I-152 in the Nomothan accident
Updated on February 8, 2017
back to VVS research index
back to I-15 index


An undeclared war started on May 11, 1939, along the Kalkhin-Gol River, that was the disputed border between the filo-Soviet Mongolia and the Manchukuo, a puppet state controlled by Japaneses.

At first the Soviet sent in action the 70 IAP, equipped mainly with I-15bis, and the 22 IAP equipped with I-16; they were later reinforced by other units.

The I-15bis were clearly not competitive against the monoplanes Ki-27, and were often employed as ground attack planes with the escort of I-16s flying at higher altitude.

Here we see the image of the remains I-15bis 'red 3' of 70 IAP, characterized by a red tail tip with white outline.

The bort number and the color of the cap are generally drawn as red on profiles, but the color picker of Photoshop shows that the cap was somewhat lighter than the number.

The inside color of the number has to be red, because it appears with the same darkness of the green uppersurface and of the red star on the fuselage, that has to be there but has not any contrast on this photo.

So, the cap has to be of some color lighter than red, possibly orange.

It is possible that the front of the spinner was of the same bright color, while the rear part could be AII green.

Below, a profile of this plane.

Here we see some I-15bis of the 56th IAP with an additional camouflage made overspraying grey(?) 'spaghetti' over the green/grey/silver standard livery.

Unfortunately the photos are very partial, and none of them shows the rear fuselage and the tail.



This is the Political Commissar P.Selyoutin in front of his plane, used for ground attack.



Pilot of the Ground Attack Squadron of the 56th Fighter Regiment, Lieutenant Stepan Timofeyevich Sailors during the fighting in Khalkhin Gol.

Stepan Timofeyevich Sailors (1910-1939) died on September 15, 1939 in the last dogfight of that conflict. He was buried in a mass grave near the battlefield. He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner.

Source: V. Kondratiev "Battle over the steppe. Aviation in the Soviet-Japanese armed conflict on Khalkhin Goal ".


The supposed grey overpaint cover the most of the spinner, leaving the original dark color visible only in a thin strip on the rear.

This solid overspraying suggests that the front of the spinner was of a bright color, likely the same one of the cap on the tail.

The rear part, left unsprayed, looks dark, probably AII green.

On this plane, the grey overspraying looks to form mottles on the front side of the propeller, reducing a bit the evidence of the aluminium blades.


Pilot P.F. Podkolzin of 56 iap in pose for a photo session.

The supposedly grey repainting on the spinner covers about half of its length; this suggests that only the front part of the spinner was originally painted with some bright color.

Note the bomb racks under the wings.

Source: V. Kondratiev "Battle over the steppe. Aviation in the Soviet-Japanese armed conflict on Khalkhin Goal ".



the same pilot and plane of the photo above.




an hypothetical reconstruction of the likely look of a plane of the unit:

  • The basic livery is standard;
  • the bort number is a guess;
  • the font was extrapolated by that of the downed plane 3 of the photo of 70 iap;
  • the color of the overspraying was supposed grey;
  • the grey overspraying covers almost completely the spinner; as an alternative, it could cover the front part only, leaving the rear part green;
  • the cap on the tail was represented as orange, and it was partially covered with the grey serpentine; it is even possible that it was almost entirely covered, as the spinner.


Polikarpow I-15bis of Maslov, Wydawnictwo Militaria





this work collects photos and drawings from many sources, not always identified and mentioned.
If someone has rights on the images reproduced here, please don't feel hurted, email to me and I shall provide to remove or to credit them.