Seeking info on Spanish Republican SB camouflage

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Senior Airman
Jan 11, 2014
I'm looking for more info regarding Republican SB's flown in Spain during the civil war.
More particular on this SB. It is still in Republican markings (as seen on the tail) but it caries a very different sheme as normally associated with SB's flown in Spain.

First a picture I didn't find in a publication/book. It shows an SB in a rather sorry state, with it's propellors removed. The picture shows a lot of interesting detail. A two tone camouflage on a lighter background.
Though not the "sand and spinnach" usually associated with this type.

Tupolev SB-2 Katiuska 002.jpg
I asume this might be the same aircraft, but photographed earlier;

The captation in the AJ-Press Monograpfie states that this Republican flown SB had an "interesting camouflage that is hard to determine" appantly it was coded "white 31" and the picture was taken in 1938 when the SB units were fighting for survival.

Next a picture from an auction (I asume from a Nationalist captured SB as the Republican markings are painted over) I always assumed the Nationalists repainted this SB, but it apears not to be the case...


And last this picture of a simelar camouflaged SB. This one apears to be still in Republican markings, red bands on the wing and fuselage, though I can't make out the tail marking.

So any insights on these SB's are most welcome. I'm curious to know which Squadron/Flight flew them.

A russian source says that the plane was a SB-2 powered by the М-100А engines and belonged to the 24th group of the Republican AF flying over El Carmoli at the north-eastern part of Spain in 1938. As far as the markings at the rudder are concerned... IMHO there are the standard republican Red/Yellow/Violet strips but there could be the white "4" applied over them for instance.

your next one ..

Not sure but the shots below suggest that's the same SB-2 seen in the pic above that could be the plane captured in January 1938 and used for testing later. However the russian caption sugests the plane could have been repainted. It is very likely the nationalist markings were painted over the original Republican insignia only. But the painting looks quite fresh to be the republican earlier one. Just my opinion. The colours for painting are said to be the sand and green for tops and a light blue for undersides..





the pic source: the net.

The russian sources also stated the plane was the White 31 in 1938 with a camo that isn't easy to work out. The crew , the pilot José Siruchida, the navigator KIasado Wilson, the gunner Garrera Enrique


IMHO that's not the same plane you consider in the first post. There is another layout of camo spots on the engine cowling.

Tupolev SB-2 Katiuska 003a.jpg

Tupolev SB-2 Katiuska 002a.jpg

The pic source: the net.
Thanks all for chimming in on this one and the overwhelming response! thanks a lot.
Even though I have plenty of SB sources on my book shelves, there is not much on the SB in the S.C.W. in these.
Perhaps there is more detailed info available in Spanish literature.

I'm quite intruiged with the the first posted (slightly wrecked) SB in Republican markings.( a 24 Bomb Group machine?) Most likely the result of a wheels up landing given the damage on the fuselage and the missing propellers. I found out there were at least 2 bomb groups active on the Republican side of the events. The 12th and the 24th.
Acourding to the sources I have. Russia sold about 200 SB M-100 (early models) to the Spanish Republican goverment. These were all delivered in the overall Aluminum finish.
So the paint was locally aplied with local paints. Sources claim that whatever was available was used. So the exact used colours are hard to determine. A light blue (close to RLM 65?) was used for the undersides and a Ochre/Sand and a Dark Green colour were used for the topsides.
16 of these were taken over by the Nationalist Air Force after the war ended. They were used until replaced by Ju 88's mid 1943?. Though some SB airframes were in the inventory up until 1948. I believe all of these were scrapped.

I'm guessing that both Republican Bomb Groups were spread out over the active battle zone and thus recieved their camo at unit level, this could explain why 12th group SB's had more conventional camo and 24th group had more blotchy camo. Also note that one group had most red painted wing tips, while the other had the more convetional red wing stripe. Ofcourse I am aware that most likely these +/- 200 SB's were not delivered at the same time, so the difference in camo could be a result of new camo directions.

I finally got my hands on an old MPM 1/48 scale vacu SB M-100 kit. I was waiting for the Two Bobs (Ex Xu-Tong) injection moulded SB, but thus far this kit did not come to frutation as far as I'm aware...
According to my references the SB bombers were getting the camo depending on how these were painted while delivering to Spain. These that had the VVS camo I mean the green at tops and light blue-grye at undersides got the spots or squiggles of a light green paint. Those that were coming silver got the sienna ( light reddish-brown also known as a brick ) or a sand one. While the sienna could be applied solo the sand was used with a dark or light green paints or the sienna for the spots or the squiggles.
I have gone through my old HDD and found the pic below... This is the same SB bomber we can see in the pic from the auction.But she seems to be at the state she was captured. Please notice the damaged glass of the nose section. Undoubtedly the one in the image posted in the first post , had the entire part replaced or repaired what can be seen clearly ( no camo paint on the frame there) . The camo spots and squiggles are the same at many areas although it might seem to be quite different at a couple of points. IMHO the plane wasn't repainted by the nacionalists because it was testing soon after capturing. Later when the inital camo started fadding it might be refreshed. It can be seen if compared with the serie of shots I posted in #2. The prop bldes were camouflaged too. Although it is quite difficult to say that's the same plane ( we can see the starboard of her only ) but I believe that's the same one tested and used by nationalists. What is more I would say that's the plane seen in the pic uploaded by Michael as well. Additionally it looks like the nacionalists repainted the SB planes that were taken over late when the civil war ended and they didn't do that for all captured SBs immediately.


Here I have marked the same areas that have the camo squiggles of the same shapes applied. If you look quite close up you will notice that the camo spots and squiggles for the captured plane look like being of a little bit different shapes, I mean smaller ones. But in fact, these are just more faded at edges . That's a pity the plane in the auction pic, doesn't have the props immobile because we could say if these were camouflaged or not. Also it would be the evidence that's the same plane seen in the images uploaded in all posts here


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