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La-5 Red 18 and Silver 10 of 159 IAP
by Massimo Tessitori

Updated on May 15, 2019

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This photo shows two aces of 159 IAP on the Leningrad front: capt. P.Y. Likholetov and Sr. Lt. V.A. Zotov.

Them both were made HSU on February 4 1944.

Likholetov obtained 25 individual + 5 shared victories, while Zotov obtained 28 personal victories.

Probably the photo is of the fall 1943.

On the background we see two La-5s, but it is difficult to say if they were the personal monts of these aces.

 

A closer detail of the planes shows some characteristics:

  • them both had black-green camouflage, probably retouched or fully repainted, differing in some details;
  • them both lacked of the star on the fuselage;
  • them both had numbers made with angular fonts that were not made in factory, but were similar to the fonts of other known planes of the same unit; go to grey 26
  • plane 18 had a white rudder (looks darker only due to the angulation);
  • the star on the tail, that is of the type introduced in August 1943;
  • a comparison to photos of other planes of the same unit suggests that it had a white painted spinner;
  • plane 18 had a number that could be painted red; plane 10 had a number of a lighter shade (unclear if silver, light blue or what else) aligned to the ground and a bit more backwards than plane 18;
  • plane 18 had the exhaust plates freshly painted black, while plane 10 had lost the paint from these steel surfaces, as usual for La-5s;
  • plane 18 had a logo on the cowling suggesting that it had a M-82F engine, while plane 10 hadn't any logo and was powered by a M-82.

 

Left: a reconstruction of the look of plane red 18.

A reconstruction of plane 10.

 

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