Operation Frantic was a series of seven shuttle bombing operations during World War II conducted by American aircraft based in Great Britain and southern Italy which then landed at three Soviet airfields in Ukraine. The operation ran between June and September, 1944.
|Part of Strategic bombing during World War II|
American plans to use air bases in the USSR began as United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) staff studies soon after the German invasion on 22 June 1941. After the Japanese attack on the United States on 7 December, the concept was expanded to hit the Japanese Home Islands from Siberia. However, Soviet air cooperation was negligible through 1942, and it was not until the Foreign Ministers' conference (Moscow Conference) in Moscow in October 1943 that the American delegation raised the issue formally with Foreign Commissar Vyacheslav Molotov.
At the Tehran Conference in late November 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt personally proposed the use of Soviet bases by American aircraft to Marshal Joseph Stalin. In this he was assisted by a personal appeal from his son, Colonel Elliott Roosevelt, also in attendance, who requested the bases for use of his reconnaissance aircraft then operating from Italy.
The position papers given to Stalin emphasized both reconnaissance and bombardment operations, and Stalin agreed to proceed with the plan "in principle." American heavy bombers stationed in Britain and Italy would fly strike missions deep into the heart of Nazi territory or occupied Eastern Europe. Afterwards, they would land at American air bases in newly recovered Soviet territory, re-arm and re-fuel, and then attack other targets on their return flights.
Operation Frantic, originally known as Operation Baseball, was intended to permanently establish three heavy bomber groups in Soviet territory, but only a small contingent, about 1,300 men, was eventually detached to the American bases in the USSR.
While the shuttle bombing technique complicated German air defenses, in practice most targets were already coming in reach of US bomber streams from Italy and England. Soviet vetoing of some targets prevented more effective use of the bases.
The operations were reduced and finally discontinued due to a number of issues; a catastrophic German air attack on the bases in June; Soviet hostility and non-cooperation that started in August; and the inability of the Americans to receive permission to use the bases for support of the Warsaw Uprising, which soured relations between the two countries.
The main operational difficulty encountered by the US forces was inadequate force protection by the Soviets. The Soviets refused US requests to introduce adequate radar-guided artillery and night fighter support, and US aircraft were frequently fired upon by Soviet forces.
|Operation Bellicose map|
The three bases reached their peak in July and August 1944, with a firmly limited complement of 1300 US officers and men. By October, operations were put on a "skeleton crew" basis, with a winter contingent at Poltava only of about 300. Americans remained there until evacuation after VE-day.
Operation Frantic has greater historical importance for the development of Soviet-American relations than for its effect on Germany's war effort. Starting out with high hopes, it eventually set a discordant note that foreshadowed the Cold War.
The ability to hit distant German targets was not the only, or even the primary, American objective for Operation Frantic. The political and military leadership wanted also to set a precedent and practical basis for later bombing of Japan from Siberia, after the USSR opened the second front in the Pacific; provide a model for developing trust and cooperation between the two powers, deemed essential for winning the approaching peace and establishing amicable post-war relations; and to develop close cooperation and exchanges in ancillary domains, including telecommunications and meteorology, air reconnaissance and air transport networks.
After approval was given by Moscow in February 1944, a rapid buildup followed. Staff exchanges were made; the first "echelons" of American personnel began to arrive; and a US delegation flew to Moscow in an operational B-17, which was used to demonstrate American bombing tactics to the Russians. A USAAF Eastern Command (General Alfred Kessler) was established at Poltava, operating in parallel with the new American Military Mission to Moscow (General John R. Deane).
When a high-level US delegation led by United States Strategic Air Forces (USSTAF) deputy chief of staff for operations, General Frederick Anderson (accompanied by Colonel Roosevelt), visited Moscow and the bases in May 1944, conditions were such that the go-ahead for actual operations could be given. At the same time, Anderson let his side know that the ultimate goal was the establishment of a numbered American air force in the USSR and a switch to Siberian operations. For diplomatic reasons, this could not be revealed to the Russians. As it was, the Americans had to make do with a much smaller presence in the Soviet Union than originally contemplated.
Frantic also tied in with other US initiatives. At Teheran, General Henry Arnold (chief of the Air Forces) offered Stalin 300–400 B-24 bombers, but noted that they would require a large Soviet training program in the United States. Stalin did not take this offer; instead, American bombers making safety landings in Siberia were kept and copied by Soviet factories.
Britain did not share some of the US objectives, and Prime Minister Winston Churchill believed the operation was not worthwhile. The Royal Air Force did not participate in Frantic. Although 21 RAF Avro Lancaster bombers did fly from a Soviet airfield in September 1944 in a separate operation - Operation Paravane - to attack the battleship Tirpitz.
Soviet objectives in agreeing to the operation cannot be determined with certainty. Unlike the Americans, the USSR had no doctrine or "theology" of victory through aerial bombardment, and had only a rudimentary long-range air force. Furthermore, when the survival of the USSR was in doubt, Marshal Stalin refused offers of air support, demanding instead maximum lend-lease deliveries. By the time Stalin finally agreed to activate the plan, in a meeting with US ambassador W. Averell Harriman on 2 February 1944, Soviet victory was assured. Indications are that Stalin wished to obtain all possible information about superior American technology, and assigned officers with the stated objectives of learning as much as they could about US equipment and concepts of operation. For example, the USSR demanded and obtained the secret Norden bombsight, and also obtained wide photographic coverage of Europe from American aircraft. However, this objective cut both ways, for the USAAF also learned of the extreme vulnerability of the USSR to air attack, and of the primitive technical and infrastructure conditions prevailing on the Soviet side.
Measured against its objectives, after brief euphoria Frantic developed into a costly and resounding failure that included one of the worst losses ever suffered by an American air force. Instead of cementing the alliance, it exposed its fundamental weaknesses and ended in great American bitterness. However, worthwhile operations against the Axis were carried out, and both sides learned much about the other.
After meeting with Stalin on 2 February 1944, Harriman radioed back that "Stalin approves project limited to 200 bombers and six airfields." In the end only three bases were set up. In haste, the United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe established a headquarters detachment at Poltava Airfield, in Poltava region in the Ukrainian SSR in late April, 1944. Poltava was designated as USAAF Station 559 for security purposes and was thus referred to in all messages and written correspondence. Poltava was one of three Ukrainian installations operated by Headquarters, Eastern Command USAAF. The others were Pyriatyn Airfield (AAF-560) and Myrhorod Airfield (AAF-561). All three bases were situated along the Kharkov-Kiev railway and were already far behind the front. Poltava and Mirgorod were to be used by heavy bombers (B-24 Liberators, B-17 Flying Fortresses), while Piriatyn would be used for long-range escort fighters (P-51 Mustangs, P-38 Lightnings).
The bases were farther away than the USAAF wanted, and despite the best efforts were barely adequate for heavy bombers. Soviet infrastructure was not up to Western standards; the spring season turned everything into a sea of mud; and the retreating Germans had destroyed whatever they could. At Poltava, the Germans left behind a large headquarters building, but it was booby-trapped with a radio-controlled bomb that was, however, discovered in time. Also, the American officers found themselves dealing with an unfriendly and suspicious Soviet bureaucracy. In general, US officers agreed that the Red Air Force was cooperative and eager to assist, but the political structure was obstructionist and a source of interminable delays and problems. After August–September, the Soviet attitude became universally hostile, and by 1945 the small American detachments left in great bitterness. Winston Churchill had not been very enthusiastic about Frantic, believing that it was placing a lot more trust on Stalin than was wise, and events seemed to bear him out.
Heavy equipment and bulky supplies went by sea to the ports of Murmansk and Archangelsk in the Arctic, and then by train to the airfields in the Ukraine. Additional supplies and key personnel flew in on Air Transport Command planes from the ATC base at Mehrabad Airport, Iran. As there was no trans-Caucasian railway, additional shipping went across the Caspian to Baku. The logistical demands were enormous since almost everything had to be brought from the United States, even the high-octane aviation fuel and the steel-plank runways. Delicate negotiations finally fixed a total of 42 round-trip ATC missions to make the bases operational for the AAF, and allowed an additional rate of two weekly support missions to sustain the US contingent. The issue of flight communications eventually ended with a compromise, allowing US crews to carry out navigation and radio duties with a Soviet observer resident at all related communications centers. In support of Operation Frantic, ATC delivered some 450 personnel and thirty-six thousand pounds of cargo by June 1944.
A photographic reconnaissance detachment with a handful of F-5 Lightnings was sent to operate local flights from Poltava in late May, and a "triangular trade" in reconnaissance operations using Italy, Ukraine, and England preceded the bombing runs and also ran concurrently with them over the summer. These flights were conducted by units of the 325th Reconnaissance Wing, commanded by Colonel Elliott Roosevelt.
After much preparation at the three Ukrainian airfields by advance elements of Headquarters, Eastern Command USAAF and Air Transport Command, the first shuttle mission ("Frantic-Joe") was conducted by Fifteenth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses and their P-51 Mustang fighter escorts taking off from airfields around Foggia, Italy, raiding the railroad marshalling yards at Debrecen, Hungary, and then flying on to the Ukraine.
After the first shuttle mission, the consensus was that operations had been highly successful, and a joint atmosphere of celebration and high spirits reigned at Poltava. The second shuttle raid assigned Eighth Air Force B-17s to attack synthetic oil facilities near Berlin on the way to the Ukraine.
What was unknown at the time is that after the raid on Ruhland, the attacking B-17s were being shadowed from a distance by a Luftwaffe Heinkel He 111 bomber, which identified the Ukrainian airfields where they landed. Other sources indicate that the Germans were already aware of the locations and had assembled a strike force at Minsk in anticipation.
On the night of 21 June, the Combat Wing of B-17s which earlier landed at Poltava sustained severe losses in a German air attack. Hungarian planes also participated in the attack. Personnel were alerted at approximately 2330 hours when it was announced that German bombers had crossed the front lines in the general direction of Poltava. At 0030 hours, Pathfinder aircraft released flares directly above the airfield and ten minutes later the first bombs were dropped. For almost two hours, an estimated 75 Luftwaffe bombers attacked the base, exhibiting a very high degree of accuracy. Nearly all bombs were dropped in the dispersal area of the landing ground where only B-17s were parked, indicating without question that the B-17s constituted the specific objective of the raiders.
Of the 73 B-17s which had landed at Poltava, 47 were destroyed and most of the remainder severely damaged. One American B-17 copilot, Joseph Lukacek, was killed. His captain, Raymond Estele, was severely wounded and died later; several other men suffered minor injuries. The stores of fuel and ammunition brought so laboriously from the United States were also destroyed. Three days after the attack, only nine of the 73 aircraft at Poltava were operational. The truck-mounted 50-caliber machine guns that the Soviet high command insisted would be adequate had no effect on the Luftwaffe, as no aircraft were shot down or disabled. Also, Russian and American fighter aircraft were not allowed to take off (by Soviet high-command) to engage the Luftwaffe during this attack; the reason for this is unclear.
American personnel losses were light due to adequate warning and the network of slit trenches distant from the aircraft parking area. Russian losses were much higher since work crews were ordered to fight fires and disable anti-personnel bombs while the raid was ongoing. Butterfly bombs continued to explode on the field for many weeks thereafter. Red Air Force losses included 15 Yak-9s, 6 Yak-7s, three trainers, a Hawker Hurricane, and a VIP DC-3. Soviet anti-aircraft fire was intense but random, and perversely served to outline the field for the German aircraft. There are conflicting reports about whether Soviet aircraft engaged the enemy, but since there was no radar intercept capability, even American fighters would have been ineffective.
The well-planned German attack was led by Oberstleutnant Wilhelm Antrup of KG 55 and carried out by He 111Hs and Ju 88s of KG 4, KG 53, KG 55, and KG 27 operating from bases at Minsk. The operation was nicknamed Zaunkoenig. After the He 111s left, the Ju 88s strafed the field at low altitude. He 177s from Night Reconnaissance Squadrons performed target reconnaissance, pathfinder duties and bomb damage assessment. There were no German losses.
After the Poltava disaster, the USAAF wanted to move the P-61 Black Widow-equipped 427th Night Fighter Squadron to Poltava to provide radar-enabled night air defense over the fields. However, the Soviets vetoed this plan, insisting that air defense was their responsibility. The P-61s were diverted to Italy. The shuttle bombing missions were not abandoned for the moment, but they were suspended until the mess on the ground could be cleaned up and the defenses of the air bases improved. Realizing that the Soviets could not adequately protect the heavy bombers from night raids, the Americans abandoned plans to permanently station three heavy bomber groups on Soviet airfields.
Because of the loss of fuel and the inability to protect the force, the next Frantic missions were composed of long-range fighters.
To keep the project alive, Fifteenth Air Force next shuttled P-38 and P-51 fighters to the Soviet Union in late July.
After balancing losses and battle damage against the value of the targets, US military leaders at the Soviet bases discontinue the fighter-bomber operations.
During this period, the United States at the highest level urgently requested the use of the Soviet bases for air support and supply of the ongoing Polish Home Army uprising in Warsaw. However, until the Poles had already been substantially crushed, Stalin refused all assistance and vetoed these missions. This caused a crisis in Soviet-American relations and changed US perceptions of Soviet war aims among both military officers and diplomats.
The attack on the Szolnok rail yards was the end of major Frantic operations, as the original targets had been taken by the rapidly advancing Soviet offensive. After the issues over Polish resupply, Foreign Commissar Molotov put the Americans on notice that they were no longer needed, and a very hostile climate, including orchestrated episodes of violence and theft, ensued at the bases. The USAAF, citing logistical problems and becoming weary of growing Soviet intransigence, announced a suspension of Frantic shuttle missions. Also, by this time air bases in the Mariana Islands became available to the Americans, and there was no longer a perceived need for bases in the Russian Far East. The US and Soviet advances by the spring of 1945 ended the need for shuttle missions and the ATC flew out the last US contingent of personnel from its headquarters at Poltava in June 1945.
Major problems were associated with the failure of air defense, but also with the eagerness with which Soviet fighters and artillery targeted American aircraft. Several American aircraft were downed, but the crews survived. From the Soviet perspective this was caused by the inability of US pilots to stick to the strictly limited corridors, altitudes, and time windows. On several occasions US aircraft became dispersed all over the region, which severely complicated Soviet efforts to control and track all foreigners. Soviet officers who had been too helpful to the Americans fell in disfavor, and one, Chief Air Marshal Alexander Novikov, who had received the US Legion of Merit, was tortured and jailed after the war. The problem of Soviet attacks on all aircraft in sight was deemed so serious that when President Roosevelt flew to Yalta in February 1945, the Americans insisted on placing observers at all nearby anti-aircraft sites.
Frantic was peripheral to the air war against Germany because most targets could have been reached from Italy. The Ukrainian bases were not used for two purposes for which they could have been decisive: air supply of the Polish Home Army and interruption of extermination camp operations at Auschwitz and other locations. Because US-Soviet collaboration was perceived by the Americans to be entirely a one-way street, it caused bitterness and suspicion, thus influencing a generation of USAF officers.
In addition, the Soviets learned of their own vulnerability to air attack and the enormous US technological advantage. The USAAF obtained insight into Soviet operations, and despite strict limitations obtained some additional photographic coverage which would become much in demand later.
Operation Frantic demonstrated the flexibility and reach of American logistics operating under trying conditions. It also demonstrated the political role of airlift logistics in terms of operational support that would have been impossible by conventional ground-based means. However, Frantic had not been a good use of Allied resources. The Germans judged it to be a propaganda exercise to impress the Soviets, but all it really accomplished was to make the strains in the Allied alliance more obvious.
The USAAF prepared a secret, detailed report on Eastern Command operation in December 1944 and made it available to the State Department. It is preserved at the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA) at Maxwell AFB, Alabama.
Four published books provide detailed analyses of the Soviet operations:
The 341st Bombardment Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 4038th Strategic Wing. It was last stationed at Dow Air Force Base, Maine, and was inactivated on 1 February 1963.
During World War II, the 341st Bombardment Squadron was a B-17 Flying Fortress squadron, assigned to the 97th Bombardment Group, Fifteenth Air Force. It earned Two Distinguished Unit Citations.342d Bombardment Squadron
The 342d Bombardment Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 4137th Strategic Wing. It was last stationed at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia and was inactivated on 1 February 1963.
During World War II, the 342d Bombardment Squadron was a B-17 Flying Fortress squadron, assigned to the 97th Bombardment Group, Fifteenth Air Force. It earned two Distinguished Unit Citations.427th Special Operations Squadron
The 427th Special Operations Squadron (427th SOS) is a specialized, covert unit of the United States Air Force. After reporter Andreas Parsch filed a Freedom of Information Act request, the Air Force told him the unit "support[s] training requirements … for infiltration and exfiltration." That is, it prepares troops for secretly slipping into and out of dangerous territory. The squadron is not listed by the Air Force Historical Research Agency. It is reported by the press to be stationed at Pope Field, North Carolina.The squadron was originally formed during World War II as the 427th Night Fighter Squadron. Its planned mission to defend United States Army Air Forces bases in the Soviet Union was cancelled when the Soviets did not allow the unit to be based in Ukraine SSR during the Operation Frantic shuttle bombing missions that took place in 1944. It later served in Italy, India, Southern China and Burma as a P-61 Black Widow night fighter interceptor squadron.
The squadron was re-activated during the Vietnam War to train Republic of Vietnam Air Force pilots in using the Cessna A-37 Dragonfly in counter-insurgency operations. Its most recent activation may involve counter-insurgency and counter-terrorist operations as part of Air Force Special Operations Command.97th Operations Group
The 97th Operations Group (97 OG) is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the 97th Air Mobility Wing of Air Education and Training Command . It is stationed at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma.
Col. Cornelius W. Cousland commanded the first 97th Bombardment Group activated from Polebrook, England, leading their first mission on 17 August, 1942 during World War II as the 97th Bombardment Group. It was the first Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombardment group to fly a mission from the United Kingdom against a European target, the marshalling yards at Sotteville-lès-Rouen in France. In late 1942 the group moved to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, where it earned two Distinguished Unit Citations for missions against Steyr, Austria and Ploiești, Romania. The group was inactivated in Italy on 29 October 1945.
In the postwar era, the 97th was assigned to Strategic Air Command (SAC) in August 1946, assuming the personnel and Boeing B-29 Superfortresses of the 485th Bombardment Group at Smoky Hill Army Air Field, Kansas. Following a four-month deployment to Alaska, the group moved to Biggs Air Force Base, Texas, where it converted to the improved Boeing B-50 Superfortress. The group became non-operational in February 1951 and was inactivated in June 1952 when its squadrons were assigned directly to its parent, the 97th Bombardment Wing, as SAC reorganized from the wing base organization to the dual deputy wing organization.
The group was redesignated the 97th Operations Group and activated at Eaker Air Force Base, Arkansas on 1 September 1991 when the 97th Wing adopted the USAF Objective Wing organization plan. Under SAC, the group operated Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bombers until January 1992 and Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers until inactivating in April 1992.
The group was activated in October 1992, absorbing the personnel and aircraft of the 443d Operations Group at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. The unit was assigned to the 97th Air Mobility Wing. At Altus, the group became the airlift and air refueling training group for Air Mobility Command. In 1993, it transferred to the Air Education and Training Command, continuing the same mission.99th Air Base Wing
The 99th Air Base Wing (99 ABW) is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Combat Command (ACC) and its ACC subordinate organization, the United States Air Force Warfare Center. It is based at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada and also serves as the host wing at Nellis.
A non-flying wing, the organization oversees the daily base operations and mission support functions of Nellis AFB such as personnel, finance, civil engineering, security and supply.
The 99 ABW is the successor organization to the World War II 99th Bombardment Group. The group moved to Algeria in May 1943, where the group and its B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft distinguished themselves while flying bombing missions against targets in Italy, Sardinia and Sicily. Then, in December 1943, aircrews moved to Italy and conducted missions throughout Europe. Active for over 60 years, the 99th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing was part of Strategic Air Command's deterrent force during the Cold War, as a strategic reconnaissance wing.
The 99th Air Base Wing is commanded by Col. Cavan K. Craddock. Its Command Chief Master Sergeant is Chief Master Sergeant Beadles.Bombing of Bucharest in World War II
The Bucharest World War II bombings were primarily Allied bombings of railroad targets and those of the Oil Campaign of World War II, but included a bombing by Nazi Germany after the royal coup. Bucharest stored and distributed much of Ploiești's refined oil products.Frantic
Frantic may refer to:
Frantic (film), a 1988 film directed by Roman Polanski and starring Harrison Ford
Frantic (video game), a Commodore VIC-20 space shoot-em-up video game
Frantic Films, a Canadian Visual Effects company
"Frantic" (song), a song by Metallica
"Frantic" (album), an album by British singer Bryan Ferry
Frantic, an album by Scottish band Gun
Operation Frantic, World War II shuttle bombing missions
Frantic Factory, the third level in Donkey Kong 64
Frantic Magazine, a monthly humour and parody magazine, published in the UK by Marvel UK from 1979 to 1980Index of World War II articles (O)
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Ouvrage Col Agnon
Ouvrage Col de Brouis
Ouvrage Col de Buffere
Ouvrage Col de Crous
Ouvrage Col de Restefond
Ouvrage Col des Banquettes
Ouvrage Col des Gardes
Ouvrage Col du Caire Gros
Ouvrage Col du Fort
Ouvrage Col du Granon
Ouvrage Coume Annexe Nord
Ouvrage Coume Annexe Sud
Ouvrage Ferme Chappy
Ouvrage Fontvive Nord-ouest
Ouvrage Four a Chaux
Ouvrage Grand Hohekirkel
Ouvrage Granges Communes
Ouvrage La Beole
Ouvrage La Dea
Ouvrage La Moutiere
Ouvrage La Serena
Ouvrage Le Lavoir
Ouvrage Les Aittes
Ouvrage Les Rochilles
Ouvrage Mauvais Bois
Ouvrage Mont Agel
Ouvrage Mont des Welches
Ouvrage Monte Grosso
Ouvrage Pas du Roc
Ouvrage Plan Caval
Ouvrage Plate Lombard
Ouvrage Roche Lacroix
Ouvrage Saint Antoine
Ouvrage Saint Gobain
Ouvrage Saint Ours Bas
Ouvrage Saint Ours Haut
Ouvrage Saint Ours Nord-est
Ouvrage Saint Roch
Ouvrage Sainte Agnes
Ouvrage Village Coume
Ouvry Lindfield Roberts
Ova A. Kelley
Over Here (TV serial)
Overloon War Museum
Overlord (1994 video game)
Oveta Culp Hobby
Owen J. Baggett
Owen submachine gun
Owen Tudor Boyd
Owen W. Siler
Oy Insinööritoimisto RatasList of air operations during the Battle of Europe
This World War II timeline of European Air Operations lists notable military events in the skies of the European Theater of Operations of World War II from the Invasion of Poland to Victory in Europe Day. The list includes combined arms operations, defensive anti-aircraft warfare, and encompasses areas within the territorial waters of belligerent European states.1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945Miskolc Tiszai railway station
The Tiszai Railway Station, operated by Hungarian State Railways, is the larger of two railway stations of the city of Miskolc, Hungary. Despite its name, the station is not close to the river Tisza; it was named after the company that built it.Myrhorod Air Base
Myrhorod Airport (Ukrainian: Аеропорт «Миргород») (IATA: MXR) is an airport located approximately 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) southeast of Myrhorod, in the Poltava region of Ukraine. The date the airfield was constructed is not known.Poltava
Poltava (UK: , US: ; Ukrainian: Полтава [polˈtɑwɐ]; Russian: Полтава [pɐlˈtavə]) is a city located on the Vorskla River in central Ukraine. It is the capital city of the Poltava Oblast (province) and of the surrounding Poltava Raion (district) of the oblast. Poltava is administratively incorporated as a city of oblast significance and does not belong to the raion. It has a population of 289,000.Poltava Air Base
Poltava Air Base (Ukrainian: Авіабаза «Полтава», Russian: Авиабаза «Полтава») is a military airfield located approximately 8 km (5.0 mi) northwest of Poltava, Ukraine. It is one of two airfields near Poltava, the other being Poltava Airport.Poltava Museum of Long-Range and Strategic Aviation
The Poltava Museum of Long-Range and Strategic Aviation (Ukrainian: Museum of the most important bombardment) – the museum of Long-Range Aviation equipment located in the city of Poltava on the territory of the former air base "Poltava-4".
Until 2004, the 13th Guards Dnepropetrovsk-Budapest Order of Suvorov had a heavy bomber aviation division based at the air base. It consisted of 18 Tu-22M3 and 6 Tu-16.
According to the Ukrainian-American Agreement on the Elimination of Strategic Nuclear Weapons, in February 2006, at the Poltava military airfield, the last Tu-22M3 bomber Ukrainian Air Force was cut. For the museum exhibition 2 bomber was saved, a few were brought from other cities.
In 2007, a museum was created on the territory of the former airbase thanks to the enthusiasm of former military pilots.
As of January 2014 and the exposition of the aviation museum includes 9 aircraft, aircraft cruise missiles (KSR-2, KSR-5, X-22) and aerial bombs weighing from 100 to 9000 kg.Pyriatyn Airport
Pyriatyn Airport was an airfield located approximately 12 km (7.5 mi) south of Pyriatyn, Ukraine. Satellite imagery appears to show that it has been abandoned.Shuttle bombing
Shuttle bombing is a tactic where bombers fly from their home base to bomb a first target and continue to a different location where they are refuelled and rearmed. The aircraft may then bomb a second target on the return leg to their home base. Some examples of operations which have used this tactic are:
Operation Bellicose, June 1943: The first shuttle bombing mission of World War II, flown by the Royal Air Force (RAF). On the night of 20/21 June the RAF bombers departed from their bases in the United Kingdom and bombed Friedrichshafen, landing in Algeria, where they refuelled and rearmed. On the return leg they bombed the Italian naval base at La Spezia.
Schweinfurt–Regensburg mission, 17 August 1943: The 4th Bombardment Wing of the Eighth Air Force using B-17s equipped with "Tokyo (fuel) tanks" for longer range, attacked the Messerschmitt Bf 109 plants in Regensburg and then flew on to bases in Bône, Berteaux and Telergma (French Algeria). Most of the aircraft that had been damaged were stranded due to the poor repair facilities in Algeria and some of them were never returned to service. Eight days later, on 24 August, on the way back to their bases in Great Britain, the surviving B-17s bombed targets in Bordeaux.
Operation Frantic, from June to September 1944: This was a series of air raids conducted by United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) bombers based in Britain or the Mediterranean which then landed at bases built by the Americans in Ukraine in the Soviet Union. As a military operation it made possible eighteen strong attacks on important strategic targets in Germany which would otherwise have been immune.
The Warsaw Airlift, August to September 1944: During the Warsaw Uprising the Frantic airbases were used for an airdrop to the Poles fighting in the city. On 17 September 1944 70 B-17s and 57 P-51s flew without bombs from Italy and landed safely in the United Kingdom. On 18 September 107 of 110 B-17s dropped 1,248 containers of supplies to Polish forces in Warsaw and flew on to the USSR losing one B-17 with seven more damaged. The next day 100 B-17s and 61 P-51s left the USSR and bombed the marshalling yard at Szolnok in Hungary as they returned to bases in Italy.
Operation Paravane, September 1944: A variation on the concept. On 11 September 1944 No. 9 Squadron RAF and No. 617 Squadron RAF flew from their home bases in Scotland to a temporary base at Yagodnik, near Archangel in the Soviet Union. From there, on 15 September, they bombed the German battleship Tirpitz in a Norwegian fjord and continued on back to Scotland.While shuttle bombing offered several advantages, allowing distant targets to be hit and complicating the Axis defence arrangements, it posed a number of practical difficulties, not least the awkward relations between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union. The operations were concluded in September 1944 after a three-month period and not repeated.United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe
For the current active command, see United States Air Forces in Europe
The United States Strategic Air Forces (USSTAF) was a formation of the United States Army Air Forces. It became the overall command and control authority of the United States Army Air Forces in Europe during World War II.
USSTAF had started as the Eighth Air Force, a complementary command to that of the smaller Ninth Air Force, Twelfth Air Force, and Fifteenth Air Forces. As the oldest command, which had begun the earliest American operations in Europe as VIII Bomber Command, the Eighth had provided British liaison and strategic tasking guidance to each of those younger organizations throughout the war.
With the in-depth Allied contacts and overall responsibility directly affecting the strategic bombing of industrial regions of Germany the Eighth's planning and intelligence staffs were the natural best choice to assert overall coordinated control with the D-Day Operation Overlord needs of the Allies, under General Dwight D. Eisenhower as Supreme Allied Commander. Subsequently, the strategic bombing effort's intelligence, targeting and planning, co-ordination, including mission designation command and control were separated—not without controversy and opposition—from actual operations commands in direct control of air forces on 23 February 1944. The new command was organized on the large nucleus of Eighth Air Force planning staff members, thereby creating the USSTAF—at which time the USSTAF was also given mission planning control over other US Air Forces opposing Germany and Italy, and shrinking the man-power assigned to the Eighth Air Force.
The USSTAF was established with the redesignation of the former VIII Bomber Command as the Eighth Air Force on 22 February 1944. The strategic planning command staff of what had formerly been the Eighth Air Force became a higher echelon command coordinating with the British in the target prioritization of the strategic bombing of the Axis. In this expanded role, USSTAF exercised operational control of the reorganized Eighth Air Force, administrative control of the Ninth Air Force in the European Theater of Operations and, to an extent, the operations of Twelfth and Fifteenth Air Forces in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations—all of which had theretofore carried out their own strategic planning. VIII Fighter Command was brought under the command of the newly redesignated Eighth Air Force, while VIII Bomber Command was inactivated.
Beginning in March 1944, Air Service Command, USSTAF progressively took over all base service functions. IX Air Force Service Command did away with its base air depot area and on 17 May transferred its most important installations (Baverstock and Filton) to ASC, USSTAF, which continued to use them to provide base services for the Ninth.Note:
There is some controversy about the USSTAF insignia/emblem. Most sources state the letters stand for United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe. However, there is evidence indicating -- at least initially -- it was United States Strategic & Tactical Air Forces.
 Flight magazine article. UK, April 1944.  Armed Forces Insignia/Freedom’s War. Graphic on card, US Army photo. USA, 1944.  Il Bombardemento Strategico. E. Bonaiti. Italy, circ.2006.  Air Support in the Invasion. Air intelligence summary, w/e 18 June 1944. (Quoted in Trident Scholar report. US Naval Academy, Annapolis, 1994.)  Alliance Review. Article, USSTAF veteran quoted. Ohio, July 2012.  Rome News-Tribune. Article, USSTAF veteran quoted. Georgia, June 2019.  Gordon Ellis, USSTAF veteran, to this contributor.  Ralph Scott, USSTAF veteran, to this contributor.Warsaw Uprising
The Warsaw Uprising (Polish: Powstanie Warszawskie; German: Warschauer Aufstand) was a major World War II operation, in the summer of 1944, by the Polish underground resistance, led by the Home Army (Polish: Armia Krajowa), to liberate Warsaw from German occupation. The uprising was timed to coincide with the retreat of the German forces from Poland ahead of the Soviet advance. While approaching the eastern suburbs of the city, the Red Army temporarily halted combat operations, enabling the Germans to regroup and defeat the Polish resistance and to raze the city in reprisal. The Uprising was fought for 63 days with little outside support. It was the single largest military effort taken by any European resistance movement during World War II.The Uprising began on 1 August 1944 as part of a nationwide Operation Tempest, launched at the time of the Soviet Lublin–Brest Offensive. The main Polish objectives were to drive the Germans out of Warsaw while helping the Allies defeat Germany. An additional, political goal of the Polish Underground State was to liberate Poland's capital and assert Polish sovereignty before the Soviet-backed Polish Committee of National Liberation could assume control. Other immediate causes included a threat of mass German round-ups of able-bodied Poles for "evacuation"; calls by Radio Moscow's Polish Service for uprising; and an emotional Polish desire for justice and revenge against the enemy after five years of German occupation.Initially, the Poles established control over most of central Warsaw, but the Soviets ignored Polish attempts to make radio contact with them and did not advance beyond the city limits. Intense street fighting between the Germans and Poles continued. By 14 September, the eastern bank of the Vistula River opposite the Polish resistance positions was taken over by the Polish troops fighting under the Soviet command; 1,200 men made it across the river, but they were not reinforced by the Red Army. This, and the lack of air support from the Soviet air base five-minutes flying time away, led to allegations that Joseph Stalin tactically halted his forces to let the operation fail and allow the Polish resistance to be crushed. Arthur Koestler called the Soviet attitude "one of the major infamies of this war which will rank for the future historian on the same ethical level with Lidice."Winston Churchill pleaded with Stalin and Franklin D. Roosevelt to help Britain's Polish allies, to no avail. Then, without Soviet air clearance, Churchill sent over 200 low-level supply drops by the Royal Air Force, the South African Air Force, and the Polish Air Force under British High Command, in an operation known as the Warsaw Airlift. Later, after gaining Soviet air clearance, the U.S. Army Air Force sent one high-level mass airdrop as part of Operation Frantic.
Although the exact number of casualties is unknown, it is estimated that about 16,000 members of the Polish resistance were killed and about 6,000 badly wounded. In addition, between 150,000 and 200,000 Polish civilians died, mostly from mass executions. Jews being harboured by Poles were exposed by German house-to-house clearances and mass evictions of entire neighbourhoods. German casualties totalled about 2,000 soldiers killed and missing. During the urban combat, approximately 25% of Warsaw's buildings were destroyed. Following the surrender of Polish forces, German troops systematically levelled another 35% of the city block by block. Together with earlier damage suffered in the 1939 invasion of Poland and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943, over 85% of the city was destroyed by January 1945 when the course of the events in the Eastern Front forced the Germans to abandon the city.Warsaw airlift
The Warsaw Airlift was a British-led operation to re-supply the besieged Polish resistance Home Army (AK) in the Warsaw Uprising against Nazi Germany during the Second World War, after nearby Soviet forces chose not to come to its aid. It took place between 4 August and 28 September 1944 and was conducted by Polish, British, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and South African airmen flying from Celone and Brindisi in Italy and denied flyover rights from their Soviet allies, who shot at them when the planes entered Soviet airspace. On 18 September, in the final stages of the Nazis crushing the uprising, one United States airdrop was launched from Great Britain and landed at Poltava in Soviet Ukraine as the distance to the drop-zone precluded the aircraft returning to base. The flights from Italy were night operations with low level cargo drops, conducted without fighter escort while the single United States Army Air Forces mission of 18 September 1944 was a high-altitude (and therefore largely inaccurate), daylight operation consisting of 107 B-17s protected by P-51 fighters. From the night of 13/14 September, Soviet aircraft flew some supply drops, dropping about 130 tons in total until 27/28 September. Initially, this cargo was dropped without parachutes, resulting in much of the payload being damaged or destroyed.
Allied aircraft dropped a total of 370 tons of supplies in the course of the two months of operations, of which at least 50% fell into German hands. The airlift proved to be ineffective and could not provide sufficient supplies to sustain the Polish resistance, who were overrun by Nazi forces on 2 October 1944. The airlift was further hampered by the Soviet Union not allowing Western Allies the use of its airfields for several weeks, forcing flights to operate at extended ranges from Italy and Britain and in so doing, reducing payload and limiting the number of sorties. Churchill refused to airlift in Polish troops who had taken refuge in the UK and wanted to join the uprising. An estimated 360 airmen and 41 British, Polish, South African and American aircraft were lost.