Soviet Interdiction Operations, 1941-1945

by Oleg Hoeffding

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Discussion of the role played by aerial interdiction in Soviet air operations against the Germans in World War II. The term "deep interdiction" is a direct translation of the term used in Soviet literature to describe operations against targets far enough behind the battle area to be distinct from operations in close support of ground forces. For the war as a whole, operations of this kind accounted for only about 5 percent of all combat sorties flown by the Soviet Air Force (168 thousand out of 4 million). Soviet claims as to what the deep interdiction effort accomplished are distinctly modest, yet several sources suggest that the Soviet military historians ascribe a fairly high marginal value to interdiction operations. There is no indication, however (with the possible exception of Stalingrad), that any major German defeat was primarily attributable to denial of troop reinforcements and replacements or supplies, either by air interdiction or by partisan activities.

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