Yak - 9 compared with German fighters

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Mikko H.
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Post by Mikko H. » 23 Sep 2007 16:55

Who shot Sarjamos plane that collided then with Nissinen's plane ?
Keskinen & Stenman's Ilmavoitot - Aerial Victories vol. 2 credits Sarjamo to an La-5 from 159 IAP.

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Post by Juha » 23 Sep 2007 19:01

Hello Topspeed
sorry late answer but I have spent this weekend at "Suomen ilmasota" seminar at Tikkakoski AF base. Matti has already answered the Sarjamo question and IMHO the under cloud base situation is rather clear, one cannot in that situation use dive and zoom tactic so if one wanted to, as in Summer 44, help ground troops in that kind of circumstances, it was rather risky because Yak-9 and also La-5FN, probably also La-5, had better horizontal manoeuvrability. So if for ex. Il-2s had fighter escort the end result was usually turning contest between fighters. And yes, I have seen combat reports where this was mentioned under Huomautuksia.

HTH
Juha

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Post by Topspeed » 24 Sep 2007 08:45

Juha wrote:Hello Topspeed
sorry late answer but I have spent this weekend at "Suomen ilmasota" seminar at Tikkakoski AF base. And yes, I have seen combat reports where this was mentioned under Huomautuksia.
Are you going to answer where I can read about " wooden Spitfires " ?

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Post by Juha » 24 Sep 2007 13:24

Ah, you were after that. Veterans sometimes mentioned that. In print, maybe in Illu's or Heimo Lampi's books that is mentioned, in some fighter pilot memoirs anyway.

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Post by Thracian » 25 Sep 2007 20:03

OK, it's kinda hard to decide where to start from with 5 pages written already...

Regarding the overall better quality of the LW compared to the VVS ones, that's a myth, especially in the late phase of the war. La-7's and Yak-9U/Yak-3's outclassed anything the Germans had, probably with the exception of the Me 109K4 and Ta-152H. But the former was built in very small qualities and the latter was a high-altitude fighter, designed as an answer against the P-51 (A.Koldunov shot down two Ta-152's with his Yak-3 in 1945 near Vienna).
I don't know about the interview with Kurt Kuhlmey, but according to Generalleutnant Walter Schwabedissen: "... the German planes Me 109G-6 and Fw190A-4, in fuse by the Luftwaffe on the Eastern Front in late summer, couldn't match with the then-appearing russian plane Yak-3. This plane had higher speed, maneuverability and climb rate. With the appearance of the Yak-3 on the front, the soviet fighter aviation achieved fatal for the germans air superiority..." (it's a loose translation from a citation in "Retrosaloon #22: Yak Fighters - Yak-3, The Untouchable", Sofia, AIR GROUP 2000, November 2000).
Another statement to support this fact was the order given by the Luftwaffe to all German fighter pilots to avaoid any dogfight against a "Yak fighter without an oil radiator under the nose". Can't remember exactly where I've read this, so help would be appreaciated?

Soviet fighters were generally faster and climbed better at low altitudes than the Me 109 and Fw 190. The La-5FN, for example, had a maximum speed of 583km/h at sea level, compared to 636km/h for the Me 109G-6 and maintained superiority to medium altitudes. And in his memoirs Ivan Kozhedub states that his La-7 had achieved more than 700km/h with boost enabled.
Kozhedub: The Lavochkins were simple, reliable aircraft. I met with their designer, Semyon Lavochkin, and visited plants where they were built. He always listened attentively to all remarks. The margin of safety was so great that, while pursuing the enemy, I exceeded the estimated loads without thinking twice. I was certain that the plane wouldn't let me down. I reached speeds of 700 kilometers per hour (434 mph) and even more on it.

Most Soviet fighter reached their speed "peaks" at around 3500m altitude, which was the average for the Eastern Front. The Soviets simply didn't need a high-altitude fighter, though many such prototypes were created (La-7TK , Yak-3PD , Yak-3PD-2 , MiG-3U etc.)
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.
The MiG-3 was faster. In fact, it was among (if not the) fastest interceptors in the world when it entered service in early 1941, with a maximum speed of 640-650km/h (various sources regarding the MiG-1 and -3) at high altitude, where it was also quite maneuverable. But the nature of aerial combat and the need for more Il-2's discontinued AM-35 engine production and, eventually, the MiG-3. As for the Il-2, it has the status of a legendary (as well as most produced) plane on this side of the Iron Curtain. The name shturmovik has actually become a term for a dedicated ground-support plane in some airforces (Belorussian, Bulgarian, Russian).

The 'Zoom and boom' tactic wasn't popular on the Eastern Front because it left the bombers/ground attack/reccon planes very vulnerable to enemy attacks. Imagine what would happen if your shwarm of Me 109's is at a high-altitude, desperately searching for Soviet fighter to attack, while those same fighters are ripping apart your bombers. Which are supposed, for example, to help a battered column of tanks. It was simply too risky to use.

As for the P-39 and P-63's (and the Yak-9 models with 37mm guns), they were mostly used to combat bombers, while the lighter and more maneuverable Yaks and La's engaged enemy fighters.

Edit: It's a typo, sorry. The Me 109G-6's speed at sea level is 536km/h.
Last edited by Thracian on 26 Sep 2007 09:16, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by LWD » 25 Sep 2007 20:31

Thracian wrote:...
Another statement to support this fact was the order given by the Luftwaffe to all German fighter pilots to avaoid any dogfight against a "Yak fighter without an oil radiator under the nose". Can't remember exactly where I've read this, so help would be appreaciated?
I've seen that statment. I've also seen it stated that it was never actually given.
Soviet fighters were generally faster and climbed better at low altitudes than the Me 109 and Fw 190. The La-5FN, for example, had a maximum speed of 583km/h at sea level, compared to 636km/h for the Me 109G-6 and maintained superiority to medium altitudes....
Is there a typo here? It looks like you are saying 583 > 636.
....As for the P-39 and P-63's (and the Yak-9 models with 37mm guns), they were mostly used to combat bombers, while the lighter and more maneuverable Yaks and La's engaged enemy fighters.
This is contrary to most of the recent info I've seen published on them.

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Post by Juha » 25 Sep 2007 22:31

“Imagine what would happen if your shwarm of Me 109's is at a high-altitude, desperately searching for Soviet fighter to attack, while those same fighters are ripping apart your bombers.”

109s simply dived to Soviet fighters then zoomed and then dived again. That usually put Soviet fighters in disarray. Finns could use Do 17Zs and Bristol Blenheims over Carelia Isthmus with rather small fighter escorts without losing a bomber to Soviet fighters during Summer 44 even if Finns were badly outnumbered. There were no Yak-3s nor La-7s against them but Yak-9s and La-5FNs.

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Post by frcoplan » 26 Sep 2007 06:27

I admit i have a very limited knoledge of air war between SU and Finnland, but from what i read it seems to be a very special case.

Zoom and boom is again just one tactic. Good for minimising its own losses, but with serious shortcomings. In defending bombers boom and zoom has serious disadvantage that when you climb again you leave enough room for the fighters to cut your bombers to pieces. If this oppurtunity was not used by soviet pilots against finland it does ot mean it can not be done. It also depends on quality of those pilots. Due to the fact that front with Finnland was not a priority it is very possible that soviet pilots were rookies. Scores claimed by Finns are irrelevant for me regarding the qualiyt of the planes. If one side can choose to attack or not and pick the best position etc so to speak in Hartmann style, plus it has an airforce of higly expirienced and trained pilots, flying against much less ecpirienced pilots, the results can not be diffrent. Finns could fly with Yaks and scores would not be worse, perheaps even better due to increased fighting capabilities in horizontal as well.

And again, it is a very effective tactic against a rookie or plane that does not know you are there, but when attacking a pilot that sees you its efficiency significantly decreases. Boom and zoom as vertical manouvre can always be either countered with frontal attack as offensive manouvre or horizontal manouvre as dffensive measure. If you read memories of both western and eastern front allied pilots both were used.

frcoplan

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Post by Juha » 26 Sep 2007 08:08

Guessing isn't very good method for analyze.
Now there were Guards Regiments against Finns in Summer 44, I doubt that we can call them second rate units.
And in fact during Spring 44 bombing attacks on Kotka 4th GIAP used the same escort tactic, they flew over and behind Pe-2s and dived to defending Finnish Bf 109Gs. And why the fuss over “Kuban bookshelf tactic” if Soviet pilots had not found German dive and zoom tactic effective. After all even IJNAF escort tactics put Zeros, a low speed turner par excellance, behind and over the bombers from where they dived to defending fighters, at least at Midway. And if the defending fighter turned towards attacking fighter or began horizontal evasive manoeuvres it was leaving the bomber alone and escort fighter had done its job properly.

“attacking a pilot that sees you its efficiency significantly decreases.”

That’s true in every tactics, but one with height advance usually dominate the fight. Of course the heart of all tactical thinking is to try to force enemy to fight on your rules and not to fight on enemy’s rules.

As British say after they learned to know Fw 190A, better turning ability is not enough in air combat.

Juha

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Post by frcoplan » 26 Sep 2007 08:33

I said my knowledge of air war between SU and finlannd is very limited. But of course i would like to see some official losses data of those guards regiments before i would belive such ratios were achieved against such quality of pilots. Comparing guards regiments losses with finnish losses in combat with them could be of some use. Otherwise you have Mig 15 vs Sabre deal. Sabre had a better kill ratio, but it would be hard to say that was becouse it was a better plane. Majority of Migs were simply flown by pilots who could fly them, but not effectively fight them, while in Sabres there were expirienced pilots, many WWII veterans. But if you look at same quality of Mig and Sabre pilots, the picture is much diffrent.

It is true that the one who is higher has an advantage, but it does not mean this automatically transfers into victory.

I belive Soviets were escorting bombers (when it was possible) with high and close cover. It is ok if you are higher when fight begins but after that you must stick to your bombers. You can chase fighters around, but your bombers are going to had it (as it is nicely explained in Golodnikovs interview). When you are defending bombers shooting down enemy fighters is not a priority but defeninding your bombers.

From my memory, one of the biggest shocks that came to Britts was that Fw190A could actually compete with Spit V in horizontal as well, leaving no advantage in any category to Spit.

It is absolutely natural that Soviets tried to find tactics to counter vertical manouvre of germans. If the other side is using vertical manouvre than it is clear you will try to find the ebst way to counter it. But this still does not mean that that is the only and the single important aspect of fighter airplane or so predominantly great tactic that evertyhing else is unimportant. It is just one tactic, nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes you are able to use it, sometimes you are not. Same as hor. manouvre. The whole zoom and boom myth has gone over every rational level. And again Germans were not always higher than Soviets, Soviets did zoom and boom too. Actually even in 1st war, the fighter pilots did it.

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Post by Juha » 26 Sep 2007 11:37

“Comparing guards regiments losses with finnish losses in combat with them could be of some use.”

I think that would be difficult, because overclaiming it would be difficult to establish if a certain FAF Bf 109 was in reality shot down by a pilot from GIAP or from IAP. At least 2 Soviet greater aces seemed to have killed over Carelian Isthmus in Summer 44, Captain Nikolia Andriyanovich Zelenov from 29 GIAP, he flew Yak-9 and Serov IIRC from 159IAP.

“It is true that the one who is higher has an advantage, but it does not mean this automatically transfers into victory.”

I totally agreed

“I belive Soviets were escorting bombers (when it was possible) with high and close cover. It is ok if you are higher when fight begins but after that you must stick to your bombers.”

Of course, but by diving and zooming You can force the defending fighters defensive and keep them away from bombers and so fulfil your escort mission.

“From my memory, one of the biggest shocks that came to Britts was that Fw190A could actually compete with Spit V in horizontal as well.”

Now Spit was clearly better turner but FW 190’s better roll rate negated much of that.

“Actually even in 1st war, the fighter pilots did it.”

Yes, I know. After WWI in GB there was a heated debate between Camel-fans, horizontal manoeuvrability and SE-5a fans, dive and zoom, in RAF on which was the more effective tactic for fighters.

Juha

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Post by Topspeed » 26 Sep 2007 14:24

Thracian wrote:OK, it's kinda hard to decide where to start from with 5 pages written already...

Regarding the overall better quality of the LW compared to the VVS ones, that's a myth, especially in the late phase of the war. La-7's and Yak-9U/Yak-3's outclassed anything the Germans had, probably with the exception of the Me 109K4 and Ta-152H.
Also Me 262 and Arado 234 ?
Thracian wrote:The MiG-3 was faster. In fact, it was among (if not the) fastest interceptors in the world when it entered service in early 1941, with a maximum speed of 640-650km/h (various sources regarding the MiG-1 and -3) at high altitude, where it was also quite maneuverable.
But was no match to Brewster Buffaloes of the FAF in 1941 nor Fiat G.50, which both were far more maneuverable.

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Post by tonyh » 26 Sep 2007 16:53

Thracian wrote:OK, it's kinda hard to decide where to start from with 5 pages written already...
I don't know about the interview with Kurt Kuhlmey, but according to Generalleutnant Walter Schwabedissen: "... the German planes Me 109G-6 and Fw190A-4, in fuse by the Luftwaffe on the Eastern Front in late summer, couldn't match with the then-appearing russian plane Yak-3.
I'm afraid Herr Schwabedissen needs to refresh his memory. There were few FW190A-4's in use in 1944, when the Yak-3 made its appearance.

The Yak-3 was a superbly nimble machine, but it's still difficult to catch a 109, if the German pilot stuck to the B'n'Z principle and it's shortened wing made it a strictly low, medium aircraft.
Another statement to support this fact was the order given by the Luftwaffe to all German fighter pilots to avaoid any dogfight against a "Yak fighter without an oil radiator under the nose". Can't remember exactly where I've read this, so help would be appreaciated?
I don't think this order was handed down to the entire Jagdwaffe. IIRC, it was issued to members of JG52 only. I'll check the books when I get home.
Soviet fighters were generally faster and climbed better at low altitudes than the Me 109 and Fw 190. The La-5FN, for example, had a maximum speed of 583km/h at sea level, compared to 636km/h for the Me 109G-6 and maintained superiority to medium altitudes. And in his memoirs Ivan Kozhedub states that his La-7 had achieved more than 700km/h with boost enabled.
We'll need some serious stats for these assertions....and "The La-5FN, for example, had a maximum speed of 583km/h at sea level, compared to 636km/h for the Me 109G-6" makes the G-6 faster.

Also, I haven't seen anyone on the thread yet say anything negative re: La5FN or the La7.

The MiG-3 was faster. In fact, it was among (if not the) fastest interceptors in the world when it entered service in early 1941, with a maximum speed of 640-650km/h (various sources regarding the MiG-1 and -3) at high altitude, where it was also quite maneuverable. But the nature of aerial combat and the need for more Il-2's discontinued AM-35 engine production and, eventually, the MiG-3. As for the Il-2, it has the status of a legendary (as well as most produced) plane on this side of the Iron Curtain. The name shturmovik has actually become a term for a dedicated ground-support plane in some airforces (Belorussian, Bulgarian, Russian).
Above 30.000ft the MiG-3 was the better plane, but few, if any, flew at that height during the war. I'd be careful of the rated speeds for the MiG-3 too. I seen a lot of varying amounts. A lot of people seem to think that the production version of the MiG-3 was as fast as the unarmed prototype models. At high speeds / high alt both machines were about level in maneuverability, with the 109 be better at medium / low speeds.
The 'Zoom and boom' tactic wasn't popular on the Eastern Front because it left the bombers/ground attack/reccon planes very vulnerable to enemy attacks. Imagine what would happen if your shwarm of Me 109's is at a high-altitude, desperately searching for Soviet fighter to attack, while those same fighters are ripping apart your bombers. Which are supposed, for example, to help a battered column of tanks. It was simply too risky to use.
Not true. The "energy" tactic was the key to the Jadgwaffe in every situation. The 109 was simply not designed as a turning fighter. There are numerous accounts of German pilots bouncing Soviet fighter formations in the East in all situations.

German fighters always flew above the bomber formations and used their energy build up to bounce the attacking Soviet fighters as soon as they were seen. A successful bounce was enough to break up an attack by a formation. The 109's could climb again and repeat the attack.

Just because the escorting fighter is an energy aircraft doesn't make it impotent in the role.

The P-51 was an energy fighter and that's generally considered the best escort fighter of the war.


Tony

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Post by Juha » 26 Sep 2007 17:48

frcoplan,

”But of course i would like to see some official losses data of those guards regiments before i would belive such ratios were achieved against such quality of pilots. Comparing guards regiments losses with finnish losses in combat with them could be of some use.”

Sorry, I made a mistake, that can be done but I think it’s rather useless because the most dangerous unit to FAF Bf 109Gs was 159 IAP equipped with La-5s, they shot down directly 4 Bf 109s and got one, Nissinen, indirectly. What is also important, they seemed to have got the 2 highest ranking Finnish aces KIA during Summer 44, Nissinen (30 1/3 kills) indirectly and Saarinen (23).

Juha

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Post by Juha » 26 Sep 2007 18:26

frcoplan,
A bit more info. 159 IAP seemed to have lost in aircombat during summer 44 over Carelian Isthmus 19-20 La-5s, of which one to a Brewster Model 239 (Teromaa) and the rest to Bf 109Gs.

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