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Pe-2 file photo [3123]

Pe-2 Peshka

Primary RoleDive Bomber
Maiden Flight22 December 1939


ww2dbaseThe Pe-2 Petlyakov Pe-2 Peshka dive bombers were designed by inmates of a sharashka in the Soviet Gulag labor camp system. Vladimir Petlyakov, imprisoned for delaying design work on the ANT-42 bomber project, headed this project that was originally put together to produce a design for fighter aircraft to escort bombers. When the prototype flew on 22 Dec 1939, it featured advanced features such as a pressurized cabin and many electrically-actuated systems. Just as the design was about to enter production, a redesign was demanded in order to remedy the lack of dive bombers in the Russian air force. Given 45 days to perform this redesign, Petlyakov removed the pressurized cabin and the supercharger while adding dive brakes and space for two additional crewmen. The end result was so impressive that Petlyakov was granted freedom, and his name was allowed to be associated with the design, a credit so many other sharashka engineers were deprived of. Without prototype testing, the dive bomber design entered production, and the first Pe-2 aircraft flew on 15 Dec 1940.

ww2dbaseA unique characteristic of Pe-2 aircraft was the difficulty to get the aircraft airborne during takeoff. Such a great force was required to pull the elevators up that some pilots, notably some of the female pilots of the Russian military, were unable to perform this task. When this occurred, the standard procedure was for the bombardier to reach around the pilot seat and assist the pilot. Once airborne, they enjoyed excellent flying characteristics.

ww2dbaseThe Pe-2 dive bombers were highly effective when the Russian ground forces began to push German invaders back. Their good flying characteristics allowed them to make accurate bombing missions, while the ample speed allowed them to escape from hostile interceptors. The design continued to improve throughout the war, too, with direct input by the pilots who flew them.

ww2dbaseDuring the production life of this design, 11,400 aircraft were built across numerous variants.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Mar 2007


MachineryTwo Klimov M-105PF liquid-cooled V-12 engine rated at 1,210hp each
Armament4x7.62mm ShKAS machine guns, 1,600kg of bombs
Span17.16 m
Length12.66 m
Height3.50 m
Wing Area40.50 m²
Weight, Empty5,875 kg
Weight, Loaded7,563 kg
Weight, Maximum8,495 kg
Speed, Maximum580 km/h
Rate of Climb7.20 m/s
Service Ceiling8,800 m
Range, Normal1,160 km


Pe-2 dive bombers in flight, date unknown, photo 1 of 2Pe-2 dive bombers in flight, date unknown, photo 2 of 2
See all 3 photographs of Pe-2 Peshka Dive Bomber

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Notable Figure:
» Dolina, Mariya

Pe-2 Peshka Dive Bomber Photo Gallery
Pe-2 dive bombers in flight, date unknown, photo 1 of 2Pe-2 dive bombers in flight, date unknown, photo 2 of 2
See all 3 photographs of Pe-2 Peshka Dive Bomber

Famous WW2 Quote
"Since peace is now beyond hope, we can but fight to the end."

Chiang Kaishek, 31 Jul 1937