Small summary on combat use of Yak-9.
The Yak-9 fighter's baptism of fire took place in December 1942 during the Battle of Stalingrad. Front-line pilots liked the new fighter - it was light, maneuverable, and very easy to fly; it was no coincidence that its prototype was a training aircraft. In terms of maneuverability and rate of climb, it was superior to the newest German fighter Bf 109G, although it was slightly inferior to it in maximum speed, combat survivability and firepower. In the spring of 1943, the Yak-9 appeared on the central sector of the Soviet-German front. For example, the Normandie Fighter Aviation Regiment, in which French pilots fought, was re-equipped with this fighter. As its production increased, the Yak-9 gradually replaced earlier types of Yakovlev fighters (Yak-1 and Yak-7) in front-line aviation units. By mid-1944, the Yak-9 had become the main air combat aircraft in the Soviet Air Force, and at the final stage of WWII it accounted for almost half of the total number of Soviet fighters. This was greatly facilitated by its extreme universality (front-line fighter, long-range fighter, high-altitude interceptor fighter, reconnaissance aircraft, fighter-bomber, ground attack aircraft etc. variants), as well as its simple and rational design, created with mass production in mind. At the same time, the Yak-9 was a very effective machine, capable of fighting on equal terms with any type of German piston fighters. This is confirmed by numerous combat examples of successful actions of Soviet pilots against Luftwaffe.
So, on April 4, 1944, 8 Yak-9s under the leadership of captain V.A. Makarov from the 195th Fighter Aviation Regiment (Karelian Front) attacked 33 German Ju 87 dive bombers, which were guarded by 12 Fw 190 fighters. In a fierce combat, Soviet pilots shot down 2 bombers and 2 fighters (+ 1 damaged) and returned home without losses. On July 28 of the same year, 4 Yak-9s under the leadership of lieutenant V.V. Kiselnikov from the 65th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment (1st Baltic Front), flying out for reconnaissance in Elgava area (Lithuania), discovered 6 Fw 190s patrolling in the air. Soviet pilots suddenly attacked the enemy and shot down 2 German fighters on the first pass, and then another. The Germans radioed for help, and soon 4 more Fw 190s entered the dogfight. But this did not change the course of the combat. Using their more nimble aircraft, Soviet pilots increased their score to seven, and then, having used up the ammunition during 13 min combat, returned to the home airfield without losses. Of course, not all fights ended so brilliantly. The Yak-9s also suffered significant losses. But still, the pilots loved this fighter, and the aircraft deserved it. A.V. Vorozheykin (ended the war as twice Hero of the Soviet Union, a major, deputy commander of the 32nd Fighter Aviation Regiment) scored 15 of his 46 + 13 (personal + in a group) aerial victories on the Yak-9 in 1944. Using powerful 37-mm gun of his Yak-9T, senior lieutenant I.V. Fedorov from the 812th Fighter Aviation Regiment (37 personal aerial victories during the war, Hero of the Soviet Union) destroyed 8 German aircraft in the sky of Ukraine, and on July 16, 1944, during the reconnaissance flight over Lithuania on the Yak-9R he entered alone the dogfight with 12 Fw 190, shot down one of them and successfully reached his home airfield. Hero of the Soviet Union, captain A.V. Kochetov shot down 20 + 11 enemy aircraft during the war and when served as the squadron commander of the 43rd Fighter Aviation Regiment flew a “personalized” Yak-9, purchased with funds donated by collective farmer A.G. Gayazov. The outstanding naval aviation ace, Hero of the Soviet Union, Guards captain M.I. Grib from the 6th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment of the Black Sea Fleet Air Force fought on the Yak-9D in 1944, in 75 aerial combats he shot down 22 German planes (10 + 12) including 3 Bf 109 and 1 Bf 110 (all personal) on the Yak-9D. This list can be continued for a long time. And the winning point in WWII combat career of the Yak-9 was set by senior lieutenant V.A. Zhivotovsky, who on August 15, 1945 shot down a Japanese Mitsubishi J2M Raiden fighter over Korea - this was was the last aerial victory of Soviet Air Force in WWII.