Russian Army Air Service

Russian Army Air Service

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The Russian Army Air Service (RAAS) was established in 1912. By the outbreak of the First World War the RAAS owned 360 aircraft and 16 airships, making it the largest airforce in the world. However, with limited financial resources, expansion was slow and by 1917 the Russians had fewer that 1,000 aircraft in service.

Most of the aircraft used by the RAAS was provided by France (Farman MF-II, Morane-Saulnier, Nieuport II, Nieuport 17 and Spad VIII). Russian built machines like the Anata DS and Lebed were inferior copies of foreign designs and were never mass-produced. The poorly trained Russian pilots were outclassed by the German Army Air Service on the Eastern Front and the RAAS suffered very heavy casualties. Only four Russian pilots obtained more than ten victories: Alexander Kozakov (20), Vasil Yanchenko (16), Pavel Argeyev (15) and Ivan Smirnov (11).

Performance Data of the Antra DS




150 hp Salmson

Wing Span

40 ft 7 in (12.37 m)


26 ft 6 in (8.1 m)


10 ft 5 in (3.19 m)

Maximum Speed

89 mph (144 kph)

Maximum Height

14,110 ft (4,300 m)


3 hours 30 minutes


2 machine-guns

Russian Armed Forces

The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, [a] commonly known as the Russian Armed Forces, are the military forces of the Russian Federation. They are divided into the Ground Forces, Navy, and Aerospace Forces. There are also two independent arms of service: Strategic Missile Troops and the Airborne Troops. Under the federal law of Russia, the Russian Armed Forces, along with the Federal Security Service (FSB)'s Border Troops, the National Guard, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), the Federal Protective Service (FSO), the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), the Main Directorate of the General Staff (GRU) and the Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM)'s civil defence form Russia's military services and are under direct control of the Security Council of Russia.

  • Russian Air Force
  • Russian Space Forces
  • Rostec
  • Rosatom
  • United Aircraft Corporation
  • United Shipbuilding Corporation
  • Russian Helicopters
  • Tactical Missiles Corporation
  • Almaz-Antey
  • High Precision Systems
  • Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology
  • Kalashnikov Concern
  • Military Industrial Company
  • Uralvagonzavod
  • Kurganmashzavod

The Russian Armed Forces are one of the largest military forces in the world. As of 2021 [update] , the military comprised a little over 1 million active duty personnel, the fourth-largest in the world. [7] Additionally, there are around 2 million reservists, with the total number of reserve troops possibly being as high as 20 million. It is mandatory for all male citizens aged 18–27 to be drafted for a year of service in Armed Forces. [8]

The Russian Armed Forces are the world's second-most powerful military, [9] owning the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world. [10] The military budget of the Russian Federation was $61.7 billion in (2020-21), the fourth-highest in the world. [11] It possesses the second-largest fleet of ballistic missile submarines, and is one of the only three nations operating strategic bombers, with the world's most numerous tank force, [12] the second-most numerous air force [13] and the third-most numerous naval fleet. [14]

What Makes Russia's Air Force So Powerful? These Four Bombers For Starters

Although still under development, the PAK DA will undoubtedly be Russia’s deadliest bomber. Once fielded, the PAK DA will eventually replace both the Tu-160 supersonic bomber and the earlier Tu-95.

Here's What You Need To Remember: If Russian military history can teach us anything, the Tu-22M, -95 and -160 will probably be maintained and upgraded for many years to come. When and if the PAK DA becomes operational, it would put an important arrow in Russia’s quiver—a theoretically very capable stealth bomber.

Most military equipment in Russian arsenals today is legacy Soviet hardware. Russian bombers are no exception. Although some airframes in Russian inventories are quite old, they remain potent thanks to airframe, electronics and radar upgrades, along with improvements in standoff missiles and precision-guided munitions. Here are Russia’s most dangerous bombers.

In 1950, Andrei Tupolev was tasked with designing the Soviet Union’s new long-range heavy bomber, the Tu-95. It was to be able to carry a 24,200-pound payload with a range of nearly 5,000 miles—and thus threaten important targets in the United States.

Tupolev needed to balance speed and performance with range. Jet engines at the time would given a long-range strategic bomber the needed speed, but guzzled fuel, limiting range. Although Tupolev was already a highly successful designer, he tasked a group of German and Austrian aircraft engineers that had been captured after World War II with the design. They designed the most powerful turboprop engine ever made, the venerable KN-12.

Using two sets of contra-rotating propellers, the KN-12 is still used on the Tu-95 today. Although the engines are extremely powerful, the are also incredibly loud. Still, when mission requirements are massive payload rather than stealthiness, the Bear can do the job.

Repeated upgrades have greatly extended the airframe’s service life, and increasingly sophisticated stand-off cruise missiles have kept the Tu-95 potent. It is planned to operate until the 2040s.

Tu-22M “Backfire”

Sometimes called “Backfire” by NATO, the Tu-22M variant was developed to address design deficiencies inherent in the Tu-22 parent design. The Tu-22M uses a variable-sweep wing design that provided a balance between favorable landing and take-off handling, with good cruising and high-speed flight.

The Tu-22M carries a respectable bomb load, and can fly at a maximum speed of Mach 1.88. Interestingly, it has a twin-barreled 23mm cannon in the tail that is remotely controlled.

The introduction of the Tu-22M in the early 1970s was an odd time for supersonic bombers, as the superiority of ICBMs was widely recognized. Despite the Tu-22M’s technical obsolescence, continuous upgrades to radar and electronics, combined with improved air-to-surface missiles have kept the Tu-22M platform relevant.

Tu-160 “Blackjack”

The Tu-160 is truly a beast of an aircraft with several firsts and world records to its name. Visually similar to the Tu-22M or the American Rockwell B-1 Lancer, the Tu-160 was the last strategic bomber designed by the Soviet Union.

Also known as the “Blackjack” it is the heaviest bomber in service in any country, and tops out at Mach 2.05. In contrast to the B-1 Lancer, the Blackjack is more of a stand-off weapons platform rather than a traditional bomber, although its tow large weapons bays allow it to carry a payload of 88,000 pounds and allows the delivery of conventional, precision, and nuclear munitions. The Blackjack is the only Soviet bomber designed without any defensive weapons.

Again, upgrades to radar and targeting, along with the restart of airframe production in 2019 is keeping the Blackjack airborne, probably for many more years to come.

Tupolev PAK DA

Although still under development, the PAK DA will undoubtedly be Russia’s deadliest bomber. Once fielded, the PAK DA will eventually replace both the Tu-160 supersonic bomber and the earlier Tu-95.

PAK DA is essentially a next-gen long-range stealth bomber, similar to the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit bomber. Like the B-2, the PAK DA will probably have a flying wing design, although this is only known from promotional material. No known prototypes currently exist. This would be the first truly Russian bomber— not simply a legacy Soviet design, or improvements upon them.

The first PAK DA prototype flight was delayed from 2019 to sometime in the 2021–2023 timeframe. As already pointed out, upgraded variants of the Tu-160 are currently conducting flight trials, so it will likely be some time before we have any photos or more concrete info on Russia’s first true stealth bomber.

Future Flight

If Russian military history can teach us anything, the Tu-22M, -95 and -160 will probably be maintained and upgraded for many years to come. When and if the PAK DA becomes operational, it would put an important arrow in Russia’s quiver—a theoretically very capable stealth bomber. Still, if that can be managed affordably remains to be seen. The relatively low price of oil has severely constrained Russian military spending, and designing a brand-new stealth platform is no easy thing.

The United States Is the Most Powerful Military In The World

When you think about the largest armies in the world, you will no doubt also think about the US, whose army is considered the strongest and best equipped in the world. It also has the largest military budget of $610 billion, which is far more significant than its closest rival China at $216 billion and is (actually larger than the next nine countries combined). The country’s army formed in 1775, and since then, the military of this country has come a long way. Today, it has about 1,359,450 active-duty personnel. The US has the third-largest army in the world, and it is considered one of the best-trained and most powerfully equipped armies in the world. It has, by far, the most aircraft, biggest advancement in technologies like the Navy's new rail gun, best trained human force, and the world's largest nuclear arsenal.


France [ edit | edit source ]

French Nieuport 10 during the First World War

The first use of national insignia on military aircraft was before the First World War by the French Aéronautique Militaire which mandated the application of roundels in 1912. Ώ] The chosen design was the French national cockade, which consisted of a blue-white-red emblem mirroring the colours of the flag of France. In addition, the rudders of the aircraft were painted the same colours in vertical stripes. Similar national cockades were designed and adopted for use as aircraft roundels by the air forces of other countries, including the U.S. Army Air Service. Ώ]

United Kingdom in the First World War [ edit | edit source ]

The British Royal Flying Corps (RFC) abandoned their original painted Union Flags because, from a distance, they looked too much like the Eisernes Kreuz (Iron Cross) used on German aircraft. The Royal Naval Air Service used a red-rimmed white circle on their wings for a short period — almost exactly resembling those in simultaneous use by the neutral predecessors of today's Royal Danish Air Force — before both British air arms adopted a roundel resembling the French one, but with the colours reversed, (red-white-blue from centre to rim), before the two separate air arms joined to form the Royal Air Force on April 1, 1918. This basic design with variations in proportions and shades has existed in one form or another to this very day. Ώ] ΐ]

United States [ edit | edit source ]

U.S. Army Signal Corps Curtiss JN-3 biplanes with red star insignia, 1915

A restored SPAD XIII fighter in American markings, with "reversed" fin flash colors.

The military aviation insignia of both the United States and Russia have had interesting "crossovers" early in the 20th century. The initial US Army Signal Corps aviation insignia used during the Pancho Villa punitive expedition just before American involvement in World War I began, used on the vertical tail and wings was a red five-pointed star similar to that of the later Soviet Union, without a red or white outline border. A tricolor roundel, similar to that used by Imperial Russia, but using proportions close to the era's British RFC roundel's colors, was introduced by the US Army Air Service in February 1918 for commonality with the other allies, all of whom used such roundels, and Russia had already dropped out of the war. Even with American aircraft using British and French style fin flashes on the rudders during World War I, the British and French markings were painted with the blue vertical stripe forwardmost at the hinge line or leading edge, with red at the rudder's trailing edge — American aircraft reversed the red and blue vertical fin flash stripes' locations during the World War I years to avoid confusion. In addition, allegedly like the Union Jack for the British RFC earlier in the war, the May 1917-adopted white star in a blue circle for all United States military aircraft was said to potentially resemble the German Luftstreitkräfte's Eisernes Kreuz at a distance, making its use in western Europe a possible hazard. Contemporary with the U.S. Army Signal Corps' red star, the US Navy was using an anchor symbol on the rudders of its seaplanes.

As of 19 May 1917 all branches of the military were to use a white star with a central red circle all in a blue circular field, painted in the official flag colors. Ώ] In August 1919 the colors were adjusted to the current standards and the proportions were adjusted slightly so that the centre red circle was reduced slightly from being 1/3 of the diameter of the blue circular field, to being bound by the edges of an imaginary pentagram connecting the inner points of the star. During the First World War and into the early post war period, US Marine Corps aircraft often had the Imperial Russian-style WW I tricolor roundel with an anchor painted on the sides of the fuselage.

In the months after Pearl Harbor it was realized that the central red circle could be construed as being a Japanese Hinomaru from a distance or in poor visibility, and in May 1942 the central red circle was eliminated. On aircraft in service they were painted over with white. During November 1942, US forces participated in the Torch landings and for this a chrome yellow ring (of almost random thickness) was temporarily added to the outside of the roundel to reduce incidents of Americans shooting down unfamiliar British aircraft, which could themselves be distinguished by a similar chrome yellow outline on their fuselage roundels.

None of these solutions was entirely satisfactory as friendly fire incidents continued and so the US Government initiated a study and discovered that the red wasn't the issue since color couldn't be determined from a distance anyway—but the shape could be. After trying out several variations including an oblong roundel with two stars, they arrived at using white bars flanking the sides of the existing roundel, all with a red outline, which became official in June 1943. This still wasn't entirely satisfactory and the red was replaced with blue in September 1943. On US Navy aircraft painted in gloss midnight blue starting in 1944-45, the blue of the roundels was difficult to distinguish so the blue portion was eventually dispensed with and only the white portion of the roundel was painted on the aircraft.

In January 1947 red bars were added within the existing white bars on both USN and USAAF aircraft and in September of the same year, the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) became an independent service and was renamed the United States Air Force (USAF). In 1955 the USN would repaint all its aircraft from midnight blue to light grey over white and would use exactly the same roundel as the USAF again. Since then there have been some minor variations, mostly having to do with lo-visibility versions of the star and bars roundel. Air superiority F-15's eliminated the blue outline in the 1970s, and later some aircraft replaced the blue with black or a countershaded grey, or used a stencil to create an outlined version.

United Kingdom and Commonwealth nations [ edit | edit source ]

Hawker Hurricane displaying Royal Air Force insignia on wings, fuselage and fin

From 1923 onwards, a variant of the British red-white-blue roundel with the white ring omitted has been used on camouflaged aircraft. During the Second World War, the red inner circle of roundels on aircraft based in the Asia-Pacific region was painted white or light blue, so they would not be confused with the Hinomaru markings on Japanese aircraft (still used by the Japan Self-Defense Forces to this day).

After the Second World War, the RAF roundel design was modified by Commonwealth air forces, with the central red disc replaced with a maple leaf (Royal Canadian Air Force), kangaroo (Royal Australian Air Force), kiwi (Royal New Zealand Air Force), and springbok (South African Air Force).

Low-visibility insignia [ edit | edit source ]

An A-10 Thunderbolt II with low-visibility USAF insignia on fuselage.

A preserved Focke-Wulf Fw 190F with "low-visibility" Balkenkreuz national markings

As early as 1942-43, and again in recent decades, "low-visibility" insignia have increasingly been used on camouflaged aircraft. These have subdued, low-contrast colours (often shades of grey or black) and frequently take the form of stenciled outlines. Infra-red (heat) seeking missiles were found to be able to home in on the markings and so they either had to be reduced in size or contrast. Previously low visibility markings were used to increase ambiguity as to whose aircraft it was, and to avoid compromising the camouflage, all while still complying with international norms governing recognition markings.

The World War II German Luftwaffe often used such "low-visibility" versions of their national Balkenkreuz insignia from the mid-war period through to V-E Day, omitting the central black "core" cross and only using the "flanks" of the cross instead, in either black or white versions.

America’s Worst World War II Fighter Was the Star of the Russian Air Force

The P-39 Airacobra may be the least loved American fighter plane of World War II, deemed inadequate by military planners at the outset of hostilities and written off as nearly useless by many historians. Certainly, the P-39 could not match the high-altitude performance of classic American warbirds such as the dapper and agile P-51 Mustang, nor the hard-charging, hard-hitting P-47 Thunderbolt.

And yet it was pilots of the Airacobra, not the Thunderbolt or Mustang, that achieved the highest scores of any aviators flying an American war plane during World War II. That this fact is not better known maybe because those Airacobra pilots flew with red Soviet stars on their wings.

Founded in 1935, the Bell Aircraft Corporation was known for unconventional designs such as the Airacuda bomber-destroyer which would have been at home on the cover of a science fiction magazine. In 1939, Bell approached the designs of its prototype XP-39 single-engine interceptor from a revolutionary perspective: instead of designing guns to fit the airplane, Bell designed a plane to fit around its gun—an enormous Oldsmobile T9 37-millimeter automatic cannon shooting throw the propeller hub. This had a caliber commonly found on early World War II tank guns. It would only take a single direct hit to down an enemy airplane, and the P-39 also carried two additional .50 caliber machine guns in the nose and four .30 caliber weapons in the wings for a good measure.

To make room for the nose-mounted cannon and thirty rounds of ammunition, the P-39’s Allison 12-cylinder V-1710 inline engine was mounted behind the cockpit—you can even see the exhaust just below the rear canopy—with the propeller shaft passing between the pilot’s legs. The design was also the first single-seat fighter to boast a third extending landing gear under the nose in addition to one on each side of the fuselage in a more stable “tricycle” configuration which is now standard. A raised bubble canopy that opened from a side door offered the pilot excellent visibility, and self-sealing fuel tanks and around 200 pounds of armor plating added to initial P-39D production models improved the Airacobra’s survivability.

The XP-39 prototype exhibited a very decent top speed of 380 miles per hour in 1938. However, the Army Air Corps demanded that Bell increase speed even further by trimming away drag-producing elements. Ultimately, the designers settled on eliminating the Airacobra’s turbo-charger air scoop under the fuselage to deal with the drag problem.

This decision proved fatal to the Airacobra’s prospects as a frontline fighter, as aircraft without the turbochargers handled like a brick above altitudes over 15,000 feet. In a few years, the U.S. bombers would sally forth on raids against Nazi Germany conducted at altitudes of 25,000 feet, and German fighters would climb even higher to ambush them. Furthermore, the Airacobra’s slow climb rate made it terrible at its original role of intercepting high flying enemy bombers. The P-39 centrally-mounted engine also pushed the center of gravity to the rear, making it prone to vicious spins once cannon ammunition was expended from the nose. Though the P-39 was not generally disliked by its pilots, it would also never have its own pilot’s association, unlike the four other major fighter types of the Army Air Corps.

Prior to the U.S. entry in World War II, the United Kingdom received more than 200 export-model Airacobras known as P-400s, which were downgraded to a 20-millimeter cannon in the propeller hub. But Royal Air Force pilots had fought many high-altitude battles with the Luftwaffe, and hated the Airacobra. Only 601 Squadron operated the Airacobra, flying the American fighters on a single combat mission before the type was withdrawn from British service. When the first two U.S. Army Air Force fighter groups arrived in England in the summer of 1942, the RAF persuaded the Americans to leave their P-39s behind and use British Spitfires Mark Vs instead!

A few P-39 Army Air Force squadrons did eventually see action in North Africa and Italy. There, they rendered decent service largely in a ground attack role capitalizing on their hefty firepower and good low-altitude handling providing air support for the Allied force in North Africa and Italy, and amphibious landing at Anzio and Southern France. However, the Airacobra’s initial entry into action proved inauspicious as nearly a score of fighters of the 350th and 81st Fighter Group went off course while transiting from England to Morocco and made forced landings in Portugal. The Portuguese duly confiscated the planes for their own air force, though they were so courteous as to pay the U.S. government $20,000 for each airplane!

The P-39 played a briefer but more prominent role in the Pacific theater. In 1942, Airacobras and older P-40 Warhawks were the only modern Army Air Corps fighters available to hold the line against the initial Japanese onslaught into the South West Pacific. Airacobras engaged in intense air battles supporting marine and army troops on the islands of Guadalcanal and Papua New Guinea. The poorly regarded fighters traded off a 1:1 kill ratio against more maneuverable Japanese aircraft with more experienced pilots, including the dreaded A6M Zero. However, P-39s repeatedly struggled to climb fast enough to intercept Japanese bombers above 20,000 feet, and its short range of 500 miles limited its effectiveness across the far-flung Pacific Islands.

Nonetheless, Airacobras played a vital role in intercepting Japanese bombers diving down to low altitude to pound Allied shipping. Lieutenant Bill Fiedler became the only American P-39 ace when he scored five kills over New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, including three Zeros in a row, before tragically perishing in a runway collision. Airacobras also saw combat in the long-forgotten campaign to take back the Alaskan Islands of Attu and Kiska from Japanese forces, though cold, wet weather would prove a deadlier foe than Japanese cannon shells.

Spare P-39s were passed on to beef up the Australian Air Force (they never saw combat) the Free French (involved in close air support over Italy and Southern France) and the 4th Stormo of the Italian Co-Belligerent Air Force (hitting targets in the Balkans). Unfortunately, these P-39s suffered numerous accidents, leading to the deaths of the Italian ace Teresio Martinoli and the French ace Pierre Le Gloan.

The Soviet Union’s Top American Fighter

Remember those P-400s the British couldn’t wait to get rid of? Well, the Brits packed off 212 of the fighters via risky Arctic convoys to Murmansk as hand-me-down military aid to a desperate Soviet Union in the winter of 1941–42. Wearily, Soviet pilots spent several months testing these fighters of ill-repute, doing their best to figure out the aircraft’s nasty spin problems.

And funnily enough, the Soviets loved them. Stalin even wrote a personal letter to Roosevelt asking for more! This fondness was not true of all Lend Lease equipment. The hulking M3 Grant medium tank was nicknamed the “Coffin for Seven Brothers” the Spitfire was deemed too sensitive to the cold. But the P-39 perfectly met Soviet requirements. In the Cobra’s first two months in Soviet service, the twenty Airacobras of the elite 153rd Guards Fighter Regiment operating out of Voronezh shot down eighteen bombers and forty-five fighters (mostly Junker 88s and Messerschmitt 109s), while only losing eight planes.

Unlike the high-altitude air battles of the strategic bombing campaigns in Western Europe, the majority of air operations over the Eastern Front occurred at low-altitude in support of troops on the ground—a domain in which the P-39’s deficiencies barely mattered. Furthermore, Soviet airfields were generally close to the frontlines, rendering the Airacobra’s short range irrelevant. Each P-39 also came with its own radio, a rarity amongst World War II Soviet fighters. Combined with more comfortable pilot’s seats and more generous armor plating compared to Soviet designs, the American fighter plane soon earned the affectionate nickname Kobrukshka (“Little Cobra”).

Around 5,000 P-39s were delivered into Soviet service, of which 1,000 were lost to all circumstances. 2,500 of the single-engine fighters were ferried by American and Russian pilots—many of them women—from Buffalo, New York to Alaska, from there across the Bering strait into Russia, and then completed a dangerous run across a chain of Siberian airfields to frontline units in Europe. Another 2,000 were shipped in crates via Allied-occupied Iran.

After the initial batch of P-400s, the Soviets primarily operated the P-39N variant with a more powerful V1070-85 engine that increased maximum speed to 390 miles per hour, and the P-39Q, which swapped the “paint scratching” underwing .30 caliber machine guns for two heftier .50 caliber weapons. However, Soviet mechanics often removed the wing-mounted machine guns entirely to improve performance, as VVS pilots preferred to fly with a smaller number of more accurate fuselage-mounted weapons.

Many histories single out the P-39’s cannon armament as making it an ideal ground attack plane. But in reality, the Soviets did not even acquire anti-tank rounds for the 37-millimeter cannon, and primarily tasked the Airacobra with shooting down enemy bombers and escorting Soviet Il-2 Sturmovik ground attack planes. Soviet Airacobra pilots were willing to ram German aircraft to take them out, and one P-39 ace even downed a German 109 by sawing its tail off with his propeller.

MiG Alley: How the air war over Korea became a bloodbath for the West

Declassified Soviet archives show a new picture about the air war over Korea in the 1950s.

The fog of war leads to all sorts of claims and counterclaims. Over time as military historians are able to get their hands on declassified war records from all sides involved, we get a more realistic picture of what really happened. The 1950-53 Korean War was unique because most of the aerial combat was between Russian and American pilots rather than among the Koreans. The conflict is also remarkable for the wild and preposterous claims the U.S. military made during and after the conflict.

In western publications of the 1960s the Americans claimed the ratio between the shot-down American and Russian MiGs was 1:14. That is, for every U.S., British and Australian jet lost in combat, the Russians were said to have lost 14 planes. During the next two decades as the war hysteria ebbed, the ratio was revised down to 1:10 but never below 1:8.

When the Russians declassified their archives after the end of the Cold War, and ex-Soviet pilots were freely able to present their side of the story, the West&rsquos story could no longer hold up. Former fighter pilot Sergei Kramarenko writes in his gripping book, &lsquoAir Combat Over the Eastern Front and Korea&rsquo that according to the most realistic (western) researchers, &ldquothe ratio of jet fighters shot down in engagements between the Soviet and American Air Forces was close to 1:1&rdquo.

But even this new parity accepted by western writers and military historians is nowhere near the truth. In reality, the air war over Korea was a bloodbath for the western air forces. It is a story that is well-hidden for obvious reasons &ndash pride, prestige and the traditional western resistance to admit that the Russians won. By a wide margin.

Russians rush to Korea

Soviet leader Joseph Stalin had no intention of entering the war in Korea. World War II was too recent a memory and Moscow did not want a conflict with the West that could lead to another global war. So initially it was just China that militarily supported the North Koreans. But as the western armies &ndash nominally under UN command &ndash threatened to overrun the entire peninsula and seeing the quality and shortage of Chinese pilots, Stalin took the decision to involve his air force in the war.

However, in order to keep Moscow&rsquos involvement a secret, Stalin imposed certain limitations on the Soviet pilots. One, they would fly under the markings of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force or North Korean Peoples' Army Air Force.

Secondly, while in the air, the pilots would communicate only in Mandarin or Korean the use of Russian was banned. And finally, Russian pilots would under no circumstances approach the 38 th Parallel (the border between the two Koreas) or the coastline. This was to prevent their capture by the Americans.

The last restriction was crippling &ndash it meant Russian pilots were prevented from giving chase to enemy aircraft. Since aircraft are at their most vulnerable while fleeing (because they have either run out ammunition, are low on fuel, or experiencing technical trouble), it meant Russian pilots were denied easy kills. Hundreds of western fighters were able to escape into South Korea because the Russians turned back as they neared the coastline or the border.

Despite such limitations, Russia came out on top. According to Karamarenko, during the 32 months that Russian forces were in Korea, they downed 1250 enemy planes. &ldquoOf that number the (Russian) corps&rsquo anti-aircraft artillery shot down 153 planes and the pilots killed 1097,&rdquo he writes. In comparison, the Soviets lost 319 MiGs and Lavochkin La-11s.

Karamarenko adds: &ldquoWe were sure that the corps&rsquo pilots had shot down a lot more enemy planes than the 1097 credited but many of those had fallen into the sea of crashed during landing in South Korea. Many of them had returned him so badly damaged they simply had to be written off, for it would have been impossible to fix them up.&rdquo

Prelude to Black Tuesday

The Korean War produced some of the most enthralling dogfights seen in the history of modern air combat. A lot of the action took place in "MiG Alley" &ndash the name given by western pilots to the northwestern portion of North Korea, where the Yalu River empties into the Yellow Sea. It became the site of numerous dogfights. It was the site of the first large-scale jet-vs-jet air battles between Russian MiG-15s and U.S. F-86 Sabres.

The turning point of the war came in October 1951. American aerial reconnaissance had detected construction work on 18 airfields in North Korea. The largest of these was in Naamsi, which would have concrete runways and be capable of staging jet aircraft.

Yuri Sutiagin and Igor Seidov explain in the exhaustive book &lsquoMiG Menace Over Korea&rsquo the implications of the runway expansion program. &ldquoThe new airfields, located deep in North Korean territory, would permit the transfer of fresh MiG-15 unites to them, which would expand the area of operation of these dangerous fighters and jeopardize the operation of the UN forces. In the event, the so-called MiG Alley would extend all the way down to the 38 th Parallel, and potentially expose the UN ground forces to continuous air attacks.&rdquo

On October 23, 1951 &ndash now known as Black Tuesday &ndash the western air forces cobbled together a vast armada of 200 jet fighters (F-86 Sabres, F-84s, F-80s and British-built Gloster Meteor IVs) and nearly two dozen B-29 Superfortress bombers (the same type that dropped the atomic bombs on Japan). The mission profile of this concentrated attack was to disrupt the flow of supplies to Korean and Chinese forces and to put the airbases at Naamsi and Taechon in North Korea out of action.

To counter this threat the Russians organised two fighter air divisions. The 303 rd comprising fifty-eight MiG-15s formed the first echelon and was assigned to attack the primary group of enemy bombers and fighter-bombers. The 324 th division had twenty-six MiG-15s and comprised the second echelon. It was responsible for reinforcing the battle and covering the 303 rd &rsquos exit from battle.

Go for the Big Ones

Focus and discipline were critical to successfully tackling the bomber threat. The Russian strategy was to ignore the fighter escorts and go straight for the slower Superfortresses. As the MiGs were heading to clash with the Superfortresses they caught sight of a group of slow British Meteors. Some of the Russian pilots were tempted by these enticing targets, but commander Nikolai Volkov said: &ldquoWe&rsquore going after the big ones.&rdquo

Like orca whales circling around and then swallowing their prey, the MiGs tore into the B-29 formations. Some of the Russian pilots attacked the American bombers vertically from below, seeing the B-29s explode in front of their eyes. It was almost a turkey shoot, as the crew &ndash 12 to 13 airmen &ndash of the stricken bombers bailed out one by one.

The Russians claimed the destruction of ten B-29s &ndash the highest percentage of US bombers ever lost on a major mission &ndash while losing one MiG. However, Kramarenko says some pilots claimed that twenty B-29s were downed in the week of October 22-27. Plus the USAF lost four F-84 escort fighters.

MiG-15 in hangar 1953 / Wikipedia

The Americans admit to three bombers downed in the air, while another five B-29s and one F-84 were seriously damaged and later written off. &ldquoEven so, these were quite painful losses for the American command,&rdquo write Sutiagin and Seidov.

Commander Lev Shchukin recalls Black Tuesday: &ldquoThey were trying to intimidate us. They were perhaps thinking that we would be frightened by their numbers and would flee, but instead we met them head-on.&rdquo

Clearly, Russian pilots had internalised what Sergei Dolgushin, a Russian Air Force ace with 24 victories in WW II, said is a prerequisite to be a successful fighter pilot: &ldquoa love of hunting, a great desire to be the top dog&rdquo.

The Russians nicknamed the B-29s &ldquoFlying Shacks&rdquo as these lumbering birds burned so easily and well.

Former USAF pilot Lt-Col Earl McGill sums up the battle in 'Black Tuesday Over Namsi: B-29s vs MiGs': "In percentages, Black Tuesday marked the greatest loss on any major bombing mission in any war the United States has ever engaged in, and the ensuing battle, in a chunk of sky called MiG Alley, still ranks as perhaps the greatest jet air battle of all time."

Impact on American morale

The air battle of Black Tuesday would forever change the USAF&rsquos conduct of strategic aerial bombardment. The B-29s would no longer fly daytime sorties into MiG Alley. North Korean towns and villages would no longer be carpet bombed and napalmed by the Americans. Thousands of civilians were out of the firing line.

But most importantly, the bravery and skills of the Russian detachment to Korea may have prevented another world war. Kramarenko explains: &ldquoThe B-29 was a strategic bomber, in other words, a carrier of atomic bombs. In a Third World War &ndash on the brink of which we were &ndash these bombers were meant to strike at the cities of the Soviet Union with nuclear bombs. Now it turned out these huge planes were defenceless against jet fighters, being far inferior to them in speed and armament.&rdquo

Clearly, none of the B-29s had a chance of flying more than 100 km into the vastness of the Soviet Union and remaining unscathed. &ldquoIt can be said with confidence that the Soviet airmen who fought in Korea, causing so much damage to the enemy&rsquos bomber aviation, had put off the threat of a Third World War, a nuclear war, for a long time,&rdquo says Kramarenko.

A few days after Black Tuesday, McGill was seated in the co-pilot's seat of a B-29 on the tarmac at Okinawa air base, waiting for the takeoff order that would send his bomber deep into MiG Alley. Instead of the usual pre-flight banter, the air crew sat silent and glum, as they felt they were going back "to our certain destruction," when news arrived that the mission was cancelled.

McGill explains the feeling inside the aircraft: "Those minutes before the reprieve taught me the meaning of fear, which I have never experienced since, not even now as life grows short."

Rakesh Krishnan Simha is a New Zealand-based journalist and foreign affairs analyst, with a special interest in defence and military history. He is on the advisory board of Modern Diplomacy, a Europe-based foreign affairs portal. He tweets at @byrakeshsimha. The views expressed here are the author&rsquos own and do not necessarily reflect those of RBTH.

If using any of Russia Beyond's content, partly or in full, always provide an active hyperlink to the original material.

• Royal Flying Corps •

I have produced a data file comprising RFC/RAF/RNAS aircrew names from a variety of documents and databases, presented in a standard format. The data file can be downloaded and browsed. This has a number of advantages over specific searches in that differences in spelling are highlighted, and there is a greater chance of obtaining all the relevant records compared to specific searches of a database.

The files comprises mainly officers and non-officer aircrew. There are generally multiple entries for each individual. It does not include rank and file unless they died in service or were employed as pilots, observers or aerial gunners. The database does not give a complete history of each individual - you can download the Military record from the AIR 76 series in the National Archives for the full service history of an Officer.

The original data contains a large number of errors and some may remain. The data is provided for information only with no warranty as to its accuracy or completeness.

The combined data file can be downloaded here in comma separated or tab separated text files:

Right click on the file name and specify 'Save link as . '. If loading the data into a spreadsheet open the spreadsheet program first, then open the file, specifying 'text' for each column in order to avoid data corruption.

Surnames A (csv format) (txt format) 11,363 entries. version Jan 2021

Surnames B (csv format) (txt format) 41,980 entries. version Jan 2021

Surnames C (csv format) (txt format) 33,714 entries. version Jan 2021

Surnames D (csv format) (txt format) 20,340 entries. version Jan 2021

Surnames E (csv format) (txt format) 7,765 entries. version Jan 2021

Surnames F (csv format) (txt format) 13,870 entries. version Jan 2021

Surnames G (csv format) (txt format) 20,589 entries. version Jan 2021

Surnames H (csv format) (txt format) 35,816 entries. version Jan 2021

Surnames I-J (csv format) (txt format) 13,074 entries. version Jan 2021

Surnames K (csv format) (txt format) 9,455 entries. version Jan 2021

Surnames L (csv format) (txt format) 18,721 entries. version Jan 2021

Surnames M (csv format) (txt format) 39,765 entries. version Jan 2021

Surnames N-O (csv format) (txt format) 11,911 entries. version Jan 2021

Surnames P (csv format) (txt format) 22,012 entries. version Jan 2021

Surnames Q-R (csv format) (txt format) 20,374 entries. version Jan 2021

Surnames S (csv format) (txt format) 37,627 entries. version Jan 2021

Surnames T-V (csv format) (txt format) 20,896 entries. version Jan 2021

Surnames W (csv format) (txt format) 30,901 entries. version Jan 2021

Surnames X-Z (csv format) (txt format) 1,933 entries. version Jan 2021

Alternatively you can download individual source files in csv format from the explanation sections below.

View a list of abbreviations used in the files.

In addition there are indexes in html format on this website which simply show initials and surname. These are large files and are provided simply to allow search engines to find this page. Do not download these pages - use the .csv/.txt files above, and load them into a spreadsheet or text editor for searching or analysis.

The data file has the following fields:

Field Details
RankRank at date of report/incident
First namesFirst names if known
DOBDate of birth in format
SqSquadron or RFC/RAF Unit
DateDate of report/incident in format
SourceSource document/index - see below for an explanation of sources
RefDocument or Internal image reference
Line no.Sequential Line number
NotesComments and notes


The following references are used in the 'Source/Ref' field of the data files - see below for a detailed explanation of each source.

Field Details
AIR 76RFC/RAF Officer records
WO 339Army Officer records
ADM 273Royal Naval Air Service military records
WO 372RFC/RAF Medal Index
PoWPrisoners of War (all theatres)
FatalitiesNotifications of death
Casualty BookAll names mentioned in the RFC/RAF casualty books (Western Front only)
Casualty ReportsAll names mentioned in the RFC/RAF Form W3347 aircraft casualty reports
MovementsAll names mentioned on the RFC/RAF Service and Casualty Form - Officers
Casualty CardsAll names mentioned on the RFC/RAF Casualty cards held by the RAF Museum
GazetteLondon Gazette entries for RFC personnel (currently to Oct 1918). The Reference field shows the Gazette year and page number
Army ListArmy List March 1918
RAF ListRAF list April 1918 (currently incomplete)
PostingsSquadron postings
Routine OrdersNames mentioned in Administrative Routine Orders
RAeC CertificatesRoyal Aero Club Aviators Certificates
EmbarkationUnit Embarkation Lists
Nominal RollLists of Officers and Aircrew by Unit at various dates
Log booksDetails extracted from Aircraft and Pilot log books
MiscNames extracted from Miscellaneous documents
USASAll known US airmen casualties and service details.

Detailed explanation of Sources

The combined file above comprises the following individual files, each of which can be downloaded separately.


The primary source of personnel information is the RFC/RAF service record.

Records of service for the First World War are held in the National Archives ('TNA'). The records are incomplete.

Army officer records appear in the WO 339 series and RFC/RAF officers in the AIR 76 series. The latter documents have been digitized and can be downloaded online for a small fee, inspected at Kew at no charge, and a watermarked image can be viewed online.

The WO 339 records are in the process of being digitized. Copies can be ordered from Kew, but the WO 339 record does not normally contain a complete service history and the contents of the file are often disappointing.

If an officer transferred from the Army to the RFC/RAF then he will have both an Army (WO 339) and RFC/RAF (AIR 76) file.

Royal Naval Air Service ('RNAS') personnel files are in the ADM 273 series.

The WO 339 index at Kew contains a large number of errors and inconsistencies. I have attempted to clean up the index and produce a more accurate version.

RFC/RAF NCO and rank and file personnel records appear in the National Archives AIR 79 series, indexed in AIR 78. Army rank and file are in WO 363.

An index to Australian personnel appears on the Australian War Memorial site.

The AWM site also contains embarkation lists, War Diaries and other digitized documents.

Similarly, Canadians can be found on the Canadian Library and Archives site.

The TNA has a number of online guides to searching for personnel.

Note that some records are indexed by surname and initials, and some by surname and first names.

There are spelling variations in the TNA data - I recommend you browse my database in the first instance to identify the relevant TNA records.

Service record downloads:

AIR 76: This is the complete (as at March 2014) AIR 76 index to officer service records from the National Archives.

The original data comprises a mixture of records showing surname+initials and surname+firstnames. This makes searching the TNA database tedious. For example if you search for 'Armiger W AIR' on the TNA site you will retrieve his military record but not his medal card. However if you search 'Armiger William AIR' you will find his medal card index entry but not his military record. I have enhanced the TNA index files by including an additional 'initials' field so that all entries can be browsed by surname and initials.

You can download the AIR 76 index individually as .csv files below:

In addition I have transcribed a small number of AIR 76 officer files to show the complete history of each officer:

WO 339: This is the WO 339 index to Army officer service records in the National Archives, as far as they relate to individuals who served with the RFC and RAF, and enhanced by the creation of an 'initials' field.

Note:Not all of these records have been incorporated in the Combined files.

WO 339: Here is entire WO 339 index (140,000 records) for all Army officers, including non-RFC and RAF men and women. This is my cleaned up version and so it differs from the TNA index.

The file has been split into three parts of about 50,000 each so each file can be loaded into a spreadsheet.

Army Regiment names have been standardised to comply with their official titles.

ADM 273: This is the complete (as at March 2014) ADM 273 index to RNAS officer service records in the National Archives, enhanced by the creation of an 'initials' field.


Most individuals who served during the war were awarded a service medal. An index to awards appears in the TNA WO 372 series.

Awards were also given for specific acts of gallantry or for general meritorious service. Awards were published in the London Gazette (see below) along with details of the act of gallantry, where applicable.

This is the complete (as at March 2014) WO 372 index to Medal card entries in the National Archives, as far as it relates to individuals who served with the RFC and Army, and enhanced by the creation of an 'initials' field.

The medal index for individuals who served only with the RAF (i.e. after 1st April 1918) has not yet been released


Rank and file who transferred to the newly formed Royal Air Force on 1st April 1918 were listed on the RAF Muster Roll.

The Muster Roll has been digitized by the RAF Museum and is available here


The National Archives only have limited information on Prisoners of War, but a few interviews with repatriated prisoners are available.

Cox & Co, who acted as agents for many officers, produced a book listing Officers who had been taken PoW (although the book contains errors).

Weekly communiques from the War Office listed casualties, including PoW. This was reproduced weekly in 'Flight' magazine, which is available online.

At the end of the war enquiries were made in order to ascertain the fate of missing aircrew. Lists of missing men were produced and the results of enquiries recorded. These lists are held in the AIR 1 series at the National Archives, particularly AIR 1/162, /435, /963, /1790, /1973, /1976, and /2395.

In addition there is a card index for each officer listing intelligence information on the fate of individuals.

The RAF Museum Casualty cards (see below) contain details of PoW's and their date of repatriation.

The International Red Cross have made all their WW1 records available online and these can be searched at International Red Cross

I have produced a partial list of aircrew Prisoners of War:


The Commonwealth War Graves site lists all war casualties, often with some background information in respect of next-of-kin. Not all personnel who died whilst serving with the RFC/RAF are identified as such in the CWGC database: do not select the 'Air Force' checkbox when searching.

A list of casualties has also been published as 'Airmen died in the Great War 1914-1918' - see Reference section. Some of the aircraft serials quoted in the book are incorrect.

A partial Roll of Honour also appears in 'De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour, which includes biographies and photographs.

HMSO also published lists of casualties in 'Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919' and 'Officers Died in the Great War 1914-1919'.

Canadian records of fatalities can be viewed or downloaded from the Canadian Circumstances of Death Register

You can download a complete list of RFC/RAF fatalities as an individual .csv file below:


Tracing U.S. personnel is complicated by the fact that most records are organized by State.

A list of all U.S. Officer airmen appears in the book 'Wings of Honor' by James J. Sloan jr. This records casualties by unit but unfortunately does not have a separate schedule of casualties.

The National Archives has some details of U.S. airmen serving with R.F.C./R.A.F./R.N.A.S. units including accidents, and these are included in the other files on this website.

The American Battle Monuments Commission website has details of American casualties buried overseas.

The U.S. National Archives have online pdf files, organised by State, listing all U.S. WW1 casualties, including enlisted men and showing their unit.

Identifying members of the Air Service involves going through each file for each State and extracting the relevant entries. Fortunately I have done this and produced a file showing all Officers and enlisted men belonging to the Air Service and related units who died in service during the war and up to mid 1919.

The file also includes miscellaneous lists of U.S. airmen serving with British units

Individual States also have records of war dead, and these are indexed here

U.S. Draft registration cards can be accessed via familysearch

Note that the single largest loss of U.S. airmens lives was on the 5th Feb 1918 with the sinking of the S.S. Tuscania


A list of Canadian Naval Airmen appears here: Canadian Naval Aviators

And an official Canadian government list (incomplete) is here: Canadian Airmen of WW1

I have formatted this data into a format consistent with the rest of this website:

A database of Canadian soldiers in WW1 is here: Canadian WW1 database


108 Russian airmen attended courses with the RFC during 1917.


Casualty Report

When an aircraft was seriously damaged a Form W3347 Casualty Report was completed. If personnel were also injured this was also mentioned. The report would not be compiled if the accident only related to injuries to personnel.

Transcripts of all the available Casualty Reports can be downloaded from the Aircraft section of this site, which includes an example report.

The following file reformats the casualty report file by surname. The majority of entries relate to the Western front, but there are some reports for home-based units and other theatres of war.

Casualty Book

A Casualty book was maintained by RFC HQ in France listing serious injuries to personnel incurred whilst flying, and missing aircrew. The book was updated if further information came to light, such as a German report on the fate of missing aircrew. It only includes Western Front casualties

All the available Casualty Book entries can be downloaded from the Aircraft section of this site, which includes an example page from the book.

The following file reformats the Casualty Book data by surname.

Casualty Card

Casualty Cards were maintained for each RFC/RAF individual whenever they were injured or killed.

The RAF Museum recently digitized the cards and they are available here

The existing Museum database contains a number of errors and as with any WW1 data you should check alternative spellings of names and different initials when searching.

An enhanced and corrected version of the data appears below.


Service and Casualty Form

Service and Casualty Forms B.103 were maintained for each RFC/RAF officer.

These forms show details of promotions and postings between squadrons and other units as well as their fate.

They relate only to overseas service with the Expeditionary Forces (France, Egypt, Mesopotamia and Balkans).

The RAF Museum recently digitized the cards and they are available here

I have corrected and enhanced these cards to include principal unit postings.

Movement Forms (version May 2019. 32538 records)


All Officer appointments and promotions to the Armed Services were printed in the London Gazette which is available for free download online. Rank and file appointments were not published, but lists and citations for significant honours and awards in respect of rank and file were included.

Extracts from the Gazette were printed in Daily Routine orders by each unit and in 'Flight' magazine - see below.

The Gazette database relies on digitized pdf files and is not 100% accurate. Make searches as wide as possible. When specifying a date range remember that an announcement could appear many months after the date of appointment/promotion.

The file below is a near complete extract of London Gazette entries from 1912 to October 1918 (the data range will be extended in due course).

I have converted Gazette announcements to a standard format and consequently the entries are non verbatim. I have not included the full text of award citations.

The Gazette was originally referenced by page number, and this is what is used in the indexes produced by the London Gazette. Unfortunately the new Gazette website uses Issue numbers rather than page numbers. However, specifying a single year in the date range and entering the page number in the search field generally returns the relevant page. If not, enter the previous or next page number and scroll backwards or forwards once you retrieve the document.


The monthly Army List recorded all officers of the Army, including the RFC.

The list showed the Army unit from which the officer had transferred, or whether he was a member of the RFC Special Reserve or on the General List. His date of appointment is also recorded.

From April 1918 RAF (and former RNAS) Officers were shown in the Royal Air Force List, and the former Army unit and date of promotion was no longer listed. The March 1918 Army list is thus in many ways more useful than the April 1918 RAF list, except that the latter confirms the names of the officers who transferred to the RAF.

Note that both lists show appointments and promotions that have appeared in the London Gazette (see below) up to the date the list was published. As there could be a delay of several months, and sometimes up to a year, before an announcement was made in the Gazette the lists do not reflect the complete status of the Army of RAF on any particular date.

The Army and RAF lists are available at the TNA, Imperial War Museum and some public libraries.

The RAF List for April 1918 has been digitized by the RAF Museum and is available here

A quarterly list was also published but this did not give a complete listing of Officers. Post-war quarterly lists are available online.

The RAF Lists for 1919 and onwards have been digitized by the National Library of Scotland and are available here

I am in the process of transcribing this: RAF List Feb 1919 (version Dec 2020)

The following is the complete Army list for March 1918 as far as it relates to the RFC.


All postings of officers to individual units appear on their military record (see above). A ledger containing details of the posting of Officers during 1915 appears in AIR 1/2432 in the National Archives.

Individual posting orders appear in the voluminous correspondence files from AIR 1/362 to AIR 1/407.

Postings also appear in each units Routine Orders, or the Routine Orders of the Administrative Wing

and also in the postings letters in AIR 1/1080

The following file comprises entries from the Postings ledger (AIR 1/2432), the letters in AIR 1/1080 as well as some miscellaneous postings from correspondence files.


Each unit of the RFC prepared daily routine orders which included movements of personnel. The RO's give an interesting insight into daily life. A detailed explanation of the entries and an example page appears in the 'Aircraft' section of this site.

The RO's are held in the AIR 1 series at the TNA but are incomplete.

The file below includes names mentioned in various Routine Orders, in particular early orders from the Administrative Wing. It is not a complete list.


Lists of RAeC certificates for 1910 to 1916 appear on Wikipedia and Graces Guide online.

They were also published weekly in 'Flight' magazine which is available online - see below, although the list is incomplete.

Most of the ancestry and genealogical websites also have lists of RAeC certificates, which included a photograph of the aviator. Some of these sites can be accessed without charge at public libraries.

The ADM 273 files generally include reference to any RAeC certificate and state the location of the test.

The issue of wartime certificates continued until 1928

This is an index to Royal Aero Club Certificates up to 1928.


Some embarkation lists for officers appear in the correspondence files from AIR 1/362 to AIR 1/407.

Embarkation lists for Australian personnel on departure from Australia, including rank and file, appear on the Australian War memorial website in the AWM8 series.

All of the Australian officers (but not rank and file) shown on these rolls have been included on this website.

The following file gives the names of Officers mentioned on various embarkation lists appearing in the correspondence files. Later data comes from schedules of recipients of secret maps, issued for the flight across the Channel.

The lists represent the names of officers who were scheduled to leave and consequently due to accident or illness some officers may not have made the crossing.

The lists include some Kite Balloon sections and also Australian Officers embarking in Australia for Britain and Egypt.


Nominal Rolls of Officers and aircrew for each Squadron or Unit were produced at least monthly.

Sadly few survive and the quality of many is very poor. I have transcribed the majority of surviving lists.

Due to the quality of the original documents (particularly June 1917), some errors remain in these documents.


These are the names extracted from various Aircraft and Aircrew log books.

A few aircraft log books are held by the National Archives and transcripts appear in the 'Aircraft section of this site. The majority of personal log books are held by the RAF Museum and I am very grateful to Mick Davis for providing copies of a large number of books.

This section will be added as time permits.


This weekly magazine published RAeC certificates, appointments and promotions, a roll of honour and obituaries as well as extracts from newspaper reports on the progress of the war and general aviation topics.

The Flight archive is available online at Flightglobal.

(Note that when using a search engine to find information you can limit your search to a specific site by using a search string such as: 'Flying Corps' site:


Several squadron/unit records include details of personnel:

A 'Field Report/Return' was prepared weekly showing personnel movements, sick lists and casualties.

A War Diary was prepared daily which would include details of significant operational activities, movements and casualties in narrative form.

The 'Record Book' listed the aircraft and crews participating in each mission or flight (The term 'Record Book' is however sometimes also used to describe other miscellaneous ledgers).

Post-war the War Diary and Record Book were combined into a single document referred to as the Operations Record Book ('ORB') and a few early documents survive in this form in the AIR 27 to AIR 29 series.

Reports were filed recommending personnel for promotion or recording conduct.

All of these records are incomplete. Surviving records are mainly in the AIR 1 series at the TNA. War diaries and some routine orders for Australian units are held by the Australian War memorial and are available online.


Aerial combats were recorded on Army Form 3348. These are held by the TNA in various files in the AIR 1 series, and have been collated into the book 'The Sky Their Battlefield' -see Reference section.


The following file comprises names extracted from the miscellaneous file in the Aircraft section of the site. It includes data from operations record books and correspondence files.

History Tells Us Why Russia Fears a NATO Invasion (Even If It Sounds Crazy)

While the idea of NATO attacking Russia may seem farfetched to most Americans, the Russians have reason to fear an invasion from the west. Over the past several centuries Russia has been repeatedly invaded by such powers as Poland, Sweden, France and Germany.

Russian state media has reported that the guard tank army of Russia's Western Military District has been reinforced to protect the country's western strategic border. Last month, Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu told Tass that the western strategic direction remains under the highest threat for Russia's military security, adding that, in accordance with the 2019-2025 plan of action, Russia will conduct a complex series of measures to neutralize the potential threats.

"The Separate Guards Motorized Rifle Sevastopol Red Banner Brigade named after the 60th anniversary of the USSR was included in the Guards Red Banner Tank Army of the Western Military District to perform tasks on ensuring the defense of the Russian Federation in the Western strategic direction," the district’s press service said. "It is armed with modern weapons and military and specialized vehicles, such as T-90A tanks, BTR-82A armored carriers, BMP-3 combat vehicles, and 9A34 Strela-10 and 2S6M Tunguska air defense systems."

In addition, the motorized brigade has been deployed in the Novomoskovsky Administrative District of Moscow.

Earlier this month, head of the Main Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces' General Staff Sergei Rudskoi declared that the Russian Ministry of Defense consistently registered high level of military activity of the U.S. and its NATO allies near Russian borders. He added that the alliance had ramped up its exercises that bear a "distinct anti-Russian character."

While the idea of NATO attacking Russia may seem farfetched to most Americans, the Russians have reason to fear an invasion from the west. Over the past several centuries Russia has been repeatedly invaded by such powers as Poland, Sweden, France and Germany.

The United States also took part in what could be seen as an "invasion" of sorts when troops were sent to Russia during the nation's Civil War in 1918. The American military intervention at Archangel, Russia earning the nickname "Polar Bear Expedition" and it was actually to prevent the German advance and to help reopen the Eastern Front following Communist Russia's acceptance of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Instead of fighting the Germans however, the American soldiers found themselves fighting Bolshevik forces.

Just two decades later Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union and drove deep into "Mother Russia," besieging Leningrad and reaching the gates of Moscow before winter set in and stopped the advance. Other Russian cities were occupied and by war's end many had been leveled – including Stalingrad, which had been the site of the mother-of-all battles and the turning point for the Germans.

Following the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia is arguably more vulnerable while many of its former communist-era satellite states – including Poland, Hungary and Romania, along with the Czech and Slovak Republics – now being members of NATO.

Thus, it is not surprising that the Russian bear would be sharpening its claws – by upgrading its naval fleets and conducting regular military drills and exercises, while also developing new hardware such as with its T-14 Armata tank and its hypersonic undersea missiles.

Such military hardware could be seen not for their offensive capabilities, but rather as deterrents to ensure that Russia not face yet another invasion from the west.

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