The Yak-1 entered Soviet service in 1941, one of three modern types of aircraft accepted for production just prior to the German invasion of the USSR. Despite initial shortcomings, it soon proved to be the thoroughbred of the Soviet Airforce. Indeed, it remained in production until the end of the war, modernized but fundamentally recognizable. By VE-day about 33,100 Yakovlev fighters had been built. Virtually all Soviet fighter regiments flew at least one variety of Yak for a time, including those which gained their fame identified with other aircraft, and consequently many pilots known as Airacobra or Lavochkin aces also scored victories with the Yak. Many other famous aces were exclusively 'Yak patriots', including the French Normandie pilots. This book focuses on the Soviet aces who scored all, or most of their victories in the Yak, drawing informaion from official unit histories and memoirs of the Soviet pilots themselves.
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Osprey's Aircraft of the Aces series combines full colour artwork, the best archival contemporary photography, and first hand accounts from aces to bring history's greatest airborne conflicts to life.About the Author:
George Mellinger is a specialist in Russian aviation history living in the United States. He is an associate of the Russian Aviation Research Group-Air Britain and a member of the Twin Cities Aero Historians. He is working on major studies of Soviet Air Force organisation and of Soviet aces. This is his third volume for Osprey.
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