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Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik Recovery – Updated Story

Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik Recovery – Updated Story
Again in August, we featured a narrative on the current restoration of an Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik from a lake in Russia. Now we now have extra particulars on this restoration, and Mark Sheppard brings us a exceptional piece on the historical past of this plane and its salvage. (photograph by way of Wings of Victory Basis)

Again in August, we revealed a quick story masking the current restoration of a remarkably intact Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik from a lake in present-day Russia. Whereas we reported on the small print as we knew them then, we have now lately acquired a fabulously detailed article written by Mark Sheppard which matches into higher depth on each the restoration and the battle during which the plane went down. We thought our readers would take pleasure in studying this account, to not point out seeing quite a few new pictures which have since come to mild.

Arctic Lake Recovery of an Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik

by Mark Sheppard

The Il-2 has the document of being probably the most widely-built plane ever produced; 36,136 have been constructed between the start of June 1941, when giant scale manufacturing was carried out and till manufacturing of the usual Il-2 ceased in October 1945 and the Il-2U coach on the finish of 1946. With such phenomenal numbers; 2,300 being inbuilt every of the eight months of 1944, it’s staggering that there are solely a dozen full examples inside museums in the present day (though quite a few airframes have been recovered during the last 20 years).

It’s even more durable to grasp that the British reply to the necessity for a low degree daytime bomber, the Fairey Battle, and the Russian reply for floor assault plane, the Il-2, have been each designed beneath comparable specs. It has been reported that the Il-2 suffered one of many lowest losses within the VVS (Military Air Pressure) however this isn’t true. Losses have been vital, however no different plane inflicted such injury on the enemy; Axis losses of all classes (tanks, automobiles, males, plane, ships, fortifications, advert nauseum) to the Shturmovik have been astounding, so it was a big weapon for Russia turning the tide of the warfare of their favour and their final victory.

Victorious, Russian Il-2s overflying Berlin on the finish of WWII. (photograph by way of Wikipedia)

Armor: the gunner had a 13mm metal protecting plate, with the pilot’s backplate being of comparable power. The cover aspect panels have been 8mm and the entrance windscreen was 55mm thick. The engine cowling had 6mm metal armor, as did the cockpit aspect panels. This was sufficient to guard it towards machine gun hearth; so with a view to deliver the plane down, you needed to have both an distinctive shot on the cockpit or use cannon as an alternative of machine weapons. That is in all probability one of many causes 20mm or 30mm cannons turned an ordinary weapon on later Luftwaffe plane fashions

Initially the Shturmovik prototype was designed as a two seater however retention of the gunner hinged on the talk between efficiency versus utility; was it simpler to have greater velocity/climb or higher protection? Preliminary fashions have been accomplished as single seaters, although following vital loses and the conclusion that the majority operations have been at low degree, it was determined the rear protection was crucial, so the rear gunners place was re-introduced.


In the course of the course of researching the restoration of Skopintsev’s Shturmovik (recovered in 2005), the lack of a rarer single seater turned recognized and marked for future investigation/restoration.

Two analysis groups have been concerned within the expedition; FROM and IKAR. The search commenced in 2013 and within the unique loss report, the pilot had listed Lake Arno as the situation the place he pressure landed. Lake Arno is a really giant lake and as much as 60m deep. After numerous expeditions it was clear the Shturmovik was not there.

After this failure, the staff started looking adjoining lakes, and in 2017 they have been fortunate sufficient to seek out the Shturmovik in Lake Krivoe following a sonar scan. Lake Krivoe is to the east of Murmansk and solely Eight-10km from Veanga-2 airfield from the place the Il-2 left on its final mission almost 75 years earlier.

The sonar hint on the search vessel displaying the define of the submerged Shturmovik clearly on its display. (photograph by way of Wings of Victory Basis)

The Shturmovik was at a depth of 11m (36ft) inside a 200m (650ft) diameter melancholy inside a lake 1.85 miles (3km) lengthy and half a mile (800m) at its widest level. Nearly all of the lake is just not a lot deeper than a few meters and on the southern finish is affected by giant boulders. Had this Shturmovik landed anyplace else, she wouldn’t have survived in an entire situation because of the geology and winter ice thicknesses.

The Shturmovik was videoed underneath water which revealed that the airframe was full, nevertheless, the closed cover triggered some concern. Following nearer inspection, the cockpit was discovered to be empty; it’s assumed that the cover closed through the plane’s respectable to the lake mattress following the wartime crash. The rear timber fuselage had rotted and collapsed as a consequence of 75 years of submersion though the aluminum tailplane and rudder remained the place you’d anticipate them to be situated.

The restoration commenced on August ninth, 2018. The aerial, tailplane, tailwheel and rudder have been the primary gadgets to be recovered; the Soviet purple star nonetheless being seen on the tattered rudder material. The plane’s middle part and wings have been lifted with conventional inflation luggage and pulled in the direction of shore. Often in such recoveries, you’ve got some a part of the lake which is deep sufficient to deliver the plane proper as much as the shore and raise it out, however the shallow, boulder-strewn shoreline proved a problem on this one. In the long run, the staff determined to assemble a timber body to behave as a skid onto which the airframe was pulled with the added safety of previous tires. The plane on prime of its timber restoration body was then pulled ashore, whereupon its disassembly might start. 

Recovering the horizontal tail surfaces from the lake. (photograph by way of Wings of Victory Basis)Hosing off the horizontal tail part on the lakes shore following its restoration because the solar units within the west. (photograph by way of Wings of Victory Basis)

As soon as ashore, the airframe was checked over. The Il-2’s serial quantity was clearly stenciled on the undercarriage pivot level shroud in addition to the wing itself by the aileron. The wing and tailplane camouflage was nonetheless seen. With the removing and turning over of the port wing, the decrease purple star insignia was additionally clear together with 4 rocket rails. 

The plane’s serial quantity, 1870930, is clearly proven right here stencilled on each side of the wing be a part of. (photograph by way of Wings of Victory Basis)

Additionally situated was a gun digital camera. Sodden, undistributed propaganda flyers in addition to maps have been current within the cockpit, and remarkably properly preserved, all issues thought-about. The engine covers, propellor and hub have been then all eliminated earlier than the Mikulin engine was lifted out. Lastly the starboard wing was eliminated and all parts have been loaded onto a metallic sledge and pulled away by a bulldozer to the closest street for loading and onward transportation to Novosibirsk. 

Clearly seen on the airframe was proof of 20mm cannon injury to the tailplane/stabilizer and beside the port wing undercarriage pivot level. Nevertheless, what in all probability introduced the plane down was the cannon shell which went by way of the armored engine cowling on the starboard aspect to penetrate the valve cowl and camshaft. Nevertheless, even with this injury, the Shturmovik was nonetheless capable of fly 70km away from the battle again to pleasant territory earlier than lastly drive touchdown on the lake.


The Shturmovik has now been transferred to Aviarestoration facility at Novosibirsk, Siberia to be restored to flying situation. The restoration was financed by Boris Osetinsky (who has been recovering warbirds for over 25 years) and the Wings of Victory Fund.

On completion, an instance of every major sort of Shturmovik might be airworthy: This single seater, the straight winged two seater with Vadim Zadorozhny in Moscow and the swept wing ‘arrow’ with the FHCAM in Seattle. 

The Flying Heritage & Fight Armor Museum’s absolutely restored and airworthy Il-2. (photograph by Eric Friedebach by way of Wikipedia)The opposite presently airworthy Shturmovik in Russia. (photograph by Dmitry Terekhov by way of Wikipedia)

Ilyushin Il-2 ‘Shturmovik’ No.1870930

In June of 1942, Shturmovik 1870930 was accomplished at Zavod 18 (State Plane Manufacturing unit 18) at Kuibyshev (now Samara) and was a part of a small batch (considered round three,300 examples!) of Il-2s that had the unique straight wing with 5% sweep. All of Zavod 18’s Shturmovik have been accomplished with the outer wing sections manufactured in duralumin.

The rear fuselage and fin have been constructed in two halves of top of the range Finnish veneer manufactured from Siberian pine. Cross-layered and glued with an epoxy resin, the 2 halves have been then plugged and glued to the fuselage ribs. The ultimate stage was to cowl the shell in material, which was then doped and painted.

The plane’s development quantity, 1870930, may be damaged down as 18 (manufacturing unit), 7 (mannequin), 09 (plane quantity) and 30 (collection quantity). Subsequently this Il-2 was constructed at manufacturing unit 18, mannequin 7 (assault Il-2) and the ninth plane of the 30th collection. It appears subsequently to be in the identical block as the 2 seater (1872452) recovered in 2005 and now flying in Russia; albeit 22 collection earlier than. Assuming there have been 75 plane in every collection, there would have been roughly 1,650 plane between them. 

Shturmovik 1870930 had an ordinary armament configuration, with a Shpital’ny Komaritsky ShKAS 7.62mm machine gun within the wing root alongside a Volkov-Yartsev VYa 23mm cannon; one per wing. The interior and exterior weapon shops have been a mixture of 400kg of bombs, eight RS-82 rockets or 4 RS-132 rockets. This instance was additionally fitted with a VV-1 exterior aiming gadget relatively than the interior PBP-1 sight which had proved unsatisfactory. 

This instance was fitted with the usual Mikulin AM-38 V12 engine producing 1700hp and this engine was almost certainly constructed at Zavod 24 at Kuybyshev.

Camouflage was nonetheless black/inexperienced however within the newer colours of AMT-Four Inexperienced, AMT-6 black and AMT-7 mild blue. The pink stars situated on the fuselage, fin/rudder and decrease wing surfaces had a skinny white define (almost invisible as a result of submersion and discoloration) and that is in step with airframes leaving Zavod 18 in 1942.

It’s unclear the place 1870930 first operated, as there appears to be at the least a six month interval between manufacture and their switch to the Arctic North. 

This Shturmovik was issued to the 46th Shtourmovoi Aviatsionny Polk (46th ShAP Shturmovik Assault Regiment) who have been the one Soviet Navy unit to function the Shturmovik within the Arctic North. 46th ShAP was shaped as an evening bomber unit within the Black Sea space in 1942 flying the UTI-16 earlier than being re-equipped and transferred to the north within the spring of 1943. 

Presently little is understood of the service of 1870930 or the tactical quantity. As she was flown by the squadron chief of the third Squadron and the primary allotted quantity was 21, it has ben determined to mark her up as ‘Red 21’.

Soviet Il-2s about to assault an enemy place close to Moscow throughout WWII. (photograph by way of wikipedia)

22nd August Mission and loss – Soviet Data.

Extra is understood about her remaining loss via compiling info from each German and Russian wartime data which have been sourced.

Within the third week of August 1943 the Soviet Naval models within the Arctic Circle started preparation for a serious assault on Luftwaffe airfields in Finland.

Planning started on August 20th when the Chief of Air Employees determined to assault German-held airfield at Loustari (Notice: Loustari was the Finnish identify for the situation, though the Germans referred to it as Petsamo. The Russians now name it  Pechenga, because the Soviets annexed this space of Finland on the finish of WWII). Luftwaffe plane based mostly at Loustari have been capable of assault the entrance line, to assault Soviet delivery within the Gulf of Motov and in flip shield German delivery to Haranguer Fjord. Plane from the Soviet 818th RAP (Reconnaissance Air Regiment) flew over Loustari at lunchtime and confirmed that there have been twenty Fw 190s, nineteen Bf 109s, one He 111 and one Fi 156 on the airfield.

The unique plan was to assault Loustari in three waves, consisting of 52 plane, which included an attacking drive of 20 plane (Il-2s and Pe-2s). With different secondary airfield strikes, the plan was to have 79 plane within the air which might require a most effort by every squadron and the spherical crews getting them ready. 46th ShAP have been based mostly at Veanga-2, solely 105km (65 miles) in a straight flight to Loustari.

At 14.30 MT (Moscow Time) on 20 August, the squadron and flight leaders of 46th ShAP attended a briefing on the headquarters of SF VVS (The Air Drive of the Northern Fleet). Commander Mikhailov ordered the squadron leaders to have fifteen Il-2’s obtainable for the assault – 4 from 1./46th ShAP, six from 2./46th ShAP and 5 from three./46th ShAP. 

The mission was postponed quite a lot of occasions on account of dense and drifting fog in addition to a low cloud base. Lastly the climate broke and the mission was penned for August 22nd with the next forces. 

Group One – Depart 04.18 MT (Moscow Time) – Assault 04.40 MT

Six Il-2 Shturmoviks of 1./46th ShAP escorted by six Hurricanes of 78th IAP and 6 Yak-1Bs of 20th AP flying at 150m – 200m on a course taking them from Veanga 2 / Lake Koshkayavr / Loustari. 

Group Two – Depart 04.20 MT (Moscow Time) – Assault 04.47 MT.

Eight Il-2 Shturmoviks of three./46th ShAP escorted by eight Hurricanes of 27th IAP and 6 Yak-1Bs of 20th IAP flying at 100m – 1200m on a course taking them from Veanga 2/Ura Guba/Guba Eyna/Guba Tito/Loustari.

An extra overlaying unit of six P-39s of 255th IAP and  six Yak-1B’s of 20th IAP have been allotted to offer further prime cowl safety to each teams.

Sadly the primary group of Il-2s flew too far to the south-west of the goal and have been attacked by seven Fw190s and Bf109s about 10-12km from the airfield. The escorting Yak-1Bs and Hurricanes tried to guard the Il-2s that German fighters have been attacking, both singly or in pairs, and commenced to inflict injury to the attacking pressure. Nevertheless, the Il-2s have been pressured to jettison their bomb masses and head for house. The highest cowl have been situated too removed from this group and subsequently couldn’t observe the battle. 

Group One misplaced two Hurricanes with one pilot killed. They claimed six German fighters, one by an Il-2 gunner, and the opposite 5 from the fighter escort! While this unit was beneath assault, Group Two had reached their goal.

At a peak of 1000m, the second group attacked from the North East. The Il-2’s fired twenty RS-82 (82mm) and seventeen ROFS-132 (132mm) rockets on the dispersed plane on the South Japanese and Western edges of the airfield. Exiting their dives at 400m, the Il-2s dropped thirty-two FAB-100 (100kg) bombs. The escorting Hurricanes additionally dropped FAB-50 (50kg) and AO-25 (25kg) bombs. Consequently, the attacking pressure claimed ten burning plane, six to eight giant fires and injury to anti-aircraft batteries together with an 88mm cannon. Because the group was straffing the airfield, six Luftwaffe fighters appeared from the North West. The escorts managed to maintain the Fw 190s and Bf 109s away from the Il-2s, two of which had suffered flak injury through the assault. 

Group Two misplaced one Hurricane pressure landed and burnt out and one Yak-1B with the pilot killed. They claimed 5 German fighters, one from an Il-2 gunner, the opposite 4 from the fighter escort. 

The 2 Shturmovik’s broken by flak have been these of 46th/ShAP Group Chief Mikhailov and three./46th ShAP Squadron Chief Kalichev. They managed to fly their broken plane to pleasant strains the place Mikhailov splashed down in a swamp which he and his gunner survived, though searches for the 2 males later led to additional loses. Kalichev landed proper in the midst of the lake. After 30 minutes within the lake, an LAS-1 rubber boat picked up the stranded pilot, and he survived.

General, the Soviet Air Drive on this present day claimed 27 plane destroyed, 17 of them in aerial fight. The precise Luftwaffe quartermasters returns lists two (at the very least something over 10% broken).

The Luftwaffe data usually tie in: 

22-08-43 round Petsamo Airfield – Assault of 60 plane – Boston, Il-2, Aircobra, Tomahawk, Hurricane. Assault at 03.50 (European Time) by 30 plane in a number of waves combining excessive and low degree assaults. Fighter plane took off and claimed seven attackers and flak claimed two. It has not but been potential to determine any particular person claims from II/JG5 within the Bf109’s or 14./(Jabo)JG5 pilots within the Fw190’s. We do know the 2 listed Luftwaffe loss/injury listings although.

Bf109G-2 W.Nr10844 of II/JG5, air fight with Soviet fighters. 100% Pilot Fw Hans Enderle wounded. Crashed SW of Petsamo.

Bf109G-2 W.Nr13941 of II/JG5, flying accident/technical 20% broken. Petsamo.

Il-2 pilot.

On the 22 August 1943, Iluyshin Il-2 Shturmovik, 1870930 was being flown by 34 yr previous Captain Alexander Ivanovich Kalichev who was the squadron chief of the three./46thShAP. 

From the armament listing it’s thought this Shturmovik was armed with 4 FAB-100 bombs within the inner wing bomb bays and two ROFS-132’s and two RS-82 rockets on the wings.

Kalachev had been with 46th ShAP since its formation, main the first squadron between Might 1942 and January 1943 (as a part of the Black Sea Fleet). On being reequipped with the Shturmovik, Kalichev moved to the third squadron in January 1943 and led this unit till his pressure touchdown. A couple of weeks after Kalichev posted to a different unit. He survived the conflict and was awarded quite a few awards through the GPW. Having certified as a pilot in 1933 he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1955 and is assumed to have handed away in 1985. 

It’s hoped that the restoration of Shturmovik 1870930 would be the best and most traditionally right restoration, even when fitted with an Allison V12 which now appears to be the norm). 

The writer needs to thank Boris Osetinsky, IKAR restoration Group and Rune Rautio for all their assist in compiling this text in addition to Juanita Franzi for the profile. ©2018 Mark Sheppard

We might additionally like to precise our profound because of Mark Sheppard for permitting us to publish this fascinating article!

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