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The Lavochkin LA-7 was a piston-engined Soviet fighter developed during WWII by the Lavochkin Design Bureau. It took its first flight in February 1944 and between then and its retirement in 1950, over 5700 was built for use primarily by both the Soviet and Czech Air Forces. With a top speed of 661 km an hour and armed with either two or three 20mm cannon, it was felt to be the equal of any similar German aircraft of the time.
The pilot of Oxford’s Lavochkin on this occasion is Sergei Fedorovich Dolgushin, a Hero of the Soviet Union, whose regiment was stationed in Northern Germany at the end of the war. He was born in the Tula region of the Soviet Union and started his military career as a fighter pilot, taking part in some of the fiercest air battles during the early WWII period. He was awarded the accolade of Hero of the Soviet Union in 1942. He rose quickly through the ranks, culminating in his commanding the 156th fighter regiment until the end of the conflict, flying many combat missions.
His aircraft modelled here is the La-7 fighter identified as No. 93 that he flew until May 1945, stationed in Northern Germany as Flight Lieutenant Colonel S F Dolgushin. It is decorated with dark grey upper sides and pale blue underside, with bright red to the engine cowl and distinctive red and white tail fin. Dolgushin’s No. 93 identity is printed boldly on each side of the fuselage and his vast record of ‘kills’ are printed beneath the cockpit.
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