1250 planes, incl. 216 I-16 types 5, 6 and 10 ("Swallow"); six TB-3; 213 I-15 and I-15bis;
R-5; SB-2; DB-3A; UTI-4, UT-1
82 tanks (T-26 and BT-5)
arm.cars (BA-3, BA-6, BA-10, BA-20)
1850 trucks and tracktors
1600 guns, incl. 76mm field and flak guns
rifles; fuel and oil; ammo; medical stuff; spare parts
Also USSR used in Manchuria in 1939 new types:
I-16 type 17 and I-153; BT-7; ...
Mongolian army got some amount of armament, for ex. 45mm ATGs; BA-6 arm.cars.
Some air combats
The quality of Japanese pilots: the Soviets rated it high.
Boris Smirnov (one of Soviet aces of Spanish Civil War) said: "Japanese
were more experienced than Italians and more aggressive than Germans". That's enought, isn't it?
The strike to Shanghai: on 2nd December 1937, Soviets bombers
destroyed Japanese cruiser and damaged 6 another military ships.
The defence of Wuhan: on 29th April 1938, Soviet fighters shot down
21 Japanese planes, and on 31st May - 15 planes.
The strike to Formosa: the very risky, but very succefull mission
of Soviet Volunteer Group. Captain Fyodor Polynin was the commander of bomber group.
Formosa made a formidable target. The distance from Hankou (a suburb of Wuhan
nowadays) to Formosa is more than 1000kms, so the target was barely within the
range of a twin-engined SB-2 bomber. The Japanese airfield was ringed by mountains
and hard to approach. It would probably be defended by fighters and would surely be protected by flaks.
On 23rd February 1938,
28 SB bombers flew at 13500-16500 feet to extend the range of the SB. The crews suffered from
anoxia in the course of the long flight, since there were no oxygen masks available, but there
was no alternative. The bombers passed the island to the north, turn south, and
came down to 12000 feet with engines muffled to delude the Japanese. The bomber group
then hit the target and ran for the coast. On the way across the strait, the bombers
were at 6000 feet, and the crews were able to catch their breath a little before
climbing to 12000 feet.
There were no escort figthers, but the SB was a speedy plane; contemporary
Japanese fighters were not able to catch it. But over the target even was no any air
danger; moreover the Japanese had made no attempt at camouflage or dispersal.
They seemed sure of their safety. Japanese AA artillery began to fire
near the end, but too late. Much lighter SB
bombers had already turned and headed for the Taiwan Strait, running flat out for the Chinese coast.
In all, the Soviet planes dropped 2080 bombs. The raid was a shock for
the Japanese. The air base at Taibei was out of action for a month. According to Chinese
intelligence, about 40 planes were completely destroyed on the airfield, and a number of
unassembled planes were also destroyed in their shipping containers. The hangars and a
three-year store of fuel had burned. The Japanese government recalled the governor of
Formosa, and the base commander was court-martialed and subsequently committed a suicide.
Mikado's birthday: 29th April 1939 Japanese sent 72 bombers
to Khankow. There weren't any escort fighters and the Soviet pilots
shot down 21 bombers.
3rd October 1939 capt. Kulishenko G.A. lead the strike
to Hankow airbase. The Japanes lost 64 planes; 130 men were killed and 300 wounded.
The 1st combat use of the RS rockets.
Five I-16 ftrs additionaly armed with eight RS-82 rockets were sent to Manchuria for test purposes.
The pilots: Zvonarev(commander), Pimenov, Fedosov, Mikhaylenko, Tkachenko) The first victories:
20th aug. 1939: 2 Japanese I-97 ftrs were shot down by RS rockets;
21st aug. 1939: one I-97 ftr and two B-96 bmrs.
The RS-82 were effectively used even at distances over 1km.
Also rocket attack had big moral effect - the Japanese usualy break a formation and ran;
they even couldn't recgognise what's killed them (the Japanese expertes
only supposed that the Russians used big gun about 76mm).
Total victories until 15th Sept. : ten I-97, two B-96, one light bomber B-97
in 85 missions; there were no Zvonarev's flight losses.
Soviet designations for the Japanese military planes: I-95 = Ki-10 ; I-96 = A5M ; I-97 = Ki-27 ; B-96 = G3M