NQM Soviet Air Force

Chris Kemp’s Not Quite Mechanised


Author’s cheerfully inexact Pe-8 conversion from a 1:44 Flying Fortress

Air Army HQ (1943)

Night bomber division: 5 regiments = 5 Po-2

Fighter division: 3 regiments = 3 Yak-7B

Sturmovik division: 3 regiments = 3 IL-2

Sturmovik division (from GKO Reserve) : 2 regiments = 2 IL-2

Fighter Corps (from GKO Reserve)

Fighter division: 3 regiments = 3 Yak-9

Fighter division: 2 regiments = 2 LaGG-5

Bomber Corps (from GKO Reserve)

Bomber division: 3 regiments = 3 Pe-2

Bomber division: 2 regiments = 2 Pe-2

Air Elements at Sub-divisional Level

Transport regiment = Li-2?

Recce regiment = R-10 or Pe-2? (I am using a lend-lease Kittyhawk)

Artillery spotting regiment = Po-2?

HQ elements including communication, training and ambulance. (there should be 1 ground crew strength point per aircraft model)

 Quoted from table on p. 185 with author’s guesses marked by “?”

Boyd, A., (1977), The Soviet Airforce Since 1918. Macdonald and James, London.


Strategically, forces were organised into Air Armies which, in 1943 contained 10 organic regiments and 13 attached from GKO Reserve, 23 in total:

Additionally, each air army had a regiment each of transport (GVF), recce and artillery spotting aircraft – a total of 23 regiments – (23) NQM aircraft models.

November 1942 saw the introduction of air corps, eventually producing 14 fighter, 6 bomber and 9 Sturmovik corps, some 30 in total divided amongst 13 air armies. But it is important to bear in mind that 40-50% of all forces were allocated to air armies as occasion demanded from GKO reserves

Operational aircraft strengths fluctuated wildly (Boyd, 1977).

The Soviets saw the Air Force as a close partner to the ground forces, and the large number of attack, and tactical bomber aircraft reflect this. Unlike the Germans, who produced a bewildering number of designs, the Soviets concentrated on quantity, and when a design worked, they stuck with it.

The following aircraft types were used by the SVVS. I have not included purely strategic aircraft, trainers or interceptor night fighters, nor aircraft where only small numbers saw service at the very end of the war. , I have included the Soviet designation, (first operational use) and [Type]. If I have been able to determine, I have given operational areas and any comments that help: If it looks a bit like an easily available aircraft that it can be modelled from, I have noted that. The main source for this section is Gunston, (1978), Combat Aircraft of WWII. Arranged by date of entry into service


Polikarpov Po-2. (1928), [Utility, Army Support]. Biplane, over 6,500 produced. Zvezda produce a nice one in 1/144 scale now (since 2014).


Polikarpov I-15. (1934), [Fighter]. Biplane, (Il-153 from redbanner.co.uk in early “”sky laquer”).

Polikarpov I-16. (1934), [Fighter]. Monoplane, Thousands produced. (http://www.dipity.com/tickr/Flickr_rata/)

Our Heroic Fliers throw themselves fearlessly against the Enemy (I-16 Ratas)


Karkhov R-10. (1937), [Recce]. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kharkov_KhAI-5)



Tupolev SB-2. (1938), [Medium Bomber]. (http://www.hyperscale.com)

Now available from Zvezda (Since 2014)

TB-3 bomber (1938) [Heavy Bomber]. 800 produced, later models had closed cockpits and turrets  or were converted to transports. See YesThatPhil’s approx 1/144 scale conversion TB-3 here


Petlyakov Pe-2 and Pe-3. (1939), [Attack Bomber & Recce]. (redbanner.co.uk)


Petlyakov Pe-8. (1940), [ Heavy Bomber].  (wp.scn.ru)

See the Author’s rubbish conversion from a Flying Fortress at the top of the page.

Sukhoi Su-2. (1940), [Attack Bomber]. (wp.scn.ru)


Ilyushin IL-4 . (1941), [Bomber].

Lavochkin LaGG-3. (1941), [Fighter]. (vvs.hobbyvista.com)

Mikoyan MiG-3. (1941), [Fighter]. (Converted by the Author from a Spitfire before kits became available from Zvezda)

Ilyushin IL-2 Stormovik. (1941), [Close Support, Attack]. (42,330 produced! Author’s collection, Mustang conversion and 1/200th metal model)

Yakolev Yak-1. (1941), [Fighter]. Looks a lot like a Hurricane.



Lavochkin La-5 and La-7. (1942 and 1943), [Fighter]. Looks a bit like a stretched FW190.


Lisunov Li-2 ([1942) [Transport, Tug and Bomber]. Licence-built Douglas Dakota with extensive  modifications.

L1-2 3 Band Camo Green-black

Tupolev TU-2. (1942), [Attack Bomber]. Rare, overshadowed by the earlier Pe-2.



Yakolev Yak-3. (1943), [Fighter]. Looks a bit less like a Hurricane .


Yakolev Yak-9. (1943), [Fighter]. Looks  like the child of a Hurricane and a Tempest.

Yakovlev Yak-9http://www.goaviator.com/flight/yak-9-warbird-ride/yakovlev-yak-9

3 responses to “NQM Soviet Air Force

  1. Po-2 Invited to Finland, “nickname” never Saw (Winter War and Continuation War).

    When the Soviet machine production was restarted at the back of the Urals (aircraft and armor), it was really huge.
    The design was based on the same chassis back (= spitfire model) and wing models.
    Only line engine changed to more power piston engine
    Many aircraft designers were in prison camps, not Mikoyan.
    When someone made ​​a mistake the designer’s name was left out of the machine name (LaGG-3, LAG-5, La-7)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You have a very good knowledge of Soviet aircraft.
    It is this allied military aid (Lend-Lease) is an important factor that helped the Soviet aircraft development.

    Also, just as you tell, these models were allied aircraft.
    British Council to train pilots near Leningrad.
    Lots of Hurricane and Spitfire, but most 39 Airacobra appeared in Finnish front, against Brewster, morane-410, and curtis-36.
    Lend-Lease to the Soviet Union on 5707-39 Airacobra and the 2400 King Cobra 63 (non-Finnish front)

    I think WW-2 machine is the most beautiful of the MiG-3
    Many French pilots flew in Normandy at the time of Yak-9 aircraft.

    Right to tell

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for the additional information Maximex.


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