1937-41: build your VVS

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    #1 tomo pauk, Mar 2, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2014
    In order to move a bit from recent Anglo-German alt history, how about the air force of Soviet Union? Under inspired leadership of comrade Stalin, you should direct the development of the most modern combat aircraft. Use the current and in-development aerodynamic cnowledge, ehigines and armament while doing that task. Your designs must replace existing fighters and bombers, while adding somenthing new you deem useful.
    Engines you could use are from Klimov's OKB (M-100, with M-103 and M-105 in pipeline), Mikulin's OKB (M-34, with newer (A)M-35 and 38 coming next), and Tumansky's OKB (M-85, with improved versions in pipeline). Radials with 9 cylinders might be good for start, but don't rely on those for too long. Conversely, the radials of greater power (M-82, M-89, M-90, M-71) might come to fruitition too late, don't put too much hope on those.
    Armament is LMG (ShKAS) and the 20 mm cannon; HMG will be developed soon.
     
  2. swampyankee

    swampyankee Active Member

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    #2 swampyankee, Mar 2, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2014
    Forget the HMG; the 20mm is a much better path for aircraft armament. Given the major problems that I've heard of with Soviet WW2-era aircraft are erratic quality and inadequate engines, vs the aircraft's designs, per se, I'd set TsAGI to work on supercharger and engine technology (this would start in 1937, and may bear fruition in 1942 or so) and set the manufacturing plants, vs the OKBs, on a quality improvement plan. Next, I'd start training programs for mechanics and skilled tradesmen of all sorts. Indeed, having the USSR actually act like the workers' paradise some claimed it to be would probably be the best thing for the Soviet war effort.

    So:
    1) Improve manufacturing quality
    2) Work on engine technology
    3) Improve worker training

    I think both 1 and 3 would require changes in the way the system within the Soviet Union worked: it seems that, in many ways, the USSR was run, in many ways, similarly to Russia under the czars, with the workers being treated barely or no better than were the serfs a century before.
     
  3. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    I wish I knew more to offer constructive opinions on the subject, but at least in terms of airframes I don't think the Soviets really needed that much tweeking. They were pretty solid about getting what they needed into production and keeping it there without disrupting things. Their major issues AFAIK were with operational handling and training, but they did the best they could with what they had.

    As far as what I know I would recommend things more from the organizational side, rather than the technological: merge the VVS and PVO for one, don't over expand in 1940-41 rather spend your time modernizing and improving quality of existing pilots while not purging your officers again in 1940-42, and of course give your junior officers more freedom of initiative! I understand why the Soviet system could not work that way with the ground forces, but the VVS had the best educated and skilled men in the armed forces, give them the freedom to innovate and not be afraid of taking chances.
     
  4. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    While I can agree that in Soviet case it was plenty of troubles on organizational and strategic level (OTOH, they managed to pull themselves together and outproduce the Germans even in the times of greatest losses and evacuations), I was thinkering, in this thread, more about technical aspects of their air force, ie. airplanes :)
     
  5. tengu1979

    tengu1979 Member

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    I personally would have more eye on Germany to look at their tactics to counter Luftwaffe more efficient. (I know Great Purge quite ruined that idea but we are talking What If scenario.) Also the swap of older aircraft should be quickened up, especially to units closer to front area and Moscow Air Defence units.
     
  6. swampyankee

    swampyankee Active Member

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    I was just looking at the aircraft; I think the aircraft designs were reasonably good, within the constraints of their available engines. A big problem, from what I've read, is poor quality control during manufacturing. I'm not talking about cosmetic problems, but things like bad glue joints, poor riveting, and generally inconsistent product.
     
  7. tengu1979

    tengu1979 Member

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    The planes itself were not too bad if not let down a lot by poor finish and modern fighters not in enough numbers. I have to admit USSR had quite a modern aircraft for its time.
     
  8. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    Priorities for Russian aviation:

    1. Training for pilots. Some Soviet pilots recieved ~400 hours training, but the majority of pilots got less than 100 hours before they joined units. Bring basic training up to at least 200-250 hours and add more tactical/combat training.
    2. Industrial standards. The various 'cultures of production' at Soviet manufacturing facilities were wildly differing. Yak aircraft particularly suffered from poor fit, finish and parts reliability. Soviet quality assurance and inspection, in airframe, engine and component manufacturing, needed a complete overhaul.
    3. Industrial mechanisation. Soviet manufacturing, at least pre 1943-ish, was incredibly labour intensive. Heavy machinery production was adequate, but the Soviet industry tended to do without more of the specalised and time saving devices used in the US, Germany and the UK.
    4. Focus on quality rather than quantity. The USSR had the largest airforce in the world pre 1941, but it had neither the pilots, mechanics or ground infrastructure necessary to operate it effectively. Phasing out older bombers and fighters in favour of smaller numbers of newer types would have made the VVS much more effective.
    5. Stop devoting resources to propaganda projects. Much of the Soviet Union's design/development capabilties were tied up in record-breaking attempts of limited utility. These resources could have been much better invested in refining existing designs or developing new ones.
    6. End the punishment culture. Several key designers (Tupolev, Korolev) were imprisoned during the 1938 purge. Others were imprisoned when their designs didn't quite meet expectations, often because of circumstances out of their control.
    7. Make sure the VVS officer corps isn't gutted. The VVS was hit particularly hard by the 1941 purge, with most of the top brass and a lot of the squadron/wing level commanders arrested.
     
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  9. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    One of the newly designs that was quickly made unsuitable for ww2 realities was the Su-2. Single engined bomber, with feeble protection and low speed was no matchfor German fighters and Flak. So I wouldn't build a single engined bomber around one 900-1100 HP engine, but rather use the M-85/-87/-88 engines on an airframe that can have two of these. Something along Pe-2, together with M-88 (for 1940-41) we should have an equivalent to the Douglas DB-7 (ie. with Twin Wasps). The nose armament should be fixed four-six LMGs. Bomb bay should hold either bombs or cannons, much like Mosqito or Ju-88.
     
  10. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Tomo, you had the PE-2.

    The trouble with trying to use M-88 engines is that they are Russian cousins to the French Gnome-Rhone 14N engine, developed in Russia form the G-R 14K. They are bit larger in diameter and a bit heavier ( though not by much) than the R-1830. Trouble is in summer/fall of 1941 and into 1942 the fast bombers are facing not Bf 109's like the R-1830 powered DB-7s were in 1940 but 109Fs. The M-88s did a lot of good work in the DB-3/IL-4 bombers but they are not really suitable for high speed work. The vast majority of the M-85-88 series did go into the DB-3/IL-4 bomber series. Some sources say only a bit over 900 SU-2s were made from 1939 until 1942 so that gives you around 450 twin engine aircraft instead which is a drop in the bucket for a Soviet airplane.

    Who designs this bomber? Tupolev is busy working on the series of planes that would turn into the TU-2 in 1938.

    Or maybe you just stick M-88s on a PE-2 and accept the performance loss?
     
  11. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    #11 tomo pauk, Mar 3, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
    Agreed on the 1st part. About the second part: Pe-2 with M-88s is a way better performer than Su-2. Or Il-2, for that matter.

    BTW, what about Pe-8? Looks like a waste of resources?
     
  12. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    They only built about 93? and not all the same. While a fair amount of effort went into both manufacture and operations perhaps the Russians did get a return on the investment from the morale boost and dispersion of German defenses? Unless we know that the Germans did NOT pull back any AA guns to deal with deep raids.

    And if canceled what do you get instead?

    400 Mig 3s?
    200 twin engine bombers?

    Not enough to make a real difference on the Eastern front either.
     
  13. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    #13 tomo pauk, Mar 3, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
    The succesful VVS bombing raids, deep in the German-held territory, were perhaps in single digits? The VVS can employ a twin engined bomber to bomb Berlin from Estonia, if they are after a morale boost. The big complex aircraft, like the Pe-8 was, will demand rigorous testing phase, and alocation of a full production line, if not a whole factory, even if the numbers built and airplnes' acomplishments do not justify that.
    But then again, Soviets were trying to cover all the bases, in development and production of various aircraft types. They did not have a crystal ball handy :)
    Now about twin engined bombers - how about earlier introduction of Tu-2 predecessor, ie. something like 'aircraft 103U', but with AM-35A?

    added: "aircraft 103U" link
     
  14. tengu1979

    tengu1979 Member

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    I still would not dismiss long range bomber aviation. And while Pe-8 might not be Soviet b-17 (especially when it comes to numbers) it did its job (the failiures to deliver payload accurattely is different matter). And personally I am always going to be defender of IL-2 despite its effectiveness being a bit overrated. As for Su-2 I think if the people in power did their homework it would become more or less Su-6 maybe with different engine.
     
  15. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    for the vvs long range bombers would have had to been made for higher altitudes. down closer to the flak is a dangerous place to be....and if they did that then they would have had to make their fighter escorts long range and made to fly at higher alts.....
     
  16. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Wonder how much would it be good for VVS to have a force of long range bombers (even if those are not strictly 4-engined jobs) with escort fighters to support them?
     
  17. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That and improved pilot training would have the greatest benefit. Unfortunately both are almost impossible to fix given the climate of terror Stalin created within the Soviet Union.

    So....
    Build aluminum industry from scratch as happened historically during 1930s.

    Make a beeline for YaK 1 and turn them out like hot rolls. Poor pilot training and poor manufacturing quality mean it will never be a match for German fighter aircraft so you need a numerical superiority great enough that some will slip through to shoot down recon aircraft and bombers.

    Build Pe-2 bomber and Il-2 attack aircraft.

    Build enough light flak units to protect VVS airfields from enemy attack.

    Employ espionage to acquire radar technology from Britain.

    That's about all late 1930s Soviet Union can afford as most factory equipment will be procured from USA.
     
  18. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    what if the vvs could have been bombing ploesti in lat 41 early 42....taking out bridges and closing choke points needed for resupply...taking out trains and marshalling yards. how could that have effected the outcome of the war in russia? the ussr and vvs did not have the $$ to do this but this is a what if situation so....
     
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  19. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    What specifically is it about a "climate of terror" prevents the Soviet Union from implementing decent quality control and lengthening/deepening its pilot training programmes?
     
  20. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Mostly that improvements had to be suggested from the highest rank, ( Stalin ).

    Anyone else that had the nerve to suggest anything was less than perfect, on his own initiative, was asking for a bullet in the neck.
     
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