Army Air Defense: Lessons and Conclusions


Col. V.L. DOROKHOV, Candidate of Military Sciences

Col. N.P. SODOL (Ret.), Candidate of Military Sciences

Abstract. The practice of employing the Army Air Defense Forces serves as the basis of conclusions about their further development.

Keywords: Army air defense, antiaircraft artillery (AAA), surface-to-air missile system, World War I, Great Patriotic War, local war, armed conflict, forms and methods of combating adversary aircraft.

Army air defense (AD) emerged a hundred years ago on the battlefields of World War I and traveled a long and glorious road of development within a brief historical period.

The experience of AAA combat use gained during WWI and the Civil War was instrumental in organizing the air defense of the Red Army troops, writing manuals and instructions, and working out a theory of its employment in combat. In the late 1930s, Army air defense received new armaments, thanks to which its organizational forms continued to develop and a system of Army AA units finally took shape; formations got regular artillery (mixed-type battalions of small-caliber (SCA) and medium-caliber (MCA) AA artillery, while rifle corps were given MCA battalions); in active fighting they were supposed to be reinforced with antiaircraft atrtillery of the High Command Reserve (HCR).

Progress in the general tactics, the experience of using aircraft in the battles of Lake Khasan, the Khalkhin Gol River, in Spain, and in Finland, as well as in the World War II that had just broken out, showed that the role of air defense in Ground Forces operations had increased substantially. For example, the fight against Japanese invaders in the area of the Khalkhin Gol River (1939), and the Finno-Russo War of 1939-1940 yielded the first combat experience of Army air defense both on the tactical level and on the operational one, which taught us to protect troops from adversary aircraft and gave grounds for the following conclusions:

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