The definitive book on the development and deployment of the Soviet Union?s supreme dive-bomber?with rare archival and private photos.
During the Second World War, the Petlyakov Pe-2 Peshka was the Soviet Union?s main dive- and light-bomber in operations across the Eastern Front. It became a mainstay of the Soviet counteroffensive that led to the fall of Berlin. They also led the way in the brief but annihilating Manchurian campaign against Japan in the closing days of the war in 1945.
Conceived by a team of top aircraft designers whom Stalin had incarcerated on political charges, the Peshka had originally been designed as a high-altitude twin-engine fighter plane. But due to the outstanding success of the German Stukas in the Blitzkrieg, it was quickly transformed into the fastest dive-bomber in the skies.
Only a handful had reached front lines by the start of Operation Barbarossa in June 1941. But by 1945, more than 11,000 of the type were built, including many variants. Many of these remained in service with the air forces of Yugoslavia and the Warsaw Pact countries into the 1950s. Using official sources, including the official Pe-2 handbook, as well as rare color and black-and-white photographs from both official and private collections, this is the definitive record of the Pe-2.