Free Russian airforce

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Chocks away!

Senior Airman
Jan 16, 2005
Russian General Andrey Vlasov who was captured by the Germans during the invasion of the Soviet Union wanted to create a ''Russian liberation army'' to free Russia of Stalin. While Hitler initially made mostly propaganda use out of Russian volunteers, since he was sceptical of them fighing alongside Germans, he made them an official force in 1944.
I was watching a documentary about Soviet experimental aircraft the other day, and was suprised to hear that the first Russian jet pilots were in fact fighting for the Nazis, as late in the war the ''free russian airforce'' was equipped with the Me-262. :!: Now i find this extemely strange as I have never seen any reference to this russian jet fighter force before, and it seems hard to believe that the germans would supply their russian allies with their latest technology.
In fact the only reference I had seen until recently ,of this free russian airforce even existing, was a lonely Me-109g-10 profile in a Histoire Collections book I have. This aircraft supposedly belonged to jagdstaffel 5 'Oberst Kazakov' of the POA and was flown by a certain Major Bychkov...
I have found very little on the net concerning this elusive air force either.:confused:
So does anyone have some more info on the subject? Please enlighten me! :idea:

(the profile is from the site WINGS PALETTE - News)


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Well, it is indeed an obscure subject and not much is known about it. At least they were not considered a part of the Luftwaffe which makes them all the more unknown.
I cannot answer you on the Me 262 but to my knowledge there was a Free Russian AF. But as the Free Russian Army never got fully organized, just 1 out of 3 batallions was operational at the end of the war, and Himmler was pushing for more batallions, one can easily guess what would have been the operational status of the Russian AF. Remember that you need months to train the pilots and I doubt those free Russians were in training before the Free Russian AF was set up.

But yes there probably was a Free Russian AF although they consisted of only a handful of Staffel. If you want, I'll look up what kind of planes they had but I'm sure they also had Bf 109G-10s like the one from the profile.
Any information would be great. I'm more curious about Me-262s being used though, cause if that is the case, it's an important historical fact
This is in German. I will translate it for you if you want. You can also use an online translator.

Nur wenigen ist bekannt, daß an der Seite der deutschen Luftwaffe oder sogar in ihren Reihen russische Flugzeugführer kämpften. Die Anfänge liegen im Spätsommer 1942 mit der im Bereich der Heeresgruppe Mitte aufgestellten Russischen Nationalen Volksarmee (RNNA), lediglich ein Schulungsbetrieb läßt sich nachweisen, da das ganze ohne Genehmigung von oben durchgeführt wurde. Ernster war die Bildung und der Einsatz der 1. Ostfliegerstaffel (Russisch) durch die Luftflotte 1 im Dezember 1943. Diese Staffel flog von Dünaburg aus Nachschlachteinsätze mit Ar 66, Go 145 und Po-2. Bis zur Auflösung im Juli 1944 wurden 500 Feindflüge durchgeführt.
Am 16. September 1944 wurde mit Hilfe Himmlers die ROA-Luftwaffe aufgestellt, mit einem Stammpersonal von 2594 Offizieren, Uffz. und Mannschaften, davon 1800 Mann Ausbildungspersonal. Der Betrieb begann mit 25 Einsatz- und 21 Schul- und Verbindungsflugzeugen, dazu kamen noch 96 Flakgeschütze unterschiedlichster Kaliber. Zum Inspizient wurde Generalleutnant Aschenbrenner, früherer Luftwaffenattache´an der deutschen Botschaft in Moskau ernannt. Einsatzflugplätze wurden Eger und Karlsbad, für die Flak wurde die Stadt Brüx in Böhmen bestimmt.

Entstanden sind als fliegende Einheiten:

ROA-Schlachtstaffel 8 mit 12 Ju 88
ROA-Jagdstaffel 5 "Oberst Kazakow"mit 16 Bf 109G-10
ROA-Transportstaffel 4 mit 2 Ju 52/3m
ROA-Aufklärungsstaffel 3 mit 2 2 Fi Fi 156 und 1 Me 262(!!)
ROA-Ausbildungsstaffel-Ergänz. mit Do 17, He 111, U-2, Ju-88, Bf-109, Fi-156
Dazu kamen noch eine LN-Kompanie, das Fallschirmjäger-Batl. 3 sowie ein Lw-Telegraphen-Bauregiment Nr. 12.

Die Schlachstaffel 8 und die Jagdstaffel 5 meldeten sich Anfang April 1945 einsatzklar. Den ersten Einsatz flogen die Schlächter
zur Unterstützung der 1. russischen Divison der ROA beim Gegenangriff auf den sowjetischen Brückenkopf Erlenhof an der Oder.

Am 27. April 1945 ergaben sich die russischen Flieger den Amerikanern zwischen Zwiesel und Regen in der Oberpfalz. Der überwiegende Teil entging der Repatriierung in die Sowjetunion. Allerdings lieferten die Westallierten im September 1945 200 russische ROA Luftwaffenoffiziere an Stalin aus. Das Schicksal kann man sich ja denken.

Eine größere Anzahl von russichen freiwilligen Piloten flog auch beim FlüG 1. Die Einheit überführte u.a. Bf 109 Maschinen vom Werk Regensburg aus an die Front. Zahlreiche Verluste mit russischen Piloten sind dokumentiert, in einem Fall sogar die Beisetzung mit militärischen Ehren auf einem kleinen oberbayrischen Dorffriedhof.
Die Piloten trugen deutsche Luftwaffenuniform, allerdings mit russischen Rangabzeichen, ab März 1945 dann auch mit der alten russischen Kokarde und dem Ärmelwappen der ROA. Die Flugzeuge trugen das ROA-Abzeichen, ein blaues Andreaskreuz auf weißem Grund mit roter Umrandung. Ich besitze einige Fotos von Bf 109 bzw. Ju 88 mit dieser Kennzeichnung.

From: Luftwaffe der Streitkräfte der Völker Rußlands ROA - Flugzeugforum

Only 1 Me 262 were reported in ROA Air Force according to Joachim Hoffmann: Die Geschichte der Wlassow-Armee, German Militärgeschichtlichen Forschungamt, Verlag Rombach Freiburg, ISBN 3-7930-0186-5. On page 118 there is written that 1 Me 262 was part of equipment of 3. recce escadrille (CO Hptm Artemejev). This schould be around February 1945. The all Malcev´s Forces (Malcev was CO of ROA Air Force) were in that day located on Airfield Cheb (Eger) in West Bohemia. What was the fate of this Me 262 is unknown. On March 7 1945 5. Jagdstaffel der ROA begun the transfer on Německý Brod (Deutsch Brod, now Havlíčkův Brod) Airfield in Eastern Bohemia. The first moved parts of Jagdstaffel (no Aufklärungsstaffel) in strength of 2 Bü 181s, 4 Ar 96Bs and 4 Bf 109s. Another Bf 109s followed next days (Janda,Poruba: Messerschmitt Bf 109s of JG 52 in Deutsch Brod, JaPo Publishing House 2004, p. 3).

Thanks for the info. It is indeed an interest subject in that it has hardly been researched at all in the west...
Would you guys consider the peope of the Russian liberation army traitors?
It's a rather delicate matter if you consider that their chief goal was to get rid of Stalin, who ruined Russia in many peoples eyes. Then again the Russians would almost certainly not have been better off under Hitler...
The Free Russians under Vlasov believed in a free Russia, free of the oppression of Stalin. They were unaware of the intentions of Hitler and those other nazi pigs.
As such they cannot be considered traitors because they fought for a noble cause.

Please note that these things also happened in most other German occupied countries. In Flanders many young people collaborated with the Germans because they believed Germany would make Flanders autonomous. These people were later condemned as traitors. Punishments varied from public mockery (cutting the hair of the women and calling them nazi whores) to hangings. I don't consider them traitors and don't see why others should.

Hmm..I working Me-109G-10 model in ROAs airforce
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Hmm..I working Me-109G-10 model in ROAs airforce
According to the page in Russian, the ROA (POA) received two Me-262s. I've modeled one of them as "Red 1" from the Me-109 decals. I've also posted an article on the Me-262 in foreign service as well as post-war variants and aircraft it inspired at the International Resin Modellers Association web page. International Resin Modellers Association ©SM®TM - Articles 46


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A few intersting details about Me262 in ROA you can find here, but it's in russian language...( maybe Wurger will translate, please Wojtek ! )

Messerschmitt Me 262-Aufklärungsstaffel 3

The Russian translates to this: "In the meantime, the organization of the 3rd reconnaissance squadron (Captain S. Artemov, originally equipped with Fi156) continued in Cheb, but then the emphasis in the training of its flight personnel shifted towards the fighters and it received two Bf109G-12 combat squads and the same combat Bf109G-10. Later, in connection with plans to rearm the Luftwaffe fighter units to jet machines, they passed both Bf109G-10s to Major Bychkov's squadron, receiving in return one Ta154 and two Me262s, which were being set up right there in Cheb, the 4th transport squadron (Transportstaffel)."

Original text: "Тем временем в Хебе продолжалась организация 3-я разведыва тельной эскадрильи (капитана С.Артемова, первоначально оснащенная Fi156, но затем акценты в подготовке ее летного состава сместились в сторону истребителей и она получила две спарки Bf109G-12 и столько же боевых Bf109G-10. Позже в связи с планами по перевооружению истребительных частей Люфтваффе на реактивные машины, она сдала оба Bf109G-10 в эскадрилью майора Бычкова, получив в замен один Та154 и два Ме262, выпуск которых налаживался тут же в Хебе, 4-я транспортная эскадрилья (Transportstaffel) м-ра."

From German documents, here are aircraft deliveries to the ROA in 1945.

21.01.45: 1 Bf 109 G-6
22.01.45: 1 Bf 109 G-6, 1 Bf 109 G-12
24.01.45: 1 Bf 109 G-6
30.01.45: 1 Bf 109 G-12
31.01.45: 2 Bf 109 G-12
13.02.45: 4 Bf 109 G-10/U4
14.02.45: 4 Bf 109 G-10/U4
15.02.45: 8 Bf 109 G-10/U4
19.02.45 4 FW 190 F-8 (repaired)
28.02.45: 1 Bf 109 G-10/U4

Andrew A.
Air War Publications
Original article was printed in 2000 in the magazine Istoria Aviatsiyi (Aviation History). It was quoted and copy/pasted widely among Russian language web sites and not always accurately. There were many typos.
Which issue? I'd like to get a copy. I can translate it from the original.

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