Hon­or­able Men­tion Rus­sia’s Po­likar­pov Po-2

Flight Journal - - THE MOST PRODUCED -

As if build­ing 30,000+ Yaks and 36,000+ Sh­tur­moviks wasn’t enough, the Soviet Union found time dur­ing WW II to build some­where close (sources vary) to 30,000 of one of the most un­gainly bi­planes ever cre­ated. The Po­likar­pov Po-2 was a ba­sic rag-and-tube bi­plane, but in typ­i­cal Soviet style, it was big­ger and slightly stranger in ap­pear­ance than most bi­planes. In fact, it would have looked in its el­e­ment with Fokkers and Sop­withs dur­ing WW I—ex­cept that it would tower over them. Orig­i­nally en­vi­sioned as a trainer, it found it­self do­ing re­con­nais­sance over the Ger­man lines, prowl­ing those same lines in the dark, drop­ping bombs and grenades with fe­male “Night Witches” at the con­trols. It also served as the Soviet’s pri­mary li­ai­son air­plane. It was their least known, least ap­pre­ci­ated, and most pro­duced se­cret weapon.

A flight of Soviet Il-2 Shturmovik at­tack air­craft from 4th Air Army, com­manded by Colonel-Gen­eral K. A. Ver­shinin, in the sky dur­ing the Bat­tle of Ber­lin in 1945. (Photo cour­tesy of EN-Archive)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.