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Petlyakov Pe-2

Petlyakov Pe-2

The Soviet State Industries began producing the Petlyakov Pe-2 for the Red Army Air Force in 1941. Designed by a team led by Vladimir Petlyakov it had a maximum speed of 336 mph (540 km) and had a range of 932 miles (1,500 km). It was 41 ft 6 in (12.66 m) long with a wingspan of 56 ft 3 in (17.16 m). The aircraft was armed with four machine-guns and carried 2,645 lb (1,000 kg) of bombs. During the Second World War the Petlyakov Pe-2 provided the spearhead of the Soviet tactical bombing units.

Petlyakov Pe-2 (Pawn)

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/21/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

During World War 2 (1939-1945), the Soviets lacked a heavy bomber stable when compared to the British and Americans. Instead, and primarily due to the short-ranged war it would fight against one-time ally Germany, it fielded a collection of fighters and twin-engined light/medium aircraft. The Petlyakov Pe-2 was one such twin-engined development with design attributed to Vladamir Petylyakov (1891-1942). It proved to be one of the best ground-attack platforms of the whole war, its value solidified through the 11,427 numbers built. These aircraft saw combat service against the Axis in Europe and Japanese forces in Manchuria, serving over all major Soviet-related fronts of the war.

Entering the war, the Soviets and Germans stood as Allies. When Germany invaded neighboring Poland in September of 1939, it began what would become a year's long struggle for the world. Weeks later, Soviet forces arrived to effectively divide Poland in two. The Germans then turned on the Soviets for, in June of 1941, Hitler enacted "Operation Barbarossa" - the invasion of the Soviet Union - and officially began the East Front. While gains were initially excellent for the Germans and losses horribly bad for the Soviets, the ensuing winter and strained supply lines slowed the Germans just outside of Moscow. Regrouping, the Soviets then began their monumental push westwards until the entire Axis war machine was destroyed at Berlin in April of 1945.

Prior to the war in 1937, aeronautical engineer Vladimir Petlyakov was serving a prison sentence at a Soviet camp when he and others were charged with designing a new high-altitude fighter to serve as escort for a new bomber. His team developed the VI-100, a two-seat, twin-engine speedster featuring a pressurized cabin for the high-altitude requirement and modern all-metal construction. Progress then produced the initial prototype form which was fitted with 2 x Klimov M-105 V-12 turbocharged engines of 1,100 horsepower. First flight was recorded on May 7th, 1939 and the design showcased a maximum speed nearing 390 miles per hour. A second prototype was later added and testing proved so successful and the design so promising that the aircraft was ordered for production by the Soviet Air Force.

By this time, however, the Germans had begun their "blitzkrieg" campaigns in Europe and showcased the value of concentrated, well-coordinated attacks involving dive bombers (primarily the Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka"). As all nations observed the progress of what was now modern warfare, many searched to copy this battlefield success and adopted similar platforms in turn. For the Soviets, the Petlyakov-led design was selected for revision into a dive bomber form.

Work began immediately and the turbochargers were dropped with the adoption of the M-105K series engines (high-altitude capability was lost which led to a now-unpressurized crew cabin and lower fighting ceiling). Dive brakes of a lattice design type were installed to retard the dive of the aircraft while dihedral was added to the tail plane to promote increased stability. A glazed nose assembly was instituted as was a third crew member (now consisting of a pilot, bombardier and dedicated machine gunner. For its dive bomber role, the aircraft was granted defensive armament in the way of a 7.62mm ShKAS machine gun in a dorsal position and another 7.62mm machine gun was added to a ventral, rear-facing, gun position- this aimed through a periscope by the gunner. General armament included 2 x 7.62mm ShKAS machine guns in fixed, forward-firing positions in the nose to be controlled by the pilot. These were (later) substituted for a 1 x 7.62mm ShKAS and 1 x 12.7mm UBT heavy machine gun arrangement for greater firepower. Similarly, the dorsal gun position could be substituted for the larger-caliber 12.7mm machine gun. Maximum bomb load for the aircraft totaled between 2,650lbs to 3,500lbs (depending on variant) and consisted of conventional drop ordnance held in an internal bomb bay or externally.

With the changes, the VI-100 was evolved into the "PB-100" prototype and it was this design that was officially adopted by the Soviet Air Force as the Petlyakov "Pe-2". Two prototypes featuring the changes were completed and tested. Externally, the aircraft exhibited a conventional twin-engined design form. The engines were held in extended nacelles at each wing leading edge. The wings were straight appendages with rounded tips and mounted just ahead of midships. The cockpit, despite its heavy framing, was seated well-forward in the design, offering generally excellent visibility for an aircraft of this type. The three crew were seated in line and protected by 9mm of armor plating. The fuselage was long and well-streamlined, tapering at the empennage. The tail unit consisted of a split-rudder configuration extended outboard by individual horizontal planes along the aft fuselage sides. The undercarriage was wholly retractable and of the "tail-dragger" arrangement consisting of two single-wheeled main legs and a tail wheel. This gave the aircraft a pronounced "nose-up" appearance when at rest.

Power for the accepted version was the Klimov M-105R inline piston engine developing 1,100 horsepower while driving three-bladed propellers. Maximum speed was 336 miles per hour while cruising was 266 miles per hour. The aircraft's service ceiling peaked at 28,870 feet and featured a range out to 932 miles. Overall, the Pe-2 proved a fast aircraft and agile performer, requiring a steady hand at the controls. The first production-quality Pe-2 was flown in November of 1940 and the line was officially introduced in 1941 in limited numbers.

By the time of the German invasion of June 1941, the Soviets managed a Pe-2 stable of some 458 aircraft and deliveries proved slow - handfuls of the type made up whole dive bomber groups. Additionally, there were few trained crews to be used and it was not until August of 1941 that the aircraft arrived in serious, useful numbers. When pressed into action, the Pe-2 did not disappoint in their given battlefield role. A heady pilot and bombardier pairing, along with a capable machine gunner, proved highly effective in the "repulse" campaigns enacted by the Soviets in the months following the German onslaught. Indeed, the Pe-2 contributed much to the land advanced of Soviet troopers following the many deflating defeats against the Germans prior. This led to their increased use over all challenged fronts where, when used in conjunction with artillery and armor, could provide a Soviet brand of blitzkrieg on the beleaguered Axis infantry forces and armored columns. Pe-2s were eventually committed to the famous fighting in and over Leningrad, Kharkov, Kursk and Stalingrad and elsewhere. Pe-2s graduated from their original dive bomber roles to serve as reconnaissance platforms, fighter-bombers, light bombers and night fighters as the war situation required. A strong airframe (required for the original dive bombing role) and cockpit armoring allowed it to be used in just about any way imaginable to a desperate commander.

Original Pe-2s offered considerable after-action reporting from crews which allowed Soviet engineers a springboard for improving the type. Additionally, the unexpected arrival of the new, faster German Messerschmitt Bf 109F models pushed the envelope of the Pe-2, requiring them to raise typical level-bombing ceilings which, in turn, reduced bombing accuracy. In response during late 1942, this led to the development of the Klimov M-105PF-engined Pe-2FT variant which also upgraded the dorsal defensive armament to 12.7mm caliber from its original 7.62mm offering and added armor protection (which reduced some performance). From mid-1942 onwards, an additional 7.62mm could be fired by the machine gunner through side and dorsal hatches at midships for additional protection. The dive brakes were removed and glazing at the nose assembly was reduced. Pe-2FTs proved the definitive Pe-2 variant.

In time, the line was greeted by a pair of dedicated fighter-bomber models in the Pe-2I and the Pe-2M, these being outfitted with VK-107A series engines of 1,620 horsepower. The variants expanded the Pe-2s role in that they could now be pressed in combat in the strike or counter-fighter role. A dedicated reconnaissance platform then came online under the Pe-2R designation. Crews of all Pe-2s received their training on the dedicated dual-control Pe-2UTI and Pe-2S (two-seat) trainer forms. The Pe-2-2M was a prototype with VK-105 series engines with larger bomb bay. The Pe-2B was a standardized bomber variant appearing in 1944. The pe-2D was a three-seat bomber with 2 x VK-107A engines. The Pe-2K was fitted with radial engines and saw limited production. The Pe-2MV added 20mm ShVAK cannons coupled to 2 x 12.7mm heavy machine guns in an underfuselage position. The Pe-3 was related variant of the Pe-2, customized for the night fighter/heavy fighter role. Limited production of a related Pe-4 is also noted.

The Pe-2 managed a healthy service life from the beginning of the Eastern Front commitment in 1941 to the end of the war in 1945. Indeed, it was likened to the famous war-winning de Havilland Mosquito of the British cause for its multi-role capabilities and importance to the Soviet effort. The Pe-2 went on to become one of the finest of the twin-engined examples in all of World War 2 - though often overshadowed by the more popular twin-engined Ilyushin Il-2 "Shturmovik" ground attack series. It was already being replaced some from 1944 onwards by the Tupolev Tu-2 medium bombers.

Wartime use was not limited to the Soviet Union for Czechoslovakia became a formal, albeit limited, operator. Finland operated only captured Soviet examples. The Pe-2 was exported in the post-war years to Bulgaria, China, Czechoslovakia (additional units), Hungary, Poland and Yugoslavia. Pe-2 types survived into 1954 before being discontinued. Its final operator became Yugoslavia. Very few have survived as museum showpieces today (December 2013).

1. B-17 Flying Fortress (US)

Boeing B-17

During the first half of the 20th Century, the US didn&rsquot have a dedicated Airforce arm, instead the air force was part of the US Army Air Forces. The B-17 was arguable the most successful bomber during WWII. It was developed by Boeing for the US Army Air Forces during the 1930s when a need for modern bombers was felt by the leadership. It was the first quad-engine long range bomber the world had seen and was so effective that it was developed throughout the war.

There was an initial contract for 200 bombers, however this changed as soon as its strength in strategic bombing was found. The bomber wasn&rsquot made just for dropping bombs but was designed in a manner that it would be able to protect itself from enemy aircrafts. It had 8 gun positions along with 14 heavy machine guns, operated by a crew of 10 people. It could carry 5 tons of bombs deep inside enemy territory and cruise at 406 km/h.

After the war, the Flying Fortress was used by many countries who managed to capture it, as inspiration for their own bombers.

Pe-2 bomber

The Pe-2 high-speed dive-bomber became the same symbol of the Great Patriotic War as the PPSh submachine gun, the T-34 tank, or the Katyusha jet guard mortar. Soviet pilots of bomber aviation met on Pe-2 the first day of the war and flew to Berlin and Tokyo in 1945. It was the most massive dive bomber in the history of domestic aircraft manufacturing and one of the most massive aircraft in the country in general: in the five years of serial production (from the beginning of 1941 to the beginning of 1946) four aircraft factories produced a total of 11 247 winged vehicles, and in all possible variants, from the most massive bomber to the very rare fighter with the possibility of night flights and only in one quality - a torpedo - Pe-2 was never used.

The prototype, developed as a high-altitude fighter, emeged in the middle of 1938 from the CKB-29 acting under the auspices of the NKVD and formerly called the Spetstehotdel, or STO. According to the letter designation VI, there is no discrepancy: it was deciphered as a "high-altitude fighter".

The initial task before Petlyakov and his associates was set as follows: to create a fighter capable of effectively acting against the high-altitude bombers of a probable enemy and accompanying one's own. At the same time, among the main requirements, which is natural, were powerful cannon-machine-gun weapons, high speed and maneuverability, which, naturally, required a tenacious design. And the "Petlyakovites" managed to combine all this in one car, which was quite unusual for Soviet aircraft of those years of appearance: quite "lean", with a low-lying wing with two engines and two-keel plumage. In this case, since it was a high-altitude airplane, the cockpit (the aircraft was designed in a double, with the possibility of duplicating the control of the navigator) was supposed to be made airtight.

But this mission was eventually abandoned when it became clear that there were no high-altitude bombers, but the Red Army desperately needed a new frontal bomber. The Tupolev high-speed bomber SB-2, which made up the basis of the Soviet bomber aviation, which proved to be very successful in the mid-1930s, quickly became obsolete. First of all, because it ceased to be high-speed: the fighter planes of Germany and Japan that had entered service already doubled, or even more, its speed characteristics.

In the beginning of 1940, all efforts were directed to a new dive bomber. The rush was enormous: everyone understood that the country was on the threshold of war, and they demanded a new aircraft as quickly as possible. On April 11, 1940, state tests began, on May 1, an experienced PB-100 flew over Red Square during the May Day parade, and 10 days later the act on the end of its tests was signed. In the series the plane went on June 23, exactly one year before the start of the Great Patriotic War. The first regiment, armed with new aircraft, flew over Red Square on May 1, 1941.

The unique capabilities of the Pe-2, which he was endowed with by Vladimir Petlyakov and his associates, even in the first, most difficult days of the war, allowed pilots to demonstrate real miracles. The "pawns", as these pilots nicknamed, fought on all fronts of the Great Patriotic War, and not only in the Air Force, they were armed with the air units of all Soviet navies: the Baltic, Black Sea, North and Pacific. And everywhere the pilots, despite the uneasy character of the car and the difficulties of piloting, especially during take-off and landing, showed sincere respect and affection for it. So often they refused to change planes to more comfortable foreign bombers, although it was difficult to blame the very "pawn" for a surplus of comfort. But it was fast, maneuverable, well armed, reliable and tenacious.

Pe-2 showed itself so well at the front that the command of the Soviet Air Force directly and through the State Committee of Defense required as many aircraft as possible from aircraft builders. And the aircraft factories did the impossible, sharply increasing the pace of release of "pawns." If for the whole of 1941 they surrendered to the front 1671 aircraft, then in 1942 there are already 2524! Almost as many - 2,428 vehicles - the army and navy received in 1943, when the Pe-2 took the first place in the number of vehicles of this model in Soviet bomber aviation.

And "pawns" were continuously improved: gradually they were getting more and more powerful defensive weapons, more powerful engines and more and more effective equipment. That is why the Pe-2 fought without a break until the very end of the war. Their last documented combat sortie in the West took place on May 7, 1945, when they bombed the runway of the Zirau airfield, preventing German planes from flying to Sweden. And in the East, three regiments of "pawns" took part in the war with Japan from August 9 to September 2, 1945.

By that time the aircraft factories had ceased to produce the Pe-2 military variants for two months already: this decision was made in June 1945. In December of the same year, the last training UPE-2 was rolled out of the gates of Kazan Aviation Plant, and the issue of the legend of Soviet bomber aviation was discontinued. In the Soviet Union, the "pawns" were finally removed from service in 1946.

IPMS/USA Reviews

The Petlyakov Pe-2 (nicknamed Peshka - "Pawn") began life in 1939 as a high altitude fighter project, designated VI-100. It was designed under very unusual circumstances, as the design team which included both Vladimir Petlyakov and A.N. Tupolev had been swept up in one of Stalin's paranoidal purges, and both were imprisoned as "threats to the state." However, they managed to begin design work during 1939, producing a high altitude fighter prototype by the end of that year. Later, when the Russians discovered that Germany didn't have any high altitude bombers, the fighter project was canceled.

In 1940, when the Russians invaded Finland and their much publicized Tupolev SB bombers took a terrific pounding from Finnish fighter pilots, the Soviet High Command realized that they needed a new high speed light bomber. So, in order to save time, Petlyakov resurrected the VI-100 design, removing the superchargers and redesigning the plane as a high speed dive bomber. The result was the Pe-2 prototype, which was immediately accepted for production. After the usual teething troubles, the Pe-2 turned into an effective warplane, and it became the VVS' standard light bomber for the duration of the war, with over 11,000 being produced.

The airplane had some drawbacks. First, it was, for its day, a "hot" airplane, and Soviet training standards were pretty poor at that time, meaning that it was too much airplane for the average Russian pilot. It apparently had vicious stall characteristics, resulting in pilots making their approaches at too high a speed, which further resulted in bounced landings, gear failure, and loss of control in many cases. Although intended as a dive bomber, this method of attack was not often used since the pilots were too inexperienced for this type of attack, and it was mostly used as a horizontal bomber throughout the war. In addition, the aircraft carried only three crew members including a pilot, a navigator/gunner, and a rear gunner who was responsible for three gun positions - two in the waist and one in a ventral gun position. For the waist guns, he had one gun which he was supposed to stick out whichever side the target was on, and he had his head stuck out in the open in an open cockpit on top of the fuselage while the airplane was going 300 mph. Predictably, many Pe-2's were lost to enemy fighters. But it was numerically the most important light bomber in the VVS inventory, although later it was replaced by the Tupolev Tu-2.

The plane went through a series of evolutionary changes throughout the war, with improved armament and armor protection, although performance suffered because of the changes and also because there were shortages of skilled labor in the factories. The early Pe-2 Series 1 aircraft had swivel-mounted 7.62mm light machine guns, while later variants had a 12.7mm machine gun in the dorsal position. On the Pe-2 Series 110, a power turret was added. At series 115, the metal rear fuselage and tail unit was replaced with a wooden structure, causing a slight change in the rear fuselage outline. In addition, the side windows in the nose position were deleted. The Series 205 incorporated several minor changes, including a large turret vane replacing two smaller ones on the rear turret, and some minor changes due to an engine upgrade. The Series 359 had individual exhaust stacks and a revised navigator's access hatch for the rear gunner. No Pe-2's were exported during the war, although a number of captured examples found their way to Finland, where they were used as reconnaissance planes and bombers against their original manufacturers. In addition, a few were test flown in Luftwaffe markings. Postwar, the type was provided to the air forces of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, and China. In addition, a fighter variant, the Pe-3, was produced in small numbers. Several experimental Pe-2's were also flown, including one with M-82 radial engines.


There is some material available on the Pe-2. I used the Squadron In Action No. 181 on the Pe-2 as my main reference. The later series Profile No. 216 is also helpful, although it doesn't go into the specific variants like the Squadron publication does. The art on the kit box bottom gives a couple of nice color schemes, but there is no indication as to what version they are or what the documentation might be. I used the snow-camouflaged "Red 16". Neither aircraft for which decals are provided is illustrated in either publication.

The Kit

Although several kits of the Pe-2 were issued in Eastern Europe, this is only the third kit to become available in the West. Many years ago, Airfix issued a kit of the Pe-2 Series 205, which had raised panel lines but which also was fairly accurate for its time. Italeri issued a kit in 1995 which was excellent in most respects. Airfix doesn't date their kit issues, but it had to have been issued about 1970, as my box is a very old series 2. The Hobby Boss issue has some good surface detail, but the kit does have its problems. All three kits are of the Series 205 version. Other kits issued include Bilek (Airfix), Mavi, Modelcraft/Canada, MPM, VES, Zvezda (Italeri), and Zlinek. Some may be reissues of other kits. There is no indication in the kit of which variant this Pe-2 represents, but some research indicates that it is a Series 205.

This kit is not packaged like any other Hobby Boss kit I've seen, as it is packed in plastic bags inside a regular box instead of the usual vacuform packaging. The decals are in a sealed envelope with a cover taped on, similar to other HB packaging. The outline seems to be accurate, although it is a "quick assembly" kit with some details lacking. Missing are the radio mast and pitot tube, tailwheel doors, interior for the turret and bombardier's position, dive brakes, side guns, DF loop, instrument panel, and ventral gun. The canopy is not accurate, with two large windows on the side where three would be appropriate. The bombardier's windows face against a flat surface, which leaves something to be desired.

Assembly is rapid and easy, although the fuselage seams need some filler. The cockpit seat is located in the center, whereas it should be on the left side. A control stick is included, but a wheel is in the actual airplane - the spares box can take care of that problem. I replaced the rear turret gun with another, as the one in the kit looks almost comical. I also added a ventral machine gun barrel, as none is included in the kit. In fact, the kit almost ignores the ventral position entirely. Check photos and drawings for the actual outline. I found a set of dive brakes from an unknown kit which, when trimmed, look pretty convincing. All Pe-2's had dive brakes unless they were removed in service, and the kit has none. In addition, the prop and spinner assemblies, while adequate, need considerable trimming to get them smoothed out. The engine nacelles are quite well engineered to slide onto their mounts, although the instructions don't mention that the front protrusions need to be trimmed off the engine mounts.

Painting and Finishing

Once the main airframe is assembled and the canopies are attached and masked, painting can begin. The interior, landing gear, and wheel wells should be light grey, while the props should be black. I masked off the light blue undersides and then painted the upper portion white. I then dirtied it up a bit with some dark green, dark brown, and some silver paint wear marks.

A coat of Glosscote prepared the surface, and the decals went on without a hitch, although I did trim them right to the color line. At this point, I attached the landing gear, wheels, tailwheel, and propellers. I then added the extra guns, pitot tube, tailwheel and undercarriage doors, DF loop, and radio antenna.


This is a kit for beginners, and as such accomplishes its mission. It has slightly better exterior detail than the Airfix kit, but it is not as good as the Italeri kit. But if you want a quickbuild Pe-2, this can result in a good model. Recommended for inexperienced or impatient modelers.

Thanks to MMD-Squadron and Hobby Boss, and IPMS USA, for the opportunity to review this kit. It was a fun build, especially the research required to identify the specific variant.

Petlyakov VI-100

There were only a handful of truly exceptional twin-engine heavy fighters fielded during World War 2 (1939-1945) - the British de Havilland "Mosquito" and American Lockheed "Lightning" quickly come to mind and these were joined by others such as the German Messerschmitt Bf 110, which found its success early in the war, and the Japanese went on to manufacture a plethora of twin-engined types for their part in the grand conflict. The Petlyakov concern of the Soviet Union eventually contributed its Pe-2 dive bomber of 1941 but this platform had origins in a potent design intended as a high-altitude interceptor in the pre-war years.

Born as the "VI-100", the aircraft was expected to fulfill a growing need within the Soviet Air Force to counter high-flying enemy threats of the period - primarily bombers. Design work began in 1938 and the resulting design became a well-streamlined, twin-seat, all-metal, twin-engine offering. The crew of two were seated in line in separate cockpits (back-to-back). The wings were of monoplane arrangement and each held an engine nacelle at their leading edge. The tail was of a split-rudder configuration and the undercarriage of a "tail-dragger" form consistent with the period. The pilot's position was aft of a short nosecone containing a bulk of the offensive armament with defensive armament handled by the rear crewman. The pilot's cockpit was to be pressurized for high-altitude service. The powerplant of choice became 2 x Klimov M-105 inline piston engines of 1,050 horsepower. For the required high-altitude performance, these were fitted with turbo-superchargers.

In terms of armament needed to hunt down enemy bombers, the VI-100 was to be a well-armed flying machine. Primary armament was fitted in the nose as 2 x 20mm ShVAK cannons with 2 x 7.62mm ShKAS machine guns in fixed, forward-firing mounts. The rear gunner managed a single 7.62mm ShKAS machine gun along a trainable mounting to protect the aircraft's vulnerable "six". There was also thought given to bomb racks held underwing to broaden the tactical usefulness of this aircraft.

Despite the promising nature of the design, there proved insurmountable delays in attaining the necessary pressurized cockpit equipment and thusly the initial prototype was first-flown on December 22nd, 1939 sans this fit while also lacking the intended turbo-superchargers. In testing the aircraft showcased a maximum speed of 332 miles per hour with an estimated range out to 870 miles and operating service ceiling of 40,000 feet. Performance would have been enhanced with the addition of the turbo-superchargers with a maximum speed of 385 mph predicted.

With World War 2 having begun in September of 1939, the VI-100 now came under the microscope as a wartime product. It was showcased (on the ground) during a Soviet parade in May of 1940 at which point the high-altitude requirement was all but dissipating. Instead, the VI-100 was transformed to become the PB-100 to fulfill a standing dive bomber requirement and entered production (and subsequent Soviet service) as the "Pe-2" leaving the VI-100 as nothing more than a footnote in Soviet Air Force history. The follow-up Pe-3 heavy fighter appeared in 1941 as another twin-engine design by the company and managed a production total of 360 units. These fought on through to the end of the war in 1945 and were also fielded in the night-fighter role.

Petlyakov Pe-2 Peshka Part II

Top: Proudly wearing the Guards Aviation badge on its nose, this Pe-2FT was assigned to the 12th Guards Dive-bomber Air Regiment operating with the AVMF Baltic Fleet in the summer of 1944. There were at least five variations on the national insignia, this being the most complicated, and front line units often applied their own variations.

Middle: Emblazoned with the battle-cry ‘Leningrad-Konigsberg’, this Pe-2FT was flown by N. D. Panasov in a regiment believed to be part of the 1st Air Army during the final weeks of the war and in the subsequent period of occupation. During the final stages of fighting it operated from bases in Poland against retreating forces in East Prussia.

Bottom: This Petlyakov Pe-2FT is shown in standard winter camouflage for the Russian front. The aircraft is fitted with cut-down rear glazing and the weather-cock associated with the UBT machine-gun, but does not have the gun fitted.

First production aircraft.

The first aircraft, possibly by this time known as a Pe-2, came off the line in November 1940, and Hew on 18 November. The VI-100 had been flown on skis, and the Pe-2 was also cleared to use skis which, like the normal wheeled gear, retracted backwards. Skis were not always fitted in winter, despite the obvious difficulty of operating such a heavy and fast-landing (200 km/h 124 mph) aircraft in a Russian winter on wheels.

Very early in production the oil coolers were installed in improved low-drag ducts smoothly faired into the underside of the cowlings. For the remainder of the war the Pe-2 was constantly given small modifications to reduce drag, while the internal fuel capacity was also slightly increased. Production at GAZ-22 built up rapidly, and when Hitler struck on 22 June 1941 about 458 had been completed, of which at least 290 were with operational regiments, including the 24th BAP (bomber regiment) and 5th SBAP (fast bomber regiment). Though the Pe-2 was quite a demanding aircraft, it was immediately very popular and was commonly called ‘Peshka’, which means ‘little Pe’ as well as a pawn in chess.

The initial production engine was the VK-105RA, rated at 820 kW (1,100 hp) and driving VISh-61 propellers (which were not electrically driven, as sometimes reported, but were derived from the Hamilton Hydromatic, with hydraulic actuation). By 1943 the 940-kW (1,260-hp) VK-105PF or PF-2 became available, having previously been reserved for Yak fighters, and this powered virtually all the regular Pe-2 production aircraft to the end of the war.

All variants are listed separately. The standard versions, the Pe-2 and Pe-2FT bombers, the Pe-2R reconnaissance aircraft, the Pe-2UT trainer and the Pe-3bis fighter, accounted for a grand total of 11,427 aircraft when manufacture was stopped in early 1945, just before the end of the war in Europe (though later variants continued as prototypes and development aircraft). This production total was achieved despite the fact that GAZ-22 had to be evacuated to Povolozhye (Kazan) in October 1941, to a factory building which then did not exist. In 1942 GAZ-125, also at Kazan, was completed and doubled the rate of output to 13 aircraft per day.

Significant others

Probably the only variants needing mention in the text are the Pe-2FT and Pe-2UT. The former, with initials meaning ‘front-line request’, replaced the navigator/bomb-aimer’s hand-held ShKAS by a hard-hitting 12.7-mm (0.5-in) UBT in an MV-3 turret, one of the lightweight turrets by the Mozharovsky-Venyevidov team with manual operation facilitated by the use of weathercock fins to balance the drag of the gun when firing abeam. There were naturally many local variations in armament, and despite the increase in weight it was common by 1943 to find that at least one of the front guns as well as the lower rear gun were also UB versions. A further change, possibly dating from mid-1942, was to make the windows in the rear fuselage hinge open so that one or more extra ShKAS could be tired through them by the radio operator.

The Pe-2UT was the standard dual-control pilot trainer, with the instructor seated in an additional cockpit replacing the mid-fuselage fuel tank, and with a poor forward view. The first flew in July 1943, an unusual case of the trainer lagging far behind initial deliveries of the basic combat aircraft. The Pe-3bis was the only model built in quantity from a sub-family of fighter versions. Some retained the internal bomb bay, and a few even had underwing rails for the RS-82 or RS-132 rockets used in the low-level attack and anti-armour role, but most merely had the bombing equipment and third crew station re moved, and instead added heavy gun armament such as one ShVAK, one UB and three ShKAS guns, or two ShVAK plus two UB weapons. There are persistent reports that the Pe-3 had wing slats, though confirmation is elusive. The designation Pe-3 stemmed from the fact that fighter aircraft are designated by odd numbers.

Petlyakov’s OKB retained several Pe-2s as development aircraft, and also the second production machine which was used as a hack to shuttle between Kazan and Moscow. On 12 January 1942 this aircraft caught fire in the air, and all on board, including Petlyakov, were killed. Stalin personally ordered a wave of arrests and interrogations to see who was responsible for killing ‘this great patriot’, whom he had only lately released from prison. A. M. Izakson was the unfortunate person picked as successor, closely followed by A. I, Putilov and, finally, V. M. Myasishchev. The OKB was closed in 1946, Myasishchev himself carrying on with his own bureau. By this time, Pe-2s had been passed on to most East European air forces, and three captured aircraft also had useful lives with PLeLv 48 of the Finnish air force. The Pe-2 was even given the NATO name ‘Buck’.

Petiyakov Pe-2 variants

VI-100: original high-altitude fighter prototypes

PB-100: prototyped! of new three-seat bomber

Pe-2: initial production bomber, with three seats, dive brakes and VK-105RA engines

Pe-2M: first of two quite different aircraft with this designation, flown October 1941 with turbocharged engines, slats and larger bomb bay for up to four FAB-500s (no other bombs carried!

Pe-2Sh: Shturmovik (armoured attack) version, flown October 1941 prolonged trials with various heavy gun installations including twin-ShVAK, twm-UBT ventral pack with guns pivoted down to -40°

Pe-3: initial fighter prototype, early 1941 (believed February), various guns but standardised on two ShVAK plus two UB firing ahead (plus two optional ShKAS as in standard bomber) together with MV-3 dorsal turret, production discontinued after 23rd aircraft

Pe-3bit: hasty modification in summer 1941 to produce night-fighter, identical to Pe-2 but with one ShVAK, one UB and three ShKAS firing ahead (with or without provision for bombs and/or underwing rockets), about 300 delivered, usually as alternate aircraft on GAZ-22 assembly line

Pe-3R: continuing alternate aircraft being different, these were naval reconnaissance aircraft for Northern Fleet with Pe-3 guns and various camera installations, at least one with TK-2 turbochargers

Pe-2L: possibly designated Po-3L. this was a testbed for various retractable ski installations in January 1942

Pe-2MV: possibly a trials aircraft used by MV weapon bureau, fitted with MV-3 turret and photographed with belly tray for two ShVAK plus two UB

Pe-2FT: standard bomber from May 1942 with reduced nose glazing (on underside only). MV-3 turret, extra lower rear guns and. usually, no dive brakes, from early 1943 powered by PF or PF-2 engines

Pe-2FZ: FZ (front-line task) aircraft, a small batch with unglazed nose, no access past pilot in modified cockpit and navigator with twin UBT guns, manually aimed

Pe 2/M-28: at least one aircraft powered by M-82 (ASh-82) radial engines and according to historian V B Shavrov fitted with wing of modified profile giving slower landing, heavier but faster than standard aircraft

Pe-2VI: mid-1943 high-altitude fighter with completely revised airframe by Myasishchev (now head of bureau) with VK-107 engines, oil coolers alongside wing radiators and single pilot seat in pressurised cockpit later developed by Myasishchev into VM-16 and DB-108. and later types

Pe-3M: night-fighter of mid-1943 with 700-kg l, 540-lb) bombload plus two ShVAK, two UB and two DAG-10

Po-2UT: also known as Pe-2S, Pe-2T and UPe-2, and used by post-war Czech air force as CB-32 dual trainer with instructor cockpit amidships and often with full bombload, large numbers built from July 1943

Pe-2 Paravan: test aircraft with long nose probe and wires leading back to balloon-cable cutters on wingtips

Pe-2B: standard 1944 bomber, tested autumn 1943 with many airframe and system improvements, one ShKAS plus three UBT Pe-2R: limited-production reconnaissance aircraft with PF-2 engines, increased internal fuel, three defensive UB or BS guns, three or four cameras, speed 580 km/h (360 mph) at 7603 kg (16,761 lb)

Pe-2R: same designation applied in 1944 to high-speed reconnaissance prototype with 1230-kW (1,650-hp) VK-107A engines, tankage for 2000 km (1,242 miles) and armed with three ShVAK. speed 630 km/h (391.5 mph)

Pe-21: new standard bomber produced under Myasishchev. new mid-mounting wing with NACA 23012 profile, longer and better streamlined body and nacelles for VK-107A engines, one UB gun at each tip of fuselage, bombload 1000 kg (2,250 lb) internal plus same external, speed on test in May 1944 was 656 km/h (408 mph) despite weight of 8983 kg (19804 lb), but no production was undertaken

Pe-2K: compromise with regular VK-107PF engines in Pe-2I airframe

Pe-2D: three-seat bomber of September 1944 with VK-107A engines, three BT 20-mm cannon and DAG-10, speed 600 km/h (373 mphl with 4000 kg (8.818 Ibl bombload Pe-2M: second aircraft with this designation,

Pe-2I airframe. VK-107 engines. 2000-kg (4,410- Ib) internal bombload and three ShVAK, 630 km/h (391 .5 mph) at 9400 kg (20.723 lb)

Pe-2RD: achieved 785 km/h (488 mph) with Korolyev/Glushko RD-1 rocket installed in tail, intended to lead to Pe-3RD fighter

Pe-2K: second use of this designation for eiection-seat test aircraft in 1946. standard Pe-2 with various test seats installed above trailing edge in radio operator’s cockpit

B-32: post-war designation of Pe-2 in Czech air force

Specification PetlyakovPe-2

Type: three-seat light/medium bomber and dive-bomber

Powerplant: two 1,100-hp (820-kW) KlimovM-105RV-12pistonengines

Performance: maximum speed 540 km/h (336 mph) at 5000 m (16,405ft)cruisingspeed428km/h (266 mph) climb to 5000 m (16,405 ft) in 7 minutes 0 seconds service ceiling 8800 m(28,870 ft) normal range 1500 km(932 miles) Weights: empty 5876 kg (12,943 lb) maximum take-off 8496 kg (18,730 lb)

Dimensions: span 17.16 m (56 ft 3l/2 in) length12.66m(41ftGVzin)height 4,0 m (13 ft P/a in) wing area 40.50 m2 (436 sq ft)

Armament: two fixed 7.62-mm (0.3-in) ShKAS machine-guns or one 7.62-mm ShKAS and one 12.7-mm (0.5-in) Beresin ÜBT machine-gun in nose, and single 7,62-mm (0.3-in) ShKASor 12.7- mm (0.5-in) ÜBT machine-guns in dorsal and in ventral stations, plus a maximum bombload of 1200 kg (2,646 lb)


. . . fully loaded with bombs, the Pe-2 needed someone with a lot of strength to pull back on the stick at the appropriate moment to get the nose off the ground. Most of us had to get our navigators to stand beside us on take-off to help yank the stick back on a given command. It was a delicate business, though, because if the stick was pulled back too far the aeroplane would lose flying speed, it would stall, and you’d make a big fire on the runway.

Most of us were small girls – quite a bit shorter than the men. We needed cushions to pad our seats so that we could see out of the windscreen. And some of the girls with particularly short legs had to have special blocks put on the rudder pedals so that they could reach them with their feet.

The Pe-2 was not an easy aircraft to take off. Some twin-engined aircraft have the propellers contra-rotating …which cancels out the tendency of the aircraft to turn in the direction of the propellers but the Pe-2’s props both turned to the left. With both powerful engines on full power for take-off, the bomber had an alarming tendency to swing left. If not controlled quickly and firmly the aircraft would swing off the runway.

Petljakov Pe-2 [kód NATO: Buck]

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Petlyakov Pe-2 “červená 1″ střemhlavý bombardér, láskyplně nazývaný “Peška″


Pe-2 is a good-looking plane. It has clean lines of a sturdy engineering design made to be robust, easy to maintain, and most importantly, easy to manufacture. Like most Soviet weapons in WWII, Pe-2 was build in quantities, with the sole purpose of overwhelming the Germans.

Nevertheless, it did have a few Rolls-Royce style commodities that were unusual in first-line bombers, including a pressurized cabin, an all-metal constructions, superchargers for the engines, and a number of electrically powered systems. This made it popular with its crews, who enjoyed a more cultivated battle environment than most of their peers.

Later on, during the service, the pressurization and superchargers were added and remove as different versions were built. Some models also had the dive brakes removed becoming medium level bombers.

As you can see, Pe-2 has large, fat wings built to withstand the pressure of dives and the incoming flak. Likewise, the plane has a twin tail, which adds to the stability during tricky maneuvers.

I must admit I liked the slightly depressing hospital-green forest-green camouflage scheme, although painting large, flat, plain surfaces was a bit boring. Although there were a few cozy details here and there, like the spotter's windows behind the wings.

If there's one drawback that Pe-2 had, it was not exactly the most heavily armed aircraft around. The defensive armament consisted of a single 7.62mm machine gun in a rotary cupola behind the pilot, which was glazed so that the cockpit pressure could be maintained. In some models, it was improved, including a remotely controlled turret, but they were made too late and in small quantities to make any big difference.

I invested quite some time trying to get the cockpit details right, as it was one of the few bits of the airplane that were. You probably cannot see, but I painted the machine gun very carefully, including the grip.

Other than that, it could carry a handful of bombs on fuselage racks or, in some versions, internal bomb bays.

Pe-2 engines and main landing gear were fun to assemble. They were well made and snapped together perfectly. The landing gear was particularly sturdy, needing little or almost no glue to hold in place. The engines has narrow, covered cowls, so I had no chance to display the gritty bits of metalwork like I did with AC-47.

Overall, I liked Pe-2. It cooperated well with my efforts. The parts were well made and precise with little or no gaps. The testimony to the quality is the landing gear, which just snapped in like a piece of Lego. Naturally, I did file off the tire bottoms to make them sag under the airplane weight, of course.

I'd give myself an 8 on this one. Well, that's all. I hope you liked it. Stay tuned for more.


Originally, the Petlyakov Pe-2 was not supposed to be a bomber at all. Its direct predecessor, designated VI-100, was designed by a prison design bureau team led by Vladimir Petlyakov as a high-altitude escort fighter. The VI-100 was very modern for its time, featuring a pressurized two-seat cockpit, electrically actuated systems and all-metal construction, and was powered by two supercharged Klimov M-105 V-12 inline engines producing 1100 horsepower each. The prototype was completed in 1939 and during its first test flight on 7th May 1939, it reached a top speed of 627.6 km/h (390 mph) – an astounding performance for its time. The results of flight tests were so promising that the VI-100 was ordered into production.

However, Germany launched the "Blitzkrieg" campaign in September 1939. Aside from their revolutionary usage of tanks, the campaign in Poland featured notable usage of Ju 87 dive bombers and showed their potential. Consequently, the Soviet authorities ordered the VI-100 to be redesigned as a dive bomber. Pressurisation equipment and engine superchargers were removed, dive brakes were installed under the wings and the bombardier position was added to the nose of the aircraft(raising the number of crew members to three). A ventral bomb bay was added along with the two smaller bomb positions located at the rear of engine nacelles. Two rear-facing turrets, each armed by a single ShKAS machine gun, were installed to dorsal and ventral positions. The resulting aircraft, able to carry up to 1600 kg / 3520 lbs of bombs, was designated PB-100. The first prototype flew on 15th December 1940 and its performance (top speed of 540.7 km/h (336 mph)) was so good that Vladimir Petlyakov was released and the aircraft was named after him, thus receiving the designation Petlyakov Pe-2. The bomber was then rushed into serial production and deliveries to combat units began in the spring of 1941. The deliveries were, however, slow and by the time of the German invasion in June 1941, only about 458 Pe-2's were delivered.

The Pe-2, nicknamed Peshka ("Pawn") by its crews, quickly proved itself to be an effective dive bomber and together with the Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik attacker, it became the most important offensive weapon of the Soviet Army Air Force. The bomber was fast and agile enough to be an elusive target for German fighters and also proved its versatility – it was used for reconnaissance and artillery spotting and also became the basis for the Pe-3 heavy fighter. Losses were heavy, however. Crews often complained about a lack of armour protection for the cockpit and fuel tanks as well as poor defensive armament and unreliable dive brakes, which sometimes failed to retract and allowed top speeds of only around 300 km/h (186.4 mph), making the fast bomber easy prey.

In-game description

A twin-engine, all-metal monoplane with a twin-fin tail and a retractable landing gear system with tail wheel.

The idea to create the Pe-2 front line dive bomber was born quite suddenly. The experiences of World War II, which had just recently started, showed that the concept of heavy twin-engine fighters was defective. The planes either failed miserably or had to play a different role in the conflict. The Petlyakov VI-100 high-altitude fighter created in OKB-29 of the NKVD's Special Technical Bureau was no exception. Despite its impressive test results, with characteristics significantly exceeding those of its European counterparts, and despite the fact that industrial facilities were prepared for mass production, it was decided that the aircraft should not begin production, for it was clear that such planes were simply not needed. At the same time, the Air Forces of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army clearly required that the fleet of front line bomber aircraft be upgraded and replenished. Dive bombers in particular had made a good showing in the first years of World War II, but planes of this type were absent in the USSR's forces. It was decided to make up this deficiency by converting the VI-100 fighter. In principle, this design was quite promising, and the industry was ready for mass production. In addition, there was no time to develop a completely new design. As a result, Petlyakov was ordered to prepare in the shortest possible time a PB-100 dive bomber based on the existing fighter prototype.

Only one month and a half were given to perform the redesign, but the designers pulled it off brilliantly. In the autumn of 1940, the PB-100 successfully passed all tests and was immediately launched into full-scale production. In 1940, the aircraft was re-designated the Pe-2, after the last name of designer V. M. Petlyakov. The first series were few in number: usually 5 to 10 planes, and 20 at most. This was done specifically to allow for improvements during production.

The first production planes were equipped with 1,100 hp Klimov M-105R twelve-cylinder V-type geared water-cooled engines.

The plane's defensive armament consisted of four 7.62 mm ShKAS machine guns. Two ShKAS machine guns with 500 rounds each were fixed in the forward fuselage, and the navigator could fire from the TSS-1 turret (with a magazine capacity of 750 rounds) mounted behind the pilot. The LU-MV-2 hatch mount with 750 rounds was located in the lower fuselage.

The standard payload of the Pe-2 was 600 kg, and the maximum was 1,000 kg. Four bombs with a maximum weight of 100 kg were housed in the fuselage bomb bay, and one more bomb was placed in each of the two bomb bays located in the nacelle rear section. Bombs of larger weights, such as 250 kg and 500 kg, could be accommodated only on external bomb racks under the center wing section.

Watch the video: Pe-8 Heavy Bomber Documentary - Weapons of Victory (January 2022).