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The Yak-3 was an improvement upon the earlier Yak-1M. The Yak-3 in comparison with the earlier aircraft had a somewhat more powerful M-105PF engine and reduced span wings with some additional aerodynamic refinements. The Yak-3 was to prove a formidable fighting machine, especially suitable for close in dogfighting and below 16,000 ft was clearly superior to both the Me109G and FW190A. This was despite the Yak-3's poor armament fit, infact the Yak-3 had one of the best kill/loss ratio's of any second world war fighter. On one occasion 18 Yak-3's attacked 30 Me109's and FW190A's, destroying 24 for the loss of only one Yak-3!
The Free-French Normandie-Nieman Regiment flew Yak-3's, and infact chose the Yak-3 over all available allied fighters which were offered to them after D-Day, scoring 99 of their 273 kills in the Yak-3.