The sharkmouthed LaGG
The plane of A.S. Yegorov, commander of 156 IAP
By Massimo Tessitori
File updated on August 2, 2018
Some amazing photos of a LaGG-3 with a sharkmouth painted on were published on the web.
The plane was the personal mount of Lieutnant Colonel Aleksei Stepanovich Yegorov, commander of 156 IAP since 10 October 1940 until 30 September 1943, when he was promoted general as division commander, leaving the regiment to his deputy Dolgushin.
Till 1943 he shot down 1 plane + 2 in group (shared). He was awardes with the Red Banner order and For Leningrad defence medal.
He died in April 1945 in Moscow for a cerebral hemorrage after an heavy contusion.
Lt.col. Yegorov and his ground crew in front of his plane, Leningrad Front, 1943.
We see a sharkmouth (or crocodile's mouth?) painted on the nose of his LaGG-3. An eye is well recognizable, while the smaller oval thing closer to the spinner could suggest the nostril of a crocodile.
Some girls of the ground crew with the same plane on the background.
Other photos of female technicians of 156 IAP are known, and show that the other planes of the unit hadn't any mouth painted on.
Below we see the best image of this plane available till now, showing the mouth on the other side and something of the rear fuselage.
After having darkened a detail of the rear fuselage side, some trace of the bort number emerges. The first digit is almost certainly 1, while the second one is a rounded number. A dark area just above the wing seem to show that the number was opened on its top left, so it looks likely that it was 2. So, 12 is our best guess for it.
Note that the mouth is not perfecly symmetrical : on the left side, the upper file of teeth is bent forward, while the lower one is bended rearwards; on the right side, both files are bent backwards.
The stenciling is very low-contrasting, probably it was made with red paint instead of the more usual white.
Below is my attempt to reproduce the plane of A.S.Yegorov. The number 12 is hypothetical. If the number was really in that position, it is likely that it was partly overposed to the red star.
Links and credits
this work collects a lot of photos from many sources, not always identified
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.