World War II Finish-Soviet Winter War: Aerial Phase--Campaign

Figure 1.--The Soviet Union had the massive Red Air Force to wage the Winter War. The Finns had only a handgful of mostly obsolete aircraft. Incresibly the Red Air Force played almost no role in the Winter war and was almost entirely used for ineffectual attcks on Finnish cities. As the Germans were learning in Britain, knocking down homes does not win a war. Quite a number of Funnush citiens lost their homes, but the impact on the Finnish war effort was minimal. Finland was not an industrialized country. There was no heavy industry to bomb. There was no close-air support for the Red Army. Here some Helsinki residents retreated go the forrest while the Soviets were bombing their home. The press caption here read, "Flight from Death: When the Red boming planes of Soviet Russia are dropping their messages of deathon the capital city of Finland, the safest place for the civilan population is the woods nearby band to those woods fled these two women and their four children. They seen to bear fear of imminentb death or injury with stoicism." The date is dificult to read, but it looks like December 1939.

Air wafare was still relatively new at the time of World War II. War plans were still largely theoretical. Many Red Air Force commanders, including some of the most capable minds, were consumed in Stalin's brutal purges. But even had this not happed, there was no well thoughout Soviet plan as to how to effectively use its air superiority. Soviet air commanders primarily e long-range bombing and reconnaissance group of the Soviet Air Force (VVS), the Aviatsiya Dalnego Deystviya (ADD). This group was under the direct control of the Soviet High Command (Strvka). Three hours after the Red Army attacked along the Finnish border, Red Air Force planes bombed Helsinki. The most intensive bombing raids of the War occurred during the first few days. We are not sure why. One would have expected Soviet air attacks to have intensifed as the ground war faltered. The Red Air Firce just did not have a tactical capability like the Luftwaffe. But this was the case of British and French at the time as well. The only airforce in the world at the time with Forward Air Controllers was the Luftwaffe. A major problem for the Red Air Force as the Red Army was communications equipment. This was a problem that was not solved untill Lend Lease deliveries began reaching the Soviets.


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Created: 2:51 PM 12/22/2017
Last updated: 2:51 PM 12/22/2017