Why couldn't the Red Air Force have intercepted aircraft during the Berlin Airlift?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Color-Copycat, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. Color-Copycat Banned

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    Why didn't the Soviets simply intercept and escort US aircraft back to the West German border? Was there some kind of joint-airspace policy in the skies over East Germany?
     
  2. The Red A virulent, ignorant bigot

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    The Soviets wanted control of West Berlin, not WW3.
     
  3. The Oncoming Storm Well-Known Member

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    The WAllies had the use of three air corridors to West Berlin specified in the post war agreements. Had the Soviets attempted to intercept the Allied transports it would have meant war and Stalin knew where the redlines where.
     
  4. Stateless Well-Known Watermelon

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    The Allies had access through theWest Berlin Air Corridor - as long as they didn't stray outside those, the Soviets couldn't touch them.
     
  5. Thoresby Well-Known Member

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    Or they could touch them but it would trigger WW3.
     
  6. Cook Real friends stab you in the front.

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    And before anyone asks; yes, Soviet fighter aircraft did enter the corridors and try to force US and RAF aircraft to fly out of the air corridors where they could be intercepted and forced down. There were also collisions between transport aircraft and Soviet fighters.
     
  7. Armored Diplomacy Trump/Beelzebub 2016

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    For the same reason that the Western Allies did not forcibly break the Soviet land blockade. They weren't stupid. They knew actively attacking these airlifts could mean war or significant military clashes. At the very least, the transport planes would from then on come with fighter escorts, and the Soviet Union would have it's reputation tarnished on the world stage as a bully denying food to a desperate city.

    However, the Soviets did extensively harass Allied cargo planes. They would have their fighters buzz transport planes, obstruct parachute drops in the corridors, and shine searchlights to dazzle pilots at night. I seem to recall reading in a magazine that a Soviet Yak fighter pilot accidentally crashed his fighter into a cargo plane (I think an RAF plane) while doing a "watch me" maneuver.
     
  8. Pangur The Cat

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    They also thought that were was no need to as they did not believe that Berlin could be supplied by air only.
     
  9. Cook Real friends stab you in the front.

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    Neither did the west when it started.
     
  10. hugh lupus Known to very few....thankfully

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    Yep WW3 At that stage how many nuclear weapons did the USSR have at that time ..zero
    So Stalin was just pushing to see how far he could go without triggering a military response .The allies too did not want to escalate as well .
    Stalin pushed ..the allies pushed back ..within the rules.
    If Stalin succeeded then it placed the allies in a poor place diplomaticly ..not in a military sense as West Berlin had no military value ,or at least a very low one.
    Once Stalin found there was not going to be a quick win he gave up and moved another piece on the cold war chess board
     
  11. Cook Real friends stab you in the front.

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    Berlin was the most politically important city in Europe, and war is politics by other means.
     
  12. Garrison Well-Known Member

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    Which was a point the Soviets never got. West Berlin was a damn nuisance practically but politically no US president could afford to lose it on their watch, hence the endless frustration for the Soviet leaders.
     
  13. Star Chamber Well-Known Member

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    Answer to question: Because they didn't want deliveries of instant sunshine over every major Soviet city.
     
  14. Color-Copycat Banned

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    Didn't both NATO and the USSR regularly (almost) intrude on each other's airspace and intercept one another's aircraft during later decades of the Cold War? IIRC, USAF fighters regularly intercepted Soviet bombers that were loitering near Alaskan airspace, for instance.
     
  15. Armored Diplomacy Trump/Beelzebub 2016

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    There is a difference between buzzing and harassing aircraft, and shooting them down. Even if a potentially hostile aircraft enters your airspace and there's no war, you typically do not shoot it down. You warn it away, escort it with fighters, or force it to land, but you don't shoot it down unless as an absolute last resort.

    Now, if the Soviets tried escorting them away, the Allied transport planes would have either kept going, daring the Soviets to try anything, or they would have left and came back with fighter escorts.

    Aside from that, the Soviets technically had no right to be in Allied air corridors.
     
  16. Color-Copycat Banned

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    Doesn't "intercept" mean to fly alongside another aircraft with the purpose of escorting them out of your airspace?
     
  17. Pangur The Cat

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    Very different matter. You have every right to intercept an unknown aircraft that come near your airspace. In ways it worked out well for both sides, NATO get to practice intercepts against the real thing as it were and the Soviets got more information on how NATO would go about it if they were playing for keeps. Both sides were also able to get good numbers on intercept times,
     
  18. Armored Diplomacy Trump/Beelzebub 2016

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    Yeah, but WI the Allied planes refused to be escorted away? After all, they were operating in their own air corridors that the Soviets had no right to be in.

    And if the Soviets had fired warning shots, they may have turned away, but as stated previously, they would have been back with their own escorts.
     
  19. Pangur The Cat

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    and have a good look at them for any intelligence
     
  20. Color-Copycat Banned

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    Ok, so in the Berlin Airlift scenario, more often than not you'd be seeing American and British fighters escorting Soviet intruders out of the air corridor as opposed to the other way around on account of having a more legitimate claim to (forgive the expression) "right of way"?