Soviet SBs during Barbarossa:

blotches camouflages over silver or grey liveries


Updated on February 22, 2018

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In early June 1941, many SB were still preserving their silver or light grey livery.

An attempt to create a new directive to camouflage planes in may 1941had failed due to its excessive complexity.

So, an order of mid June 1941 ordered to hurrily camouflage silver and light grey bombers with blotches or strokes of green paint, sometimes with black or other colors.

This led to a variety of amazing improvised liveries.

The red stars on the upper surfaces of wings were often preserved.

Similar liveries had already been utilized in the Nomothan accident, when the Soviet Union fought a brief, intense undeclared war against Japanese forces between 11 May and 15 September 1939.

So, it could be that some units had preserved the camouflage utilized at that time.

Black 6 of 6 SBAP


some photos of plane 6 of 6 SBAP on the Vitebsk airport in Belarus in June 1941; in the first one it is still in good conditions, in the second one it is sadly scrapped.

It is a old-fashioned SB M-100A or 103 with silver finish, on which a crude and partial green camouflage was applied. Part of the upper and side surface was left completely uncamouflaged.

On the top of the rudder it seems to see a green blotch with a C or G painted on in light paint, whose meaning is unknown.

The rear part of the spinners seem painted black.

The third photo, although blurred, gives an idea of the right side. The blotch with the supposed G looks absent.






profile of plane 'black 6'.


Red 4


SB red 4 of unknown unit, Ukraine 1941.

The red (?) number 4 is barely visible on the camouflaged rudder of this SB 2M-100A or 103 with flat cowlings.

The camouflage is executed with two colors, probably green and black, on an apparently light grey background.

Seems that the camouflage, strongly visible on the rear of the fuselage and on the tail, was less visible on the front part of the plane.









a profile of 'red 4'.


Red 5 of 44 SBAP






Plane 5 of 5th squadron of 44 SBAP, recognizable by the number of red teeth protruding backwards on the fin.

The plane had M-100A or M-103 engines with flat front over the aluminum finish, that was mottled with green paint in an attempt to hurrily camouflage it.







Images of plane 6 of the 4th Squadron of 44 SBAP. The number 6 and the red mark with four 'teeth' protruding backwards; a thin black outline is visible around them.

The plane was crudely camouflaged with green and black strokes over the aluminum base. The plane looks an old SB 2 M-100A with only one circular window on each side, and with the upwards extended windshield; the MV-3 turret was a recent update.

A dark shape is visible over the elevator; it is not clear if it is related to the unit insignia or to the camouflage.

Another plane 5 of 44 SBAP, this time of squadron 4.

It seems that the green layer on the stabilizer is hiding a red leading edge.

The number seems darker than the emblem, probably it was black.



The photo shows another plane, probably of the 4th squadron of 44 sbap, that was distinguishable because it had one red tooth less than the previous one in its emblem on the tail.



Interesting, but incomplete photos of a silver SB with an unusual dots pattern on its rear fuselage and tail.

The camouflage on the remaining part of the plane seems to follow a more common and soft green pattern over silver.

Another mystery is the asymmetric painting on the stabilizer; the straight line on the right side seems part of the emblem of the 1st squadron of 44 SBAP, and this would be coherent with its extension to the leading edges of the stabilizers (absent on photos); the reason of the asymmetric extension of the red part on the left side of the fin (and perhaps on the left stabilizer) is unknown.

Probably this was the plane of a squadron commander that had to be easily recognizable to his subordinates.


Yellow 2


Plane yellow (?) 2 of unknown unit, captured by Germans when dismantled for maintenance.

It is interesting for its field applied camouflage, probably made with green and black.

On the left side, the camo seems to partially cover the red star on the fuselage, that seems clean on the right side.

The plane seems an old fashioned flat-engined SB (M-100A or 103) with aluminum base livery but no upper windshield extension.






Yellow 1


Plane yellow (?) 1 was engined with M-100A or 103, and had the flat cowlings, the silver finish and presumably the extended windshield of these variants.

A small red star with black outline is visible on the highest part of the rudder.



Yellow 6


Plane yellow 6 was portrayed in this color photo, but it is not sure that this was a real color photo or a colorizing of an usual bw one.

The small number looks overpainted over another one deleted with a square of green paint, possibly a 12.

The plane is an SB 2M-103 with pointed cowlings and glossy grey livery, oversprayed with green (possibly over a lighter green mottling, or a more thinned mottling).

The green overspraying slightly covers some parts of the stars on the fuselage.

The nose of the plane was destroyed by a direct hit; a fire ruined the cockpit area creating whitish shades on the back of the fuselage.




Red 3 with colored nose

These images of plane red (?) 3 are interesting because all the nose of the plane seems painted with the same of the cap on the rudder (medium blue?). Both are mottled with both green and light (aluminum?) brush strokes.

The upper and side surfaces seem camouflaged with thinned green strokes over an aluminum base.

The lower surfaces seem to have been repainted with some medium grey or blue, perhaps AMT-7. Unfortunately we don't know the date of the photo; the use of AMT-7 is likely only since late 1941.

The light part around the star on the fuselage could be part of the original aluminum livery, roughly repainted with the new colors.

The number 3 on the rudder seems red with a thin black outline.


Red 5 with dotted nose

Plane red (?) 5 of unknown unit on the Bobruisk airport in June 1941.

The plane is interesting both because it is a very early model, a SB 2M-100 with two-blades propellers, both because the camouflaging dots are limited to the upper part of the nose on an overall silver livery.

The rudder shows a red (?) 5 with black outline, overposed to a rectangular area of shade different from silver; probably it was the original light grey finish from factory, that was masked when the plane was repainted aluminum overall.

Another nice detail is the red trim tab on the rudder.


Red 2 on white circle of 32 SBAP



SB 2M-100A or 103 of 32 SBAP, Belarus, June 1941.

characterized by a red (?) number 2 inscribed into a white circle, a red (?) cap on its rudder and a red trim tab.

The rough green camouflage over the silver background is well visible; in some parts, a zigzag pattern is recognizable.

Strangely, the prop blades are painted overall black.

Both spinners are missing, it is unclear if the plane flew without them or if they were taken by some souvenir hunters.


No number on white circle, 32 SBAP



This nice plane has a white circle on its rudder that is similar to that of plane red 2, but there is no number on it, nor the same cap or red trim tab. Perhaps both planes were of the 32 SBAP, and this one was lost before the markings were completed.

Again, the plane has black prop blades and black spinners.

Fasteners show uncamouflaged silver surfaces, but it is likely that the camouflage was not interrupted when all the pieces were in their proper positions.

Differently from plane 2, this one was updated with an V-3 turret and a radio whose mast is visible over the windshield, whose extension for the mirror was removed as usual, being incompatible with the mast; lateral mirrors are visible on the sliding hood.


Red 10 on silver circle of 41 SBAP



Plane red (?) 10 has some resemblance to plane 2. The red (?) painting on the upper part of the rudder suggests that this plane could belong to 41 SBAP; other sources suggest that it was of 32 SBAP as plane 2.

The number 10 is placed over a roughly circular light area; it is unclear if it was a white background or an area avoided by the green overspraying over the silver background.

Some parts can give the idea of the use of two shades of green paint, or perhaps this is due to the initial use of more thinned green paint of the same shade.

Unusually, both the prop blades and the spinners seem painted black.

The trim tab seems painted red.




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