Technical data
Type DB-3m DB-3F DB-3F Il-4
Function Bomber
Year 1939 1940 1941 1942
Crew 4
Engines 2*950hp M-87B 2*1100hp M-88 2*1100hp M-88B
Wingspan 21.44m
Length 14.76m
Height 4.10m
Wing Area 66.70m2
Empty Weight 537 3kg 5641kg 7320kg 6421kg
Flight Weight 7638kg 8033kg 9470kg 10055kg
Wing Load (kg/m2) 114 120 142 151
Power Load 4.0 3.7 4.3 4.6
Speed at 0m 354km/h 350km/h 345km/h 332km/h
Speed (at) 445km/h (5400m) 435km/h (6800m) 422km/h (6800m) 404km/h (6650m)
Climb to 5000m13.6min 10.5min 14.6min 19.0min
Ceiling 9000m 10000m 8900m 8300m
Range 3500km 3300km 3800m 3585km
Guns 3*mg 7.62mm ShKAS 1*mg 12.7mm UBT (turret) 500 rounds
2*mg 7.62mm ShKAS
Bombs 1500kg (inside) + 1000kg (external)

DB-3M, DB-3F, Il-4, S.V.Ilyushin 'Bob'

24k b/w photo from the "History of aircraft construction in the USSR" Vol.2, p.32

Twin-engined medium bomber, a development of the DB-3, originally designated DB-3M (used for first production bunches powered by M-87B/ M-88). Soon it was re-designated DB-3F. In March 1942 final designation Il-4 was assigned to the aircraft.

Its appearance was similar to the predecessor, except redesigned navigator's cockpit. But inside it was absolutely different machine. Tubes and U-profiles (with multiple weldings) were replaced by 2T-profiles, all construction became simple and easy to build without loses in strength and quality. Experience gained in production of the Li-2/DC-3 was of an incredible value.

The Il-4 was extremely sturdy and reliable. I saw in few sources that "Il-4 was not easy to handle". This is based on (the most publicized) experience of raids deep in enemy territory, when the bomber was terribly overloaded for maximum range and payload. 'Combat Aircraft Of World War II' calls it the best medium bomber of WWII. Il-4 served as the standard long-range bomber, torpedo-bomber, glider tug, paratrooper carrier. Some attacks on Berlin were of quite a high psychological value for struggling Soviet people, if not of a strategic military one.

16k b/w - Ground crew arms Il-4 for naval mission (Air Force Herald article dedicated to Russian Naval Aviation history)

Aircraft was in production in 1940- 1944. Some war time series had wooden outer wing sections and front of fuselage. More powerful engines were fitted, productions series differed by fuel tanks volume, defence armament. Gunner position got armoring (6-9mm thick tiles) following combat experience, when gunner was the first target of the attacking fighters.

20k b/w photo from JNO Russian Aviation Page

During the War extra 1000kg bombs outside became a regular practices.

Total production of the DB-3 and Il-4 was approx 6800, that of the Il-4 alone 5256.

More Links...
  • Il-4
  • Il-4, Ilyushin 'Bob'
  • IL-4 at Virtual Aircraft Museum
  • DOO Flightsimulator page by Oleg Devjatkin;
  • Normandie Niemen Site

  • Modified May 7, 1997 Back to
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