Everybody knows that the U.S. and Soviet Russia were allies during World War II. We all remember the famous Lend-Lease Agreement as well as the joint campaign against Nazi Germany as the common enemy. But did you know that there actually was an instance back in 1944 when the two countries fought each other in a severe battle in the sky?
Find out the fascinating details of this forgotten tale of history and make use of the following bonuses in the game in this week’s special:
30% discount on ammunition that you buy with credits
The biggest gun in the world is worth nothing without the right ammunition in it!
30% discount on all planes in the game that you buy with credits
Yes, you read right! All planes in the entire game are 30% off during the special!
The special runs from Tuesday 5th November 07:00 CET (GMT+1) until Friday 8th November 06:30 CET.
Towards the end of 1944, the Red Army had beaten the Nazis on their own territory and begun to push them further and further back west. On November 7th, the Soviet 6th Guards Rifle Corps was moving on Belgrade with orders to reinforce the southern wing of the Hungarian front. All of a sudden, just as they were passing the Serbian city of Niš, three groups of U.S. P-38 Lightning fighter planes appeared on the horizon. To the Soviets big surprise, four out of the 12 fighters split with the rest of their group, and suddenly and inexplicably began attacking the convoy of trucks, killing 31 and wounding 37 others.
Although, as could be expected, the Soviets had been caught completely off-guard, they didn’t fail to react immediately. Within minutes of the first attack, orders were given to have 9 Yakovlev Yak-3 aircraft take off from the nearby Niš airfield to engage the hostile U.S. fighters. The help could not have come any sooner! The Yaks arrived on scene just as the second group of P-38’s was starting its attack on the helpless infantry who were feverishly trying to establish a defensive position against the unexpected enemy.
The two groups of fighters collided in the air above the outskirts of the city and soon entered a heated dogfight that the amazed habitants of Niš observed from the ground. Both sides lost a couple of airplanes, some from the air-to-air combat and some shot down by the Anti-Aircraft barrage, which by that time had also joined in on the action. When the Soviets realised that they were shooting at Americans, one of their pilots, risking his life, climbed up to the main group of Lightnings and by waiving his wings signalled them that they were on the same side.
It wasn’t until that moment that the Americans took notice of the clearly visible red stars that were painted on the Soviet fighter’s wings. They immediately disengaged, initiated a 240 degree turn and took off westward where they re-joined their main squad of another 60 Lightnings patrolling the area. To this day, it’s not entirely clear why the Americans attacked the Soviet convoy. It is likely that the group of stray P-38’s got lost and, while an impressive 400 km off course, mistook the moving trucks for German enemies.
Historical records are not unanimous on exactly how many planes each side lost that day. While the U.S. speaks of 4 Yaks and 2 Lightnings lost, the Soviet side reports of 2 downed Yaks and 5 destroyed Lightnings. Because this incident is treated as top secret in both Moscow and Washington, nobody will know for sure until the official documents about this fateful event are declassified. Either way, this curious encounter remains to this day the only direct military confrontation between the U.S. and the USSR in the history of the two countries.
Don’t make the same mistake as the Americans - only shoot at your enemies, Pilots!