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Il-10. Combat Use.
The rearmament of units of the active army with a new attack aircraft was supposed to be carried out by withdrawing the regiments from the front to Kuibyshev, where the 1st reserve air brigade (zab) was stationed under the command of Colonel A.I. Podolsky - the main training center for assault aviation - and there were factories that produced Il-10 aircraft and AM-42 engines. In the 1st zab, the combat regiments were to undergo a retraining course and be supplemented with flight personnel and aircraft to full staff. Therefore, the first to retrain the instructors of the brigade. They had to master new equipment in the shortest possible time, develop the necessary instructions and methodological guidelines for retraining units of the active army.
Back in mid-September, the entire flight and technical staff of the 2nd Squadron of the 5th Reserve Aviation Regiment (zap) were sent to factories No. 1 and No. 24 to study the Il-10 and AM-42, as well as the peculiarities of their operation. The rest of the squadrons continued to work according to the previous plan, but 82 hours of training in the new technology were provided for them.
The choice of the 2nd squadron was dictated by the high level of flight training of the instructors. Her training successfully ended with the passing of tests on October 15, 1944, and by the end of the month, seven instructors, led by the commander of the 5th West Lieutenant Colonel Belyakov, had already independently flew to the Il-10.
By October 31, 1944, the regiment received five serial attack aircraft produced by plant number 1, five more entered the 178th aviation base.
Simultaneously with the 5th zap, the 12th zap, which was also part of the same brigade, began to study the new material part. The retraining scheme was the same: one squadron is trained on a trip to the factories, the rest are mastering new equipment in parallel with their main work. Here pilots of the 3rd squadron became pioneers. Its flight and technical staff were at the enterprises from September 27 to October 20, 1944, but it did not come to flights soon. The reason was the frequent accidents and disasters that happened to the Il-10. Then it was not yet possible to cope with fires in the air.
In particular, the commander of the 2nd squadron of the 5th zap, Lieutenant Ivanov, was killed. During the flight from the factory to the Mukhanovo airfield on his Il-10, just as it happened earlier in the car of the factory test engineer Lomakin, a fire broke out. A flame appeared in the right rear carburetor. Ivanov tried to reach the airfield, but soon the firewall burnt out and the upper gas tank exploded ...
While the investigation was underway and improvements were carried out, all flights were banned. This disrupted the planned course of training the instructor staff. In full accordance with the approved plans, only the "ground" part of the program was going on.
In November 1944, one squadron and the commanding staff of the 10th West (commander Lieutenant Colonel K.N. Cooked and 108th Guardsman Lieutenant Colonel O.V. Topilin.
Before the resumption of the serial production of the IL-10 with flight and technical personnel, classes were conducted exclusively on the ground. After passing the tests, the regiments were transferred to the airfields, where, in January 1945, a practical course began. The 78th Gshap underwent retraining at the base of the 12th West in Chapaevsk, and the 108th Guardsman - on the basis of the 5th West at the Tolkai airfield near the Kinel station.
Due to the suspension of production and constant alterations of already assembled attack aircraft, "ten" in the 1st zab was constantly not enough. On January 5, 1945, there were 45 Il-10s, over the next two weeks another 65 arrived. In February, 83 vehicles arrived, in March -145, in April - 265 and in May - 257 attack aircraft. In total, by July 1, 1945, the 1st zab received 1,077 combat Il-10s and three training "dozens".
The Air Force Commander of the Volga Military District, Major General Ignatov, set the task in January 1945 to prepare the 78th (21 crew) and 108th (41 crew) gshap, 20 crews from the 43rd and 50th West, 16 crews for ferry regiments (1000, 245, 217th and 620th), 10 inspectors on piloting techniques for air armies and military districts, as well as the entire permanent composition of the reserve brigade (5, 10, 12th West and 850th ferry regiment) - only 137 people.
To accelerate the pace of retraining, the instructors of the reserve regiments were obliged to fly for personal training only on the Il-10. The divisions for the combat training of the regiments, with the receipt of the ground training program, were to immediately begin drawing up abstracts by the teaching staff and by January 5, 1945, equip the classrooms with the necessary visual aids. According to the program for the study of materiel and passing the tests, 7 days were given for the flight crew, 12 days for the technical and 4 days for the air gunners. This was followed by the continuation of the study of the Il-10 and AM-42 at the factories and familiarization with the design and production defects and operational features of the aircraft and engine. The technical staff was given two days to study AM-42 at plant No. 24 and three days to study the IL-10 itself at factories No. 1 and No. 18. The flight crew was given three days to study materiel, and only at one of the aircraft factories.
The flight part of the retraining program included one flight to check the piloting technique at the UIL-2 - a flight time of 30 minutes; 8 control flights on UIL-2 - 48 min; 6 independent flights on IL-2 (takeoff, circle flight and landing) - 36 min; 10 independent flights in a circle on IL-10 - 1 hour; 2 flights for an independent exercise (maximum climb angle, turns with a roll of 30 ° - 60 °, combat turns, a spiral with a roll of 30 ° from an altitude of 1000 - 1500 m) - 1 hour; one flight to the range for shooting and bombing at a ground target - 30 minutes; one flight along the route as part of a pair with bombing and shooting at the range -50 minutes; one bombing and firing flight as part of a flight - 30 minutes; two flights along the route in the composition of the six, approaching the range in the "bearing" battle formation, after the bombing the defensive circle - 1 hour 40 minutes. In total, the retraining program included 17 flights on the Il-10 with a flight time of 5 hours 30 minutes for each pilot.
As is usually the case, the authorities wanted to quickly test the new aircraft in action, in connection with which the systematic training of the flight and technical personnel was disrupted. Already in early January 1945, on the personal order of the Deputy Head of the Air Force Formation and Manning Directorate, Colonel Bronstein, the 78th Guards Guards Army was to urgently complete retraining and leave for the active army as part of the 2nd Guards Assault Aviation Division (Guards) of the 16th Air Army.
By this time, the pilots of the regiment had a raid on the Il-10 only 57 minutes and six landings. No one flew for combat use. The regiment was urgently replenished to the state with young pilots and equipped with 20 Il-2 and 15 Il-10. On January 10, 1945, the retraining was officially over, and two days later the regiment was declared ready to be sent to the front. Departure was scheduled for January 12th. However, for a long time there were no airplanes suitable for flight, besides, it was decided to replenish the regiment with "dozens" to the full state (but this was never done). Then they waited for the weather. Only on January 21, the first echelon of 20 Il-2 and 11 Il-10 was able to fly to its destination. The second echelon - 10 crews in Il-10 - went to the front the next day.
In fact, the 78th regiment was not ready for combat on the new attack aircraft. At the same time, the flight personnel who arrived from the front line for retraining had solid combat experience. Young pilots were also well trained, but they did not fly the Il-10 at all.
16 crews led by the regiment commander reached their destination, Schrod airfield, on March 26. The rest pulled up by April 11. We must pay tribute to the command of the Air Army and the 2nd Guards. Having found out the real readiness of the regiment for hostilities, they wisely decided not to enter the regiment into battle yet, so as not to undermine faith in the new attack aircraft and not suffer unnecessary losses, but to allow the pilots to fully prepare, as well as to complete the rearmament of the Il-10 unit. Throughout April, in the 78th, they were intensively engaged in the commissioning of young flight personnel, who had not undergone retraining for a new attack aircraft in Kuibyshev, and in the training of the "old men". At this time, the IL-10 was received and assembled in Lvov. The machines were then ferried to the base by the most trained pilots of the regiment. The available IL-2s were transferred to other parts of the division.
By May 1, 1945, there were 18 Il-10s, a pair of Il-2s, one UIL-2 and one Po-2 in the 78th Gshap. It was believed that all the pilots (43 people) were prepared for hostilities, since the young people already flew on the IL-10 on their own.
However, by this time the war came to an end, and the 78th regiment never entered the battle.
The 108th gshap, as well as the 78th, would have been retrained on the IL-10 in January 1945. The act of January 21 stated that the regiment “consisting of 41 pilots was prepared for the flight to the front on the IL-10 in the afternoon in simple meteorological conditions ". The flight personnel were somewhat better prepared than in the 78th regiment. The Il-10 raid averaged 2 hours 58 minutes (10 landings), including about 2 hours in combat training. The entire flight crew of the regiment has already gained combat experience, fighting on Il-2 attack aircraft.
Since it was assumed that military tests of the new aircraft would be carried out in this regiment, the most close attention was paid to the replenishment of the regiment with equipment. Attack aircraft were selected from among those that had the smallest number of manufacturing and design defects and were carefully checked by both the factory teams and the technical staff of the unit. In total, the regiment received 42 Il-10s, including 37 produced by plant no. 18 and 5 produced by plant no. 1.
Departure to the front was scheduled for February 2. To speed up the redeployment of the regiment, engineers and technicians flew instead of the riflemen, who numbered only 7 people in the regiment, and had to independently prepare vehicles at all intermediate airfields.
Despite the thorough preparation of the flight, it ended in failure.
At the last moment, the first intermediate point was changed. Instead of the Razboyshchina airfield, it was necessary to fly to Bagai-Baranovka. The flight crew did not have time to properly prepare for the new route.
The first group of five cars, led by Captain Sirotkin, reached the new airfield safely. From the second (seven Il-10), only four flew, led by the leader of the group, captain Zinoviev. The link of Junior Lieutenant Mazur broke away from the group immediately. The pilots got lost and, having run out of fuel, sat down in the field. As a result - one accident and one breakdown. The third group of 10 Il-10s (lead captain Zheleznyakov) flew to Balakovo and returned due to bad weather. On the way back, Junior Lieutenant Kiryushkin made an emergency landing - the engine failed. His plane was damaged. Lieutenant Maksimov ran out of fuel and suffered an accident near Chapayevsk. Junior Lieutenant Yudaev had to sit on one wheel - the second stance did not come out. The fourth group, led by Captain Novikov (four Il-10), also returned and landed in Chapaevsk. Thus, of the 26 aircraft that took off from the Tolkai airfield, nine arrived at their destination. After the proceedings and the adoption of measures, the 108th Gshap in two steps - on February 9 and 20, left the same in full strength in the army. In addition, on January 25, a link from the brigade's control went to the Il-10 for an internship in the 2nd Air Army.
In February 1945, it was planned to retrain five regiments (571, 809, 723rd Shap and 118th and 132nd Guards) and 120 separate crews on the Il-10. The arriving units, in their training and combat experience, even somewhat surpassed the first two. However, if the brigade fulfilled the January plan by 91%, then the February plan was completely failed -48%. The quality of shooting and bombing at the range was assessed as unsatisfactory. At the same time, the number of flight accidents almost doubled -21 against 10 in January. Despite the abundance of shortcomings in the Il-10, there were still few flight accidents due to the fault of technology, and in comparison with the already mastered and tested Il-2, the "dozen" in absolute terms of official statistics did not look so bad.
The command of the brigade explained the disruption of preparation by interruptions in fuel and bad weather. However, it seems that the reason consisted in the disorganization of combat training work, which was repeatedly noted in various documents of the Air Force headquarters of the Privo Military District and in the reports of the brigade itself. It was explained by the high turnover of staff. The most trained officers, as a rule, were burdened by staff work, aspired to the front and achieved their goal.
In February, only one regiment was retrained on the Il-10 - the 571st Lieutenant Colonel M.I. Bezukha. The next one to reach readiness was the 118th Guardsman of Lieutenant Colonel Vereshchinsky. He completed the retraining program on March 2. But getting the missing planes was delayed until mid-March. As a result, both regiments departed to the front at the same time, in two groups: on March 19, 42 crews of the 118th guards and 41 flew out of the 571st guards, and on March 20, four of the 118th guards (one on the Il-10 and three - by train ) and one crew of the 571st Shap (in summer). The next month, seven regiments were sent to the front at once on new attack aircraft (7, 59, 75th and 132nd guards and 723, 899th and 995th chaps) - a total of 192 pilots. In April, the preparation of regiments for the 7th assault air corps (shak) of the reserve of the Supreme High Command began. From 5 to 24 April, the 686th, 947th and 232nd Shad from the 289th Shad and the 503, 806th and 807th Shad from the 206th Shad began to retrain. Four of them completed their training in May, but they were not sent to the front. According to the documents, the regiments of this corps were trained to participate in the parade on Red Square on the occasion of the victory over Germany.
Thus, by May 1, 1945, the 1st zab was retrained and sent to the active army with a total of 11 regiments on the Il-10, of which most of them did not manage to get to the front line. As of May 10, the air armies of the fronts numbered 120 serviceable and 26 out of order Il-10s. In addition, a dozen "dozen" were in the naval aviation.
On the Soviet-German Front
As follows from archival documents, only three regiments, the 571st Shap, 108th and 118th Guards, managed to take part in the hostilities against the Germans. At the same time, the first fought the longest and most intensively of all. And he got the most difficult battles.
The flight of the 571st Shap to the place of permanent base at the Schyglowice airfield (Poland) as a whole was successfully completed on April 9, 1945. Of the 42 aircraft 35 flew to the front. (two of them required write-off), one in Borisoglebsk and one in Krakow.
Immediately upon arrival, the commander of the regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Bezukh, received an order from the commander of the 224th regiment, Major General Kotelnikov, "to immediately start putting the regiment into combat work according to the plan." Until April 14, inclusive, the flight crew was engaged in ground training and training flights. At the same time, each pilot performed one flight to the range for bombing and firing at a ground target. At this stage, three attack aircraft were out of order (including two - after forced landings).
The regiment began fighting on 15 April with strikes against enemy troops and equipment in the area of Svoboda, Puts, Janarice, Stepankovice, Radun, Podvisov, Chvalikovice, Olda, Suche Lazze. They operated in groups of 8-15 attack aircraft under the cover of 4-8 Yak-3 and Yak-9 fighters from the 112th GIAP. In total, the regiment made 73 sorties during the day. Mainly small - 50-kg high-explosive and 25-kg fragmentation bombs were used, so the average bomb load per sortie was only 224 kg.
According to the observations of the crews, 21 vehicles, 2 field artillery guns, 1 mortar battery were destroyed or damaged, 7 fires were created and 1 enemy anti-aircraft battery was suppressed. At the targets, the planes met with heavy fire from small-caliber anti-aircraft artillery, as a result of which Il-10 of junior lieutenant V.I. Kudryavtseva. On the plane, the landing gear pneumatic system was damaged and the aileron control rods were interrupted. Air gunner sergeant N.P. Sumryakov was killed. Despite serious damage to the car, the pilot managed to reach his airfield. However, on landing, the landing gear did not come out completely and, when it touched the ground, spontaneously developed. The attack aircraft turned to the left and carried towards the aircraft parking lot. Gliding on the fuselage, the Il-10 crashed into a gas tanker. From the impact, the wing console flew off along with the center section. The driver was killed, and the pilot and a soldier standing next to the car were wounded. The plane was decommissioned.
During the day, four groups of attack aircraft met with German fighters and fought with them in air battles. Thus, a group of 13 Il-10s (leading Major Zatsepa), accompanied by six Yak-3s, struck at artillery positions in the Svoboda area. When ours made the second approach, 9 FW 190 fighters appeared above them, which, divided into pairs, attacked attack aircraft. The escort yaks noticed the danger in time and thwarted the first attack of the Fokkers. The Il-10 crews, freed from the bombs, stopped firing at ground targets and closed the circle closer. The Germans tried to repeat the attack, but the friendly fire of the riflemen and the active actions of the cover fighters thwarted their plans. At the same time, during the battle, the Yaks managed to knock down one FW 190.
Two hours later, three Messerschmitts attempted to attack a dozen Il-10s (leading Major Bochkarev), which, under the cover of six Yak-3s, bombed enemy vehicles in the Puste area, Yakartitsa. The attack aircraft were in a "circle" formation. However, the attack was thwarted by our cover fighters. The Germans withdrew from the battle with a right turn and were no longer shown. In the afternoon, two more battles took place. In both cases, the attack aircraft had no losses.
The first Il-10 was damaged by German fighters on 17 April. Too late, the pilots of the yaks noticed a pair of Bf 109s approaching from below and behind the leader of the group of attack aircraft and his wingman. For the air gunners, the attack was also unexpected. As a result, on the Il-10 of the slave, junior lieutenant Korotaev, machine-gun fire broke the keel and rudder, in several places the left wing console and the gunner's cockpit were pierced. The shooter junior sergeant Babikov was wounded. Having carried out a single attack, the Messers left the battle.
Air battles were also fought on April 20 and 21. The high activity of enemy fighters and anti-aircraft artillery is explained by the importance of the Moravska-Ostrava region for the German command. In all cases, the attack was carried out by one or two pairs or six to nine aircraft, which tried to carry out one unexpected but effective attack, using the sun and cloud cover for camouflage. German pilots tried not to get involved in protracted battles. The AG-2 aircraft grenades were not used by attack aircraft crews in any of the air battles.
When enemy fighters appeared, the Il-10 entered a defensive circle. The distance between the planes in a circle of six to eight vehicles was 200-300 m. When trying to attack, attack aircraft, led by an energetic luff of 30-45 ° towards the fighters, repelled the attacks and then easily returned to their place in the formation due to the “speed reserve, maneuverability and ease of management ”.
Luftwaffe pilots skillfully interacted with their anti-aircraft gunners. As a rule, the enemy tried to break up the formation of a group of attack aircraft with anti-aircraft artillery fire so that fighters could attack individual aircraft. Conversely, fighters imitated attacks on attack aircraft, forcing the latter to approach each other, which made it easier for calculations on the ground to conduct fire.
The front-line debut of the Il-10 was quite successful. On April 27, the 571st Shap received a commendation from the commander of the 60th Army, General P.A. Kurochkin.
April 30 turned out to be the most intense fighting day for the regiment. In groups of 8 to 12 aircraft, attack aircraft, accompanied by six to eight La-5 fighters from the 181st IAP, carried out a total of 115 sorties. It was a kind of record. Not a single assault regiment on the Il-10 has made so many sorties in one day.
The strikes were carried out in the area of Moravska Ostrava, Starabela, Vitkovice, Proshivau, Hrushov, Jaklovice. The first group of 12 Il-10s, led by Major Zatsepa, attacked enemy troops near Vitkovice at half past nine in the morning. Having approached the target, the crews closed the circle and made an idle approach to clarify the location of the Germans and their troops. Having received additional target designation from the Bereza guidance station, the group turned the wheel. The attacks were carried out by single aircraft from an altitude of 800 - 600 m with a descent to 200 m. The dive angle was 25 ° - 35 °. We made a total of five runs. On the withdrawal "Bereza" conveyed the gratitude of the ground command to the pilots.
The first group was followed by a dozen more departures. The last to take off was the group of Senior Lieutenant Smirny, consisting of 12 Il-10s. On the way to their destination, the group was redirected by radio to the railway bridge across the Oder, located south-west of Grushov. Bombed from a dive at angles of 40 ° - 45 °. The drop was carried out at the exit from the dive from an altitude of 400 - 450 m. FAB-100 bombs were used. According to the regiment's documents, after three passes, the bridge was destroyed by direct hits. In total, during the day, they managed to destroy and damage 12 cars, 4 fuel tankers, 1 anti-aircraft gun and 2 field guns, 4 mortars, 1 steam locomotive, 4 railway cars and the already mentioned bridge.
On May 5, the crews of the 571st Shap, when striking German troops on the roads in the Rauch, Schönwald, Alvasser, Libau, Hof, Deutsch, Lodenit area, met with especially strong opposition from enemy anti-aircraft gunners. Two "tens" were shot down, their crews were killed. By the end of the day, 30 aircraft remained in the regiment.
The first months of Il-10 combat use were accompanied by numerous failures of units and systems: carburetor, petrol system and spark plugs; shaking of the motor was observed in all operating modes, leakage of oil and water radiators. According to mechanics, access to candles and some other units and engine components was extremely inconvenient. For example, replacing the carburetor and subsequent debugging of the engine took up to 30 - 33 hours.
The cables of the bomb bays were constantly torn, the doors were deformed when loading small bombs and damaged when dropping large ones. The lining of the consoles and center section, as well as the rivets, could not withstand the loads. Sheets moved in a wave, rivets cut off and fell out. The folding landing gear struts and tail wheel fairings broke.
Surprisingly, the technical staff still managed to maintain combat readiness at a level that ensured the fulfillment of the assigned tasks. The daily readiness of the aircraft averaged 72.8% of the composition.
The last day of the war for the pilots of the 571st was May 8. He turned out to be the most dramatic. The commander of the 224th Shad set the task of inflicting three strikes during the day with the full complement of the regiment in the area of Krzhelov, Przhikazi, Ungovice, Lstadt, Sinitsa. The planning of combat missions was carried out on the basis of the availability of 27 combat-ready Il-10s by the evening of May 7, which were divided into three groups of nine aircraft each. It was assumed that the groups would fly out at intervals of 15-30 minutes. This was followed by a two-hour break, and everything was repeated anew. It was planned to carry out 88 sorties. Cover was provided by fighters of the 181st iap.
The day was opened by the eight attack aircraft of Senior Lieutenant Smirnov. They were accompanied by six La-5s. On the way to the target, the task was clarified - to bomb the troops and equipment in the Krzhelov area. Having closed the left circle, the Il-10 made an idle approach. Convinced of the presence of the enemy in the trenches southeast of Krzhelov and of vehicles in the village itself, the group proceeded to attack. Attacks were made from a height of 1200 m at a dive angle of 25 ° - 30 °. Shooting from cannons and machine guns was carried out from a distance of 400 - 500 m, bombing - at the exit from a dive from a height of 400 - 450 m.
After completing six calls, Smirnov gave the order to leave, as the ammunition load was completely used up. But the guidance station "Belka-12" asked to make two more idle approaches: "The infantry goes on the attack, support." The attack aircraft did not refuse and received gratitude from the ground. On returning home, they met two Messerschmitts, but the Germans did not dare to attack.
In the middle of the day, eight aircraft unexpectedly failed motors, and in three cases - in the air. Lieutenant Kitaygorodsky and junior lieutenants Prishchepa and Titov made forced landings outside the airfield. Subsequently, their "dozens" were written off.
Inspection of the engines showed that the cause was the destruction of the supercharger impeller. The massive failure of equipment jeopardized the performance of the regiment's combat mission. But the division commander Kotelnikov demanded, regardless of the circumstances, to ensure the production of all flights scheduled for the day. As a result, the most experienced pilots had to fly five times.
Already at the end of the day, an order came from the division headquarters: "Prepare and allocate a group of 9 Il-10s for bombing the retreating enemy along the roads in the Sinitsa area." After 15 minutes, the group of Senior Lieutenant Belov took off. Three minutes later, escort fighters joined the attack aircraft.
I had to fly in a thick haze. But they hit the target accurately and made an attack “on the move”. Under the planes there was "a long, with small intervals chain of movement of cars, carts, artillery" - you couldn't miss. So late, the Germans did not expect a raid by Soviet attack aircraft, there was no anti-aircraft fire. The planes combed the road several times. According to crew reports, up to 20 vehicles were destroyed and damaged, and a large fire was created.
We returned to our airfield at dusk. On the way, Belov gave the command to the wingmen: "Landing with headlights on." By this time, torches and rockets were lit on the field. The pilots, who had no previous experience of combat work at night, safely landed. This was the end of the combat work of the 571st Shap in the Great Patriotic War.
The commission that arrived the next day from the headquarters of the 8th Air Army ordered the removal of engines from four randomly selected IL-10s. The picture was the same: the impeller shafts had a lot of wear, dust and sand were found in the blower casings. On May 21, a commission arrived from Moscow, for which two more engines were dismantled and disassembled. They found the same thing. The aircraft were banned. The regiment has completely lost its combat effectiveness. What would happen if the war continued?
The other two assault regiments mentioned above fought much less. Of the 42 crews of the 108th Guardsman, which flew to their permanent base, at the Sprottau airfield in Silesia, only 25 managed to get there. At the same time, while landing at the Il-10 of Senior Lieutenant Afanasyev, a crutch broke. On the way, the aircraft turned to the left, as a result, the landing gear was demolished, the right plane was damaged, the propeller was bent, and a crack formed in the gearbox shaft hood. The car was sent for repair. On the same day, the regiment's ground echelon, consisting of headquarters, technical personnel and air gunners, arrived in Sprottau. The regiment entered the 6th Guards of the 2nd Air Army.
While there was a lull at the front, we decided to train both "old men" and young replenishment in combat use. On April 5, they began to strengthen the training of techniques of strikes against ground targets, as well as to training in piloting techniques. During one day, on average, 20-30 flights were carried out.
To raise the authority of the new attack aircraft, the command organized a demonstration air battle between the Il-10 and the La-5FN fighter. The attack aircraft was piloted by captain A.I. Sirotkin, and "lavochkin" - the pilot of the 5th GIAP (also based in Shprottau), Hero of the Soviet Union, Captain V.I. Popkov, who shot down 37 German planes by this time.
Sirotkin later recalled: “The first exercise according to the agreed program was the pursuit of an attack aircraft by a fighter with steep planning. We climbed two thousand meters and started. I gave the gas to the engine and rushed to the ground, as if from a steep mountain, 40 degrees. "Lavochkin" lagged behind me. Next, we performed a slide with a climb. Surprisingly to everyone, here at first I was ahead of La-fifth, but soon he caught up with me and bypassed. Then we demonstrated cornering and various aerobatics. No matter how hard Popkov tried, his La-fifth rarely managed to get in my tail for an attack. On the other hand, both my shooter and I caught him several times in the crosshairs of their scopes. After the development of the film of the photo-machine guns, which we "fought" with on that flight, it was established that the "La-fifth" several times went through the bursts of our weapons. Of course, it cannot be concluded from the above that the Il-10 attack aircraft was superior to the La-5 fighter in speed and maneuverability. But this battle showed that the new attack aircraft can confidently stand up for itself in air combat with German fighters. "
Combat operations of the 108th Guardsman began on April 16, 1945 in the Berlin direction. On the same day, the stragglers of eight crews arrived. 34 Il-10 took part in the military tests.
The command of the division set the task of working with the full complement of the regiment in the area of the settlements of Eilo, Tosda, Roggozen and along the roads from Koine to the west. Combat sorties were carried out in groups of eight to nine aircraft under the cover of fighters. The first to fly into the sky was Captain Novikov's group of nine crews. It was followed by the eights of Captain Zheleznyakov and Major Zhigarin.
Due to poor visibility in the target area, all groups flew at an altitude of 1200 - 800 m, and then attacked from a dive at an angle of 25 ° - 30 °, dropping bombs from a height of 600 - 400 m. Then the enemy was fired upon from cannons and machine guns. We spent 47 hundred-kilogram "land mines", 47 FAB-50, 940 rounds for VYa-23 cannons and 3000 rounds for ShKAS machine guns. The crews did not observe the results of the raids because of the haze and fires. There were no encounters with enemy fighters. There was only a weak fire from the MZA near Roggosen and Eilo, as a result of which one plane received holes in the plane.
Unfortunately, the next day was not without losses. The planes went to attack the German troops near Gretsch, Heinesbrück and Weisach. They were met by strong anti-aircraft fire. The crew of Lieutenant Mikhailov did not return from the first group. In the second junior lieutenant Maklakov made an emergency landing: about 20 km from the Ohelhermsdorf airfield on his plane, the engine began to malfunction. The pilot continued his flight, trying to reach the runway, but the engine stopped. Maklakov sat down directly on the forest. Il-10 was defeated and could not be restored. The wounded pilot and gunner were sent to the hospital.
On April 18, the regiment struck at enemy manpower and equipment in the Madlov, Gross-Ossing, Sheferberg and Klein-Debern area. The crews counted 12 explosions of great force and fires, as well as up to 13 burning cars. Two groups had encounters with FW 190 fighters, which, however, went into the clouds.
The next day, the 108th gshap "marked" with a blow to his own. Eight Il-10 attacked the troops moving along the road in the Shorbus area. Signal flares flew in response. The presenter dropped to shaving. It turned out that the troops were their own. Fortunately, five crews did not drop bombs, and the leading flight missed a little. There were no casualties.
On the sixth day of participation in hostilities, the plane of Junior Lieutenant Kutyev was shot down. He was hit by a medium-caliber anti-aircraft shell. According to the reports of the crews, the plane was torn off from the attack aircraft, it went into a tailspin and exploded on impact on the ground. On the same day, the first and only air battle took place. On the way to the goal of Captain Sirotkin's seven, the last attack aircraft in the ranks was unexpectedly attacked by a pair of FW 190s. The attack was carried out simultaneously from below and from above. IL-10 received six holes in the wing. The arrows drove the Germans away. The regiment's pilots did not come across any more enemy fighters.
On the same day, April 20, the crew of junior lieutenant Dreval did not return from a combat mission, which flew out with dozens of Il-10 to strike at artillery positions on the northeastern outskirts of Cottbus. According to crew reports, Dreval's plane caught fire over the target as a result of a direct hit from a small-caliber anti-aircraft projectile. The pilot began to pull into his territory. One parachutist jumped out of the plane near the Klein-Liskov highway. The attack aircraft crashed into the ground half a kilometer from the highway and exploded.
Dreval, who returned to the unit a few days later, told how events developed. On the way to the destination, the motor began to overheat. Taking measures to cool it down, Dreval, together with the group, flew to Cottbus. At the exit from the attack, the engine began to give strong interruptions, white smoke appeared from the pipes, which began to penetrate into the cockpit. Dreval turned the plane southeast and attempted to glide into his territory. When a flame appeared in the cockpit, the pilot gave the command to the arrow to jump and left the plane himself. Descending by parachute, he watched the explosion, and after landing he lost consciousness. He came to himself when the German soldiers took off his parachute. Then they were captured, escaped on the night of April 28-29, a happy meeting with infantrymen from the 77th Infantry Division and a joyful return to their native regiment on May 1.
The regiment suffered its last combat losses on April 30. In the afternoon, three Il-10 fours stormed the German units, surrounded by the village of Barut. They bombed and fired at them from a gentle dive. From the ground, there was intense fire from large-caliber machine guns. The "ten" of junior lieutenant Gorodetsky was already damaged on the first run. Gorodetsky "rolled away" from the target with a decline and left in a westerly direction. A plume of white smoke trailed behind the plane. No one saw him again, the fate of the crew remained unknown.
During the attack of the third four, the Il-10 of junior lieutenant Kuzmin was hit by anti-aircraft fire. The motor began to malfunction. White smoke escaped from the pipes, oil pressure dropped. But Kuzmin left the battle formation only after completing the assignment, and then sat down on the forced line near the village of Prirov. The crew returned to the regiment safe and sound on May 2. The plane went to be repaired.
In total, from April 16 to April 30, the pilots of the 108th Guards Division destroyed two and damaged four German tanks, destroyed four armored personnel carriers, burned 60 and damaged over 100 vehicles, destroyed four field artillery guns, fired on and damaged an armored train, destroyed up to 50 carts with loads, about 15 fires were created, the fire of two anti-aircraft artillery batteries was suppressed. According to official data, the regiment's irretrievable combat losses amounted to three aircraft, of which one was shot down by enemy anti-aircraft artillery fire and two did not return from a combat mission. Two pilots and four air gunners were killed. In addition, seven vehicles were damaged by anti-aircraft artillery fire. Non-combat losses - four attack aircraft, of which three were due to engine failure.
The combat use of the attack aircraft was hampered by the low reliability of the AM-42 engine. Frequent engine failure was caused by the lack of a dust filter in the air intake system. After the airfield dried up, the motors, which by this time had worked from 30 to 50 hours (so to speak, the first "critical" line), began to literally crumble. As a result, by the evening of April 30, there were only 11 combat-ready aircraft in the regiment. The remaining 18 "dozens" required repair. Another week of fighting, and there would be nothing to fly. Actually, it happened so. In May, the regiment no longer carried out any combat or combat training work, but was engaged in the repair of faulty materiel and received new vehicles.
Towards the very end of the war, namely on May 8, 1945, the crews of the 118th GSAP performed their first combat sortie on the Il-10. At its destination, in Siauliai, the regiment assembled only by April 19, 1945. Having 40 Il-10 aircraft, it entered the 225th Air Force of the 15th Air Army. In Siauliai, the flight personnel began intensive training according to the program approved by the division commander, Colonel Kornukov. By the beginning of hostilities, out of the total number of crews available, only four had not completed the program for entering into battle.
During its first and only combat day, the regiment attacked enemy troops and equipment in the Kandava region. They worked in fours, without cover, believing that the high speed and maneuverability of the tens would provide protection in the event of an attack by German fighters. In total, the regiment carried out 60 combat sorties. Irrecoverable losses amounted to three Il-10s, of which one was shot down by fighters and two by anti-aircraft artillery fire.
In the second sortie of the regiment, in the afternoon, the four Il-10, when leaving the attack, met with two pairs of FW 190. Lieutenant TS. Lozovoy lagged behind the group and began to move away from the fighters with a climb, which, of course, could not be done. An unforgivable mistake for a pilot who made 81 sorties on the Il-2. The rest of the stormtroopers engaged in a battle on bends, the Focke-Wulfs abandoned them and attacked Lozovoy's lone plane. They entered him from the side, from below and from above. The Soviet pilot maneuvered, firing cannons and machine guns. After two or three attacks by the Germans, a lone "silt", falling randomly, crashed into the houses below.
The other four stormtroopers at the exit from the attack were fired upon by heavy fire from the MZA. As a result, the "ten" junior lieutenant V.F. Malakhova received a direct hit. The shell pierced the engine pallet, which began to intermittently, and then caught fire. The group performed an energetic anti-aircraft maneuver and switched to low-level flight. The pilot of the downed plane began to choose a place for an emergency landing. Malakhov managed to land on the fuselage in the Zanti area (15 km south-west of Kandava). The crew received bruises, but remained intact, and the plane was wrecked and beyond repair. In approximately a similar situation, the Il-10 was lost to junior lieutenant Almukhamedov, who was making his first sortie. The pilot landed the damaged car 30 km southeast of Siauliai. Later, this attack aircraft was dismantled for parts.
Despite the relatively large combat losses, the new attack aircraft, according to the pilots of the 118th Gshap, have established themselves as reliable and fairly effective combat aircraft. The decision to use them without fighter cover was largely justified. An example of this is the air battle, which was conducted on the morning of May 8 by the crew of Senior Lieutenant P.M. Odnobokova (air gunner sergeant N. Averkov).
Everything was as usual. At the exit from the attack, the wingmen lagged behind the leader.
As a result, the Il-10 Odnobokov lost fire support and was immediately attacked from behind and above by a pair of FW 190. Noticing the enemy in time, Odnobokov abruptly threw off the gas, and the turn of the German fighter, slightly hooked on the attack aircraft, passed by, and followed her in front the Fokker itself turned out to be - the Il-10 cannon burst became fatal for the Luftwaffe pilot. The air gunner Sergeant N. Averkov did not disappoint either. With well-aimed machine-gun fire, he knocked out the wingman FW 190 that had gone into the attack. The Focke-Wulf started to smoke, turned it away, and withdrew towards its positions ... But the crew was credited with only one victory.
This was the combat fate of three regiments, which happened to use the IL-10 on the Soviet-German front. In total, from April 15 to May 8, 1945, the crews of the 571st Shap, 108th and 118th Guards performed 1,019 combat sorties. Of this number, 735 sorties accounted for 571st Shap and 224 - for 108th Guards.
All sorties were carried out only in simple weather conditions. On average, during the day, the regiments carried out 30-32 sorties in groups of 6-8 to 12-24 aircraft.
Attacked mainly point targets at the front line and in the immediate rear. The overwhelming number of sorties (over 98%) were carried out to attack tanks, vehicles, artillery in firing positions and enemy manpower on the battlefield, in places of concentration and on the roads.
As a rule, on combat missions of the Il-10 group, they went in the bearing of pairs, which was considered the best battle formation. On the approach to the target, the leader left the target to his left, "sighting" it with an up-collar at 90 ° and subsequent dive at an angle of 15 ° - 40 °. The exit from the attack was carried out with a right or left turn. In the first approach, bombing was usually carried out at the exit from a dive from a height of 300 - 400 m. In the subsequent ones, fire was fired from cannons and machine guns with a decrease down to low-level flight. The fire was opened from a distance of 400 - 500 m. At the same time, anti-aircraft weapons were suppressed with a lapel from the circle towards the firing point. Thanks to the increased speed and maneuverability of the Il-10, the crew then easily returned to their place in the ranks.
The pilots noted that "due to the ease of control and increased speed, the" circle "is easily closed, the anti-aircraft maneuver is effectively performed." At the same time, the aircraft flew with a bearing with a minimum formation depth and increased intervals. Single vehicles maneuvered both in height and in course. Combat turns, "snake", avoidance of the target on low level flight, etc. were used. The altitude maneuver was especially beneficial due to the high rate of climb of the Il-10 in comparison with the Il-2.
In most cases, the enemy was targeting anti-aircraft fire on the Il-10, concentrating it on the leading aircraft, usually before approaching the target. When our pilots used anti-aircraft maneuvers, gaps were often observed behind the group, since the German crews out of habit were guided by the flight data of the IL-2, the speed of which was lower.
Luftwaffe fighters attacked, as a rule, from behind, from above, from below and from the side, opening fire from long distances of -400 - 500 m. He was fired in long bursts up to a distance of 200 m, and then switched to medium bursts. There have been cases of meeting with the latest German FW 190D-9 fighters. The pilots indicated that they "have a wide range of speeds - the attack is carried out at a low speed, but the approach and departure at high speeds, and our fighters do not have time to react."
According to the general opinion, to cover a group of six to eight Il-10 aircraft in the air situation at the end of the war, it was enough to allocate two pairs of fighters, and for four - one pair.
In the Far East
IL-10 took part in a short war in the Far East. By the beginning of hostilities against Japan, the 26th chap of the 12th shad of the Pacific Fleet Air Force managed to pass the retraining program. It was the only regiment in the region armed with new attack aircraft. As of August 9, he had 36 Il-10.
On the morning of the first day of the war, 23 aircraft of the 26th Shap, under the cover of 31 Yak-9 from the 14th IAP, attacked ships and transports in the Korean port of Racine. Three groups of attack aircraft, six vehicles each, attacked Japanese ships from a dive at an angle of 25 ° - 30 ° in order to suppress anti-aircraft artillery (both naval and installed on the berths). Following the suppression groups, three minutes later, the fourth Il-10 group, led by the commander of the regiment, Major A.M. Nikolaev. The planes came in from different directions. Each masthead carried a pair of FAB-250 bombs. According to crew reports, one transport was sunk and one damaged.
Despite the fact that most of the forces were sent to suppress anti-aircraft artillery, during the attack, the Japanese anti-aircraft gunners shot down two Il-10 over the port, and lost a couple of "dozen" due to the damage received in the battle on the way back. Such significant losses of attack aircraft came as a complete surprise to the Soviet command.
A second blow to Racine was struck by 14 Il-10, divided into three groups. The first attacked the positions of anti-aircraft artillery, and the other two, after 8-10 minutes, entered the transports that were in the roadstead. They bombed again using the masthead method, from a height of 25 m. The crews announced the sinking of two transports, while the regiment lost another Il-10. In addition, most of the attack aircraft received damage from the MZA fire.
At dawn on August 10, the aircraft of the 26th Shap again took part in the raids on Racine. Of the 18 Il-10s that flew on a mission, one did not return to its airfield. The pilot managed to land the damaged attack aircraft in the sea, where the crew was picked up by the flying boat "Catalina".
The total irretrievable losses of the regiment in two days amounted to 6 Il-10. In addition, a significant number of new attack aircraft were damaged. The Il-2 lost about the same amount during the attacks on the port.
In general, the crews of the 26th Shap claimed to sink five transports.
The sinking of two ships was announced by bomber regiments and ten by dive bombers. In fact, of the 12 ships found by the emergency services in the port area, only five had pronounced damage from aerial bombs, the rest sank due to underwater holes (from torpedoes and mines). How to divide them among all those who took part in the raid on the port is unknown.
Further, the regiment operated only over land. On August 17, the targets for his pilots were the train trains and the track at the entrance to the tunnel north of Seisin. The task was carried out by two groups of attack aircraft. The first, of five Il-10s, bombed the Seisin-Racin railroad junction from a dive, and the second, with the topmast method, “rolled” the FAB-100 into the tunnel. By destroying it, the pilots dealt a serious blow to enemy communications in North Korea.