Aviation of World War II

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What did We Take from the Luftwaffe?

Vladimir Kapistka

A lot has already been written in our country about the purchases of samples of German military aviation equipment in the prewar years. Let us recall at least the book by A. S. Yakovlev “The Purpose of Life”. It was said that, when and in what quantity it entered the Soviet Union from Germany and was tested here. But, unfortunately, until recently, almost nothing was known about the practical implementation of the results of factory tests of German aircraft by the people's commissariat of the aviation industry. And only recently opened documents of the Russian archives allow shedding light on such a hitherto secret topic.

Judging by the discovered sources, the introduction of German experience into the Soviet aircraft industry was entrusted to all leading aircraft, engine and instrument-making plants. In total, 20 factories were involved, as well as the TsAGI Bureau of New Technology (21st department), TsIAM and the Air Force Research Institute. Of all the tested aircraft, the Heinkel-100 *, Messerschmitt-109E fighters, the Junkers-88 bomber, the Focke-Wulf-58 trainer and the Storch Fisiler (Stork) liaison officer were taken as the basis . Separate design improvements were borrowed from the Dornier-215, Heinkel-111 bombers and the Messerschmitt-110 fighter.

It seems important to give at least a general picture of the entire course of the factory work, given that this material, for obvious reasons, was not covered in the open press.

The attention of Soviet specialists was initially drawn to the He 100 fighter, which surprised everyone. Its highest speed capabilities also determined the nature of production tasks. The NKAP entrusted the main work to 132,115 and 28 aircraft factories, as well as the TsAGI Bureau of New Technology. The factories were given the wing of a German aircraft for the construction of an analogue on an aircraft designed by A. Yakovlev and a control stick. We also decided to introduce the design and installation of a sliding canopy, to manufacture propeller blades and test them on the I-16 fighter. On the I-301 (LaGG-1) and I-190 fighters, a Heinkel propeller spinner was installed, and TsAGI developed drawings of a new spinner for other aircraft on its basis. On the I-26 (Yak-1), hood and hatch locks were used, which the Germans opened without the use of tools. Were manufactured and successfully tested on the I-200 (MiG-1) wheel type "Heinkel", emergency flaps and outboard landing gear. Part of the same work was carried out on the I-26, and on the 240 aircraft, nozzle fairings were used. According to the type of German synchronizer used on air- and water-cooled motors, plant No. 132 produced prototypes for further introduction into production.

Some of the novelties of a constructive and technical nature were borrowed from another German fighter, the Messerschmitt-109E. The design bureau of plant No. 156 copied the control knob from the "German" and put it on a new type of Soviet fighter. The same plant, together with the 21st department of TsAGI, developed and built a standard aircraft cockpit based on the Me-109E model.

In addition, it was proposed to introduce an emergency reset of the lantern into production. The slats of the German machine were designed for further installation on Polikarpov's TIS aircraft. Stamped engine hoods and fastening locks were developed for installation on the I-185 and on the SK and I-21 aircraft. Tail wheel stoppers of the "Messer" type were installed on the I-301 and I-26 fighters.

Since that time, they have been included in the tactical and technical requirements of the Air Force. And, finally, explanatory inscriptions were made on the I-26, the multi-colored coloring of the sectors, special signs were applied at the places where the VMG parts were separated.

As for the German bombers, the NKAP focused on the achievements of German designers on the Junkers-88 model.

Perhaps, this aircraft left the most noticeable mark in the Soviet aircraft industry.

The main work on copying the Ju-88 was entrusted to factories No. 20, 22,24,39, 156, 213, as well as 21 departments of TsAGI and the Air Force Research Institute. By the way, the introduction of constructive innovations was carried out as soon as possible. So, already by July 15, 1940 (note that the tests began in May 1940), TsAGI was asked to make a mock-up of the cockpit of a German bomber. The same institute copied the German water system separator and installed the DVB-102 on Myasishchev's aircraft. In addition, drawings and diagrams of the Ju-88 anti-icing device were developed here and recommended to aircraft factories for implementation in production.

This work was carried out by aircraft factory No. 39, which in October 1940 equipped the domestic DB-ZF bomber with a thermal de-icer.

The cabin heating device for the SB of the Ju-88 type was developed by the Air Force Research Institute.

Plant No. 156 was given the task of building a prototype electromechanical crane for emergency draining of fuel used on a German bomber. The design bureau of the same plant studied the design, calculated and built jet exhaust pipes. They were installed on DVB-102 and our other aircraft.

In Kazan, a SB bomber was built and factory tested, equipped with a special dive device using air brakes and a dive machine modeled on the Ju-88. The same novelties were installed on the newly designed domestic dive bombers.

VMG - BintoMotornaya Gruppa - Propeller Group

NKAP - Narodnyy Kommissariat Aviatsionnoy Promyshlennosti - People's Commissariat of Aviation Industry

TsAGI - Tsentral'nyy AeroGidrodinamicheskiy Institut - Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute

TsIAM - Tsentral'nyy institut aviatsionnogo motorostroyeniya - Central Institute of Aviation Motors

Other modifications of our aircraft were also carried out, taking into account the German aviation technical experience. So, engine plant No. 24 designed a hydraulic drive for the M-35 and M-37 motors according to the German YuMO-211 (Ju-88) type, and plant No. 20 was given the task of building a prototype of the Junkers hydraulic pump.

In accordance with the instructions of the Soviet leadership, the command of the Red Army and the Air Force, the introduction of German aviation technical experience into our aviation industry also took place on other Luftwaffe aircraft. Of the German training aircraft, the Focke-Wulf-58 was taken as the basis with two Argus engines of 240 hp each. With. In those years, the UT-3 of A.S. Yakovlev was considered the same type of Soviet aircraft. We decided to build a modification of the UT-3, taking all the best from the FW-58. The main work was carried out by aircraft factory No. 47, where the German car was transferred. I must say that almost the entire aircraft was copied: from the general design of the airframe to the use of experience in painting propellers.

First of all, they adopted the layout of the crew, as well as the shape and glazing of the front and upper parts of the cabin. This, as we saw when testing the aircraft, provided excellent visibility in flight.

Based on the study of the FW-58 aircraft industry, it was proposed to expand the use of electronics and electrification of the control of individual units.

The mentioned Fisiler "Storch" as a communications aircraft and spotter was copied and built in one copy. The release of the series was planned, but the war prevented this.

In addition to the above-mentioned work on the introduction of new German technologies into the Soviet aircraft industry, the production of other equally important and structurally very valuable aircraft units and assemblies was launched. Plant No. 120 produced brake wheels with a ribbed brake jacket for fighters and long-range bombers (DB-3, DB-7) based on Ju-88, Me-110 and Do-215 models. For Soviet aircraft I-21 and DB-240 (Er-2), plate radiators were built according to the type of air-water and air-oil radiators Me-110, Ju-88 and Do-215.

In addition, the aviation industry has developed and mastered the production of fiber gas tanks for Soviet serial I-16, I-153 fighters and SB and BB-1 (Su-2) bombers, based on the design of tanks Me-110, Ju-88 and Non-111. In 1940, 100 gas tanks were made for the SB, 30 for the BB-1 and 30 for the I-26. In 1941, a decision was made to mass-produce fiber tanks and replace them with metal ones in service.

In 1941, there was work for TsAGI. The institute was instructed to investigate and test a prototype motor shock absorber, which was successfully used on the Me-110 and FW-58.

As for weapons and aircraft engines, they did not arouse such a noticeable interest among Soviet specialists as the systems and equipment already mentioned. However, some work has been done.

So, in 1940, aircraft factory No. 32 was instructed to develop drawings and manufacture a cartridge counter with signaling the readiness of guns for firing and buttons for reloading. Electric triggers and electro-pneumatic reloading mechanisms were also made here according to German models. Aviation Plant No. 217 built a prototype of the Lotfe-7V synchronous sight for bombing from level flight. The sight received the Soviet name SP-1. During the construction of the domestic short-range bomber (BB-MAI) designed by Grushin, the scheme for opening the bomb bays of the German Do-215 aircraft was used, and the experience of Ju-88 and Do-215 was used in the manufacture of locks for bomb installations.

In addition to everything, the aircraft industry was instructed to develop a mobile machine gun mount of the Arado type, as well as to use the principle of attaching a German cannon carriage in the construction of the Soviet PBSh-1 aircraft designed by Mikoyan.

Plants Nos. 26, 29 and the Central Institute of Aviation Motors received special assignments for the introduction of constructive novelties of German engines. They tested the German motor DB-601 and designed a supercharger fluid coupling for domestic engines according to its model.

S. Timoshenko, People's Commissar of Defense of the USSR, constantly reported on the progress of work on the use of German aviation technical experience. He, in turn, informed higher authorities. Some of the most important issues were submitted to the government for consideration.

For example, to create an industrial base for the production of magnesium alloys, successfully used by the Germans on Ju-88, Me-110, He-100 and Do-215, it took a special decision of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR, adopted on May 5, 1940.

As you know, in the autumn of 1940, Germany began systematic preparations for a war against the USSR. From that moment on, military aviation ties between the two sides became nothing more than a screen for her to mask her own aggressive intentions.** The German attack on the USSR on June 22, 1941 meant that the aviation partnership between the two countries had expired. For the Soviet people, the Great Patriotic War began, in which they had to win at an exorbitant price.

Note: * All aircraft names are given as they appeared in Soviet documents of the 1940s.

** One of the last German aviation delegations worked in the USSR in March 1941. The Germans were interested in the state and level of development of the Soviet aviation industry. At the same time, they did not even try to hide the reconnaissance nature of their visit.

July 24, 2015

To this one could add the borrowing of hood and hatch locks from German aircraft

--- Vyacheslav