|no hardpoints||bombs released||loaded|
|Power at 0m||1020hp|
|Weights and loads|
|Wing Load (kg/m2)||170.8||171.2||182.9|
|Power load (kg/hp)||2.79||2.80||2.99|
|at ()m||563 (4850)||557 (4800)||528 (4700)|
|Turn time (sec)||19.0||19.5||22.0|
|Bombs||none||none||2*(25 to 100)kg|
Probably under impression of Bf-109 'free hunting' in the light bomber role, on May 2 1942 the GKO ordered to provide all production front line fighters (LaGG-3, MiG-3 and Yak-1) with bombing capability. All necessary equipment had to be fitted on every assembled aircraft staring May 25.
Yak-1s were fitted with underwing hardpoints starting from the 5th batch until the production was ceased in July 1944 (batch 192). 'Clean' fighters rolled out only in February-June 1943 (batches 127 trough 147) during the period of weight-saving efforts. Each aircraft was equipped with pair of hardpoints, capable to carry single bomb (25 to 100kg each) and release lever in the cockpit. Both bombs were released simultaneously. There were no special bomb sight. Yak-1 (as well as other converted fighters) could be used only against large-size or linear targets.
Performance of light Yak-1 carrying two FAB-100 under the wing suffered badly. Handling became worser, speed, climb, ceiling - all degraded. Even when the bombs were released, negative impact of the hardpoint was obvious (see data table). By the way, LaGG-3 and MiG-3 with same modifications became simply dangerous to fly. Obviously, administrative decision failed to see the reality: engines of those light fighters were already on their limit.
There were also tactical reasons for the failure of 1942 fighters in the bomber role. Luftwaffe successfully used Bf-109 as a light bomber when it enjoyed full air superiority, and Soviet forces lacked light flak protection (available in mass with German troops). Plus German fighter pilots were well trained to perform such a specific missions. Soviet fighters, in opposite, arrived to the front units with minimal training, and until Kursk battle (Summer 1943) were too busy fighting for air superiority and simply had too little 'openings' for bombing missions.
No wonder, that pilots were upset by ineffective 'dead weight', as they called the bombing gear on fighters. And they followed rule of their own: hardpoints were mercilessly removed and remaining holes sealed. Despite 7,509 Yak-1s rolled out with bombing gear installed, I have a difficult time to find a photo of Yak-1 armed for bombing raid. Even no Yak-1s with hardpoints were found!
|Created May 4, 2000||Back to|