Petlyakov's Pe-2 was the most numerous Soviet twin-engined bomber of World War 2, the aircraft being used as a dive-bomber, ground attack platform and dedicated reconnaissance type. The first examples entered service in August 1940, and by the time production came to end in late 1945, no fewer than 10,547 examples had been built. These equipped more than 80 bomber air regiments, and of the latter, two were accorded Guards Air Corps status, as were six air regiments. Amongst the former was the 2nd Guards Bomber Air Corps, which 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 Arctic north to the balmy Crimea front. A number of Pe-2 also saw brief combat against Japan in the final weeks of World War 2.
"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 ... 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 [book]. A helpful appendix plots Pe-2 Guards units in transition from 1941 through 1945. And captions, aircraft plans and index complete contents."
- David L. Veres, www.cybermodeler.com
"The book is superbly illustrated with period photos, many of which are successful crews and individuals, taken in the usual heroic poses. Several pages of full color profiles rounds things out including one of the rather rare radial engined Pe-2. In all, it makes for another interesting read on a subject that few have read much about. It is both entertaining and informative and a book I can easily recommend to you."
- Scott Van Aken, www.modelingmadness.com (March 2013)
"provides military and aviation libraries with a fine survey of the most numerous Soviet bomber of World War II, and is a strong collection of images and history of a fighter which entered service in 1940 and ended production in late 1945, with over 10,000 planes in service. Extensive history covers pilots and planes alike, linking key battles to the Pe-2 efforts during the war."
- The Midwest Book Review (May 2013)