Female Soviet Fighter pilots enjoying a break from combat, 1942
Quite a few women flew as fighter pilots in the VVS, including two aces – Lidya Litvyak and Yekaterina Budanova. Both flew the Yak-1 fighter, seen in the photo above. The Yak was slower than the German Bf-109, but was better at turning and only had a slightly less powerful armament. It was instrumental in holding back the Luftwaffe until the superior La-5 and Yak-9 reached the front in large numbers.