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Lend-Lease and Soviet Aviation in the Second World War

Lend-Lease and Soviet Aviation in the Second World War Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review August 2018 Title Lend-Lease and Soviet Aviation in the Second World War
Author Vladimir Kotelnikov Publisher Helion
Published 2018 ISBN 9781911512264
Format 542 pages, hardbound MSRP (USD) $89.95

Review

Vladimir Kotelnikov deftly details, dissects, and delineates Lend-Lease and Soviet Aviation in the Second World War – a superb study from Helion Publishing, available in North America from Casemate.

Spanning 542 pithy pages, the husky hardback covers all Lend-Lease British and American designs across 20 chewy chapters:

  • Hawker Hurricane
  • Supermarine Spitfire
  • Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk/Kittyhawk
  • Bell P-39 Airacobra
  • Bell P-63 Kingcobra
  • Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
  • North American P-51 Mustang
  • Hawker Typhoon
  • Douglas A-20 Havoc/Boston
  • North American B-25 Mitchell
  • Handley Page Hampden
  • De Havilland Mosquito
  • Consolidated PBY Catalina
  • Short Stirling
  • Curtiss O-52 Owl
  • Vought OS2U Kingfisher
  • Douglas C-47 Skytrain
  • Curtiss C-46 Commando
  • Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle
  • North American AT-6 Texan

Largely based on original and archival research, subject sections include development and technical notes, Soviet assessments, delivery details, operational integration, service summaries, local modifications, and fates – the last illuminating, where applicable, post-WWII use.

Kotelnikov likewise chronicles seven more designs that "came by chance" to Soviet Russia:

  • Lockheed P-38 Lightning
  • Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
  • Consolidated B-24 Liberator
  • Boeing B-29 Superfortress
  • Lockheed PV-1 Ventura
  • Avro 683 Lancaster
  • Supermarine Walrus

Enough B-24s arrived actually to equip at least one Air Regiment with 21 serviceable machines. But since it's not really part of Lend-Lease history, Kotelnikov only hints at efforts to reverse-engineering B-29s to Tupolev Tu-4s.

Nor must you sequentially tackle this splendid survey. I seamlessly skipped and sauntered from Airacobras, Kittyhawks, and Kingcobras past Hurricanes and Spitfires through Hampdens and Havocs to Skytrains, Owls, Mitchells and everything else.

Steel yourself for surprises along the way.

The 20th Attack Regiment, for instance, flew ancient Polikarpov I-15bis biplane fighters as late as October 1944. And the 52nd Guards Heavy Bomber Air Regiment mounted equally archaic TB-3RNs until January 1946.

The Soviet Northern Fleet also sought to develop a two-place light bomber version of the Kittyhawk. Overall aluminum P-39Qs served in Northern Fleet in 1943. Soviets replaced Hampden's anemic twin 7.7 mm Vickers dorsal mount with a larger caliber 12.7 mm UBT machine gun in a UTK-1 turret. And VVS A-20s flew their last combat mission 13 May 1945 – after Nazi Germany capitulated.

And so on.

Several hundred photographs with captions, over 100 profiles, and scale drawings illustrate the effort. But this is the first time I've seen color side views called "maps". And shouldn't that be Ilyushin DB-3 – not TB-3?

I can't muster enough superlatives to praise this supremely informative, admirably balanced study. It's worth every penny, pence, and Pfennig you have. And it enjoys my strongest recommendation.

Rabidly so!

My sincere thanks to Casemate Publishing for this review sample!