Lisunov Li-2 Cab - Airborne Assault
When the aircraft was put into production at the 84th plant, one of the first production vehicles was released in the transport-landing version under the designation PS-84-K transport and landing option. The prototype was developed in June 1939 by order of the Air Force and converted from a serial passenger aircraft. Its noticeable external difference was the cargo door, made in the port side, with dimensions of 1500 x 1620 mm, opening outwards. A spare door was cut into it, which was used for landing purposes.The armchairs were removed, the floor of the cabin was strengthened, along the fuselage axis there were removable benches for 26 paratroopers. The cargo was placed in the compartment (the shops were removed) and on the external suspension. In the left side, a wide hatch was made with an upward opening lid and a crane. The maximum load was 2400 kg.
This variant did not enter serial production. In 1943, a small series of Li-2 (2M-88) transport aircraft was produced, differing only in the type of engines (with a capacity of 1100 hp) and in armament (one turret machine-gun ShKAS, which was subsequently replaced by the UBT). It could transport 25 soldiers, and developed a speed up to 350 km / h.
If necessary, the standard aircraft easily turned into an airborne assault vehicle, for which in the cargo cabin along the sides there were seats for 25-27 paratroopers in winter uniforms with equipment and weapons. (Initially, the option was considered with benches installed in the middle of the cabin, on which the soldiers sat with their backs to each other.) In the transport version, the seats folded to the sides and were fixed with straps. Landing of paratroopers through the main door on the starboard side took 80 seconds, and through both - 25-30 seconds. To force the deployment of parachutes, there were special hooks in the cockpit. If the soldiers were equipped with parachutes of the type PD-41-1 or PD-6PR with the device for forced deployment, the aircraft could be left from a height of 150 m at a flight speed of up to 300 km / h (for PD-41-1) or up to 250 km / h (for PD-6PR).
Li-2 participated in the ejections of parachute assault forces. In the vast majority of cases, they planted relatively small groups (less than a battalion), which, as a rule, operated successfully. The units armed with the Li-2 had to provide first of all for the actions of the Airborne Forces. To do this, taking into account the experience of the Great Patriotic War, in combat training, great attention was paid to the development of group coordination [lit> "sovietism"], including at night and in difficult weather conditions. An important element of this training was the gathering of the group in the take-off aerodrome area. They did not save fuel, and the pilots quickly acquired the necessary skills in piloting, and the commanders learned how to manage large groups of transport aircraft. The collection of the Li-2 regiment took no more than an hour in the air.
In 1946, the formation of long-range aviation (DA) began on the basis of the 18th IA. The Li-2 did not fit the role of long-range bombers, and they began to transfer to the created transport air units. Thus, from the regiments of the 54th Division stationed in the Khabarovsk Territory, one squadron of Lie-2 was assigned and a new 331st separate transport air regiment was formed (OTRAP). In parallel, the creation of similar units on the basis of frontline aviation was underway. For example, the regiments of the 6th Guards Ground Assault Division that were part of the Kiev Military District were transformed into transport and landing units and rearmed to the Li-2. The creation and development of such units enabled them to form military transport aviation in April 1955, the first commander of which was N.S.Skripko.
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