Air strikes were decisive in the Khalkh Gol victory

V.A.Sudets and Mongolian pilot Shagdarsuren /in middle/ were awarded for theirsuccessful combat missions
Mongolia received three P-5 airplanes, one of the first series with machine guns "Lewis", as a gift from the Soviet government in the summer of 1931.Along with the aircraft came Soviet pilots. As military advisers, they only  piloted war machines, and the Mongols learned from them.
V.A.Sudets was commander of the group. Within 10 days they made about 30 war flights. V.A.Sudets and Mongolian pilot Shagdarsuren received awards for their successful performance in combat missions.
After a series of clashes on the border of Mongolia and Manchuria in June and December 1935, the Mongolian authorities took measures to strengthen their defense in the country's south. In January 1936, a Mongolian squadron of airplanes P-5 and U-2 were transferred from Ulaanbaatar to the forefront at Tamsag-Bulag. There were also two detachments from the Soviet mixed squadron having already been stationed in the territory of Mongolia.
On Jan 7, the P-5s implemented their first reconnaisance of enemy positions and the next day began regular patrols. On January 15, Manchu soldiers crossed the border near the Khar Nuur but were stopped with the support of Mongolian and Soviet airplanes that took off from Matad airfield.
On Jan 22, after several days of fighting, teh Manchus and Japanese moved to the border. Our aviation carefully observed their movement up to sunset. Then, a series of skirmishes followed that involved aircraft from both sides. On February 3, 1936 about 600 Japanese crossed the border in the area of Bulan-Ders, they were covered by two reconnaissance airplanes.
Mongolian frontier-guards went against them and also an R-5 from the Tamsag-Bulag platform. Until February 12, Japanese troops controlled the Mongolians, but the situation soon changed. The Japanese started to retreat when the P-5s dropped bombs on the enemy column near the border.
On March 3, whole regiment (according to Japanese sources-reinforced battalion) crossed the state border in three places. The Japanese were moving in cars (there weer about 90). Their raid was supported by 12 light tanks and three airplanes. Enemy columns started to move up parallelly trying to cut the road between Bayan Tumen and Tamsag-Bulag.
After some time, the Japanese captured the town Assurmeo. From there, small detachments went to various strategic points in the district. On March 25, an enemy platoon in two trucks came to the village of "Mongolfish" at Buir Nuur and attacked the frontier outposts. Two P-5s found the Japanese and fired into their trucks. The enemy retreated back. The Japanese recognized their loss caused during this raid with one dead and four wounded. The Mongolians captured one abandoned truck.
On March 31, aviation started intensive operation; the P-5s flew from Bayan-Tumen. Each carried two bombs. Also, they raided five-six times to fire. On this day, Mongolian pilots quiet actively operated for the first time. The crew of the airplane with tail number '5' destroyed a truck with 28 soldiers and was given special distinction. On April 7, 1936 the Mongolian government awarded 13 pilots with military decorations and medals. 
By the fall of 1938, Mongolian aviation had 39 combat airplanes and six training P-5 and P-5SH planes. At that time, 27 Mongolian pilots were on the front. The main combat units were-1st (assault,17 P-5SH) and 2nd (soft bombing 19 P-5) regiments. Subsequently, Mongolian pilots participated in the battles at Khalkh Gol in 1939 and the defeat of the Kwantung army in 1945.
By the beginning of the war in the Khalkh Gol, the Japanese air force was in Manchuria, according to intelligence reports with a total of 450 airplanes. The first biplane R-5 was in communication with the 6th Cavalry division-VVS was lost in dogfight on May 22, 1939. This day became a point of reference for air battles over the skies of Khalkh Gol.
Initially, the Soviet fighter aviation operated inefficiently due to the bad air battles of the 22nd Fighter Wing. For example, on May 27, when Japanese airplanes were already in the air, the planes of brigade commander Kutsevalov failed to take off because of engine trouble and in the course of battle for the other four planes wee forced to land for the same reason.
On the next day or Monday 28, the 4th Squadron of 22th Fighter Wing was almost completely destroyed on I-15. Five of ten pilots were killed or reported missing.
Moscow reacted immediately. The very next day, they flew out three newly purchased 'Douglas' DC-3 passenger transports from the United States to the Central Airport in Mongolia. In the passenger compartment of the 'Douglas' were literally the elite of the Soviet Air Force-48 the best combat pilots and specialists, including 11 heroes of the Soviet Union, led by Deputy Chief of the Air Force of the Red Army Corps Commander Ya.V.Smushkevich.Among those that flew with him, were veterans of teh wars in China and Spain.
After arrival they were all dispersed in different units and began combat training. Within three weeks Soviet pilots were not fighting, only occasionally making reconnaissance flights. Finally, after completing the training, the flight team launched its decisive battle to take air supremacy.
In the afternoon of June 22, 105 Soviet fighters coming from Tamsag-Bulag airfields in Matad soum and a number of other sites, headed towards Khalkh Gol and Buir Nuur. Almost simultaneously they engaged the enemy in three places with 120 Japanese fighters. Expecting any easy victory the Japanese were fought aggressively. 
On that day, the Japanese lost more than 30 airplanes-the Soviet Aviation 14 fighters and 11 pilots. It was the first victory of the Soviet aviation over the Japanese in the river Khalkh Gol. Then, a group of night bombers was formed from Soviet and Mongolian P-5 pilots. First, the group consisted of eight bombers. 
The task was to constantly worry Japanese troops and to mask the noise of movement of military units on our side. Aircrafts approached the target at intervals of 10-15 minutes and bombed from a height of 1500-200 meters. 
On the night of August 27-28, the group attacked the Japanese forces in Jinjin and Depden Monasteries flying a total of 15 missions. According to different sources, until the end of the fighting in September, 'night shifts' made 158-165 flights  and dropped 60 tons of bombs. One of P-5 did not return from a mission-crashed in bad weather and the crew was killed. Four P-5s were included in the Soviet 19th Transport Squadron. They made the coherence flights.
The scale and nature of the battle on Khalkh Gol was the largest for the time of modern armies equippd with powerful aviation.

Crew of Mongolian fighter P-5


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