The Tupolev 'ANT-40, also known by its service name Tupolev SB (Russian: Skorostnoi Bombardirovschik - "high speed bomber"), and development co-name TsAGI-40, was a high speed twin-engined three-seat monoplane bomber, first flown in 1934.
The design was very advanced, but lacked refinement, much to the dismay of crews and maintenance personnel. Numerically the most important bomber in the world in the late 1930s, the SB was the first modern stressed-skin aircraft produced in quantity in the Soviet Union and probably the most formidable bomber of the mid-1930s. Many versions saw extensive action in Spain, the China, Mongolia, Finland and at the beginning of the War against Germany in 1941. It was also used in various duties in civil variants, as trainers and in many secondary roles.
Successful in the Spanish Civil War because it outpaced most fighters, the aircraft was obsolete by June 1941.
Tupolev SB in The War That Came EarlyEdit
Soviet pilot Sergei Yaroslavsky flew an SB-2 when the war in Europe broke out in 1938. He flew first from airfields in Czechoslovakia, and later in Russia, bombing first German cities, then Polish positions. He'd also flown the bomber in Spain, where he had learnt to fear the German 109, and what it could do to the flimsy bomber. During the Russian winter, the wheels where removed and skis placed on the bomber, but during the spring, heavy rains turned Soviet airfields into mud making the bomber, pretty much useless. As the war dragged on, the SB-2 was seen as a real work horse, fighting in both the Far East and the Polish front. However, it was still vulnerable to all types of fighters, and as 1940 began, it was phased out to night raiding missions as the Petlyakov Pe-2 assumed the role of front line bomber.