IXO Models IXJ200731 Russian Ilyushin IL-2 Shturmovik Ground Attack Aircraft - Captain A. N. Jefimova, 2/198th Air Assault Regiment, 233rd Air Division, Thom, East Prussia, Winter 1944-45 (1:72 Scale)
"By powerful artillery fire, air strikes, and a wave of attacking tanks, we're supposed to swiftly crush the enemy."
- Marshal Georgi K. Zhukov
From the start of Eastern Front combat in World War II, the Soviet Air Force used the successful ground attack aircraft Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik, powered by the Mikulin AM-38 inline engine. As the war progressed, the Soviets started searching for its successor. The main goal was to increase speed and maneuverability at low altitudes, mainly to evade small caliber anti-aircraft artillery, which was the main danger for ground attack aircraft, and to remove some other Il-2 faults. The most promising project was a modern light and maneuverable close assault aircraft, Sukhoi Su-6, developed by Pavel Sukhoi's bureau from 1942. At the same time, Sergey Ilyushin developed a heavier aircraft VSh or Il-8 M-71, derived from the Il-2 design, and on which it partly based. Both projects were powered by the prototype M-71 radial engine, which was not produced.
In 1943, Ilyushin started work on a new aircraft, the Il-1, which was to be a 1- or 2-seat heavy armored fighter-attacker, meant mainly for fighting enemy bombers and transports. The Il-1 was similar to Il-2 design, but was more modern and compact, and powered with a new Mikulin engine, the AM-42. But, the air force gave up the idea of heavy armoured fighters, due to their low speed, which was not enough to intercept modern bombers. As a result, Ilyushin decided to turn the Il-1 into a 2-seat ground attack plane, with the designation changed to Il-10 in early 1944 (odd numbers were reserved for fighters). In the spring of 1944, the Il-10 flew, and underwent state trials in June, with success.
At that time, Ilyushin also finished a prototype of a heavier ground attack plane, the Il-8, with the same engine, derived from the Il-2 design. It carried more payload (1000 kg), but had worse performance than the Il-10. The third competitor was a new variant of the Sukhoi Su-6, also equipped with the AM-42 engine. After comparative tests, the Il-10 was considered the winner and chosen as the new ground attack plane, despite some opinions that the Su-6 was a better aircraft with similar performance but better armament. Notably, the Su-6 prototype was tested with maximum payload, causing worse performance, while the Il-10 was tested with normal payload. Some advantages of the Il-10 arose from its technical similarity to the Il-2.
Pictured here is a Russian Ilyushin IL-2 Shturmovik Ground Attack Aircraft that was piloted by Captain A. N. Jefimova, 2/198th Air Assault Regiment, 233rd Air Division, Thom, East Prussia, Winter 1944-45. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 8 inches
Length: 6.25 inches
Release Date: July 2007
Original Issue Price: $29.99
Historical Account: "From Lenochka for Father" - Among the pilots who gained fame flying the Il-2, was Senior Lieutenant Anna Yegorova, a female pilot who flew 260 missions. She was decorated three times, the last "posthumously", as she was presumed dead after being shot down. In fact, she managed to survive imprisonment in a German concentration camp. Jr. Lt. Ivan Grigorevich Drachenko, another Il-2 pilot, was reputedly one of only four men who were both decorated as Heroes of the Soviet Union and also won all three of the Orders of Glory. Pilots Begeldinov, Mylnikov, Alekseenko, and Gardeev received two gold stars of the Hero of the Soviet Union.
Hero of the Soviet Union T. Kuznetsov survived the crash of his Il-2 in 1942 when shot down returning from a reconnaissance mission. Kuznetsov was able to escape from the wreck and hid nearby.
To his surprise, a German Bf 109 landed near the crash site and the pilot began to scrounge the wrecked Il-2 for souvenirs. Thinking quickly, Kuznetsov ran to the German fighter and used it to fly home, barely avoiding being shot down by Soviet fighters in the process.
Typical of Soviet Second World War aircraft, many Il-2 were "gifts" presented to specific pilots and partially paid for by organizations like hometowns, factories or comrades of another fallen pilot. The most famous of these was an aircraft purchased with the savings of a seven-year-old daughter of the fallen commander of the 237th ShAP. Learning of her father's death, the girl sent 100 rubles directly to Stalin asking him to use the money for an Il-2 to avenge her father. Remarkably, Stalin actually received the letter and 237th ShAP received a new Il-2m3 with the inscription "From Lenochka for father" on the side.