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Nachthexen (Polikarpov U-2)
name:Nachthexen (Polikarpov U-2)
price:22,00 €
pcs on stock:0
color:navy blue
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The first prototype of the light training aircraft Polikarpov U-2 took off in 1927. It was a replacement for the previous type of U-1, which was a copy of the British Avro 504K. The letter "U" in the designation means "Учебный", ie training. After the death of the designer Nikolai Nikolayevich Polikarpov, the aircraft was rebranded in 1944 in his honor Po-2.
In 1928, the production of this all-wooden biplane with a canvas cover was started, and by 1949, when production in the USSR was terminated, at least 33,000 of them had been produced. The aircraft was powered by a 100k engine, thanks to which the biplane reached a cruising speed of 110 km / h. The plane was easy to operate, with a bit of exaggeration, it could be said that it flew almost alone. Therefore, the use of light aircraft soon expanded to other roles, it served as a courier, ambulance for the transport of the wounded, in the civil sector, especially in agriculture and aeroclubs, but it was also used by Aeroflot. As a training machine, it was not originally intended for combat operations, but the future will show, that the light night bomber version would make this type most famous.
Because it was an easy target for German pilots during the day, it began to be used mainly at night to bomb German airports and other military targets. His ability to quietly approach and drop bombs from low level flights made him a dreaded weapon. Aircraft became most famous in the role of a light night bomber thanks to the Soviet women airmen, nicknamed the "Night Witches" (Die Nachthexen) by the Germans.
On October 8, 1941, J. Stalin signed Decree No. 0099, which authorized the creation of three women's air regiments. These were the 586th Fighter Regiment armed with Jak-1 fighters under the command of Major Tamara Kazarinova, 587th Daily Bomber Regiment armed with twin-engine bombers Petlyakov Pe-2 under the command of Major Marina Raskova and 588th Night Bomber Regiment equipped with the obsolete Polikarpov U-2. Major Evdokiya Bershanskaya became the commander of this unit.
The 588th Night Bomber Regiment began its combat operations on June 12, 1942 on the Southern Front, where it prevented the occupiers from crossing rivers. In the second half of 1942 unit took part in the Battle of the Caucasus. In February 1943, the regiment was awarded the name "Guards" and after the reorganization it became the 46th Guards Night Bomber Air Regiment in the 325th Night Bomber Air Division, 4th Air Force, 2nd Belarusian Front. In October 1943, the word "Taman" was added to the name of the regiment, referring to the unit's participation in combat operations on the Taman Peninsula (between the Azov and Black Seas). In April and May 1945, the regiment participated in the offensive on the Oder and October 15, 1945 was disbanded.
An important member of the unit was Evdokija Ivanovna "Dusja" Nosal (Евдокия Ивановна Носаль). A Ukrainian native joined the Red Army in 1941 and appeared at the front in May 1942. Lieutenant "Dusja" Nosal became deputy commander of the 46th Guards Night Bomber Regiment. On the night of 22 / 23rd April 1943, the aircraft piloted by "Dusja" Nosal was attacked by an enemy fighter and shrapnel from the cannon hit her temple, she was dead on the spot. I. Kashirina, flying in the back seat, managed to land the plane at the airport. Evdokija Ivanovna "Dusja" Nosal completed 354 combat flights until her death and for her courage received posthumously as the first female aviator the honorary title and the highest award "Hero of the Soviet Union". The 46th Guards Night Bomber Regiment lost 23 members and 28 aircraft during combat operations. A total of 23 female airmen received the title "Hero of the Soviet Union". In honor of the female airmen who died, several aircraft of the unit received the inscriptions "We take revenge for….".


Text: ing. Pavel Türk

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