Over 43,000 Il-2/10s were built between 1941 and 1955, more than any other combat aircraft in history, making this one of the most important Soviet aircraft deployed in World War II (1939-1945). Built originally as a two-seater, the Il-2 had lost the rear gunner's position by the time the aircraft started to reach frontline units. Armed with ground-attack rockets, the aircraft proved deadly against Wehrmacht panzers as pairs of Il-2s roamed the frontline at low level. However, the Shturmoviks (armored attackers) were vulnerable to attack from the rear by enemy fighters, so Ilyushin reverted to the two-seat layout in September 1942. Oleg Rastrenin provides a fascinating account of the complex development history of a plane that was crucial to Russia's defense. From Stalingrad to Kursk to Berlin, this book charts the airplane's vital contribution to the most famous battles of the Eastern front.
"It is a sign of the times that this latest entry in Osprey's Combat Aircraft series was written by a Russian aviation historian, Oleg Rastrenin, with color profiles by Russian artist Andrey Yurgenson. This gives readers an unprecedented look, through the latest research and photos, at the organization, doctrine and tactics of the Shtumoviki during the "Great Patriotic War," as well as the planes' most successful and heroic aircrews." -Jon Guttman, Aviation History (September 2009)
"Overall, this book is an outstanding addition to Osprey's Second World War titles and one of the best sources available on Soviet ground attack operations available in English... [The] author's obvious knowledge of the subject and his use of material not readily available to non-Russian scholars, combined with an effort to place Il-2 operations into their proper context make this one of the very best titles in the Combat Aircraft series." -World War II Quarterly (May 2008)
"This title is one of the best Osprey Combat Aircraft series I have seen in a while. The level of research is thorough, yet the text is easy to follow. The story of the Il-2 is a fascinating one, and one that needs wider exposure. This title goes a long way to giving this famous plane its due." -Chris Banyai-Reipl, Internet Modeler (May 2008)
"This story is superbly illustrated with period photos of the men and some of their aircraft... All in all, another superlative book in the Combat Aircraft series. One I know you will enjoy reading." -Scott Van Aken, modelingmadness.com (April 2008)
Il-2 Shturmovik Guards Units of World War 2 by Oleg Rastrenin