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Aces of Aviation

Yakovlev Yak-9D of M. V. Avdyeyev

Yakovlev Yak-9D of M. V. Avdyeyev

Yakovlev Yak-9D piloted by Lieutenant Colonel M. V. Avdyeyev, Hero of the Soviet Union, during 1944.

Wingspan: 10.00 meters.

Length: 8.55 meters.

Height: 3.00 meters.

Engine[s]: Klimov M-105 PF of 1210 horsepower.

Maximum speed: 600 kilometers/hour.

Service ceiling: 10000 meters.

Range: 1300 kilometers.

Armament: One MPSh 20-millimeter cannon; one UBS 12.7-millimeter machine gun.

An unfortunate symptom of the suspicions that emerged after the Second World War was the scarce information that the Soviet Union released since the end of the war, necessary to identify the Soviet pilots along with the aircraft that they piloted. An exception was the Yak-9D piloted by Red Guards Colonel M. V. Avdyeyev, who however, with a final record of fifteen victories, cannot be included among the great aces of the Soviet Air Forces.

After the first months of Operation Barbarossa, given the repeated disasters suffered by the Soviet Air Forces, the western Allies tried to fill the gaps in the Soviet aviation with British and American fighters delivered by sea to Murmansk during 1941-42. However, the capable Soviet aeronautical industry soon introduced its own models. The first Yak-9 was completed in December 1942 and shortly after this model entered action in the area of Leningrad. The Yak-9D (Distants Yonnyi or Long Range), version with increased fuel capacity, was introduced in the late 1943 and delivered to the numerous Red Guards regiments in 1944.

A fighter regiment equipped with Yak-9D was used in the reconquest campaign of Sevastopol, which fell into Soviet hands the 9th May 1944, and among its squadron leaders was Lieutenant Colonel M. V. Avdyeyev. His Ostronosyi ("Sharp Nose", as Avdyeyev nicknamed his Yak-9D) reflected his skill as a fighter pilot, with the small red stars which represented each victory painted around the red star emblem on the vertical tail. The depiction of the Order of the Red Banner in the nose, along with the badge of the Red Guards regiment, indicated an individual recognition to valor and command. Avdyeyev survived the war, with a final record of fifteen victories, and was awarded the Gold Star Medal which identifies a Hero of the Soviet Union.

Officer of the Soviet Air Forces