How many Yak-3s participated at Kursk?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Ottobon, Nov 14, 2014.

  1. Ottobon

    Ottobon New Member

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    As always it is sometimes hard to find good info about Russian planes on the internet. Something i am wondering is in regards to the Yak-3's prevalence during the battle of Kursk.

    All i can find so far is that there were enough of them that the Luftwaffe seemed to notice them enough that this may be where the deadly reputation of the Yak-3 was earned and the luftwaffe started issuing advice to not fight a Yak without "avoid combat below 5,000 m with Yakovlev fighters lacking an oil cooler under the nose"

    Basically i am trying to figure out if the Yak-3 saw very minor, minor, or somewhat major combat use during the Battle of Kursk. All i can find so far is that in 1 engagement the Russians had 18 Yak-3s facing 25 BF 109s and FW 190s, in this encounter the Russians only lost one aircraft, so obviously they had more then 18 of them at Kursk, but how many more?
     
  2. Denniss

    Denniss Active Member

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    Yak-3 is a spring/early summer 44 aircraft so how should they be able to field them in 43?
    Maybe some specially tuned Hotrods, some kind of forerunner/prototypes but no real Yak-3. From what I reemember they had a small run of rather high performance La-5FN on hand but can't remember to have heard this about Yak-3.
     
  3. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps you're thinking of the Yak-1, Yak-7 or the Yak-9?
    Those three types predated the Yak-3 into service:
    Yak-1: 1940
    Yak-7: mid-1942 (although I don't believe the Yak-7 was at Kursk as they were station to the north-western portion of the front areas.)
    Yak-9: late-1942
     
  4. Snautzer01

    Snautzer01 Well-Known Member

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    The first production Yak-3 assembled was completed on 1st March 1944 and test-flown a week later. Only by the end of the following month were 22 fighters officially accepted by the military. Service units started taking delivery of the new fighter in the late spring and early summer of 1944, when the Soviet command was making preparations for major offensive operations.
    Several of the first fighters were delivered to the 396th lAP, and combat evaluation of the Yak-3 was conducted in the 91 st lAP (commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel A. Kovalyov) of the 2nd Air Army in June and July of 1944.

    Battle at the Kursk Bulge was sustained by airmen of the 2nd and 16th Air Armies. By 5th July 1943 these formations had 659 Yak-1 sand Yak7Bs in their inventory.
     
  5. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    if i remember right this "avoid combat below 5,000 m with Yakovlev fighters lacking an oil cooler under the nose" is a myth
     
  6. Ottobon

    Ottobon New Member

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    I am aware full fledged production started in 1944, thats why i am trying to figure out how many test/pre-production Yak-3s were field tested at Kursk (Also possibly designated as I-30 or Yak-1M, same thing.)

    References for the Yak-3s participation at Kursk are numerous, my question is how numerous were Yak-3s at Kursk?

    Soviet Aces of World War 2 - Hugh Morgan - Google Books

    Yak-3

    Yakovlev Yak-3 - EcuRed


    The first link is to a actual book, the other two are more websites or wikis, but both state the same thing.

    Particular interesting quote from link above when you translate it
    That site with that quote, if it is to be believed is sourcing either "Encyclopedia of Aviation, " Aviation World ", 1998.

    or

    Alexander Yakovlev, " The Meaning of My Life ", Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1978.
     
  7. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Going by the Gordon and Khazimov book about the Yakovlev's fighters, the Yak-1M (1st prototype of the future Yak-3, ie. just one aircraft bore that designation) was completed in mid-February, the testes were conducted during the Spring of 1943. The second prototype, the Yak-1M 'Doubler', was completed on 9th September 1943.
    Several excerpts from the book, pg. 110:

    three.JPG
     
  8. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    By the time the aircraft was close enough to determine if or not it had a oil cooler under it's nose, it would likely be too late to refuse combat.
     
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  9. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The EcuRed page states the production being between 1944-45, yet the introduction was in 1943, the combat use in Kursk? They might get their act together 1st?

    The 2nd link (airpages.ru) page says:

    yet:

    Nobody was calling the Yak-3 as such during summer of 1943?
    Soviets were sometimes wrong in their conduct of warfare, but, until an aircraft didn't passed State acceptance test, the production did not commenced.

    I'll also try to check the Shavrov's and TsAGI book for firm dates.
     
  10. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Ottobon, you'll find the source of the Yak-3 "wiping the skies of the German aircrafts" is rooted in a Soviet era authored book of the late 1970's. Since western authors had difficulty in verifying sources, those claims became repeated in subsequent books until the Soviet archives were uncensored and made available to researchers.

    So most books that discuss the Yak-3 before 1991, claim that the Yak-3 aircraft participated in the slaughter of the Luftwaffe at Kursk, but do not indicate what units operated them or who the "glorious" pilots were. And you'll notice that in many cases, the passages in those books making this claim are almost exactly the same, word for word.

    The reality is, the Yak-1M with the VK-105PF2 was being tested nd was known to be at the battle of Kursk (although it is reported as not having swept the sky clear of German aircraft) and this may have caused confusion, since the -1M was the forerunner of the Yak-3.

    It was the 91st Fighter Regiment that began service testing of the early Yak-3 in June of 1944 (source: Soviet Combat Aircraft of the 2nd World War by Gordon and Khazanov) and it was a short time afterward that the Yak-3 saw operational service. Long after the battle of Kursk.

    A good book to read, is "Yak fighters of the Great Patriotic War period" (ISBN 5-217-01192-0), by A.T. Stepanets published in 1992. It might be noted that Stepanets worked at Yakovlev, director of flight at the design bureau.

    So unfortunately, as exciting as it may sound, there were actually no Yak-3 aircraft at the battle of Kursk.
     
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  11. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    #11 tomo pauk, Nov 14, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014
    Here is what Shavrov says, pg. 218 of 517 of his book 'History of aircraft design in USSR, 1938-1950'. Translation by yours truly, please open the pic separately for hi-res:

    three2.JPG
     
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  12. Ottobon

    Ottobon New Member

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    Thanks guys for all the constructive posts

    It seems this is a case of old-wives tales going wild, but its nice to know some good enough, more reliably info has come up since then, making the picture clearer :)
     
  13. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Sort of. There was some correspondence between some Lw units saying there was a new Soviet fighter that look like a previous model but performed better.
     
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