We were amazed today when we saw some fabulous images of a surprisingly complete and intact single seat variant of the Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik rising to the surface of a lake in Russia. While we don’t know all of the details yet, the recovery took place within the last week, conducted by the Wings of Victory Foundation. Their report indicates that the aircraft went down on August 22nd, 1943. Thirty four year old Captain Alexander Ivanovich Kaličev was flying the Sturmovik that day. He was the commanding officer for the 3rd Squadron of the Soviet Northern Fleet’s 46th ShAP (Attack Air Regiment). While attacking German forces at Luostari airfield near Petsamo in the Murmansk region, Kaličev‘s aircraft received hits from enemy flak. He managed to coax his crippled Sturmovik back into friendly territory before splashing down on a lake. Luckily, Kaličev managed to escape his aircraft before it sank some sixty feet to the muddy bottom below. He survived the war, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in the mid 1960s, and lived into his mid-80s.
The Sturmovik is in surprisingly good shape. It will soon be shipped to Novosibirsk, where the Wings of Victory Foundation will restore her back to flying condition, much as they have done for a previous Il-2 which they re-flew in 2017 (see below).
Many thanks indeed to the Wings of Victory Foundation and Sergey Detenyshev, Director of Development, for allowing us to use the fabulous images which accompany this article. We wish them the best of luck with their restoration of this historic airframe!
Flying the IL-2 – Read our article – Click HERE.