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Pe-2 Guards Units of World War 2

Pe-2 Guards Units of World War 2 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review March 2013 Title Pe-2 Guards Units of World War 2
Author Dmitriy Khazanov, Aleksander Medved Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2013 ISBN 9781780960654
Format 96 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $22.95

Review

With over 10,000 manufactured, the legendary Pe-2 remains – numerically – the most important Soviet bomber of World War II.

Affectionately known as "Peshka" – "chess pawn" – the potent Petlyakov equipped elite Soviet formations.  Now Pe-2 Guards Units of World War 2 recaps their activities in a handy new title from Osprey.

"Guards" formations routinely enjoyed – qualitatively and quantitatively – priority in equipment and personnel.  And coverage chronologically courses through unit origins and service history – by Guards regiments, divisions and corps.

Every section of the authors' exciting account includes absorbing anecdotes of Pe-2 Guards units and personnel in action.  Like General Ivan S Polbin, legendary 2nd GvBAK commander and twice Hero of the Soviet Union, who developed innovative "rotation" dive-bombing tactics.  And HSU Marina Raskova, who formed the all-female Peshka-equipped 587th SBAP – part of the 1st GvBAK.

Nuggets of fascinating facts also flavor this savory stew.  Stalin's "dreaded order number 227" decreed so-called "punishment" squadrons – like one established within the 261st SBAP.  Trouble is, "not a single airman was ever sent" to that unit – and none was found "'guilty of cowardice, selfishness or sabotage'!"

Osprey sketches the scope of Soviet war efforts through the whole prism of Guards Pe-2 exploits.  And core coverage concludes with actions of Pe-2s and Pe-3s in Guards reconnaissance and naval units – including the Pacific Fleet's 34th GvBAP against Japan.

Dozens of photos, tactical schematics, and 30 beautifully rendered profiles by Andrey Yurgenson adorn this illuminating effort.  A helpful appendix plots Pe-2 Guards units in transition from 1941 through 1945.  And captions, aircraft plans and index complete contents.  I just wish the authors added annotations and references!

Robustly recommended.

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!

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