The Yak-7 isn’t the best looking of fighter aircraft from the WWII era and because of that, it gets underestimated. Constantly. The other day I was out flying with Air Combat Tutorial Library creator Requiem for a couple of flights and I wanted to share a highlight sortie that showcased what the Yak-7B is pretty good at doing.
Out on patrol
Three of us set out in Yak-7Bs for a combat patrol. The situation on the Finnish Virtual Pilots Dynamic War server was such that the Allies had been pushed into the far eastern side of the Kuban map and were fighting for control of the skies and ground near the city of Krasnodar.
On the ground, tanks were fighting it out and attackers from both sides were doing their best to take on the target areas. Our job was to try and cut down some of the high flying 109s and see if we could give our attackers an opening.
Twenty kilometers from Krasnodar and cruising at 4000 meters we spotted a Bf109 off in the distance weaving back and forth – presumably looking for targets. We’re guessing that this 109 was not expecting to face off against Allied fighters flying above him so he didn’t see us until we were already close in.
Requiem lead the attack firing a burst at the 109. It dove away and he fired another burst damaging it severely. It crashed a short while later.
Another Bf109 appeared as we were climbing out from the first attack and I gave chase coordinating closely with the third Yak-7B in our group while Requiem returned to base to solve a graphics card issue.
Low level chase
Dropping down from 3,500 meters down to the deck, I used every bit of available power in the Yak-7B’s engine. Here is where people may not realize that, at sea level heights the Yak-7B is just as fast as a Yak-1B and a near dead heat for an early Bf109G series or Bf109F-4 (with a 5kph advantage for the Yak!) and with a little careful management of the radiator and fuel mixture I was able to slowly start gaining on the 109.
It seems like this Bf109 had forgotten all about me as he started to chase an Allied fighter. The Allied fighter, a La-5, is another low level fast mover and a difficult one for 109s to fight at this altitude given its tremendous speed. I kept up the pursuit but was still minutes out from an intercept.
As this was happening, and completely by chance, a second 109 appeared flying slower and crossing into my gunsight. I was able to keep up the chase with the first target while sliding my gunsight onto the second 109.
I fired a short burst which immediate connected with the target. That 109 exploded into flames and crashed immediately. A victory! But the chase was still on!
Two of us in our Yak-7B’s continued the original chase. The first 109 I had been after had pulled away slightly, however, my victory over second 109 had taken me off course only slightly so the difference was small.
Both of us were full power as well pressed on. At the lead remained an Allied La-5 who was just trying to stay ahead of the attacking fighter. We managed to communicate with the La-5 and told him we were trying to close the distance. He recognized the situation very quickly and put the La-5 into a very tight left break turn.
The 109 overshot and in an effort to get an angle on the La-5 allowed us to catch him.
A few bursts from my guns and he careened out of controlled flight and crashed into a treeline. Success!
After that we decided that we were low on ammo and that we should get out there. We hightailed it home!
So, despite its utilitarian looks, never underestimate the Yak-7B. It’s faster than you think, agile, and it packs a good punch with those heavy machine guns and cannon all in the nose. Even at medium altitudes its can be a force to be reckoned with. Look out for it!