Airbridge category includes articles about military airbridge operations.
This category has only the following subcategory.
- ► Logistics routes of World War II (13 P)
Airbridge category includes articles about military airbridge operations.
This category has only the following subcategory.
1. Battle of Stalingrad – Marked by fierce close quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians by air raids, it is often regarded as one of the single largest and bloodiest battles in the history of warfare. German forces never regained the initiative in the East and withdrew a vast military force from the West to replace their losses, the German offensive to capture Stalingrad began in August 1942, using the German 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army. The attack was supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing that reduced much of the city to rubble, the fighting degenerated into house-to-house fighting, and both sides poured reinforcements into the city. By mid-November 1942, the Germans had pushed the Soviet defenders back at great cost into narrow zones along the west bank of the Volga River. On 19 November 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus, the Axis forces on the flanks were overrun and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded in the Stalingrad area. Adolf Hitler ordered that the stay in Stalingrad and make no attempt to break out, instead, attempts were made to supply the army by air. Heavy fighting continued for two months. By the beginning of February 1943, the Axis forces in Stalingrad had exhausted their ammunition, the remaining units of the 6th Army surrendered. The battle lasted five months, one week, and three days, elsewhere, the war had been progressing well, the U-boat offensive in the Atlantic had been very successful and Rommel had just captured Tobruk. In the east, they had stabilized their front in a running from Leningrad in the north to Rostov in the south. There were a number of salients, but these were not particularly threatening, neither Army Group North nor Army Group South had been particularly hard pressed over the winter. Stalin was expecting the main thrust of the German summer attacks to be directed against Moscow again, with the initial operations being very successful, the Germans decided that their summer campaign in 1942 would be directed at the southern parts of the Soviet Union. The initial objectives in the region around Stalingrad were the destruction of the capacity of the city. The river was a key route from the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea to central Russia and its capture would disrupt commercial river traffic. The Germans cut the pipeline from the oilfields when they captured Rostov on 23 July, the capture of Stalingrad would make the delivery of Lend Lease supplies via the Persian Corridor much more difficult. On 23 July 1942, Hitler personally rewrote the operational objectives for the 1942 campaign, both sides began to attach propaganda value to the city based on it bearing the name of the leader of the Soviet Union. The expansion of objectives was a significant factor in Germanys failure at Stalingrad, caused by German overconfidence, the Soviets realized that they were under tremendous constraints of time and resources and ordered that anyone strong enough to hold a rifle be sent to fight. If I do not get the oil of Maikop and Grozny then I must finish this war, Army Group South was selected for a sprint forward through the southern Russian steppes into the Caucasus to capture the vital Soviet oil fields there
2. Berlin Blockade – The Berlin Blockade was one of the first major international crises of the Cold War. During the multinational occupation of post–World War II Germany, the Soviet Union blocked the Western Allies railway, road, the Soviets offered to drop the blockade if the Western Allies withdrew the newly introduced Deutsche mark from West Berlin. In response, the Western Allies organized the Berlin airlift to carry supplies to the people of West Berlin, the Soviets did not disrupt the airlift for fear this might lead to open conflict. By the spring of 1949, the airlift was clearly succeeding, on 12 May 1949, the USSR lifted the blockade of West Berlin. The Berlin Blockade served to highlight the ideological and economic visions for postwar Europe. These zones were located roughly around the then-current locations of the allied armies, also divided into occupation zones, Berlin was located 100 miles inside Soviet-controlled eastern Germany. The United States, United Kingdom, and France controlled western portions of the city, factories, equipment, technicians, managers and skilled personnel were removed to the Soviet Union. Stalin and other leaders told visiting Bulgarian and Yugoslavian delegations in early 1946 that Germany must be both Soviet and communist, a further factor contributing to the Blockade was that there had never been a formal agreement guaranteeing rail and road access to Berlin through the Soviet zone. At the end of the war, western leaders had relied on Soviet goodwill to them with access. The Soviets also granted only three air corridors for access to Berlin from Hamburg, Bückeburg and Frankfurt, in response, the Soviets started a public relations campaign against American policy and began to obstruct the administrative work of all four zones of occupation. Until the blockade began in 1948, the Truman Administration had not decided whether American forces should remain in West Berlin after the establishment of a West German government, Berlin quickly became the focal point of both US and Soviet efforts to re-align Europe to their respective visions. As Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov noted, What happens to Berlin, happens to Germany, what happens to Germany, Berlin had suffered enormous damage, its prewar population of 4.3 million people was reduced to 2.8 million. After harsh treatment, forced emigration, political repression and the hard winter of 1945–1946. Local elections in 1946 resulted in a massive anti-communist protest vote, Berlins citizens overwhelmingly elected non-Communist members to its city council. Meanwhile, to coordinate the economies of the British and United States occupation zones, after March 1946 the British zonal advisory board was established, with representatives of the states, the central offices, political parties, trade unions, and consumer organisations. As indicated by its name, the advisory board had no legislative power. The Control Commission for Germany – British Element made all decisions with its legislative power and it created its own central bodies headed by a secretariat seated in Stuttgart. Eventually the London Agreement on German External Debts, also known as the London Debt Agreement, was concluded, in response to the announcement of the first of these meetings, in late January 1948, the Soviets began stopping British and American trains to Berlin to check passenger identities
3. Warsaw airlift – The Warsaw Airlift was an Allied air operation to re-supply the besieged Polish Home Army in Warsaw during the Second World War. From the night of 13/14 September the Soviets began their own airdrops, 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, an estimated 360 airmen and 41 British, Polish, South African and American aircraft were lost. By the beginning of July 1944, Soviet forces had repelled the German formations over a wide front, vilnius capitulated to the Russians on 13 July and thereafter the main Soviet spearhead was headed towards the Vistula River. Over the next two weeks, Brest-Litovsk as well as Lvov had fallen to the Soviets and then the Red Army swung north towards Warsaw, by 1 August Soviet troops had entered the suburb of Praga east of the Vistula River. This action caused the Soviets to pause in order to re-group and they managed to occupy large areas of downtown Warsaw but failed to secure the four bridges over the Vistula and were therefore unable to hold the eastern suburbs of the city. With the Red Army stalled on the Vistula, German counterattacks, supplies were to be dropped in special waterproofed metal containers,2.45 m long and 0.9 m in diameter, weighing 150 kg each. Each aircraft could carry 12 containers and with 20 aircraft per mission, missions from Italy would follow the route along the Vistula, accessing Warsaw from the south along the river using the four bridges across the river as their aiming reference points. Supplies were to be released from a height of 500 ft at an airspeed of 225 kilometres per hour, Warsaw lay 1,311 km north east from the Allied bases in Apulia and Brindisi in Italy. The route from Italy was planned to take the north east from their home airfields over the Adriatic. They would then climb north east over the Carpathians and into Soviet held territory, the return leg was routed over eastern Germany and eastern Austria with the aircraft arriving back at their point of origin by mid morning the following day. These aircraft flew without fighter escort and had to rely on their on-board armament to ward of German night fighters vectored in on their flight-paths by German ground based controllers, a Luftwaffe night-fighter training school at Krakow presented a continual problem as did ground based AAA along the route. Aircraft also reported having been attacked by Russian fighters as well as Russian AAA close to Warsaw, major General Jimmy Durrant of No.205 Group RAF was in command of operations from Italy and assigned No.334 Special Operations Wing RAF to supply Warsaw. No.178 Squadron RAF was later assigned to support the airlift when No.624 Squadron was disbanded on 5 September 1944. 2 Wing SAAF contributed 31 and 34 Squadrons for operations, both equipped with Liberators, flights continued through August and into early September when all flights were suspended due to bad weather. This time was used to test a new bomb-sight which would allegedly have permitted more accurate supply delivery from a higher altitude, here the aircraft would be re-armed and fueled and would return to their home bases attacking second targets on the way home. These operations went under the name of Operation Frantic, however, on the night of 21/22 June 1944, German and Hungarian He 111 bombers had conducted a raid on one such airfield, destroying 43 B-17 Flying Fortresses on the ground
4. Demyansk Pocket – The Demyansk Pocket was the name given to the pocket of German troops encircled by the Red Army around Demyansk, south of Leningrad, during World War II on the Eastern Front. The pocket existed mainly from 8 February to 21 April 1942, a much smaller force was surrounded in the Kholm Pocket at the town of Kholm, about 100 km to the southwest. Both resulted from the German retreat following their defeat during the Battle of Moscow, the successful defence of Demyansk, achieved through the use of an airbridge, was a significant development in modern warfare. Its success was a contributor to the decision by the Wehrmacht command to try the same tactic during the Battle of Stalingrad. The intention was to sever the link between the German Demyansk positions, and the Staraya Russa railway that formed the lines of communication of the German 16th Army. However, owing to the very difficult wooded and swampy terrain, and heavy snow cover, on 8 January, a new offensive called the Rzhev–Vyazma Strategic Offensive Operation started. Their commander was General der Infanterie Walter Graf von Brockdorff-Ahlefeldt, commander of the II Army Corps, the first thrust was made by the 11th Army, 1st Shock Army and the 1st and 2nd Guards Rifle Corps released for the operation from Stavka reserve. The front soon settled as the Soviet offensive petered out due to difficult terrain, the pocket contained two viable airfields at Demyansk and Peski capable of receiving transport aircraft. However the operation did use up all of Luftflotte 1s transport capability, on 21 March 1942, German forces under the command of Generalleutnant Walther von Seydlitz-Kurzbach attempted to manoevre through the Ramushevo corridor. Soviet resistance on the Lovat River delayed II Corps attack until April 14, over the next several weeks, this corridor was widened. A battle group was able to break the siege on 22 April, out of the approximately 100,000 men trapped, there were 3,335 lost and over 10,000 wounded. The supplies were delivered through over 100 flights of whitewashed Junkers Ju 52 transport aircraft per day, the Luftwaffe lost 265 aircraft, including 106 Junkers Ju 52,17 Heinkel He 111 and two Junkers Ju 86 aircraft. In addition,387 airmen were lost, fighting in the area continued until 28 February 1943. The Soviets did not liberate Demyansk until 1 March 1943, with the retreat of the German troops, the success of the Luftwaffe convinced Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring and Hitler that they could conduct effective airlift operations on the Eastern front. Furthermore, it determined Hitler in his belief that encircled troops should automatically hold on to their territory, despite the Stalingrad airlift, the Germans suffered a devastating defeat nonetheless. Stalingrad, The Air Battle, 1942-January 1943, «Наука»,1969 Институт военной истории Министерства Обороны СССР, под редакцией и с предисловием члена-корреспондента АН СССР генерал-лейтенанта П. Жилина, cоставил и подготовил сборник кандидат военных наук, доцент, Утенков, научно-техническая работа проведена подполковником В. The Ghosts of Demiansk, In Memory of the Soldiers of the Soviet 1st Airborne Corps, the Soviet-German War 1941-1945, Myths and Realities, A Survey Essay
5. Kuban bridgehead – The Kuban Bridgehead, also known as the Goths head position, was a German position on the Taman Peninsula, Russia, between the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. Existing from January to October 1943, the Bridgehead formed after the Germans were pushed out of the Caucasus, the heavily fortified position was intended as a staging area for the Wehrmacht which was to be used to renew attacks towards the oil wells of the Caucasus. The bridgehead was abandoned when the Red Army breached the Panther–Wotan line, case Blue, launched 28 June 1942, saw Army Group South divided into two Army Groups, Army Group A and Army Group B, the former participating in the Battle of the Caucasus. Throughout the operation the German situation, especially that of Army Group B centered on Stalingrad, as Army Group B began collapsing in the North, Army Group A quickly found itself at risk of being flanked. It was forced to abandon its task of securing the oilfields of the Caspian, following the encirclement of the 6th Army at Stalingrad, Army Group A withdrew towards the Black Sea and Crimea. The 17th Army, commanded by Richard Ruoff and Erwin Jaenecke, constructed a defensive position across the Kuban River delta in the Taman Peninsula, the main, first defense line started by Novorossiysk and run rounghly northwards all the way across the peninsula. The Kuban Bridgehead then served to evacuate German forces as the withdrawal of Army Group South to the Dneiper Line had become inevitable, the Luftwaffe, operating from a field airport at Slavyanskaya, withdrew a further 15,661 men. Transportation over the narrowest point of the strait, measuring four kilometers, was done by Marinefährprahm ferries, a combined road and rail bridge was constructed, but was destroyed shortly before completion in October 1943