Aviation of Word War II
By the end of 1942, engine builders created the forced AM-38F engine, which developed a takeoff power of 1720 hp. From January 1943, these engines began to be installed on serial two-seater IL-2. The increased power of the new AM-38f made it possible to restore the normal bomb load of a two-seat attack aircraft to 400 kg, as well as bring its flight data closer to the level of a single-seat aircraft. To improve the stability characteristics, the attack aircraft wing was given a slight sweep (the so-called "arrow" wing). By the end of 1941, due to a lack of aluminum, part of the structure (rear fuselage and wing panels) was replaced with wooden ones, which made the structures heavier and reduced the flight performance and survivability of the aircraft in combat. The situation changed only in 1944.
During serial production, various improvements were made to the design of the IL-2. For example: additional 4 - 6 mm armor plates were installed on top of the rear gas tank, above the engine and the pilot's head. The struts of the main landing gear are reinforced. The tail wooden part of the aircraft was also additionally reinforced. The volume of the rear gas tank has been increased. A dust filter was installed on the engine air intake. New equipment was also installed on the aircraft: an additional electric bomb releaser, a system for filling gas tanks with inert gas, a more convenient VV-1 sighting sight, and an RPK-10 radio semi-compass (not on all aircraft). Since May 1943, fiber-protected gas tanks were installed on the aircraft. They better ensured tightness when they were shot through with bullets, and besides, they were 55 kg lighter. Unfortunately, the gunner's cockpit was installed outside the armored hull, the armored hull, which completely protected the gunner and the "repair kit" for retrofitting the attack aircraft in the field, was released only in the spring of 1944, and the aircraft was put into production only in the spring of 1945. Thus, in 1944, only attack aircraft "modified" in the field with improved armor appeared on the fronts.
Insufficient flight data of the aircraft and armor were overcome only with the installation of a more powerful 2000 horsepower AM-42 engine, with its installation a new Il-10 attack aircraft appeared, but unfortunately it appeared too late - only in 1944.
Weapons. A diverse composition of weapons (two machine guns of 7.62 mm caliber, two cannons of 20 or 23 mm caliber, eight rockets of 82 or 132 mm caliber and 400-600 kg of bombs) ensured the defeat of a wide variety of targets: infantry, columns of troops, armored vehicles, tanks, artillery and anti-aircraft batteries, means of communication and communications, warehouses, trains, etc.
Initially, it was planned to install four ShKAS machine guns in the wing for firing forward with 500 rounds of ammunition for each barrel, one ShKAS machine gun on the turret for firing backwards with 500 rounds of ammunition.
Shvak and MP-6 cannon mounting options were tested. By order of Shakhurin No. 462 dated May 21, 1941. the MP-6 cannon was discontinued and from November 41, IL-2s were produced only with VYa-23 cannons with 150 rounds per gun.
All serial IL-2s retained two machine guns 7.62-mm ShKAS with a total supply of 1,500 rounds.
Il-2 with ShFK-37
The constant increase in the combat capability of the IL-2 was largely due to the continuous improvement of its weapons.
At the end of December 1942, the 688th shal of the 228th division of the 16th VA received 8 single-seat attack aircraft Il-2 built by the aircraft factory No. 18 with an AM-38 engine, armed, in addition to two ShKAS wing-mounted machine guns, with two 37-mm aircraft guns designed by OKB-15 B.G. Shpitalny ShFK-37 (Spitalny fuselage-wing caliber 37 mm).
Il-2 attack aircraft with ShFK-37 cannons took part in the combat operations of the air regiment from 12/27/42 to 01/23/43 near Stalingrad during the elimination of the German encircled grouping in the 65th Army zone of Lieutenant General P.I. Batov.
For the entire period of military testing at the front near Stalingrad, Il-2 with ShFK-37 made 75 combat sorties with a total flying time of 68 hours 42 minutes, performing tasks together with Ilams armed with VYa and ShVAK guns. Combat sorties were carried out both unaccompanied and accompanied by fighters. One Il-2 with ShFK-37 was shot down over the target, the second was shot down (it landed on a forced line on the front line in no man's land and, due to the impossibility of evacuation, was destroyed by bombs). The rest of the cars were damaged. From the beginning to the end of the military trials, only two Ila passed, which completed 44 sorties.
Test evaluations showed that in real combat conditions, a pilot with good flight and shooting training on the Il-2 with ShFK-37 could ensure the probability of hitting a German medium tank of the Pz.III G type in one run (attack from the side, glide angle 25- 30 °, the distance of opening fire 300-400 m) is about 0.04-0.02, and for an armored personnel carrier of the Sd Kfz 250 type - about 0.09-0.06. That is, for guaranteed destruction on the battlefield of one unit of Wehrmacht armored vehicles, it was necessary to allocate at least two dozen armored "Ils".
As a result, the installation of ShFK-37 cannons on the Il-2 aircraft did not find support among the majority of combatant pilots. As a result, Il-2 with ShFK-37 was not put into large-scale serial production.
Il-2 with NS-37
In 1943, two NS-37 guns of 37 mm caliber were installed under the wing of the Il-2, used against enemy armored vehicles, although the widely publicized destruction of tanks from aviation artillery fire was unlikely to be such. The defeat of heavy tanks from aircraft guns could only occur with a direct vertical hit on the tank lid, and in fact, the loss of tanks from artillery fire from aviation during the war amounted to 4-5%, although in some operations the losses reached 10-15%. The point is also that 37-mm guns have a large return. Installed on the wing, at a considerable distance from the longitudinal axis of the aircraft, they begin to turn the aircraft when fired. As a result, the 37-mm cannon projectiles are strongly dispersed during firing, and aimed fire at such small objects as tanks is very difficult. So, for example, during tests of the Il-2 with NS-37 cannons, carried out at the Air Force Research Institute in 1943, it turned out that it was possible in principle to defeat an enemy medium tank with a 37-mm cannon projectile - armor up to 110 mm was penetrated by a sub-caliber projectile, but out of the total ammunition load of 120 shells (60 for each gun), only 3% or 4 shells reached the target.
The use of cumulative bombs significantly increased the effectiveness of the IL-2 in the fight against tanks and other armored vehicles. When such bombs were dropped by one attack aircraft from a height of 75-100 m, almost everything in the 15x75 m band was destroyed. into service in 1942.
Due to the exceptionally large role that the IL-2 played in the fight against the Wehrmacht troops, it became one of the most famous aircraft of the Second World War. "Airplane-soldier" - that's what the front-line soldiers called it.
Il-2U (U Il-2, Il-2 training) is a training version of the double Il-2. An instructor's seat with a second control was equipped in the rear cockpit.
Armament - as simplified as possible: two ShKAS machine guns (750 rounds each), two RS-82 shells and 200 kg of bombs. Speed - 396 km / h at the ground. Piloting technique has been simplified.
Similar alterations were made by the personnel of the front-line units in the field workshops. Produced in small series in 1943-1945. So, in 11 PARMs (field aircraft repair shops), a training version of the Il-2 was independently released.