The Plane that could Receive a Panzer Attack and Keep Flying

Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik

Vasily Emelianenko was nervous. His entire unit of rugged Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik ground-attack aircraft had just decimated a German-controlled airfield in Eastern Ukraine. The Storm Birds had swiftly risen from the hills and rained hell on two rows of Luftwaffe aircraft. Despite the low altitude at which they were flying, German machine-gun fire did little damage to the Sturmovik’s armor. However, a few moments later, one lucky shot made its way to Emelianenko’s engine, and his aircraft barely reached the tall pines surrounding the enemy airfield. With oil pressure rapidly plummeting to zero, Emelianenko headed toward Soviet lines while German fighters were relentlessly chasing him. His Sturmovik then made a hard landing in open terrain, and the young pilot now had to run into the woods before a German sniper picked him up.

Credit Dark Skies