La-5/7 vs Fw 190 Eastern Front 1942-45
Authors : Dmitriy Khazanov & Aleksander Medved
Illustrators : Jim Laurier, Gareth Hector, and Andrey Yurgenson
This book is also available as a PDF eBook and a ePub eBook.
Soviet LaGG fighters were in the thick of fighting from the beginning of Barbarossa. It was heavy, underpowered, and difficult to handle; made of wood it had the nickname “Varnished coffin”.
Nazi Germany’s supreme Focke-Wulf 190 fighters were initially deployed in 1941 to the most challenging Channel Front to savage the RAF. As more become available they were sent to dominate the VVS (VVS RKKA: Voenno-Vozdushnye Sile Raboche Krestiyankoy Krasnoy Armii – Air Force of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army) in 1942.
By 1943 these two closely matched opponents were mutually smearing the sky with the others’ debris; Germany modified their already excellent fighter to create a good multi-role fighter. The VVS continuously improved the LaGG with a series of power plant and airframe modifications. Redesignated the La-5, the Soviet fighter gradually developed performance superior to the Fw 190. In the sky over Kursk and the Crimea these two world-class fighters wrestled for aerial supremacy. Focke-Wulf developed their fighter into a multi-role fighter that was difficult to intercept, and always dangerous when caught, while Lavochkins developed into more capable air superiority fighters.
As the Western Allied campaigns syphoned more and more Fw 190s away to counter Allied heavy bomber attacks on the Reich, ground attack Fw 190s become dominate over the Eastern Front. These Fw 190F and G versions remained capable and elusive, and dangerous.
Several top aces flew these aircraft: Heroes of the Soviet Union Ivan Kozhedub and Kirill Yevstigneyev in the Lavochkin, and Otto Kittel and Walter Nowotny built up most of their scores in Fw 190s.
Messrs. Khazanov and Medved bring the stories of these rivals to light in La-5/7 vs Fw 190 Eastern Front 1942-45
. The developments of the two fighters are nicely detailed, as are the combat histories. Training and tactics of VVS and Luftwaffe pilots is examined. How these factors influenced the dogfights is discussed in detail. Several accounts from pilots are included for a you-are-there description of the planes. Merits of gun layout, engine types and development, cockpit arrangements, formations, and other subjects are included. Statistical analysis supports the anecdote content.
La-5/7 vs Fw 190 Eastern Front 1942-45
is brought to us in 80 pages and 11 chapters:
3. Design and Development
4. Technical Specifications
5. The Strategic Situation
6. The Combatants
8. Statistics and Analysis
10. Further Reading
Under Technical Specifications the different variants of each aircraft are summarized:
• LaGG-3 M-82
II. Fw 190
• Fw 190 V1 and V2
• Fw 190 V5/V5G
• Fw 190A-0
• Fw 190A-1
• Fw 190A-2
• Fw 190A-3
• Fw 190A-4
• Fw 190A-4/R6
• Fw 190A-4/U5
• Fw 190A-5
• Fw 190A-6
• Fw 190A-6/R1
• Fw 190A-6/R6
• Fw 190A-7
• Fw 190A-8/R7
• Fw 190A-8/R11
• Fw 190F-1
• Fw 190F-2/3
• Fw 190F-8/9
• Fw 190G-1
• Fw 190G-2/3
• Fw 190G-8
• Fw 190D-9
Following these descriptions are two tables comparing the La-5FN and Fw 190A-4, and the La-7 and Fw 190D-9. Osprey Duel series usually includes a pair of biographies, in this case profiling Ivan Kozhedub and Walter Nowotny.
Images and Graphics
Photographic support of the text consists of several dozen black and white photographs, plus several color photographs, some from WW II! Art and graphics of this title are pretty impressive. Three artists contributed to this work-- Jim Laurier, Gareth Hector, and Andrey Yurgenson. Their artwork and tables consist of the following:
i. La-7 full-color profile, planform, and frontal views
ii. Fw 190A-6 full-color profile, planform, and frontal views
iii. La-5FN Cannons arraignment
iv. Fw 190A-5 Cowl Guns and wing guns
v. Diagram of attack tactics for fw 190s against Lavochkins and Il-2s
vi. Map of Luftwaffe and VVS-KA airfields on the opening of the Kursk offensive
vii. Map of Nazi and Soviet forces on the opening of the Soviet June 1944 Central Front offensive
viii. La-7 cockpit
ix. Several Soviet fighter formation diagrams
x. German fighter formation
xi. Fw 190A-6 cockpit
xii. Engaging the Enemy, the death of a Fw 190 from the cockpit of a Lavochkin
xiii. Leading Fw 190 La-5/7 Killers
xiv. Leading La-5/7 Fw 190 Killers
Three specially commissioned dramatic in-action scenes enhance the book. On the cover are vignettes of Nowotny’s 206th and 207th kills, and of Major Kozhedub and a wingman taking on eight Fw 190s over the Seelow Heights. Inside the book is a two-page spread of a La-5 bouncing a Rotte
This book contains a wealth of data and information to explain the differences and similarities of these two fighters. Messrs. Khazanov and Medved bring a great deal of authoritative information to you in an easily followed format and presentation. The selection of photographs, graphics and artwork really enhances to book. The few typos really do not affect the content.
This Duel book is both a good read and technical manual that does convey the strengths and weaknesses of the Fw 190 and La-5 and -7 in combat against the other. Students of the aircraft, of the Eastern Front air war, and modelers will real enjoy this title. I heartily recommend the book!
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