|This page is about the Soviet fighter MiG-3-15. For other versions, see MiG-3 (Family).
- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The MiG-3-15 is a rank I Soviet fighter with a battle rating of 1.7 (AB/SB) and 2.3 (RB). It was introduced in Update 1.31.
In early War Thunder aerial matches, it is not uncommon for bomber aircraft to climb higher up into higher altitudes. Doing so they can circle their targets and bomb in relative comfort. This is because a majority of early fighters struggle to reach these heights. One of the first aircraft in the game to break this tradition is the MiG-3-15 designed by and built at the Mikoyan-Gurevich manufacturing plant. The design of the MiG-3 specifically allocated it to be a high altitude interceptor, one that could out-pace a Bf 109 of the time at an altitude of 6,096 m (20,000 ft) by over 20 km/h (just under 20 mph). However, when flying at sea-level, the Mikulin AM-35A struggled to maintain pace with the 109 at 505 km/h (314 mph).
At lower altitudes, especially in arcade battles, using WEP to gain altitude goes a long way. With only a couple of cycles of WEP, the MiG-3 pilot will find themselves comfortably sitting at 3,660 m (12,000 ft) where the Mikulin engine is in its element. It is here that the MiG-3-15 can continue to climb or can watch for unwary prey below which it can pounce on with Boom & Zoom tactics. Dogfighting in the MiG-3 can be difficult but is not impossible; the primary keys are to maintain energy and have plenty of altitude to work with. The MiG-3 is nowhere as agile as the Bf 109 or many other fighters and can seem quite stiff in the controls. Utilising engine control (speed), combat flaps and the aircraft's strong rudder, the MiG-3 can get out of some sticky situations or even position themselves on the tail of an enemy aircraft.
Centrally located machine guns do not require configuring a convergence point and make it easier to target aircraft both right in front or those 600+ m away. Unfortunately, the MiG-3-15 only has a single 12.7 mm machine gun and two 7.62 machine guns to pummel their enemies. The guns while reliable tend not to jam, however, the low calibre of the ammunition requires decisive shots on the enemy pilot, engine or fuel tanks to be effective at all. Aircraft fuselage, especially those of bombers, can take a severe beating with these machine guns and show virtually no damage at all. On the other hand, engines, flesh and ignitable fuel area less forgiving against the machine gunfire. Due to the weaker nature of the machine gun ammunition, Stealth ammunition may provide the necessary amount of time to dial in on the enemy aircraft's weak points. This critical amount of time allows more shots before the enemy pilot can determine where the shots are coming from and then evade.
Knowing the aircraft's weaknesses will help the pilot discover its strengths. While it is not as agile as its counterparts and contemporaries, it can be a battering ram in its own right. Underestimating a MiG-3 can lead another pilot to scratch their head in wonder as they try to figure out how they were shot down. It can also cause bomber pilots to immediately dive away when they realise a MiG-3-15 is bearing down on them.
As mentioned above, the MiG-3-15 is not the acrobat type aircraft like the I-16 or the Bf 109, however when flown to its capabilities, it is an excellent aircraft. The MiG-3 is a relatively fast aircraft and becomes increasingly faster as it gains altitude. Known as a high-altitude fighter, the MiG-3 excels from about 3,660 - 9,150 m (12,000 - 30,000 ft). Flying altitudes lower than 3,660 m (12,000 ft) will see a significant drop in speed and manoeuvrability.
Higher altitudes give the MiG-3 and opportunity to cache in on its speed during a dive when performing Boom & Zoom tactics. This method potentially allows for multiple passes on an aircraft (especially more massive bombers) if needed without sacrificing speed as done in a turn-based dogfight. When flown properly, the MiG-3-15 is relatively energy-efficient and can return to its altitude perch with relative ease. The MiG-3 if needed, can perform short climbing spirals allowing for slower or less energy-advantaged aircraft following to stall-out and here the MiG-3 pilot and kick over the rudder and pounce on the floundering aircraft. Solid rudder kicks can also help a MiG-3-15 make a sharp rolling manoeuvre, however, caution must be taken not to lose too much speed.
Sometimes a MiG-3 pilot will find themselves at a lower altitude where their aircraft's engine is at a disadvantage. If there are enemies nearby, your best bet is to get away from them and work on gaining altitude. Sometimes this is not an option, and you must fight where you are at; just know that the aircraft will not be as responsive as it is at higher altitudes.
| Max Speed
(km/h at 7,800 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run
|Max Static G
|Optimal velocities (km/h)
|100% Engine power
|WEP Engine power
Survivability and armour
- Armour plates
- 8 mm Steel plate behind the pilot.
- 8.5 mm Steel plate under the pilot.
- No armour glazing.
- Critical components
- The engine and the oil cooling system are located at the front of the aircraft.
- Fuel tanks are located in the wings near the fuselage, in front of the instrument panel and under the pilot's seat.
- The liquid cooling system is located under the pilot's feet.
Modifications and economy
The MiG-3-15 is armed with:
- 1 x 12.7 mm Berezin UB machine gun, nose-mounted (300 rpg)
- 2 x 7.62 mm ShKAS machine guns, nose-mounted (750 rpg = 1,500 total)
Usage in battles
The MiG-3 has a few issues that can hinder its success on the battlefront. Its power plant, although powerful for its time, performs best above 4,000 m (approx. 12,000 ft) altitude, and as a result of the early MiG's speed and climb rate at lower altitudes may be disappointing at first, particularly when stock. Its armament, one 12.7 mm Berezin UB machine gun and two 7.62 mm ShKAS machine guns, is generally inferior to its Allied and German opposition (its contemporaries on the Eastern Front, the Emil and Friedrich 109s, have 20 mm cannon armament on hand). Manoeuvrability can be a problem, especially at lower altitudes, as the plane bleeds speed in turns and can lock up at high speeds during dives. Despite these flaws, the MiG-3 in all its variants can be seen as a good stepping stone towards learning how to utilize the tricky-to-fly I-185s, especially in practicing Boom & Zoom attacks as well as energy fighting.
Specific enemies worth noting
- Bf 109 E-1 - The Bf 109 shares your battle rating in arcade battles and are frequently encountered. They have a higher top speed, perform well at high altitude (above 4,000 m like the MiG-3) and have fantastic energy retention. You do have some firepower advantage; however, a battle with a Bf 109 E-1 often becomes a battle of energy retention; the pilot with higher energy usually wins. Try to get a height advantage when going against one and take it by surprise.
- Spitfire Mk Ia/Spitfire Mk IIa - The Spitfire is one of the most manoeuvrable monoplane fighters in the game. It also has excellent anti-fighter capabilities with its 8 x 7.7 mm machine guns. Avoid engaging a Spitfire in a turn fight as you will bleed off your speed and are easily out-turned. The Spitfire is also quite fast and accelerates well, so don't be surprised if after a failed Boom & Zoom attempt you have a Spitfire gaining on your tail. Luckily for the MiG-3, the Spitfire performs poorly at high altitude. Luring one to upwards of 3,000 m (10,000 ft), you can then sap it of its energy and gain an advantage over it. The Spitfire is a poor diver too, so if one attempts to flee, you can quickly out dive it. Diving also makes for an effective defensive option against the Spitfire.
- A6M2-N - Like the Spitfire, except slower, more manoeuvrable and with a great big float to shoot at. Same rules apply. Don't turn fight, just Boom & Zoom. The incendiary ammo from your 12.7 mm will set these on fire easily.
- P-36 (all variants) - The P-36 is very well armed (4 x 7.62 mm Browning machine guns and 2 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine guns). This armament means that it has an edge in firepower over the MiG-3. It also has an advantage in manoeuvrability, whilst also being quite fast, and this makes it a challenging opponent. Your performance is superior to the P-36 over 4,000 m (12,000 ft), so try to lure it up to higher altitudes. You also have a much better climb rate than the P-36, so get an altitude advantage and then dive. Boom & Zoom works best here.
Manual Engine Control
Not auto controlled
Not auto controlled
Not auto controlled
| Not controllable
Pros and cons
- Gets air spawn in Realistic battles
- Upgraded aircraft climbs well - one of the few Soviet prop-fighters that can effectively use WEP
- Excellent for high-altitude fighting (bomber hunting or Boom & Zoom)
- Efficient glider - in the event of an oil or water leak shutting down the engine, with sufficient altitude, the MiG-3 can glide back to base
- Nose-mounted armament makes for very accurate shooting without dealing with convergence issues
- 12.7 mm and 2 x 7.62 mm ShKAS is more than adequate to deal with aircraft the MiG-3 faces, though aiming for critical components conserves ammunition
- Good climb rate
- Stiff controls at low altitude or during high speeds
- Sluggish turn time compared to other fighters (some heavy fighters can outturn it)
- Performance significantly drops when below 4,000 m (12,000 ft)
- Overheats easily with WEP
- Sensitive brakes when on the ground, can cause plane to tip forward
- Pilot is easily knocked out due to the lack of armoured glass
Though riddled with shortcomings, the I-200/MiG-1 fighter/interceptor aircraft proved to be both a popular and capable aircraft with pilots that had experience flying them. To address the oft-cited shortcomings, aircraft designers Mikoyan and Gurevich set out to rectify these issues, not only to make the aircraft more pilot-friendly but to make it a more effective fighter/interceptor.
By utilizing a full-sized model of the aircraft in a wind tunnel, designers quickly set about documenting necessary changes in the aircraft's configuration. The increase of the outer wing dihedral improved the wing's overall stability and lengthening the fuselage by just four inches improved the horizontal stability of the aircraft. By happenstance, the minute change in length created enough space for an additional 66 gallon (250 litres) fuel tank installation behind the pilot seat. Inert exhaust gases were routed to the fuel tanks to help improve the survivability of the aircraft and pilot by reducing the likelihood of fuel fires if enemy gunfire punctured the fuel tanks. Other improvements included strengthening the landing gear, larger main wheels, extending the canopy glazing aft for better visibility, improved gunsight, updated configuration of the instrument panel and an overall increase to 750 rounds of ammunition per machine gun.
After making the recommended updates and changes, the heavily modified I-200/MiG-1 (fourth revision) made its maiden flight on 29 October 1940. The Soviet state accepted this version of the aircraft during December 1940 State acceptance trials and due to the significant changes made to the plane was renamed to MiG-3. Though the Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau rectified many of the MiG-1's deficiencies, unfortunately, the resulting aircraft ended up being 550 lbs (250 kg) heavier and reduced service ceiling by 1,500 ft (457 m). They also took approximately a minute longer to reach 16,000 ft (4,900 m) than the original MiG-1s. Two other positive outcomes for the MiG-3 was an overall increase in the aircraft's speed at altitude and sea-level along with an increase in its service range.
Many of the initial MiG-3 airframes pushed out to the VVS regiments which were considered poor quality and unusable. After an inquiry completed, a panel found that the Soviet Air Force Research Institute was negligent in their duty to monitor the quality of the aircraft coming off the assembly line. After several demotions of senior managers and the execution of the institute head, new management set to address the problems with the MiG-3.
Though designed as a high-altitude bomber-interceptor, the MiG-3's pilot's oxygen supply was woefully inadequate, both fuel and oil pumps failed to keep necessary pressure at altitude and pilot inexperience with high altitude flying all played against the aircraft's abilities. Once again, the MiG Design Bureau set out to fix these deficiencies and when complete, the MiG-3 design teams optimized it for high altitude operations above 20,000 ft (6,000 m). Here the MiG-3 boasted almost a 20 mph (26 km/h) speed advantage over the German Bf 109 E, though at sea-level, this advantage disappeared and the MiG-3 had roughly the same top speed as the Bf 109.
The weapons of the MiG-3 always seemed lacking compared to other aircraft such as the Bf 109 which typically sported a 20 mm cannon along with machine guns. MiG-3s of all iterations only had machine guns in the 12.7 mm and 7.62 mm varieties. Though experiments with wing-mounted gun pods and rockets took place, reduction of airspeed due to them often resulted in the pilots having them removed, one of the few times where fighter pilots preferred streamlined aircraft over firepower. Ultimately the new gun sight was not fit for the task, so pilots often relied on getting as close to the enemy aircraft as possible before opening fire, sometimes within point-blank range to ensure a hit.
Leading up to the German invasion titled Operation Barbarossa, MiG-3s found homes at front-line regiments. Here, they could ideally intercept any hostile bomber or reconnaissance aircraft that flew over such as the German Ju-86P. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the German invasion, the MiG-3, though one of the best fighters available to Soviet pilots, proved to be unsuited for the task at hand. Instead of intercepting bombers and reconnaissance aircraft, they instead fought more agile Bf 109s and such in a fashion which negated all of the MiG-3's advantages, and it struggled. With the Bf 109 being more agile and had better weapons, the MiG-3 fought for a foothold but often lost. It was around this time that other Soviet fighters such as the Yak and LaGG series aircraft were debuting and showing their effectiveness at lower altitude combat with more agility and better weapon options. Forcing the aircraft to work as a bomber and ground attack aircraft proved to be an even less effective venture. Production soon halted.
Some Soviet pilots did find success while flying the MiG-3. Aleksander Pokryshkin was one such pilot, as his initial foray into air combat was at the controls of a MiG-3. It was while flying the MiG-3 that Pokryshkin scored several victories against the German Bf 109. However, it was also during this time he realized that Soviet air combat doctrine was outdated, and he took detailed notes of his and other's accounts at air combat to determine a better way to fight. Pokryshkin's experience in the MiG-3 helped shape future Soviet air combat tactics for pilots flying more capable aircraft such as the Yak-1B, P-39K and Lavochkin fighters. Pokryshkin was quoted as saying, "The operational advantage of the MiG-3 seemed to be obscured by its certain defects. However, these advantages could undoubtedly be exploited by a pilot able to discover them."
A single-seat monoplane fighter with an all-metal construction, closed cockpit and retractable landing gear with a tail wheel.
The fighter was initially developed by N.N. Polikarpov, and later by A.I. Mikoyan and M.I. Gurevich at OKB-155.
The experimental I-200 fighter took its maiden flight on 5 April 1940. The plane went into series production in June 1940 at aircraft plant No. 1 in Moscow under the designation MiG-1.
The MiG-3 model joined the series in February 1941, with a modified wing, larger landing gear, an additional fuselage fuel tank, a new radiator, modified flaps and self-sealing for the centerwing fuel tanks.
The MiG-3 series fighters were powered by the twin-row V12 Mikulin AM-35A engine with a maximum output of 1,350 hp. This was a geared-down engine with a single-stage supercharger and an air pressure regulator.
The armament on the first few MiG-3 series consisted of two 7.62 mm ShKAS machine guns with 750 rounds each and one synchronized large-calibre 12.7 mm Berezina BS machine gun with 300 rounds. All three machine guns were placed above the engine.
The design also allowed for the suspension of two containers under the wing, each housing an unsynchronized large-calibre 12.7 mm Berezina BK machine gun.
The plane's bombing equipment consisted of four locking DZ-40 bomb racks mounted under the wing, each able to carry up to 100 kg. The overall weight of its bomb load was no greater than 220 kg. The MiG-3 could carry the AO-8/-10/-25 and FAB-50/-100, cluster bombs and bottles of KS incendiary fluid.
The plane possessed the PBP-1A collimator sight, which allowed it to use all types of anti-air and anti-ground weapons.
Before the Great Patriotic War, the MiG-3 was the most prolific modern fighter in the Soviet Air Forces. From June 1941, it was widely used on the front in Soviet Air Forces units, naval aviation units and Air Defense Forces units.
In total, 3172 of these planes were made. The MiG-3's production ended in December 1941. Its use continued in Soviet Air Forces divisions until 1943, and in air defense fleets until the end of the war.
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
|Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau (Микоя́н и Гуре́вич Опытное конструкторское бюро)
|MiG-3-15 · MiG-3-15 (BK) · MiG-3-34
|MiG-9 · MiG-9 (l)
|MiG-15 · MiG-15bis · MiG-15bis ISH
|MiG-21F-13 · MiG-21PFM · MiG-21S (R-13-300) · MiG-21SMT · MiG-21bis
|MiG-23M · MiG-23ML · MiG-23MLD
|MiG-27M · MiG-27K
|MiG-29 · MiG-29SMT
|␗MiG-9 · ␗MiG-9 (l)
|◊MiG-15bis · J-2*
|MiG-17AS · J-4* · Shenyang F-5*
|◊MiG-19S · J-6A*
|◄MiG-21 SPS-K · ◊MiG-21MF · ◊MiG-21 "Lazur-M" · ▄MiG-21bis · ◊MiG-21bis-SAU · J-7II**
|◊MiG-23BN · ◊MiG-23MF · ◊MiG-23MLA
|◊MiG-29 · ◄MiG-29G
|*Licensed and domesticated with Chinese designations.
|**Unlicensed, reverse-engineered and domesticated with Chinese designations.
|Shenyang · Chengdu
|I-15 WR · I-15 M-22 · I-15 M-25 · I-15bis · Krasnolutsky's I-15bis
|I-153 M-62 · Zhukovsky's I-153-M62 · I-153P
|I-16 type 5 · I-16 type 10 · I-16 type 18 · I-16 type 24 · I-16 type 27 · I-16 type 28 · I-180S
|I-185 (M-71) · I-185 (M-82)
|MiG-3-15 · MiG-3-15 (BK) · MiG-3-34
|I-301 · LaGG-3-4 · LaGG-3-8 · LaGG-3-11 · LaGG-3-23 · LaGG-3-34 · LaGG-3-35 · LaGG-3-66
|La-5 · La-5F · La-5FN · La-7 · Dolgushin's La-7 · La-7B-20 · La-9 · La-11
|Yak-1 · Yak-1B · Yak-7B
|Yak-3 · Yak-3P · Yak-3T · Yak-3U · Yak-3 (VK-107)
|Yak-9 · Yak-9B · Golovachev's Yak-9M · Yak-9T · Yak-9K · Yak-9U · Yak-9UT · Yak-9P
|▂P-40E-1 · ▂P-47D-27 · ▂Hurricane Mk IIB · ▂Fw 190 D-9 · ▂Spitfire Mk IXc
|▂P-39K-1 · ▂Pokryshkin's P-39N-0 · ▂P-39Q-15
|▂P-63A-5 · ▂P-63A-10 · ▂P-63C-5