IL-2M3 Stormovik

“Stalin’s Flying Trebuchet”

Introduced in March 1945, the Yak-9UT saw limited duty in combat trials before the German surrender. But in that short time, the big-gunned Yak made an impressive showing.

 

Strengths:

Firepower  – Il-2’s 37mm and twin 20mm cannons give it an incredible salvo weight of 13.2 lbs. per second.

Speed  – A top speed of over 400 mph gives the IL-2 performance on par with the best planes of each country.

Weaknesses:

Durability – Small and light, the IL was incapable of absorbing much combat damage.

Range  – A thirsty engine and small fuel capacity limits the Yak’s range.

Ammo Load – The fast firing 37mm cannon goes through its supply of 30 rounds in a surprising hurry.

 

 

 

he Ilyushin Il-2 (Cyrillic: Илью́шин Ил-2) Sturmovik[3] was a ground-attack aircraft (Cyrillic: Штурмови́к, Šturmovík) produced by the Soviet Union in large numbers during the Second World War. With 36,183 units of the Il-2 produced during the war, and in combination with its successor, the Ilyushin Il-10, a total of 42,330[4] were built, making it the single most produced military aircraft design in aviation history, as well as one of the most produced piloted aircraft in history along with the American postwar civilian Cessna 172 and the Soviet Union’s own then-contemporary Polikarpov Po-2 Kukuruznik multipurpose biplane.

To Il-2 pilots, the aircraft was simply the diminutive “Ilyusha”. To the soldiers on the ground, it was the “Hunchback”, the “Flying Tank” or the “Flying Infantryman”. Its postwar NATO reporting name was “Bark“.[5] The Il-2 aircraft played a crucial role on the Eastern Front. 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 an angrily worded cable to the factory manager, stating “They are as essential to the Red Army as air and bread.”[6] “I demand more machines. This is my final warning!”

 

 

Sources:
 Stepaniets, A.; ‘Yak’ Fighters of WWII Period; Mashinostroenie Publishing, Moscow; 1992.
Stapfer, Hans-Heiri; Yak Fighters In Action; Squadron/Signal Publications, Carrollton, TX; 1986.
Gordon, Yefim and Khazanov, Dmitri; Soviet Combat Aircraft of the Second World War Volume One: Single-Engine Fighters; Midland Publishing Limited, Leicester, England; 1998.