Customer Reviews

10
La-5/7 vs Fw 190: Eastern Front 1942-45 (Duel)
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:$13.00+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon October 13, 2011
"La-5/7 vs Fw 190: Eastern Front 1942-45 (Duel)", by Dmitriy Khazanov and Aleksandr Medved, is a book in the Osprey Duel format that compares the Lavochkin La-5 and it's derivative, the La-7, against the Folke Wolf Fw 190A and its various sub-models over the Eastern Front during WW II. The duel format is typically 80 pages long, and presents an analysis of the factors ... human, mechanical, and tactical ... of the two weapons systems being compared, describes how the weapons were developed and utilized, and includes drawings, photographs, and illustrations.

One of the reasons I bought this book is because while coverage of the Fw 190 is fairly common, there aren't many books in English that go into much detail about Soviet fighters such as the La 5/7, and I wanted to learn more. The authors do an excellent job of setting the stage and covering the development of Soviet fighter from it's initial prototype, the I-301, through the LaGG 1 and LaGG 3 fighters, to the more refined and deadly La-5 and La-7. Coverage of the development of the Fw 190 is also good. The authors effectively summarize the different sub-models of both fighters, giving good basic information of the differences between them.

They also provide worthwhile information on the strategic situation and on pilot training. The section on combat, which provides useful comparisons and contrasts between the La-5/7 and the Fw 190, is more written from the Soviet point of view, although there are good anecdotes from both sides. The book closes with some statistical analysis and an aftermath, along with a list of books for further reading and an index. The pictures, illustrations, and diagrams were top notch.

Although I enjoyed the book and learned much about the La fighters, I do have some nits to pick. First, under the combatant section, there is a good section covering Soviet pilot training from enlistment to employment. However for the German side, the authors note that the training system employed by the Luftwaffe has been described in several other books in the Osprey duel series, so they only provided information on how the Germans transitioned Bf 109 pilots to the Fw 190. While the information in this section was good, I don't happen to own any other duel books on German fighters, and I think it a bit presumptious for the authors to skip initial German pilot training in this book. (I probably own 20 Osprey books at this point in time, but they're more focused on land and sea, and on battles/campaigns, and this is my first "air duel" book.)

Second, either the authors are using Soviet figures for German losses or they need to clearly define what constitutes a lost aircraft. For example, they state that at the beginning of the Battle of Kursk, the Germans had concentrated around 2100 aircraft to support the battle. They then state over the next 50 days of fighting that the Luftwaffe lost 2,419 aircraft. I suspect that an aircraft that suffered battle damage but could be repaired and returned to service are counted here as lost, as well as aircraft shot down or otherwise written-off. But it would help if the authors had defined what constituted "lost" in their analysis, as I don't believe the Germans had 115 percent of their starting aircraft totally destroyed (either shot down or lost on non-combat operations) in less than two months over the Kursk area. Similarly the authors state that the Germans lost some 4,500 aircraft during the Battle for Berlin. It's possible, I suppose, again depending on how you define "lost".

And third, while the authors provide a lot of great information on the strengths and weaknesses of both sets of fighters, they never really choose a winner, and explain why they chose as they do, as the other books in the duel series do. In general, it seems that the Fw 190A was probably more than a match for the La-5, and the La-7 had the upper hand over the Fw 190A, but was probably evenly matched by the Fw 190D (although only around 700 were built by war's end and very few fought on the East Front.)

Overall, though, this book provides succinct, pertinent information on the La family of fighters in World War II, and gives excellent comparisons as to the strengths and weakness of La's and Fw's, both in general and relative to combat with the other. The writing is clear and concise, and the pictures/illustrations/diagrams/etc are outstanding. Four stars.
44 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 27, 2011
Although Osprey has a couple of Ace-series titles on Eastern Front air combat, La-5/7 vs. Fw 190 is the first entry into the Duel series and it is an attractive, interesting volume. The scope of this volume is essentially from January 1943 to April 1945 and focuses on the aerial duel between various models of the Soviet La-5/7 fighter and the German Fw-190. In general, the Lavochkin fighters usually had a 2-1 or better numerical advantage over the Fw-190s in their sector, although the authors note the Luftwaffe pilots maintained a skill advantage up to early 1944. These are two very interesting fighters and the authors use this `glitz' factor to full advantage in their narrative, drawing readers in to see how many La-5/7s the out-numbered Fw-190s can hold off before the Luftwaffe completely loses its control over the skies on the Eastern Front. There is a lot of good information in this volume, with excellent photographs and overall, it is a good value for money. The only weakness in this volume are a certain level of disorganization between sections and insufficient analysis in determining which weapon system `won' the duel.

After a short introduction, the authors begin with the design and development of each aircraft. Some interesting points are made about how the LaGG (the original designation for the Lavochkin fighter) was designed with the strategic war economy in mind; instead of using short-supply aluminum like the MiG and Yak design bureaus, Lavochkin decided in 1940 to build his fighter out of a special type of treated plywood. Another interesting point is the Soviets decided to spread LaGG fighter production across five plants, which reduced the amount of disruption caused by the German invasion. Due to these factors, the LaGG-3 fighter was being cranked out in good numbers in late 1941, while Yak and MiG (which arguably had more sophisticated fighters) were scrambling to keep their production lines open. However, the LaGG-3 had an inadequate engine and the Soviet Air Ministry simply demanded that Lavochkin build a newer model with an upgraded engine. The problem was that the new engine was 18 inches wider than the LaGG-3 fuselage, which required Lavochkin to gin up a new design - it's interesting to see how the Stalinist state did not bother itself with technical details, just make it happen, or else! The result was the LaGG-5 (shortened to La-5), which entered service in July 1942. This section on Soviet aircraft development is quite well done. The section on Fw 190 development is decent, but the authors do refer to two earlier Duel volumes on the Fw-190, so there is some overlap. The authors do make an interesting point that Reichsmarschall Goring recognized the potential of the Fw-190 and pushed its entry into service - one of his few good calls in the Second World War. The fact that the La-5 and the Fw-190 were both rotary engine fighters is also interesting, compared to their in-line engine peers like the Bf-109.

The 11-page technical specification section has good detail and some color plates. Unfortunately, the volume runs into a bit of trouble in the long-winded Strategic Situation section, where the authors begin to deliver an operational-level blow-by-blow of the aerial campaigns in the East, rather than a quick overview of what the dispositions and missions of the opposing weapon systems. It gets a bit messy and redundant between this section and the Combat section. However, the point does come through that there were never more than 300 operational Fw-190s on the Eastern Front, against a force of La-5/7 fighters that eventually grew to 750 by 1944. The sections on pilot training is quite good, including two pilot profiles. The Combat section is also fairly good, although a bit short at 13 pages. In the final analysis, the authors don't provide any real conclusions about which fighter `won' the duel, although their summary of top aces on each side suggest that the Fw-190s inflicted a 1.7-1 kill ration on the La-5/7 force, which was not good enough for a force out-numbered by 2-1 or worse. Overall, a well-written and well-researched volume.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2013
Interestingly enough, both fighters were born by lack of the liquid-cooled engine availability. On the German side it was a fear of RLM's Technical Department that production and delivery schedules of the Bf-109's engine could be placed in jeopardy if it were also to be selected to power a second fighter from a back-up program. On the Soviet side if ill fated LaGG-3 would be phased out of production and replaced with Yak-7B in the Gor'kiy Plant No 21 it could not help with Klimov liquid-cooled engine shortage which was also used in Pe-2 bomber. Moreover, with such replacement Yakovlev would have monopolized all fighter production during WWII without any meaningful alternative! Arkadiy Shvetsov, Chif Designer of the Perm's engine plant No 19 producing the M-82 was concerned at the lack of demand for the engine. Hundreds were in storage and only small batch had been mounted on Sukhoi SU-2 short range bombers, which was about to phase out of production mostly due to the low battle survivability.

Because of the fear that the removal of the LaGG-3 from production would occur before the combined team could design, build and test the new aircraft, the effort should be concentrated on installing the M-82 in the airframe of the production aircraft, which would also minimize overall fighters discrepancy production. Many thoughts that this idea was impractical because of the diameter of the M-82 engine was 460 mm (18 in) wider compared to the maximum cross section of the LaGG-3 fuselage. Moreover M-82 was 250 kg (551 lb) heavier than Klimov M-105P engine, which means that aircraft center of gravity would change... It should be pointed out that in the aircraft industry this modification in such a hassle is extremely risky. A true bravery (could not find a better word) of NII VVS test pilots Yakimov and Kubyshkin really helped new fighter to be born, which later modifications (La-5FN/La-7) became best fighter for Red Amy VVS during WWII. These tests also included a clear "from the list" spin tests! Interestingly enough these spin tests were done without letting Semen Lavochkin know ahead, since he was extremely careful aircraft designer and probably would never authorized such "exercises" from the scratch.

One way or another somehow pure luck (or good fairy) helped and saved Lavochking fighter during the plant tests, NII VVS evaluation, and a state acceptance trials. On another hand, Nikolay Polikarpov's I-185 was already flying at that time bearing a striking resemblance to the La-5 which appeared in 1943. Unfortunately I-185 and its predecessor I-180 did not have as much luck during the tests as Lavochkin's LaGG-3 with M-82... At the order of NKAP, Polikarpov was obligated to pass the drawings for the dual 20mm ShVAK synchronized cannons to the design bureau of Semen Lavochkin to speed up development and production of La-5. It should be pointed out that technologically the I-185 was very sound design. Its structure was well design and as airplane feature it can be easily modified and produced at different plants for subsequent assembly at the final production plant. This capability was of great importance in the wartime because it enables a significant increase in production.

I agree with most of the reviewers that German pilots training could be written much better and should not be doubled with another Osprey book "Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Aces of the Russian Front". For people who is really missed this portion I would suggested two Bergstrom books: "Black Cross/Red Star Volume I (Operation Barbarossa 1941)" and "Graf & Grislawski A Pair of Aces".

La-5 fighter was very "heavy" on the control and would require a lot of true Russian muscles to fly and especially fly good to win air battles. This is probably why Ivan Kozhedub's habit to exercise a lot with 32 kg in wight lifting came very handy. As it was mentioned in La-5/7 vs. Fw 190 book, Kozhedub was the best Allies fighter during WWII with 62 personal kills. One of the main reasons for such performance was his remarkable and unprecedented ability (true masterpiece) of the low attitude air battles.

There is some confusing in the book (p. 53): actually, Kozhedub was almost shot down during his first air engagement with the enemy by Me-109 while trying to attack Me-110 over his own airfield. His La-5 with five fuel tanks was unofficially written off...

I was surprise myself by reading this book how many real Fw-190 fighters were actually at the Eastern Front at one given time. Some elements of JG-51 were there before another conversion to Me-109 and JG-54 is in Courland. I guess in 1943 there was simply not enough Fw-190 to go around. This airplane was in a high demand in Luftwaffe due his high versatility: can be used in a dog fight, home defense against American's heavies, and in ground attack role! It's kind of interesting to see how this airplane turn table around in his favor compared to Me-109.

I would have to agree with authors that winner of this duel would really come to the quality of the pilot training and tactics chosen during the engagements rather than the technical superiority of their respective machines. Overall, I found book very well written and organized, perhaps looking forward for another duel book: "Yak-1/7/9/3 vs. Me-109E/F/G/K".
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Osprey 'Duel' volumes have been fascinating mano-a-mano comparisons that have yielded interesting insights into fighter combat on various fronts. Now-and-then though, after a great build-up, certain titles in the series never answered the $64,000 question of which fighter won. The Khazanov/Medved volume is a case in point. Despite that fact, I enjoyed LA-5/7 VS Fw 190, EASTERN FRONT 1942-45.

Khazanov and Medved do a fairly good job of summarizing Eastern Front air ops, the development and introduction of both fighters, successes enjoyed by German and Russian fighter pilots, etc. And the book included facts new to me such as the fact, after early 1944, most of the '190s deployed on the front were ground-attack machines rather than fighters.

Likewise, the book is a nicely-illustrated package with interesting pix, color three-views, scrap views of cockpits and weaponry, formation diagrams and 'knock-your-socks-off' combat scenes by Gareth Hector.

But they never crown the victor.

In any case, fighter buffs will enjoy this latest Duel title. The Eastern Front has always fascinated me and books like the Khazanov/Medved volume help present a truer picture of the momentous air combats waged there. Recommended.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The osprey series of the duel is a very interesting source of infomation, basic for the resources but very good for the beginners, the shows all the aspects of the opposite machines, the skills of your crew and tatics. The end show how the numbers can overwhelming the best project end how the strategy of the government for his industry can win or loose a war.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on September 20, 2013
Any review of this book would have to start with a short discussion of the Osprey publishing company's "Duel" series. Books in this series are relatively short, at only 80 pages in length (about a third of which consists of illustration of one form or another). Hence if the reader is looking for encyclopedic coverage of the topic this is not the book. Hence the real question to ask is, how well does it cover the topic for this very limiting format? The answer is very well albeit the answer should come with a qualifying statement - that it is schizophrenic in that its coverage of the FW190 is nothing new but its coverage of the LA5/7 is excellent. What the book says about the FW190 has already been said many, many times before. Three stars here. The coverage of the LA5/7, on the other hand, is new to the literature and sheds light where there was none before. Five stars here.

The book covers the developmental history of both aircraft, main variations, strengths and weaknesses of both, training and combat within the context of combat versus each other very well. The illustrations in terms of photographs, drawings of cockpits and cut-aways of weapon systems are quite good. The main weakness of the book in terms of illustration, like in all the duel series covering aircraft, is the fact there is no cut-away of the entire aircrafts (as opposed to just the weapons systems). The book also, correctly, points out the fact that the FW 190 was not the predominate German fighter on the Eastern Front. That aircraft was the BF109. Hence the topic that should have been covered, instead, would have been BF109 vs. the LA-5/7. Nevertheless, a very enlightening and worthwhile addition to the Duel series.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2013
I liked this book as it covered everything that I was interested in. A good technical book. If you are interested in WWII weapons.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on March 1, 2015
Excellent review of the relative flight characteristics of the FW vs. La5. Not for those who want every mechanical detail, but a good review of design and deployment of each aircraft. Also good overview of the field conditions under which the aircraft operated. I am a fan of the Osprey publications because if you only have limited time to read it beats any monthly magazine. I am especially fond of the Kindle versions which I get on my tablet.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on November 21, 2013
Good overview of the aircraft for less than 85 pages. Good graphics and tumbnail sketches of some of the leading flyers.
good but not great accounts of some of the major air battles
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on March 17, 2015
Osprey always puts out good stuff. This is a small book which is full of good information, but not comparable to larger books. Still a good buy!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
P-38 Lightning vs Ki-61 Tony: New Guinea 1943-44 (Duel)
P-38 Lightning vs Ki-61 Tony: New Guinea 1943-44 (Duel) by Donald Nijboer (Paperback - March 23, 2010)
$14.22

P-47 Thunderbolt vs Bf 109G/K: Europe 1943-45 (Duel)
P-47 Thunderbolt vs Bf 109G/K: Europe 1943-45 (Duel) by Martin W. Bowman (Paperback - August 19, 2008)
$17.03

Bf 109 vs Yak-1/7: Eastern Front (Duel)
Bf 109 vs Yak-1/7: Eastern Front (Duel) by Dmitriy khazanov (Paperback - June 23, 2015)
$14.81
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.