View Full Version : Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik, the russian attacker

12-05-2007, 05:54 PM
Ilyushin Sturmovik, russian assaulter.

The Il-2 Sturmovik was designed in response to a 1936 requeriment for a low-level close-support aircraft capable of defeating enemy armor and other ground targets. Hardly the fighter, the system was exclusively engineered to take an enormous amount of damage and still keep pilot and critical mechanical components safe. In the end, the IL-2 would become the most important aircraft available to the Soviet Union in their defense of the homeland against the advancing Panzer brigades.


Interestingly enough, the IL-2 began as a two-seat aircraft project, but was then modified to only accommodate one crewman. Apparently the armored 'bath' that the pilot and rear gunner sat in proved to make the aircraft much to heavy in this role - one can imagine that a slow moving low altitude aircraft became a sitting duck to both ground and air fire. Thusly the rear gunner position was removed entirely for the first production models. This single-seat IL-2 model was the IL-2 that became available to Soviet air crews at the start of the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1942.

Tksb-57 single seat prototipe


With the invasion in full swing, production of the IL-2 hit a peak of 300 aircraft per month. In the first few months of operation, the aircraft was found to be extremely susceptible to rear attack from enemy fighters and the rear gunner position (with applicable 12.7mm machine gun) was reinstituted in the IL-2M. The rear gunner position was added in an extended cockpit area behind the pilot with a fuel tank separating the two positions.

As mentioned, the rear-firing gunner area featured a .50 caliber (12.7mm) positional machine gun with a somewhat limited arc of fire. Aircrews were known to completely remove the rear-ward part of the canopy to allow the rear-gunner and increased field of vision. The implementation of the originally designed rear-ward firing position afforded the IL-2 an increased loitering time over the battlefield as the system could now offer up a defense against oncoming enemy fighter escorts.

Several aerodynamic refinements were instituted in further models and the 20mm wing mounted cannons replaced by 23mm types. Improvements to the bomb-dispensing cell doors in the wing-underside were also implemented, allowing for a quicker response times of the 200 dispensing anti-tank bomblets. Provisions for 4 x 132mm rockets replaced the 8 x 82mm rocket armament arrangement from before. A torpedo bomber and a two-seat trainer version followed.

The IL-2 became an highly respected and highly feared adversary. Soviet air crews dubbed the machine the "Flying Tank" for its incredible ability to withstand a tremendous amount of damage and still release its payload only to return home intact. Naturally, one would think this would be related more to the structural core of the armored bath cockpit but the overall structural design contributed greatly to the systems resilience. Likewise, the German infantry referred to the Sturmovik as the "schwarzer tod", or "Black Death" for its very capable payload arrangement.

As improvements were made to the airframe and tactics, so too did the armament improve. More powerful cannons were integrated as were more potent rockets and bombs. The system proved so effective, in fact, that most of the Soviet aircrews piloting IL-2's were recipients of the "Gold Star of Hero of the Soviet Union" award.

At war's end, it was reported that upwards of 36,000 IL-2's were produced for the Red Air Force (1943-1944 alone reported up to 12,000 IL-2's in operational service). The aircraft more than returned the value of initial investment and went on to become the symbol of the oft-forgotten East Front in World War Two. The much improved IL-10 would go on to supplant the successful IL-2 by 1944, but the IL-2 would still remain in service in one capacity or another through the end of the war.

12-05-2007, 07:52 PM
I really find this to be a beautiful aircraft. A rugged "flying tank," yet a sleek symmetry...

12-06-2007, 08:40 AM
The flying tank thing have some backup, the aircraft was perfectly armored to withsatnd attacks from the dead astern position ( the 6 o clock) and it had also an armored bathhub for pilot and its liquid cooled engine.



12-06-2007, 09:51 AM
A very nice IL 2 pilot manual in color - original WW 2 couldt be downloaded from my account.


Enjoy :-)

12-07-2007, 08:17 AM
Sehr Gut ! :cool:

Before the introduction of the rear gunner with the model Il-2M the heavy armored but somewhat clumsy sturmovik was very vulnerable to stepped astern and 6 o clock high attacks, this single seat Il-2 is caught by the guncamera of Werner Mölders ( BF-109F2) in september 1941. The main fuel tank is already in flames.


12-07-2007, 10:59 AM
Oh excellent thread PZ.
Good matter, thank you
I just want to add a bit.
The early series of Il-2 was actually were vulnerable from attack of enemy fighters. The nessesary needed the escort fighter.( Uusially Jak-1 or P-39 Airacobra).
In the most beginning stage of war the Soviet aviation had a strong lack of fighters - therefore the Il-2 was practically indefensible.
As the resault the high rate of loses forced the Sergey Ilyushin add back the rear cocpite (as it was realised in germans Stuka U-87). Afte that moment to hit Il-2 in air from rear half-sphere was very hard.And some of famouse germans aces were shot down by the rear Il-2 gunners.
Yes the Il-2 was an impressive aircraft in ground attacks, but sometimes it was used as the...... fighter.
Really . Agains bombers like U-88 and transports.
His 2x23 mm gun was very effective agains any air targets except fighters.
The Il-2 missions was extremaly danger.Coz germans conscantrated all AA-gun fire on the low-altitude flying Il-2.
I heared the Soviet aces got the award of Hero of SU just for the 30 succesfull flyghts.

12-07-2007, 11:17 AM
few more photos

12-07-2007, 04:38 PM
Yes the Il-2 was an impressive aircraft in ground attacks, but sometimes it was used as the...... fighter.
Really . Agains bombers like U-88 and transports.

I believe that it was an specialized fighter variant of this...Il-2E or something.

The single place IL-2 seems a lot more powerful than the two place...dont know why.


12-09-2007, 06:46 AM
I believe that it was an specialized fighter variant of this...Il-2E or something.

The single place IL-2 seems a lot more powerful than the two place...dont know why.

This is easy to explain.
The additional weight of rear cocpite with gunner, mashine-gun and ammo was over 300-400 kg.
This mean that you should decrease the weight of other systems to save the flying ability.
For instane the figrepower, number of guns or ammo, or reduce the thickness of armor.
I ve read that the one intersting testing of single-cabin Il-2 in the 1942.
The aim of tesing was to check the manevreability of Il-2 during the attack of fighter.
The Soviet fighter Jak-1 imitated the attack of germans one.
To the great wonder of soviet commanders ( who observed this scene form the land) - the Il-2 not just succesfully dodged form the attack , but few times took the fighter in the rears:)
So his manevreability was a great , but the lack of speed did not get him chance to be fully equal for the fighter.
I just do not remember - it seem the Il-2 was without of bombs and rockets.Fully empty, except meabe the guns ammo.

12-09-2007, 02:30 PM
I ve read that the one intersting testing of single-cabin Il-2 in the 1942.The aim of tesing was to check the manevreability of Il-2 during the attack of fighter.The Soviet fighter Jak-1 imitated the attack of germans one.To the great wonder of soviet commanders ( who observed this scene form the land) - the Il-2 not just succesfully dodged form the attack , but few times took the fighter in the rears
Hmm, Only with the best pilots I guess.

12-11-2007, 08:15 PM
Correction, the fighter variant was the IL-2I ( istrebitel = fighter)

Here I ve found and translated a beautiful report about this aircraft:

Il-2I, bomber destroyer.


The experience of Stalingrad with the successful application Il-2 as the destroyer of transport and bomber aircraft of Luftwaffe contributed to the development of idea about the transformation Il-2 into an armored fighter. In accordance with this concept, during May 1943 starts the solution about building of the fighter version of attack aircraft Il-2.

The decision GOKO № 3336 of 17 May, 1943, it was indicated that: &.tsuot;Dlya of fight with bombers and destroyers of enemy to consider as necessary the part of the aircraft Il-2 to convert into the destroyers with the limited diving speed, for which to decrease the gross weight of aircraft Il-2, after removing from it bomb load, PC, machine guns SHKAS to convert it from the two-place into the one-place and to improve its aerodynamic properties... of “bombardirovshchikov” ( bomber) to “istrebitel” (fighter) with the motor of AM -38f , a sole copy of the Il-2I was bulit and underwent official tests during August 1943.

New aircraft was altered into the one-place from the usual series two-place Il-2 (head № of 7581) the production of plant № 1. The wing of aircraft was reinforced due to an increase in the area of glueing and riveting of the wood covering to the top flanges. From the aircraft were deprived of his machine guns SHKAS 7.62 MM , the rocket racks guide PC and internal bomb shackles bays were sealed. The armament of aircraft composed two guns Vya (150 projectiles in the magazine) and two FAB-250 that could be carried externally.

In the report about official tests from 28.09.1943 g. it was indicated that:

“2) flight-performance data Il-“ in the comparison with the two-place Il-2 are improved: maximum speed on 6 km h is more (401 km/h instead of 395 km/h), on the full-throttle height to 10 km/h; ceiling on 1200 m higher (6500 m instead of 5300 m); takeoff reduced in 115m (275 m instead of 390 m).

3) an improvement in the flight-performance data occurred due to reduction in the weight on 760 kg.

4) The handling Il-2I is analogous to the aircraft of release 1941-42( single place).

5) The removal of rockets and internal bomb shackles for attachment of small aircraft bombs decreased the fighting value of aircraft as attack aircraft and excluded the possibility of its use for the destruction of live enemy target...

6) The aircraft Il-2I can be used for dealing only with some types of the bomber and transport aircraft of enemy, which have comparatively low speeds (He -111, Fw-200, Ju-87, Ju-52) at the heights 4000 m or below; however, aircraft Fw-200 can depart from the attacks Il-м by the climb due to the best rate of climb. Il-м it can attack more high-speed bombers Ju-88 and Do-215 is only by chance, since the latter, due to the larger speed, always have the capability to leave from Il-2i.

7) The Il-2I cannot conduce combats against enemy fighters”


12-11-2007, 11:44 PM
Yea that very interesting document.
Well i ve tryed yesterday to attak the formation of U-88/87 in my combat fly simulator IL-2.
This was interesting test .
Actually the U-88 was a hard aim due to its speed.
Howerer in the frontall attack the german aircraft has no any chanses and usially was tired into the pieces by the couple of 23 mm gun.
Rear attack was not so effective coz of lack of speed of Il-2 but it was stillpossible to hit few of them from a distance 200-300 metres. The shoters of U-88 ONLY once could damage the Il-2 critically. Usially it engine armor and frontal glass easy absorbed the lot of 12-mm bullet.( but not the wings :))
So it was still possibly to fly on a wings, full of holes:)
The U-87 was a more easy target, but it was also more reliable agains Il-2 guns.
Some of them was still flyable after the getting the 3-5 23-mm shells.
Once i,ve tryed to attack the two of fighters- it was a FW-190A2.
Without rear mashunganner - it was pure suicide. Fockers easy took my back and ...cut off my wings by short precise burst:)

12-12-2007, 08:56 AM
A very nice IL 2 pilot manual in color - original WW 2 couldt be downloaded from my account.


Enjoy :-)

Cool document!!! Very fgood looking indeed! I can feel I can fly already! :)

May I ask where did you get it? Do you have more?

There is one thing. IIRC it has a price (8.75 rubles) mentioned on it (can not double check it right now). I think it is strange that an internal document of this matter has a price on... It is not a fake one, is it?

12-12-2007, 09:16 AM
Probably it could engage the fighter also by chance but as you said is too slow, actually in th report said the FW-200 condor climb better that the Il-2I :shock:...crazy.

The weight of the armor took its penalty.

12-16-2007, 08:58 PM
Stormovik with 37 mm guns (I)

At the end of december 1942 the VV-s high command decide to munt a pair of the ehavy caliber Shpitalny SH-37 guns in the IL-2 fon combat test against armor.


The ninth Il-2 with the guns SHFK-E ( Shpitalny large caliber gun, wing mounting) arrived in the regiment only of on 18 January, 1943, and in the troop tests the participation did not assume. Attack aircraft Il-2 with the guns SHFK-E participated in the war shooting of air regiment with 27.12.42 g. at 23.01.43 g. in the environs of Stalingrad with the liquidation of the German surrounded group in strip 65-1 of army of lieutenant general p.I.Batov. War shooting they conducted from the field airdromes of Proletariy then cossack village Kachalinskaya.

Task for building of this aircraft Of s.V.Ilyushin obtained still in the spring of 1941 however, in connection with the strong overloading OF OKB by works on the series Il-2 AM-38 the defects of gun SHFK-E", which were appeared in the course of operation, Il-2, armed by such guns, it was built with plant № 18 only toward the end of June 1941, and all necessary flight tests of attack aircraft were carry ouied to 8 July. Il-2 AM-38 with the guns SHFK-E In view of nondelivery in time in NIP AV VVS KA with the people's commissariat of the armament of projectiles to SHFK-E the chief for the 3rd administration of the experimental building GU VVS KA voenny1 the engineer of the 1st rank Of p.I.Matayev at the end of August only permitted the chief OF NIP AV VVS KA of p- ku of Shevchenko to accept Il-2 with SHFK-E" for the carrying out of range tests, after which during two weeks (in the period from 1 to 15 September) the armament of new attack aircraft was satisfactorily tested shooting on the earth and in air. Official tests Il-2 with SHFK-E for the purpose of the development of his flight-performance data were conducted in NII - SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE VVS KA from 23 September through 12 October, 1941, in all according to the test program (chief engineer - voyeninzhener of the 3rd rank of serfs, the chief pilot - Maj. stadnik) were executed 24 flights

. The large overall dimensions of guns SHFK-E and magazine feeding (magazine capacity of 40 projectiles) determined their arrangement in the fairings under the wing of aircraft Il-2. Because of the installation on the gun of its large store it was necessary to reinforce the lower structure of the wing which not only complicated the construction of fastening gun to the wing (gun it were fastened to the shock absorber and with the shooting it were moved together with the store),

but also it required to make for it fairings bulky with the large cross section. Gun SHFK-E, including store for the cartridges as its component part, in the wing version had 387 components. The weight installation of this 37 mm cannon on the aircraft was 302,5 kg. Besides the guns and the machine guns, into the composition of the armament of attack aircraft entered 8 rocket RS -82 or 200 kg of bombs.

State conducted tests showed that flight-performance data Il-2 with the 37 mm cannons SHFK-E", in comparison with the usual series one-place Il-2 with the guns SHVAK or Vya, were noticeably reduced. The stormovik became more “inert” and more complex in the to maneouver, especially on the turns and the turns at the low altitude. The agility deteriorated at the high speeds. Pilots complained about the significant loads on the controls when turning or yawing.

Nevertheless, the flight-test results of new attack aircraft were acknowledged as a whole satisfactory. With the normal gross weight of 5864 kg the maximum speed in the earth did not exceed 373 km/h, at the height 2400 m of -409 km/h.

It take 2, 12 min to reach 1000 meters height and 5,36 minutes the height of 2500 m .

The landing speed was slightly increased 146 km/h. Takeoff 515m, path on the landing - 535 m.
Highest velocity in a step dive: 590 km/h . maximum 728 km. Rate of fire SHFK-E according to the data of range tests average was equal to 169 shots per minute with the initial velocity of projectile approximately 894 m/s.

12-23-2007, 10:51 AM
Ι thik Ι have One With a Sturmovik With A Broken Wing . I'll Try Find It And Post It

12-24-2007, 08:40 AM
You mean a picture of an Sturmovik with broken wig ?

12-24-2007, 08:45 AM
Yeah i saw it in my grandfathers book about World War 2 of course . But i can't find it

12-24-2007, 08:47 AM
well there is one but this is after a collision on water . i found this one on the net .

12-25-2007, 04:19 PM
IL-2 with 37mm guns (II)

Il-2 with 37- mm by guns NS -37, official tests, June 1943. To the spring 1943 by only light armor of Wehrmacht, with which still we could successfully fight, using cannon armament, they remained only the lightly armored armored cars, armored carriers, and also self proelled guns and anti-tank SU (type Marder), created on the base of light tanks. Strictly light tanks in the composition pantservaffe at the eastern Front by this time already barely remained.

They were urged by more powerful against average and heavy tanks. Installation of gun NS -37 on Il-2 AM -38f Oruzheiniki will inspect NS -37 In this connection for the purpose of an increase in the anti-tank properties of attack aviation of the Red Army by the decision GKO № 3144 of 8 April, 1943, the plant № 30 was forced to let out two-place attack aircraft Il-2 AM -38f with two guns caliber 37 mm of yyP-eOKB -16 with the fire unit on 50 projectiles to the gun, without the rocket projectiles, with the bomb load 100 kg in the normal version and 200 kg in the shifting.

The ammunition of machine guns SHKAS 7.62 MM UBT remained as previous. During May month the plant had to prepare 50 new attack aircraft, during June - 125, during July - 175, also, from August turn to the production of all aircraft with the large-caliber aircraft cannons. Fire unit to the gun NS -37 consisted of cartridges with the armor-piercing - tracer (BZT-E") and fragmentation- tracer (OZT-E") projectiles.

Armor-piercing shells were intended for destruction of the ground armored targets, and fragmentation - for destruction of aerial targets.

Furthermore, for the new gun was developed the sabot, which ensures the penetration of armor with thickness to 50mm. During April the 30th aircraft factory prepared 5 Il-2 with NS -37 of advance run, one of which ( № 302349) on 27 May entered official tests in NII - SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE VVS KA. Latter after the execution of 26 flights with film 11 hour. 35 min. successfully were completed to 22 June, 1943, (chief test pilot Of a.I.Kabanov, the chief engineer Of v.S.Kholopov, the pilots of circling Major A.K.Dolgov and the engineer major OF A.V. Of sinel'nikov).

The produced to the State tests attack aircraft was differed from series Il-2 only in terms of installation of two guns NS -37 with the fire unit on 60 projectiles to the stem and absence PC. normal bomb load - 200 kg. The band feed of guns NS -37 allowed the specialists OF OKB Of s.V.Il'yushina to place them directly on the lower wing surface with the use of structurally very simple and quick-release fastening. Guns were shut by the relatively small fairings, each of which consisted of two easily opened folds. Fire unit to each gun was plotted directly in the sections of wing.

The weight of one gun NS -37 with the fire unit was 256 kg. With the gross weight of 6277 kg the maximum speed of attack aircraft at the height of 1320 m was 387 km/h, in the earth -375 km/h the service ceiling of new aircraft did not exceed 5200 m, in this case the duration of ascent to the height of 1000 m was 3 min.

The maximum flying distance of attack aircraft did not exceed 685 km. In comparison with the the series of by the armed guns SHVAK or Vya, Il-2 with NS -37 and with the bomb load in 200 kg it became more inert more complex on the turn and on the chandelle. Worsening in the piloting characteristics of new attack aircraft, just as Il-2 with the guns SHFK-E", was connected with the large spread of mass on the wingspan and the presence of the fairings about the guns, which worsen general aerodynamics of aircraft. In entire range of centerings Il-2 with NS -37 it did not have longitudinal stability, which substantially decreased accuracy of shooting in air.

The latter was aggravated by the strong recoil of guns . According to the data OF NII - SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE AV VVS KA (letter of the chief OF NII - SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE AV Major General m.V.Gurevich from 19.11.1943 g. to the name Of s.V.Il'yushina) the maximum recoil force, which acted during about 0,03 s, on the ground-based machine tool (existing at that time equipment did not make it possible to take the measurement of the force of on the aircraft shooting in air) it composed the very significant magnitude - on the order of 5500 kg, and the average value of recoil force approximately was equal to 2500 kg. all this it led to the large scattering of projectiles with the shooting in air. The range tests, carry ouied in NII - SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE AV VVS KA, showed that shooting from the aircraft Il-2 of the guns NS -37 it is necessary to conduct only by short bursts by length not more than 2-3- X of shots, since with the shooting simultaneously of two guns as a result of the lack of synchronation of their work aircraft experienced significant pushes, pecks it were brought down from aiming line.

Correction into the aiming in this case in principle was possible. With the shooting of one gun impact on purpose was only possible first shot, since attack aircraft was turned to the side of the shooting gun and correction into the aiming became practically impossible. However, the defeat of pinpoint targets - tanks, armored cars, automobiles and so forth with the normal work of guns was possible. In this case the entries into the tanks were obtained only in 43% of departures, and the number of entries to the spent fire unit composed 2,98%.

The analysis of the results of range tests shows that defeat 37- mm by projectile BZT-E"from the aircraft cannon NS -37 from the aircraft Il-2 light German tanks, the armored cars and the armored carriers of all types, and also the type of Wespe and anti-tank SU of the type of &.tsuot;.Marder-ll&.tsuot; and &.tsuot;.Marder-lll&.tsuot; it was ensured from the distance to 500 m from any direction. Average German tanks of type StuG 40 (the assault gun), Pz. Ill Ausf L/M and Pz. THE IV Ausf G/H, and also appeared are later than StuG THE IV and tank destroyer Jgd Pz IV/70 with the thickness armor on the boards to 30 mm could be defeated by the BZT-E ammunition from the distance to 500 m from the planning at angles of 5-10° from the heights of 100 m. In this case the attack should have been produced on the side or from behind, conducting shooting at the board or at the aft body and tower of tanks. The entries of the projectiles of this gun into the rollers and other details of the undercarriage of the tanks of all types produced the essential destruction, which render inoperable the latter.


In the conclusions of report on official tests separately attention was paid to the fact that the crew, which flies on the aircraft Il-2, armed by guns NS -37, must pass special preparation in conducting of aiming fire in short bursts at the pinpoint targets (separate tanks, motor vehicle, etc.). To the thirtieth aircraft factory NKAP and OKB -16 nkv one should have urgently established to the gun muzzle brake. Furthermore, it was indicated that Il-2 with NS -37 it was necessary to experience with the fire unit to the guns on 50 projectiles and the normal bomb load in 100 kg, as it was recorded in the decision GKO. Subsequently all series Il-2 with NS -37 were let out precisely in this version of armament. Technical flight data of aircraft somewhat were improved. With the gross weight of 6160 kg the maximum speed at the height of 1320 m was 405 km/h, in the earth - 391 km/h. Duration of ascent to the height of 1000 m - 2,2 min.


As is evident, with the installation of guns NS -37 to the two-place Il-2 the designers encountered the same problems, as with the installation to one-place guns SHFK-E". However, the basic means of fight with the German tanks during this period of war became the antitank bomb of acumulative effect ( I.e shaped charge) with a weight of 1,5 kg in the overall sizes confronting in the arsenal VVS KA of the aircraft bomb with a mass of 2,5 kg - PTAB-2