944. I correspond with a radio operator who was on that one. He mentions flying from his base in UK to Poltava, Russia. The 15th AF had done a shuttle mission before from Italy. The Germans followed the bombers to that base and bombed them later in the day with the loss of quite some B17s. The Russians didnot allow the US P51s who were escorting to take off to defend, neither did they defend themselves or with little jest. The crews had to be flown back to England via Teheran, Egypt, Casablanca to the UK by Transport Command.

    I know of another Shuttle mission that went to Warshaw, and that one also got bombed by the Germans. I believe with He111's.

    As I understand these were not US bases within Russia, but the US was permitted to use these Russian Bases for refueling. The idea was to hit another target on the way back to the UK, just like Erich mentioned.

    Sorry if I am hijacking this question. I got some more info if anyone is interested.

    Stevin

    [ 04 February 2002: Message edited by: Stevin Oudshoorn ]</p>
     
  6. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Correct Stevin !

    I could not think of the name of the base in Russia. Actually the Ju 88's attacked at night and smeared the runway, buildings and at least 60 B-17's and 20 fighters. The Soviets put up a lack luster AA defence and that was it. The Soviets had no night fighter arm so the Ju 88's attacked at will throwing down flares to illuminate the airfield. In fact there is a book written on this day/night, called the "Poltava Affair".
    The first shuttle was by the 15th A.F. on 2nd of June. Russian bases were Poltava, Mirgorod and Piryatin all east of Kiev. The 8th Air Force attened later after the D-Day landings.......
    Six 3rd Divison groups sent 163 B-17's to Poltava, The bombers attacked an oil plant some 50 miles south of Berlin. After the attack the B-17's were escorted by four squadrons of P-51's to Poltava and Mirgorod. Unknownst to them a high altitude German recon a/c was following the B-17's from south of Berlin to the Rusiian airbases. About 5 hours after landing, some 60 Ju 88's and a few He 111's illuminated Poltava and dropped over 100 tons of assorted bombs and then flying off without a single casualty. At least 44 of the 72 B-17's were destroyed and another 26 damaged with many as write-offs. 15 plus US and Russian a/c were also destroyed. The following night again, the Luftwaffe attacked Mirgorod but in anticipation of this attack the B-17 units moved their a/c to Zaporozhe 150 miles to the south. Many bombs were dropped and fuel and ammo dumps were destroyed, but the remainder of the B-17's were safe.....

    E
     
  7. talleyrand

    talleyrand Member

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    IIRC, US pilots also shuttled lend lease aircraft into Soviet territory from Iran, as Soviet pilots were in short supply at the time. I read something about this in a borrowed book, of which I cannot remember the title or author. The book outlined the stories of Western personnell that were stranded in or working in the Soviet Union during the war.
    I believe it was during Stalingrad that US airmen were flying lend lease aircraft into Soviet territory as the Soviets had run out of shuttle pilots, having forced the mostly women or disabled who regularly flew the route into front line service. The US pilots caught supply trucks for the return trip back to Iran.
    Off topic, but my favorite part of the book was a section about the hundreds of training personnell the US sent to the Soviet Union to train the Soviets on the operation of Lend Lease equipment. The Soviets asked all the trainers to teach a Soviet his particular skill so Soviets could train Soviets, as it would make everything easier. The Americans did it. After the Soviet counterparts had been trained, the Soviets "urged" the Americans to fight on the East front. These men served out the war, at the front, as the 54th(?) US Volunteer Brigade attatched to a Soviet division. If I remember the numbers correctly, something like 550 American trainers went to Russia, less than 50 returned alive in '46 or '47. There are at least two cemetaries on the East Front with an American section, where men of this unit are buried.
     
  8. Stevin

    Stevin Ace

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    Hi Erich,

    True,your account is very similar to that of the radio-op. His account was also written up in the book SUNRISE SERENADE by J.Pendry.

    I didn't know about the book you mentioned about these shuttle missions. Good stuff, I was looking for one. The first I read about shuttle missions was the Schweinfurt/Regensburg mission on Aug. 17, 1943, so the 'history' of shuttle missions goes back further, although they flew to North Africa, not Russia.

    Also, interesting stuff about the US forces fighting on the Eastern Front. First time I heard about it. Is there any written material on that one?

    Regards,

    Stevin
     
  9. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Great stuff, thanks for this thread--I learned a few new things. :D
     
  10. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Ah, but I am not done yet >... I have some tidbits about US 8th Air Force fighters running shuttle missions out of Russia, just have to dig it up first......

    E
     
  11. Stevin

    Stevin Ace

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    Encore! Encore!
     
  12. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Wow! This opens up a new area for me to research. I was not aware of any such activities. Great information guys..thanks.
     
  13. Stevin

    Stevin Ace

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    Some more additions from 'my' radio-op; The plan was to bomb a oil facility target at Elsterwerda, Germany, then fly on to Poltava. Then they would bomb a target in either Hungary or Rumania, he doesn't remember and fly on to Italy and do the same to a target in Germany on the way back to the UK. Apperantly the Crew Chiefs flew as passengers on these shuttle missions. They were attacked by about 15 Me109s over Warsaw, poland.

    They were attacked at Poltava around midnight by about 80 JU88's and He111's. After a week the Americans were allowed to leave by the Russians and they did by the above mentioned route.

    Quite a story!
     
  14. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    And remember, my dad was in the 8th AF in ww2--he helped fly some lendlease aircraft to russia.
     
  15. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Uh oh Erich!!, your getting close to the triple 6 diget for the number of postings you made. (Heh heh heh, I wonder what is in store for you now??? BWWAAAHHHH HAA HAA HAAAAAAAAAAA :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :D
     
  16. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    LOOK OUT ...incoming....... !

    eeeeekkkkkkks almost 600 you say ? I wasn't even paying any attention. Carl, what bomb group was your daad with ? You've just told me about the relative in the merchant marines and that is it .... cool stuff man. Tell us more please... !
    Looking through my Blue noser book on the 352nd, there is quite a long escapade covering this fighter group while flying the shuttles....see if I can condense this soon.

    E
     
  17. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Unfortunately--I don't know what bomb group he was in, all i know is that he flew in missions over Friedrichshaven, Wilhelmshaven and I think Schweinfurt or Bremerhaven?? not sure. The only think I know enough to say is that in ww2 and slightly after--he was in the 8th AF, then before the outbreak of hostilities starting the Korean War, he was stationed in Japan with the 5th AF.
     
  18. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Ok my friend, let's start with the basics.....

    1) do you have a missions roster possibly that he flew ?

    2) any pics of him in uniform ? any of him and his crew and a/c ?

    3) what type of bomber ?....B-24 or B-17 ?

    4) what years of service in the A Force...43-45 ?

    That could get us started easy enough and we can work on this together

    E
     
  19. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    I think he got in in late 44, and was in the USAF till 1952--then recalled for a short time in the early 1960s. He was in the B-17s, I don't know exactly what he did--mainly a gunner I suppose? Now in the Korean War--I know he was in a Weather Detachment stationed on some hill in Korea where he used to joke about freezing his butt.

    I have never seen a roster of anykind. I have or rather the family has photos of him in uniform. These are hidden somewhere at my sisters home and I will have to snoop and see if I can find any of them. Its kinda hard to do any snooping with 3 nephews in the house.
     
  20. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    My friend, that is a start anyway. See if you can duck tape the nephews and put them in a closet for about 3/4 hours and then throw them a slab of meat now and then.......

    Stevin and I can give you a listing of the 8th A.F. bomber groups if interested. The targets of course for the 1st and 3rd bomb divisions varied, but these 2 divisions constituted the B-17 groups of the 8th.
    If you can find anything else as to pics or written text we can hopefully narrow it down then go from there to other experts or at least check our databases.

    :cool: sunglasse's ? It's raining cats and dogs here !!!!

    E
     

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