This article was written with the assistance of A.I. technology, and has been edited and fact-checked by Melly Alazraki.
The Ilyushin Il-2 was the most produced aircraft by any nation in World War II, according to multiple aviation publications. With a production count estimated at 36,183, the Il-2 was a key part of the Soviet Union’s air power.
The single-engine Il-2 was designed with new technologies that were developed during the war years, and it was made entirely from armor plating. The aircraft was also designed to be easy to manufacture, which was important given the scale of the war, and helped give the Soviet’s vital air power on the Eastern Front.
Instrumental in hobbling the German invasion of the Soviet Union, Ilyushin Il-2 began pounding Nazi convoys and infantry within days of the start of their march toward Moscow.
Heavily armored, Ilyushin Il-2s were all but impossible to shoot down with machine guns and 20 mm cannons alone. Capable of carrying about 1,000 pounds of explosives, early versions of the aircraft were single seaters and had two 23 mm cannons and two 7.6 mm machine guns mounted in the wings. Later versions were equipped with two 37 mm cannons and an extra seat for a tail gunner.
Click here to see the most-produced aircraft by any nation during WW2.
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