In the years following World War 1, the nations involved in the conflict began developing more powerful aircraft to support ground operations troops. Military tacticians knew that aviation would play a vital role in the following war and experimented with dozens of different aircraft configurations and combat roles.
Russia, on the other hand, wanted something different. As another effective way of increasing the reach of propaganda from the Communist regime, Joseph Stalin approved the construction of the Tupolev ANT-20, an eight-engine aircraft that would become the largest of its time.
This colossal beast, which had a wingspan of 63 meters, was baptized as Maxim Gorky to commemorate the Russian author’s literary career. And it was no coincidence, for the aircraft was conceived with a particular purpose: to promote the ideas of Communism in all of Russia.
The Maxim Gorky was meant as the flagship of the Maxim Gorky propaganda squadron — Maxim Gorky Agiteskadril — which flew around the Soviet Union promoting the aims and achievements of Soviet Communism. For this purpose, it was equipped with a powerful radio set known as the “Voice from the sky” (“Голос с неба”, Golos s neba), printing machinery, a library, radio broadcasting equipment, a photographic laboratory and a film projector with sound for showing films in flight. In a first in aviation the aircraft was equipped with a ladder which would fold on itself to become part of the floor.
The aircraft would take part in its propaganda missions for over a year before it fatally crashed in an accident during an air demonstration over Moscow.
Russian engineers built another Maxim Gorky, but the beginning of Operation Barbarossa and the German offensive in the West made it impossible to return to its propaganda objective.
The ANT-20 was designed by Andrei Tupolev, using German engineer Hugo Junkers’ original all-metal aircraft design techniques from 1918. It was constructed between 4 July 1933 and 3 April 1934, and was one of two aircraft of its kind built by the Soviets. The aircraft was named after Maxim Gorky and dedicated to the 40th anniversary of his literary and public activities. The ANT-20 was the largest known aircraft to have used the Junkers aviation firm’s design philosophy of corrugated sheet metal for many of the airframe’s key components, especially the corrugated sheet metal skinning of the airframe.
The aircraft was the first to use both direct current and alternating current. The aircraft could be dismantled and transported by rail if needed. The aircraft set several carrying-capacity world records and is also the subject of a 1934 painting by Vasily Kuptsov, which is now in the collection of the Russian Museum at Saint Petersburg.
Sources: Youtube; Wikipedia
UAV DACH: Beitrag im Original auf https://www.uasvision.com/2021/06/11/soviet-8-engine-colossus-tupolev-ant-20-maxim-gorky/, mit freundlicher Genehmigung von UAS Vision automatisch importiert. Der Beitrag gibt nicht unbedingt die Meinung oder Position des UAV DACH e.V. wieder. Das Original ist in englischer Sprache. Für die Inhalte ist der UAV DACH e.V. nicht verantwortlich.