Russia’s Answer

The Soviet Air Force at last found an equal to the Luftwaffe’s fighters with the Lavochkin La-5. Aleksander Medved explains

Pilots of the 240th Fighter Regiment were among the fi rst to fl y the La-5. The example in the background was purchased with funds collected by employees of the Bauman Moscow Higher Technical School and given as a present to Hero of the Soviet Union Lukyanov.

New versions of Luftwaffe fighters appeared in large numbers, outperforming their Russian opposition over the battlefield. In speed, rate-ofclimb and hitting power, the Soviet air forces were suddenly outclassed; in the summer of 1942 the air war took a dramatic turn.

Enhanced armament – three cannons, plus two machine guns – allowed the shooting down of the Ilyushin Il-2 ‘Sturmovik’ ground-attack aircraft in a single strike.

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