Pe-2 Guards Units of World War 2 Book Review
|Date of Review||March 2013||Title||Pe-2 Guards Units of World War 2|
|Author||Dmitriy Khazanov, Aleksander Medved||Publisher||Osprey Publishing|
|Format||96 pages, softbound||MSRP (USD)||$22.95|
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!
My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!