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Book Review
Pe-2 Guards Units
Pe-2 Guards Units Of World War 2
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by: Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]

Petlyakov’s Pe-2 ‘Peshka’ was the most numerous Soviet twin-engined bomber of World War 2, the aircraft being used as a conventional medium bomber, dive-bomber, ground attack platform and dedicated reconnaissance type. The first examples entered service in August 1940, and by the time production came to an end in late 1945, no fewer than 10, 547 Pe-2s had been built. These equipped more than 80 bomber air regiments, two of which were accorded Guards Air Corps status, as were six air regiments. 2nd Guards Bomber Air Corps was commanded by the legendary General Polbin, who was twice made a Hero of the Soviet Union. Pe-2 bomber and reconnaissance versions (the latter in service with four Guards reconnaissance air regiments of the Air Force and one regiment of Naval Aviation) were extensively used from the frozen Artic north to the balmy Crimean front. A number of Pe-2 regiments also saw brief combat against Japan in the final weeks of World War 2.**

** Quoted from the back cover of the book.
Osprey Publications Ltd has released Pe-2 Guards Units Of World War 2 as Number 96 in their Combat Aircraft series. It is a paperback book with 96 pages. Included with the text are black and white photographs, color illustrations, informational charts, scale line-drawings and detailed captions. It has a 2013 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-78096-065-4. As the title of the book states, the book examines and discusses the Russian Pe-2 Guards Units of World War 2.
  • Chapter One
  • Pe-2 Development
  • Chapter Two
  • Guards Bomber Air Regiments
  • Chapter Three
  • Guards Bomber Air Divisions
  • Chapter Four
  • Guards Bomber Air Corps
  • Chapter Five
  • Guards Reconnaissance Air Regiments
  • Chapter Six
  • Guards Bomber Air Regiments Of Naval Air Forces
  • Appendices
  • Color Plates Commentary
  • Index

The book contains a well written text that is extremely detailed and laid out in an easy to read format. Dmitriy Khazanov and Aleksander Medved cover the Pe-2 Guards Units of World War 2 very well and go into great detail about its history and performance in combat. This is a well written history that will be of great use and interest to the well-seasoned and knowledgeable World War Two and Pe-2 Guards Units historian and enthusiast or the individual that is new to these aircraft and wants to learn about their history. As I read through the text I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors. Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings. I feel that if the text is well written then it shows that the author has taken the time to be a professional with their writing. Anyone wanting to add an excellent reference and history book on the Pe-2 Guards Units of World War 2 to their personal library will be pleased with this very informative and interesting book.

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the text for yourself.
There are a total of 71 black and white photographs included and shown throughout this volume. This volume contains no color photographs. The majority of the photographs are very nice and will help the military aircraft modeler well. Most of them are wide angle photographs showing the aircraft as a whole. I appreciate the fact that there are many excellent photographs that are new to me as this makes this volume even more exciting for me to sit down and read. The majority of the photographs are clear and easily viewable, however there are some that have an out of focus look to them and some appear to be too dark, and some appear too light, which is typical for photographs of that period of time. I do know that several military photographs are actually stills taken from video so that could be one reason as well as the fact that the photographs are close to 70 years old. With that said the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author and take away nothing from the book. Dmitriy Khazanov and Aleksander Medved stuck to the title of the book and chose photographs that are specific to the Pe-2 Guards Units of World War 2 and did not include photographs that strayed from the main subject of the book. There are several excellent photographs that will help out the aircraft modeler due to the details they contain.

Two of the photographs are of black and white illustrations of shown on page 50 and page 59. They are of:
  • A period drawing from a VVS RKKA tactics manual showing a typical dive-bombing strike by a Pe-2 group with fighter coverage.
  • A diagram depicting a dive-bombing attack using the ‘Polbin rotation’.

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the photographs for yourself.
There are 10 pages of color aircraft illustrations by illustrator Andrey Yurgenson which cover a total of 30 aircraft profiles and they are very well done. The color plates commentary on pages 91 through 93 provide detailed information about each aircraft shown. The scale aircraft modeler will find value in the color plates as they provide a visual reference to the various aircraft color schemes and markings that were used.

The color illustrations are very well done, nicely detailed and are of the following aircraft:
1. Pe-2 of 4th GvBAP, Leningrad Front, December 1941
2. Pe-2 of 128th SBAP, Kalinin Front, January 1942
3. Pe-2 of 514th BAP (later 36th GvBAP), Western Front, February 1942
4. Pe-2 of 40th RAP (later 48th GvRAP), Ramenskoe airfield, spring 1942
5. Pe-2 of 2nd GvBAK HQ flight, Brig airfield, February 1945
6. Pe-2 of 73rd BAP, Baltic Fleet Air Force, December 1942
7. Pe-2 of 12th GvBAP, Baltic Fleet Air Force, November 1944
8. UPe-2 of 12th GvBAP, Baltic Fleet Air Force, May 1944
9. Pe-2 of 2nd GvBAK HQ flight, Austria, May 1945
10. Pe-2 of 81st GvBAP, Eastern Prussia, April 1945
11. Pe-2 of 34th BAP (later 34th GvBAP), Pacific Fleet Air Force, August 1945
12. Pe-2 of 47th GvRAP, Red Army Supreme Command, spring 1943
13. Pe-2 of 81st GvBAP, 2nd Ukraine Front, April 1944
14. Pe-2 of 12th GvBAP, Baltic Fleet Air Force, July 1944
15. Pe-2 of 261st SBAP, Voronejscky Front, August 1943
16. Pe-2R of 47th GvRAP, Red Army Supreme Command, October 1944
17. Pe-2 of 114th GvBAP, Karelian Front, summer 1944
18. Pe-2 of 47th GvBAP, Red Army Supreme Command, June 1944
19. Pe-2 of 125th GvBAP, Balbasovo airfield, July 1944
20. Pe-2 of 82nd GvBAP, 2nd Ukraine Front, June 1944
21. Pe-2 of 140th SBAP, Tallinn region, August 1944
22. Pe-2 of 73rd BAP (later 12th GvBAP), Baltic Fleet Air Force, December 1943
23. Pe-2 of 12th GvBAP, Baltic Fleet Air Force, summer 1944
24. Pe-2 of 140th SBAP, East Germany, summer 1945
25. Pe-2 of 162nd GvBAP, Ukraine, August 1943
26. Pe-2 of 162nd GvBAP, Ukraine, February 1944
27. Pe-2 of 34thGvBAP, Karelian Front, July 1944
28. Pe-2 of 125th GvBAP, Balbasovo airfield, July 1944
29. Pe-2 of 99th GvORAP, 2nd Baltic Front, July 1944
30. Pe-2 of 125th GvBAP, Poland, November 1944

The front cover art was done by illustrator Mark Postlewaite.

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the illustrations for yourself.
Illustrator Andrey Yurgenson has provided six specially commissioned scale line drawings of 3 versions of the Pe-2 aircraft. The drawings are very well done and are very detailed which should be of a benefit to the scale aircraft modeler. The six views are of the following aircraft and are shown in the following order:

31. Pe-2 18th series
- Left side view
- Top view
- Front view
32. Pe-2R based on 110th series
- Left side view
- Bottom view
33. Pe-2R 83rd series
- Left side view

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the scale line drawings for yourself.
There are no maps included in this volume.
There are 4 informational charts provided which provide information on:
34. Intensity of 1st BAK combat operations July-August 1943
35. 1st and 2nd BAK Combat Line-up between July and August 1943
36. Statistics for Pe-2 Losses
37. Official Soviet Statistics for Operation Arcturus
The captions are well written and are very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs in great detail eliminating any doubt as to what is shown and taking place in the accompanying photograph. The captions go into very specific detail as to weapons, aircraft, locations and dates as well as specific individuals and other such pertinent information. I was impressed by Dmitriy Khazanov’s and Aleksander Medved’s captions as they are very helpful to the reader due to their detailed content as opposed to other captions I have seen that are very brief and lack detail.

Please refer to the scans that I have provided so that you can judge the captions for yourself.
This is a very nice reference book that contains many excellent and subject specific photographs and illustrations and well detailed captions. It details the Pe-2 Guards Units during World War II very well. This volume will be of particular interest and beneficial to anyone interested in the Pe-2 Guards Units of World War 2. I would have no hesitation to add other Osprey titles to my personal library nor would I hesitate to recommend this book to others as it will be a welcome addition to one’s personal military reference library.
Search inside the book on the Osprey web site:
Osprey Publishing also has Pe-2 Guards Units Of World War 2 available as a: PDF ebook and ePub eBook
Look inside the book on the Amazon web site.
Look inside the Kindle Edition of the book on the Amazon web site.
Highs: Nicely written text and captions Excellent photographs and illustrations
Lows: Nothing to mention
Verdict: This is a very nice reference book of the Russian Pe-2 Guards Units of World War 2 that is well researched and written.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-1-78096-065-4
  Suggested Retail: UK £13.99 / US $22.95
  PUBLISHED: Apr 15, 2013

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About Randy L Harvey (HARV)

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2021 text by Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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