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Lisunov Li-2 Cab - Bomber

As soon as the first DC-3 appeared in the USSR, it was immediately tried to adapt for military purposes. At the end of 1936 NN Polikarpov and chief designer of the aircraft armament KB BG Shpitalny made a proposal to the deputy defense industry MMKaganovich on the draft of an armed version of the aircraft. The machine was supposed to be equipped with five guns: two promising 11P-37 (NS-37) caliber 37 mm and three 20-mm SHVAK , as well as three 7.62-mm ShKAS machine guns. In the transshipment variant, the plane could also take 500 kg of bombs.

Even before the war, Senkov proposed to create a strike aircraft on the basis of PS-84. However, this idea was realized only in early 1942, when the military aircraft was modified for a night bomber, while preserving the possibility of carrying out transport tasks. At the same time, in the cockpit on the left side behind the chair of the crew commander, the navigator's workplace was organized, which was equipped with a bomb sight of the NKPB-7, and the front door was replaced with glazing. Two armored plates with a thickness of 8 mm, having dimensions of 720 x 460 mm, were installed on the cabin of the crew cabin. Under the centroplane placed holders with electric spreaders, designed for bombs up to a caliber of 100 kg. In the future, the car was able to carry FAB-250/500. Normal bomb load on the external suspension was 1000 kg (in the combat units often took on board in addition small bombs in boxes, which were thrown out through the main door). The crew of the bomber consisted of six people: two pilots, navigator, flight engineer, radio operator and shooter.

After the military tests of the bomber, it was decided to re-equip a part of the existing FS-84 and to introduce such an option into batch production. By mid-1942, the number of shock machines was 180 units, and later their output reached 40 aircraft per month. During mass production, a filling system for filling gasoline tanks with neutral gas was introduced in all Li-2NB, which reduced the number of fires and explosions in the case of bullets and shell fragments. The leading edges of the wing, keel and stabilizer were supplied with an electrothermal de-icing.

On March 5, 1942, a long-range aviation was created by the decision of the State Defense Committee of the USSR, headed by Major-General AE Golovanov. The long and heavy bomber regiments assembled in the ADD were withdrawn from the Air Force and transferred directly to the Stavka. In April of the same year, the first compound armed with the Li-2 was formed and enlarged the composition of the ADD. They became the 1st air transport division headed by the p-com V.E.Nesterov, which included the 101st and 102nd regiments (the commanders of VS Grizodubovand B.P. Osipchuk). First, the division had only "air trucks", which was reflected in its name.

Despite the titanic efforts of the leadership of the USSR in providing ADD with the required aircraft, their number in combat units was steadily declining. The evacuation of most of the aviation and aircraft engines delayed the completion of the machines accepted in the series. As a result, in the summer of 1942, as a night bomber, they were forced to use transport Li-2. As bombers Li-2, could not boast of either speed or maneuverability. But the crew worked in much more comfortable conditions than, say, IL-4. Spacious cabins, dual control, allowing pilots to replace each other, the salon, where crew could rest if necessary, good instrumentation made the aircraft very convenient for long-distance raids.

The behavior in the air was somewhat inert, but obedient to the pilot, the former liner favorably distinguished him from the unstable, exhausting piloting of the IL-4. On the defensive armament, the Li-2 and Il-4 were approximately equal, although the Douglas did not have any space behind the tail and under the fuselage. The use of Li-2 in ADD has been constantly expanding. In 1942, she received a total of 221 aircraft. In August-September regiments of the 53rd and 62nd divisions, previously armed with TB-3, began to move to new equipment.

However, very soon, parts of the Li-2 began to be equipped with bomber weapons, and then the properly equipped aircraft began to arrive from the factories, and the word "transport" disappeared from the name of the formation. As the industry increased production of Li-2, they began to enter other regiments of ADD, primarily those that flew on TB-3. In parallel, the formation of new parts was underway. By the beginning of 1944, in the "department" Golovanov's Li-2 fought the 5th Air Corps, one division of the 6th and two divisions of the 7th Corps - a total of 10 regiments. The share of Li-2 among the "faries" remained significant even after December 6, 1944 ADD was reorganized into the 18th Air Army, which was returned to the Air Force.

The first project (PS-84A) was developed back in 1939-1940. As a night bomber, the Li-2 began to be used from the summer of 1942. In 1943 the Li-2NB project was developed for the modernization of the serial Li-2, which provided for the internal suspension of bombs. In the series, he did not go, as the conversion of the fuselage was too complicated. In 1944, the serial production of Li-2NB began with minimal changes in the basic design. The navigator was placed on the left behind the first pilot. The night bomb sight was installed behind the spare door, which was made with a convex glazing. The bomb weapons included four FAB-250 bombs on the external suspension under the center wing. In the ADD, the Li-2 was mainly used as a night bomber. This situation arose, of course, not from a good life. On the one hand, after the losses incurred in 1941, there was an acute shortage of IL-4. On the other hand, there was no less acute need for air transportation (they were forced to uset outdated TB-3s), so they could not produce bombers instead of transport vehicles. Thus, the use of Li-2 allowed to solve these problems: essentially replenish the fleet of attack aircraft, which, if necessary, can be used as transport.

Since 1944, the Li-2 was produced as a multipurpose military aircraft. In addition to the main (bomber) version, it could be used as a transport, sanitary or amphibious. Paradoxically, the slow-moving passenger plane turned out to be a good bomber. This success was related both to the qualities of the Li-2 itself and to the correctly chosen tactics of its application. A reliable, unpretentious, stable in-flight aircraft coped well with the task of delivering a ton of bombs for 200-300 km from the front line (usually four FAB-250s, less than two FAB-500). There is only one operation known when the Soviet "Douglas" struck daylight: on April 7-8, 1945, they took part in a massive raid on Koenigsberg. In other cases, the crews of Lee-2 worked at night, acting mainly on enemy communications, rear airfields, and congestion of troops. Performing tactical tasks, the Li-2 took part in all the major battles of the Great Patriotic War.

During the whole of the Great Patriotic ADD, only two strategic operations were carried out, and L-2 took part in both. They passed in 1944, were directed against the allied Germany of Finland and Hungary and pursued the goal of withdrawing these countries from the war. In February, 6 massive raids took place in Helsinki, Oulu, Kotka and Turku, and in September 4 raids on Budapest, Derbetsen and Szeged. These operations are difficult to recognize as successful.

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Page last modified: 07-09-2018 07:17:55 ZULU