©2017 BY SVETLANALOKHOVA

CHAPTER 12

Project AIR

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THE WAR

Like all Muscovites, Shumovsky and his family heard his friend Molotov announce news of the German invasion over the public loudspeaker system. The crowds were stunned and silent. Chaos and confusion reigned during the next few weeks of the war. TsAGI had accumulated a mass of data on the combat performance and vulnerabilities of German aircraft, but the VVS was initially in no position to make use of it. Against the greater experience of the Germans in combat their tactics were ineffective. Given this lack of know-how, Shumovsky and his team were mobilised for the war effort. On 17 September 1941, Stalin was informed that ‘The Bureau of New Technology under TsAGI (the head of which is Shumovsky) is engaged in the study of enemy aircraft. The Bureau has special brigades that, on instructions from the People’s Commissar, leave for the crash site and investigate the design of enemy aircraft and issue reports to our designers.’