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Aircraft of the Aces Soviet Lend-Lease Fighter Aces of WWII Osprey Books

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Great Book by Osprey Publishing. 96 pages
By the end of 1941 the Soviet Union was near collapse and its air force almost annihilated, leaving large numbers of surviving pilots with no aircraft to fly. At this juncture the United Kingdom put aside its prewar animosities toward the Communists and despatched several hundred Hurricane fighters at a time when they were still struggling to supply the RAF with modern fighters in North Africa and the Far East. A total of 4300 Hurricanes and Spitfires, as well as several hundred Lend-lease Tomahawks, Kittyhawks and Airacobras obtained from America were eventually supplied to the USSR. After the United States was dragged into the war, the Americans extended Lend-lease to include direct supply to the Soviets as well as the British, and among the aircraft sent were almost 10,000 fighters mainly P-39s, P-40s and P-63s. Although many of these aircraft were outdated when they arrived, and others were not particularly suited to Russian operating conditions, they served when they were needed, and a number of Russian pilots became Heroes of the Soviet Union flying Lend-lease aircraft, and many more gained their early experience before converting to the Yaks and Lavochkins. All of these types, including even the Hurricane, remained in active units until the end of the war, and even into the post-war period. The Soviet government tried to conceal or minimize the importance of Lend-lease fighters well into the 1980s, and the pilots who flew them were discriminated against as foreigners. Only in recent years have these pilots felt free to admit what they flew, and now the fascinating story of these men can emerge.