Alexander S. Yakovlev was the chief Soviet designer of Gliders & Sporting Aircraft from 1925 - 1935. He then studied fighters and when the Soviet Government issued it's important requirement for a new fighter in 1938 his bureau quickly designed the Ya-26 Krasavec (Beauty), flown in March 1939. Like it's rivals it used the maximum amount of wood, though the fuselage was partly made of welded steel tube. It was generally judged the best of the competing designs, and after minor alterations went in to production as the I-26 shortly before the German invasion in June 1941. In the new 1940 designation scheme the fighter was renamed Yak-1, and in the Autumn production switched from Moscow to Kamensk - Uralsk, east of the Ural Mountains where by the end of 1941 production had increased over the pre-move peak. There after more Yaks were built than any other fighter in history. Deliberately made strong and simple the Yak-1 scored in all round performance & manoeverability but at the expense of Firepower. After Trainer versions were developed the next Major Model was the Yak-7. This was fitted with a more powerful engine and refined still further. By Spring 1942 Yakovlev started to introduce light alloy structure in to the wings but still retaining a wooden skin. This allowed for more fuel to be carried. This was introduced in late 1942 as the Yak-9 and in fierce fighting around Stalingrad showed itself the master of most German Fighters in all aspects except Firepower. The Yak-9 saw several different sub versions : Yak-9T with rear cockpit removed and installation of bigger Cannon. Yak-9K with 45mm Cannon and some fitted with a 75mm Cannon for Anti-Ship/Anti Tank role. And Yak-9D & DD Long Range versions. In January 1943 a new version was developed which emphasised manoeverability and performance at the expense of Range. This was designated the Yak-3. It proved a difficult opponent to fight with, so much so that the Lutwaffe issued orders to their Eastern Front squadrons to avoid fighting the new Yak fighters. Several Post War Communist Nations used Yak-9's including North Korea who used them during the Korean War from 1950-53.