More than 35,000 Ilyushin Sturmovik IL-2 ground attack aircraft were produced during WW II, the largest production run of any WW II aircraft. Often called The Flying Tank, the Sturmovik played a major role in the defeat of Nazi Germany on the Eastern front. The origins of this important aircraft date to 1938 when a design team headed by Sergei Vladimorovic Ilyushin began work on a new monoplane tactical bomber and ground attack aircraft. The initial prototype was completed in 1939, but was underpowered and had several structural flaws. With several modifications and use of a 1600-HP liquid cooled engine the final prototype was accepted and production began in 1940.
Only a few hundred Sturmoviks were in service when Hitlers invasion of Russia commenced. One of the key design concepts of this aircraft was incorporation of an armored shell as both protection for engine and crew, and as a structural portion of the aircrafts design. Other aircraft designs typically added armor later, burdening the performance of the aircraft with the added weight. Sergeis design was unique, and the early variants were capable of top speeds approaching 300-MPH, and were almost invulnerable to attack from small caliber weapons. The second major variant incorporated a second crew member position as a rear gunner to fend off attacks by opposing fighters.
Capable of carrying a 2000 pound bomb load to its target, special armor piercing bombs carried by the Sturmoviks were capable of knocking out any German armor, including the legendary Tiger tank, if attacked from the rear. This aircraft also carried several machine guns and cannons, making it no easy prey for opposing fighters. The final production variants of this aircraft were fitted with a 2000-HP engine and were capable of 330-MPH.
In recognition of the significance of his design, Sergei Ilyushin was made a Hero of the Soviet Union. He also received a cash prize from Stalin in 1945 for his design of the final variant, the Il-II-10. A competing design was the Yak-4, a twin-engined ground attack aircraft. Unlike the Sturmovik, the Yak-4 proved vulnerable to ground fire, and was withdrawn by the Red Air Force from production in 1942, and was thereafter relegated to a high altitude reconnaissance role. It is generally agreed that the Sturmovik was the most important and successful ground attack aircraft to see service in WW II.
Ilyushin Sturmovik IL-2
16" x 11.5"
4750 Signed & Numbered
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DetailsCurrent Stock:Manufacturer Part Number SS-ClashWidth: 16.00Height: 11.50