posted on Oct, 18 2004 @ 12:24 AM
This is not going to make anyone happy but the Russian based AVG sounds like it night just be someones marketing tool.
Normandie Nijemen was a wing of Frenchmen who flew with the Soviets until 1945. They flew Yak 3 and 9s and were transferred to the French Air Force as
a Soviet gift with the end of WW2 in Europe.
There was only one AVG group, the American Flying Tigers, commanded by Gen.Lee Chenault. It flew Curtiss P-40B Warhawks in the Burma China theatre of
operations. It was absorbed into the USAAF during 1942 aqquiring a USAF Fighter Group identifier, and flying out the rest of the war in the region.
Its initial pilots were USAAC, USN, USMC (including "Pappy" Boington of Baa Baa Blacksheep Fame- yes folks he really existed although the TV made
him bigger than life) who officially "resigned" from the services and flew as contract pilots with the Chinese Nationalist Air Force. Ironically
they only got into action a few weeks before Dec 7 1941.
The first RAF Spitfire Squadron to be known as an Eagle Squadron was formed in early 1941 and was the first of three. Fewer than ten US Citizens
actually flew with the RAF in the Battle of Britain in June to October 1940.
They were spread throughtout Fighter Command. The battle caught the imagination of Americans, and a steady flow either made thier way to England or
joined the RCAF. Churchill saw the possiblities and authorised thier creation to form a US identity within the RAF which Americans could relate
With the entry of the USA into the war and the arrival of initial elements of the US 8th Army Air Force in England the political decision was taken to
transfer the units to the 8th, complete with thier Supermarine Spitfires.
This gave the 8th a core of American pilots with experience in the ETO and amongst its first fighters.
Several squadrons of the RAF flew in Russia. A Hurricane Squadron was delivered in 1941-42 and flew around Lenningrad (St Petersburg) for several
months until its pilots had fiinshed training thier Soviet counterparts. The pilots and groundcrews then returned home on an Arctic.
Handley Page Hampdens of two RAF squadrons (one manned by the RAAF) were handed over in similar fashion.
Later in the war, Halifax and Lancaster Squadrons of the RAF Bomber Command flew several sorties out of the Lenningrad against the German Battleship
Tirpitz culminating in the successful Lancaster raid by Nos 9 and 617 (Dambusters) Squadrons which sunk her.
The USAF also flew several massed raids where UK Based Bombers and thier Long range escorts flew on to Russian airfields, and flew return trips.
Contraversially, the Soviets banned the use of its airfields for refueling of the planned allied Bomber and transport missions in aid of the Polish
Home Army's Warsaw uprising in late 1944. Only limited supplies were dropped at the edge of the aircrafts return range UK-Warsaw-UK.
This ended widespread Strategic allied air co operation with the Soviets.
In 1945 P-38 Lightnings of the US 15th AAF were assigned CAS duties straffing German forces holding up the Soviet advance in that area.
On the first day the P-38s successful staffed German Army units near the front line. Unknown to the pilots that line shifted overnight and the next
day they staffed the same areas, initially hitting German Forces but slicing into Red Army columns before the mistake was realised. There was no radio
coms between the P-38s and the Reds. A furious Soviet General ordered patroling Red Air Force Yak-9Ds to shoot down the Americans. In the dogfight
that followed several Yaks were shot down for no loss. A subsequent USAAF Investigation team arrived at a Soviet base to talk to the Soviet pilots and
staff involved in the event. They were shocked to be told "We shot ours, What about yours?"
Several USAAF B-29 aircrews involved in the Bombing operations against Japan in 1944-45 were forced to divert to Soviet Airfields with battle damage.
Despite being allies some of these aircrews were interned for up to a year, while thier aircraft were dismantled and studied by Soviet technicians.
The Tu-4 Bull was a result.
There were several units of the RAF and USAAF that were involved in the ferrying US and British built aircraft, and the training of Soviet aircrews. I
beleive these were based in Alaska and in Iraq and Iran from 1942 onwards. I also recall reading articles about some training and aircraft delivery
units operating in what are now some of the former southern soviet republics. No formed combat units of American or british pilots flew in any guise
on the eastern front, either in thier own colours or as a Soviet Regiment.
However several individuals were noted to have been allied observers with the the Red Air Force. Although I haven't come across confirmed accounts I
would not doubt that pilots being pilots, at the man to man level, they would have wrangled flights on ops.
Stalins official policy was he did not trust his allies (they were all spies in his eyes) and as far as possible he allowed them nothing to do with
Soviet Citizens, especially in his military.
Evidence of this can be taken from what happened to soviet citizens working in the convoy ports in the Barrents. Thousands of soviet citizens,whose
only crime was welcoming or meeting allied sea men who were risking life and limb bring Russia war supplies were sent to Siberian Gulags for years or
decades on the orders of Stalin.