Comrade, 1943, USSR
The French pilots of the 1st separate fighter air regiment of the battling France Normandie-Niemen play chess under the wing of the Yak-1 Roland de la Pouap.
The decision to use Soviet-made aircraft was made initially, even during the first meetings of the French military mission with the command of the Red Army Air Force.
Despite the fact that for a long time it was believed that the choice of aircraft was made for political reasons, it is not.
Already during the first familiarization flights, the squadron commander, Major Tyulyan (here he stands and watches the party) made several comparative flights on the Yak-1, the British Hurricane and the American Aerocobra. There is no doubt that if desired, the French could get any of these aircraft - both England and the United States actively lobbied for the products of their aircraft industry - but Tyulyan confirmed that his squadron would fly on the Yaks: by 1942, the Hurricane was thoroughly outdated, and "neither the French nor the Russian instructors were familiar enough.
Rolan de la Puap spoke of the Yak – 1 as follows: “Easier than the Spitfire, the Yak immediately seemed faster and easier to control. He has excellent climb and maneuverability. Having been in fights in the skies of England, I know how important these qualities are To fly up like an arrow to hide against the background of the sun, and just as quickly enter enemy's tail: in a cruel duel against an experienced enemy, this is an important advantage .. It was ideally suited to snow, road dirt and endless Russian fields .. Its design is from wood, fabric and duralumin was amazingly easy to repair, and the chassis allowed to land on the most unimportant airfields.