Lavochkin La-5. 5th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment By: Jay Ashurst, Signed by: Vatali Popkov The Lavochkin La-5 (Лавочкин Ла-5) was a Soviet fighter aircraft of World War II. It was a development and refinement of the LaGG-3 and was one of the Soviet Air Force's most capable types of warplane. Vitaly Ivanovich Popkov (May 1, 1922 – February 6, 2010, Russian: Виталий Иванович Попков) was a Soviet fighter pilot in the Second World War, an ace credited with 41 victories and a two-time Hero of the Soviet Union. In August 1943 Popkov took command of a fighter squadron in the 5th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment of the 295th Fighter Air Division. Flying the Lavochkin La-5, he continued to add to his victory tally, shooting down three Messerschmitts near Kharkov, and three more near Kiev. During service over the Crimea, Leningrad and at the battle of Kursk Popkov flew 478 combat missions and took part in 117 air combats, from which he personally claimed 41 enemy aircraft shot down (1 by ramming) and 1 victory shared. He eventually became commander of 5th GIAP Guards Fighter Regiment, 207th Fighter Aviation Division, 3rd Mixed Aviation Corps (17th Air Army) on the South-Western Front, mainly flying the Lavochkin LaGG-3, La-5, La-5FN, and La-7.
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