Duel 65: Bf 109E/F vs Yak-1/7

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Dmitriy Khazanov, Aleksander Medved
Other Publication Information
Soft Cover, 7.2” x 9.8”, 80 pages
Company: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Cover Art

Dmitry Khazanov is a widely respected Russian researcher of Soviet aviation in World War 2. He is the author of more than 20 books and numerous articles about Soviet military aviation. Dmitry Khazanov, joined by co-author Aleksander Medved, and illustrators Jim Laurier, Gareth Hector, Andrey Yurgenson present a depiction of the each side’s aircraft and the environment they engaged each other in.

The Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter inflicted a tremendous beating on the VVS’ early Yakolev fighters early on, taking full advantage of Germany’s combat hardened pilots. Many of Germany’s scoring aces benefited from the Messerschmitt’s technical superiority over the overweight and underpowered Yak-1. Eventually the tide turned as the VVS gained experience, improved their tactics and upgraded their aircraft. Dmitry Khazanov paints a detailed portrait for mastery over the frozen skies of the Eastern Front between the Bf 109 and the Yakolev fighters.

The “Design and Development” chapter introduces the Yak-1 and Yak-7 contrasted with the Bf 109E and Bf 109F utilizing rare photos. Color illustrations add emphasis with Snr. Sgt Pavle Karavai’s Yak-7B mount and Major Hannes Trautloft’s Bf-109F-4.

The development of the Yakolev fighter from the I-26 prototypes through the Yak-7-37 is traced in the “Technical Specifications’ chapter. The Bf 109E-1 through Bf-109F-6 is described, variant by variant next. Nice features are the full page color cut-away illustrations depicting the armament of the Yak-1 and Bf-109F. Tables of production by type and year along with specification comparisons provide a handy cheat-sheet.

Environmental factors are discussed in the “Strategic Situation” chapter. Politics, the ground war, and the VVS’ transition from the Polikarpov I-16 and I-153 fighters, played heavily into how the Russians struggled at the onset on the war. Simply getting the new Yak fighters built and in service was a huge chore, let alone providing material support to the VVS fighter bases. The VVS was at a huge disadvantage simply from a communication standpoint. The Soviet military relied on ground lines for the telephone and telegraph, both easily severed. Pilots had to fly close enough to send and receive hand signals as airborne radios were nearly non-existent. In addition to period photographs, this chapter provides color illustrations of the distribution and strengths of the Luftwaffe and VVS units.

The “Combatants” chapter starts off with a comparison of the pilot and aircrew training programs of the Germans and Soviets. Two pilot biographies are presented, one for Mikhail Dmitrievich Baranov, and the other for Hermann Graff. An evaluation of the combat tactics and organizational structure is well presented depicting VVS flying formations and their evolution throughout the period. The chapter ends with full page illustrations of the Yak-1B and Bf 109F-4 cockpits with all details labeled.

The next eighteen pages is devoted to “Combat” and “Statistics and Analysis” describing engagement reports from both the Russian and German sides. Of note is the section on the 586th IAP, an all-female unit that had considerable success against the Luftwaffe. The beautiful petite blonde, Jnr Lt Lilya Litvyak, was a humble star who finished with as many as 16 aerial victories.

The 11 Chapters include:

  • Introduction
  • Chronology
  • Design & Development
  • Technical Specifications
  • Strategic Situation
  • Combatants
  • Combat
  • Statistics and Analysis
  • Aftermath
  • Further Reading
  • Index

If you own one the previous releases in the Dual series, you know what you are getting. If this is your initial entry into this series, you will be pleased.

My thanks to Osprey Publishing and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!


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