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TB-3 heavy bomber file photo [27421]

TB-3

CountryRussia
ManufacturerVoronezh Aircraft Production Association
Primary RoleHeavy Bomber
Maiden Flight22 December 1930

Contributor:

ww2dbaseThe TB-3 heavy bomber design team was led by Andrei Tupolev. The prototype took its maiden flight in Dec 1930. In Feb 1931 the Soviet Air Force approved the design for mass production, making them the world's first cantilever winged four-engine heavy bombers; they would enter service in 1932. These bombers were all-steel in construction. In 1934, the development of stronger steel alloys led to the increase of wingspan from 39.5 meters to 41.85 meters, which increased the wing area from 230 squared meters to 234.5 square meters. The fixed main landing gears on each aircraft were not fitted with brakes. The fuel tanks did not have fire or leak protection, although the engines had internal fire extinguishing systems. The engines were tuned to have a theoretical 3,250-kilometer (2,020-mile) range between servicing. As far as defensive armament went, each aircraft had five light machine guns (one in nose, two on top, two under wing); later variant saw one of the top light machine gun turret moved to the tail section of the fuselage. Production lasted from 1932 to 1934, and then again between 1935 and 1937. 818 of them were built.

ww2dbaseTB-3 bombers first saw combat during the Battle of Khalkhin Gol during the border wars against Japan, and then in the Winter War against Finland, both in 1939. They were officially made obsolete and withdrawn from service in the same year, 1939, but they were generally kept in serviceable condition. When Germany turned on its Soviet allies in Jun 1941, 516 TB-3 bombers were still operational with the Soviet Air Force, with an additional 25 still active with the Soviet Navy. They represented about 25% of the Soviet bomber force. Beginning on 23 Jun 1941, the 3rd Heavy Bomber Regiment began flying night time unescorted bombing missions against German concentrations. TB-3 aircraft were used in nearly all major engagements between the Soviets and the Germans through 1943, and continued to be used sporadically until the end of the war. On 1 Jul 1945, the 18th Air Army still had 10 TB-3 bombers in service. In addition to the bomber role, they also served as cargo transports and paratroop transports. They were also used in several special projects, one as tank carriers to quickly deploy armor to the front lines, and another as motherships that carried up to two fighter-bombers. In recognition of their contributions in the war, three TB-3 bombers flew during the victory aerial parade of 18 Jun 1945.

ww2dbaseA very small number of TB-3 bombers were sold to the Chinese Air Force in the mid-1930s. They did not see combat against the Japanese during WW2. A few were operated by Soviet civilian airliners; these aircraft were designated ANT-6.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

TB-3 Timeline

21 Mar 1930 The mock-up of the TB-3 heavy bomber design was approved by the Soviet Air Force.
31 Oct 1930 The first prototype of the TB-3 heavy bomber was completed.
22 Dec 1930 TB-3 prototype aircraft took its first flight with Mikhail Gromov in the pilot seat. The aircraft had ski landing gear. This flight was considered a success despite an unexpected vibration almost caused the aircraft to crash.
20 Feb 1931 The Soviet Air Force approved the TB-3 heavy bomber design for mass production.
4 Jan 1932 The TB-3-4M-17 variant aircraft took its first flight with test pilots A. B. Yumashev and I. F. Petrov.
11 Sep 1936 A TB-3-4AM-34FRN aircraft, piloted by A. B. Yumashev, broke the payload-to-altitude record by carrying a 5,000-kilogram load to the altitude of 8,116 meters.
16 Sep 1936 A TB-3-4AM-34FRN aircraft, piloted by A. B. Yumashev, broke the payload-to-altitude record by carrying a 10,000-kilogram load to the altitude of 6,605 meters.
20 Sep 1936 A TB-3-4AM-34FRN aircraft, piloted by A. B. Yumashev, broke the payload-to-altitude record by carrying a 12,000-kilogram load to the altitude of 2,700 meters.
28 Oct 1936 A TB-3-4AM-34FRN aircraft, piloted by A. B. Yumashev, broke the payload-to-altitude record by carrying a 5,000-kilogram load to the altitude of 8,900 meters.
17 Mar 1938 An ANT-6 aircraft operated by the civilian organization Polyarnaya Aviatsiya crashed during landing at Bukhta Teplits, Arhangelsk Oblast, Russia. All seven aboard survived.
14 Mar 1941 An ANT-6 aircraft operated by the airliner Aeroflot crashed near crashed near Begovat, Uzbekistan after stalling. All six aboard were killed.
1 Aug 1941 Two Zveno-SPB variant of the TB-3 aircraft, each carrying two I-16 fighter-bombers, destroyed an Axis oil depot in Constanta County, Romania. All Soviet aircraft returned to base safely.
13 Aug 1941 A Soviet Zveno-SPB variant of the TB-3 aircraft, carrying two I-16 fighter-bombers, damaged the King Carol I Bridge (now Anghel Saligny Bridge) in Cernavoda, Costanta County, Romania.
27 Aug 1941 An ANT-6 aircraft operated by the airliner Aeroflot struck a hill near near Kyzyl-Arvat, Turkmenia during a forced landing. Six were killed; three survived.
26 Dec 1941 An ANT-6 aircraft operated by the airliner Aeroflot crashed near Dmitriyevka (now Bayserke), Kazakhstan. 26 were killed; 8 survived. A number of the killed were high ranking Kazakh government officials.
29 Dec 1941 An ANT-6 aircraft operated by the airliner Aeroflot crashed in the Amu Darya River near Chardzhou Airport (now Türkmenabat Airport) in Türkmenabat, Turkmenia. 7 were killed, 29 survived.

SPECIFICATIONS

TB-3-4M-17F
MachineryFour Mikulin M-17F V-12 engines rated at 705hp each
Armament5x to 8x 7.62x54mmR DA machine guns (100 63-round magazines), 2,000kg bombs
Crew4
Span41.80 m
Length24.40 m
Height8.50 m
Wing Area234.50 m²
Weight, Empty11,200 kg
Weight, Loaded17,200 kg
Weight, Maximum19,300 kg
Speed, Maximum212 km/h
Rate of Climb1.25 m/s
Service Ceiling4,800 m
Range, Normal2,000 km

Photographs

Joseph Stalin inspecting a TB-3 bomber, 2 May 1932Paratroopers jumping from a TB-3 aircraft, 1930s
See all 9 photographs of TB-3 Heavy Bomber



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TB-3 Heavy Bomber Photo Gallery
Joseph Stalin inspecting a TB-3 bomber, 2 May 1932Paratroopers jumping from a TB-3 aircraft, 1930s
See all 9 photographs of TB-3 Heavy Bomber


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