Monday, 11 July 2011

Video: U.S. Air Bases In Russia (1944)

2 comments:

TOF said...

That didn't last long. The relationship between the Sovs and us was iffy. Not only that, the Germans caught on and bombed the airfields the US bombers were operating from.

Drew458 said...

Gosh, the propaganda machine was running at full spin, wasn't it?

Operation Frantic was a near total disaster. The Soviets demanded the "right" to provide anti-aircraft defense, and then preceded not to do so. By the time the 4th "shuttle bombing" raid had been made, the Nazis found the airbases and bombed the crap out of them, destroying 2/3 of the bombers and almost all the fuel and ammo. The German bombing was so accurate and specific that it was long thought that they had been sold out by the Reds.

Regardless of what this video shows, the truth is that the US air crews were kept as virtual prisoners while in the Soviet Union. The Reds were not at all friendly or supportive. The airfields were total crap, hardly more than muddy cow pastures. The fuel supplied was low octane and stale; the aircraft engines could barely run on it.

The program continued to run for some time after the 20 raids in the summer of 1944. The bases remained open as emergency landing fields. My 3rd cousin had to use one, but after landing there he and his crew were kept prisoner by the Reds for months. Eventually they escaped and got back to our side, where they were promptly court martialed for upsetting the Soviets. That was essentially the opening act of the Cold War.