Yak - 9 compared with German fighters

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Luftwaffe air units and general discussions on the Luftwaffe.
User avatar
Imad
Member
Posts: 1411
Joined: 21 Nov 2004 03:15
Location: Toronto

Yak - 9 compared with German fighters

Post by Imad » 30 Aug 2007 05:55

Hello
I recently watched a documentary on YouTube in which the narrator said that the Yak-9 was superior to all German fighters. I am really sceptical about that. What is the scoop? Thanks in advance.

User avatar
Sitzkrieg
Member
Posts: 3930
Joined: 23 Sep 2005 19:38
Location: HELLAS

Post by Sitzkrieg » 30 Aug 2007 08:17

All references agree that down low, where most air combat in the Eastern Front took place, the Russian fighters in the hands of a competent pilot would prevail. High manoeuverability conferred by light weight and low wing loading meant that they could easily out-turn German fighters, the latter often stalling and crashing when attempting to follow the Yaks' manoeuvers. The late Yak-9 versions (and the Yak-3) were considered the ultimate low altitude dogfighters.

Art
Forum Staff
Posts: 6620
Joined: 04 Jun 2004 19:49
Location: Moscow, Russia

Post by Art » 30 Aug 2007 09:22

Which version of Yak-9 and which german figter?

User avatar
Imad
Member
Posts: 1411
Joined: 21 Nov 2004 03:15
Location: Toronto

Post by Imad » 30 Aug 2007 12:24

Art wrote:Which version of Yak-9 and which german figter?
The documentary did not specify. I think they mean all German fighters.

Boosh
Member
Posts: 39
Joined: 23 Aug 2006 18:21
Location: PA/NJ, USA

Post by Boosh » 31 Aug 2007 21:01

Some versions of the Yak-9 were vastly different than others. The Yak-9B, for example, would not have applied in this case. The 9B was a bomber version with an in-fuselage bomb bay capable of holding four small bombs or multiple PTAB anti-armor bomblets. Unfortunately, the load set the plane way off-center and only a few models were ever built. As far as I know, the bomb bays were never used and the 9B functioned as just another fighter, albeit a bit heavier. Other versions of the Yak-9 with degraded performance are the 9D and 9DD series, which were longer-ranged aircraft. The Yak was known for not being able to make long hops, as was the 109, but the D and DD had extra fuel tanks installed near the outer portion of the wing. These aircraft lost part of their performance due to the added weight of the tanks and fuel, but still were able to dogfight adequately when necessary. In "Yakovlev Aces of WW2," part of the Osprey series, I believe it mentions that 9D and 9DD versions were often given to rookie pilots, though I have no other sources that back this up.

Further modifications to the Yak series made it sleeker and more aerodynamic. The first series of Yak-9 had new and improved asymmetrical wing designs which helped negate torque from the engines.The bubble canopy was pushed a little farther back and made slimmer on later models, such as the Yak-9M of 1944.

Later on there were several experiments with the Yak's gun platforms. In 1943 attempts were made through a new model, the Yak-9T, to improve armament by replacing the ShVAK 20mm in the cannon hub with a 37mm NS37 cannon. It apparently was very successful. Attempts were even made with the Yak-9K to install a 45mm cannon in the nose, but for all I know, this version did not see combat. Still, the ShVAK was a good weapon, and other models added another UBS 12.7mm machine gun to the nose, bringing the total number of guns on the aircraft to three. In both the Yak-9U and the Yak-3, standard armament was two UBS and one ShVAK, which was more than enough to bring down any aircraft with a quick burst. The additional guns, however, made less room for ammunition, sacrificing firing time for firepower.

Aside from degraded performance and armament, maneuverability was the mantra of a Russian pilot, something that later 109's couldn't compete with so well. The Fw-190, another widely used and very deadly aircraft, couldn't sustain turns without losing massive amounts of energy. Although the 109 and 190 were often faster, if they were bounced or foolish enough to engage without the advantage they had already lost, for the Germans had another problem - they lacked numbers. More than 16,000 Yakovlev fighters were produced during the war, as well as countless thousands of other Russian fighters. German factories could not recover from their losses as quickly as the Allies could.

This websitehas some beautiful profile silhoettes of early to late Yak versions and information in much more depth than I have here.

http://www.vectorsite.net/%20avyak1.html

User avatar
Pips
Member
Posts: 1230
Joined: 26 Jun 2005 08:44
Location: Canberra, ACT, Australia

Post by Pips » 01 Sep 2007 02:21

Just to clarify the meaning 'down low' in regards performance of Russian to German fighters. It's not referring to combat at ground level, rather anything from mid altitude ie 15,000ft and below.

Russian fighters generally, and the YAK especially, excelled in manoeuveribility. Where Soviet fighter's fell behind was in engine design, especially in supercharger technology in comparison to German, and indeed Western, designers. The only really competitive Soviet engine was the big radial ASh-82 which equipped late La-5 and all La-7 fighters.

Given that the Russian Front was very much a 'tactical' air war, this did not have such a detrimental effect on Soviet air tactics as one would suppose. Soviet missions were invariably flown at mid-altitudes or lower, allowing the Soviets to make best use of their aircraft relative strength's. So the Germans were forced to fight on the Soviets terms, as from roughly Stalingrad they were on the defensive. And at these lower altitudes the YAK-9 especially was the more manoeuverable fighter, in both the vertical and horizontal. It should be noted though that in almost all cases the 109G and the 190A were faster at all altitudes.

However not all YAK's performed well or retained it's excellent manoeuveribility. There were over 22 major model variations in the YAK-9 range, 14,79 of which were prioduced during the war (a further 2,90 being produced up to December 1948). Some models, due to specific operational design needs, lost much of their manoeuveribility. It is fair to say though that the major model variations of the YAK-9 did prove superior to the 109G and the 190A in both vertical and horizontal manouvers at medium to low altitudes. But as always any claim such as this must be qualified by the quality of the pilot's invloved.

Below are the major variants of the YAK-9 in the order of their production, with some comments on their performance.

YAK-9: 500 produced in 1943, performed best up to 18,500ft.

YAK-9T: T = heavily armed. 2,748 produced in 1943. Armed with the massive 37mm OKB-16 cannon plus 1 12.7mg. Performance dropped off after 16,900ft.

YAK-9D: D = long range. 3,058 produced '43/44. Retained advantage in horizontalmanoeuvers but not in vertical. Appreciably slower than 109 or 190. Performance dropped off over 11,500ft.

YAK-9 M-106. Test bed for new engine. Improved speed and climb.

YAK-9P: P = gunship. Test bed for improved armament.

YAK-9TK: TK = large caliber heavily armed. Test bed for the massive 45mm NS cannon. firing cause violent swing on gun discharge.

YAK-9K: K = large caliber. 60 produced in '44. Limited operational use. Lost out in speed and climb.

YAK-9B: B = bomber. Capable fo carring 400kg bomb load. Severaly reduced speed, climb and poor handling. 109 built in '44. Limited operational use by 130th IAD from December '44. A total od 2,500 missions flown, claims for 29 tanks, 11 armoured vehicles and 1,000 vehicles, trains and depots.

YAK-9DD: DD = extra long range. Capable of 1,.419 miles at cruise speeds. Extra weight of tanks (additional 185 gallons) and wing structure strengthening resulted in loss of manoeuveriblity and speed. 1,085 produce in '44.

YAK-9M: M = M-105F engine. Improved powerplant resulted in increase in speed and climb, retaining excellent manoeuveriblity and performance up to 18,000ft. 4,239 produced in '44/45. Still slower than the 109 and 190.

YAK-9PD: PD = high altitude. 45 produced in '44. Equipped with the M-106 PV supercharger, with water-methonal injection system. Fastest YAK over 20,000ft. Service ceiling 43,000ft.

YAK-9R: R = reconnaissance. Tst bed.

YAK-9V: V = introductory fighter. Test bed.

YAK-9U: U = improved. Resulted in experienced gained in combat. Improvements included general aerodynamics, wing, streamlining of fuselage, extra armour, radio, increase in powerplant, pilot comfort and improved cooling. Retained excellent manoeuvering up to 20,000ft, especially in the vertical, and most importantly it was the first YAk to exceed 400mph at altitude, achieveing 417mph at 16,500ft in a production model. 2,500 built in '44/45; a further 1,421 after the war. The best YAK-9 model of the war.

YAK-9UT: UT = improved heavy armament. 282 built in 1945, Armed with 1 x 37mm NS-37 cannon and 2 x B-20mmcannon. Slight loss of speed compared to 9U, but still over 400mph at altitude. No loss of manoeuveribilty. Used in battles over Berlin.

YAK-9UV: UV = improved rainer

YAK-9P: P = cannon. Modelled on the YAk-9U, but with an all-metal wing. A total of 801 built, mostly after wars end.

Art
Forum Staff
Posts: 6620
Joined: 04 Jun 2004 19:49
Location: Moscow, Russia

Post by Art » 01 Sep 2007 10:29

I uploaded the graphs showing the comparison of the flight perfomance of the different variants of YAK-9 and the german fighters (taken from "The aircraft building in the USSR" Vol. II)
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
The first graph in each pair represents the horizontal velocity (Km/H) vs. height (Km), the second - the climb rate (m/sec) vs. height (km). Pay attention that the curves for german planes are based on the tests made by the Soviet specialist during the war and they can be quite different from the tests made in Germany. It should be noted that Yak-9U couldn't use the combat regime of the engine, so its actual perfomance must be somewhat worse than shown.

Boosh
Member
Posts: 39
Joined: 23 Aug 2006 18:21
Location: PA/NJ, USA

Post by Boosh » 01 Sep 2007 17:45

Some beautiful information there, Art and Pips, thanks for sharing!

frcoplan
Member
Posts: 168
Joined: 26 Jul 2005 17:54
Location: Slovenia

Post by frcoplan » 02 Sep 2007 07:31

Thank you Art, most usefull information. Do such diagrams exist for early war fighters as well, like late I-16models, Migs, Laggs compared with Bf 109E/F, Bf 110?

frcoplan

User avatar
Topspeed
Member
Posts: 4784
Joined: 15 Jun 2004 15:19
Location: Finland

Post by Topspeed » 04 Sep 2007 11:21

I think later Yak models indeed did pose a threat to G-2 and G-6 models.

Late general of Luftwaffe Kurt Kuhlmey said in an interview that soviet fighters posed no threat to their planes exept for the Ju-87s..they used also FW 190s.

I think the fact that so many new YAK-9 and LA-5s appeared on the finnish front was plane consuming since the old Me 109s were not automatically replaced..and only miracle from the ground crews saved from a worse faith.

Art
Forum Staff
Posts: 6620
Joined: 04 Jun 2004 19:49
Location: Moscow, Russia

Post by Art » 05 Sep 2007 15:40

There are graphs for the fighters of 1941:
Image
Image
The deteriaration of the MIG's perfomance at low altitude is very impressive. One can understnad why the pilots said that this model was "a king at high altitude and a steam-iron at low". And it seems that I know where they had taken the data for Bf-109E from: I saw scans of the reports on the trials of the plane bought in Germany with similair graphs.

frcoplan
Member
Posts: 168
Joined: 26 Jul 2005 17:54
Location: Slovenia

Post by frcoplan » 05 Sep 2007 20:20

Thank you very much for additional graphs Art. Mig is really an interesting airplane. I think it was Pokryshin who said...above 4500m, Mig is God... Apparently he was very found of the type and saw it as a first class fighter.

scukec

frcoplan
Member
Posts: 168
Joined: 26 Jul 2005 17:54
Location: Slovenia

Post by frcoplan » 06 Sep 2007 10:38

Topspeed wrote:I think later Yak models indeed did pose a threat to G-2 and G-6 models.

Late general of Luftwaffe Kurt Kuhlmey said in an interview that soviet fighters posed no threat to their planes exept for the Ju-87s..they used also FW 190s.

I think the fact that so many new YAK-9 and LA-5s appeared on the finnish front was plane consuming since the old Me 109s were not automatically replaced..and only miracle from the ground crews saved from a worse faith.
Well i think we can not take this too seriously. The facts speak diffrently. There are many soviet aces who became aces on other fighters. Although people often show highest scoring german acess, they also forget that some of those actually did get hit by soviet fighters. Some of them got either shot up or shot down on more occasions, the highest scoring german ace killed in combat was killed by Il 2 (Kittel), Nowotny was shot down twice on Eastern front, first time by I 153 (and i have some doubts that Nowotnys story about confusing I 153 for his wingmans is true), Barkhorn was almost killed by an aircobra etc. It was no picnic for germans on eastern fron, although post war propaganda tried to show it like a walk in the park for germans. Here is how it looke on the first day where soviet fihters managed to get in the air:

http://www.elknet.pl/acestory/rubstov/rubstov.htm

tonyh
Member
Posts: 2911
Joined: 19 Mar 2002 12:59
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Post by tonyh » 06 Sep 2007 11:52

Paper "Superiority" of a particular fighter over another goes out the window, when a tactic is employed by one of the parties that negates any perceived advantage. The Yak made have been able to turn quicker than a 109 or a 190...but in the end this meant nothing as the Jadgwaffe usually didn't engage enemy fighters in turning fights. They used energy tactics utilising their faster speeds and greater altitude performance.

Against this, there was nothing the Soviet fighters could do, until they were equipped with the better climbing ability of the later Lavochkin models. The Yak was one of the great aircraft of WWII, but given a choice between that and a 109, it's a 109 all the way.

The bottom line is, you can turn about below 15,000ft all day, but it won't help you against a boom and zoom slashing attack.


Tony

frcoplan
Member
Posts: 168
Joined: 26 Jul 2005 17:54
Location: Slovenia

Post by frcoplan » 06 Sep 2007 12:42

Of course you can zoom and bang if the enemy is high enough, if he does not see you etc., etc. Zoom, bang is juts one tactic, with its advantaged and limitations. It is funny how all debates on combat on eastern front end up with "zoom and bang" argument. Not to mention, Soviets could zoom and bang too (actually that's how Barkhorn got it from Aircobra) and used of this tactic was actually what Pokryshin found out was ideal for Mig. There is time and place for everything and zoom bang has its use, but it is no allmighty, all the time, all situations winning tactic at all.

frcoplan

Return to “Luftwaffe air units and Luftwaffe in general”