Polikarpov Po-2 (U-2)


Scale: 1 : 3,5
Wingspan 3.258 mm
Length 2.334 mm
Engine: 80 ccm single cylinder to 250ccm 5 cylinder radial

Estimated delivery November 2009

History of Polikarpov Po-2

Polikarpov Po-2 (U-2) has been build primarily of wood, and fabric covered, the PO-2 was originally designed and built in the late 1920’s as a training and light utility aircraft. First flew in early 1927.

Production began in the Soviet Union in 1928, and more than 13,000 were built prior to the German invasion on 22 June 1941. They went on to be used for liaison due to its STOL capabilities, light attack, nuisance reader and propaganda aircraft complete with microphone and loudspeaker. During World War Two the U-2 was also used as an air ambulance and for night raiding missions. After Polikarpov’s death on 30 July 1944, the U-2 was re-designated the Po-2 in his memory.

Wehrmacht troops nicknamed it Nähmaschine (sewing machine) for its rattling sound. The material effects of these missions was mostly insignificant, but the psychological effect on German troops was much more noticeable. They typically attacked by complete surprise in the dead of night, denying German troops sleep and keeping them constantly on their guard, contributing yet further to the already exceptionally high stress of combat on the Eastern front. Their usual tactics involved flying only a few meters above the ground, rising for the final approach, cutting off the engine and making a gliding bombing run, leaving the targeted troops with only the eerie whistling of the wind in the wings' bracing-wires as an indication of the impending attack.

Luftwaffe fighters found it extremely hard to shoot down the Kukuruznik because of three main factors: the rudimentary aircraft could take an enormous amount of damage and stay in the air, the pilots used the defensive tactic of flying at treetop level, and the stall speed of both the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 was similar to the Soviet craft's maximum cruise speed, making it difficult for the newer aircraft to keep a Po-2 in weapons range for an adequate period of time.

The Po-2 was known as the plane used by the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, composed of all-women pilots and ground crew. The unit became notorious for its daring low-altitude night raids on German rear-area positions, with veteran pilots Katya Ryabova and Nadya Popova on one occasion flying 18 such missions in a single night. The women pilots observed that the enemy suffered a further degree of demoralization simply due to their antagonists being female. As such, the pilots earned the nickname "Night Witches". The unit earned numerous Hero of the Soviet Union citations and dozens of Order of the Red Banner medals; most surviving pilots had flown nearly 1000 combat missions at the end of the war and had taken part in the Battle of Berlin.

North Korean forces used the Po-2 in a similar role in the Korean War. A significant number of Po-2s were fielded by the Korean People's Air Force, inflicting serious damage during night raids on Allied bases.[3] UN forces named the Po-2's nighttime appearance Bedcheck Charlie and had great difficulty in shooting it down — even though night fighters had radar as standard equipment in the 1950s, the wood-and-fabric-construction of the Po-2 gave only a minimal radar echo, making it hard for an opposing fighter pilot to acquire his target.

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