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1945 Yakovlev YAK-3 Is a Red Army Fighter That Made It to California

There was terrible turmoil in the skies of the planet during the Second World War. For the first time in history, humans had the capability to fight against each other in the sky, in never-before-seen numbers, thanks to the massive advancements made in the aviation industry in the preceding years.
1945 Yakovlev YAK-3 6 photos
1945 Yakovlev YAK-31945 Yakovlev YAK-31945 Yakovlev YAK-31945 Yakovlev YAK-31945 Yakovlev YAK-3
For what it’s worth, today we mostly remember the incredible machines and pilots the Axis and Western Allies forces threw at each other. Ask anyone, and they’ll know a thing or two about Spitfires, Mustangs, Zeroes or Messerschmitts. But how many of us remember Yakovlev?

Due to circumstances, Russia ended up fighting on the side of the Allies during the war, those circumstances being the massive German invasion of 1941 that crippled the nation almost instantly. But somehow, being the resourceful lot they are, the Russians rebounded and kicked the Germans all the way back to Berlin.

One of the tools that helped them do that was the Yakovlev YAK 3. The fighter aircraft, a lighter, smaller version of the YAK-9, had its first flight in 1943, at a time when the Russians were getting in full offensive mode after their stunning victory at Stalingrad, and quickly joined the fight against the Germans, scoring a number of impressive wins.

YAK-3s could achieve a maximum speed of 646 kph (401 mph) and a maximum altitude of 10,400 m (34,100 ft). They were armed with cannons and machine guns.

During the war close to 5,000 units of them were made, but it’s unclear how many of them survive to this day, The one you see here somehow made it’s way to American shores, and it now resides in sunny California. The plane is wrapped in the two-tone grey colors of the French Escadron de Chasse 2/30 Normandie-Niemen, whose members trained and eventually flew Yakovlevs into combat.

The operational history of this plane, of the 3M variety, is not known, but even so it is currently selling, and the asking price is $450,000.

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.


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