I'm slowly moving my way through Christer Bergstrom's Bagration to Berlin - the Final Air Battles in the East 1944-1945 (slow because it is choc full of detailed data and resources, it's not a light read).

I was idly wondering whether there was any Western tactical air support during the peak of the Battle of Berlin, including the battles around the city, e.g. Seelower Heights, Halbe, etc?

Western bombing of the city, according to Wikipedia (*)

The major Western Allied contribution to the battle was the bombing of Berlin during 1945. During 1945 the United States Army Air Forces launched a number of very large daytime raids on Berlin and for 36 nights in succession, scores of RAF Mosquitos bombed the German capital, ending on the night of 20/21 April 1945 just before the Soviets entered the city.

Did the Soviets handle all tactical air support or did the Western allies contribute, at least closer to the Elbe? Or was the fear of friendly fire and complications too great?

Did Eisenhower's disinterest in risking/spending lives for areas that would be in the Soviet zone of influence anyway extend to the air forces?

(*) Which has footnotes pointing at

Milward, Alan S. (1980), War, Economy and Society, 1939–1945, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0-520-03942-1

McInnis, Edgar (1946), The war 6, Oxford University Press

  • 1
    Remember of Normandie-Niemen, but they didn't participate in the battle for Berlin being busy under Koenigsberg/Kaliningrad.
    – Matt
    May 14, 2016 at 9:15
  • @Matt I must admit I've never heard of them! Must do more research into them. Thanks!
    – Marakai
    May 14, 2016 at 10:53
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    The Western Allies had many problems coordinating air and ground missions in WWII that I doubt this was possible. The Soviets would have to use the same radio frequencies as the aircraft, in WWII that's a hardware change. The pilots would have to have maps of the area. Both sides would have to use the same system for designating targets. Soviet AAA gunners would have to be made aware of Allied aircraft silhouettes and markings so as not to fire on them. There would be language issues between the Soviet FAC and the probably English speaking pilots.
    – Schwern
    May 17, 2016 at 22:03

1 Answer 1


The US Army Air Force did not, as a matter of policy, operate in Soviet theatres of battle.

Earlier on in the war there were several extremely unpleasant friendly fire incidents. In one case on November 7, 1944, American fighter aircraft from the 15th Air Force based in Italy strafed a Soviet column in Yugoslavia thinking it was retreating Germans. Many Russian soldiers, including officers, were killed. Incidents such as this quickly led to an exclusion policy.

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    That doesn't sound right. Do you have a source? Soviet columns in Yugoslavia in 1943?!
    – Marakai
    May 13, 2016 at 22:16
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    Just a quick Wikipedia check stated that the 3rd Ukrainian Front didn't even enter Yugoslavia until October 1944!
    – Marakai
    May 13, 2016 at 22:21
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    @Marakai I got the date wrong, it was November 1944, not 1943. I have updated the answer. May 13, 2016 at 23:53
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    I would like more sources and references for this answer, so I can accept it as answer. Specifically regarding the "policy" you mention.
    – Marakai
    May 15, 2016 at 20:33
  • Did you ever find any source for your answer? I've been going through old questions of mine and would like to give you a tickmark, but it still seems incomplete.
    – Marakai
    Jul 6, 2017 at 2:15

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