Squadrons of Il-2 Shturmovik aircraft pounced on the Germans during the invasion of Russia. The enemy knew the plane as “der Schwarze Tod” (Black Death). German flyers, being somewhat literal, called the plane “the Hunchback.” Other German aviators, well aware of the plane’s legendary toughness, called the Il-2 “Betonvogel” (loosely, the Concrete Bird).
The Russians had nicknames for the plane too. Soviet pilots lovingly called the plane “Ilyusha,” like the character in the famous novel “The Brothers Karamazov.” To the Red Army on the ground, the Il-2 was “the Winged Tank” or, perhaps most endearingly of all, “the Flying Infantryman.”
Come see the Il-2 fly for the first time for the public on Sept. 15 at the Flying Heritage Collection at Paine Field.