Sunday, November 2, 2008


A ponderous pre-war Soviet bomber.  This kind of plane didn't stand a chance against decent fighters or flak guns.  Neither the Russians, nor the Japanese, nor the Germans were able to field a credible strategic bomber during the war.  The British had two, the Americans four.  As a result, Japanese and German cities were reduced to rubble.  During the entire war, the Luftwaffe managed to kill about 90,000 British civilians.  By 1945, Allied bombing was killing more German civilians than that each week.  The Americans killed more Japanese civilians than that in a single raid, several times.

On the Eastern Front, air superiority was always a local issue.  The front was simply too big to gain anything more than a local advantage.  The only exception to this was the pre-emptive strikes carried out by the Germans on June 22, 1941.  However, the Red Air Force was useless at that point, and wouldn't have been able to slow the Wehrmacht much anyway.  In all, air power never had the decisive impact in Russia that it had in the West.