How good was the soviet air force?

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Interesting thread.

Lots of information here, both good and bad, being late to the party, I'll only say what I've always said and that is if things had gotten out of hand in the summer/fall of 1945, the Soviets, and especially the red air force would have been in for a very RUDE awakening.
This thread might cover some of that thought:


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So a shit stirrer…

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Wait a minute. You saying that dumb kid laid a time delayed burn on me?
And the above-mentioned MiG-3 was not intended for maneuverable combat. The order was for a high-speed high-altitude interceptor. Which was built. But do not forget that he also showed himself very well as a fighter.
Initially the I-200 (the correct reading is "I-20-0", the future MiG-1/3) was conceived by Polikarpov as a high-speed multi-purpose fighter with the primary role as an interceptor, the order was for high-speed fighter only - the official technical description from 1940 contains no mention that the I-200 should operate primarily at high altitudes. Altitude was not a priority - it became an additional bonus simply because of the engine choice (very limited). The only powerful liquid-cooled V12 engine available at that time was Mikulin's M-35A (an even more powerful M-37 was planned, but Mikulin failed in its completion).


The I-200 was the unloved child of Polikarpov, who was against its mass production as proposed by OKB-155 (MiG). Polikarpov insisted on reducing wing area and using more effective flaps to reduce landing speed.
The armament of the I-200 was absolutely inadequate, the aircraft had no advantage even over the I-301 (LaGG) up to 4000 meters. Only experienced pilots could use the airplane effectively, piloting was rather difficult. The I-200 was easily flammable and earned the nickname "iron" for its poor maneuverability at low altitudes. And at high altitudes, where its characteristics were somewhat better, air combat was practically never carried out. In addition, the gasoline supply system had serious design flaws and complicated management - the pilot had to switch the supply from different tanks in time, the gasoline from the tanks could not be exhausted completely that results in crashes. Evidently, mass production of the I-200 was a serious mistake.
Generally, the whole story of the I-200 looks absolutely disgusting from the point of view of morality, but that was the mores in the USSR. Polikarpov was a victim of Soviet voluntarism - he lost his best employees and manufacturing facilities to build prototype airplanes, which were transferred to Artyom Mikoyan, whose only merit at the time was his kinship with the influential official Anastas Mikoyan.
Few people know, or are silent, that in the autumn of 1941, Pe-8 bombed Berlin and other targets in Germany many times.
Actually, it is impudent to attribute someone lack of knowledge without any reason. The history of the bombing of Berlin by DB-3(F), Er-2 and Pe-8 planes of the Baltic Fleet and DBA is very well known, as its result - extremely insignificant in all nine raids. The bomb load was modest - as well as the number of planes in the raid, not all planes were able even to find Berlin. No targets in Berlin were hit, allegedly 32 fires were caused, but the figure is questionable. It would be nice for someone to know how many TB-7 (Pe-8) were produced in total - 93 airplanes. Any comparison of this droplet with the sea of Allied heavy bombers is ridiculous. This is a negligible figure, which reflects the real ability of the Soviet industry to produce long-range bombers - the Soviets were forced to modernize the entire aircraft industry (and not only it, but many other related branches as well) in order to produce a copy of the B-29 in the postwar years. In terms of scale, this modernization was comparable to the atomic project only, if not exceeding it.
The list of such 'dark' aspects of the creation and operation of Soviet fighter aircraft can be continued for a long time. And the main exposure of the myth of Stalin's Falcons is that, until the end of the war, literally until the end the battle of Berlin, Soviet fighters could not effectively resist the Luftwaffe, even taking into account the fact that German planes were then very rarely seen in the sky.
From "Stalin's Falcons: Exposing the Myth of Soviet Aerial Superiority Over the Luftwaffe in WW2" by Dmitry Zubov, Air World, 2024.
The book is mainly devoted to the realities of the development of Soviet aviation under the Stalinist regime, which left behind many myths. I've flipped through the book but haven't read it thoroughly yet. At first glance I won't find anything new in it, but perhaps it may be useful to those who have just begun to get interested in the subject.

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