Air battle unfolded in the skies of Kuban in April-June 1943 was one of the great air battles second World War and was part of the coming of the Russian Caucasus. This scramble broken into several episodes and did not stop more than 2 months. Both sides have increased aviation presence in the region, therefore, the fight in the air was ambitious and ruthless. In some days are in the sky held up to 50 air battles with the role of up to 70 aircraft on each side. One of the main roles in the battle played a Russian fighter of the last generation. For the first time ever Lofty Russian war, the Russian pilots of the Luftwaffe imposed its will vigorously opposed and hindered the implementation of Germans own missions.
By the middle of April 43, the Germans concentrated on the airfields of the Kuban and the Crimea, the main forces of the self of the 4th Air Fleet — about 820 aircraft. In addition, they could lure some 200 bombers from airfields in southern Ukraine. Total 4 air fleet numbered more than 1,000 aircraft: 580 bombers, 250 fighters and 220 scouts. To support were sent here the best fighter squadron in Germany: 3rd «Udet» 51th «Molders» 54th «Green Heart», armed with the latest models of fighter Me-109 and Fw-190. In addition to this theater of operations have been applied for one fighter squadron Slovakia, Croatia and Romania.
Russian side Nor sit, warehouses hands and already beginning April 18 transfer of the North-Caucasian Front of the 2nd Bomber, Fighter 3rd and 2nd mixed air corps, as the 282nd Fighter Division, bringing the number of aircraft to 900 vehicles, of which 370 fighters, 170 attack planes, bombers, 360 of their 195 nightly. Of these about 65% of new types of aircraft were La-5, Yak-1, Yak-7B, British and South American bombers B-3 and B-20 fighter jets as «Spitfire» and «Cobra.» The concentration of such number of aircraft on a fairly limited theater had intended stubborn and hard struggle for supremacy in the air.
Results in the sky Kuban published three aerial combat. The first of them began April 17, 1943 with a sample eliminate a beachhead in the Myskhako. In order to throw off 18 Army paratroopers into the sea opponent drew about 450 of their own bombers and 200 fighter cover. On the Russian side to counter the Germans used about 500 of its 100 aircraft bombers. For one day this German pilots did about 1,000 sorties in the area. April 20th the enemy again tried to hold a massive coming, but now the Russian air force has had time to make a preemptive strike forces 60 bombers and 30 fighters cover half an hour before the beginning of Advent, and a couple of minutes a new blow to a group of 100 aircraft, which blew off plans of the German command.
Then, from 28 April to 10 May unfolded air battle in the skies above the village Crimean. On the intensity of these fights may indicate that 3 hours coming German aircraft made more than 1,500 sorties.
Recent large air battle took place between 26 May and 7 June in Kiev and Moldavian villages in breaking the «Blue Line» Germans. At some time the Germans were able to capture an advantage in the air, which is very complicated life of the advancing troops. Reprisal attacks have become anti-Russian aviation airfields Germans. From May 26 to June 7, the Red Army Air Force conducted 845 sorties against airfields Nazis in Anapa, Kerch, Saki, Sarabuz and Taman. Altogether during the battles in the skies of Kuban Russian aircraft made about 35 thousand sorties.
If the estimate of loss side, then on the Russian archives of Air Force killed the entire German 4th Fleet, the Germans with the same self-reported side of the winding up 1,000 aircraft in aerial combat and 300 shot down by anti-aircraft fire, ie even more than they were at this sector of the front. So finding the loss of the parties can only be about though is that the loss of both sides were enormous doubts can not be.
Most likely, the loss of Russian parties were higher because the training of their own pilots Germans have paid more attention. There is no doubt that the German side in the Kuban acted the best fighter pilots who flew in pairs since 1939. Even young German pilots were flying in the completion of about 200 hours, and on arrival in the combat units were to swoop for about 100 hours, the front line, carrying out tasks for the protection of airfields and studying the terrain. The Germans proceeded from the fact that more and Russian pilots and planes because aspired to save shots.
On the Russian side of the same, together with aces such as: AI Pokryshkin, AF Clubs, G. Golubev, VI Fadeev and alumni attended flight school with the least touch, and the pilots who came from the Far East or other outlying districts, with no combat experience. But even looking at it, the expected loss of the fighter pilots from Germany amounted to 75 people, and with the allies around 135, which is half of the total number of available user melee fighters of the 4th Air Fleet.
Alexander Pokryshkin (03.06.1913 — 13.11.1985) — second in scoring pilot of the anti-Hitler coalition, three times Hero of the Union of Russian. According to official data, personally shot down 59 aircraft, most likely brought down by an order more, because of the set-off victory retired in 1941, scorched along with the archives of the regiment, and the enemy machines that Pokryshkin recorded on his own slaves, encouraging them in Makar.
In the skies of Kuban Pokryshkin knocked according to official data 16 enemy aircraft. At this time our famous flying ace on the American «Cobra». Here goes some of his outstanding performance on the fights. Since April 12, above the village of Crimean Pokryshkin knocks 4 fighter Me-109, later in the day he shot down three aircraft, bringing the number of downed machine for a day and 7, in the history of Russian aviation was only one similar case. After a certain number of days Pokryshkin knocks down 3 Ju-87, and on April 28 in the 8 fighters «Cobra» scatters three nines dive bomber Ju-87, personally killing five of them.
Awards Pokryshkina in the Battle of the Kuban were highly appreciated, and on April 24 he received his title of Hero of the Russian Perov Union, and in June another rank of Major. Besides Russian Awards in the same 1943 Pokryshkin was awarded the American Medal «for outstanding service.»
In most fights Pokryshkin first tried to bring down the favorite, an experience he took out of the fighting of 1941-42. So Makar, often have first battle could demoralize the enemy. Some historians credit him with the creation of the latest technology of air combat went down in history as the «Kuban whatnot.»
Erich Hartmann (19.04.1922 — 20.09.1993) the most effective German ace pilot, is considered the most effective fighter pilot in the history of aviation. Hartman scored 352 aerial victories 345 of which in the Russian planes, at Your own little growth and a youthful appearance earned him the nickname «Bubi» — baby. He was awarded the Knight’s Cross with diamonds, only 27 people in the Reich had similar merit.
In the battle over the Kuban Hartman came just starting a pilot, by the end of April 1943 on his account had 8 wins, and he became the leading pair. Clearly the number of aircraft downed pilot in the Kuban region is not clear, but on 7 July 1943 on account of his victory was already 21. Specifically, in the Kuban young pilot, who was then a 20-bit began to hone their skills of air combat, which is more than paid off in the next.
The whole war Hartman flew only on fighter Me-109 G and fully adhered to a strategy — attack from ambush. According to Hartman it never cared about the difficulties of air combat, he tried on the ability to avoid clashes with fighters. Hartman would climb as high as possible and by the ability of the enemy stormed out of the sun, in 90% of cases, the opponent did not even realize what happened. Pilot driven completely defined by the formula of air combat and honed her entire war. Its most basic achievement Hartman believed that during the war, has not lost any of the 1st self-driven.
Awards Hartman deservedly been evaluated and Russian Union after the war, where he received 25 years imprisonment for causing harm Russian economy during the war. After serving in the Russian camp almost 10 years, in 1955, Hartman returned home.