Polikarpov Fighters

The Polikarpov I-15 was a Soviet biplane fighter aircraft of the 1930s. Nicknamed Chaika ('Seagull') because of its gulled upper wings, it was operated in large numbers by the Soviet Air Force, and together with the Polikarpov I-16 monoplane, was one of the standard fighters of the Spanish Republicans during the Spanish Civil War, where it was called Chato (snub-nose) in the Republican Air Force, or 'Curtiss' (because its resemblance to Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk) in the Nationalist Air Force. More than 1,000 I-15bis fighters were still in Soviet use during the German invasion when the biplane was employed in the ground attack role. By late 1942, all I-15s and I-15bis' were relegated to second line duties. The Polikarpov I-16 was a Soviet fighter aircraft of revolutionary design; it was the world's first cantilever-winged monoplane fighter with retractable landing gear. The I-16 was introduced in the mid-1930s and formed the backbone of the Soviet Air Force at the beginning of World War II. The diminutive fighter, nicknamed 'Ishak' ('donkey') by Soviet pilots, prominently featured in the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Battle of Khalkhin Gol and the Spanish Civil War — where it was called the Rata ('rat') by the Nationalists or Mosca ('fly') by the Republicans. The Finnish nickname for I-16 was Siipiorava ('Flying Squirrel'). When the Great Patriotic War erupted on 22 June 1941, 1,635 of 4,226 VVS aircraft were I-16s of all variants, fielded by 57 fighter regiments in frontier areas. During the early phase of the campaign the I-16 bases were main targets for the German aircraft and after 48 hours of combat, of the 1,635 Polikarpov monoplanes in service on 21 June 1941, only 937 were left. By 30 June the number of I-16s of western frontline units had dropped to 873, including 99 that required repairs. Around half of all produced I-16s were still in service in 1943, when they were finally replaced. Info: Wikipedia Profiles: Wings Palette

Polikarpov Fighters
Roelf, Jun 17, 2011
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