Purpose: Offer a coherent overview of this lost chapter in the history of WWII – 3
Central Proposition: Soviets realized they needed to refit, retool, re-org and modernize. Plus, the purges really hurt (51). They started just prior to WWII, but the Germans hit them early. The ball was already rolling, however. They traded geography for time (70) and eventually, pushed them back. This was an overall observation and could be seen at Moscow and Stalingrad. Kuban was the turning point where their training and tactics, when combined with their overwhelming numbers (rough parity between more experienced VVS units and Luftwaffe – 164), finally began to turn around the entire air campaign.
- Peaked in the Spring of 41, but the expansion wasn't initially backed by training, logistics, spare parts, radio comms, or doctrine (1, 13)
- Luftwaffe took full advantage of the fact that the mod program was still in motion (14)
- VVS practically annihilated on 22 June but, following the pattern of their Army, regrouped and kicked butt
- After initial route, State Defense Committee's crucial decision in early July 1941 to evacuate Soviet War industries to the East allowed the aforementioned "trading space for time" to work. Eventually able to produce aircraft at a rate the Germans couldn't compete with. (53)
- "Quantity has its own quality." In the end, even by 1944 the VVSW was still missing something - the Luftwaffe was able to gain air superiority where they wanted to, but they couldn't keep it due to overwhelming numbers. While the VVS had improved their tactics and C2, they were only sufficient when combined with superior numbers to overpower the Luftwaffe.
- In the end, the Soviets' tremendous latent production potential was key to their victory. The Germans expected to overwhelm them rapidly. While they initially had them on the ropes, they failed to finish them off and ultimately succumbed to their superior production capacity.