7th Flieger Division: Student's Fallschirmjager Elite by Chris Ellis

By Chris Ellis

The recent Spearhead sequence seems on the innovative of battle, facing devices able to working independently within the leading edge of conflict. Covers the unit's origins and heritage, employer and order of conflict, conflict background theatre through theatre, insignia and markings. Vol. three is at the German seventh Flieger department.

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While it is normal practice to make parts from drawings, this time, on the contrary, final drawings were sometimes made from the parts. At the same time the tooling was being prepared and the process of producing new components was being mastered. 21 handled the task well. The transition to the modified fighter was effected almost without any reduction in the delivery rate to the air force. Following delivery of the first fully operational LaG-5 on 20th June 1942, the Gorkii workers turned out 37 more by the end of the month.

In one air combat the lieutenant was shot up by a Messerschmitt. The enemy pilot's fire tore off his canopy and broke the instrument panel, Golovachev being saved from injury by the armoured backrest. He managed to reach his base, but the undercarriage had apparently been damaged, as it refused to come down. With great difficulty he lowered the undercarriage using the emergency extension winch and landed safely. In another combat Golovachev shot down a Junkers Ju 88, but return fire from the bomber's gunner hit the LaGG-3, wounding the Russian.

Hero of the Soviet Union Captain V Garanin noted: 'Combats were fought at altitudes up to [13,000ft] 4,000m with obvious advantages over the Fw190 and Bfl09, both in speed and in horizontal and vertical manoeuvring. The La-5FN with an open canopy [as Soviet pilots used to fly it] overtakes hostile fighters, albeit slowly, gets on their tails during banked turns, and in a vertical air combat always turns to get above the enemy'. Shortcomings were also reported. Gun aiming was made more difficult by the presence of the top air intake cowling, which could obscure the target, and by the high position of the sight, which precluded the possibility of flying with the canopy closed.

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