Il-2 Sturmovik – The ultimate WW2 “Beast From The East” arrives in Washington

Deano In America

ILYUSHIN IL-2 STURMOVIK

The IL-2 aircraft are necessary for our Red Army now, like air, like bread

Joseph Stalin

(he demanded prompt and efficient production from factory officials…or else!)

The Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik was known to the Soviet troops in WW2 as the “Flying Tank” and to the Germans as “Der Schwarze Tod” (“The Black Death“). It was a low level ground attack aircraft, heavily armed (wing mounted 2 x high velocity 23mm cannons, 2 x 7.62mm machine guns, bombs/rockets and a rear firing 12.7mm machine gun for defence. Some later versions were armed with 37mm wing mounted cannons!) and protected by heavy armour plating around the crew, engine and fuel tank. Although always intended as a two seater aircraft, early versions of the IL-2 were actually built as single seaters to save weight (gain better performance) but the vulnerability to attack by fighter aircraft from behind meant that a rear gunners position was added again…

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