Yak - 9 compared with German fighters

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Boosh
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Post by Boosh » 07 Sep 2007 17:22

The Soviets didn't seem to hold the 190 in very high regard, from everything I read, and as Frcoplan said, boom and zoom doesn't always guarantee wins. Hartmann was smart and chose his targets carefully, but not every 109 pilot was as thoughtful. Likewise, just because a Yak can turn well doesn't necessarily mean that a pilot will use it as such. Yaks may not have been as stable in a dive, but they sure were used for boom and zoom. Between the Yak and the 109, I'm sure you'd go for the 109, as you said. I'd prefer the Yak.

Plane is a matter of personal preference over anything else, really. Sure, some planes might make the job easier, but that doesn't mean that you win automatically either. A capable pilot in an Se.5a could bring down an F-15 easily if he stalks his prey correctly.

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Post by Topspeed » 12 Sep 2007 08:43

frcoplan wrote:
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
Are you downgrating what I am saying ? What cannot you take seriously ?

Indeed Kurt Kuhlmey was not a general, but a colonel. That is about the only part you should not have taken seriously. He did grinn when he said that statement about threat they posed from Soviet fighters.

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Post by Tim Smith » 12 Sep 2007 11:39

Most air combats on the Eastern Front took place below 15,000 feet simply because that is where the bombers and tactical aircraft were. Both the Luftwaffe and the VVS were tactical air forces.

Boom and zoom is great for interception and high escort, so the 109 would excel there, but the nervous bomber crews like close escort, so they can see the escorting fighters out their windows. For close escort, you need agility because you can't start the fight until the enemy fighters attack, also you need to get your sights on the enemy ASAP before the bombers get shot down, and the Yak is better at twisting around in a dogfight.

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Post by frcoplan » 12 Sep 2007 14:21

Topspeed wrote:
frcoplan wrote:
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
Are you downgrating what I am saying ? What cannot you take seriously ?

Indeed Kurt Kuhlmey was not a general, but a colonel. That is about the only part you should not have taken seriously. He did grinn when he said that statement about threat they posed from Soviet fighters.
I am not downrating anything i am just saying that i don't take such statements seriously. There were many german airplanes besides ju 87 shot down by all models of soviet fighters that were used during the war.

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Post by Topspeed » 13 Sep 2007 08:30

Tim Smith wrote:Most air combats on the Eastern Front took place below 15,000 feet simply because that is where the bombers and tactical aircraft were. Both the Luftwaffe and the VVS were tactical air forces.

Boom and zoom is great for interception and high escort, so the 109 would excel there, but the nervous bomber crews like close escort, so they can see the escorting fighters out their windows. For close escort, you need agility because you can't start the fight until the enemy fighters attack, also you need to get your sights on the enemy ASAP before the bombers get shot down, and the Yak is better at twisting around in a dogfight.
It could be true that in twisting around YAK-9 was superior, but that was not the tacticts used by Me 109 pilots. It was hit and run !

I recall reading about one dogfight were single FAF 109 engaged a batch of about 30-40 Airacobras. Me 109 pilot ( young lieutenat ) did what he was not supposed to do and started to chase these ACs in a melee..until the chief of this group got him from above. Typical example of what not to do in a dogfight aginst an overhelming enemy.

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Post by frcoplan » 13 Sep 2007 10:00

Hit and run is just one tactics. If you must protect your ground troops, convoy, installation, you can not hit and run. If you must protect bomber, reco plane you cna not hit and run. If you enemy is above you, you can not hit and run. Etc., etc. If you read on air combat on eastern front you will find plenty of examples of other types of tactics and combat, not just hit and run. Hartmann was one man, but the others had to do the regular job of fighter pilot. And that is not flying around at will and picking targets at will.

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Post by Topspeed » 13 Sep 2007 10:50

frcoplan wrote:Hit and run is just one tactics. If you must protect your ground troops, convoy, installation, you can not hit and run. If you must protect bomber, reco plane you cna not hit and run. If you enemy is above you, you can not hit and run. Etc., etc. If you read on air combat on eastern front you will find plenty of examples of other types of tactics and combat, not just hit and run. Hartmann was one man, but the others had to do the regular job of fighter pilot. And that is not flying around at will and picking targets at will.

frcoplan
Of course if you are a victim of a hit and run you are dead as well. In the air war there will be victims on both side envitably. Illu Juutilainen the highest scorer of the FAF never had a scratch on his plane..several other pilots have them plenty and some were downed several times. Even a peasant on the ground can down a jet with just a one lucky shot as we all know.

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Post by tonyh » 13 Sep 2007 12:21

frcoplan wrote: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
Nobody is saying it's an "all situations winning tactic". However, it DID negate any perceived advantage that slower turning fighters possessed.

Boom 'n' zoom was the way all fighters were going. The day of the turning dogfighter was at an end.

Also, the VVS didn't operate a fighter that could compete with the Luftwaffe machines at altitude until the La-5 (f,fn) / La-7. Their machines always performed best at medium altitudes, thus it made perfect sense for the Luftwaffe to patrol at higher levels, ready for the pounce.

Your example of the VVS boom 'n' zoom is correct, however, it was done with a US fighter (P-39), that was best used with "energy" tactics. And while the MiG could be used in such a fashion, it wasn't wise. The MiG didn't have the same climbing ability as the 109 and had a distinct speed disadvantage at medium heights.

The 109 and 190 was at a maneuverability disadvantage with VVS fighters, but it was always a faster aircraft (until 1944 anyway).


Tony

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Post by tonyh » 13 Sep 2007 12:25

Boosh wrote:The Soviets didn't seem to hold the 190 in very high regard, from everything I read, and as Frcoplan said, boom and zoom doesn't always guarantee wins. Hartmann was smart and chose his targets carefully, but not every 109 pilot was as thoughtful. Likewise, just because a Yak can turn well doesn't necessarily mean that a pilot will use it as such. Yaks may not have been as stable in a dive, but they sure were used for boom and zoom. Between the Yak and the 109, I'm sure you'd go for the 109, as you said. I'd prefer the Yak.

Plane is a matter of personal preference over anything else, really. Sure, some planes might make the job easier, but that doesn't mean that you win automatically either. A capable pilot in an Se.5a could bring down an F-15 easily if he stalks his prey correctly.
Don't get me wrong, I love the Soviet machines. But they were always at a disadvantage 1 on 1 with the Luftwaffe machines of the period. They couldn't climb as well, they couldn't dive as well and usually had a bit of a speed disadvantage.

As for the Soviets not thinking much about the 190, I don't know if this is true. I'd say the 1000's of pilots who where shot down by the fighters of JG54 and JG51 may have a different POV. And the Soviet evaluation of captured machines praised the aircraft highly, if I remember. Its technology was light years ahead of what the Soviets had to offer at the time.

Maybe you mean they didn't think much of the FW190 as a ground attack aircraft when compared to what the VVS had to offer in this area. This may be more to the point. The Luftwaffe schlachtgeschwader was always a pale cousin of the VVS in this regard.

Tony

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Post by frcoplan » 14 Sep 2007 11:08

tonyh wrote:
frcoplan wrote: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
Nobody is saying it's an "all situations winning tactic". However, it DID negate any perceived advantage that slower turning fighters possessed.

Boom 'n' zoom was the way all fighters were going. The day of the turning dogfighter was at an end.

Also, the VVS didn't operate a fighter that could compete with the Luftwaffe machines at altitude until the La-5 (f,fn) / La-7. Their machines always performed best at medium altitudes, thus it made perfect sense for the Luftwaffe to patrol at higher levels, ready for the pounce.

Your example of the VVS boom 'n' zoom is correct, however, it was done with a US fighter (P-39), that was best used with "energy" tactics. And while the MiG could be used in such a fashion, it wasn't wise. The MiG didn't have the same climbing ability as the 109 and had a distinct speed disadvantage at medium heights.

The 109 and 190 was at a maneuverability disadvantage with VVS fighters, but it was always a faster aircraft (until 1944 anyway).


Tony
Actually it si not true that days of manouvering fight was over. It does not have to be dogfight as in WWI but manouvrebility and doggfighting was also taking place in Korea, Vietnam etc.

Regarding the Alttitude performance, it was of little importance. The vast majority of combat on Eastern Front was close to the ground. And that`s why soviet planes were optimized for such combat. Here is a victory list of Kittel and interesting is to look at height where victories were acchieved:

http://fw190.hobbyvista.com/kittel.htm

That's the reallity of tactical air warfare on Eastern Front. Vast majority of combat was well bellow 3000m, even 2000m. This was not a stretegical bombing campaign.

Mig has a distinct level speed disadvantage, which is due to the engine optimized for high altitude performance. Hovewer boom and zoom is a game of potential and kinetic energy and Mig can use the potential energy and convert it into speed (kinetic energy) just as any other fighter can. It is also a very aerodynamic fighter well suited for such tactics. Again, rate of climb is important if you have two planes at same level at same speed. However if one plane (zooming one that is) has much bigger speed/energy you will not catch it. Unfortunately Soviet pilots were trying to fight with Mig like they did in Polikarpov fighters and that was not suited for this airplane. Pokryshkin realized that and developed so called victory formula: altitude-sped-manouvre-fire

Used in this way Mig was a very succsesfull airplane

http://mig3.sovietwarplanes.com/mig3/pokryshkin.html

The speed advantage of German fighters is somewhat questionable at least at levels where combat took place. It was nicely explained in Golodnikovs interviw that theoretical or test speed is one thing and combat speed another.

And again, even if you have a faster airplane there are many situations, where you simply can not run. People fail to realize this all the time. If fighters are protecting reco plane, the objective is to get reco plane back and info it has. If you shoot down 5 enemy fighters and loose none, but loose reco plane, your mission is a failiure. In such situations Me can not run. It must stay there and fight. Same with bombers. If enemy scatters you bombers, and they miss the target, even if you shoot down more of his fighters than he shot down your planes, your mission is a failiure.

frcoplan

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Post by frcoplan » 14 Sep 2007 11:20

tonyh wrote:
Boosh wrote:The Soviets didn't seem to hold the 190 in very high regard, from everything I read, and as Frcoplan said, boom and zoom doesn't always guarantee wins. Hartmann was smart and chose his targets carefully, but not every 109 pilot was as thoughtful. Likewise, just because a Yak can turn well doesn't necessarily mean that a pilot will use it as such. Yaks may not have been as stable in a dive, but they sure were used for boom and zoom. Between the Yak and the 109, I'm sure you'd go for the 109, as you said. I'd prefer the Yak.

Plane is a matter of personal preference over anything else, really. Sure, some planes might make the job easier, but that doesn't mean that you win automatically either. A capable pilot in an Se.5a could bring down an F-15 easily if he stalks his prey correctly.
Don't get me wrong, I love the Soviet machines. But they were always at a disadvantage 1 on 1 with the Luftwaffe machines of the period. They couldn't climb as well, they couldn't dive as well and usually had a bit of a speed disadvantage.

As for the Soviets not thinking much about the 190, I don't know if this is true. I'd say the 1000's of pilots who where shot down by the fighters of JG54 and JG51 may have a different POV. And the Soviet evaluation of captured machines praised the aircraft highly, if I remember. Its technology was light years ahead of what the Soviets had to offer at the time.

Maybe you mean they didn't think much of the FW190 as a ground attack aircraft when compared to what the VVS had to offer in this area. This may be more to the point. The Luftwaffe schlachtgeschwader was always a pale cousin of the VVS in this regard.

Tony
I don't remember Soviet investigators highly praising Fw 190 at all. As always there were some things they did like and some they didn't. Same with Me.

Hurricanes and Spitfires actually aslo had some speed disadvantage, couldn't climb and die as Me, but they did put up a nice fight.

Soviets simply made airplanes of available materials, that were composed of that that was needed and nothing more. The results were simple and easy to produce/maintaine airplanes, relatively easy to fly and still competitive. And that is what you need in rough conditions of eastern front.

frcoplan

tonyh
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Post by tonyh » 14 Sep 2007 13:58

Actually it si not true that days of manouvering fight was over. It does not have to be dogfight as in WWI but manouvrebility and doggfighting was also taking place in Korea, Vietnam etc.
I didn't say it was over. It was at an end. All of the major prop performers of the war, the BF109, FW190, P-51, Spitfire etc had turned to speed over turning as the greater virtue. The faster an aircraft is made go, the more the ability to turn is affected. The Spitfire is a prime example of this. The late mark Spits were not the same aircraft that had taken to the sky in 1940. The debacle of the FW190 vs Spit MkV over Western Europe sealed the fate of the old style Spitfire combat and later versions from the MkIX onwards exponentially sacrificed maneuverability for speed.

Supermarine had correctly realised that you could turn around and around all day long, but if you could climb and dive like your opponent, there wasn't much point.

Also, the jet combat or Korea and especially Vietnam can hardly be considered as turning combat in the traditional sense of the word and I don't think it really belongs in this discussion.
Regarding the Alttitude performance, it was of little importance. The vast majority of combat on Eastern Front was close to the ground. And that`s why soviet planes were optimized for such combat. Here is a victory list of Kittel and interesting is to look at height where victories were acchieved:
You're missing the point. I know where combat took place, but the cruising heights before combat were very different between the two airforces. This is what matters, not where scores occurred. The Luftwaffe were nearly always at a numerical disadvantage so had to use their equipment to the best of their ability, thus their transit / patrol altitude was usually higher than their Soviet brothers. This gave the Jagdwaffe the ability to get the first strike in and allowed them to break away and decide whether the conditions were correct for another attack. The VVS machines simply could not climb quick enough to attack the Luftwaffe machines, who had built up their speed and had distance and altitude gap before the Russian pilots knew what had happened.

This is where altitude / climbing performance is EXTREMELY important. If you can't climb and fight your enemy on equal terms, then you find yourself in a very bad position indeed.
Mig has a distinct level speed disadvantage, which is due to the engine optimized for high altitude performance. Hovewer boom and zoom is a game of potential and kinetic energy and Mig can use the potential energy and convert it into speed (kinetic energy) just as any other fighter can. It is also a very aerodynamic fighter well suited for such tactics. Again, rate of climb is important if you have two planes at same level at same speed. However if one plane (zooming one that is) has much bigger speed/energy you will not catch it. Unfortunately Soviet pilots were trying to fight with Mig like they did in Polikarpov fighters and that was not suited for this airplane. Pokryshkin realized that and developed so called victory formula: altitude-sped-manouvre-fire

Used in this way Mig was a very succsesfull airplane
Correct, the MiG is a lovely looking aircraft...looks like a racer. However, the MiG was facing the BF109, which was generally a superior machine. So even though it could fight the same way as a 109, the 109 did it better and that was the bottom line. The BF109 was speedier, could climb faster (both zoom climb and slow climb) and could dive faster. Thus, the MiG pilots still found themselves at a disadvantage.

Pokryshkin's formula was the one that the Jadgwaffe had been using since Spain. Unfortunately, the MiG-3 just wasn't as good as the BF109.
The speed advantage of German fighters is somewhat questionable at least at levels where combat took place. It was nicely explained in Golodnikovs interviw that theoretical or test speed is one thing and combat speed another.
That goes for both sides. The speed performance of the new generation VVS fighters never met the paper statistics. Sometimes, falling to below 40kmh of rated speed. It was a very serious problem up to 1943, especially for the Kilmov engine.

The speed advantage may be questionable to some, if the German pilots were drawn into a turning fight, but they were taught NOT to. The Jadgwaffe tactic was very simple and if adhered to, yielded great results. As long as the Jadgwaffe stuck to the flying doctrine when engaging the enemy, they would always have an advantage over the Soviet aircraft.
And again, even if you have a faster airplane there are many situations, where you simply can not run. People fail to realize this all the time. If fighters are protecting reco plane, the objective is to get reco plane back and info it has. If you shoot down 5 enemy fighters and loose none, but loose reco plane, your mission is a failiure. In such situations Me can not run. It must stay there and fight. Same with bombers. If enemy scatters you bombers, and they miss the target, even if you shoot down more of his fighters than he shot down your planes, your mission is a failiure.
I agree and this was one of the failings of the BF109. It wasn't designed as an escort fighter. It was designed to fly and fight at speed.

As far as recon flights were concerned, the loss of recons was recognised by the Luftwaffe. This is why the FW189 was designed. The FW189 was extremely maneuverable and presented a very difficult target for interceptors. In fact, it was regarded as a very prized kill to the VVS.

Recon flights also usually took place at very high levels, depending on the target being surveyed of course and more importantly, most German recon flights were un-escorted, especially as the short-legged BF109 was limited in range.

Also, the ability to extend away from your target, doesn't have to mean "running away". It means that the pilot of a boom 'n' zoom fighter can simply put distance between him and the enemy aircraft. Thus allowing him to decide on the next attack.

Tony
Last edited by tonyh on 14 Sep 2007 16:57, edited 1 time in total.

tonyh
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Post by tonyh » 14 Sep 2007 14:26

frcoplan wrote:
tonyh wrote:
Boosh wrote:The Soviets didn't seem to hold the 190 in very high regard, from everything I read, and as Frcoplan said, boom and zoom doesn't always guarantee wins. Hartmann was smart and chose his targets carefully, but not every 109 pilot was as thoughtful. Likewise, just because a Yak can turn well doesn't necessarily mean that a pilot will use it as such. Yaks may not have been as stable in a dive, but they sure were used for boom and zoom. Between the Yak and the 109, I'm sure you'd go for the 109, as you said. I'd prefer the Yak.

Plane is a matter of personal preference over anything else, really. Sure, some planes might make the job easier, but that doesn't mean that you win automatically either. A capable pilot in an Se.5a could bring down an F-15 easily if he stalks his prey correctly.
Don't get me wrong, I love the Soviet machines. But they were always at a disadvantage 1 on 1 with the Luftwaffe machines of the period. They couldn't climb as well, they couldn't dive as well and usually had a bit of a speed disadvantage.

As for the Soviets not thinking much about the 190, I don't know if this is true. I'd say the 1000's of pilots who where shot down by the fighters of JG54 and JG51 may have a different POV. And the Soviet evaluation of captured machines praised the aircraft highly, if I remember. Its technology was light years ahead of what the Soviets had to offer at the time.

Maybe you mean they didn't think much of the FW190 as a ground attack aircraft when compared to what the VVS had to offer in this area. This may be more to the point. The Luftwaffe schlachtgeschwader was always a pale cousin of the VVS in this regard.

Tony
I don't remember Soviet investigators highly praising Fw 190 at all. As always there were some things they did like and some they didn't. Same with Me.

Hurricanes and Spitfires actually aslo had some speed disadvantage, couldn't climb and die as Me, but they did put up a nice fight.

Soviets simply made airplanes of available materials, that were composed of that that was needed and nothing more. The results were simple and easy to produce/maintaine airplanes, relatively easy to fly and still competitive. And that is what you need in rough conditions of eastern front.

frcoplan
Well, as far as I remember, Lavochkin praised the FW190 design quite highly. He believed that the aircraft was well balanced and admired the roll rate, engine and the firepower of the machine.

As far as the hurri's and spits were concerned, yes they put up a good fight, but the hurricane could never compete with the 109 on a level basis and was always outclassed. After 1940, it's roll as a fighter was over and it was placed in a ground attack role.

And, as outlined in the post above, Supermarine were also forced to change their design significantly to combat the German aircraft types. The Spitfire V suffered greatly at the hands of a vastly numerically inferior Focke Wulf enemy over the skies of Western Europe. Throughout the Spitfire V's existence they lost out heavily to the two Jagdgechwaders tasked with defending the French North coast. Supermarine had to installed faster performing engines on subsequent versions of the Spitfire in order to successfully compete with their enemy.

A turn fighter is almost useless if it can't actually catch the enemy plane.

Tony

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Post by Juha » 14 Sep 2007 16:42

Now in real world it seems that Finnish AF Bf 109Gs achieved something like 10:1 exchange rate against Yak-9s and Airacobras and 4:1 against La-5Fs and –FNs during summer 1944. These are not based on claims, which would give even better exchange rates but claims to which there seems to be matching losses in Soviet records, that was the situation in 2002/03. After that the researchers have found more matches at least for years 1941 and 1942, I have no info what’s the situation on 1944 claims, probably they have found at least some more matches. A word on caution, on Bf 109G losses one should also count those force-landed Bf 109Gs which were later repaired, but I have not yet have time to analyze those cases so I have used only the easily accessible total losses. On the other hand I doubt that all the Soviet force-landed fighters which were later repaired are included. So I don’t know if the adding of repairable force-landed fighters on both sides would cancel each other out. Anyway at least one of Finnish Bf 109total loss was a easily repairable case but because it was destroyed on the way to repairs by Soviet bombing it’s included in my current figures.
So it seems that at least against FAF Bf 109Gs Yak-9s and Airacobras were more loss equally dangerous opponents but La-5FNs were clearly more dangerous. That may partly be a result of different tactics used or maybe the La-5 units flying against Finns were better than Yak-9 units. I don’t know. My guess is that La-5s used more dive and zoom tactics and they had better firepower, maybe also they were better weapon platforms. Maybe Yak pilots relayed too much on Yaks very good horizontal manoeuvrability. Yak-9s were really very good on that, it was sometimes mentioned in Finnish combat reports.

Juha

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Post by frcoplan » 15 Sep 2007 08:57

I am not going to use the quot function as then the post shall get a mile long:) I hope it will be still clear to which part the quote goes.

Regarding the numerical superiority of the soviets. Althought this is one myth that always comes out the fact is that if you read combat descriptions and memories of soviet airman, for the first half of the war they were at numerical disadvantage. Although Soviets may have a bigger number of airplanes sitting on the ground it is how many aircraft you can get in the air that counts. And Germans were masters of using their air force in a way to achieve local numericla superiority. The massive scores that germans counted at start are not only due to superior tactics/machines of the luftwaffe, although there is no doubt that tactics were far more developed than soviet (after all they have been fighting fo 2 previous years) but also due to a fact that in those desperate times soviets would even send a lone Il2 or unsecorted Il2s and bombers in air space controlled by german airplanes. And that soviets had to learn what germans have been learning for the past 2 years. That is why i gave the exampole of Mig. Migs would be a much more efficient machines if they would be used with energy tactics- But they were not. Soviets had to learn that. Il2s had to develop their tactics like circle of death etc.

It is also very clear that the combat did not look like germans flying high and bouncing naive soviets airman at all. Sometimes germans were higher sometimes soviet and sometimes on the same level. There is no sense in saying that better diving speed is for example a terminal advantage. There are situations in which it can be of help and situations in which it turned out to e a death trap. Soviet pilots actually often cought german fighter who tried to dive, but as combat was close to the ground they had to pull out of the dive soon and soviet fighter following it in shallow dive cought up with it.

When fighting close to the ground or in a mass around bombers etc. superior manouvrebility of soviet aircraft was an advantage. When attacked by superior numbers of german airplanes manouvrebility was important. When engaged in dogfight, which were rather comon on eastern front it was important. Etc. Of course when you are trying to run from german aicraft speed disadvantage is disadvantage. But when enemy fighter gets on your tail again manouvrebility is very important to shake it off. And the speed diffrences on levels were combat was taking place were not so dramatic that it would be terminal. All planes had their pluses and minuses. It was up to each situation and knowledge of the pilots which ones prevailed.

Of course all fighters were becoming faster and faster but in airplanes that have comparable speeds manouvrebility is very important. Even nowdays in the age of missiles all fighters are designed to be as manouverable as possible and dogfighting systems are being developed like wide scaning range missiles, marking target with moving your head etc. The manouvrebility was and still is of extreme importance, in most bigger air wars after the WWII you still have fighter trying to out turn etc the other one.

Regarding the zoom boom. I don't know from where people got the idea that this is 100% victory assuring tactic. It isn't at all. It is highly succesfull if the other plane does not know you are there but if the other plane knows you are there it can always defened itself with horizontal manouvre or with frontal attack which strongly decrises the success rate of boom and zoom. You still have the advantage but not in any case a guranteed kill. And again, there is no classisal boom and zoom against low flying aicrafts.

The fact is that soviets managed to put up a very good fight and produce a number of aces in other airplanes not just Yak9, and La 5/7. Lilya Litvak for example fought in Yak 1. And was on several times involved in fights with german numerical superiority. I remember reading about 19:2 etc.

Of course it would be also good to mention that you simply can not fly kilometers above ground level from very simple reasone. It is very possible you ain't gonna see the low flying enemy at all. Flying 6km up would be good from fighter to fighter cobat view. But being 6 or 7km up trying to spot low flying Il2s is a bad idea.

frcoplan

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