ICM-72093 1/72 Zveno Soviet WW2 long range bomber system (Tupolev TB-3 bomber and 2 x Polykarpov I-16 fighter) model kit
The designing of airborne aircraft carriers was begun in USSR in the beginning of the 30-th years under the supervision of V.Vakhmistrov. Some designs under the name "Zveno" were created, in which heavy bombers TB-3 were used as carriers.
ICM 1/72 Zveno Soviet WW2 long range bomber system (Tupolev TB-3 bomber and 2 x Polykarpov I-16 fighter) model kit. Pic.1
The most successful design, in which two I-16 fighters were suspended under the TB-3 wing, was created in 1938. Each I-16 carried two 250 kg bombs and should be used as a dive bomber. The range of the whole system was up to 2500 km. I-16 could be reverted to the fighter role after bombing.
In June 1940 the trials of the first serial system under the name "Zveno"-SPB have begun. Five complete sets, each consisted of TB-3 and two I-16 type 24, were allocated to the 2nd Special Squadron of the Black Sea Fleet AF 32 IAP at Yevpatoria.
The first combat operation was on July 26, 1941, when four I-16, commanded by Captain Shubikov, were released from their mother aircraft and attacked a petrol factory in Constance (Romania).
The best known operation with participation of three "Zveno"-SPB was the destruction on August 13, 1941 of the Chernavodsky Bridge over the Danube, on which passed an oil pipeline Ploeshty-Constance.
The "Zveno"-SPB was used till October,1941. More than 30 missions were flown.