The Soviets mounted only one large-scale airborne operation in World War Two, despite their early leadership in the field in the 1930s. The Axis air superiority early in the conflict limited the ability of the Soviets to mount such operations, whilst later in the conflict ongoing shortages of materiel, including silk for parachutes, reduced the ability of the Soviet airborne to operate. Nonetheless, the Soviets maintained their doctrinal belief in the effectiveness of airborne forces, as part of their concept of “deep battle”, throughout the war. The largest drop during the war was corp-sized, and was not successful (the Vyaz'ma Operation, the 4th Airborne Corps). Airborne formations were used as elite infantry units, however and played a critical role in several battles. For example, at the Battle of Kursk the defence of the eastern 'shoulder' of the southern penetration by Guards Airborne units was critical to holding back the German penetration. The Soviet military sent at least one team of observers to witness British and American airborne planning for D-Day but took pains not to reciprocate the liaison.
Russia pioneered the development of combat gliders, but used them only for cargo during the war.