Moving to Kuybyshev
By the order NKAP n.648 of July 9, 1941, it was decided to open a second
production line in Kuybyshev on the Urals, 885 km east of Moscow, on a
factory still to build called Zavod 122; Kuybyshev was selected as a military
industrial pole for many other factories of bellic interest.
But already on July 22 it was decided to move the factories eastwards to protect them from invasion and air raids; it was decided to transfer all the equipment and personnel from Zavod 1 as soon as possible.
To begin with, a part of the Mikoyan design team was trasferred there during August 1941; the documents and drawings were transported by aircraft, but unfortunately an heavy rain started while the precious load was unloaded, and Mikoyan himself had to try to save papers from rain. Subsequently, remaining documents on the aircrafts were loaded on a truck, that, had its own problems with muddy ground and had to be pulled in some occasions.
During October, a factory airfield was prepared, many workshops were built, a forge and a foundry were made.
The moving of machinery of the MiG-3 production line started in October 1941. The moving was made with good efficiency, so machinery in Moscow worked until the time to be quickly dismounted, moved eastward and quickly remounted into often unfinished workshops.
Condition were difficult, because building and infrastructures were lacking, and production often had to be started in unfinished workshops; personnel was forced to move away from his homes and families in places where food, housing and clothing were lacking, the fall weather was rainy while winter brought cold (-35°C), snow, and ice.
The first MiG-3 assembled in Kuybyshev rolled out of the workshop ten days after the arrival of the last parts load, and production was of 1-2 aircrafts to day, well below the 10-15 aircrafts for day made before moving.
All the few (about 30) MiG-3s made in Kuybyshev were obtained by assembling spare parts already built in Moscow.
The Mikoyan bureau absorbed the experienced technicians of the Tairov bureau, that were working on the Ta-3 twin engined fighter; this because Vsevolod Tairov himself had died in an accident while flying to Kuybyshev at the end of December.
The end of production
On that time, the VVS had already 3 types of fighters on production,
and the MiG-3 was not the most beloved of them. Besides, the same plant
in Kuybishev should produce Il.2 Shturmovoks too, but their output was
very slow, due to the lack of Mikulin AM-38F engines equipping them.
After the loss of a large factory in Byelorussia, the only factory remained to produce the AM-38F engines was the same producing AM-35A engines for the MiG-3, located in Kuybyshev too and activated in late 1941. The two engines were nearly identical, so it was clear that an AM-35A produced more was an AM-38F less.
|The AM-35A powering the MiG-3, mounted on a tube strut identical to that of a MiG-3.|
|the AM-38F of the Il-2 Shturmovik. Resemblance is more than evident.|
The Il-2 was in production at the Kuybyshev plant too, but its production
went slowly, being the production concentrated on MiG-3, probably for inertia,
because its suppression was already decided by the authorities during October.
|Expecting the end of the availability of the AM-35A, Mikoyan tried
to save the MiG-3 programme by adapting the aircraft to accomodate the
easily available M-82 radial.
But the thusly built aircraft, called I-210, suffered from disappointing performance. 5 examples were built.
During a meeting in Moscow on December 23 with the presence of Stalin,
Mikoyan, Petlyakov, Mikulin and Ilyushin and many other, it was discussed
on the delays of the factory directors to convert the production of MiG-3
and AM-35A into Il-2 and AM-38F.
As a result, Stalin sent an angry telegram:
"You have deceived our country and our Red Army.
Our Red Army needs Il-2s as much as it does bread and water. Szenkman is producing one Il-2 for day, and Tretyakov is producing one to two MiG-3s. This is an insult to the country and to the Red Army. We need Il-2s, not MiGs. This is your last warning".
The telegram led to the immediate suspension of MiG-3 production, while the production of Il-2 grew rapidly even beyond the programmed production volume.
|After returning from Kuybyshev to Moscow during April 1942, at the
newly organized experimental plant 155 (OKB-155) headed by Mikoyan, they
obtained from Zavod 1 and Zavod 30 many spare parts and sub-ensembles,
that allowed to build up 30 aircrafts, numbered from n.6001 to 6030, all
armed with two ShVAK; two further aircrafts, arrived to the plant for major
maintenance, were rearmed with two ShVAK.
The total production of MiG-3 of Zavod 1 and OKB-155 was 3172; it is not clear if this number comprises the MiG-1s, the I-200 prototypes and the MiG-3M-82.
The modularity of this aircraft led to an easy maintainability by cannibalization, so 2 or 3 damaged aircrafts could be used to obtain an airworty one; some MiG-3s remained serviceable, with secondary duties, until the end of the war.
|These MiG-3s were delivered to 122 IAP in February 1942.
They are between the last MiG-3s even built.
The slogans are:
"Za rodinu" (For the homeland), pilot D. Latyshev
"Za Stalina" (For Stalin), pilot A.K. Popov
"Za Partii Bolshevikov" (For the Bolshevik Party), pilot V.V. Rybalko.
The arrows are believed to be red, even if they look a bit darker than the stars. Note the unusually immaculate white color.
The objects on the ground are compressed air bottles to charge the pneumatic system of the aircrafts.
from Red Stars
|"Za Partii Bolshevikov" (For the Bolshevik Party), pilot V.V. Rybalko.|
|"Za rodinu" (For the homeland), pilot D. Latyshev
from "Unknown battles on the Moscow skies" of Hazanov
"Za Stalina" (For Stalin), pilot A.K. Popov