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Ar-2 in combat
by Massimo Tessitori
updated on May 10, 2005                                    file name: operative.html
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The type reached service in the second half of 1940 and was handed over to regiments in parallel with SB.
As a result regiments could have from one to several Ar-2 planes among their SBs.
63 such planes (then still called SB-RK) were built and devivered to units before the end of 1940, while 127 were built 1n 1941; the last 7 of them were delivered after June 22, 1941, for a total of 190.
In 1942 Aircraft factory 22, then moved to Kazan,  manufactured neither SBs or Ar-2s, but carried out the scheduled overhaul of 112 airplanes of both types.
Two only photos of Ar-2 in service after the first days of war are known.

On the left:
gunner Sgt.V.E. Kapitonov in front of his aircraft, possibly "white 40" of 33 BAP, 19 BAD, during summer 1941. 
A veteran recalls that all planes in the regiment initially were "silver" (uncamouflaged). It's not clear if this is true for Ar-2s too: the finish of the aircraft on the picture looks the factory one.
The unit had 23 Ar-2 on July 22, 1941, but by July 11 only 4 survived, of which only 2 in flyable conditions.
The regiment used obsolescent types in combat over Voronezh, Kharkov and Stalingrad, until 1943 when it started retraining for the Boston III.

an Ar-2 during winter 1941, one of the few survivors at the date.
The aircraft looks to have been partially repainted white.

Units that had this type were:

The operative life of Ar-2 was very limited not only due to its limited production, but also because a lot of them were destroyed or captured on the ground or sent to attack the enemy without any fighter escort in the first days of war.
According to official sources, 95 Ar-2 were lost during 1941, but the extreme rarity of photos of this type in service (compared with the wide availability of photos of wrecks in German hands) suggests that real losses were higher than this number.
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