About the Film
People & Places
Timelines & Maps
Education Resources
Soviet Air Force

The Red Army Air Force was a up to date force equipped with some of the more modern aircraft of the time period. In the attacks against Finland the Soviets had over 900 available aircraft. The Soviets used their planes to attack Finnish military as well as civilian targets.

The Fighters

The Polikarpov I-15
This biplane first flew in 1933 and saw its first combat action during the Spanish Civil War. This was a single man aircraft with a 700 horsepower engine whose top speed was 350 kilometers per hour. In the Winter War most were armed with four fixed machine guns in 7.62X54R caliber. The I-15 could also carry a bomb load of 100kg.

Polikarpov I-153 "Chaika"
This biplane went into production in 1938 and saw heavy use in the Winter War. These were an improved version of the Soviet I-15 and featured a better engine, retractable landing gear, and were armed with the ShKAS machine gun in 7.62X54R. The top speed of the plane was 430 kilometers per hour and could carry a maximum bomb load of 150kg. As was the case with the I-15 this was a single seat aircraft.

Polikarpov I-16
This monoplane first took flight in 1933 and was a fighter that could hold its own against any adversary of the time period. These fighters first saw action in Spain and scored a great number of kills against the German and Italian aircraft they faced in battle. There were a number of variants of these planes that were produced – including a dive bomber version. The planes could be armed with 4 fixed position ShKAS machine guns or with two ShKAS machine guns and two 20mm cannons. Bomb loads could range from 100-150kg’s. Top speed was 450 kilometer per hour.

The Bombers

Tupolev SB
SB translates to high speed bomber and this 1934 produced plane could reach a max speed of 370 kilometer per hour. This speed made it faster than some of the fighter planes of the day. Many consider this bomber to be the best of the mid to late 1930’s time period. The plane had a three man crew and although there were various versions of these bombers seen over Finland were mainly the SB-2 armed with 3-4 ShKAS machine guns and carrying 900kg of bombs.

Ilyushin DB-3
DB translates to long range bomber and the Ilyushin DB-3 had a range of 3,800 kilometers. The bomber had a three man crew and the top speed of the aircraft was 439 kilometers per hour. The bomb load was over 1500kg and the planes were armed with three ShKAS machine guns.

The Soviets also had a number of recon planes with two major versions being the Polikarpov R-5 and the Beriev MBR-2.