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Schemes for the Sukhoi Su-2

by Erik Pilawskii

Su-2 M-88 "Yellow 68"
unit u/k
pilot u/k

This aircraft was photographed by German soldiers after it was apparently abandoned during the early Barbarossa period. The original unit is unknown, as are the details of its service, but the photograph was taken in the area around Chertkov, in the south, during late July 1941 (it is therefore possible that it belonged once to the 226 BAP, but such is simply not confirmed at this time).

"68" shows one of the curious three-colour schemes of the early-War, and immediately pre-War, era. Three-colour applications were certainly not unknown, but the unusual combination of AII lacquers Green/Dark Green/Black has been spotted so far only on the Su-2 programme. Interestingly, the Su-2 surviving at Monino is finished in this way. The Monino example has also a more complicated pattern of execution, but from what little evidence there is in the photographic record, this type of simplified pattern seems to be the more common in these colours.

The tactical number "68" looks to have been rendered in yellow, and the spinner finished in black. No other details of the weathering or finish are observable in the photograph.

Su-2 M-88 "White 6"
135 BAP
I.N. Krolov

"White 6" was photographed in service with the 135 (B)BAP during the autumn of 1941; the location of the photo is not recorded on the caption. The pilot is listed as Lt. Igor Krolov, and he was said to have flown in action alongside the 135th's famous woman pilot, Ekatrina Zelenko.

The camouflage pattern on "6" is quite common for the early Su-2 programme, and was completed in AII lacquers Black/Green/Blue. A white band appeared on the fuselage of unknown meaning, and this appeared to be rather worn over the lower AII Blue surfaces.

The aircraft wore a dimutive national star on the fin of a type seen occasionally during the early War period. The spinner and numeral were in white, and the number placed lower on the rudder in the usual 'Su-2 manner'.

Su-2 M-88 "White 59"
288 BAP
pilot u/k

Several authors have attributed this machine to Hero of the Soviet Union V.I. Artamonov, who was certainly a pilot in the 288th. However, no reliable evidence has yet been seen on this point, and so for the time being this citation must not be considered. "59" was, however, most definitely photographed in service with the 288 BAP at Poltava during 1941.

The camouflage scheme here is interesting, in that it seems to have prefaced a change in colour selection that was very notable later in the Su-2 programme. The shift here was away from the use of AII Black finish, and instead for this shade to be replaced with the (then) relatively uncommon lacquer AII Brown (later made famous by the Il-2). The pattern of application is classic, and can be seen in many photographs.

A white flash was carried on the upper fin/rudder, and the tactical number was smartly trimmed in red. "59" looked to have been in relatively new condition when it was photographed, and no appreciable wear is evident. Plain red type national star markings were carried in the usual six positions.

Su-2 M-88B "White 18"
209 BAP
pilot u/k

Some years ago a profile of this aircraft appeared in Krilya Pobedi magazine. It had been drawn by one of the better KP artists, and in general it was accepted to be genuine. At that time, the aircraft was attributed to at Lt. Govorukhin of the 209 BAP. Some years on, two photographs of the very pilot, L.A. Govorukhin and his aircraft, have been published in Khazanov and Gordyukov's book on the Su-2. Lo and behold, looking to these photos, it seems that the profile could, at least, be this aircraft. Better photos will be needed to say for certain.

"18" seems to be wearing a fairly typical application for the Su-2s of this time in AII Green/Brown/Blue. A fair amount of MK-7 white distemper has been applied for seasonal camouflage (these photos date from spring/42), and as usual shows considerable wear. The original tactical number might have been on the lower fin, and a replacement looks to have been added by hand in MK-7 finish onto the aft fuselage.

The black spinner seems to have been dusted with MK-7, as well. The aircraft wore black bordered national stars in six positions, as shown.

Su-2 M-88B (modified) "White 15"
210 BAP
G.V Sivkov and P.I Zemlyakov

As with Air Force units everywhere, in all countries, it seems that in the 210 BAP, the newest crews were assigned to the oldest 'hacks'. So it seems to be with "White 15", a venerable and aged mount photographed on the occasion of Sivkov and Zemlyakov's first sortie. The date is not given in the photo, but one would not be surprised (given the state of condition of the machine) to have dated from the winter of 1942-43.

"15" shows incontrovertible evidence both of much use, and also much refinishing. Indeed, the condition of its finish in the photograph seems to have been a conglomeration of many permutations of re-painting done hitherto. To my eye, it seems as if the entire rear part of the fuselage had been repainted in a newer shade of AII Green, perhaps for repairs or other work (sheet metal wear and damage is quite obvious), partially obscuring part of the Black areas of the original scheme. Over this there seems to have been an attempt to replicate a camouflage, of sorts, with an area of AII Black applied over the fin/rudder. This was subsequently then refinished again with areas of MK-7 white for seasonal use (snow is evident on the ground in the picture).

The national star marking on the fuselage is in fact no more than a black bordered outline, one that is positioned oddly, at that. The rudder is probably from a different aircraft, and seems to show parts of a production number on it (perhaps 45---?), whilst the fin clearly has the production number 45032 still stenciled in red. The rudder's number is nicely painted, but the border certainly does not equate to the colour red, and is unknown. It may be a black-ish colour; I have chosen to draw it here in dark blue.

The remainder of the scheme is a mystery. Many profiles of this aircraft have been completed, and a composite appearance has been mooted based on a common 1941 Su-2 pattern. Whether this was in fact the case remains unknown.

Su-2 M-82 "Red 26"
52 BAP
Lt. V.I. Yanitskiy

"26" was photographed in service with the 52 BAP on the approaches to Stalingrad, during October 1942. The photograph shows three pilots, the left-most of which is said to be Hero of the Soviet Union V.I. Yanitskiy; the caption attributes this aircraft to him. It is not stated if this might have been the aircraft he was flying when he was awarded the Gold Star during August of that year.

"Red 26" had been largely refished with MK-7 white distemper for seasonal camouflage. The original finish looks to have been AII Green/Black, and small area of this colouration is visible on the fin. The tactical number was quite attractively applied, and trimmed very thinly in white. The 52 BAP's trademark lightening bolt is displayed on the fin/rudder, and the spinner is trimed on the forward section in red.

No national star markings look to remain on the upper surfaces. Plain red stars have been speculated on the wing undersurfaces, which are not in view.