Lavochkin La-7 in Profile

By Chris Banyai-Riepl

History

The Lavochkin La-7 was the best Soviet fighter aircraft during World War Two, and very likely the best fighter aircraft of the entire war, on either side. Its record was legendary, matching 115 La-7 losses (less than half of which were in combat) to over 3,100 victories over German enemy aircraft. The excellent performance of the La-7 kept novices from succumbing to the enemy, while in the hands of a veteran pilot, nothing could touch it. The age of the jet brought the La-7 to a premature retirement, like many other outstanding piston-engined designs.

La-7
"White 12"
Major Kosolapov
937 IAP, Prague, May 1945.

This striking La-7 also has diagonal stripes on the wing upper surfaces. For more information and to see how this scheme looks on a model, check out Ilya Grinberg's build of Eduard's 1/72 La-7 kit in this issue.

This profile is available as an 11x17 print.

La-7
"White 16"
Pavel Fedorovich Chupikov
176 GIAP, February - April, 1945

The mount of the Regimental Commander, White 16 shows some modifications to the original factory camouflage. The red nose has a slightly different application than what is traditionally seen. Note the location of the Guards badge on the rear fuselage.

This profile is available as an 11x17 print.

La-7
"White 33"
Podpolk. V. F. Golubev
4 GIAP VVS-KBF, ca. Spring 1945

This profile is highly speculative and is based almost exclusively on the analysis of Erik Pilawskii at his Modeling the VVS website. Only a single small photograph of this plane exists, and it shows Golubev standing in front of the victory field on the fuselage. Enough of the fuselage is visible, though, to discern that the camouflage pattern matches the demarcations of only one factory, that of Zavod 381. It is this pattern that is displayed here. As only a small portion of the fuselage is visible, the rest of the scheme is entirely speculative. The white flash on the tail was a common sight on 4 GIAP aircraft, but there is no proof that Golubev's aircraft carried it. The same goes for the La-7 badges and the white spinner. As this was a Guards unit, it is possible that the nose featured a Guards badge. Ultimately, the appearance of Golubev's La-7 will remain as uncertain as his personal score (currently estimated at 51 victories).

This profile is available as an 11x17 print.

La-7
"White 53"
Kpt. Loskov ?
156 IAP, ca. Spring 1945

Many La-7s carried a single upper surface color, such as this example from the 156 IAP. Finished in AMT-11 over AMT-7, this plane also has a non-standard fuselage numeral style. This is suspected to be the mount of Igor Loskov, who scored 12 victories during the fighting in the Danzig Pocket in 1945.

This profile is available as an 11x17 print.

La-7
"Yellow 06"
Baltic Front, 1945

This aircraft is from an unknown unit in 1945 and features a standard Zavod 381 finish of overall AMT-12 over AMT-7. Note the heavily weathered appearance and the angled fuselage numerals.

This profile is available as an 11x17 print.

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