© Michael Bykov
The Pe-2 from 40th Guards BAP of Black sea Fleet, Spring 1942.
During the years of the Great Patriotic War, the Pe-2 aircraft found itself used in more applications than just the standard bomber models, and saw widespread use as a fighter, a trainer, and a reconnaissance aircraft as well. Long-range fighters fought over Moscow, and provided reliable air cover for the convoys of their allies as their ships headed towards the northern ports of the USSR. «Peshki» reconnaissance aircraft detected changes in the German forces' dispositions and defenses, and kept up a constant pressure on their airfields and railway links . Thousands of young airmen received their education in bombers while flying in the Pe-2 trainers. As the war dragged on, the design bureau kept up a constant effort in improving the flight technical and combat qualities of the Pe-2 aircraft. The most significant results came in 1944 with the creation of the Pe-2I, the concept of which was based in large measure on the ideas used in the well-known British Mosquito bomber. The Pe-2I, as well as the developed version of the aircraft, the Pe-2M, demonstrated significantly improved flying characteristics which completely satisfied the requirements during the concluding period of the war.
As a whole, the Pe-2 was completely successful as a multipurpose aircraft. It was able to should a tremendous load on it wings during four years of war.
In total 11202 bombers Pe-2 were built during 1941-1945.
* Forcing of the engine during 10 minutes.
** Decrease flight dimensions is caused by amplification of defensive arms.