Hitler’s invasion of Russia on 22 June 1941 swept across the countryside destroying everything in its past and forcing the Soviets into a long and relentless retreat, drawing their forces back to defend their major cities such as Moscow and Stalingrad.
By the time the German 6th Army had laid siege to Stalingrad, the Russian winter had well and truly set in but despite their rapid and successful advancement, the German lines had been stretched thin and supplies were running low.
Exhausted, cold and battle weary, gaps began to appear across the German lines as the vicious snows stalled trucks, tanks and troop movements - it was all the Soviets needed….
On 19 November, Soviet forces launched Operation Uranus which broke through the German southern lines and led to the encirclement of Axis forces laying siege to Stalingrad. The German High Command were completely stunned - the hunters had now become the hunted.
Hitler declared that his Army would never surrender and the 6th Panzer Division, arriving from recent victories in the French lowlands supported by the Luftwaffe, pushed north to break through the Soviet lines and allow the trapped German 6th infantry to attempt a breakout.
It was to be a disastrous and futile exercise as the relieving armoured divisions simply did not have the fuel or manpower to reach their comrades in time and on the 31st of January 1943, German Gen. Friedrich Paulus, Commander in Chief of the German 6th Army at Stalingrad surrendered to the Soviets.
The remnants of the 6th Panzer Division and the Southern Army were pushed relentlessly south until they were finally able to regroup and take up heavily reinforced defensive positions across the Kuban River Delta on the Taman peninsula between the Sea of Azoov and the Black Sea on the Crimea.
The Luftwaffe had been tasked with providing air cover over the bridgehead a dispatched one of their most successful Jadgeschwander JG52 equipped with the new Bf-109 G ‘Gustav’ variants which featured the more powerful 1,455 HP DB 605 engine and updated armament packages. .
JG 52 were joined by JG 54 which included the elite Udet, Molders and Green Hearts Jadgeschwander groups. Equipped with the Focke Wulfs 190s and the Henschel Hs 129 ground-attack aircraft, together the Luftwaffe fielded a combined force of some 1000 aircraft operating from highly fortified bases along the northern borders of the Crimea.
The stage was set for one of the most ferocious, but relatively little known air battles of WWII that pitched everything the Soviets had against the heavily entrenched German forces, desperate to hold the line long enough to evacuate their troops across the Taman Straits.
Aircraft wheeled across the sky from dawn to dusk with the battles fought with such ferociousness that the Russian General K. V. Vershinin, the main Soviet Air Commander of the sector, claimed on some days he could see an aircraft fall every ten minutes, and it was not unusual for as many as 100 air battles to take place in a day.
At the end of the first week the peninsula was littered with burning aircraft wreckage as Soviet and German pilots struggled to down the other in fierce air battles across the Crimean skies.
By the end of the battle on the 7th June 1943 when German forces were finally expelled from the peninsular, the Soviets had claimed a total of 1100 German aircraft destroyed and whilst the Soviet air losses are calculated at over double that, the air war had finally turned against the Luftwaffe.
This Port Exhaust stub was retrieved from the wreckage of a downed IL-2 - a rusting reminder of the many thousands of destroyed Soviet and German aircraft that still litter the Crimean countryside to this day.
Mounted on its 100yr old mango wood stand with engraved plaque and high quality printed Fact Sheet, this Recovery Curios Aviation collectable also comes with a highly detailed 1/72 or super detailed 1/48 museum quality custom built model of this robust Soviet ground attack fighter atop its removable magnetic display arm.
This Soviet Ilyushin II-2 Instrument comes complete with detailed Scale Model, Mango Wood Stand & Plaque plus Printed Fact Sheet featuring photo of instrument in aircraft cockpit.
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Your Soviet Ilyushin II-2 Port Exhaust Stub, Original Recovery Curios Warbird Collectable includes:
- Original Warbird instrument
- Highly detailed hand-built and airbrushed 1/72 plastic scale model of the aircraft,*
- Hand-crafted and beautifully finished 100yr, Far North Queensland Mango Wood display stand
- Detailed, 2-sided, printed and laminated Instrument Fact Sheet detailing aircraft and instrument
- Removable Magnetic Display Arm
*An upgrade to the larger and more detailed 1/48 scale model is also available in the hand-built and airbrushed plastic version for an additional $35 (Click on the 1/48 scale option)
Both the 1/72 & 1/48 scale hand-built and airbrushed plastic models are available with 'canopy open or closed' options, landing gear 'up or down' with a choice of two Squadron markings and camouflage.
Upon order placement you will receive an email asking for your preferred configuration.
Your complete Recovery Curios Original Instrument Collectable is securely packed and delivery normally takes between 6 - 8 weeks approx.
Did you fly, crew or maintain a Ilyushin II-2 or have a friend, colleague or family member who did? Check out our PERSONALISED ORIGINAL INSTRUMENT COLLECTABLE OPTION here.