Soviet SBs during Barbarossa:

late SB-2M103 with green-blue prewar standard

Updated on February 21, 2018

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Late SB M-103 were built in parallel with M-104 and M-105 engined ones, up to the early 1941 when the production of SB was stopped in favor of its successor Ar-2.

Visual characteristics of late production SB-2M103 were the ball-like MV-3 turret, the radio whose mast was well visible over the windshield's frame, whose upper mirror and clear extension were deleted; rectangular (instead of oval) small windows on the fuselage sides under the wings fillet.

The combat planes built between June 1940 and July 1941 were painted according to a new standard, with gloss grass green A-19f uppersurfaces and gloss light blue A-18f undersurfaces.

The prop blades continued to be left unpainted on their front face, with the rear face partially painted black.

Many of these characteristics (painting, turret, radio...) were often added to older planes during refittings, so it can be very difficult to distinguish a late production SB from an old one if this was updated.









Three interesting photos of a late SB M-103A with the green/light blue livery.

It features a silver 28 on its fuselage sides and a beautiful cat (or lynx?) painted on its stabilizer; this artwork is certainly the individual emblem of some commander.

The Red Banner Order emblem is visible on the nose of the plane

Besides, there is a strange frame painted on the upper of the rudder, probably on both sides; probably this is a regimental emblem. It was hypothetically drawn blue, because the photo was probably taken well inside the war, and the use of yellow is unlikely to avoid confusion with the markings of German planes.

The antenna mast and the ball-like MV-3 turret (covered by a cloth) suggest a plane built in late 1940, with fixed coolers inlet.

(via Alexandr Ruchkowsky)


The best image available of the cat isn't of so enthusiasming quality, but allows to distinguish the contour with the ears.

Below: a colorized contour of the cat.


Red 7 with starlet

Plane red 7 is a standard late production SB 2M103, characterized by the radio mast and both dorsal and ventral turrets.

A nice touch is the red starlet on the rudder, possibly indicating that this was the plane of some commander.

The trim tab seems painted red, but it could be only a matter of reflections.


White 4 of 24 SBAP



photo of plane white 4 of 24 SBAP.

The plane, probably built in early 1940 with a grey livery, was repainted with green uppersurfaces and updated with a MV-3 turret; the skinning of the fuselage around it was left open.

Note the way, unusual for SB, how the blue of the undersurfaces ends in front of the rudder.






Below: profile of plane white 4 of 24 SBAP.





Yellow 6


Photo of plane yellow (?) 6. It looks a standard production plane, the only reason of interest being the white cap on the rudder, certainly the mark of a regiment still unidentified.






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