This book provides a concise and highly analytical examination of the strengths and shortcomings of both the Soviet Lavochkin 5/7 fighter variants and FW 190 when pitted against each other in combat on the Eastern Front from 1942 to 1945.
Upon its initial deployment in combat in November 1942 in the Karelian sector, the Lavockhin 5 (La-5) was beset with a variety of problems centered around its engine and design flaws. Also, the pilots assigned to fly it in combat against the Luftwaffe were not well-trained, which their German counterparts (many of them longstanding veterans) exploited to the full. But the Soviets learned from their mistakes by improving upon the La-5 and through the introduction, in August 1944, of the La-7 fighter. (Soviet fighter pilot training and fighter tactics also improved from 1943 on.)
The FW 190 also went through various modifications throughout its combat service. In addition to its purely fighter role, the FW 190 was also deployed on the Eastern Front as a ground attack aircraft. In this role, the FW 190 proved to be a very rugged aircraft capable of absorbing enormous punishment. It was also more than able to hold its own against the La-5. However, it was a different story once the FW 190 ground attack units (Schlachtgruppen) encountered the La-7. Indeed, "FW 190-equipped Schlacht and fighter units targeting Red Army units as they closed on Berlin soon came to fear the La-7, for it was the only Soviet machine that could catch fleeing Focke-Wulf fighter-bombers after they had performed their so-called 'surprise pirate raids' on vehicle columns supporting troops in the frontline."
Osprey has again provided aviation fans with an excellent first-rate book on 2 Second World War fighters which "grappled in the central blue" on the Eastern Front.