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La-7s of 137 giap, 3 giad
by Massimo Tessitori

Updated on August 23, 2020

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The photo shows two La-7s of 137 GIAP, probably in spring 1945. The unit received La-7s in December 1944.

http://ava.org.ru/iap/137g.htm

Many photos of La-5F of this unit are known, and for the most they show the same regimental markings of the La-7 of the photo: white spinners and front rings, and two oblique white lines on each tail side.

Both planes show the relatively small red stars and the rounded number fonts of the La-7 produced in Factory n.21.

On plane 56, the white lines on the tail run along all the surface, while the lines of plane 26 seem cropped horizontally, not arriving up to the top of the tail.

The coloring of the planes looks strange: while it looks sure that they had a AMT-11/12 camouflage when delivered to the unit, the camouflage itself is not distinguishable even on well-enlightened surfaces. Maybe it could be faded and chalked... but plane 56 seems to have an uniformly dark fuselage uppersurface and wing central plan, while the visible wing appear lighter. Nothing justifies a shadow projected on the plane, so the likely conclusion is that, at the date of the photo, a vast part of the upper and side surface had been repainted, probably with uniform AMT-12 dark grey, while the wing outer consoles hadn't been, probably preserving the original camouflage, faded and without its original contrast. The repainting likely deleted the La-7 logo, very common on the planes built in Factory 21.

Another most interesting characteristic of plane 56 was the prop blade, with large white areas and a thin red (?) line painted on. This was likely the mark of some squadron leader, and it's likely that the same painting was on the front side of the blades too.

The prop blade of plane 26, although appearing relatively light, looks compatible with a standard black-painted blade, faded and in full sun light. Probably its spinner and front ring were painted white. The rectangular dark area on its wing was likely some cover.

 

This profile depicts plane 26 with the factory camouflage.

It is unclear if this camouflage was still on the plane at the date of the photo, or if it was repainted in any way.

When compared to known photos of other planes of the same unit, this one is characterized by the cutten top of the regimental white bands on the tail.

This profile depicts a reconstruction of plane 56 when it had been in service with the 137 GIAP for a brief time; it shows all the regimental markings and, probably, the white/red repainting of the blades, while preserves the original camouflage and logo.

This profile depicts an interpretation of plane 56 as it appears on the photo, with the camouflage on the upper and side surfaces of the fuselage, central wing plan and tail repainted with dark grey, deleting the logos. The outer wing consoles of the plane were lighter of the repainted surfaces, probably because they had preserved the original faded camouflage.