Soviet Union

YAK-3 Fighter

Lighter and smaller than Yak-9 but powered by the same engine, The YAK-3 was designed in 1943 as a variant of the YAK-1 fighter. The YAK-3 was a very agile dogfighter and a forgiving, easy to handle aircraft. Early combat experience found it to be equal to all Luftwaffe fighters at altitudes below 16,400 ft. The two biggest drawbacks of the aircraft were its short range and the tendency of the glued on plywood covering the top of the wings to tear away when exiting high speed dives. The first 197 Yak-3 were armed with a single 20 mm ShVAK cannon and one 12.7 mm UBS machine gun, with subsequent aircraft receiving a second machine gun. A total of 4,848 aircraft were produced with at least five still in flying today. This model shows a YAK-3 flown by the Soviet Air Force Normandie-Niemen French Communist volunteers group.

Yakovlev YAK-3 Fighter

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MiG-3z6 Interceptor

The MiG-3 was a Soviet WWII fighter plane developed from the MiG-1 in an attempt correct the MiG-1s problems. Even though it never fully corrected the MiG-1s problems, the MiG-3 was considered a success. The MiG-3 was designed as a high altitude interceptor. At altitudes above 16,000 feet the plane performed well, being a match for any German fighter. However, since most of the combat against the German invasion took place at low altitudes, the MiG-3 did not perform well as a ground attack plane and was soon withdrawn from the front lines. In the Spring of 1942 the MiG-3 was moved to the air defense squadrons which flew them for the rest of the war. The MiG-3 had a maximum speed of 400 mph and was armed with 1 12.7 mm UBK machine gun, 2 7.62 mm ShKAS machine guns and could carry 2 more UBK machineguns or 2 100 kg bombs or 6 82 mm RS-82 rockets under the wings but this negatively affected flight performance. About 3,322 MiG-3s were produced. This model shows a MiG-3z.6 flown by Capt. A. V. Shlopov of 6 IAP, 6 IAK (Fighter Air Corps), IA-PVO (Moscow Air Defense) in the winter of 1941 / 42.

MiG-3z.6 Interceptor

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