Early La-5s of 240 IAP


geroju Lukjanovu

By Massimo Tessitori

File updated on March 15, 2019

go to La-5 main page


Early production La-5s, visually characterized by the LaGG-3 style canopy and bulged tail wheel doors, are well documented by photos taken in factory or at the test field of NII VVS, the Scientific Institute of the VVS.

Despite this, photos of these planes in operative units are extremely rare.

The only operative early La-5s which have a decent photographic documentation belongs to 240 IAP, that received some of these planes on August 9, 1943.

Three of these planes were bought by a collect of funds started by the mother of pilot Lyukanov after his death.

On this photo we see the mother aside a gifted plane, still without its bort number.

Planes were numbered 22, 23, 24 at the unit, numbers being painted on the e rudders.

Inscription "????????" ????? ????????? e.g. "Baumancy" geroju Lukjanovu means: (From) Peoples/workers of Baumanski region to hero Lukjanov.

The inscription, surmounted by a shadowed HSU medal, was on the right side only of each plane.



The commander of the zveno (unit of 3 planes) flew plane numbered 23. The plane was lost in late August 1942 during the battle of Stalingrad.




From our point of view, the most interesting thing is that these planes were very early La-5s, characterized by the same type of canopy frames of LaGG-3s. They have also bulged tail wheel doors, a characteristic common to LaGG-3s that was soon changed on production La-5s.

Although there is a good availability of photos taken in factory or on NII VVS test field of this early type, photos of them in operative units are extremely rare.


Below: a composition of screenshots showing one of the planes taxiing, before the application of individual numbers.

(composition by Massimo Tessitori)



Planes were numbered 22, 23, 24, but the only image I have of their bort numbers is this one, only partial but clearly referred to plane 24.





Another early La-5 of another unit. Note that the tail wheel doors are bulged as those of LaGG-3s, but the profile of the lower part of fuselage of LaGG-3s should start to bulge under the star for the ventral cooler, while this one is characteristic of a La-5.

Although partial, this photo is a possible candidate for another early La-5. The frames look as those of a LaGG-3, but the sides of the fuselage give the idea to be rounded as those of La-5s.

Note that the reflection of the mast can create a false impression of the upper profile of the sliding hood.



Aleksandr Ruckovsky has given a substantial help in researching for the images that allowed to make this page and the relative profile.


Images from books and from the net were utilized without the intention of damage the rights of the owners or to have an economic gain for the authors of this page, but only to demonstrate that the drawings are as historically accurate as possible.

Not all images report the source. This is not to deny any credits, but because many of them were collected from many persons that no longer remember where they found them. In some cases, many of these images can be found on multiple sources.

Should this be unacceptable for anyone having rights on the photos, we apologize and we eventually provide to remove or credit them.