Author Topic: Spanish Republican MiGs  (Read 1889 times)

Offline apophenia

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Spanish Republican MiGs
« on: March 08, 2020, 04:02:16 AM »
Having bad-mouthed the Republican MiG-3s, it seemed only fair they got their own profiles ...

Las Migrañas - The Mikoyán y Gurévich MiG-3 Fighters in Republican Service

The Soviet MiG-3 was designed as a high-altitude interceptor and that was their role in the FARE's 1.ª and 2.ª escuadrillas de Miguels. These squadrons were intended as 'top covers' for Madrid and Barcelona and the new interceptors were very fast at altitude. However, the 'Miguels' were also quite slow-climbing - a distinct disadvantage for a high-altitude interceptor.

Top A newly-delivered Mikoyán y Gurévich MiG-3 interceptor of 2.ª escuadrilla de Miguels based at aeródromo El Prat. Initially, 2.ª esc was detailled with defending Barcelona from Italian medium bombers operating from an airfield on Majorca. 'Miguel' '02' was the first interceptor to down one of the new Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 trimotor bombers.

Just as the MiGs entered service, it was becoming apparent that the standard Polikarpov I-16 Mosca fighters had lost their edge. As an expedient, MiG-3s began to be diverted to the escuadrillas de Moscas. This proved a less than ideal solution. Compared with the docile I-16, a 'Miguel' was difficult to fly - with rather nasty stall and spin characteristics. At medium altitude where the Moscas fought, the much heavier MiGs also lost their speed advantage over potential fascist adversaries like the 'Emiliano' model Messerschmitts.

In the former escuadrillas de Moscas, the MiG-3 developed the reputation of a widow-maker (mainly due to its high wing loading and lack of manoeuvrability). While still officially dubbed the 'Miguel', the MiGs began accumulating less complimentary sobrenombres - 'Mulas' (Mules) to the pilots, 'Migrañas' (Headaches) to the ground crews who had to maintain these beasts. Thus, it came as a great relief (literally and figuratively) when the new Yakovlev fighters arrived to fill the aviación frontal role. Where the MiGs were forced to soldier on, they were derided as 'Migajas' (Leftovers).

Bottom A MiG-3 'Migajas' of the 52.ª esc at aeródromo Reus. This aircraft was recently redelivered from a Depósito de Reparación de Aviación. The all-red rear fuselage probably had more to do with repairs to shpon woodwork than recognition markings. As was typical, this fighter has had 'inspiring' slogans applied at the Depó.

Note that, to save weight, 'Blanco 4' has lost its RSI-1 radio set as well as its third machine gun - the heavier 12.7 mm Berezin UBS. Back-up ring sights for the remaining guns have also been added at the Depó. Exacerbating drag is the permanently part-opened radiator duct (to reduce engine cooling problems) and the tendency among 'Mula' to fly with their canopies open (lest they jam shut in an emergency).

The final FARE employment for the 'Mulas' was as high-altitude recce-fighters. [1] This role well-suited the MiGs which were polished and stripped of armour and armament (except a lone 7.62 mm ShKAS cowl gun) to improve dash performance at altitude. As MiGs were withdrawn from fighter squadrons, the spares supply of Mikulin AM-35A engines improved with the more reliable examples reserved for the reconnaissance units. Such was the success of the Fotografía MiGs that they ceased to be regarded as 'Migajas'.


[1] Soviet recommendations to increase the MiG-3s' armament (with twin underwing Berezin UBS pods) or to fit surviving fighters with bomb-racks to become bombarderos en picada rápido were both rejected by the FARE command. As soon as sufficient Yaks were available, MiGs were retired from all but the Fotografía role.

BTW, these sideviews began as a Soviet profile by Richard Caruna.
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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Spanish Republican MiGs
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2020, 04:05:19 AM »
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

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But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline ChernayaAkula

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Re: Spanish Republican MiGs
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2020, 07:49:23 AM »
Very nice!  :-*

Had an idea for something quite similar using a Hobby Boss kit for this GB, but... yeah. Same fate as my Hobby Boss MiG-3 in the "US enters WWII early" GB.  :-X May have to build one of these outside the GB some day. They're just too beautiful!  :-*

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Offline apophenia

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Re: Spanish Republican MiGs
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2020, 03:40:26 AM »
Thanks Moritz! Although, a MiG-3 in pre-war Army Air Corps markings would look great!  :-*
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Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Spanish Republican MiGs
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2020, 03:57:28 AM »
Those are some magnificent Republican MiGs and the camouflage scheme is especially nice!

I'm with Mortiz, so many ideas, so little time.

Brian da Basher