How the Soviets improvised to counter Luftwaffe night intruders

How to take on Luftwaffe intruders by night when you lack any dedicated night fighters? The Soviet Northern Fleet was forced to improvise — and the results were mixed

In the first half of March 1943, in the night skies above the Soviet Arctic port of Murmansk, a Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk pilot from the 2nd Guards Red Banner Mixed Aviation Regiment made a rare successful night interception. The operational report by the headquarters of the Northern Fleet Air Force, to which this unit belonged, reported in clipped military fashion, “At night: two Kittyhawks with SAB-50 flare bombs were scrambled to intercept a hostile aircraft in the Ura-Guba/Lake Kilpyavr area. At 20.25, Junior Lt Bokiy attacked and shot down a Ju 88 at an altitude of 3,000-4,000 metres. The downing was confirmed by radio intercepts of the fleet’s flagship command post.”

Luftwaffe loss records confirm that on 14 March, Junkers Ju 88 A-4 Werknummer 142298 failed to return from an operational sortie. This aircraft, with code letters 4D+IB, belonged to Stab I./KG 30, the headquarters flight of the I. Gruppe of Kampfgeschwader 30 ‘Adler’.

Ju

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