Model Airplane News
March, 1943

Model Airplane News Cover for March, 1943 by Jo Kotula Ilyushin IL-2 Shturmovik

Ilyushin IL-2 "Shturmovik"
Model Airplane News Cover Art for March, 1943
by Jo Kotula
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The Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik was a heavily armored ground attack aircraft in the Second World War, produced by the Soviet Union in large numbers. In combination with its successor, the Ilyushin Il-10, a total of 36,163 were built, making it the single most produced military aircraft design in all of aviation history as well as the third most produced aircraft in history behind the Cessna 172 and the Polikarpov Po-2. It was a prominent aircraft for tank killing with its accuracy in dive bombing and relative invulnerability to ground fire.

The Ilyushin IL-2 Shturmovik      The Ilyushin IL-2 Shturmovik

Photos of the Ilyushin IL-2 "Shturmovik"
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To Shturmovik pilots, the aircraft was simply the diminutive "Ilyusha". To the soldiers on the ground, it was the "Hunchback," the "Flying Tank" or, the greatest of compliments, the "Flying Infantryman". The Il-2 aircraft played a crucial role on the Eastern Front, and in Soviet opinion it was the most decisive aircraft in the history of modern land warfare. Joseph Stalin paid the Il-2 a great tribute in his own inimitable manner: when a particular production factory fell behind on its deliveries, Stalin sent a cable to the factory manager, stating "They are as essential to the Red Army as air and bread." Standing loaded, the Ilyushin weighed more than 4,700 kg (10,300 lb); the armoured shell around the pilot was about 15% of the aircraft's gross weight. The armor was designed as a load-bearing part of the Ilyushin's monocoque structure, thus saving considerable weight. The prototype TsKB-55, which first flew on October 2, 1939.

Here is a video of the Ilyushin IL-2 "Shturmovik" in action:

In addition to the cover of Model Airplane News, this airplane was also featured in the WINGS "Friend or Foe" trading card series of the early 1950s

 Card 068 of the Wings Friend or Foe series  The Ilyushin IL-2 Shturmovik

Trading card representation of the Ilyushin IL-2 "Shturmovik"
Click Here to see all 200 cards in the series
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Click Here for more information about the Ilyushin IL-2 "Shturmovik".

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