Scale 1:48 - Styrene
A light bomber from the all female 46th 'Taman' Guards Night Bomber Regiment. The specific plane was photographed in the Berlin Region in April 1945 and is painted with a slogan in honour of pilots Tanya Makarova and Vera Belik, who had been killed in combat.
The Polikarpov U-2 was initially designed as a flight instruction aircraft, but its reliable, uncomplicated concept made it incredibly versatile. It operated in many roles, as a low-cost ground attack, aerial reconnaissance, psychological warfare and liaison aircraft during war, proving to be one of the most versatile light combat types to be built in the Soviet Union.
As a ground attack plane the U-2 could carry only two bombs at a time, so eight or more missions per night were often necessary. Although the U-2 was obsolete and slow, the pilots took advantage of its exceptional maneuverability; it also had a maximum speed that was lower than the stall speed of German fighters which made it very difficult for German pilots to shoot down.
THE FEMALE REGIMENTS
Before the beginning of the war Marina Mikhaylovna Raskova was already a famous pilot, having performed several record flights. When the war began, she used her influence on the Soviet leadership to found three all female air regiments which would eventually fly over 30,000 sorties in World War II and produce at least 30 Heroes of the Soviet Union.
Of the three regiments founded by Raskova the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, known later as the 46th "Taman" Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment, was by far the most famous. The regiment flew harassment and precision night bombing missions. They flew over 23,000 sorties, with many pilots having flown over 800 missions by the end of the war and became the most awarded female regiment in the Soviet air force. Thirty-two of its members died in the war.
The title 'Night Witches' was given to them by German units that often attributed to them supernatural abilities.
The slogan on the side of the plane reads ‘Revenge for our fighting friends Tanya Makarova and Vera Belik’. The two women had been killed in action on the night of 25 August 1944, during their 813th sortie, when their plane was attacked by a German fighter over Ostrołęka, Poland.