IXO Models IXJ200634 Russian Yakovlev Yak-9D Fighter - Major Ivan N. Stepanenko, 4th Fighter Regiment, Kursk, Summer 1943 (1:72 Scale)
"The Yak was no match for the ME-109 but there were always so many - they swarmed like bees whenever we showed up."
- A German airman who survived World War II
When the German Army swept into Russia in June 1941, Luftwaffe chief Herman Goering assured the generals that Germany would destroy Russia's air defense capability. They very nearly succeeded. Caught by surprise, Russia's air force was decimated on the ground and in the air. Moving his design and manufacturing facilities east of the Ural Mountains, Alexander Yakovlev's design bureau began production of the Yak-9 in 1942, with delivery of the light, versatile craft to fighter regiments by October of that year. Eventually, a record 16,769 Yak-9s of all models would be built.
The single engine Yak-9 operated with a wide variety of armament for use in anti-tank, light bomber and long-range escort roles, first seeing combat during the Battle of Stalingrad. The standard version, the Yak-9M, had 20mm cannon and two 12.7mm machine guns. As one German survivor of the air battles over Russia stated, "The Yak was no match for the ME-109 but there were always so many - they swarmed like bees whenever we showed up." Sold Out!
Wingspan: 5.25 inches
Length: 4.75 inches
Release Date: July 2007
Original Issue Price: $24.99
Historical Account: "The Eastern Bulge" - The Battle of Kursk, also called Unternehmen Zitadelle by the German Army (Operation Citadel), took place from July 4th, 1943 to August 23rd, 1943, represented a significant defensive battle strategy on the Soviets' part during World War II. Having good intelligence on Hitler's intentions, the Soviets established and managed to conceal elaborate layered defense works, mine fields, and stage and disguise large reserve forces poised for a tactical and strategic counter-attack end game typical of defensive battle plans. Overall, the campaign, which included the famous sub-battle at and for Prokhorovka, remains the largest armored engagement of all time, and included the most costly single day of aerial warfare in history.
Though the Germans planned and initiated an offensive strike, the well planned Soviet defense not only managed to frustrate their ambitions but also launched a successful counter-offensive and exhausted the German abilities in the theatre thereby seizing the initiative for the remainder of the war. In that sense it may be seen as phase II of the turning point in the front that began with the German defeat at the Battle of Stalingrad, which aftermath set the table by establishing the 'Kursk Salient', the reduction of which was the objective of the German armies entering July. The subsequent counter attacks retook Oryol (August 5th), Belgorod (August 5th) and Kharkov (August 23rd), pushing back the Germans across a broad front, the first successful major Soviet Summer offensive of the War.
Kursk further demonstrated that the conflict in the East contained the largest scale of warfare in history, in terms of manpower involved. So well designed was the Soviet defensive planning, that when entering the archetypical counterattack phase, the Soviets were able to attack along four separate axes of advance, and execute a planned stop at a phase line, thus avoiding the pitfalls of over-extending during the counter attack and earning this battle's deserved place as a model campaign in war college curricula.