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jamesrf40

Russian Pilot rotation

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I've been trying to find information on pilot rotation for the Russian pilots during the second world war. From what I know the Germans typically flew until the end of the war or they were killed, and this allowed them to rack up a number of kills that was unheard of from the allied airforces. Also, I remember reading that American fighter pilots had a mission cap before they were rotated back home for other duties like training new pilots. I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on how the Russians pilots were rotated in and out of front line duty.

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Rotation at Eastern Front last 6 years, from 1939 to 1945. More serious I think there was no rotation at all in all army branches, never read or heard about that at Eastern Front.

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from what I read in different interviews with pilots there was no such thing as "rotation" for the VVS pilots.

 

Here's a funny extract from one of these interviews (g-translate):
 

Quote

A.S. Did you meet allied pilots? If yes, under what circumstances? 

G.R. I met. Already in 1945, in April. We were then based at Thorne airfield, this is in Poland. A padded American four-engined bomber, it seems to be a “flying fortress” B-17, landed on the airfield. Her crew (and he rather big) lived on our airfield for several days, until their plane was repaired. During these few days we came together with them closely and communicated well. They ate with us in the same canteen, walked freely around our airfield, and drank “one hundred grams” with us. But what about - allies. The pilot, the commander of the American crew, I remember very well. His name was George Richman. 

─ A.S. And what translators did you have?

G.R. Yes, he had his own, homegrown. We had a Jewish pilot, by the name of Idelchik, and his gunner was also a Jew. ("Israeli" crew.) So this shooter spoke good English. Therefore, there were no problems with the translator.
This George Richman knew the price for himself, and did not allow himself to drop. Immediately, at the first dinner, he said that he had either 15 or 20 combat sorties. And, what would we appreciate the skill, told in detail how it flies. Flies out of England - bombing Germany - sits in Italy. In Italy, refueling, loading bombs - bombing Germany - and again sits in England. Flying long hours. And this time it was firmly knocked over Germany and he decided to sit down in Poland. Well, well, we rated the skill correctly: “Well done George, keep it up, and let's drink to the Soviet-American military fraternity!” The next day we fly. Just at that time the offensive was going on, our airfield was literally boiling. Bombs there, tank trucks here! Stormtroopers worked without prodyhu. Some take off, others immediately sit down. Many attack aircraft land beaten, there is no living place. I just landed - 1.5-2 hours, only the “silts” had time to serve, refuel and load ammunition - the team took off again. All run, run! 3-5 flights per crew per day. Believe me, the regiment worked fine-tuned as a mechanism of Swiss watches. And the Americans are looking at this thing. In the evening, in the dining room, George comes up to me and asks (something I was sympathetic to him): “Grisha, do you always fly like that?” “When the offensive, always”. “Grisha, how many combat missions do you have?” “Yes, almost a hundred.” Here he was a little taken aback. “Grisha - says - when I make twenty-five sorties, I have the right to go home. All right. We have such a rule that a bomber pilot needs to make only 25 combat sorties. And why are you continuing to fight? "" And we - I say - the rule - to fight until the war is over. " "Well, have you ever been on vacation after every 25 flights? ”And what could he say that I would love to, but who would let go? "I say when the war will end." I strongly puzzled him.
The story repeats the next day. Broken cars are already in service, the airfield continues to boil. Again the same picture, flying without interruption, from early morning until late evening. And on the third day the same. Finally, the American “fortress” was repaired, the next day they would fly. On the occasion of the departure of the Allies staged a banquet. Give the floor to George. He gets up and says: “Guys, I am delighted! I have been to many bases, but I have never seen such intense and magnificent combat work, such skill as yours. ”
That was a good guy George. I remember asking him: “Where are you from?” “From Chicago”. “Is there a family, a wife, children?” “There are no wives — they say — only father and mother.” “And who are they with you?” “Our family owns five factories.” Oh, etaet your mother! In response, he asks: “Where are you from?” “From the Kuban”. “Do you, Grisha, who is the father?” That’s what I’ve got, he doesn’t even know a word like “collective farmer”! "Farmer" - I answer. At parting, we exchanged souvenirs with him, he gave me a hundred dollars, and I gave him a hundred rubles, with a portrait of Lenin. I wonder if George Richman is still alive? If alive, then God give him health. 

 

http://www.airforce.ru/content/velikaya-otechestvennaya-voina/925-interv-yu-suhorukova-s-geroem-sovetskogo-soyuza-g-m-ryabushko-letchikom-828-go-gshap/

 

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I interprete that this "Grisha" means the american George Richman. That's why...

Quote

he doesn’t even know a word like “collective farmer”! 

 

Result: Only the USAAF had this rotation system.

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9 minutes ago, yogy said:

I interprete that this "Grisha" means the american George Richman. That's why...

 

Result: Only the USAAF had this rotation system.

 

And the RAF.   It is also not completely true that all German pilots flew until they dropped: some experienced pilots spent time at training units as well, although the GAF did have the bad habit of stripping the training units of instructors from time to time.  In addition, someone was training the Soviet pilots, so I suspect that there must have been some rotation, whatever these memoirs may say.  Recovering from an injury might also be a way to get a spell as an instructor.

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On 11/19/2018 at 3:06 PM, jamesrf40 said:

From what I know the Germans typically flew until the end of the war or they were killed, and this allowed them to rack up a number of kills that was unheard of from the allied airforces.

 

Indeed, this was one primary reason for gargantuous number of kills with some German aces, but the second one, just as important (if not more) is often overlooked. And this is: numbers. In other words - probability you will find a target to shoot down. German fighter pilots had a much higher chance of finding a target to shoot at, simply because they were outnumbered, especially on the Eastern front. As Guenther Rall nicely put it: "We always found targets. On the other side there were American fighter pilots who flew 50 missions over Germany and never saw a german plane. So they couldn't get a victory."

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Posted (edited)

It's interesting that people dispute Hartmann's 352 while completely accepting Johnson's 28.  Hartmann flew 1500 missions and engaged in combat in half of them.  Johnson flew 100 missions.  Not sure how often he engaged in combat.  Multiple 28x15 and you get 420 ... Johnsons victories if he flew 1500 missions and continued to score at the rate that he did in his 100 mission tour.

 

I prefer to view scores much more loosely ... Both Hartmann and Johnson were very good fighter pilots.

 

But sort of on topic - I seem to remember Johnson talking about 100 missions for an 8th AF fighter tour.  Bomber tours were 25 for the USAAF.  i think British bomber tours were significantly longer and just as dangerous.  I believe that some fighter pilots did do more than one tour.

Edited by PatrickAWlson

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20 hours ago, PatrickAWlson said:

It's interesting that people dispute Hartmann's 352 while completely accepting Johnson's 28.  Hartmann flew 1500 missions and engaged in combat in half of them.  Johnson flew 100 missions.  Not sure how often he engaged in combat.  Multiple 28x15 and you get 420 ... Johnsons victories if he flew 1500 missions and continued to score at the rate that he did in his 100 mission tour.

 

I prefer to view scores much more loosely ... Both Hartmann and Johnson were very good fighter pilots.

 

But sort of on topic - I seem to remember Johnson talking about 100 missions for an 8th AF fighter tour.  Bomber tours were 25 for the USAAF.  i think British bomber tours were significantly longer and just as dangerous.  I believe that some fighter pilots did do more than one tour.

I think Johnson in his book signed on for a second tour. After the first tour he took some leave in the States if I remember correctly, then returned. I believe it was not calculated on missions but on flying hours over the continent, so longer missions counted for more. If you turned back before making feet dry over France, it didn't count towards your hours. 

Reading Johnny Kent's memoir in the RAF, starting in the Battle of Britain, it seems that entire squadrons were rotated out of the battle zones for rest and retraining when they were considered exhausted or too damaged to continue fighting, rather than there being a rigid system of pilot flying hours such as the Americans had. He did stints as a test pilot before and during the war, and had various command assignments in England and North Africa though, so he may not have been subject to some of the requirements. Something of a special case.

Also IIRC there was theoretically a rotation for the night bomber tours for the RAF, but the casualty rates were so high that it was rare for a crew to complete even one tour. The average life expectancy of a crew was lower than the required number of missions. 

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Bomber Command tours were 30 operational missions (had to drop bombs or take photo over target to count).  392,137 sorties, aircraft lost 12,330, average loss rate  3.14% (That is one set of numbers I have seen, there are lots of different ones).

 

So the probability of the plane surviving 30 sorties is  0.38   It may be that the probability of a crew member surviving was a little lower, as sometimes planes returned with a casualty on board (not often for BC though). So I do not think it was "rare" to survive one tour taking the war as a whole: but there were certainly times during the bomber offensive where casualty rates were higher - if you were flying during one of the sustained offensives over Germany the loss rate might be 5% so your chance of being a casualty about 20%, but also times when they were lower. 

 

 

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On 2/1/2019 at 11:51 AM, unreasonable said:

 

... It is also not completely true that all German pilots flew until they dropped: some experienced pilots spent time at training units as well, although the GAF did have the bad habit of stripping the training units of instructors from time to time. ...

Difficult topics.
  Sadly the veterans reports tend to pass over the fact A LOT OF Luftwaffe-pilots after X years of fly&flight were burned out, at least. "Abgeflogen" ("flown out") was the expression. This has been a problem for any WW2 air-force, the RAF bomber-command-veterans relatively often mention such cases of "lack of moral fibre" f.e.
Often front-line-pilots started to show strong hints on psychological problems of all kind. Add drug abuse, lack of sleep, fear etc pp ... maybe there have been statistics, I never found one published for the Luftwaffe.
  In that 100-%-macho-climate within the Luftwaffe there was very little freedom to deal with this kind of psychological / -somatical diseases. One had to save face! With a bit of luck a superior sooner or later had an insight and started a more or less covered treatment process. A posting to another unit was a usual setup, a two or three weeks leave usually was given before. That way the pilot somewhat went "out of focus". That gave time to consult doctors, maybe medical treatment, maybe some very rudimentary forms of psychological interviews. Followed by further weeks or even months in "recreation homes". After that phase the pilot hopefully was able to fly again and often was posted to a school for further stabilisation.
  Another factor sometimes was to protect propaganda-heroes from a more or less inescapable death. At least some well known faces should remain alive for the newsreel.

 

BTW: never heard anything like "rotation" for the Russian pilots. Some fate as for the German ones: fly until you die.

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