The Anatra saga
The company was funded in 1913 by Arthur Antonovitch Anatra, the factory being a creation by the local aero-club, using the same hangars used for repairs. The team came from Odessa naval batallion workshop, where, from 1909 to 1912 about twenty foreign planes under licence were assembled. In October 1912, Anatra sent a letter addressed to the general direction of aeronautics engineers to offer his services, quickly accepted and sanctioned by a general letter also sent to other manufacturers. In june 1913, Anatra workshops received an official order for 5 planes, Farman IV copies, delivered in September. Anatra would, until 1917 also produce under licence Nieuports, Farman, Voisin, and Morane. Only in 1915, after having studied these, Anatra would start his own designs, soon renown.
- Anatra: December 1915 prototype
- Anatra D Anade 170 built
- Anatra DS Anasal 184 built
- Anatra Anadis 1 prototype
Anatra Anadis, the missed fighter
This experimental model was developed in 1916, this time as a single-seat fighter variant of the Anatra Anasal. There was no rear seat but a forward-firing gun was planned and a different engine was mounted, an Hispano-Suiza water-cooled V-8, 150hp (112kW). She flew for the first time on 23 October 1916.
Anatra factory's chief engineer Frenchman Henri Descamps, designed a biplane in wood and canvas which was to be a single-seat but preparations were made to free the second seat and carry extra fuel tanks. Indeed Descamps and another Frenchman, test pilot Robinet, felt that important social change, in fact a revolution, was to be feared, and planned their escape with this improvised two-seats version. The second seat was condemned but their planes were discovered, and they were denounced by the pilot Kononenko, but the affair did not went further. Testing went on until 11 November 1916. None was ever ordered and the prototype was left under a tarpaulin until October 1917. The Anadis would jhave been potentially a formidable fighter, as it was able to reach 153 kph and was agile enough to face German planes of the time. However nothing really happened until that Autumn of 1917. N.A. Makarof once proposed a tour in the West through Bucarest to showcase Russian knowhow and trigger more aircraft deliveries, but it never took place, the plane having engine issues in Romania, and crash landed. There are no known photographs of it.
Anatra Anasal. There are no known photo of the sole Anadis.
-Length: 7.75 x 11.40m (24ft 7in x 37ft 5in) Wing area: 37 m2
-Weight: Empty 665kg (1466 lb), Loaded 1165kg (2568 lb)
-Propulsion: Hispano-Suiza water-cooled V-8, 150hp (112kW) Top speed: 153 km/h (95 mph) climb rate 133.3 m/min (437 ft/min)
-Armament: 7.7 mm (.303) Vickers MG (with Des Camps synchronizer), 7.7 mm (.303) Lewis machine gun (observer), 50 kg of bombs (Payload: 500kg (1102lb))
The first model was called Anatra D, or Anade, a two-seats, two-bay biplane of conventional type, with a pilot and observer in tandem cockpit. The Anade first flew on december 1915, but later test flights revealed design flaws like a weak wing structure and poor stability. In fact the plane killed company test pilot Jean Robinet on 21 July. But this does not deter Anatra, and modifications to the center of gravity were made an an army order came rapidly. Deliveries commenced already in May 1916, and went on until the end of the year, with a total of 170 delivered. Many of these would end in Soviet hands and flew until 1919 as trainers;
Specifications D Anade:
-7.70 m x 11.50 m x 2.9 m (25 ft 3 in x 37 ft 9 in x 9 ft 6 in) Wing area: 35.0 m2 (377 ft2)
-Empty weight 515 kg (1,135 lb) Gross weight: 865 kg (1,907 lb)
-Gnôme Monosoupape, 74 kW (100 hp), 132 km/h (82 mph), range 350 km (220 miles), ceiling: 4,000 m (13,100 ft), climb: 2.4 m/s (470 ft/min)
-Armament: One .303 Vickers machine gun for observer, up to 30 kg (65 lb) of bombs
The Anatra DS or Anasal which followed was of classic construction, and propelled by an Hispano-Suiza of 150 hp (110 KW), as a two-seat reconnaissance aircraft. It first flew on 16 July 1916 and trials took place from the 23 October to the 11 November 1916 with success.
Main difference from the previous plane were the replacement of their 100 hp rotary engine with a much more powerful 150 hp Salmson radial engine (Hence the "S"), for improved performances. This water-cooled radial engine license-built in Russia needed a water radiator in front of the upper wing and had a partial engine cowling open at the bottom. The DS was also larger and better armed. In fact this was the biggest addition: A synchronized forward-firing machine gun that allowed the same capacity as fighters, while the observer's own light machine-gun was kept. A late variant, propelled by a 160 hp Salmson engine was planned and a few of these Anatra DSS were built.
First orders only came arrived in 1917. Se when the Soviet revolution erupted in November 1917 about 60 to 70 has been manufactured (but not all delivered), while the remainder was in various stages of completion. Afterwards, the complete decomposition of the country meant many parts has to be changed and so series differed greatly almost by individual plane. Things went downhill from there. In 1918 Odessa was occupied by Austro-Hungarian forces, in accordance with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Amazingly enough, the Austrians in May ordered 200 Anasals, and a complement of Anatra C.I for training and observation. 114 has been registered as obtained by the Austrians in September 1918 but by October the remainder of the order was cancelled. From there, Czechoslovakia obtained 23 former Austrian aircraft, 8 more were captured by revolutionary forces in Hungary, and 8 more were acquired in March 1919 by the Polish 4th Rifle Division in Odessa. They used these on the Russian White side. Four others were re-assembled in Poland and used during the Polish-Soviet war in 1919-20. Some were also captured at Odessa and reused by the Soviet air force until the end of the war.
Specifications DS Anasal:
-8.10 x 11.40 x 3.2 m (26 ft 7 in x 37 ft 5 in x 10 ft 6), Wing area 37.0 m2 (398 ft2)
-Weight empty 814 kg (1,795 lb), fully loaded 1,164 kg (2,566 lb)
-Engine: Salmson 9R radial, 112 kW (150 hp) top speed 144 km/h (90 mph), 3 hours endurance, ceiling: 4,300 m (14,100 ft), climb 3.0 m/s
-Armament: 7.7 mm (.303) Vickers MG (with Des Camps synchronizer), 7.7 mm (.303) Lewis machine gun (observer), 50 kg of bombs
Herbert Leonard Russian and Soviet fighters 1915-1950