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LaGG-3s of 9 IAP of Black Sea Fleet and of

7 IAP ChF, 249 IAP, 88 IAP, 805 IAP

equipped with late production LaGG-3s on the Southern front

By Massimo Tessitori

File updated on November 12, 2017

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Zavod 31 in Tbilisi was the only one that continued the production of LaGG-3 in 1943 and early 1944 after that Zavod 21 in Gorky, the main LaGG-3 producer, has switched to La-5 in late 1942.

The planes built in Z.31 corresponded to series 60 to 70, but they are often unproperly referred as 'series 66' on bibliography.

The most part of them was utilized on the South front, not too far from the factory and the maintenance facilities.

The version built on Tbilisi was a lightened version, easily distinguishable from earlier LaGG-3s because of:



LaGG-3s of 9 IAP ChF (Black Sea Fleet) in Novorossijsk area in spring 1944.

The short radio mast, the camouflage and the likely date of production in late 1943/early 1944 suggest that these planes are around series 66.



A closer view of plane 24. It is particularly interesting because, although being forthemost representative of the planes of this unit, it has some characteristics of its own:

  • the white lines on the prop blades;
  • the uniformly light frames of the canopy (probably unpainted, o repainted with some light shade as silver or light grey).
  • The image allows to see one of the stars under the wings, that are very large and extend under the ailerons and flaps, approaching the rear edge of the wings.

Image from Red Stars of Geust, Keskinen Stenman

Plane n.20 had some unusual characteristics for this unit: the tail marking is only a relatively thick white band, without the white triangle visible on all the other known photos of similar planes of this unit. Besides, it's likely that the small red star on the tail was repainted on the rudder instead of the fin.

Besides, its spinner looks unusually included into an AMT-12 dark grey band instead of the usual AMT-11.



Image of plane n.31 of 9 IAP. The standard marking on the tail and the usual camouflage of the nose are clearly visible.

As many other planes of this unit, photos show wide parts of the canopy frames very chipped or perhaps left unpainted. This could be due to the poor production standards, that didn't painted a layer of primer on the frames, so the adhesion of the AMT nitro paints was very poor.




Plane 32 of 9 IAP was characterized by some repaintings with unproper colors: strangely light on the tail, and strangely dark on the undercarriage's door.

Image: Petrov's collection

Image from Red Stars of Geust, Keskinen Stenman

Lt. Yuri Shitov (often erroneously written as Shchipov) of 9 IAP on his plane '43' characterized by a lionheart emblem and eight victory stars.

The wide stenciling visible through the glazing reads 'lyuk elektro akkumulyatora', 'hatch for the electrical accumulator'.

The emblem is often represented as a lion's head on an uniformly red heart, but the photo suggests that there is a semirealistic background in front of the lion, with bushes and grass, and a thin outline that could easily be red. It's difficult to say if the sky could be blue or red, because there is not a clear contrast with the supposedly red outline.

Image from Red Stars of Geust, Keskinen Stenman

Aside and below:

3 views of the plane 43 of Shitov. The painting with the lion, being very elaborate and made by brush, was likely made only on the left side of the plane.





photo of a LaGG-3 of 7 IAP ChF (Black Sea Fleet).

Very few can be seen on this photo, but the position and font of the bort number are recognizable.

It seems that there is some light repainting behind the canopy.

Image via A. Ruckovsky



Plane (blue?) 62 and Pilot is Jr. Lt. Vorobyov of 7 IAP ChF.

Note the similarity of fonts with the plane above. These fonts resembles to those used on La-5s in 1942/43, but seems more rounded on their sides.

No strange light repaintings behind the canopy, we can see only what seems an usual AMT-11/12 camouflage. Regimental markings of this unit, if any, are still unknown.

Image via A. Ruckovsky


249 IAP


Aside: A.M. Kulagin of 249 IAP with his plane.

It is difficult to obtain informations on the regimental markings of the planes of 249 IAP from this photo. By sure, they hadn't colored spinner nor the bort numbers in the same position of planes of 9 IAP ChF. Enlarging the image of the plane hidden behind the blade, one can see something light on the higher part of the fin and rudder.

Image via A. Ruckovsky


88 IAP

LaGG-3 'white 41' and its pilot are of uncertain identification. A proposal is that the pilot is Postnov of 88 IAP, fighting on the Southern front in the second half of 1943 and in early 1944; the white spinner and rudder resembles to those of planes of 88 IAP too. The pilot seems to wear an uniform similar to those of the Navy, but other pilots of the same unit, as Maksimenko, seem to wear a similar dress in photos.

An alternative identification proposed is Hriaev of 9 IAP ChF, but the white rudder and spinner don't resemble to those known of this unit. Anyway, it could be that rudders of 9 IAP ChF were repainted white after the relocation of the unit in the Baltic area in summer 1944.

The most interesting characteristic of this plane is the emblem, a red bolt on a white circle, presumably on both the sides. It has also four victory starlets, presumably on the left side only.

Thanks to A. Ruckovsky

Profile of plane 41, putting into evidence the surprising emblem and the victory starlets. The serial 6641 (series 66 n.41) is fictious but likely enough.

HSU Major Vasilii Maksimenko, commander of 88 IAP (that became 159 GIAP in February 1944), that fought in northern Caucasus and southern Ukraine.

He received a gift LaGG-3 in February 1944 with the inscription: 'Geroyo Sovietskogo Soyuza Maksimenko V.I., ot zemlyaka rabochevo zavoda 'Glavarmalik' Goncharenko M.M. , that means 'to Hero of the Soviet Union Maksimenko V.I. from his neighbour, a worker at the Glavarmalit factory, Goncharenko M.M. '.

He flew this plane for few time, because the unit was converted to La-5s in August 1944.

These images show few more than the slogan on the plane of Maksimenko, that seems a typical 'series 66' with low mast, grey/grey camouflage.

The spinner doesn't seem to be white, as thought to be characteristic of this unit. Perhaps the plane has just been received and it is not fully marked.



HSU Pilot Knyazev of 88 iap poses aside his plane '41' (sometimes read as simply '4', but I am fairly sure to see a 1 too).

The plane shows a fully white rudder, and the tail star has a thick white outline.

Again, we see that the frames of the sliding hood are nearly without paint, or repainted with a light color.

Note the tall radio mast, very inclined backwards.

Image via A. Ruckovsky


profile of plane 41 of Knyazev. The serial 6441 is hypothetical, and means 'series 64, plane 41'. Series 64 was built in Tbilisi around July 1943.



Vasily Sobin of 88 IAP; he died in February 1944.

Although being 88 IAP of the Air Force, the anchor on the rudder was painted on all his planes after a visit of a delegation of the Black Sea Fleet as a reward for its action during the liberation of Novorossiysk.

The photo confirms that the red star on the tail of the planes of this unit had a thick white outline; a characteristic that contrasts with the image of plane 41 is that only the upper part of the rudder is painted white.


profile of a generic LaGG-3 '14' of 88 IAP in early 1944, inspired to the photo above. Nothing shows that '14' was the plane of Sobin, nor that a plane with that number existed in 88 IAP.

LaGG-3 of unknown pilot and unit. It has the grey/grey camouflage, that appears unusually contrasted. Someone has hypothized that it was an earlier black-green plane repainted to the new standard, but the preservation of the stenciling and the late style short mast don't seem to confirm this. The white spinner is noteworthy.



805 IAP

Here are two photos of pilots and planes of 805 IAP that fought on the Southern front in 1943/44.

The plane is clearly a late type LaGG-3 with the national insignas adopted in August 1943.

This photo shows an interesting characteristic: the number 218 painted on the sides of a late LaGG-3.

The use of three-digits bort numbers was very rare in the VVS.

The man with moustaches is Lieutenant Semyon Dzhambazishvili; he distinguished himself in a raid on Bagerovo on December 28, 1943. Later, he became a squadron commander.


this work collects a lot of photos from many sources, not always identified and mentioned.
If someone has rights on the images reproduced on this site, please don't feel hurted, email to me and I shall provide to remove or to credit them.


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