Polikarpov I-15, I-16 and I-153 Aces (Aircraft of the Aces) Paperback – 10 May 2010
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"This is an excellent account of the Aces that flew the Polikarpovs ... a hugely enjoyable and educational read, particularly if you are new to this subject." --Tim Hatton, Model Shipwrights
"Maslov's text is full of distinguished characters who often give firsthand accounts of what it was like to fly these pioneer fighters. There is the usual wealth of color profiles as well..." --Jon Guttman, Aviation History (July 2011)
From the heat of Spain to the frozen wastelands of Finland, this book reveals the combat stories of the pilots who flew the Polikarpov fighters from 1936 until the end of World War II.See all Product description
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In the West it is, perhaps, not widely known that before Germany launched its attack on the USSR in 1941, Soviet pilots had already been bloodied in the skies above Spain, Finland, Poland, Mongolia and China. The exploits of the pilots who flew the tubby but attractive Polikarpov fighters is here recounted. Also little realised is the Soviet use of RS-82 air-to-air rockets by the Polikarpovs, later used with greater effect by Il-2 ground attack aircraft, and by the katyusha MLRS. The last of the line, the I-16, soldiered on in the front line until 1943, by then thoroughly obsolete.
Manuel Vázquez Ventura.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Maslov's title is a refreshing change from the usual format in that he goes into developmental detail of the Polikarpov aircraft reveals technical as well as tactical advantages and disadvantages under the different operational areas that the aircraft performed in. All the theatres of war are included in this title; Spain, China, Khalkin Gol, Finland WWII. Exploits of individual pilots are also included. I found it fast paced and very enjoyable.
The color plates are of extremely good quality and will no doubt be helpful for the modeller and the wealth of photographs will be of interest to the aviation buff.
I hope this is a trend in Osprey's Aces series. If so, Ill be buying more!
After detailing the production history of the three fighters, Maslov relates the combat record of Polikarpov fighters over Spain, China, the Khalkhin Gol, Finland and Mother Russia itself. In all, some 16,000+ I-15, I-153 and I-16 models were produced. When Hitler invaded Russia in June 1941, I-16s made up 40% of the VVS fighter inventory. I-15bis and I-153 variants were still on strength and Luftwaffe pilots soon learned to fear Polikarpov's fighters. Though outclassed by Bf 109s, VVS pilots were fearless in their attacks on Luftwaffe formations, Russian pilots often launching ramming - 'taran' - attacks in their determination to down the hated 'Fascists.'
POLIKARPOV I-15, I-16 and I-153 ACES is a nicely-done, well-illustrated guide to Polikarpov aces wherever they flew and whatever their nationality. Maslov makes excellent use of first-person reminiscences. Interestingly enough, he devotes several pages to taran attacks and the VVS use of air-to-air rockets, subjects dear to my heart. Given the frantic nature of air combat whether over Spain, China or Moscow, overclaiming was rampant, Maslov making an effort to compare claims against actual losses where known. Whatever the true score of those Polikarpov aces, they proved to be dangerous opponents.
The book is illustrated with 90 photographs, some new to the reviewer, and ten pages of nicely-done color profiles by Andrey Yurgenson. And there's dramatic cover art by Mark Styling, natch!
Air combat buffs should enjoy this overview of Polikarpov fighters in action. Although many of the pilots' names are tongue-twisters, the book is an easy read and quite informative. Recommended.