Aircraft "Tu " in the Great Patriotic War
World War II for the Soviet Nation was the Great Patriotic War. It was characterized by a broad use of combat aviation. In the course of operations the combatants on both sides used thousands of aircraft for various purposes. Aircraft factories and design bureaus of the belligerent countries worked in the corresponding mode releasing to the battle-front tens of thousands of new and increasingly more advanced aircraft making up the loss of aircraft at the front and trying to outdo battle aviation quality of the enemy.
Due to the huge efforts of the Soviet government and devoted work of engineers and workers of aviation industry the Soviet aviation went on a world level before the outbreak of the Soviet-Germany war Soviet industry was ready to provide Red Army Air Force with modern aircraft releasing them in increasing numbers. All this was confirmed during the war. Despite the tragic to the Soviet Union outbreak of war the aviation industry has passed severe “test” of the wartime (1941 – 1945) with honor providing the Air Force with the necessary amount of aircraft which by their nomenclature, complex of the tactical flight and operational capabilities generally met the requirements of the armed struggle conducted by Soviet- German battle-front.
For the staff of Experimental Design Bureau established in 1922 and headed by Andrey N. Tupolev, the godfather of Soviet aircraft industry, the main objective of all the prewar years was to design aircraft for the Red Army Air Force. Since the mid-20's Tupolev design bureau was the primary developer of heavy all-metal aircraft for the Air Force. Creation in 20 - 30's heavy all-metal bombers ТB-1 and ТB-3, high-speed SB, their mass production at domestic aircraft plants and equipping the armed forces encouraged development of technical and technological level of our aviation industry, improved defense capability of the Red Army.
In the second in the late 30’s Andrey N. Tupolev headed the development of new generation combat aircraft, tactical flight performance which were specified basing on the rise in aviation technology in the world, new forms of combat aircraft tactics. That was the time when a long-range high-altitude high-speed bomber ТB-7, multi-purpose "SЗ" (the prototype of serial Su-2) and just before the outbreak of the Great Patriotic war a prototype of serial Tu-2 was urgently developed. It was one of the best tactical bombers of World War II.
Along with the new advanced combat aircraft for the Air Force the contribution of Andrey N. Tupolev and his team to the development of our aircraft in the years was characterized by the development of new advanced technologies in aircraft manufacturing. First of all that was the general direction to create all-metal aircraft, urgent implement of latest achievements of aerodynamics and introduce new design concepts, to use high-power high-altitude powerplants, new bombing systems and shooting armory as well as modern systems and components of aircraft navigation, instrumental and radio communication equipment. As the merits of Andrey N. Tupolev should be mentioned his constant attention to development of serial production basis of the industry. At his insistence were reconstructed, built and put in commission many aircraft manufacturing plants, engine-building and instrument plants that made significant contribution to aircraft production during the war. This also should include productive participation of Andrey N. Tupolev in a series of business trips abroad which resulted in important contracts for the supply and deployment of production in the USSR some of modern Western aircraft, aircraft engines, aircraft equipment and various machine tools and other technological equipment for the plant industry. The technical and technological level of our aviation industry got raised by those measures on the eve of the war. The role Andrey N. Tupolev played in this subject is invaluable for our country. Andrey N.Tupolev also played important role in building of team of high-class aircraft designers many of whom became leaders of their bureaus and designed for the country first-class aircraft. These are primarily A.A.Arkhangelsky, V.M.Petlyakov, P.O.Sukhoi, V.M.Myasischev, I.F.Nezval who got experienced designers at Tupolev “high school of designers” and subsequently designed for the Red Army Air Force aircraft Аr-2, Pe-2 , ТB-7 (Pе-8), Su-2 as well as in difficult wartime conditions prepared their more advanced modifications which were successfully applied in the course of the war.
It should be noted that at the beginning of the war with Germany combat aircraft developed in the prewar period by the team of Andrey N. Tupolev were the basis of the bomber fleet centered on the western borders of the USSR (several thousands of SB, hundreds of ТB-3 and about ten new ТB-7s). German aviation conducted first attacks performed at the airfields where these aircraft were based. A lot of aircraft were destroyed on the ground, even more in the heavy air battles of June and July, 1941 when the crews of Tupolev bombers sacrificing themselves and the machines at low altitudes often without fighter escort tried to stop the armored and motorized units of Wehrmacht rushing into the country. Bomber crews were killed, machines was destroyed, but the Soviet command more and more often sent new combat units into the fray across the German rapid-firing "Oerlikon" automatic cannons and Messerschmitt Bf.109s, that got total superiority in the air. The losses were terrible, but it were the sacrificial sometimes hopeless attacks that managed to slow down the "Blitzkrieg" rate of speed in Ukraine and Belarus, to wreck the accurately scheduled "Barbarossa" plan and, finally, to break the “backbone”of the German armed forces and prevented them from winning the war. Designed before the war Tupolev aircraft determined the image of the Soviet bomber aviation until the summer of 1942, as long as they were actively changed to the new types of bomber aircraft. The old machines were sent to the support units and transferred to the peripheral areas of the front. In this role SB and ТB-3 were served till the end of the war. ТB-7 in the first line served till the victory. Since 1942 the first aircraft Tu-2 were supplied to the battle front. Their full-scale production and delivery to the Red Army Air Force began in 1944. In this mode Tupolev aircraft and their crews fought all four years of the war: SB and ТB-3 faced the first attack, and Tu-2 in the end of the war in April 1945 were bombing Berlin, putting an end to the final defeat of Nazi Germany.
In the battles of World War II in the first line of Air Force support and transport problems solutions in the course of the war were used ТB-1 (АNТ-4), R-6 (АNТ-7), PS-9 (АNТ-9), PS-35 (АNТ-35). The twin-engine all-metal monoplane bomber ТB-1 (АNТ-6), created in 1925 and in its general arrangement and design solutions which became the prototype for all subsequent heavy multi-engine airplanes aviation, mass-produced from 1929 to 1932 (there were released 216 copies) and by the latter half of the 30's was in the first line of the Red Army Air Force. Then after been withdrawn from operational status as a bomber from the Air Force it was used as a transport in the Air Force and in unarmed version in Civil Aviation (G-1). In the Great Patriotic War, remaining in service ТB-1 and G-1 were occasionally used in operations primarily as transport and cargo shipments in the rear.
The twin-engine multipurpose aircraft R-6 (АNТ-7) established in 1929 was put in serial production from 1932 to 1935, 406 aircraft were totally produced. The aircraft was faster-moving smaller version of ТB-1. Reconnaissance aircraft R-6, “cruisers” КR-6 and their float-type hydroplane variants МR-6 were built serially. In the late 30’s the aircraft was taken out of service and were used for supporting objectives and were transferred in unarmed option to Civil Aviation (PS-7, МP-6). Since the beginning of the Great Patriotic War the "demobilized" machines of Civil Aviation formed the major part of R-6, they were delivered to the front in the air groups of the transport service fronts and fleets. Aircraft carried over fuel, spare parts, weapons and other supply items to the army. The most famous R-6 was as the tug aircraft of cargo airframes and aerial trains, supplying partisans behind rear area of the enemy. During the war R-6 had the largest flight time in the Civil Flight Army in comparison to other machines.
Passenger aircraft PS-9 (АNТ-9) and PS-35 (АNТ-35) which were built in series in the 30s in relatively small amount (66-75 and 10 respectively) were used in the war for transport, health and special purpose transportation. It is worth mentioning the use of a four-engine flying boat МТB-2 (АNТ-44).
Just before World War II two test machines were released. On the second aircraft that was in the 80th separate squadron of the Black Sea Fleet, the crew of pilot I.M. Sukhomlin who has tested this machine before the war executed a large number of flights in 1941-1943, including the bombing of the enemy rear area on objects in Rumania as well as transport flights in the interests of the Black Sea fleet. The glory of the of military equipment development for our army in the pre-war and war years along with the A.N.Tupolev worthly shared his colleagues and co-workers: A.A.Arhangelsky, B.M.Kondorsky, E.I.Pogossky, I.I.Pogossky, V.M.Petlyakov, V.M.Myasischev, P.O.Sukhoi, B.N.Belyaev, I.F.Nezval, D.S.Markov, S.M.Eger, A.N.Golubkov, A.M.Cheremukhin, A.I.Putilov, N.I.Bazenkov, G.A.Ozerov, A.R.Bonin, B.A.Saukke, A.E.Sterlin, T.P.Saprikin, A.V.Nadashkevich, G.S.Frenkel, L.L.Kerber, N.S.Nekrasov, many other engineers, technicians and workers, whose efforts in those difficult and glorious years created Tupolev aircraft. After the Second World War the team of Design bureau continued to work hard on a new combat aircraft for domestic air force, creating a series of first-class combat aircraft. This is the first domestic aircraft carrier of nuclear weapons Tu-4, and then replaced it in the army bomber and missile carrier Tu-16 - one of the best in the world among post-war combat heavy subsonic jet aircraft, supersonic reconnaissance and missile carrier Tu-22, supersonic missile carrier, patrol interceptor Tu-128, strategic intercontinental bomber and missile carrier Tu-95.
Traditions of providing our Air Force with the most modern and advanced technology equipment established by Andrey N.Tupolev and his colleagues in the 20s–60s of the past century, evolved and developed by his successors and followers of "Tupolev" team. Currently, the foundation of our long-range strategic aviation is composed of multi-mode missile carriers Tu-160 and Tu-22M3, subsonic intercontinental missile carriers Tu-95MC, in the Navy Tu-22M3 and anti-submarine Tu-142M3 are actively operated, in the Russian army unmanned tactical reconnaissance Tu-243 «Reis-D» is successfully used. The team of "Tupolev" JSC always remembers the tragic and glorious years of the Great Patriotic War and maintenance of the level of Russian armed forces combat readiness is one of the major problems in their practical activities.