FLYING FORTRESS.During the Second world war, 15 oil refineries of Romania gave Germany more than 7% of petroleum products supplied dependent countries and satellites. The aircraft long-range and frontline aviation periodically attacked the oil-bearing regions of Romania. However, the transportation artery connecting them with the port of Constanta, continued to operate. The most vulnerable were considered section of the pipeline laid on the bottom tier of Chernovetskogo bridge over the Danube river.

All attempts to destroy it with bombers Il-4 and PE-2 have not yielded positive results.

So I decided to use for this purpose a composite dive bomber -SPB, adopted shortly before the war.

SPB being a combination of the fighters I-16 and TB-3 bomber, was the apogee of the development of aircraft-level. Its first combat use was held on the night of 10 August 1941, when one of the Crimean airfields in the direction of Romania started two TB-3 18th transport squadron of the black sea fleet air force with suspended fighters 32nd fighter wing. Not reaching goals in the area of Saint George branch, gave a command to cutaway, And 16. The calculation was correct – high speed and small size of fighters, combined with the suddenness of the success of the operation – eight 250-pound bombs accurately hit the target.
The creation of the SPB, as well as the airborne troops in our country, the conquest of the North pole and the Pole of Inaccessibility, as well as the development of Siberia and the Far East are inseparably connected with the plane TB-3 (ANT-6, TSAGI-6).
The story of the creation of the future TB-3 began in 1925. The plane was supposed to deliver the discharged cargo weighing 2000 kg to a distance of 1500 km. It was conceived as a “flying fortress”, armed with eight machine guns of 7.62 mm.
Composite dive bomber SPB with aircraft I-16 under wings
Composite dive bomber SPB with aircraft-16 under the wing

The idea of creating a TB-3 Tupolev belonged, in the development of the project, in particular, was attended by V. M. Petlyakov, V. M. Me-sidev, A. A. Arkhangelsky and V. N. Belyaev, who later became chief designers.
In February 1930, there was protection of the layout, after eight months the car was built, and on December 22 the chief of TSAGI pilot M. M. Gromov flight engineer with Rusakov tried it in the air. Flight tests of the prototype of the TB-3 engines “Curtis-Conqueror” was held until February 20, 1931. The next day held a meeting of representatives of TSAGI and NII VVS, the Protocol of which, in particular, noted: “TB-3-4 Curtis-Konqueror” is according to its flight data modern bomber, standing on the level of the best foreign aircraft. To consider it necessary to put the plane in a serial construction with replacement motors “Curtis-Konqueror” M-17″.
After tests on the prototype TB-3 has supplied engines M-17 (Soviet designation license BMW-VI) with wood screws, bomber weapons, wing drop machine-gun towers. Machine equipment was very meager. In addition to the control devices of the engine, there was a magnetic compass, air speed indicator, altimeter, clock, air thermometers, Metrojet, “aeronavigator”, sight, “Hertz” for bombing the Navigator and, apparently, radiotelegraph equipment.
As such, the bomber entered the factory tests in the last days of April 1931. Their results are not pleasing. Suffice it to say that maximum speed decreased by 19 km/h and climb 3000 meters increased three times. Characteristics of stability and controllability, and they were evaluated on the reports of the pilots, remained unchanged, but noted one curious detail – on landing to help the pilot come flight engineer, install a helmsman wheel to the desired angle of deflection of the stabilizer. Despite the presence of pulleys in the transaction control of the wheel to the ailerons mentioned excessive load. They were subsequently reduced by entering slit compensation for the ailerons.
In 1931 the TB-3 was launched into production with engine M-17 at the plants Nos. 22 and 31. Than on its predecessor the TB-1, – in almost identical maximum speed of 196 km/h dramatically increased bomb load and range, reached 2300 km service ceiling does not exceed 3800 m. Normal flight weight increased to 17 200 kg 27 February next year, the test pilot plant number 22 Lozovsky raised in the air the first production TB-3.
In early January of 1932, one of the first production TB-3 engines M-17 and under-wing missile launchers handed to the test in NII VVS, and after the plane took as a reference. Compared with the prototype machine, the Etalon reduced the wing span at constant area and increased flight weight. However, the flight characteristics are virtually unchanged.
A year later at the air force Institute attempted to improve flight-technical data of bomber. First of all, drew attention to the powerplant. Increased spark advance and specified instructions for use for high-altitude corrector engines M-17. Reduced from 460 to 300 kg oil and 518 kg -empty weight and the flight weight was brought up to 20 000 kg. At the same bomb load increased to 3600 kg instead of 1000 kg. This was made possible thanks to the installation of additional holders Der-9. In this form, the modified aircraft made its August 6, 1933 non-stop flight Shchelkovo – Yevpatoriya – Schelkovo for 15.5 hours. On the ground in Yevpatoriya dropped to 2,500 kg of bombs.
The fuel remaining concluded: “the plane admits without wind bomb load of 3200 kg with a flight radius of 1200 km 2000 kg with a flight radius of 1500 km”.
To raise the same flight data bomber was possible only through local improvements to aerodynamics or replacing the engines more powerful. Developing both directions, a month later, TSAGI, together with the plant number 22, October 1933, presented to the state tests bomber with engine M-34, and nine days later upgraded to TB-3 with M-17.
Heavy bomber TB-ZM-17
Heavy bomber TB-ZM-17:
1 – front small dot under two machine gun; 2 – the cabin Windows of the Navigator; 3 – window near jobs radio operator and vehicle commander; 4 – cockpit 5 – wind power (Dynamo); 6 – antenna coherent radio; 7 – place turrets for defensive machine guns YES; 8 – keel; 9 – rudder horn-rimmed aerodynamic compensation; 10 – a crutch with shock absorber tail support; 11 – brace stabilizer; 12 – fairing wing air gunner; 13 – absorber of the main landing gear; 14 – radiator cooling

In November, the research Institute of the air force completed tests of a modified TB-3-4M-17. On a machine with a wing of increased span set wing fairings and tail surfaces where they mate with the fuselage and the fairings on the chassis. Removed the wing machine guns. As a result the maximum speed of the earth has increased by 20 km/h and at an altitude of 3000 m 10 km/h, the ceiling has risen 800 m. But for the end of 1933 it was no longer enough.
The best results were hoping to get on the machine with engine M-34. But despite their great takeoff power (840 HP), the flight characteristics have changed little. So, the maximum speed does not exceed the 207,5 km/h, practical ceiling – 3900 m. the Reason was a significant reduction in thrust propellers to revolve with great than
M-17F, turnover, and the lack of boost resulted in a reduction of engine power and, consequently, the speed drop with increasing flight altitude.
However, the aircraft was launched into serial production at the plant № 22. In 1935 56 machines with new motors, after finishing at the air force research Institute, was moved to Sedu.
Significant improvement in the flight data could only be achieved after the installation of the geared engine M-34R, but not immediately. On the experimental plane in 1933, failed to reach a speed of 229 km/h, almost half to increase the rate of climb and a bit of the ceiling. And only after improving the aerodynamics of the aircraft to the test in July 1934, received of features that satisfy the designers and the customer – the air force.
On serial machines we finally removed the wing machine guns, and instead introduced fodder infantry unit. In addition, increased tailplane, the rudder with a modified geometry is lifted up and supplied fleteren, reinforced keel column and installed wing fairings, empennage and nacelles. Appeared the tail wheel, the rear wheels on the main landing trucks had replaced the brake, and rubber shock absorbers – oil-air. As a result the maximum speed has increased to 242.5 km/h, practical ceiling – up to 5100 m.
In the summer of 1934 in the far East were air force exercises with broad participation from TB-3. The effect of their use has exceeded all expectations. In the July decision of Committee of defense of the USSR, in particular, noted: “Given the high military value of the ships in TB-3 with the motor M-34 to the gearbox, especially gearbox and supercharger, NKTP to oblige in every way to force the release of these aircraft… To oblige the UVVS of the red army immediately upon receipt from industry to install these aircraft <…> ShKAS machine guns in the first place the air units in the far East”.
Bow-shooting machine gun ShKAS
Bow-shooting machine gun ShKAS
Turret UTK-1 with UBT machine gun 12.7 mm mounted in the war, only some of the instances of TB-3
Turret UTK-1 with UBT machine gun 12.7 mm mounted in the war, only some of the instances of TB-3
Subsequently, the TB-3 all Sparky YES machine guns replaced the single Scusami, distinguished by high rate of fire. Such protection of airships designed to solve strategic challenges, is still considered insufficient in the mid-1930s, but large-caliber weapons for aircraft in the country did not exist.
In the years of the war of the TB-3 equipped with shielded turrets with heavy machine guns UBT.
Most high performance was obtained after installation of the motors with the supercharged M-34RN. In addition to them, the plane appeared aft missile installation. In this regard, the reduced vertical area and increased the area of the horizontal tail. Changed the shape of the rudder, which is to reduce the effort on the pedals supplied fleteren.
If the TB-3-4M-17 were standing two-bladed propellers with a diameter of 3.5 m, then machine M-34RN domestic engines used four-bladed propellers with a diameter of 4.4 m, and at the extreme, where the wing was thinner – four-meter two-bladed. The positive was that the capacity of the cooling system of the engines was reduced to 130 litres per engine. Total win just for the coolant was 120 kg, compared with cars equipped with engines M-34.
On spike support set wheel.
Has become richer and instrument equipment of the aircraft.
At a takeoff weight of 23 050 kg flight distance has reached 3000 km, the maximum speed at an altitude of 4,200 m – 288 km/h and a service ceiling 7740 m. But in 1935, these data did not satisfy the military. Despite the efforts of the industry, the moral plane was aging right before our eyes.
In a report on government trials of the bomber with motors M-34RN was noted: “the Plane is on <…> maximum speed, ceiling, rate of climb has a definite advantage over T5-3M-34P, at the same time greatly inferior to maximum speed <…> “Boeing-229”.
In the biography of the TB-3 it had its moments and UPS and downs. List all emergency situations it is impossible, but one of them will interest the reader. In October 1938 bomber with engines M-34RN, piloted, M. A., Gurov, at the height of 4200 m went to storm cloud. The airship snapped at the peak of the left-hand turn. All attempts of the crew to bring the aircraft, speeding up to very high speeds, proved futile. In the end, the TB-3 was destroyed. First off the tail, then the mate’s cabin. The rest of the fuselage, the investigation showed, broke between the 12th and 13th frames. Almost simultaneously, tore the covering on both planes of the bearing surface. Of the eleven man crew to escape by parachute was only eight.
On the last series T5-3M-34PH truck chassis replaced with a two meter wheels and changed the shape of the forward fuselage in connection with the installation of a shielded turret. In such a configuration, released and four aircraft “, Awiakta-ka”, destined originally for the landing of the expedition to the North pole.
In the Experimental Institute of NKTP, headed by P. I. Grokhovsky, and then in the KB-29 under the leadership of Privalov developed the device of the suspension of military equipment and vehicles under the fuselage of the bomber. TB-3 had to carry guns, motorcycles, and in August 1935, passed military tests pendants light tank T-27.
In the same year tested object R-52-TB-3 installed on it with two guns caliber 76 mm.
In 1933, experiments were conducted to refuel bombers in flight with fuel from the aircraft P-5 and TB-3, was also tested fuel and lube ground equipment (TB-3 No. 22453, modified in KB, UWS). Three years later experienced yet another device for the overflow of fuel from a flying tanker to the bomber.
In the summer of 1939 made another attempt to improve the performance data of the machine. The engines AM-34RN mounted turbochargers TK-1 and controllable pitch propellers CPP-34. Tests showed, that the ceiling has reached 8000 m (up to the estimated 8900 m never rose from the low efficiency of the propellers). Maximum speed in comparison with serial TB-3 virtually unchanged -284 km/h In a result made the decision on inexpediency of modernization of the bomber.
In 1936, several TB-3 installed uprated engines AM-34FRN, allowed to bring his speed up to 300 km/h, ceiling to 8,000 m. However, these motors have a low resource, have not passed the state tests and could not be used on production machines. However, in October of the same year, the crew of A. B. Yumashev has set six world records. Controlling a weight of 5000 kg raised to a height of the first 8116 m, then at the height of 8960 m weight 10 000 kg – 6605 m and 12 000 kg – 2,700 m.
As the removal of the weapons, the aircraft were transferred to the CAF, where they operated under the designation G-2. Payload on the aircraft with engines M-17 has reached 4,500 kg, although the volume of the fuselage were not always able to accommodate planned cargo for carriage. Machine was used primarily for the transportation of goods to inaccessible and remote areas of the country.
The latest expedition, made at the former bomber under the designation ANT-6 was the reconnaissance of the areas adjacent to the Pole of Inaccessibility in the Arctic ocean in 1941.
In 1932, Japan occupied Manchuria, and its forces located along the border with the Soviet Union, clearly a hostile purposes, and the fleet of the rising sun dominated the far Eastern seas. In this situation, the Soviet government sent to the far East connection of the 150 TB-3, whose range is allowed to reach any part of Japan. This immediately sobered the samurai and pushed the armed conflict.
However, in the summer of 1938 between Japan and the USSR near lake Khasan happened armed conflict. Infantry units from the air were supported by 250 aircraft, including 60 TB-3. It was the first combat use of heavy bombers. But the lesson from samurai, did not go to them for future use.
In the spring of the following year, they unleashed another armed conflict on the river Chapin-Gol. And again, the TB-3 was involved in military work, having made 166 sorties. In addition to the bombings, TB-3 (mainly at night) delivered to the battle area munitions, food and evacuated the sick and wounded.
TB-ZRN with engines AM-34RN and antenna radiolucency placed in the fairing above the cockpit of the Navigator
TB-ZRN with engines AM-34RN and antenna radiolucency placed in the fairing above the cockpit of the Navigator
By that time in our country there were three aviation army special forces (AON), consisted of heavy bombers intended to solve strategic tasks of bombing attacks and to ensure the landing of airborne troops (VDV).
For the first time the possibility of airborne demonstrated in 1934, the maneuvers of the Belarusian military district, and a year later on maneuvers near Minsk sky “decorated” 1800 parachutes. Even more surprised observers, including foreign, landing troops in the composition of 5700 men with heavy weapons, vehicles, guns, light tanks and armored vehicles.
Paratroopers in the amount of thirty was placed in the center and on the boards, laid over the wings of BOM-balykov. People were sitting in darkness and distress, numerous slots much blew. Jumped from the turret cutouts in the fuselage on both planes of the wing. It was hard to paratroopers, but other aircraft, capable of solving such problems did not exist.
The assets of TB-3 was involved in the war with Finland, the Polish campaign and the “campaigns” of the red Army in the Baltic States and Bessarabia.
In 1941 part of the 81st air division long-range, commanded M. V. Vodopyanov, joined a special group of remote-controlled planes headed A. G. Fedorov. It included three TB-3 and one SB and DB-3. At the end of August in Moscow has begun preparation for guidance of unmanned aircraft to the target. To solve this problem involved, in particular, the polar pilots ek pusep, retired A. N. Tagudin and N. N. Ponomarenko, as well as other professionals.
During the week, TB-3 converted cockpit, installing equipment radio control. The cargo bays were filled with explosives. On the bombers SB and DB-3 mounted radio transmitters with remote control for radio commands. The crews were trained in leaving the aircraft by parachute. During the training the TB-3 flew ahead of him with a small excess at the distance of 150 – 200 metres – aircraft guidance: SB or DB-3.
Were taken only, and not successful attempt to combat use of radio-controlled TB-3 for the destruction of the bridge across the Volga near the city of Kalinin (Tver).
A limited amount of article does not allow to talk about the numerous night bombing strikes, missions to the partisans and landings. The TB-3 to be able to solve the tasks entrusted to him by the military. The flight crews of combat vehicles was rarely done without victims, and sometimes they came back with a black engine and on last drops of fuel, but after some days again appeared in the ranks – and so for nearly three years of war.
TB-3 was stable, easy to operate and reliable in flight in all modes available to pilots of average qualification, which contributed to its rapid development.
According to the statistics of the former Ministry of aviation industry of the USSR, three of the aircraft factory built 873 TB-3.
Life cycle of TB-3 was completed in 1946 after the government resolution on cancellation of the remaining machines. To this day have not got any car, once something that surprised Europe. However, there is hope to rescue from snow captivity one of the cars Polar aviation made an emergency landing in the Arctic, but for this one initiative is not enough. Need more money, but patrons wishing to correct the mistakes of the Soviet past.

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