World of Warplanes IL-2 Family Ground Attackers Guide



World of Warplanes IL-2 Family Ground Attackers Guide by Primarch_Victus

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These way too chunky, underrepresented easy targets that are a necessary evil in every lobby. Some people hate them, some love them. Nevertheless we could not do without our flying artillery that rids the world of AA guns and also serves as a good decoy in case of emergency. Sadly the Sturmoviks (that’s what they are called in Russiandon’t have many lovers. Presumably many are put off by the low maneuverability, the feeling to helplessly hang in the air while Me 109s and Zeros buzz around the aircraft and generally the need to get used to an entirely new class of warplanes. However there’s more behind those sturdy flying tanks than just buckets with wings that spill out bombs from time to time. If piloted by a skilled airman, the Sturmovik becomes a tool of destruction, no matter if you are going for ground or air targets. These planes feel at home in both areas, and are able to lure those lucky enemy fighters into deadly traps that have been spared by their ferocious main guns. Here, I will show you historical information about the attack aircraft, recommend updates, configurations for both anti-ground and anti-air purposes and more using these four bullet points:
A) History
B) Upgrades and those you should buy
C) Role as bomber
D) Role as heavy fighter.
Let’s start off with the TSh-1.

TSh-1.

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History
This armored version of the Polikarpov R-5 was created by the design bureau Gregorovich and was one of the first attack aircraft of the red air fleet. The role it was meant for, supporting infantry and tanks on the advance as well as the use of armor (6mm), should later turn out to be groundbreaking, however, the plane’s aerial performanced was heavily affected by the extra plating, and the project was discontinued after three, the successor TSh-2 after ten prototypes. What a shame.

Upgrades and those you should buy
The TSh-1 is your basic plane, so you shouldn’t be able to make many mistakes. However, I recommend to buy the TSh-2 airframe as a start – more hitpoints as well as a little more speed ain’t bad in any situation. If you want to give the first Tyazheli Sturmovik more firepower, you can grab the additional PV-1 battery on every wing, keep in mind however that your airspeed and maneuverability will suffer a penalty and three fifths of the firepower you gain also are sufficient for the tier and may be enough to keep your plane in the fight. While the engine is key to unlock the next offspring of the TSh series, it doesn’t work wonders – your preference should decide if you either install it or requisition a second PV-1 machine gun for the comrade on the gunner seat.

Role as bomber
The TSh-1 isn’t much of a miracle when using it as a bomber – perhaps due to the fact that the bombs were removed in a recent patch. However, it is not useless against ground targets. The six PV-1 machine guns (an aircraft version of the famous Maxim HMGs) which can be upgraded with four more, possess considerable firepower against both planes and structures. If you want to blow up the enemy base, however, you’ll have to approach a second or third time.

Role as heavy fighter
Against the countless small birds that populate the lower tier matches the dakka (see also: More Dakka on google) of the TSh-1 wreaks havoc – if you get them in front of your nose of course. Comrade Flakovski is at best able to prevent a greatly embarassing death against enemy planes. It’s important to stay low and back – wait until a dogfight takes place, then extract the damaged/dangerous/isolated targets and pick them off from a distance, then you must be gone before the enemy takes note. Also, communicate with your wingmen – not many things are more dangerous than a covered attack aircraft, and if it just serves as a decoy. Try not to move too far away from your comrades – if you are suddenly stuck in a sticky situation help will arrive too late, or the dude who tries to help you may suddenly find himself under fire of an enemy aircraft at six o’ clock. If using the hit-and-run tactic described above, you should pick the machine gun upgrade, for active combat in which your slowness is used to your advantage I recommend six PV-1 guns.

TSh-3

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History
The TSh-3 was a design by Sergej Kochyerigin and Artyom Mikoyan, who later became famous with his MiG series fabricated in cooperation with Mikhail Gurevich. As the name implies, it was the legitimate successor of the first TSh planes, however, while these were a derivative of the R-5, a fighter, the TSh-3 was intended to be a ground-attack aircraft from the beginning. The fixed landing gear as well as the support struts that kept the wings together are elements that we also find in the design of later aircraft, such as the legendary German Ju-87. The prototype was armed with ten ShKAS machine guns and began its maiden flight piloted by the legendary Vladimir Kokkinaki. Its speed and maneuverability however were impeded – most likely by the thick armor that made three quarters of the total weight – and the project was abandoned. Despite its failure, the TSh-3 already showed elements that influenced later attack aircraft constructions, such as the legendary IL-2.

Upgrades and which you should buy
The first thing you should do is replace the old PV-1 machine guns with a total of ten ShKAS. These make you the indisputable king of firepower, and aircraft that is ahead of you at short to middle distances doesn’t stand a chance, especially when it attacks head-on. However, this battery is universally usable and serves as a universal remedy against both ground and air targets – Those AA gunners better be ready. If you are worried about your capability in dogfights (a little absurd considering your stats), don’t worry – you’ll lose exactly one point in this category, which won’t hurt with just 190 maneuverability points. Next I’d recommend an engine upgrade – despite the TSh-3 has much better airspeed values than its precursor, its climb rate can turn obstacles like the national park cliffs into deadly traps, especially when the engine is damaged – The four FAB-50 are goodies – I explicitly DO NOT recommend them, except for if you want something to deal with targets from great heights – however, as you are flying a GROUND attack aircraft, you should stick to the ground. Also, the ten ShKAS are an instant death sentence to every ground target except for the enemy base. The only real pro-FAB argument is the bombtrap, which however is difficult due to the fact that the FAB-50 have a very small explosion radius. To help the rear gunner keep up with the mid-tier aircraft, you should probably give him the modern ShKAS instead of the DP, this pays off and can seriously annoy enemies. Still, he only remains a threat to badly damaged enemies.

Role as bomber
The only modification you can really make to help the Tutchka mow down even more ground targets are the FAB-50. However, these should be saved for bombtraps or perhaps one of them for the enemy headquarters. Your ten ShKAS are the epitome of reliability – use them against everything. The TSh-3 does a great job at this profession, at least better than the previous incarnation of the ground attack tree.

Role as heavy fighter
In general, it is a good idea to use your low speed. Fly as slow as you can (turn off the engine and use flaps) and let your fighters engage the enemy in a dogfight, Always stay vigilant concerning fighters on your six – Although this juggernaut has flaps that can be extended with e (I think this is worth a mention as since the start of open beta I’ve seen ONE person using them) you still will lose every dogfight. It is a better strategy to slow down as much as possible as described above. That means that the enemy either has to overtake you (so you can dispatch a few cartridges into his direction), veer and approach you again (Comrade Flakovsky will have fun) or crash into you, which you should survive thanks to your high hitpoints – however, after a crash you instantly stall and emerge damaged. Often it is cleverer to bring two bombs into the battle and lure the enemy into the blast radius.

LBSh

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History
This is a pretty obvious derivative of the also playable Soviet version of the Vultee V-11 the Soviets produced. It shared quite a few similarities with the R-9, a scouting plane of the same time. However, only two prototypes were built as Sergey Kochyerigin had to give in to the R-10 built by Iossif Neman.

Upgrades and which you should buy
The LBSh is even lass maneuverable than the TSh-3. Also, every upgrade you choose has dire ramifications on the aircraft performance . Mind what you buy here.
The best engine is a must. It significantly increases your airspeed – an attribute in which the LBSh is superior to its predecessor anyway – and helps keeping the aircraft at the pace of small fighters so you can even hunt them yourself quite effectively with similar tactics to the TSh-3. The armament is a sensitive topic – this bird’s stock armament consists of the second worst GAA weapons in the entire game, being outgunned even by the TSh-1, only undercut by the Pegas. Despite they drag down your maneuverability even further (you can still stamp out the speed issues with the engine), I recommend the 20mm autocannons as they aren’t just very accurate but also possess a considerable amount of firepower, not rivaling the TSh-3, but being more accurate and ranged. The range advantage somewhat makes up for the lack of firepower as you can open fire much earlier. I could only spot a visual difference concerning the rear gunner. The new FAB-100 make bombtraps (and normal bombing of course) a lot easier. I can only advise mounting them.

Role as bomber
As mentioned above the new 100 kilo bombs produced by Basalt are hot stuff. If you are into traditional bombing, storm the enemy headquarters with them and let the rest fall on normal targets, if you wanna have full safety, use them for bombtraps, a tactic I will explain later. Use your 20mms for flak cannons AND enemy fighters as soon as you are out of bombs.

Role as heavy fighter
For this you mount none or two FAB-100 on your aircraft and go full fighter. Your higher airspeed is a considerable advantage when climbing obstacles like the national park cliffs, something the earlier models often had problems with. Your high speed even trumps some fighters. The higher range of your machine guns makes approaching tight dogfights even more effective. Takatakataka…..

Some tactics that might come in handy at this point of the GAA tree.

Despite the GAA has a lot of hitpoints it of course is not invincible. You are a hunchback whale in the air and thus should try to make a strategy for the Shturmovik, as it is more than simple turnfighting. Some people prefer heavy caliber waepons and bombs, others put their aicraft on diet to squeeze out the tiniest point of maneuverability. To support you on that, here is a bunch of tactics, mistakes you should avoid and aircraft you should avoid. A lot will be on the guides for the other aircraft but still, a little overview never is a bad thingy.

Common mistakes

Attempting to boost out the enemy
In most cases the enemy is waaaaaay faster than you – using this tactic gives him more time to shoot you down. However, with the IL-40s you have a chance to outrun piston aircraft.

Trying to dogfight
Apart from the Sh-Tandem and the IL-10 no ground attacker likes dogfights. In the blink of an eye a fighter is on your tail. Use only for bombtraps or if you are confident in your rear gunner.

Flying high
Up there you can bomb comfortably, but are instantly spotted by fighters. Most people do not even look down, so go as low as possible.

Not using your cannons against ground targets
It remains a mystery why they do not do it, but many shturmovik pilots do not even use their guns against flaks or other stuff and purely rely on rockets and bombs. That is as bad as using a He-100 against a flak cannon.

Tactics

Brake!
A ground attack aircraft is slooooow. Many enemy fighters also notice this and instantly are on your six. As written above, trying to boost away is a bad idea, the opposite is much more clever – extend your flaps and turn off the engine (e and s on the 0.4.1 mouse controls) and make the bird as slow as possible. The result is mostly well. The enemy might overtake you, which gives you a brief window to open fire on him, approaches again which wins comrade Flakovsky on the gunner seat precious seconds OR RAMS INTO YOU. Any GAA that still has a moderate amount of HP remaining should survive this, the fighter however….well. ATTENTION: A collision is not good if you are already badly damaged or flying low, as you instantly stall after the crash. If the enemy does not take any countermeasures against a collision it is often clever to try a dodge maneuver. Also, heavy fighters often have sufficient firepower to down you before you can even think of the e and s keys.

Use bombs as boobie traps!
If you want to avoid the risk of a collision and get rid of that jerk on your tail at the same time, it often is a good idea to sacrifice a bomb to do so. Fly low and brake as described above to let him approach (the radar you can activate in the interface options which shows your immediate sorroundings helps a lot on that trick) Let him approach and drop a bomb as soon as the enemy is close. As your bombs do not do that much to you since the last patch, you can often get rid of unpleasant aircraft behind you with this tactic or at least take some with you. This works best with smaller bombs, that can be dropped if you are six meters over the ground, but do not forget to boost after that. Bigger bombs (AKA FAB-250/500) however tear you apart if you are below 60 meters while throwing them, often shaking your pilot and killing you. Instantly boost and pull the joystick back as far as you can when dropping one near the ground. CAREFUL: The same problem with braking: Heavy caliber weaponry has taken you down before you can even think about grabbing the space bar.

Use map hazards to your advantage!
For some of these tricks it is necessary to turn off the leveling off in the menu (when using mouse 0.4.1), a beginner’s help no one needs. Certain map hazards can be passed by you even better as you are less maneuverable. The chance that an inexperienced fighter pilot makes a mistake here and crashes are high
For instance:
The golden gate bridge on the bay map. If you brake here, an enemy WILL have to ram you or the bridge.
The ice canyon in the arctic region, Made for bombtraps and your tail gunner.
The arc on the pacific ocean map as well as the cliffs on the island headquarters.
The clouds on the asian border map. If you have bombs with you, the advantage is yours as the bomb crosshairs show where the ground is. Altitude indicator helps here.
Cliffs on National Park and El Halluf.

Useth thy flaps!
Do not forget that flaps give you more lift and make you more maneuverable. Catch heavy fighters off-guard who think they can outturn you.

Fly low!
Ilyushin squadrons flew ten meters above the ground. Of course twenty do as well, but you know the drill. Fighters cannot play their advantages out so well here.

Boom and zoom tactics!
Death from above below! Pretty much reversed boom-and-zoom. Surprise an enemy above you with your powerful cannons.

Use hills as a cover!To give comrade Flakovsky more chances and interrupt enemy fire.

Mortal enemies

The following planes are a dangeresque. Let your teammates deal with them if possible.
Bf 109 F/G/Z
Me 410
Me 609
Me 262
Me 262 HG III
Every other attack aircraft that has more firepower than you.
Japanese planes after Tier VII.
Any other plane should be easy prey for you with the tactics above.

Premium Birds

So. Premium birds. Heh.

As usual with premiums, they use crippling overspecialization – having an ability at which they excel, but not much else. For this part I’ll skip the “Upgrades and those you should buy” section. So, let’s go with the only T1 premium plane by now, the Pegas.

Pegas

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History
Built by Tomashevich, the Pegas was intended to be a cheap tank hunter, usable for precision strikes against armored convoys. Armed with a 12,7mm cannon as in-game but also with two 23mm cannons and 500 kilograms of bombs, four prototypes were built, with one of them being used in the battle of Kursk where it shot multiple tanks. Next to the IL-2 it was inferior of course.

Role as bomber
The Pegas is the only T1 aircraft with bombs. Those MIGHT look like a strangely shaped chin, but there are worse comparisons concerning urology. Use that to your advantage and clear strategically important AA emplacements, these are a threat to your comrades. Then simply go heavy fighter.

Role as heavy fighter
The 12,7mm cannon stamps some pretty nasty holes into enemy planes. Use that to your advantage and make use of usual GA tactics, pick off isolated planes from a distance. Also, you can start bombtrapping – burnt children fear the fire, but the children on lower tiers aren’t burnt yet. Note that the Pegas is the slowest plane in the game – you can bring it down to below 100 km/h without stalling. Make use of that and act as a decoy if necessary.

BSh-1

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History
The BSh-1, short for Bronirovanny Shturmovik, was a Soviet derivate of the Vultee V-11 bomber produced under license from the US. The Russians however did not like the thin armor and made the damn thing even more durable. That aggravate the performance issues already present, and after 31 prototypes the production was canceled. They did, however, serve as courier aircrafts for Aeroflot, and were used by the red army for the same purpose during the war. The V-11 in general didn’t really get much love from the Americans either; its crippling overspecialization made them jump into the conclusion that fighter-bombers such as the P-38 or super-heavy fighter-bombers like the B-25 would be the better choice for that job.

Role as bomber
The BSh-1 carries a total of eight bombs, the most a plane can carry in the entire game. That of course makes it the scourge of small ground targets and ideal to keep those damn flak cannons of your teammates. Try to make your teammates protect you (nice going if you manage to do so) or act as a bomb-trapping killing factory. I once took a BSh-1 for a match in cooperation with my IL-2 – I weakened the targets using 23mms and he bombed them to death and bombtrapped followers.

Role as heavy fighter
The BSh-1s unspectacular firepower, speed and maneuverability make it sub-par in firefights. Hold on your bombing runs and bomb those foolish enough to follow you, apply usual hit-and-run tactics.

Sh-Tandem

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History
The Sh-Tandem was designed by Pyotr Grushin to make a more agile concept of a Sturmovik, sharing similarities with contemporary Polikarpov fighters. In opposite to Ilyushin’s and Suchoi’s concepts, the Tandem aimed to be more agile, not a heavily armored behemoth of the skies. It featured a tandem wing with two vertical stabiliers underneath it. The even weight distribution between the front and the rear allowed for heavy loads, including the rear gunner’s ball turret, in which he had a wide field of wire. The Tandem performed well, but sadly was discontinued after three prototypes.

Role as bomber
The Tandem’s stock configuration comes with two powerful FAB-100 bombs capable of pounding non-headquarter ground targets in one hit. You can make a quick run for the headquarters or take out some flak before tossing yourself into combat or keep them for bombtrapping. The Tandem is not extraordinary good at bombing; its strengths lie elsewhere.

Role as heavy fighter
The Sh-Tandem features the same armament as the BSh-1, four ShKAS machine guns. Underwhelming you say? Certainly. But in opposite to the flying brick called the BSh-1 this baby is suited for dogfighting. Yes, that is right. A ground attack aircraft able to dogfight. It is the most maneuverable ground attacker and also quite fast for its tier. This thing is the scourge of heavy fighters who think they can outmaneuver you with ease and think you are their priority targets. Light fighters…are what bombs are for. It also has 1/4 more HP than the LBSh, so it is quite durable.
Alright, now the shitty stuff is done. The fun starts at the IL-2.

IL-2

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History
In 1936, the Soviet ministry of aviation launched a contest for a multi-purpose aircraft called “Ivanov” It was supposed to do tank/bunker/infantry busting, bombing and have some fighter capabilities as well. Originally Sergey Ilyushin did not even want to participate, but he made thoughts about an aircraft that combined a reasonable balance of armor, firepower and speed and submitted a concept in 1938 to the central comitee. The Soviet inspectors were thrilled by the ripe concept and authorized the construction of a prototype, the so-called TsKB-55 (Tsentralnoye Konstruktorskoye byuro, Central construction bureau). However, the tests proved the Mikulin-35 engine was insufficient, and Ilyushin asked Alexander Mikulin personally for a stronger powerplant, which left the production lines in 1939, when the German invasion in Poland already was a weather light for the upcoming biggest invasion in history. The version with the new engine was named BSh-2, but then the TsKB decided that a rear gunner was unnecessary, and Ilyushin had to make drastic changes to the concept. To make matters worse, the production was halted until 1940, when Ilyushin and Mikulin talked to Stalin personally who ordered a large number of these planes to be built. However, the red air fleet only received 250 planes until the war started.
The second part of the history chapter will be in the IL-2 (t) guide.

Upgrades and which you should buy
At the beginning the IL-2 is equipped with four ShKas machine guns and not really bright attributes. The 2cm cannons you however are instantly available should you have bought them at the LBSh, so mount them as soon as possible. My recommendation are the 23mm cannons – those do some neat damage and do not steal too much maneuverability while retaining a pretty good amount of firepower. The 37mm cannons are for those who want to rely purely on their teammates to protect them (or those who want to play flying tank destroyer and enjoy the cheat accusations after instant kills), but can provide hours of fun as well. By now, you should have the FAB-100 equipped as your standard bombs. Also, the RS-132 can be used against ground targets if your guns don’t crack them open as well as against enemy planes in a swarm. The AM-38 engine is a straight upgrade as in real life, pick it without a second doubt as the IL-2 is not the fastest ground attacker. The rear gunner update does not do much, as the IL-2 has no rear gunner. Poor thingy.

Role as bomber
Oh, Mama. Bomber fans will REALLY like this bird. The 23mms already pick off all targets quite fast but the 37mms are the scourge of the ground. Flak emplacements, tremble! Combined with the eight RS-132 (by the way the same that the Katyushas launched) and FAB-100 bombs you are a nightmare for ground targets. Try to coordinate with your teammates or use bombtraps however, as you won’t persist very long without a tail gunner.

Role as heavy fighter
Here you can pick the agile Ilyusha with her 23mm cannons or the actual flying tank with dual 37mm fangs. When using the latter, make use of your low speed as the 37mm cannons are REALLY REALLY heavy. They have quite a long range but are very inaccurate, however, onehits are a delicious thingy. Thinking practical, there is no reason to pick them over the 23mm, but I prefer to use these anyway. “Why do you do that, Primarch?” will the wimps ask now. “Why not?” do I ask. BIG GUN IS MANLY.
(Yes, Freud was right)

IL-2M3

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History
As it turned out, Sergey Ilyushin was right – a gunner was indispensable to keep the enemy fighters at bay. The 7mm armor however was sufficient during the entire war – it had the ability to let even 20mm shells go “DING” without any damage and also resisted higher caliber guns with the proper deflection angle. Armed with rockets, bombs and powerful 23mm and later 37mms the IL-2M3 was the nightmare of the German tanks and redefined the term “flying artillery” together with the Stuka.

Stalin’s famous quote “The IL-2 is as important to our red army as bread and air” contributed to the IL-2 becoming a legend as well as the fact that it is one of the most built aircraft in history and an entire series of flight simulators was named after it. The Soviets affectionately called it “Ilyusha” or – less flattering – “Gorbun”, hunchback. It was dreaded among the Germans who dubbed it “Iron Gustav”, “Concrete death”, “Butcher” and “Black death”. My grandpa always told me about them, he was stationed somewhere in Austria at an AA gun. Since an IL-2 shot him once there was a 23mm shell sticking in his leg, and he limped until his death.

Upgrades and those you should buy
The VYa cannons are carried over from IL-2 to IL-2. As they are not bad at all, I can only urge you to equip them instead of the old 20mms from the LBSh. The airframe is a good choice for the first upgrade – 75 more hitpoints and one speed point more are neat. The engines are barely an improvement at all, but necessary if you want the IL-8. If not, buy the rear gunner upgrade just to go on the cannons or unlock the FAB-250, as they are used in the rest of the tree. Finally you buy the new faster-firing 37mm cannons. Bombs and rockets as needed, be advised though that both may be more efficient against aircraft if properly used.

Role as bomber
As with the predecessor, pack everything on it. Your gunner, especially when upgraded to a heavy machine gun, now is a real threat to the enemy, and a good salvo can remove 20 HP from the enemy. Combined with new 37mm horns as well as better speed and HP you can massacre ground units even more effective.

Role as heavy fighter
The 23mms are the universal remedy to everything in front of you, but a little lackluster on head-ons especially against heavy fighters of the same tier, who boast a dreadful arsenal of 20/30mm cannons. Unpack the 20mms to tickle the last bit of maneuverability out of your beloved IL, but be advised that they really lose against most aircraft. The 37mm are delicious one-shotting goodness, as usual. Approach a crowded fight from a distance and remain unseen until it is too late. Take FAB-250 with you if your feeling for the right distance to bombtrap is not that well, and FAB-100 for more efficiency and maneuverability.

IL-8 or IL-10?
The next tier are the scrapped IL-8 and the successful and fast IL-10. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, let’s start with the IL-8:
+ High firepower with awesome new 45mm cannons
+ High HP
+ Can ferry lots of bombs
+ Able to brake to extremely slow speeds to let the enemy approach until he can be bombed
- The worst turning IL in the entire tree if fully loaded
- Low speed is a hindrance if the you need to get from A to B quickly
- Guns are basically useless against planes above you
- The 45mm module is expensive as hell
IL-10:
+ Fastest piston IL
+ Extremely maneuverable for a GAA, only the Sh-Tandem turns better
+ Quadruple NR-23 cannons grind both air and ground targets in seconds
+ Can be used as a heavy fighter at low altitudes with no problem
- More expensive than the IL-8
- The better armament + airframe is extremely expensive
- Less HP than the first IL-2
- Guns overheat fast and are not that good against ground targets
Let’s see if it works this time.

IL-8

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History
In 1942 the war on the eastern front buried millions of soldiers. The IL-2 was feared by the Germans and loved by the Soviets. But despite the anti-tank capabilites of the IL-2, its anti-bunker performance was sub-par. The Shturmovik command thus required a version with more firepower and a heavier payload. At the same time, Mikulin developed the AM-42 powerplant. Sergey Ilyushin dug out the IL-2 plans again and designed a bigger, sturdier, better armed version of the famous attack aircraft. Soon, two prototypes were built, however the project was discontinued due to the superior performance of the IL-10.

Upgrades and those you should buy.
First, the airframe should be what you’re going for. It provides a neat number of 810 HP and a tiny speed boost. Then, I recommend the new AM-42 engine, both of those elements are fundamental for any configuration. Use the 37mm cannons of the IL-2 (t) until you have enough XP for the 45mm cannons, before I recommend buying the 2cm rear gun to deal better with fighters and heavy fighters which get an awful lot of firepower on this tier. Use bombs and rockets as you please, mind that the IL-8 is a bombtrapping monster with its 6 FAB-100.

Role as bomber
This IL is a waaaaaay too big version of the IL-2M3. It has the same maneuverability, but more speed and hitpoints and, should you purchase the 45mm cannons, more firepower. The latter eat through ground targets like a knife through shit, utilize rockets against the more durable ones. Utilize your slow speed, your gunner and your bombs as usual and mind the insanely well-armed Me 609 appearing on that tier.

Role as heavy fighter
Those 37/45mm cannons are a oneshotting gift of the WG devs. Stay low and back (perhaps do a 360 at start to not fly in the same wave as the fighters) and pick off unaware targets. Note that the effective range of the heavy cannons is actually about 900m, expect no or extremely rare hits on higher distances. Take some bombs with you as an insurance and try to act as a bait for enemy fighters if no heavies are around.

IL-10

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History
In 1943, Sergey Ilyushin came up with a heavily armored fighter interceptor, the IL-1. While it had better performance, the Soviet VVS rejected the concept as armored fighters were considered too slow to intercept modern bombers. Ilyushin however saw the potential it had and decided to turn it into a new ground attacker. The air craft was more compact, modern and aerodynamically optimized. It won a contest against the IL-8 and Sukhoi Su-6. The Soviets called it “Ilyushin’s beast”, as the full-metal construction made it even sturdier than the IL-2, while retaining better performance due to being designed as a fighter. It saw combat in the final hours of WWII and the Korean war, where it proved reliable, but inferior to modern jet aircraft.

Upgrades and those you should buy
The stock IL-10 is the fastest piston ground attacker at the moment and also takes the second spot in maneuverability, only being outturned by the T4 Sh-Tandem. Utilize these strengths to your advantage and go hunt down some fighters. The stock armament (the IL-2 VYa-23 cannons and two ShKAS machine guns) is not that bad but also not that good. When researching the new NS-23 guns, you might note that they have less damage than the stock guns. Do not use them at first unless you want to have maximum speed and maneuverability. The grind to the new airframe is a pain, I admit that, but the reward in the form of quad-mount 23mm cannons is pretty nice. These pack a decent punch against ground AND air targets, but overheat quite fast. Fortunately you don’t need to buy both gun upgrades twice, and can merely buy them instead of having to research the ones in place of the ShKAS machine guns. Before getting the NR-23, I recommend affording the 20mm turret gun – it is quite effective against light fighters. As the IL-10 is already quite fast with the AM-42, the new engine is a goodie, especially as it may make bombtrapping more difficult. If you want to retain your performance when trying to be a super-heavy fighters or to equalize the speed disadvantage, take it without any regrets. Your payload does not change, so pick some FAB-100 and RS-132.

Role as bomber
The IL-10 is a bad traditional GAA. The stock 23mms pack are pretty meh against ground targets and the higher tier guns overheat too fast. Utilize bombs and rockets to eliminate targets. The new rear gunner packs quite a punch against fighters of the same tier, but loses against one of the gun-toting jets that often appear. Utilize bombtrapping to get rid of them or use your mobility – jets are often too fast to turn effectively.

Role as heavy fighter
This is the IL-10′s duty, a super-heavy fighter. Thanks to your maneuverability you can strafe enemy fighters that turn in front of you with lethal efficiency, often killing them in a few seconds even with the lowest armament. Against heavy fighters that dare to engage you head-on your rockets make short work of them if fired at about 1600 (~1700 against fast jets) meters. Use bombtrapping as you are used to it and engage fighters that fly about 200 meters above you from below with an immelmann maneuver. You lurk near the ground, waiting for the prey above to come down.
I personally really like this aircraft, but there should be a video guide on it. People who expect a direct upgrade to the IL-2M3 will most likely be disappointed as they do not know how this thing really shines. I have scored dozens of sky scourges and aces with it, it really is a gem.

IL-20

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History
In 1947, the TSKB launched a contest for a new sturmovik to all aircraft manufacturers. Ilyushin’s attempt to meet the requirements was the IL-20, utilizing a 3000 HP engine, new 23mm autocannons as well as the most notable feature, a cockpit mounted directly above the engine. This would have guaranteed sighting targets directly underneath the aircraft at a dive angle of 37°. The performance was poor and in case of an emergency landing the pilot would have been most likely turned into a bloody mess by the propeller bits flying around. Also, the VVS wanted a jet aircraft, and Ilyushin’s concept was rejected.

Upgrades and those you should buy
Buy the new airframe. It unlocks the new Klimov engine and gives an awesome armor boost. This and the engine are badly needed, as the IL-20 is a downgrade to the IL-10. Buy the FAB-500 bombs early as you will need them for the rest of the tech tree. If you picked the IL-10, the quad-mount NR-23 is already researched (Note: As of patch 0.5.3 the IL-10 loses the NR-23 and thus does not provide early research on the IL-20) and all you have to purchase is the giant NS-57, the biggest caliber in the game. I recommend the NR-23, as the big guns are almost useless against planes (in the 1% of cases you actually hit someone though, it usually is a onehit…), if you are going for ground targets, sure, pick ‘em. This is the last IL with guns larger than 23mm, so enjoy it. It remains the NR-23 gunner, whose awesome performance can be purchased whenever you want – at the beginning if you are careful, or as the final upgrade if you want to rely on your bombtrapping skills. You got new TRS-82 – they do almost the same damage as the RS-132, but you got more of them, 12 total. Use them wisely.

Role as bomber
If you got used to the IL-10, I’ve got bad news for you. This thing can basically just be used as a bomber – but its top armament makes it suited for long bombing runs. Coordinate with your colleagues and try to let your tail gunner come to play. Bombs also are a possibility, but be careful: Their giant explosion radius makes pulling up sharply necessary when bombing only a few dozen meters above the ground and are in general a waste if not used on enemy aircraft or the base.

Role as heavy fighter
The IL-20 with stock armament is basically an IL-10 with more armor and less speed/maneuverabilty. Use it accordingly. The NR-23 make it even better, except for heavy fighters of the same tier (the MK-108 grinds steel like a knife would do with butter – avoid frontal engagements unless you use rockets.) and the NS-57 a luck based machine. A onehit is satisfying, but do not rely on them, they are inaccurate as hell.

This is my least favorite IL, but create your own opinion on it.

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