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Yakovlev Aces of World War 2

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Author: George Mellinger
Illustrator: Jim Laurier
Publication Date: 12 Apr 2005
Number of Pages: 96

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 were 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 information from official unit histories and memoirs of the Soviet pilots themselves.

Biographical Note

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. Jim Laurier is a native of New Hampshire. He graduated with honours from the Paiers School of Art, Connecticut, in 1978 and has worked as a freelance illustrator ever since, completing assignments in a wide variety of fields. Jim has a keen interest in military subjects, both aviation and armour, and is a Fellow member of the American Society of Aviation Artists, the New York Society of Illustrators and the American Fighter Aces Association.


  • The near collapse of 1941
  • Introduction of the Yak-1 into service and its participation in the early battles of the war
  • Failed counter-attacks and retreat to Stalingrad
  • Stalemate and counter-attack
  • From the borders to Berlin
  • Appendices

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