|This page is about the Soviet bomber Po-2. For the race event version, see Po-2 Night Witch.|
- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The Po-2 is a gift rank I Soviet bomber with a battle rating of 1.0 (AB/RB/SB). It has been in the game since the start of the Open Beta Test prior to Update 1.27. One of the more infamous planes in War Thunder, the Po-2 has a rather affectionate palindrome nickname of "2-OP" from the community for its history in the game. This plane is no longer obtainable unless it is given out during events (during every Halloween event since 2013).
The Po-2 is a very slow aircraft, earning a reputation of affection thanks to its poor characteristics. The Po-2 is about nine times as slow as the jets, and its maximum speed is one-third of a good amount of its opponents at BR 1.0. Being so, it is flown mostly for sheer fun with no intent of competitiveness. It does not come without its strengths, though - the Po-2 can carry a very effective bombload, and it can be very evasive against enemy aircraft, thanks to its slow speed and impressive manoeuvrability. The rear gunner is also decent, being in charge of a very effective machine gun. Unfortunately for the Po-2's enthusiasts, this is also the only armament it has, and the aircraft is so fragile that even a fast-firing gun does not often suffice to rid the Po-2 of a sad fate. Whenever confrontation with fighters is avoidable, one should avoid it and stay safe.
When the Po-2 was added, it was originally unlockable by research as a non-premium vehicle. However, it is currently hidden in the tech tree. The Po-2 can still be acquired, though. Once in a while, there is usually an event that rewards the Po-2 for completing it. It should be noted that while it appears before the BB-1 in the tech tree, users who have not unlocked the Po-2 via events or researching it before it was hidden will not see it in the tech tree. Additionally, the Po-2 is separate from the attacker line, and you do not need to have the Po-2 unlocked to research the BB-1 and the aircraft that follow it.
|Characteristics|| Max Speed
(km/h at 0 m - sea level)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run|
|Combat flaps||Take-off flaps||Landing flaps||Air brakes||Arrestor gear|
|Wings (km/h)||Gear (km/h)||Flaps (km/h)||Max Static G|
|Optimal velocities (km/h)|
|< 200||< 200||< 200||> 295|
|Optimal altitude||100% Engine power|
|700 m||114 hp|
|Engine Name||Number present|
|Shvetsov M-11D 5-cylinder||1|
|Engine power (Stock)|
|Engine power (Upgraded)|
Survivability and armour
The Po-2 has a 13 mm steel plate in the nose, which is something but not useful as if you are attacked from the front you cannot retaliate. In Air RB, the Po-2's airframe is surprisingly reliable and is perfectly controllable even with serious damage, however, past a certain amount of damage (yellow all over and worse) you will not have enough power to keep airborne for much longer. At this point, you can make an emergency landing and act as an anti-aircraft gun for the rest of the match.
It also has a small, self-sealing fuel tank, as well as a tiny oil tank in from of it, both just behind the engine. This leads to a low chance of catching on fire, however, if you are set on fire you have very little chance of putting it out due to your slow speed.
- 13 mm Steel plate in the nose.
- Small, single, self-sealing fuel tank.
Modifications and economy
2 x 50 kg FAB-50sv (forged) bomb
The Po-2 can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
- 6 x 50 kg FAB-50sv bombs (300 kg total)
- 2 x 100 kg FAB-100sv bombs (200 kg total)
- 2 x 100 kg FAB-100sv bombs + 2 x 50 kg FAB-50sv bombs (300 kg total)
The Po-2 is defended by:
- 1 x 7.62 mm ShKAS machine gun, dorsal turret (200 rpg)
Usage in battles
The Po-2 does at times shine in Ground Realistic Battles, being potentially useful at any battle rating. Its slow speed makes it very easy to dive-bomb accurately with, and its 100 kg bombs are sufficient to put any tank out of order. A Po-2 pilot can even cause great humiliation to Maus commanders. However, tanks' light machine guns are no small threat for the small biplane, and even tanks' main guns can give it a very bad day, let alone dedicated AA platforms. To avoid this, Po-2 pilots should fly low and try their best to not fly in a straight line, and plan their attacks ahead, looking at the map to see where enemies were marked and inferring the enemies' locations from cap points.
In Air RB, your best bet is probably to spawn at bomber altitude as opposed to the airfield which, while presenting the risk of wing ripping, is better than struggling for speed at the altitude which most of the fighting at this rank takes place (that is, low altitude). Furthermore, you should take the 6 x 50 kg bombs as, despite being smaller, they mean you have the chance to destroy 3 higher value targets instead of 2. You should choose a group of ground targets to attack, stationary tanks are good to bomb as any bomb can destroy them and they yield a decent reward. Moving targets are horrible and not worth it as short fuses lead to you being hit by your own bombs and long fuses lead to a very low hit probability since your bombs are small and must detonate very close to the target to have any effect, which is incredibly difficult to guarantee with a fuse.
After using up your bombs, find some vehicles, artillery, or AA emplacements you want to destroy and approach them. Be sure to use evasive manoeuvres as you approach, as your slow speed leads to AA hitting you far more often than it would on other planes. Flyover, but slightly to the side of your targets at a very low altitude, then switch to your rear gunner and destroy them (if you fly directly over then your tail will prevent your tail gunner from getting a shot). After destroying 2 targets using this method you should fire off your remaining bullets and let your gunner reload, as otherwise, you will probably run out of ammo halfway through your third strafing run. Since you can reload as many times as you like, this is a sustainable way of doing decently well, and you can destroy upwards of 20 targets (with some luck, on the right map.)
If attacked by enemy aircraft, you stand a small but appreciable chance of destroying them. When approached, point your aircraft directly away from the enemy and shoot at them with your rear gunner, preferably once they are within half a kilometre, though your gun can be effective out to 800 metres with some luck. If you have them unlocked, Universal belts are the best for almost all situations, since they make aiming far easier and more importantly have a higher chance of setting the attacker on fire, which will down them almost every time. As well as this, some pilots will break off once they are set on fire or seriously damaged, since they don't judge the effort to be worth it, but most pilots don't tend to think like this and require a "Significant Emotional Event" in order to stop shooting at you.
It should be noted that some people up-tier Po-2s into jet battles, which can be a valid strategy with the right tactics. You should always fly low in jet battles because most jets will not waste their altitude and energy on a Po-2 flying at treetop level. "Most" is the operative word here and even if you don't get downed, many jet battles are over before you even reach your intended target, even on smallish maps such as Malta. It has been noted that a North Korean Po-2 was credited with a jet-kill during the Korean war when an attacking F-94 Starfire stalled out trying to line up a shot at a Po-2 and crashed.
Thanks to its short landing distance, you can land at a helipad in mixed ground battles (at top-tier), repair and rearm and get an air spawn.
Manual Engine Control
|Controllable|| Not controllable
Not auto controlled
| Not controllable
Not auto controlled
| Not controllable
Not auto controlled
|Combined|| Not controllable
Pros and cons
- Very manoeuvrable
- Very capable rudder, useful for quick evasive manoeuvres
- Difficult to tail due to low speed
- Very low stall speed
- Has bombsight
- Decent bomb load
- Slow speed helps with accurate bombing bombing
- Rear Gunner is armed with a machine gun with a good rate of fire
- Very short landing distance
- Immune to radar detection
- No forward-firing armament
- Fragile (wood and fabric)
- Horribly slow
- Very hard to gain altitude
- Low service ceiling
- No armour or bulletproof glass protection for the pilot or the gunner
- Can not excess over ~200 km/h without over-revving engine and ~190 km/h for structural integrity
The Po-2 was the primary aircraft of the infamous 588th Night Bomber Regiment of the Soviet Armed Forces. The Regiment, commonly nicknamed "Night Witches" was the only regiment in the world to entirely consist of women. The regiment was often looked down upon by their male counterparts, but as the Second World War raged, they earned the undying respect of the Soviet Army. Their nickname "Night Witches" comes from the characteristic sound of their Po-2's, that was all that could be heard during their nightly raids as their engines were set to idle and they would glide through to Night to their victims, completely silent. This sound, or lack thereof, brought their enemy's thoughts to the broomsticks of Witches and thus called them "Nachthexen". Meaning Night Witches in English.
Every single member of the Night Witches had by the end of the war flown at least 800 missions, which was completely unheard of. Especially considering that an American pilot was generally allowed to retire if he survived 25 missions. Some of the most famous Night Witches, Yekaterina Ryabova and Nadezhda Popova were reported to once have completed 18 ground attack missions in a single night. Not only was it extremely humiliating for the German Army to be defeated by the outdated Po-2, but the fact that they were piloted by women added insult to injury. It went on to the degree that German High Command offered to award the Iron Cross to anyone that shot down a Night Witch. Only 30 people claimed that bounty in the entire war.
Twenty-three Night Witches were awarded the "Hero of the Soviet Union" title, 2 the "Hero of Russia" title and 1 the "Hero of Kazakhstan" title. 24,000 sorties and 23,000 tons of bombs dropped on target is also on their résumé. As the war went on and they became Heroes in the Soviet Union, they were offered better planes, but they refused. They stuck with the Po-2, they flew it when the war started and they continued to fly it when they participated in the Battle of Berlin in 1945.
The Po-2 was used in the Korean War by the North Koreans, where it inflicted considerable damage against airbases. United Nations forces found it incredibly difficult to track and shoot down Po-2s, due to the wood and fabric construction of the plane giving it a very small radar signature. The top speed of the Po-2 was well below the stall speed of most aircraft at the time. It's also the only biplane credited with a jet kill, achieved when a Lockheed F-94 Starfire attempted to attack a low-flying Po-2 and stalled in the process, losing control and crashing.
The U-2, or Po-2, was a multi-role biplane, created by Nikolay Polikarpov in 1928. The U-2 was designed as a primary civilian trainer and was forgiving and easy to fly. Its inaugural flight took place on 7th January 1928, with M. M. Gromov at the controls. As designed, the U-2 was a conventional biplane with an air-cooled 100-HP M-11 engine. The aircraft was widely used in agriculture, transport and other roles. Staff plane and ambulance variants also existed, as well as reconnaissance, passenger, floatplane and many other versions.
By 1932, a new military trainer variant, U-2VS was designed. It could carry six 8 kg dummy bombs on underwing pylons and had a gunner turret in the rear seat. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, many existing U-2s were converted to light night bombers. Modifications were made by both the Polikarpov Design Bureau, directly at the factories, and even in the field, by mechanics at front-line squadrons. As a result, the number of operational variants was high. The plane could carry from 100 to 350 kg of bombs. By 1943, the number of frontline Po-2 regiments reached its peak of up to 70 night bomber regiments. After Nikolay Polikarpov died in 1944, the aircraft was redesignated Po-2 in his memory. The aircraft remained in serial production until 1953, with over 33,000 built.
Kozhedub's first flying experience was as a teenager when he learned to fly the Polikarpov U-2 (trainer versions of the Po-2).
Litvyak first soloed in a Polikarpov Po-2 at the age of 15 and would later pilot Yak-1 and Yak-1B fighters in the Great Patriotic War.
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- [Ugly Ducklings] Polikarpov U-2/Po-2
- Official data sheet - more details about the performance
- [Wikipedia] Polikarpov Po-2
|Polikarpov Design Bureau (Опытное конструкторское бюро Поликарпова)|
|I-15||I-15 WR · I-15 M-22 · I-15R · I-15bis · I-153 M-62 · Zhukovsky's I-153-M62 · I-153P|
|I-16||I-16 type 5 · I-16 type 10 · I-16 type 18 · I-16 type 24 · I-16 type 27 · I-16 type 28|
|I-180||I-180S · I-185 (M-71) · I-185 (M-82)|
|Twin-engine fighters||TIS MA|
|Export||␗I-15bis · ␗I-153 M-62 · ␗I-16 type 5 · ␗I-16 type 10 · ␗I-16 type 17 · ␗I-16 Chung 28|
|SB and Ar||SB 2M-100 · SB 2M-103 · SB 2M-103 MV-3 · SB 2M-103U · SB 2M-103U MV-3 · SB 2M-105 · Ar-2|
|Yer-2 (petrol)||Yer-2 (M-105) · Yer-2 (M-105) TAT · Yer-2 (M-105R) TAT · Yer-2 (M-105R) LU|
|Yer-2 (diesel)||Yer-2 (ACh-30B) (e) · Yer-2 (ACh-30B) (l)|
|Tu||Tu-2 · Tu-2S · Tu-2S-44 · Tu-2S-59 · Tu-4|
|Pe||Pe-2-1 · Pe-2-31 · Pe-2-83 · Pe-2-110 · Pe-2-205 · Pe-2-359 · Pe-8|
|IL||DB-3B · IL-4|
|Po-2 · MBR-2-M-34 · TB-3M-17-32 · Yak-4 · Be-6|
|Lend-Lease||▂PBY-5A Catalina · ▂Hampden TB Mk I · ▂B-25J-30|