Aviation of World War II

Home Russian


Heavy Bomber


  • Heavy Bomber
  • First flight: 1925
  • Tupolev

TB-1 (ANT-4) - the first Soviet all-metal monoplane bomber, the first domestic one to enter mass production. The main material was chain mail aluminum, a Soviet analogue of German duralumin, produced at the Kolchugino plant. Pipes and corrugated sheets were made from it.

The Air Force ordered several hundred TB-1s, which made it possible to move on to creating formations of heavy bombers.

After the production of the domestic modification of the BMW VI called M-17 was mastered in Rybinsk, the opportunity arose to refuse imports. The M-17 was first tested on TB-1 No. 623. Our engine, with the same power, was heavier than the German one, so the empty weight of the aircraft increased by about 100 kg. From the 46th production aircraft, all bombers began to be equipped with M-17 engines. These vehicles were officially called TB-1 - 2M-17.

From the end of autumn 1930, planes left the factory on skis. At the beginning of the year, comparative tests were carried out on several types of skis designed at TsAGI and at plant No. 28. The first were made entirely of chain mail, the second were wooden with a trestle made of steel pipes. Metal ones turned out to be stronger and lighter, but twice as expensive. As a result, we chose lightweight skis from factory No. 28 with reinforced skin. They were put into production and began to be sent to all squadrons armed with new bombers.

TB-1 on a ski chassis

TB-1 on a ski chassis

Mass production of the TB-1 began in 1931. The lead aircraft of the year, on which a number of important changes were made, was considered bomber No. 670. In the forward part of the fuselage it had a reinforced frame with a steel pipe welded into it. The torpedo suspension lugs were attached to it. The fireproof partition in the engine nacelles became three-layer: between two sheets of chain mail there was asbestos. The upper fuselage skin behind the pilot's cabin was reinforced with an additional profile. A hatch was made on the starboard side, making it easier to hang lower bombs on the Der-9. The rotation of radiator shutters began to be carried out not by sectors, but by steering wheels. The control of the elevators was switched to a mixed scheme: in the tail section the cables were replaced with tubular rods. The rear part of the mufflers began to be made of steel - the iron ones burned out too quickly. The compressed air cylinder, previously standing vertically, was placed on its side in a wooden box, lined with felt on the inside.

Modernized small arms. The obsolete Lewis machine guns were replaced with faster-firing domestic ones. They also stood in pairs on the same turrets, but the ammunition load had changed. If the “Lewis” in the nose installation was given 10 disks, and the other two 12, then for the YES, respectively, 22 and 24 disks. The DA machine gun was first tested on a “double” in March 1929, replacing a pair of “Lewis” on the Tur-6 bow turret. But the lack of new weapons led to the fact that this machine gun began to be mounted en masse only in 1931.


Torpedo Bomber

ТБ-1П с макетом торпеды
  • Torpedo Bomber
  • First flight: 1929
  • Tupolev

TB-1P is a torpedo bomber based on the first Soviet all-metal heavy bomber TB-1. In September 1929, the UVVS informed TsAGI of its desire to receive part of the serial TB-1 in the sea version and made a request for the recommended type of floats. On October 30, 1929, the UVVS decided to order a naval chassis in England, from the well-known "Short" . In April 1931, one of the serial TB-1s was transferred to Taganrog. It took three months to assemble and install it on floats. On June 15, the car was transferred to the naval department of the Air Force Research Institute and transferred to Sevastopol, where state tests were carried out until the end of August 1931.

The increase in the weight of the empty aircraft and the additional aerodynamic drag from the floats reduced the aircraft's flight performance. The maximum speed did not exceed 185 km/h, the ceiling was 3620 m. Maneuverability and climb rate deteriorated significantly. Nevertheless, the results were considered satisfactory. Compared to the Yug-1 float boats and the Val flying boats, which were available in naval squadrons, the TB-1 a favorably distinguished itself by the ability to carry large-caliber ammunition necessary to destroy warships. The aircraft was adopted by the Red Army Air Force.

We began to prepare for the serial production of floats. The English sample was measured and the drawings were made. They wanted to entrust the batch to plant No. 22, but it was overloaded with other orders. As a result, the documentation and the sample float were transported to Taganrog. There they began to be produced under the name "type Zh" and installed on aircraft arriving from Moscow.

Installation of floats was carried out after the termination of production of TB-1. A total of 66 aircraft were refined. Serial float bombers were called TB-1P or sometimes MTB-1.

Crew 6
Length, m 18.90
Wing span, m 28.70
Wing area, m² 120.00
Weight, kg:
Empty weight 5016
Loaded weight 7500
2 × PE M-17
Takeoff power, hp 2 × 680
Maximum speed, km/h 186
Cruising speed, km/h 158
Service range, km 950
Service ceiling, m 3620
6 × 7.62 mm PV-1 machine gun, bombs, kg 1000
Photo Description
Drawing TB-1 Drawing TB-1P
Drawing ANT-4bisс (TB-1P) Drawing TB-1P

TB-1P were actively used in the Baltic, but due to the lack of mines and torpedoes, they actually served only as scouts and bombers. In winter, they were moved to skis or wheels. In September 1934, the 122nd squadron was involved in the search for the submarine L-2 ("Stalinets") that sank in the Gulf of Finland after the explosion. She was found and helped to take out the wounded by the squadron commander A.M. Viraka.

As of September 1, 1936, there were only six squadrons in the Soviet mine and torpedo aviation, of which four were on TB-1 (in the Baltic Fleet, two - 121st and 122nd; on the Black Sea - one and incomplete, 34th; and one, 109th, - in the Pacific). The latter was re-equipped the following year with TB-3. Another 12 aircraft were available at the school in Yeisk.


In the next two years, the situation has improved little. The 34th squadron in Evpatoria handed over worn out TB-1P, having received the R-5T. On January 1, 1938, there were 38 TB-1 and TB-1 P. in combat units of naval aviation. In the same year, an order was received to write them off or hand them over to auxiliary units.

By September 25, 1940, the naval pilots still had 14 TB-1s, of which only six could fly. All of them were used for training purposes or for transportation.


  • Heavy bomber TB-1 / V. Rigmant, V. Kotelnikov. /
  • Seaplanes and ekranoplanes of Russia / G.F. Petrov. /
  • The history of aircraft designs in the USSR, 1938-1950. / V.B. Shavrov /

July 08, 2020.
"Low" torpedoes were considered purely offensive weapons. An aircraft armed with them could operate alone or in a group, as well as in interaction with surface ships - as appropriate. Aiming was carried out on primitive rack-and-pinion sights, which made it possible to roughly estimate the lead. At first, the TB-1 was equipped with KP-2 sights converted into OTB from torpedo boats. Then they were replaced with more complex PT-136. They already had an optical range finder to determine the drop distance and a vector construction mechanism to take into account the speed of the aircraft and torpedo.
Training of pilots of naval aviation was conducted in Yeisk. In 1932, the school located there received the first TB-1. By January 1935, there were already 26 aircraft of this type.
The Air Force leadership was making grandiose plans to expand the mine and torpedo aviation. On October 4, 1933, the Air Force Chief of Staff ordered the start of preparations for the formation of ten squadrons at once (including four at TB-1). On December 29, a new plan is sent to the districts - to form eight squadrons (seven of them - at TB-1). Almost all of them were to be deployed in the Far East. But these plans were never realized.