Soviet Air Force Using Wide Range of Aircraft Types

First training photos show former fighter craft adapted to advanced instruction. Meanwhile. operational types indicate thoroughly modern design and construction methods.
Text of photo captions below:

This initial picture of Russian Air Force training base shows primary squadron members lined up for inspection before planes. Except for tandem seating and rudder shape, planes greatly resemble American-built Kinner Sportster of early 30s.

Maj B N Eremin signs letter of thanks to collective farm group which purchased fighter plane (apparently LAAG-1) for Red Air Force. Maj Eremin is credited with 7 enemy planes destroyed in single combat and 14 brought down during group battles. Note size of cannon (foreground) mounted in wing.

Advanced Red Air Force flying schools use the I-16B Super Mosca, a two-place version of famed Mosca which was utilized extensively by Loyalists during Spanish Civil War. Original I-16, powered by 630-hp M-25 engine, had top speed of 280 mph.

Maj Eremin takes off from unmarked air base on first operational flight in aforementioned fighter plane bought by collective farm.

First flight photo of DB-7 (sometimes called TB-7) long-range four-engine bombers. They have 8,000-lb bomb capacity and are reported to be type participating on recent raids against Germany. This is craft in which Foreign Commissar Molotov flew from Moscow to London and Washington. Note gun turret in rear of inboard engine nacelle, which also houses retractable landing gear and carries radiators for two engines.

Red Air Force bomber crews at temporary headquarters being briefed just before setting out on mission against Nazis in Western Russia. Note panels of aircraft photographs on wall behind briefing officer. They are used as constant reminders and as aids for recognizing type of planes — both friendly and enemy — likely to be encountered in that theater of operations. Note also rather wide range of ages represented by combat crews shown.

At signal from ground operations officer at left, crews start takeoff run in PE-2s, three-place combination bomber and ground attack craft. M-105 Hispano-Suiza 1,300-hp engines give PE-2 better than 300-mph top speed. "Airport" is merely large cleared field without runways or extensive building facilities, with trees surrounding base providing cover for plane dispersal.

Squadron of YAK-4s, twin-engine reconnaissance bombers, heads toward setting sun on bombing mission. Designed by Ilyuchin, craft is powered by two liquid-cooled Hispano-Suiza engines of 1,150 hp, has top speed of 315 mph. Construction embodies use of both metal and plywood, a practice followed extensively by Russian designers. Note heavy-caliber machine gun protruding aft from bottom of fuselage, conforming to modern armament requirements.

Russian pilots eagerly inspect newly-arrived American built Douglas A-20s, large numbers of which have been delivered to Soviets. A-20 is one of most highly regarded of United States planes now being used by Soviets. Unofficial reports say one of Red Air Force pilots' favorite tricks is to take off, retract wheels, and immediately go into slow roll.


This pictorial article was originally published in the July, 1943, issue of Aviation magazine, vol 42, no 7, pp 229-230.
The article includes 9 photos.
Photos credited to Sovfoto.