Polikarpov family of fighter’s I-15, I-16 and I-153 were first Soviet fighters produced in serial mass production. More than 17.000 of these were produced and delivered to the units. At the beginning of the world war two Polikarpov fighters formed the backbone of VVS. Although they were successful fighters they were replaced in 1943 with more modern fighters who were able to withstand German invasion and to provide air dominance.

This family of the fighters truly has proven itself as the Aircraft of the Aces since most of Soviet pilots that have flown on this plane become Aces in some stage of the conflict. Polikarpov fighters flew in all major clashes since Spanish civil war to the Great patriotic war.

Polikarpov Aces Osprey Publishing

Osprey Publishing Aircraft of the Aces is well known series, especially among modelers and the newest title is Polikarpov I-15, I-16 and I-153 Aces. The book features 96 pages of information’s about following topic including amazing archive photos and about 40 color profiles. Book is divided in five chapters, covering all the major clashes this family of warbirds experienced. The book starts with a concise introduction just to get reader more interested, covering the development of this family of Polikarpov fighters. First chapter is dedicated to the Spanish civil war and the author fully covers usage of I-15 and I-16 in the air battles. It is known that these birds had a great impact on the course of the conflict but unfortunately it is not exactly known who the most effective Soviet pilots were since it is the fact that the victories were assigned to an entire squadron without individual attribution. However many of the Soviet pilots were honored. Second chapter covers the use of these fighters in clash over China against Japanese. During this clash Soviet’s shipped to China over 1.250 fighters of this family. Interesting stories can be read in this chapter including stories told by some of the Soviet pilots that took action in this theatre of war. Beside Soviet’s Chinese pilots also flew on these airplanes and they are also noted in this book. Third chapter covers Battles of Khalkhyn Gol where author gives great description of the tactics Japanese pilots used in dogfight against Polikarpov fighters. During this clash Soviets made a combat debut of their I-16 armed with RS-82 rockets, and had a great success downing 14 fighters and 3 bombers during the weapons trial period. Chapter four covers the winter war against Finland, and usage of Polikarrpov fighters in this clash. Author gave some interesting overview of this clash and experiences of Soviet fighter pilots. It is interesting to note that Finish airforce captured few I-16 fighters and managed to restore them and test them. The final chapter of the book covers the Great patriotic war where these fighters saw most of the action. At the outbreak of the war, Polikarpov fighters were the backbone of VVS. They served honorably until 1943 when most of them were withdrawn from the first line of the front. Some of these planes continued to serve until the end of the World war two, but mostly in fighter schools…

The two pages list of Soviet Polikarpov Aces is given in the appendices, displaying the number of victories, units served, rank and awards. 40 beautiful color profiles are also provided and each of them with the short story about each plane shown on profile.

This book is a definite must have for all air combat enthusiasts and fans of Polikarpov fighters. The book is highly recommended.

Darko Mladenovic

Sample book provided by Joseph McCullough, Marketing Coordinator Osprey Publishing

Book can be purchased here!