Gone to Russia to Fight
The RAF in South Russia 1918-1920
- John T. Smith
15th June 2010
The Russian civil war was one of the major events of the last century, leading to the establishment of the Soviet Union. After the First World War the British Government, with the full backing of Secretary of State for War and Air Winston Churchill, sent British forces to help the White Russian armies end the Bolshevik Revolution. In 1918-1920 the RAF sent 221, 266 and 47 Squadron to fight alongside General Denikin in South Russia.
The RAF launched attacks on Red Army troops, ships and aircraft, and dropped bombs on Grozney, Astrokhan and Tsaritsin (Stalingrad), which was captured by British tanks twenty-three years before Hitler’s army was destroyed there. Many of the RAF men were experienced and battle-hardened pilots, having fought on the Western Front against the German Air Force; the Red Air Force soon learned the quality of their opponents.
With the overall collapse of the White Forces in South Russia, the British were forced to make an honourable withdrawal in 1920. The contribution made by the RAF aircrews to the White Russian cause was great, and out of all proportion to their numbers.
Research shows that this is the first book focusing on the 1918-1920 RAF campaign in South Russia ever to be published.