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Lisunov Li-2 - The Soviet DC-3

Lisunov Li-2 - The Soviet DC-3 Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2006 Title Lisunov Li-2 - The Soviet DC-3
Author Yefim Gordon, Sergey & Dmitriy Komissarov Publisher Midland Publications
Published 2006 ISBN 1-85780-228-4
Format 128 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $36.95


During the years prior to the Second World War, the United States sold a number of technologies to the Soviet Union to help keep the lines of communication open between the two countries. The Soviets were intent on being self-sufficient, so it didn't take long after the arrival of the first DC-2 airframe before it was closely examined by Soviet engineers.

Not long after the arrival of the DC-2s, the Soviets obtained a license to produce the DC-3. It didn't take long for the Soviets to apply their own modifications to the aircraft and the resulting design was the PS-84 (which was the designation for a passenger aircraft produced at Plant 84).

Military versions of the aircraft soon followed, not only as a cargo aircraft as the C-47 had been transformed from the DC-3 in the US, but other versions as well. The bomber versions of the aircraft had internal bomb bays or external bomb racks (or both) on the airframe. Many of the military versions had a dorsal gun turret. Many also featured the shuttered engine cowlings (similar to the I-16) to allow for operations of the air-cooled engines in the cold of Soviet winters.

This title provides some fascinating insight into the technical and political processes that evolved into the Li-2. The authors have done some phenomenal research to pull together this story.

Coverage of this title includes:

  • Introduction
  • The DC-3 Turns Soviet
  • Version Variety
  • The PS-84/Li-2 in Detail
  • Comparison and Assessment
  • The PS-84/Li-2 at War
  • In Civilian Service
  • The Li-2 Abroad

This title is well-illustrated with lots of excellent photos and drawings of the aircraft. There are also a few color profiles and a section of color photos of Li-2s in museums and a few still in civilian service.

This is another nice historical piece from Midland Publications and fills another void in the published information about the aircraft. Definitely recommended!