Soviet Air Force (VVS)

Discussion in 'Aircraft Pictures' started by gekho, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    At first, the Soviet Union found itself out of the war, shielded by a non-aggression pact made between Hitler and Stalin, and then in the thick of it when Germany opted to ignore the agreement and attack Russia, on June 22, 1941. (The Soviet Union did not declare war on Japan until six days before Japan surrendered.) The role of air power in Russia was difficult to determine: the areas involved were too vast to permit either side to claim air superiority, and the weather often made the entire issue moot, as the war was sometimes fought strictly on the ground and by artillery. Aviation had developed in Russia along active and parallel lines to its development in Europe and in America. The father of Russian aviation, Nikolai Zhukovsky, had established a wind tunnel research station in Moscow in 1914, beginning a deep tradition of aeronautical research in Russia. The designer who became the most prolific in the years following World War I was Andrei Nikolaevich Tupolev. It was in a Tupolev plane, the ANT-25, that three Russian fliers made their 1937 nonstop flight from Moscow to California over the North Pole, a flight of 6,750 miles (10,861km) completed in sixty-two hours and seventeen minutes. Tupolev continued the Russian fascination for large aircraft begun by Sikorsky and his IIya Mouremetz, and eventually built the Maxim Gorky and the ANT- 25bis. Meanwhile, the Soviets realized that its air force would have to include fighters as well. This effort was led by Nikolai Polikarpov, who was to design many of the best Russian fighters through World War II. The two men who developed the pilot corps of the Red Air Force were Yakov Smushkevich, who coordinated the Soviet air activities during the Spanish Civil War, and General Alexander Novikov, commander of the Soviet Air Force during World War II. The planes that the Soviets deployed in the war formed the foundation of the air force that afterward would vie with the Western powers for superiority in the sky.

    The plane that became the cornerstone of the Russian air campaign was the Ilyushin IL-2m-3 Shturmovik, a two-man fighter-bomber dive-bomber with a powerful 1,770-horse- power engine and armour to withstand scores of direct hits. The Shturmovik was known as the “Flying Tank,” and the Soviets built and deployed an incredible thirty-six thousand of them during the war. Its two cannons and two machine guns, combined with a bomb-load capacity of 1,320 pounds (660kg), made it a powerful weapon and support for ground troops. The only Soviet bomber of consequence in the war was the Petlyakov PE-8, a bomber with a range adequate for targets inside Germany. In the category of fighters, the Soviet Air force relied on four planes, each with strengths and weaknesses that Russian fliers came to know intimately. The first was an American plane: the Bell P-39 Airacobra, five thousand of which were given to the Soviets when the plane was spurned by American pilots.The Russians used it as a low-altitude fighter and for ground support; fitting it with a more powerful cannon made it an effective antitank weapon. The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-3 was a fighter with poor manoeuvrability and meagre armament, yet it proved an irritant to German planes because it climbed and dove as no other fighter. A Messerschmitt could, if not alert, suddenly find itself being swooped down on from above by a MiG-3 that cruised at forty thousand feet (12,192m) waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. The need for a fighter that could engage the Luftwaffe at close range was met by the Yakovlev YAK-3, introduced in 1943 and comparable in performance to the Spitfire.

    The YAK-3 neutralized the German fighter and Stuka attacks, and that was all that was necessary, given that Germany did not have a long-range bomber program to speak of. The most advanced Soviet fighter produced during the war was the powerfully elegant Lavochkin LA-7, a fighter introduced in 1944 that was superior to anything the Luftwaffe flew; with fifteen thousand produced, the LA-7 gave the Soviets the edge in a theatre Germany believed it dominated right to the end. The long tradition of flying in Russia, coupled with its continuing awareness that it would likely be involved in wars from both the east and the west, resulted in a strong corps of aviators, and thus of war aces. The Red Air Force’s top ace was Ivan Kozhedub, with sixty-two kills in a Lavochkin fighter purchased for him by private donations.

    Many other pilots endured great tests during the sieges of Russian cities and there were aces duly decorated, but no tale compares to that of Alexei Maresyev. With nineteen kills to his credit already, Maresyev crash-landed behind enemy lines and in the process crushed both his legs. He dragged himself through the snow, surviving on berries and ants, until he was rescued nineteen days later. Both his legs had to be amputated, but within a year, walking on artificial legs, he returned to service and scored seven more victories. Women pilots found their greatest acceptance in the Red Air Force, partly out of egalitarian ideology and partly because the one thousand women who volunteered were excellent pilots. An impressive thirty Citations of Hero of the Soviet Union went to women pilots, twenty- three to members of the 588th Night Bomber Regiment— the so-called Night Witches, who flew whatever planes they could find (even if they were slow P0-2 biplanes) to bomb the enemy. Three entire regiments of the Air Force were made up entirely of women, and some became legendary combat pilots. The most famous of them was Lilya Litvyak, known as the “White Rose of Stalingrad,” a pilot with twenty-two kills to her credit before she was shot down. Other women whose exploits were hailed both in Russia and throughout the world were Anna Yegorova, one of the most proficient Shturmovik pilots (previously thought to be too difficult a plane for a woman to fly); Natalya Meklin, a teenage member of the Night Witches who flew 840 missions in less than three years; Valeria Khomyakova, a member of the 566th Fighter Regiment who became famous for being the first woman to down a German bomber, a JU88, in 1942; and Olga Yamschikova, the top woman ace of the war with seventeen kills, who volunteered for combat after serving as a flight instructor preparing many men to fly fighter aircraft.

    Source: Soviet Air Force
     
  2. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    The first prototype of a single-seat sesquiplane fighter was the Type M which first flew in 1917. Developed by engineers Buzio and Calzavera it had a single-step hull and an open cockpit forward of the wings and was similar to the earlier Macchi M.3. It was followed by another prototype with a revised tail unit designated the Ma and further developed as the M bis and Ma bis. The production aircraft was designated the M.5 and like the prototypes were powered by a single Isotta-Fraschini V.4B engine in pusher configuration. Deliveries soon commenced in the summer of 1917 to the Aviazone per la Regia Marina (Italian Navy Aviation). Late production aircraft had a more powerful Isotta-Fraschini V.6 engine and redesigned wingtip floats, they were designated M.5 mod. Macchi produced 200 aircraft and another 44 were built by Società Aeronautica Italiana.
     

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  3. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    The Polikarpov I-3 was the first of Nikolai Polikarpov's fighter designs to enter front line service, and was the first of a long line of designs that reached their peak with the I-153. The first of Polikarpov's biplanes to take to the air had been the two-seat 2I-1N. This was an impressively streamlined aircraft built around a wooden semi-monocoque fuselage, constructed out of layers of laminated wood. Tragically the only prototype crashed on 31 March 1926 when the surface of the upper right wing pealed off. Both of the crewmen were killed, and a prolonged investigation into the cause of the accident delayed work on Polikarpov's next aircraft, meaning that it eventually emerged after Sukhov's I-4/ ANT-5. When work did begin the first problem was the lack of a suitably powerful Soviet aircraft engine. Two imported engines were considered - the Wright Tornado III radial engine and the BMW VI liquid cooled inline engine. At first the Tornado was chosen, but Polikarpov felt that it wasn't powerful enough, and the BMW was soon adopted.

    A wooden mock-up of the new design was ready by April 1927, and the design was approved in principle on 14 May. Formal approval from the Commissariat of the Air Force followed on 3 June, and work on a full size model began. In October static tests began using this model, while work began on the first of two prototypes. The first prototype made its maiden flight on 21 February 1928, and tests lasted into April. The second prototype followed in August 1928. The design of the I-3 borrowed heavily from that of the 2I-N1, although most structural elements were made stronger (and thus heavier) in response to the fatal crash that had destroyed the earlier aircraft. The semi-monocoque fuselage was made of layers of veneered wood glued together, while the wings had box-type plywood spars and were covered with plywood and fabric.

    Just under 400 I-3s were built, starting in 1928. The peak of production came in 1930 when 250 aircraft were built, and production ended in 1931. The first 39 were powered by imported BMW engines, while the rest got Soviet licence-built 680hp M-17 engines. The prototypes and first 75 production aircraft were armed with two Vickers machine guns, which were then replaced with 7.62mm PV-1 machine guns. The I-3 entered service in 1929, replacing the Grigorovich I-2 in units based in Belorussia. The aircraft was used by squadrons based at Smolensk, Bryansk, Kiev and Bobruisk, as well as at training schools. The number of aircraft in service peaked at 297 at the start of 1932, before falling as the I-3 was replaced by the I-5, I-15 family and I-16 monoplanes. As was common with fighter pilots of the early 1930s Soviet fighter pilots preferred manoeuvrability to speed, and so the I-3 was never as popular as the newer Polikarpov aircraft that replaced it. The I-3 was also the basis of a second two-seater, the Polikarpov DI-2.

    Source: Polikarpov I-3
     

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  4. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #4 gekho, Apr 20, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2013
    The aircraft was designed by Nikolai Polikarpov to replace the U-1 trainer (Avro 504), itself known as Avrushka to the Soviets. Its name was changed to Po-2 in 1944, after Polikarpov's death, according to the new Soviet naming system using designer's initials. The prototype of the U-2, powered by a 74 kW (99 hp) Shvetsov M-11 air-cooled five cylinder radial engine, first flew on 24 June 1927 piloted by M.M. Gromov. After some modifications the next flight took place on 7 January 1928. Aircraft from the pre-production series were tested at the end of 1928 and serial production started in 1929 in Factory Nr 23 in Leningrad. Production in the Soviet Union ended in 1953, but license-built CSS-13 were still produced in Poland until 1959.

    From the beginning, the U-2 became the basic Soviet civil and military trainer aircraft, mass produced in a "Red Flyer" factory near Moscow. It was also used for transport, and as a military liaison aircraft, due to its STOL capabilities. Also from the beginning it was produced in an agricultural aircraft variant, what earned it its nickname Kukuruznik. Although entirely outclassed by contemporary aircraft, the Kukuruznik served extensively on the Eastern Front in World War II, primarily as a liaison, medevac and general supply aircraft. It was especially useful for supplying Soviet partisans behind the front line. Its low cost and easy maintenance led to a production run of over 40,000. Manufacturing of the Po-2 in the USSR ceased in 1949, but until 1959 a number were assembled in Aeroflot repair workshops. First trials of arming the machine with bombs took place in 1941.

    During the defence of Odessa, in September 1941, the U-2 was used as a reconnaissance aircraft and as a light, short-range, bomber. The bombs, dropped from a civil aircraft piloted by Pyotr Bevz, were the first to fall on enemy artillery positions. From 1942 it was adapted as a light night ground attack plane. Nikolay Polikarpov supported the project, and under his leadership, the U-2VS (voyskovaya seriya - Military series) was created. This was a light night bomber, fitted with bomb carriers beneath the lower wing, to carry 50 or 100 kg (110 or 220 lbs) bombs up to a total weight of 350 kg (771 lb) and armed with ShKAS or DA machine guns in the observer's cockpit.

    Wehrmacht troops nicknamed it Nähmaschine (sewing machine) for its rattling sound and Finnish troops called it Hermosaha (Nerve saw). The enemy soon became aware of the threat posed by the U-2, and Luftwaffe pilots were given special instructions for engaging these aircraft, which they disparagingly nicknamed Rusfaner or "Russian Plywood".[4] The material effects of these missions may be regarded as insignificant, but the psychological effect on German troops was much more noticeable. They typically attacked by complete surprise in the dead of night, denying German troops sleep and keeping them constantly on their guard, contributing yet further to the already exceptionally high stress of combat on the Eastern front. Their usual tactics involved flying only a few meters above the ground, rising for the final approach, cutting off the engine and making a gliding bombing run, leaving the targeted troops with only the eerie whistling of the wind in the wings' bracing-wires as an indication of the impending attack. Luftwaffe fighters found it extremely hard to shoot down the Kukuruznik because of three main factors: the rudimentary aircraft could take an enormous amount of damage and stay in the air, the pilots used the defensive tactic of flying at treetop level, and the stall speed of both the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 was similar to the Soviet craft's maximum cruise speed, making it difficult for the newer aircraft to keep a Po-2 in weapons range for an adequate period of time.[5] The success of the Soviet night harassment units using the Po-2 inspired the Luftwaffe to set up similar Störkampfstaffel squadrons on the Eastern Front using their own obsolete 1930s-era, open cockpit biplane and parasol monoplane aircraft, eventually building up to larger Nachtschlachtgruppe units, each comprising a few squadrons apiece.

    The U-2 was known as the aircraft used by the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, composed of an all-women pilot and ground crew complement. The unit became notorious for its daring low-altitude night raids on German rear-area positions, with veteran pilots, Yekaterina Ryabova and Nadezhda Popova on one occasion flying 18 such missions in a single night. The women pilots observed that the enemy suffered a further degree of demoralization simply due to their antagonists being female. As such, the pilots earned the nickname "Night Witches" (German Nachthexen, Russian Ночные Ведьмы/Nočnye Ved’my). The unit earned numerous Hero of the Soviet Union citations and dozens of Order of the Red Banner medals; most surviving pilots had flown nearly 1,000 combat missions at the end of the war and had taken part in the Battle of Berlin.

    North Korean forces used the Po-2 in a similar role in the Korean War. A significant number of Po-2s were fielded by the Korean People's Air Force, inflicting serious damage during night raids on Allied bases.[6] On 28 November, at 0300 hours, a lone Po-2 attacked Pyongyang airfield in northwestern Korea. Concentrating on the 8th Fighter-Bomber Group's parking ramp, the Po-2 dropped a string of fragmentation bombs squarely across the Group's lineup of F-51s. Eleven Mustangs were damaged, three so badly that they were destroyed when Pyongyang was abandoned several days later. On 17 June 1951, at 0130 hours, Suwon airfield was bombed by two Po-2. Each biplane dropped a pair of fragmentation bombs. One scored a hit on the 802nd Engeneer Aviation Battalion's motor pool, damaging some equipment. Two bombs burst on the flish line of the 335th Fighter Interceptor Squadron. One F-86A "Sabre" (FU-334 / 49-1334) was struck on the wing and began burning. The fire took hold, gutting the aircraft. Prompt action by personnel who moved aircraft away from the burning Sabre preventing further loss. Yet eight other Sabres had been damaged in the brief attack, four seriousliy. One F-86 pilot was among the wounded. The North Koreans subsequently credited Lt. La Woon Yung with this damaging attack. [7] UN forces named the Po-2's nighttime appearance Bedcheck Charlie and had great difficulty in shooting it down — even though night fighters had radar as standard equipment in the 1950s, the wood-and-fabric-construction of the Po-2 gave only a minimal radar echo, making it hard for an opposing fighter pilot to acquire his target. On 16 June 1953, a USMC AD-4 from VMC-1 piloted by Major George H. Linnemeier and CWO Vernon S. Kramer shot down a Soviet-built Polikarpov Po-2 biplane, the only documented Skyraider air victory of the war. One Lockheed F-94 Starfire was lost while slowing to 110 mph during an intercept of a Po-2 biplane.

    Source: Polikarpov Po-2 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     

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  5. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    Evolved in parallel with the P-35, the 2PA was a two-seat fighter and fighter-bomber with a fundamentally similar airframe and offered with either a similar undercarriage to that of the single-seater as the 2PA-L (Land) or with an amphibious float undercarriage as the 2PA-A (Amphibian). Dubbed 'Convoy Fighter' by the manufacturer, the 2PA was powered by a Wright R-1820-G2 or G3 Cyclone nine-cylinder radial engine, the former rated at 1,000hp for take-off and the latter at 875hp. Armament comprised two wing-mounted 0.30 in (7.62 mm) or (0.50 in (12.7 mm) Browning guns, one 7.62 mm Browning on a flexible mount in the rear cockpit, plus two forward-firing fuselage-mounted 7.62mm or 12.7mm Browning guns. Provision was made for a bomb load of up to 227kg on internal wing racks.

    Early in 1939, Major Seversky embarked upon a European sales tour in a 2PA-202 or 2PA-BX which was fitted with a 1,100hp Pratt Whitney R-1830-S3C Twin Wasp. This aircraft was tested at the A&AEE Martlesham Heath, in March 1939, at the instigation of the Air Ministry. One 2PA-A and one 2PA-L were procured by the Soviet Union in March 1938, together with a manufacturing licence, which, in the event, was not to be utilised.

    Twenty R-1820-G2-powered examples were ordered clandestinely by the Japanese Imperial Navy for use over China as long-range escort fighters. Designated 2PA-B3, these received an armament of two fuselage-mounted 7.62 mm machine guns and a similar weapon in the rear cockpit. Assigned the Japanese designation A8V1, the 2PAs were found to possess unacceptable levels of manoeuvrability and climb rate for the escort fighter role and were therefore relegated to reconnaissance missions in Central China, two later being passed to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper group. Fifty-two 2PA-BXs were ordered by Sweden as dive-bombers (the Seversky company having meanwhile become the Republic Aviation Corporation), but only two of these were delivered to Sweden, the remainder being taken over by the USAAC as AT-12 Guardsman advanced trainers.
     

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  6. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #6 gekho, Apr 21, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012
    The first prototype of this diminutive single-seat unequal-span biplane flew on 29 April 1930. Power was provided by an imported Gnome-Rhone Jupiter VII radial engine with individual helmet-type fairings over each cylinder head. The second prototype was named Klim Voroshilov after the Soviet Defence-Minister. It had a Jupiter VI radial and was intended for low-level operations. The third and final prototype had a Soviet M-15 radial engine with a ring cowling. In the summer of 1930 seven evaluation aircraft were built, powered by the 358kW M-22 radial - in fact a Russian version of the Jupiter VI. Tests were successful and series production was undertaken. A total of 803 was built and the type formed the main equipment of Soviet fighter units until 1936.

    Standard armament of the I-5 was two synchronised 7.62mm PV-1 machine-guns and up to 40kg of bombs could be carried on underwing racks. The circular-section fuselage had a metal tubular framework with metal sheet covering forward and fabric aft. The wooden wings were fabric covered. The axle-type undercarriage could be fitted with wheel spats. A number of I-5s were still in use at the time of the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, when a few were pressed into service by Black Sea naval airmen for ground attack. Interestingly, I-5s had previously been used in Soviet Zveno 'parasite' experiments, being launched in the air from the TB-3 mother ship.

    Source: Polikarpov I-5 - fighter
     

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  7. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    In years 1933- 1934 the idea was 'in the air' to bring the aging TB-3 in line with new requirements. Administration of (WHICH?) aircraft factory invited a group of designers (teachers and engineers from the VVA). V.F.Bolkhovitinov was a head of this group. A.N.Tupolev, chief designer of the TB-3, refused to participate because he was busy with more advanced project ANT-42. The DB-A was of the same weight/size class as a TB-3, but had mid-wing, smooth skin, all cockpits and gunner positions were enclosed. Bombs (all) were placed inside fuselage, bomb bay size was 6x2m2. Main landing gear was retractable (into huge 'pants'). Aircraft was equipped with landing airbrakes. First flown in May 1935, State Acceptance tests took place in May-June same year. Speed was 45-50km/h higher than for the TB-3, performance was good.

    Several records were set with this aircraft:
    - November 10, 1936 - 10tons payload at 7032m;
    - November 20, 1936 - 13tons payload at 4535m (both - pilots M.A.Nukhtikov and M.A.Lipkin);
    - May 14, 1937 - 5tons payload, 2002.6km in 7h2min11.7sec (two records : 280km/h on 1000km and 246km/h on 2000km) by N.G.Bajdukov, G.F.Kastanaev and L.L.Kerber.

    Those records 'provoked' attempt to perform trans-arctic flight of the same record setting aircraft (H-209) from Moscow to the USA. Some modifications were made, but preparations were carried in a hurry. On August 12, 1937 aircraft took off the ground. Flight conditions were far from favorable, but flight continued. August 13, 13:40 aircraft passed the North Pole. At 14:32 radio from the H-209 reported that one engine stopped. Aircraft was not found, despite search efforts during one year (repeated several times in more recent time with more advanced search technic). Despite of this lose, series of 16 was started. 12 built until 1940, when production was phased out in favor of TB-7. Problems (mostly administrative) with the TB-7 few times resulted in discussions about restarting DB-A production.

    Source: DB-A, V.F.Bolkhovitinov
     

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  8. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #8 gekho, Apr 21, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012
    The Yermolayev Yer-2 was a long-range Soviet medium bomber used during World War II. It was developed from the Bartini Stal-7 prototype airliner before the war. It was used to bomb Berlin from airbases in Estonia after Operation Barbarossa in 1941. Production was terminated in August 1941 to allow the factory to concentrate on building higher-priority Ilyushin Il-2 ground-attack aircraft, but was restarted at the end of 1943 with new, fuel-efficient, Charomskiy ACh-30B aircraft diesel engines.

    Although designed as a long-range medium bomber it was flown on tactical ground-attack missions during the Battle of Moscow with heavy losses. The survivors were flown, in ever dwindling numbers, until August 1943 when the last examples were transferred to schools. However, the resumption of production in 1943 allowed the aircraft to resume combat operations in April 1945. The Yer-2 remained in service with Long-Range Aviation until replaced by four-engined bombers at the end of the 1940s.

    The Yer-2 was not in squadron service when Germany invaded on 22 June 1941, but the 420th and 421st Long-Range Bomber Regiments (Russian: Dahl'niy Bombardirovchnyy Aviapolk—DBAP) were formed shortly afterwards. However neither regiment flew any operational missions until later in the summer.[3] On the evening of 10 August Yer-2s of the 420th DBAP, accompanied by Petlyakov Pe-8s of the 432nd DBAP, attempted to bomb Berlin from Pushkino Airfield near Leningrad. The airfield was too short to accommodate a fully loaded Yer-2, but three bombers did manage to take-off regardless. Two managed to bomb Berlin, or its outskirts, but only one successfully returned; the other was shot down by 'friendly' Polikarpov I-16s when it reentered Soviet airspace and the third aircraft went missing.[8] Three crews from the 420th DBAP bombed Königsberg during the nights of 28–29 August and 30 August–1 September from Ramenskoye Airport, southeast of Moscow.[9]

    On 1 October 1941 sixty-three Yer-2s were in service, but only thirty-four were operational. The 420th DBAP had flown 154 sorties by the beginning of November (6 in August, 81 in September, 67 in October) and had lost thirty of its forty aircraft. Over half of these (nineteen) were due to non-combat losses. Losses were extremely high over the autumn and winter as they were inappropriately committed against German tactical front-line targets during the Battle of Moscow at low altitudes and only twelve were in service on 18 March 1942. On 4 August 1942 the 747th DBAP had only ten Yer-2s on hand and it was briefly committed during the Battle of Stalingrad. The survivors were flown, in ever dwindling numbers, until August 1943 when the last few aircraft were transferred to schools by the 2nd Guards DBAP and the 747th DBAP.

    The Yer-2 was placed back into production at the end of 1943, but none of the new bombers had been issued to combat units by 1 June 1944. However forty-two were in service on 1 January 1945 and one hundred and one on 10 May 1945 after the war ended. The first combat mission undertaken by Yer-2s after they returned to production was a raid on Königsberg on 7 April 1945 by the 327th and 329th Bomber Aviation Regiments (Russian: Bombardirovchnyy Aviatsionyy Polk). It remained in service with Long-Range Aviation units until replaced by four-engined bombers like the Tupolev Tu-4 in the late 1940s.

    Source: Yermolayev Yer-2 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     

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  9. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    #9 michaelmaltby, Apr 21, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012
    This is a great thread, Gekko. Important and little known. Please keep it up. :)

    MM
     
  10. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Good stuff!
     
  11. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    Georgii Mikhailovich Beriev produced his first original design, Aircraft No. 25, at the Menzhinsky plant in Moscow in 1932. Beriev had gained considerable expertise as an assistant to French designer, Paul-Aime Richard, during the latter's stay in the Soviet Union from 1928 to 1930. The B.M.W. VIF-powered prototype was transported to Sevastopol on the Black Sea for flight tests, and these proving successful the new flying-boat went into production as the MBR-2 (Morskoy Blizhnii Razvedchik, or naval short-range reconnaissance). In production form it was powered by a Soviet-built M-17B inline engine.

    Deliveries of the MBR-2M-17 intended for use in the short-range bombing and maritime reconnaissance roles, began in 1934. It was a shoulder-wing cantilever monoplane, with its M-17B engine mounted on a pair of N-struts over the wing; it had a two-step wooden hull with plywood covering, and the pilot's cockpit located just in front of the wing. A strut-braced horizontal tailplane was set high on the single fin. Bow and midships gunners each had a single 7.62mm PV-1 machine-gun.
     

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  12. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    An unequal-span two-seat biplane constructed largely of wood with fabric covering, the R-5 reconnaissance light bomber flew in prototype form in 1928. Pilot and observer/gunner were seated close together in tandem open cockpits - the pilot beneath a cutout in the upper wing trailing-edge. The BMW VIb in-line engine of the prototype was replaced by the 507kW Soviet-built M-17B in production aircraft. The R-5 could operate on skis or twin-floats (the latter designated R-5A or MR-5), as well as on the more normal axle-type fixed undercarriage. Standard armament was a fixed 7.62mm PV-1 machine-gun and a DA-1 weapon of the same calibre operated by the observer. Up to 250kg of bombs could be carried on underwing racks.

    Many variants of the R-5 were used in the Soviet Union. These included the single-seat R-5T torpedo bomber; the heavily armed R-5Sh ground-attack aircraft; and the SSS of 1934 with 533kW M-17F engine, spatted landing gear and new ShKAS machine-guns. Civil versions were the P-5 and P-5A, the latter with cabin accommodation for four passengers, and an enclosed pilot's cockpit.

    Some 7,000 of all versions of the R-5 were built. Military operations included the Spanish Civil War (31 R-5s serving with the Republicans), the campaigns in 1938-39 against the Japanese in the Far East, the 'Winter War' against Finland, and the fighting against Germany from 1941. At the time of the German invasion most R-5s had been relegated to training and liaison duties, but several hundred returned to first-line duties to equip light night-bombing 'nuisance raid' units alongside the ubiquitous Polikarpov U-2.
     

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  13. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    In 1925, the Soviet Air Force approached TsAGI with a requirement for a heavy bomber with total engine output of 2,000 PS (1,970 hp) and either wheeled or float landing gear. Tupolev OKB started design work in 1926 with the government operational requirements finalized in 1929. Tupolev TB-1 was taken as the basis for the design and the aircraft was initially powered by Curtiss V-1570 "Conqueror" engines generating 600 PS (590 hp) each,[3] with the intent of switching to Mikulin M-17s (modified BMW VIs) in production. The mock-up was approved on 21 March 1930 and the first prototype was completed on 31 October 1930.[5] The aircraft flew on 22 December 1930 with Mikhail Gromov at the controls and with ski landing gear, despite almost crashing owing to vibration causing the throttles to close, the test flight was a success. On 20 February 1931, the Soviet Air Force approved mass production of ANT-6 with M-17 engines.

    The prototype was refitted with BMW VIz 500 engines of 730 PS (720 hp) each, larger radiators, and wooden fixed-pitch propellers of TsAGI design. Single-wheel landing gear was deemed too weak and was replaced by tandem bogies with 1,350×300 mm (53×12 in) tires. The first pre-production TB-3-4M-17 flew on 4 January 1932 with A. B. Yumashev and I. F. Petrov at the controls. Unexpectedly, subsequent mass-produced aircraft were found to be 10-12% heavier than the prototype which significantly hampered performance. The discrepancy was discovered to be due to high positive tolerances on raw materials which resulted in steel sheetmetal, pipes, and wires being much thicker than on the carefully constructed prototypes. The aircraft were also more crudely painted with a thick layer of camouflage and lacquer. The factories asked the workers for suggestions on reducing the weight, paying 100 roubles for each kilogram (2.2 lb) removed from the aircraft. In combination with OKB efforts, this resulted in weight savings of almost 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb). Despite this, production aircraft could differ from each other by as much as several hundred kilograms.

    In 1933, a single TB-3-4M-17F was streamlined with removal of turrets and bomb shackles, covering of all openings, and fitting of wheel spats. This resulted in only a 4.5% increase in top speed and a similar increase in the range. Tupolev concluded that streamlining was minimally beneficial for large and slow aircraft. To study the effect of corrugated skin, in January–February 1935 a single TB-3-4AM-34R had the corrugations incrementally covered with fabric. This resulted in a 5.5% gain in top speed and a 27.5% increase in the ceiling. The same aircraft demonstrated a significant increase in climb rate when fitted with experimental four-blade propellers.

    The TB-3 was used operationally during the Battle of Khalkhin Gol and in the Winter War with Finland. Although it was officially withdrawn from service in 1939, at the start of the Great Patriotic War on 22 June 1941, the Soviet Air Force had 516 operational TB-3s, with an additional 25 operated by the Soviet Navy. Stationed far from the USSR's western border, the ТB-3s avoided catastrophic losses during the first German air strikes, after which TB-3s from 3rd TBAP (Heavy Bomber Regiment) began flying night bombing missions on 23 June. Shortage of combat-ready aircraft also required daytime use of TB-3s without fighter escort and in this role the bombers, operating at low-to-medium altitudes, suffered heavy losses to enemy fighters and ground fire. By August 1941, TB-3s made up 25% of the Soviet bomber force and, operated by elite air force crews, were flying up to three combat missions per night. The aircraft participated in all major battles through 1943, including the first Battle of Smolensk, the Battle of Moscow, the Battle of Stalingrad, the Siege of Leningrad, and the Battle of Kursk. On 1 July 1945, 18th Air Army still had ten TB-3s on the active roster. The TB-3 served extensively as a cargo and paratroop transport, carrying up to 35 soldiers in the latter role. In the first five months of the war, the aircraft transported 2,797 tons of cargo and 2,300 personnel.

    The TB-3 was also used in several special projects as a fighter mothership in the Zveno project and for delivering light T-27, T-37. and T-38 tanks. On 1 August 1941, a pair of TB-3s in Zveno-SPB configuration, each with two Polikarpov I-16 fighters carrying a pair of 250 kilograms (550 lb) bombs, destroyed an oil depot with no losses. On 11 August and 13 August 1941, Zveno-SPB successfully damaged the King Carol I Bridge over Danube in Romania. Zveno operations ended in the fall of 1942 due to high vulnerability of the motherships. In recognition of the role TB-3 played during the war, three aircraft were included in the first post-war air parade on 18 June 1945.
     

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  14. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    The Tupolev I-14 (also designated ANT-31) was a Soviet fighter aircraft of the 1930s. It was a single-engined, single-seater monoplane with a retractable undercarriage and designed to carry a heavy armament, and as such was one of the most advanced fighters of its time. It was ordered into production, but this was cancelled after only a small number had been built, the competing Polikarpov I-16 being preferred. In 1932, the Soviet Air Force developed a requirement for a high-speed monoplane fighter to serve alongside agile but slower biplane fighters. In order to meet this requirement, the Tupolev design bureau assigned a team led by Pavel Sukhoi. Sukhoi's team came up with the ANT-31, a low-winged monoplane with an unbraced cantilever wing, retractable undercarriage, an enclosed cockpit and a heavy cannon armament. As such, it was one of the most advanced fighters in the world. The aircraft had a metal monocoque fuselage, while the wings were of corrugated metal construction. The mainwheels of the conventional landing gear retracted backwards into the wing, being operated by cables driven by a handwheel turned by the pilot. The first prototype was powered by an imported 433 kW (580 hp) Bristol Mercury radial engine enclosed by a NACA cowling and driving a two-bladed wooden propeller. It was armed with a single PV-1 machine gun, with provision for two Kurchevsky APK-37 recoilless autocannon under the wing.

    The ANT-31, given the air-force designation I-14 (Istrebitel - fighter), made its maiden flight on 27 May 1933. It proved agile but difficult to handle, and with the supercharged Mercury was underpowered, particularly at low altitude. It was therefore decided to build a second prototype, the I-14bis (also known as the ANT-31bis and the I-142 with a more powerful (531 kW (712 kp) Wright Cyclone engine, also imported, an uncorrugated wing and a new undercarriage. The I-14bis demonstrated excellent performance, although handling was still tricky, and an order was placed for production of 55 aircraft, to be powered by the Shvetsov M-25, a licensed version of the Cyclone, and an armament of two 45 mm (1.8 in) Kurchevsky APK-11 recoilless cannons and two ShKAS machine guns.

    Deliveries began from the GAZ-125 factory at Irkutsk, Siberia in November 1936. The aircraft's armament had changed to a single ShKAS machine gun and a 20 mm ShVAK cannon as Kurchevsky's recoilless guns had fallen out of favour (with Kurchevsky himself soon to be arrested). By this time, the rival Polikarpov I-16 fighter was well established in production and service, and production of the I-14 was stopped after 18 had been built, the type soon being phased out of service.
     

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  15. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    The design for the 14th fighter for the VVS, the I-14, started as an advanced (for the era) monoplane under the direction of Andrei Tupolev. He grew concerned that the design would not mature, and ordered two backup biplane designs as the I-14A and B just to be safe. Polikarpov had just been released from prison in August 1932, and was handed the I-14A project. When both the I-14 and I-14A were ordered into production, Polikarpov's design, a development of the I-5 fighter became the famous I-15. The first flight was made in October 1933 with V.P. Chkalov at the controls, powered by an imported Wright R-1820 Cyclone engine.[4] The I-15, also known by its development name TsKB-3, was a small biplane fighter with a gulled upper wing. The single bay wings were of wooden construction, while the fuselage was of mixed steel and duralumin construction, with a fabric covered rear fuselage.

    Production started in 1934, initially being powered by the M-22, a licensed built version of the Bristol Jupiter radial engine. While less powerful than the Cyclone, the M-22 powered aircraft were still superior to the I-5 which it replaced, demonstrating excellent manoeuvrability. Production switched to the 515 kW (700 hp) M-25 engine (a license built Cyclone) in late 1936. A total of 671 I-15s were built, 284 in the Soviet Union and a further 287 under license by CASA in Spain. The gulled upper wing of the I-15 was unpopular with some pilots, as it was felt to restrict visibility, so Polikarpov's design bureau produced a revised version, again powered by the M-25, with a longer span un-gulled upper wing. This version, the I-15bis, commenced production in 1937,[6] a total of 2,408 I-15bis' being delivered by the time production finished in 1940. More than 1,000 I-15bis fighters were still in Soviet use during the German invasion when the biplane was employed in the ground attack role. By late 1942, all I-15s and I-15bis' were relegated to second line duties.
     

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  16. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    Lavochkin's famed La-7 became one of the best Soviet WWII fighters, however its wooden construction limited its performance. At the end of the War a new La-7 version armed with three 20 mm Beresin B-20 guns was put into production and efforts were made to improve firepower even more by developing the new design armed with Nudelman and Suranov NS-23 guns. Called Aircraft "130" the prototype was completed on the Production Plant 21 in Gorkiy (now Nizhny Novgorod). The new fighter was made entirely of metal and was armed with four NS-23 guns. In 1946 the "130" was put into serial production under the designation "Product 48" and was named La-9. 1,559 airplanes were built in 1946-1949.

    According to standard Soviet practice the two-seat trainer version was developed. Named La-9V or UTI La-9, the new aircraft was evaluated in 1947 and put into serial production on the Production Plant 99 (Ulan Ude) under the designation "Product 49". The trainer La-9V could be armed with one NS-23 gun or one 12.7 machine gun. The Production Plant #99 also built single-seat La-9 fighters from the components supplied by the Plant #21. A number of prototypes equipped with auxiliary jet boosters were developed on the basis of the La-9 airframe, however none were put into serial production.

    Source:Lavochkin La-9, Soviet fighter
     

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  17. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    #17 michaelmaltby, Apr 23, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2012
    Lavochkin La-9
    ".... La-9 photos: A number of prototypes equipped with auxiliary jet boosters were developed on the basis of the La-9 airframe, however none were put into serial production. "

    V-1 German pulse jet engines ... looks like.

    MM
     
  18. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    As always...AWESOME! :shock:
     
  19. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    The Polikarpov I-152 or I-15bis was the second in the series of biplanes that began with the I-15 and ended with the I-153, and in some ways was a step backwards from the earlier aircraft. One of the most distinctive features of the I-15 had been its upper gull wing, which had no centre section and instead emerged from the top of the fuselage. This reduced wing loading and thus increased manoeuvrability, but was not universally popular. After some debate Polikarpov was ordered to produce a new version of the aircraft with a standard straight upper wing. Although this aircraft is generally known as the I-152, it's official designation for much of its life was probably the I-15bis, with the I-152 designation reserved for a further improved version that was instead replaced by the I-153. Here we will use the generally accepted name.

    The first precursor of the I-152 was a single modified I-15 produced in the spring of 1935 at Zavod 39. This eliminated the upper gull wing, replacing it with a more conventional straight wing. The changes increased the weight and the wing loading of the aircraft, and tests in May-July 1935 proved that its performance suffered. Top speed was down to 193mph at sea level and 223mph at 10,000ft. Climb rate, turning time and general manoeuvrability also fell. The poor performance of this prototype meant that a more significant redesign would be needed before a straight wing I-15 could enter production. This new fighter, the TsKB-3bis was designed during 1936, and underwent acceptance trials in July 1937. It was generally similar to the I-15, but with the new central wing section. It was significantly heavier than the older aircraft, and had a slower rate of climb and reduced manoeuvrability. The prototype failed its acceptance trials, but despite this was still ordered into production.

    Production began at Zavod No.1 in Moscow in the middle of 1937, but didn't reach full speed until 1938. Early aircraft used the same M-25 engine as later I-15s, a licence built version of the Wright Cyclone. This was replaced in mid-1938 by the M-25V, which improved its performance at altitude. Fuel capacity was also improved during the production run. The I-152 had a NACA cowl, replacing the narrower Townend ring used on the I-15. The I-152 was armed with four PV-1 7.62mm machines carried around the engine, and could carry two bomb racks under the wings. These could also be used to carry extra fuel tanks or replaced with racks to carry the RS-82 unguided air-to-ground rocket. A total of 2,408 I-152s were produced, starting in the autumn of 1937 and ending in 1939. This made it the second most numerous member of the I-15 family, behind the I-153 of which 3,437 were built.
     

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  20. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    The I-152 was involved in the direct clash between Japan and the Soviet Union on the border between Manchukuo and Mongolia, where a series of skirmishes along the Khalkhin-Gol River erupted into a full-scale war on 11 May 1939. One fighter regiment of I-152s was involved from the start, and another arrived during the battle, fighting alongside three equipped with the I-16 monoplane. The Japanese were now almost entirely equipped with the Nakajima Type 97 monoplane. The fighting over Mongolia demonstrated the problems with the Soviet doctrine of two types of fighters. The 'fast' I-16 was actually slower than the Ki-27, so was unable to break up the massive Soviet formations. When huge dog fights did develop the Japanese were able to use their superior speed to escape from any dogfight with the slower I-152s. Both sides made massively inflated claims at the time. The Japanese claimed to have destroyed 1,260 aircraft, while the Soviets claimed 590 aerial victories and 55 aircraft destroyed on the ground. In return the Japanese admitted to 154 aircraft lost or damaged and the Soviets to 207. To put these figures into some context both sides committed around 500 aircraft to the fighting! The fighting had proved that the I-152 was no longer an effective front-line fighter, and had forced the Soviets to introduce the new I-153 into combat in very small numbers.

    A massive number of I-152s were still in front line service in the Red Air Force on 22 June 1941 at the start of the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Many were allocated to units close to the new front line, and hundreds were destroyed in the initial attacks. Despite being outclassed by the German fighters, the surviving I-152s had to remain in front line service until more modern Soviet fighters were available to replace them in 1942. The surviving aircraft were then used as ground attack aircraft and as night bombers, suffering heavy losses when they were caught by the Germans. The I-152 remained in use in these later roles into 1943.

    Source: Polikarpov I-152 (I-15bis)
     

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