On the 106th anniversary of the Russian Aerospace Forces, Russia’s Ministry of Defense has published on its website a series of Central Archive documents, including a secret directive of Soviet leader Josef Stalin, dated 1941, ordering the counter-bombing of the German capital Berlin.
“A special place is occupied by the copy of a handwritten order of the State Defense Committee of the USSR, dictated by the Chairman of the Committee, Josef Stalin, at 2:00 am on August 9, 1941. The document ordered the commander of the 81st air division to carry out a bombardment against the heart of the Third Fascist Reich,” the publication says.
The order came only a month and a half after the beginning of the Great Patriotic War (the bulk of World War II, between June 22, 1941 and May 9, 1945, in which the Soviet Union defeated Nazi Germany and their fascist allies). As an alternative target, Koenigsberg was indicated, the old German city today called Kaliningrad that is now part of Russia thanks to WWII, now geographically detached from the rest of the Eurasian giant.
In accordance with this order, Soviet pilots made several attacks on the capital of Nazi Germany from Estonian airfields. Some of the aircraft were able to reach Berlin and drop bombs on the city. The respective attacks stopped after the German Army invaded Tallinn, the Estonian capital, in late August-early September 1941.
At the same time, the Russian ministry has declassified the directives, missions, registration cards and other documents, where the names of soldiers are found and the exploits of the Soviet pilots are unveiled.
In addition, on the site appears a photo gallery on the survivability of military aircraft of the time, showing its typical faults and damage caused by the fighting.
Although the western portions of the Soviet Union were overrun by the Nazis, the martyrdom of millions of Soviet citizens and a Soviet counteroffensive saw the ultimate defeat of Nazi Germany.