Soviet SBs during Barbarossa:

camouflages of winter 1941/42


Updated on April 29, 2018

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Part of the SB survived to the early months of war received temporary white winter camouflages over the existing liveries. This page shows the camouflages positively identified as winter ones.

Many photos show SB with disruptive camouflages including a light color, that could be permanent light grey AE-9. The date of the photos is not known; if they were taken in the spring 1942, probably these planes could be considered as winter camouflaged.

Soviet SBs during Barbarossa non-standard camouflages over green base



Hidden 2

This plane bore a temporary white camouflage made with MK-9 washable distemper. The white layer covers the tail, part of the fuselage and probably part of the wings up to the tip; the engines and cockpit areas were not painted white, probably to avoid that the uniforms of the crew were dirtened with fresh distemper.

Bort numbers, if any, were hidden by the distemper; a small white 5 looks vaguely visible on the rudder, near the hinge, under the temporary layer, while a small dark 2 seems visible close to the trim tab.


Blue(?) 4

Flat-cowling SB n.4 has an interesting overposition of paintings.

The lower surfaces look painted light grey or light blue, well contrasting to the (unpainted?) covers that close the landing gear bay making the ski leg fixed.

It is evident that the dominant color of the upper surfaces is glossy green, roughly painted by brush; it is possible that there were black bands painted on, but they aren't evident in the photo; what we see on the right side of the rudder, above the (light blue?) 4, is an area painted with a solid light color that was considered camouflaging enough in winter that didn't required to be covered with white paint; it could be a part of a summer/fall camouflage including light grey or light beige bands.

The most part of the uppersurface seems covered by a heavy and irregular layer of white distemper.

Noteworthy are the black 4 under each wing, the spinners painted with an unidentified glossy color, and the small part under the front of the left engine cowling that shows a piece of a previous improvised camouflage.

It could be that the white camouflage lets to see part of a black band on the fuselage and that the sliding hood of the rear gunner was removed, as on plane 5 below.


Black 5

Plane 5 was captured by Germans in winter 1941/42.

the plane has many interesting characteristics. The ski gear is evident; less evident, but highly unusual, is that both the doors and the sides of the landing gear nacelle were removed, leaving the struts of the leg clearly visible up to the wing undersurface. The work seems clean, so probably it wasn't a war damage.

The painting is unusual too: it is a summertime green dots camouflage over a factory aluminum-painted background.

The green dotting extended to the spinners and prop blades too.

The bands, probably black, could mean that the planes and the crews were from some training unit sent to the front.

Over all this, there was an irregular layer of white nwashable paint to camouflage the plane on the snow.


The photo from behind allows to see the extension of white paint on the tail and wings.

Note the preservation of the red stars over the wings, and the areas on the elevators that were left of a dark color, likely a regimental identification marking.

Such dark elements are not visible on the photos showing the elevators from below.

Note that the tip of the right stabilizator seems in shadow due to the man, and this could explain that the dark area doesn't seem symmetrical.



The photo below seems to show the same plane during the following spring.

The advanced state of decay is evident.

The winter washable paint was probably lost due to the rain, there is no longer trace of it.

The image shows well the blotches, made by a brush.

Note that there is not any dark area on the tip of the stabilizator.





Red 11

Plane red (?) 11 has a look very similar to plane black 5, although it is not clear if the light look of the tail was due to the absence of white dots or to a layer of non-washable white paint for winter camouflage; this looks more likely, because the tail doesn't seem silver as usual for flat-cowlings SB.

If so, the plane had silver undersurfaces.

The plane doesn't seem provided with wheels, but skis weren't mounted on.

Differently from plane 5, the sliding hood of the gunner is in its position.

The black band around the fuselage seems interrupted in its upper part, perhaps oversprayed with camouflage colors.

Note the raised windshield and the single circular window close to the star.

A small dot on the upper part of the rudder could be a small red star.


White 26

Sharp-cowling SB 'white 26' (?) has a dense layer of white distemper to camouflage it over the snowy ground.

The tail skid contrasts to the main landing gear with wheels.

Note the unusual position of the radio mast on the nose.




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