26th Red Banner Air Army

26-я Воздушная Краснознамённая Армия

Military Unit: 20104


Activated 5.5.42 from the VVS Western Front, as the 1st Air Army.

Organisation 5.45:

15.6.45 the 1st Free French Fighter Aviation Regiment returned home to France.

In 7.45 three divisions were detached to the 13th Air Army in the Leningrad Military District (276th Bomber Aviation Division, 277th Assault Aviation Division and 330th Fighter Aviation Division), while two divisions and two regiments were detached to the 3rd Air Army in the Kaliningrad Region (182nd Assault Aviation Division, 130th Fighter Aviation Division, 117th independent Artillery Correction Regiment and 1st Medical Aviation Regiment).

12.45 the 1st independent Agitation Aviation Squadron and the 33rd independent Communications Aviation Squadron was disbanded.

Organisation 12.45:

In 4.47 the 213th Night-Bomber Aviation Division was disbanded, while the 315th Fighter Aviation Division arrived from the 15th Air Army in the Baltic States.

6.47 two Aviation Corps arrived, and took control of the following units:

In 1947 the 6th Guards Bomber Aviation Division left for the Tbilisi Military District, leaving the army with no bomber units.

In 6.48 the 303rd Fighter Aviation Division was transferred to the PVO (Air Defense Forces).

On the 10th of January, 1949, a directive was issued which gave new designations to a large number of units, primarily to avoid having several different units with the same number (1st Bomber Division, 1st Fighter Division, and so on), and thus the 1st Air Army became the 26th Air Army. The directive took effect in mid-February 1949, but the issue date of 10.1.49 is used here for simplicity.

Organisation 6.49:

In 1950 the 315th Fighter Aviation Division was transferred to the PVO (Air Defense Forces), followed by the 129th Fighter Aviation Division in 1952.

The 107th Fighter Aviation Division had been activated in 1950 to replace the 315th Fighter Aviation Division, but left the army in 1952 for the 22nd Air Army in the Northern Military District.

In 1952 two new Fighter Aviation Divisions arrived within the 26th Army, the 175th from East Germany and the 229th from Poland.

In 1953 the 175th Fighter Aviation Division was transferred to the 30th Air Army in the Baltic States, and was replaced by the 95th Fighter Aviation Division, arriving from the Far East (29th Air Army).

In 1954 the 157th Bomber Aviation Division and the 187th Bomber Aviation Division were activated with Il-28 bombers under the 26th Air Army.

In 9.55 the 330th Fighter Aviation Division arrived from Austria.

Realizing that the Il-10 assault aircraft had become obsolete, the entire Assault Aviation arm of the VVS (Air Force) was abolished by a directive dated 20.4.56 - both the 1st Guards and 311th Assault Aviation Divisions began conversion to the MiG-15 fighter, and joined the new Fighter-Bomber arm of the VVS in 1957.

Most Aviation Corps were disbanded in 1956, including the 58th Fighter and the 1st Guards Assault Aviation Corps.

In 1956 the 166th Bomber Aviation Division arrived from Germany. The planned formation of two more Bomber Aviation Divisions (117th and 124th) was cancelled.

It was probably also in 1956 that the 144th Fighter Aviation Division was transferred from the Long-Range Aviation (DA) to the Air Force (VVS), thus coming under the 26th Air Army.

Organisation 1958:

Under Nikita Khrushchev the Air Force (VVS) was heavily reduced in the years 1958 to 1961, and the 26th Air Army did not escape:

22.2.68 awarded the Red Banner.

Organisation 1962:

4.80 renamed VVS Belorussian Military District.

5.88 renamed 26th Air Army.

The 95th Fighter Aviation Division was disbanded in 1988.

Organisation 1990: