RRAF

Rumanian Air Force - Vazduhoplovstvo Vojske

Aircrew Nicolae Polizu Micsunesti right+George Polizu Micsunesti+brother 01

Aircrew Romanian Air Force Ace Horia Pop in the cockpit of his Bf 109E

Aircrew Romanian Air Force Ace Ioan Dicezare is leaning on his Bf 109E3 01

Aircrew Romanian Air Force Ace Ioan Dicezare wearing the Virtutea Aeronautica Order Knight class

Aircrew Romanian Air Force Ace Stefan Greceanu 01

Aircrew Romanian Air Force Ace Tiberiu Vinca 01

Aircrew Romanian Air Force Ace Vasile Gavriliu 01

Aircrew Rumanian Air Force 1938 1947

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul 57Esc Yellow 26 Stefan Greceanu Russia 1941 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul 57Esc Yellow 54 Stefan Greceanu 1941 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Esc58 undergoing operational maintenance Romania 1941 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Esc58 Yellow 35 Alexandru Serbanescu WNr 2480 Stalingrad 1942 01-03

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Esc58 Yellow 35 Alexandru Serbanescu WNr 2480 Stalingrad 1942 0A-0B

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Esc58 Yellow 39 Vasiliu Gheorghe Vanatoare Romania 1941 01-02

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Esc58 Yellow 39 Vasiliu Gheorghe Vanatoare Romania 1941 0A

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 10 Vanatoare Romania 1942 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 18 WNr 2623 Vanatoare Romania 1942 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 21 Vanatoare Romania 1942 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 24 1941 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 27 WNr 2629 Ion Dicesare Vanatoare Romania 1941 01-04

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 27 WNr 2629 Ion Dicesare Vanatoare Romania 1941 0A

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 29 after engine start Romania 1941 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 31 WNr 2328 and Yellow 35 Vanatoare Romania 1941 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 31 WNr 2328 Vanatoare Romania 1941 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 33 Vanatoare Romania 1942 01,02

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 34 WNr 3889 center with 36 and 29 Romania 1941 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 35 WNr 2480 Vanatoare Romania 1942 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 37 Bucarest 1941 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 37 Bucarest 1941 0A

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 37 flying at tree height Romania 1941 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 47 Lungulescu Constantin Vanatoare 1941 Aero Magazin 2003 12 P08

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 47 WNr 3643 Lungulescu Constantin Mamaia 1943 01-03

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 47 WNr 3643 Lungulescu Constantin Mamaia 1943 0A

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 47 WNr 3643 Lungulescu Constantin Mamaia Avions 190 P37

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 4 Polizu Romania 1942 0A

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 6 Germany 1941 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 9 Ioan DiCezare Russia 1942 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 9 Ioan DiCezare Russia 1942 02

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 9 Ioan DiCezare Russia 1942 03

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 9 WNr 2486 Russia 1942 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 9 WNr 2486 shows bent propellors and minus its right wing 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR being prepared for take off Romania 1941 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR being prepared for take off Romania 1941 02

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR being prepared for take off Romania 1941 03

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR Stkz SK+CD WNr 2714 Pipera Bukarest Romania 1941 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR Yellow 23 and others being assembled Pipera Romania 1941 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR Yellow 35, 31 and 37 flying at tree height Romania 1941 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR Yellow 48 Don Pedro with Yellow 14 Dor de duck Bucarest 1941 0

Messerschmitt Bf 109E7 FARR 7 Grupul aircrew on standby Romania 1942 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E7 FARR 7 Grupul Esc52 Yellow 60 Pop Romania 1944 0A

Messerschmitt Bf 109E7 FARR 7 Grupul Esc52 Yellow 65 Ion Galea, Horia Pop and dog Mamaia Black Sea 1943 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E7 FARR 7 Grupul Esc58 line up Romania 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E7 FARR 7 Grupul Esc58 line up Romania 02

Messerschmitt Bf 109E7 FARR 7 Grupul showing the old E3 canopy Romania 1942 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E7 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 19 Nicolas Iolu WNr 2417 Romania 1941 0A

Messerschmitt Bf 109E7 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 54 Stefan Greceanu showing his 8 ground kills Romania 1942 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E7 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 56 Romania 1941 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E7 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 64 Tiberiu Vinca WNr 704 Russia 1942 01-02

Messerschmitt Bf 109E7 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 64 Tiberiu Vinca WNr 704 Russia 1942 0A-0B

Messerschmitt Bf 109E7 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 65, and 63 over Romania 01-02

Messerschmitt Bf 109E7 FARR 7 Grupul Yellow 68 Romania 1942 0A

Messerschmitt Bf 109E Rumanian AF 7 Grupul 1941 01-02

Photo's 01-02: Rumanian Bf 109s of Grupul 7, still with the early red, yellow and blue roundels. ln mid-May 1941, the Rumanian national insignia was replaced with the 'Michael's Cross' which continued to be used until late August 1944 when the Rumanians joined the Allies and reverted to use of the roundel. Note also the narrow yellow bands on the wings and rear fuselage.

Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3 FARR Grupul 7 vanatoare Yellow 4 Nicolae Polizu Romania 1942 00

Profile 00: Messerschmitt Me. 109E-3 Unit: Grupul 7 vanatoare Serial: 4 Pilot - lt. av. (r) Nicolae Polizu. (Camouflage: RLM71 Dunkelgrьn upper surfaces with RLM65 Hellblau undersurfaces).

Photo's
Messerschmitt Bf 109E FARR Gr7 Romania 1942 01

Historical color photo of Messerschmitt Bf 109E FARR Gr7 Romania 1942

Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3 FARR Gr7 Yellow 9 Ioan Di Cesare Hai Fetito Romania 1941

Photo 01: Historical color photo of Messerschmitt Bf 109E FARR Gr7 Romania 1942. BF-109E3 "Hai Fetito" (C'mon little girl), of Ioan Di Cesare

Messerschmitt Bf 109E FARR Gr7 White 27 Ioan Dicezare Romania 1941 01

Historical color photo of Messerschmitt Bf 109E FARR Gr7 Romania 1942

Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3 Grupul 7 Escadrila 58 Yellow 35 Alexandru Serbanescu Donald Duck WNr 2480 Stalingrad Soviet Russia 1942 0A-0B

Profile 00: Messerschmitt Me.109E-3 Unit: Escadrila 58, Grupul 7 vanatoare Serial: 35 (W.Nr.2480) Stalingrad, late 1942. Six victory bars have been painted forward of the cockpit of this Bf.109E-3 of Grupul 7 vanatoare [7th FG]. The 'Donald Duck' emblem was applied only to this Group's Emils. This aircraft was often flown by Locotenent aviator Alexandru Serbanescu and it was lost at Stalingrad at the end of 1942. (Camouflage: RLM71 Dunkelgrьn upper surfaces with RLM65 Hellblau undersurfaces).

Messerschmitt Bf 109E FARR Gr7 Romania 1942 01

Historical color photo of Messerschmitt Bf 109E FARR Gr7 Romania 1942

Messerschmitt Bf 109E FARR 7FG57Esc (+26) Stefan Greceanu, Grupul 7 vt. Escadrilla 57 vt, Salz, Bessarabia, September 1941 01
Bf 109E FARR Gr7 Romania 1942 01

Photo 01: Historical color photo of Messerschmitt Bf 109E FARR Gr7 Romania 1942

Messerschmitt Bf 109E7 FARR 7FG57Esc (+54) Stefan Greceanu Salz, Bessarabia 1941

Photo 01: Historical color photo of Messerschmitt Bf 109E FARR Gr7 Romania 1942

Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3 FARR Gr7Esc52 Yellow 60+ Horia Pop Romania 1944

Profile 00: Messerschmitt Me.109E-3 Unit: Escadrila 52 Serial: 60 Pilot - lt. av. Horia Pop. On 18 May 1944 flown this aircraft he shot down enemy P-38. (Camouflage: RLM71 Dunkelgreen upper surfaces with RLM65 Hellblau undersurfaces).

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR 7FG Yellow (+33) Bucarest 1942

Messerschmitt Bf 109E FARR Gr7 Romania 1942 01

Messerschmitt Bf 109E FARR 7FG (+37) Bucarest 1941 00

Messerschmitt Bf 109E3 FARR Gr7 Yellow 47 Dan Scurtu Romania 1942

Photo 01: Historical color photo of Messerschmitt Bf 109E FARR Gr7 Romania 1942

Messerschmitt Bf 109E FARR Gr7 Romania 1942 01

Photo 01: Historical color photo of Messerschmitt Bf 109E FARR Gr7 Romania 1942

Messerschmitt Bf 109E FARR 7FG (+68) Romania 1942 00

Book Reference: Romanian Fighter Colours 1941-1945 (Mushroom White Rainbow Series 9111) Pages 108-132

 
 IL-2 Sturmovik 'Cliff's of Dover' - COD game skins
COD game skin by EZ Bf 109E Romanian AF 7FG (+27) Ioan Dicezare
JG26_EZ http://forum.1cpublishing.eu/showthread.php?t=36300 and http://airwarfare.com/

COD game skin by J2 Bf 109E3 FARR 7FG (+47) Dan Scurtu Romania 1941
COD game skin by J2 Bf 109E3 FARR 7FG (+9) Ioan DiCezare Russia 1941
COD game skin by J2 Bf 109E7 FARR 7FG57Esc (+54) Stefan Greceanu 1941

 

cpt. av. (r) Ioan Dicezare

Born: 12 August 1916

Units:

22 June 1941 - ? 1944: 7th Fighter Group
? 1944 - 12 May 1945: 1st Fighter Group

Combat missions: over 500

Victories: 16 confirmed + 3 probable

Decorations:

Mihai Viteazu Order 3rd class
Virtutea Aeronautica Order Knight class with two bars
Eiserne Kreuz 1st class

War episode:

On 22 April 1943, slt. av. Ioan Dicezare engaged a Soviet bomber formation and shot down one A-20 Boston, which fell behind the Axis lines. He then returned to the airfield and took the group's liaison airplane: a Bf-108 Taifun. He landed near the crash site and found only two survivors: the pilot and the observer. He took them prisoners using his 9 mm Beretta pistol. The Soviet crew later gave valuable information about the VVS airfields in the area.

He is presently living in Bucharest - http://www.worldwar2.ro/arr/p016.htm

lt. av. (r) Nicolae Poilizu-Micsunesti

Fighter Pilot

Born: 2 July 1904, Harlau

Units:

22 June - 16 October 1941: 7th Fighter Group

March - 5 May 1943: 7th Fighter Group

Combat missions: over 160

Victories: 10 confirmed + 1 probable

Decorations:

Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class

Virtutea Aeronautica Order Knight class

Died: 5 May 1943, KIA

Biography:

Nicolae Polizu was another one of Romania's 'flying aristocracy'. He was born at Hârlau on 2 July 1904 in a family related to the Ghica princes. He graduated high school in Bucharest after WWI and then went on to practice boxing, fencing, tennis, ski, rugby and ice hockey.

In the spring of 1939 he approached a new and more fascinating sport: flying. He went first to the 'Mircea Cantacuzino' Fligt School and then to the Prahova Air Club at Strejnic and obtained his pilot license on 14 June 1939. He then, as the international situation worsened, went to the Military Flight School at Tecuci, which he finished in 1940 and received the rank ofsublocotenent (2nd lt.), but in reserve. He was mobilized and assigned to the 5th Fighter Group (in the 51st Squadron), which had just received He-112Bs.

The 51st Fighter Squadron was transferred on 21 August to an airfield in Transylvania to counter the incursions of Hungarian reconnaissance aircraft over Romanian territory. But due to the poor characteristics of the He-112B, they were not able to. On 27 August, the newly promotedlocotenent (1st lt.) Nicolae Polizu apparently intruded into Hungarian airspace and attacked a MKHL Ca-135bis from the Hungarian 3rd Bomber Group and damaged it and wounded a radio operator/gunner. The bomber had to make an emergency landing on the Debrecen airfield. Polizu claimed the victory and it was confirmed.

In February 1941, as more Bf 109Es became available, two new squadrons were formed with some of the most promising pilots ARR had. Polizu was assigned to the 57th Fighter Squadron and began training on the new aircraft with German instructors. These two squadrons (57th and 58th) joined the 56th in the 7th Fighter Group, which would become the elite unit of the Romanian fighter force in 1941-44.

The group began flying war missions from the first hours of Operation Barbarossa. But the first victory for Polizu came three days later, on 25 June. He was part of apatrula (Romanian forSchwarm) under the command of lt. cdor. av. Alexandru 'Popicu' Popisteanu (the CO of the 7th Fighter Group), which was escorting several Romanian He-111H3s to bomb the Basarabeasca railway station. After the bombs were dropped, Popisteanu returned to strafe the remains. An I-16 dived after him. Polizu spotted him and alerted the commander. The leader ordered him, calmly, to take care of it and soon the Rata was going down in flames, becoming Polizu's first victory in 1941.

However, he had to wait more than a month for his next victory. On 5 August Polizu encountered a VVS bomber formation escorted by 8 I-16s. He attacked the bombers first, but after after two attacks he hadn't achieved anything. The fighters engaged him, but he managed to shoot one of them down before several German Bf 109s appeared and chased the Ratas away.

Four days later he and adj. av. Iolu claimed one victory each after an engagement with 12 Soviet fighters. His score increased again on 16, the same month when his patrula shot down three aircraft, as air activity around Odessa intensified. Thus he became an ace with five confirmed kills.

He scored victories both in September and October, thus becoming the top scoring Romanian ace in 1941, with 8 kills. For this he was one of the three Romanian airmen who received the highest Romanian military award: theMihai Viteazul Order 3rd class. The other two were awarded posthumously.

Apparently, he did not participate in the 1942 campaign. This is easy explainable, through the fact that he was a reserve officer. But he could not stay away from the front, even though it would have been easy for him, given his social position. In March 1943, he was again part of the 7th Fighter Group, which then was assigned to JG3Udet, where it was supposed to convert to the more modern Bf 109Gs.

His first kill in 1943, which was also going to be his last, came on 3 April, during a free-hunting mission. He and his wingman, adj. av. Laurentiu Catana, were patrolling in the Izyum sector, when they spotted several unidentified aircraft below them. They dived and saw that they were several Yaks pursuing two German He-111s. They attacked, but did not obtain any results. Polizu then saw that a Yak was closing in on his wingman from behind, so he made a climbing turn, trying to surprise him. The Soviet saw him and tried hide in the clouds. The Romanian ace followed him with full throttle and caught up. After several bursts from his weapons, the horizontal stabilizers and smoke started to come out of the engine. The Yak fell 5 or 6 km from Izyum. Adj. av. Laurentiu Catana also managed to shoot down a Yak in the engagement, his first victory.

One month later, on 2 May, lt. av. Nicolae Polizu's Bf 109G was damaged in a dogfight. As he was trying to bring it home, he crashed close to the airfield, the ammunition exploded and he died in the fire. Thus the 7th Fighter Group lost one of its best pilots. Ironically, his place was taken by cpt. av. Constantin Cantacuzino, who eventually became the Romanian top scoring ace of WWII.

During his career, lt. av. (r) Nicolae Polizu had obtained 10 confirmed victories and one probable one, during over 160 missions and at least 52 dogfights.

Bibliography:

AIRMAG Hors Serie, no. 1 Les Messerschmitt Bf 109 roumains; Dénes Bernád, 'He-112 in action', Squadron/Signal Publications, 1996; Vasile Tudor, 'Un nume de legenda - Cpt. av. erou Alexandru Serbanescu', Editura MODELISM, 1998. - http://www.worldwar2.ro/arr/p019.htm

Luftwaffe pilot Horia Pop

On 18 May 1944, lt. av. Horia Pop was returning from a patrol over the Danube Delta. He was flying at about 400 m. He spotted a lone P-38, which was probably lost. He immediately started to pursue it. The American pilot saw him and increased speed trying to get away. However, lt. av. Pop managed to get closer and fire. The Lightning caught fire and went down somewhere in Bulgaria. But he was also in trouble, because this pursuit had left him with very little fuel. Luckily the airplane kept going and he reached the Mamaia airfield. After he landed, however, the engine stopped. The fuel tank was empty.

http://www.worldwar2.ro/arr/p022.htm

cpt. av. Alexandru Serbanescu

Fighter Pilot

Born: 17 May 1912, Colonesti

Units:

22 August 1942 - 23 October 1943: 7th Fighter Group

23 October 1943 - 18 August 1944: 9th Fighter Group

Combat missions: 590

Victories: 47 confirmed + 8 probable

Decorations:

Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class

Virtutea Aeronautica Order Officer class

Eiserne Kreuz 1st class

Died: 18 August 1944, Romania (KIA)

Biography:

Alexandru Serbanescu is one of the leading aces of Aeronautica Regala Româna (ARR) in WWII. He was born in 1912. In 1933 he graduated the Infantry Officer School and was assigned to the 3rd Mountain Battalion, near Brasov. He was very appreciated by his superiors and in 1938 he was promoted to the rank oflocotenent (1st lt.). After the School of Aerial Observers in 1939 he was admitted in the School of Air Force Officers, where, after graduation, he served as infantry training instructor. After the beginning of 'Barbarossa', Serbanescu requested a transfer to the Fighter Pilot School near Rosiorii de Vede.

On 22 August 1942 he was assigned to the 7th Fighter Group, equipped with Bf 109Es, which was deployed on the front at Stalingrad. He flew his first war mission on 2 September 1942. His first kill was a Yak on 17 September and the second came on 25 September.

He distinguished himself during the retreat from Stalingrad's airfields in a dramatic battle. When Soviets broke the German and Romanian defense in November 1942 and appeared near the Karpovka airfield, where the 7th Fighter Group was stationed, Serbanescu organized very well the defense of the airbase. His infantry experience was in that case very useful. Serbanescu had only limited resources: two AAA batteries (one of 37 mm Rheinmetall guns and one of 75 mm VIckers-Resita guns), the 20 mm guns on teh Bf 109Es and a company of ill-equipped and trained soldiers. The Romanian camouflaged positions and well led defense stopped teh Russian tank attacks on the airfield during next the 2 days. Using the Bf 109's 20 mm guns like antitank weapons on the ground (by lifting the airpalne's tail on barrels) was a unique case of airplane-tank duel. On 23 November 1942 the Romanians evacuated 8 Bf 109E (another 3 were lost because they had to take off under fire and were hit). Each airplane carried two or three people. They left behind many of the soldiers that kept fighting to the last minute and important quantities of ammo (1785 bombs, 341500 7.92 mm shells and 6860 20 mm shells). Next they were stationed on the Morozovskaya and Tachinskaya airfields.

He shot down a Hurricane on 20 January near Kudrief. At the end of February, the Mixed Group (elements of the 5th Bomber Group and of the 7th Fighter Group) under the command of lt. cdor. av. Nicolae Iosifescu was in a poor state. The men and the equipment were in badly need of rest. It was retreated in Romania to be rebuilt. On 6 March 1943, Alexandru Serbanescu was promoted to the rank ofcapitan (captain). The Group received the new Bf 109G, which was a major imrpovement over the old Emil. On 29 March, the group was assigned to the JG3Udet and cpt. av. Serbanescu was given the command of the 57th Squadron. Until 1 June, when the Group was reassigned to the Romanian Air Corps, Serbanescu scored another 4 kills (2 Yak-7s and 2 La-5s).

On 26 June, Serbanescu and other 3 comrades were patrolling in the Kirpischevo-Rumianky sector. They were attacked by 20-22 Spitfires. In the following dogfight, cpt. av. Serbanescu, adj. av. Mucenica and adj. av. Chirvasuta got one each. Adj. av. Laurentiu Catana went to the ground together with the Soviet he had clashed with after shooting down another two Spitfires.

On 13 July, the best Romanianpatrula (ROmanian forSchwarm) at that time (Serbanescu, Milu and Mucenica) was protecting a Romanian Ju-88A4 formation. They were attacked by 10 Soviet fighters. Serbanescu fired upon a Russian that was on Milu's tail, but he got away. Then another one suddenly appeared in front of him and he shot it down. He then found the first plane he attacked and this time he didn't miss.

On 17 and 18 July, cpt. av. Serbanescu shot down 6 planes. On 18, he was on patrol with another 3 airplanes in the Kuybashev area. After 5-6 min they saw about 10-12 Soviet fighters and engaged them. It didn't take long and two Yak-1s were going down in flames, both claimed by Serbanescu. He took off on another patrol in the same area. They soon found a large formation of Il-2s (18-20) escorted by 10-12 fighters. He and his wingman, adj. av. Mucenica, attacked the Sturmoviks, while the others protected them. Serbanescu fired three times and finally the Soviet went down, right in front the the positions he was supposed to attack. The enemy fighters forced the ace to defend himself. Even so he managed to attack another Il-2, which left a trail of smoke behind it as it was heading to base.

He continued to shoot planes down in August (in total he scored ten). Thus he was rewarded theEiserne Kreuz 1st class on 17 August. On 20 August he was wounded in the face, but superficially, and on 30 August he received theMihai Viteazul Order 3rd class, the highest Romanian military honor, together with cpt. av. Constantin Cantacuzino, lt. av. Teodor Greceanu, slt. av. Ion Dicezare and Of. echip. cls. III Ioan Milu. They were the best Romanian officer fighter pilots at the time, which by that date had shot down more than 100 Soviet planes.

On 10 October, cpt. av. Alexandru Serbanescu was on patrol with other 3 pilots (Muresan, Nicoara and Neacsu) after they had escorted some Ju-88A4s. They spotted Il-2s and were getting ready to jump them, when they were themselves surprised by Soviet fighters. Muresan was the first shot down. Nicoara 'landed' in the Azov Sea, which is very shallow and he simply stood on his airplane and the water was only at his waist. He was later picked up by a German boat. Serbanescu, in flames and with five Soviets on his tail, managed to reach the lines of the Romanian 4th Mountain Division and crash landed. That evening he was already at the 7th Fighter Group's airfield. The Soviet radio announced that the ROmanian unit was destroyed. The second day, a Romanian pilot managed to get through to a Soviet airbase and drop a message that invited them to see that the Group was still there. Obviously none showed up.

On 23 October, the 9th Fighter Group replaced the tired 7th Fighter Group, but Serbanescu and the other aces remained. He kept fighting and shooting down airplanes and on 13 February 1944 he was named the Group's commander. The Soviets were now in Romania and had already occupied northern Bessarabia and Moldavia, but they were stopped after some fierce fighting, in which the pilots had a very important role. On 22 May, after escorting 12 bombers, Serbanescu came to the aid of cpt. av. Popescu-Ciocanel and his wingmen, which were under attack by Yaks and Aircobras. He managed to shoot down 2 P-39s and reached the number of 40 victories.

On 11 June, Serbanescu shot down his first American airplane: a B-17, his 45th victory. It was followed by 2 Mustangs on 31 July and on 4 August, which were his last kills.

On 18 August 1944, Alexandru Serbanescu took off for his last mission. In that day he and his 12 wingmen, together with 12 other planes from the 7th Fighter Group, attacked a swarm of Mustangs and Lightnings. When lt. av. Dobran and adj. av. Dârjan tried to clear his tail it was to late. His last words were: 'I'm going down...'. Apparently his radio wasn't functioning properly and he could not hear his wingmen's warnings.

After the death of Serbanescu, all the fighters were retreated in front of the Americans until a new strategy will be adopted. Five days later, on 23 August 1944, Romania signed the armistice with the Allies.

Serbanescu died in the line of duty like a real hero. He had 47 confirmed victories and 8 probable. He is on the second position in the Romanian fighter pilots hierarchy after prince Constantin Cantacuzino (56 confirmed victories). Today a boulevard in Bucharest bears his name and passes very close to the Baneasa airfield. Each year, on 18 August, veterans, air force officers and aviation enthusiasts gather at his tomb to commemorate him. On his grave stone it reads:Hero cpt. av. fighter Alexandru Serbanescu fallen for the motherland on 18 August 1944, in battle with the American bombers - Knight of the 'Mihai Viteazul' Order

Bibliography: Vasile Tudor, 'Un nume de legenda - Cpt. av. erou Alexandru Serbanescu', Editura MODELISM, 1998.

Alexandru Şerbănescu is one of the leading aces of Aeronautica Regală Română (ARR - Romanian Royal Aeronautics) in WWII. He was born in 1912. In 1933 he graduates the Infantry Officer School and is assigned to the 3rd Mountain Battalion, near Brasov. He is very appreciated by his superiors and in 1938 he is promoted to the rank of lieutenant. After the School Aerial Observers in 1939 he is admitted in the School of Air Force Officers. After the beginning of 'Barbarossa', Şerbănescu requested a transfer to the Fighter Pilot School near Roş iorii de Vede.

On 22 August 1942 he is assigned to the 7th Fighter Group (Grupul 7 Vânatoare), equipped with Me-109 E, and he flies his first war mission on 2 September 1942. His first kill was a Yak on 17 September and the second came on 25 September.

He distinguished himself during the retreat from Stalingrad's airfields in a dramatic battle. When Soviets broke the German and Romanian defense in November 1942 and appeared near the Karpovka airfield, where the 7th FG was stationed, Şerbănescu organized very well the defense of the airbase. His infantry experience was in that case very useful. Şerbănescu had only limited resources: FLAK guns, aircraft guns and a company of soldiers. The Romanian camouflaged positions and well leaded defense stopped Russian tank attacks on the airfield during next the 2 days! Using the Bf 109's 20 mm guns like antitank weapons on the ground was a unique case of airplane-tank duel (the airplane�s tail was lifted on barrels)! On 23 November 1942 the Romanians evacuated 16 Bf 109E (3 of them were lost because they had to take off under fire and were hit). Each airplane carried two or three people. Şerbănescu had two mechanics as passengers. They left behind many of the soldiers that kept fighting to the last minute and important quantities of ammo (1785 bombs, 341500x7.92 mm shells and 6860x20 mm shells). Next they were stationed on the Morozovskaya and Tazinskaya airfields. Soon the Romanians were forced again to escape as the Soviet forces pushed back the Axis armies, but this time it wasn't in such dramatic conditions...

He shot down a Hurricane on 20 January near Kudrief. At the end of February, the Mixed Group (elements of the 5th Bomber Group and of the 7th Fighter Group) under the command of lt. cmdr. Nicolae Iosifescu was in a poor state. The men and the equipment were in badly need of rest. It was retreated in Romania to be rebuilt. On 6 March 1943, Alexandru Şerbănescu was promoted to captain. The Group received the new Me-109 'Gustav', which was an excellent airplane. On 29 March, the group was assigned to the JG3 'Udet' and Cpt. av. Şerbănescu was given the command of the 57th Squadron. Until 1st June, when the Group was reassigned to the Romanian Air Corps, Şerbănescu got another 4 airplanes (2xYak-7s, 2xLa-5s).

On 26 June, Şerbănescu and other 3 comrades were patrolling in the Kirpiscevo-Rumianki sector. They were attacked by 20-22 Spitfires. In the following dogfight, Cpt. av. Şerbănescu, Adj. Mucenica and Adj. Chirvăsăuţă got one each. Adj. av. Laurenţiu Cătană went to the ground together with the Soviet he had clashed with after shooting down another two Spitfires. He was thought dead, but after the war he returned. He managed to jump, but landed in the Soviet lines and was captured.

On 13 July, the best Romanian wing at that time (Şerbănescu, Milu and Mucenica) was protecting a Romanian Ju-88 formation. They were attacked by 10 Soviet fighters. Şerbănescu fired upon a Russian that was on Milu's tail, but he got away. Then another one suddenly appeared in front of him and he shot it down. He then found the first plane he attacked and this time he didn't miss.

On 17 and 18 July, Cpt. av. Şerbănescu shot down 6 planes. On 18, he was on patrol with other 3 aieplanes in the Kuibashev area. After 5-6 min they saw about 10-12 Soviet fighters and engaged them. It didn't take long and two Yak-1s were going down in flames, both claimed by Şerbănescu. He took off on another patrol in the same area. They soon found a large formation of Il-2s (18-20) escorted by 10-12 fighters. He and his wingman, Adj. Mucenica, attacked the Sturmoviks, while the others protected them. Şerbănescu fired three times and finally the Soviet went down, right in front the the positions he was supposed to attack. The enemy fighters forced Alecu (as Constantin Cantacuzino called him) to defend himself. Even so he managed to attack another Il-2, which left a trail of smoke behind it as it was heading to base.

He continued to shoot planes down in August (10). Thus he was rewarded the Iron Cross, 1st class on 17 August. On 20 August he was wounded in the face, but superficially, and on 30 August he received the 'Mihai Viteazul' Order (the highest Romanian military honor) together with Cpt. av. Constantin Cantacuzino, Lt. av. Teodor Greceanu, Slt. Ion Dicezare and Of. echip. Ioan Milu. They were the best Romanian fighter pilots, which by that date had shot down more than 100 Soviet planes.

On 10 October, Cpt. av. Alexandru Şerbănescu was on patrol with other 3 pilots (Muresan, Nicoară and Neacsu) after they had escorted some Ju-88s. They spotted Il-2s and were getting ready to jump them, when they were them selves surprised by Soviet fighters. Muresan was the first shot down. Nicoară 'landed' in the Azov Sea (which is very shallow and he simply stood on his airplane and the water was only at his waist; he was later picked up by a German boat). Şerbănescu, in flames and with five Soviets on his tail, managed to reach the lines of the Romanian 4th Mountain Division and crash landed. That evening he was already at the 7th FG's airfield. The Soviet radio announced that the 7th FG was destroyed. The second day, a Romanian pilot managed to get through to a Soviet airbase and drop a message that invited them to see that the Group was still there. None showed up!

On 23 October, the 9th FG replaced the tired 7thFG but Şerbănescu and the other aces remained. He kept fighting and shooting down airplanes and on 13 February 1944 he was named the Group's commander. The Soviets were now in Romania and had already occupied northern Bessarabia and Moldavia, but they were stopped after fierce fighting, in which the pilots had a very important role. On 22 May, after escorting 12 bombers, Şerbănescu came to the aid of Cpt. av. Popescu-Ciocănel and his wingmen, which were under attack by Yaks and Aircobras. He managed to shoot down 2xP-39s and reached the number of 40 victories.

On 11 June, Şerbănescu shot down his first American airplane: a B-17. It was followed by 2 Mustangs (31 July and 11 August).

On 26 July 1944, 16xBf 109 of the 9th FG (Şerbănescu and Cantacuzino were at Bucharest) encountered a great formation of 98 American aircraft, returning from Russian airfields. In aerial combat the Romanians destroyed 11xP-38s, but lost 7 pilots. This loss was double heavy, because between them were Cpt.av. Popescu (12 victories) and Adj. Mucenica (24 victories), which was wounded and spent the rest of the war in hospitals. In combat, on 8 August 1944, was shot down another great ace: Ion Milu (45 victories). He was also wounded and spent a lot of time away from the front.

Ten days later, five days before the armistice with the Allies, on 18 August 1944, Alexandru Şerbănescu took off for his last mission. In that day he and his 12 wingmen, together with 12 other planes from the 7thFG attacked a swarm of Mustangs and Lightnings. When Lt. Dobran and Adj. Dârjan tried to clear his tail it was to late. His last words were: 'I'm going down...'

Şerbănescu died in the line of duty like a real hero. He had 47 confirmed victories and 8 probable. He is on the second position after prince Constantin Cantacuzino (60 victories).

After the death of Şerbănescu, all the fighters were retreated in front of the Americans until a new strategy will be adopted. Five days later, on 23 August 1944, Romania signed the armistice with the Allies.

Bibliography: Vasile Tudor, 'Un nume de legendă - Cpt. av. erou Alexandru Şerbănescu', Editura MODELISM, 1998.

http://www.worldwar2.ro/arr/p006.htm

adj. av. (r) Tiberiu Vinca

Fighter Pilot

Born: 23 May 1916, near Hunedoara

Units:

* 22 June 1941 - end of July 1943: 7th Fighter Group
* February - 13 March 1944: 9th Fighter Group

Combat missions: 238

Victories: 15

Decorations:

* Virtutea Aeronautica Order Knight class

Died: 13 March 1944, Romania (KIA)

Biography of Adj. av. Tiberiu Vinca

Tiberiu Vinca was born on 23 May 1916, in the Hunedoara county in Transylvania. From a young age studied hard and eventually became a teacher. But he was also an aviation enthusiast. In 1937 he attended the flight school in Bucharest and got the license the same year. He entered in the Air Force's attention and he attended the Military Flight School in Buzau. On 7 September 1940 he received his fighter pilot license. Adj. stg. av. (r) Tiberiu Vinca was assigned to the 7th Fighter Group equipped with the Bf 109E, where he trained with German instructors.

The unit was engaged in the fighting from the first day of Operation Barbarossa. But his first kill came on 23 July. The next one was only five days later, when he was on patrol with adj. av. Malacescu. They spotted a formation of five Soviet fighters. They dived and attacked. Vinca engaged the first three, while his wingman the last two. The Romanians, however, got separated during the dogfight, mainly because of their lack of experience. Another two Luftwaffe Bf 109s joined the battle. Thus Vinca managed to get behind a Soviet fighter and shot it down.

On 18 August, four Romanian Emils from the 58th Fighter Squadron (7th Fighter Group) flew a fighter cover mission for the Romanian troops near Odessa. They soon encountered 8 I-16s which were attacking ground targets. In the following dogfight, each Romanian pilot, including adj. stg. av. Tiberiu Vinca, claimed a Soviet fighter. But these soon were joined by an additional six Ratas. Outnumbered, the Romanians retreated. On their way back, Vinca spotted an isolated I-16 and attacked it. After receiving several cannon rounds, the Rata went down in flames. However, a few minutes later, the Bf 109E had some engine problems and had to land in a field. Luckily for the pilot, it was behind the Romanian lines.

His fifth and last victory during ARR's first campaign came on 29 August. After escorting a IAR-39 observation aircraft, a Romanian formation of Bf 109Es spotted 12 I-16s attacking on the ground near Dalnik. In the folowing engagement, adj. stg. av. Tiberiu Vinca managed to shoot down one of them, flown by Starshiy Politruk Semyon Kunitsa of 69 IAP.

Profile courtesy of Bogdan Patrascu

In the autumn of 1942, the 7th Fighter Group were again on the front, this time near Stalingrad. When the Soviets broke the Romanian lines in the offensive in November, their airfield had to be evacuated. The pilots and mechanics barely escaped capture, in very dramatic conditions (see the article on the 7th Fighter Group on this site in the Units section). Tiberiu Vinca managed to save two mechanics. This was probably one the only flight made by a Bf 109E with three passengers on board! One was put inside the fuselage and the other was squeezed in the cockpit together with the pilot. In spite of the difficult take off (the Soviet tanks were shelling the airfield), of the weather and an overloaded airplane he made it to the Tachinskaya airbase.

The remains of the 7th Fighter Group and of the 5th Bomber Group were joined in the Mixed Group for the moment being. The payback came on 20 January 1943, when cpt. av. Serbanescu and adj. stg. av. Tiberiu Vinca shot down a Hurricane each.

At the beginning of March 1943, the Mixed Group was retreated to Melitopol for rest. But some of the fighter pilots of the 7th Fighter Group were assigned to the JG3 Udet were they learned to fly the new Bf 109G. They soon started flying war missions. On 10 April, ten airplanes strafed an airfield north of Voroshilovgrad. Cpt. av. Dan Scurtu and slt. av. Hariton Dusescu had each a Pe-2 confirmed as destroyed on the ground. Of. echip. cls. III Ion Milu, adj. stg. av. Tiberiu Vinca and adj. sef av. Nicolae Burileanu also had a Pe-2 confirmed as destroyed on the ground, but only the Germans. It's a mystery, why the Royal Romanian Aeronautics didn't confirm them as well.

On 21 April he shot down a Soviet RZ biplane in a dogfight 4 km west of Starobielsk. Four days later he crash landed because of an engine failure, but got away unscratched. On 7 May he scored his 8th victory (a Sturmovik) and on 9 May he shot down two La-5s. In that last dogfight he was lightly wounded and sent to the Taganrog hospital. At that moment he was the highest scoring Romanian ace on the front.

In June 1943, the 7th Fighter Group was put again under Romanian command, being assigned to the Romanian Air Corps. Vinca returned from the hospital and shot down another Soviet aircraft on 27 July. But a few days later he was wounded again and left the Group. He missed the heavy action of July and August 1943. Who knows what he might have achieved in that period?

After he got out of the hospital he was assigned to the 53rd Fighter Squadron, which was stationed on the Pipera airfield near Bucharest. He flew home defense missions, but they were only exercises.

In February 1944 he was transferred to the 56th Fighter Squadron in the 9th Fighter Group, which was then under the command of cpt. av. Alexandru Serbanescu.

On 10 March he was the wingman of lt. av. Teodor Greceanu. They were called back to the airfield because Soviet airplanes were attacking the base. Adj. av. Tiberiu Vinca shot down two Il-2 bombers and lt. av. Greceanu got a Yak. All this happened under eyes of gen. Emanoil Ionescu, the commander of the 1st Air Corps.

But three days later, on 13 March (a coincidence?), his luck ran out. It was his second mission that day. He spotted a bomber formation and went in for a closer look. They were German He-111Hs. But the German machine-gunners opened fire. Tiberiu Vinca's airplane was hit, entered a spin and crashed into the ground. The pilot's body was thrown out of the cockpit.

He had flown 248 war missions and shot down 13 enemy airplanes (15 victories after the new system adopted in 1944). A few days before he had asked to be promoted to the rank of sublocotenent (2nd lt.) in reserve or at least be admitted in the Reserve Officers' School, as reward for his long service record on the front. Unfortunately he was only promoted post-mortem. Today a street in Hunedoara, his birthpalce, bears his name.

Bibliography: Vasile Tudor, 'Un nume de legenda - Cpt. av. erou Alexandru Serbanescu', Editura MODELISM, 1998; Modelism International, no. 3/2001; AIRMAG Hors Serie, no. 1 Les Messerschmitt Bf 109 roumains; Christer Bergström, Andrey Mikhailov, 'Black Cross/Red Star Volume I – Operation Barbarossa, 1941', Pacifica Military History, 2000.

http://www.worldwar2.ro/arr/p007.htm

lt. av. Vasile 'Chitu' Gavriliu

Fighter Pilot

Born: 1 January 1919, Roman

Units:

  • 19 April 1942 - 9 May 1945: 9th Fighter Group
  • 14 August - 26 October 1943: 7th Fighter Group
  • 26 October 1943 - 9 May 1945: 9th Fighter Group

Combat missions: 306

Victories: 17 confirmed + 2 probable + 7 on the ground

Decorations:

  • Mihai Viteazul Order with swords 3rd class
  • Virtutea Aeronautica Order Knight class with two bars

Died: 14 June 2002, Bucharest

Biography:

Vasile Gavriliu was born in Roman on 1 January 1919. He finished high-school in Iasi and was admitted in the Electrical Engineering Faculty. After only one year he quit and joined the air force. He graduated from the Air Force Officer School on 10 May 1941, with the rank of sublocotenent (2nd lt.) and in 1942 was assigned to the newly formed 9th Fighter Group, in the 47th Fighter Squadron, which was equipped with IAR-80s.

In 1943, the group started training on the Bf-109G. Because of the 7th Fighter Group, which was on the front, badly needed replacements and the 9th wasn't completely ready to take over, it was decided that only 10 pilots that have finished the course to be sent on the front. Among them was also slt. av. Vasile Gavriliu.

They arrived at the Kramatorskaya airfield on 14 August. During the first night, the Soviet harassment squadrons attacked, giving the newcomers a taste of the life on the front. The next day, the "rookies" flew their first war missions.

Because of the frequent dawn air attacks, on 17 August, a patrula (Romanian for Schwarm) took off to meet the Il-2s and their escorts before they reached the airfield. It was under the command of of. echip. cls. III av. Ioan Milu. Slt. av. Vasile Gavriliu was his wingman. The other two were slt. av. Ioan Dobran and adj. av. Botnar. They soon were engaged in a stiff dogfight with Yaks and La-5s, but without results. The formations broke apart and Dobran joined Milu on the way back to the base. Their wingmen were nowhere in sight. Botnar collided with a La-5 and had to make a belly-landing on a field and came with an Army car to the airfield. He reported that he saw slt. av. Gavriliu going down with a Soviet behind him. But, after 12 hours, "Chitu" Gavriliu appeared. He got lost in the confusion and landed on a field 70 km north of Mariupol, refueled and came back.

The first victory, a Yak, came on 2 September during a bomber escort mission and the second one, also a Yak, on 29 September. Slt. av. Vasile Gavriliu and a wingman were providing cover for a Romanian Ju-88A4 formation. They spotted 4 Yaks, in a single file, trying to sneak up behind them. "Chitu" attacked the first one, but he was too far away and missed. He closed up and fired on the second one. This time the Soviet fighter was hit, entered a spin and soon hit the ground.

The day of 1 October 1943 was very busy. At 15:40, slt. av. Gavriliu and his wingman, adj. av. Emil Balan, took off on a patrol mission. Soon they were announced that the airfield was under attack. They returned and followed the Il-4s and their escorts, which, as usually, were heading towards the sea. They remained behind them, in the sun, for a while, until the Soviets seemed to to feel more secure. And that's when they attacked. Gavriliu approached to within 150 m of one of the two Airacobras on the left side of the bomber formation and fired. The P-39 went down with a smoke trail behind it. The 4 Airacobras on the right observed them and headed towards them. The Romanian Bf-109s saw that it was time to retreat.

At the end of October, the 9th Fighter Group replaced the 7th Fighter Group, which returned home after seven months long campaign. However some of the experienced pilots remained to strengthen the newcomers of the 9th FG. Slt. av. Vasile Gavriliu was assigned to the 56th Fighter Squadron. The weather got worse and there were fewer missions and fewer engagements in November and December 1943.

The fourth victory came on 1 February 1944, when slt. av. Gavriliu shot down one of the Il-2s which were attacking the airfield. The same day the VVS lost another Il-2 and 2 Yaks over the Romanian airbase at Lepetika.

On 13 February, the group was reorganized. The new commander was the leading ace cpt. av. Alexandru Serbanescu. Under his leadership, the 9th Fighter Group will fight its most fierce battles in the summer of 1944 against the VVS and USAAF.

One of these was during the Battle of Tg. Frumos, in early May 1944. The front had already reached Romania and 9th Fighter Group operated from bases on national territory from April. On this occasion lt. av. Vasile Gavriliu (he had been promoted on 23 March) shot down one Yak on 2 May and a second one on 5 May, both during a free-hunting missions, reaching ace status.

On 11 May, the group flew several free-hunting missions over Bessarabia. A formation of Bf-109Gs, including lt. av. Vasile Gavriliu, engaged in a dogfight with La-5s. Soon he scored his seventh victory. The eighth came later that day. Lt. av. Gavriliu was the leader of a formation of five Gustavs in a fighter sweep near Grigoriopol. His wingman spotted several Yaks at a higher altitude. The lieutenant decided to continue to climb and when they reached 5000 m they dived on the four unsuspecting Yak-9s. These eventually saw the Bf-109s and tried to escape. Because of his superior speed lt. Gavriliu quickly caught up with the last one and fired. Smoke started to come out of the Yak and soon the pilot bailed out.

On 20 May he was again on patrol. They encountered 12 Yaks and engaged them. He fired on one of the Soviet fighters, but without effect. As Gavriliu was trying to gain some altitude, his wingman announced that a Yak was climbing behind him. He continued, because the Soviet didn't seem able to keep up with him. After the Yak stalled and turned on the left side, Gavriliu also turned, dived after it and fired. Soon after that, the Yak hit the ground. The pilot was probably already dead.

His tenth victory came only two days later. Several Bf-109s from the 9th Fighter Group engaged in a dogfight with Airacobras, after escorting Romanian Ju-88A4s and JRS-79Bs in bombing mission against Soviet positions. Four P-39s were shot down, of which one by Gavriliu.

In April, the USAAF started its devastating raids over Romania. The 9th Fighter Group was, however, confined to the front in Moldavia and was forbidden to engage them except if they entered their area of operations. This happened for the first time in June, during Operation Frantic. On one such occasion, on 22 July, 16 Bf-109Gs, under the command of cpt. av. Alexandru Serbanescu, took off to meet a large P-38 formation. During the engagement, six Lightnings were shot down by the Romanian fighters. Thus lt. Vasile Gavriliu scored his 11th kill (and 12th victory, according to the Romanian point system). This was his last pro-Axis victory.

Lt. av. Vasile Gavriliu was part of the few remaining pilots of the 9th Fighter Group that engaged the American fighters for the last time on 18 August 1944, the day when cpt. av. Serbanescu was killed in action. He was also hit by the Mustangs and the engine stopped. However, he managed to make a belly landing in a field. He later counted 40 bullet holes in his aircraft.

After 23 August 1944, when Romania quit the Axis and declared the armistice, the Germans started bombing Bucharest, from airfields close to the capital, which were still in their hands. The two Bf-109 equipped groups, the 7th and 9th, were brought in to defend the capital. On 25 August, lt. av. Gavriliu and his wingmen spotted a German Ju-87 formation from I/SG 2 and attacked it. Soon after that, he scored his first Luftwaffe kill. The next day, the German bombers came back. Lt. av. Gavriliu intercepted a lone He-111H from I/KG 4, which was trying to escape by hiding in the clouds. He closed in and fired. The right engine caught fire and the Heinkel was on its way down. He followed it as it descended and soon observed a Ju-52/3m transport that heading for the Stefanesti airfield, which was in German hands. He attacked it and the "Tante Ju" had to make a belly landing next to a corn field. About 20 Germans in flying suits got out of it, probably pilots, who were supposed to fly the airplanes parked on the Stefanesti airfield to more safe bases. Lt. Gavriliu headed towards the German airfield. There he found another two Ju-52s on the ground and and destroyed them after several passes. During those he observed a Ju-34 parked at the edge of the nearby forest. So he turned, attacked and destroyed it. His airplane was, however, hit by ground fire and the engine stopped. He had to make a forced landing in a corn field, but escaped unscratched. By nightfall, he returned safely to his group.

The 9th Fighter Group absorbed the 7th, because of the lack of available Bf-109s. According to the new organization, lt. av. Vasile Gavriliu was appointed commander of the 56th Fighter Squadron. The group was sent to the front in Transylvania were the battles with the the German and Hungarian armies had just begun.

On 15 September, six Bf-109Gs lead by Gavriliu performed a low-level attack on the Axis airfield at Someseni. He destroyed a Fw-58, while his wingmen set on fire another 3 German Gotha gliders, one Hungarian Re-2000 fighter and several trucks. None of the Romanian Bf-109s suffered any damage. He returned the next day with his patrula, but didn't find any airplanes on the ground and settled only with a fuel truck.

The weather didn't allow very much activity during late autumn and winter of 1944 and spring of 1945, but every effort was made to help the ground troops in need of assistance. The Luftwaffe wasn't a very common sight in this period, because of the little importance given to this part of the front. Most of the Romanian losses in Hungary and Czechoslovakia were due to the AA artillery and accidents.

At the end of the war lt. av. Vasile Gavriliu had 17 confirmed victories, 2 probable and 7 on the ground. He had flown 306 missions and engaged in 65 dogfights. Five of the 17 victories the Axis and all 7 victories on the ground were scored against the Axis, thus making Vasile Gavriliu the Romanian pilot who destroyed the most aircraft after 23 August 1944: 7 airplanes (1 Ju-87D, 1 He-111H, 1Ju-34, 3 Ju-52/3m, 1 Fw-58).

In 1958, lt. col. Vasile Gavriliu retired at only 39 years old. He was among the last royal army officers that remained in the new "people's" army. In the meantime he obtained an agricultural mechanical engineering diploma. But in 1967 he returned to work in the aviation, but in the civilian sector, as a professor in the Aeronautic Personnel Training Center. After the Revolution that overthrew the Romanian communist regime, he was promoted, as it should have been done earlier, to major general.

General de divizie aeriana (maj. gen.) Vasile A. Gavriliu passed away on 14 June 2002.

Bibliography: Top Gun Special Romania, no. 34 (7/2002); Tudor Nicola, Ion Marin, "Zburatorii Grupului Serbanescu", Editura MODELISM, 2000; Ion Dobran, "Junalul locotenentului Dobran", Editura MODELISM, 1998; Vasile Tudor, "Un nume de legenda - Cpt. av. erou Alexandru Serbanescu", Editura MODELISM, 1998; Dénes Bernád, "Rumanian Air Force, the prime decade 1938-1947", Squadron/Signal Publications, 1999.

Aces Name Victories-Points Kills-Actual A/C shot down Victories/Kills
Constantin Cantacuzino 56 45 56 | 45
Alexandru Serbanescu 47 44 47 | 44
Ion Milu 45 N/A 45 | N/A
Constantin Rozariu 27 N/A 27 | N/A
Cristea Chirvasuta 20 20 20 | 20
Teodor Greceanu 20 20 20 | 20
Ioan Dicezare 19 16 19 | 16
Ioan Mucenica 19 18 19 | 18
Ioan Maga 18 15 18 | 15
Vasile Gavriliu 17 14 17 | 14
Florian Budu 16 N/A 16 | N/A
Constantin Popescu 16 8 16 | 8
Dan Vizanti 16 8 16 | 8
Gheorghe Cristea 15 5 15 | 5
Constantin Lungulescu 15 14 15 | 14
Tiberiu Vinca 15 13 15 | 13
Gheorghe Popescu-Ciocanel 14 10 14 | 10
Aurel Tifrea 14 5 14 | 5
Ion Dobran 13 10 13 | 10
Ioan Malacescu 13 11 13 | 11
Ioan Micu 13 N/A 13 | N/A
Mihai Mihordea 13 8 13 | 8
Andrei Radulescu 13 9 13 | 9
Ion Dimache 12 8 12 | 8
Dumitru Ilie 12 8 12 | 8
Ioan Galea 12 5 12 | 5
Traian Darjan 11 8 11 | 8
Nicolae Macri 11 5 11 | 5
Teodor Zabava 11 11 11 | 11
Horia Agarici 10 6 10 | 6
Emil Balan 10 N/A 10 | N/A
Gheorghe Cocebas 10 9 10 | 9
Mircea Dumitrescu 10 7 10 | 7
Stefan Dumitrescu 10 5 10 | 5
Ioan Nicola 10 5 10 | 5
Nicolae Polizu 10 10 10 | 10
Dan Scurtu 10 8 10 | 8
Stefan Greceanu 9 9 9 | 9
Alexandru Moldoveanu 9 7 9 | 7
Parsifal Stefanescu 9 7 9 | 7
Eugen Cameceanu 8 8 8 | 8
Cristu I Cristu 8 6 8 | 6
Iosif Moraru 8 7 8 | 7
Liviu Muresan 8 7 8 | 7
Constantin Ursachi 8 6 8 | 6
Ion Panait 7 5 7 | 5
Constantin Pomut 7 7 7 | 7
Gheorghe Tutuianu 7 5 7 | 5
Constantin Nicoara 6 5 6 | 5
Radu Reinek 6 6 6 | 6
Nicolae Burileanu 5 5 5 | 5
Laurentiu Catana 5 5 5 | 5
Petre Cordescu 5 5 5 | 5
Hariton Dusescu 5 5 5 | 5
Erich Selei 5 5 5 | 5
Aces Name Victories-Points Kills-Actual A/C shot down Victories/Kills
Mihail Bulat 12 4 12 | 4
Ion Barladeanu 9 3 9 | 3
Petre Cojocaru 9 3 9 | 3
Constantin Georgescu 9 3 9 | 3
Gheorghe Mociornita 9 3 9 | 3
Gheorghe Prasinopol 9 3 9 | 3
Gheorghe Stanica 9 3 9 | 3
Jean Sandru 9 3 9 | 3
Lucian Toma 8 4 8 | 4
Dumitru Baciu 7 4 7 | 4
Dumitru Chera 7 3 7 | 3
Carol Anastasescu 6 2 6 | 2
Virgil Anghelescu 6 2 6 | 2
Constantin Balta 6 2 6 | 2
Pavel Bucsa 6 2 6 | 2
Gheorghe Butnaru 6 3 6 | 3
Gheorghe Grecu 6 3 6 | 3
Gheorghe Gulan 6 2 6 | 2
Ion Marinciu 6 4 6 | 4
Petre Mihailescu 6 2 6 | 2
Nicolae Naghirneac 6 4 6 | 4
Gheorghe Neagoe 6 2 6 | 2
Stefan Pucas 6 4 6 | 4
Ioan Sandu 6 2 6 | 2
Petre Scurtu 6 2 6 | 2
Mircea Teodorescu 6 2 6 | 2
Iuliu Anca 5 4 5 | 4
Nicolae Batranu 5 3 5 | 3
Dumitru Encioiu 5 3 5 | 3
Mircea Mazilu 5 3 5 | 3
Vasile Mirila 5 3 5 | 3
Aurel Vladareanu 5 2 5 | 2

In early 1944, the Romanians started a point system for victories. Pilots were awarded 3 victories for shooting down a 4 or 6 engined aircraft, 2 victories for a 2 or 3 engined aircraft and 1 point for a single engined aircraft. Prior to this all aircraft downed were counted as just 1 victory.

http://www.worldwar2.ro/arr/aces.htm

Luftwaffe pilot THE SERBIAN AND YUGOSLAVIAN AIR FORCE IN WORLD WAR II
By Milan Jovanovic

The AF was activated as early as March 12th 1941 in a covert mobilization. It was positioned on 50 war airfields, as stipulated in the War Plan R-41, designed by the Chief headquarters of the Yugoslav armed forces.

By the Order of the Air force Command (dated March 22nd 1941) all units were put in the state of alert under arms. They were ready to take off, in 20 minutes time for fighters and 30 minutes for bombers, for war goals set by a highly confidential instruction No.1, issued by the Air Force Chief of Staff.

The political situation, existing after the state-military Putsch of March 27th 1941, when by the action of freedom-liking officers the Government was thrown (the one that signed the Three-Axis pact on March 25th with Nazi Germany and Italy), requested to put AF as a first shield of defense, because the Yugoslav Army was not yet mobilized nor prepared for the war.

On the first day of war, April 6th 1941, the AF possessed 487 planes ready for operation, among them 144 fighter aircraft (104 of modern types) and 147 modern bombers and Naval aviation had around 70 hydroplanes, with only 37 combat capable planes. It was staffed with 50000 men. The attacking forces, engaged in the April War (6th to 17th of April) were 2373 aircraft strong, including from Germany 1212 aircraft, Italy 647 and Hungary 287 aircraft. Thus the ratio, in the beginning of operations was 5:1 in favor of the enemy, and if we count only modern Yugoslav aircraft the ratio climbs to 7:1 in favor of the Axis powers.

In spite of huge logistic difficulties and acts of treason (proclamation of so-called "Independent State of Croatia" on April 10th 1941) the Royal Yugoslav Air Force has fulfilled its duties with honor. Yugoslav airmen fought with incomparable courage against an enemy superior both technically and numerically. They fought to the last airfield and to the last airplane.

During the war operations (6th to 15th April) a total of 1416 take-0ffs was made, 993 of which were performed by fighters and 423 by bombers. Almost 50% of planned flights were cancelled due to bad weather.

During this short war 135 flight crew members and 576 ground personnel lost bravely their lives.

Organization

The Royal Yugoslav Air Force consited of:

- Vazduhoplovstvo Vojske - Army AF, it was a branch in the ground forces and consited of:

1) Operativno Vazduhoplovstvo - Operational AF which controled fighters, bombers, reconnaisance, transport aircraft

2) Armijsko Vazduhoplovstvo - Army AF with tasked with direct support of ground forces using liason and utility aircraft

3) Pozadinsko Vazduhoplovstvo - logistic support and training aircraft

- Pomorsko Vazduhoplovstvo - Naval Aviation (subordinated to the Navy, not a part of the Air Force)

Luftwaffe pilot Service Types

Type Quantity Role Origin
Messerschmitt Me-109E 61 Fighter Germany
Hawker Hurricane Mk. I 35 Fighter UK/Local
Hawker Fury Mk. I 30 Fighter UK/Local
Avia BH-33 2 Fighter Czechoslovakia
Ikarus IK-2 8 Fighter Local
Rogozarski IK-3 6 Fighter Local
Potez 63 2 Fighter France
Dornier DO-17K 60 Bomber Germany/Local
Bristol Blenheim Mk. I 47 Bomber UK/Local
Bristol Blenheim Mk. I 11 Reconnaisance UK/Local
Savoia Marcetti SM-79 40 Bomber Italy
Brege-19 120 Reconnaisance, Utility France/Local
Potez-25 120 Reconnaisance, Utility Local
Fieseler FI-156 10 Utility Germany
Dornier DO-WAL 10 Bomber Germany
Dornier DO-22 11 Reconnaisance, Bomber Germany
SIM-XIV 15 Coastal Reconnaisance Local
SIM-XII   Training Local
Pogozarski PVT   Training Local

Luftwaffe pilot Service Types

Unit Type No. of Aircraft Base
Operativno Vazduhoplovstvo
1. Vazdusna Lovacka Brigada Me-109 2 Zemun
2. Vazdusni Lovacki Puk      
31. Grupa Me-109 19 Knic
52. Grupa Hurricane Mk. I 15 Knic
6. Vazdusni Lovacki Puk      
32. Grupa Me-109 27 Prnjavor
51. Grupa Me-109
IK-3
10
6
Zemun
2. Vazdusna Mesovita Brigada      
4. Vazdusni Lovacki Puk      
33. Grupa Hurricane Mk. I 13 Bosanski Aleksandrovac
34. Grupa Hurricane Mk. I
IK-2
7
8
Bosanski Aleksandrovac
8. Vazdusni Bombarderski Puk      
68. Grupa Blenheim Mk. I 12 Rovine
69. Grupa Blenheim Mk. I 12 Rovine
3. Vazdusna Mesovita Brigada      
3. Vazdusni Bombarderski Puk      
63. Grupa Do-17K 30 Petrovac
64. Grupa Do-17K 30 Obolic, Stubol
5. Vazdusni Lovacki Puk      
35. Grupa Hawker Fury Mk. I 15 Kosancic
36. Grupa Hawker Fury Mk. I 15 Razanovska Kosa
4. Vazdusna Bombarderska Brigada      
1. Vazdusni Bombarderski Puk      
61. Grupa Blenheim Mk. I 11 Bjeljina
62. Grupa Blenheim Mk. I 12 Bjeljina
7. Vazdusni Bombarderski Puk      
66. Grupa SM-79 13 Preljina
67. Grupa SM-78 13 Gorobilje
11. Samostalna Izvodjacka Grupa Blenheim Mk. I
H. Hind
11
2
Veliki Radinci
81. Samostalna Bombarderska Grupa SM-79 14 Ortijes
Samostalna Lovacka Eskadrila ME-109
Hurricane Mk. I
BH-33
2
3
2
Kosor
Kosor
Podgorica
Armijsko Vazduhoplovstvo
1. Vasdusna Izvidjacka Grupa 1. Armije Brege 19 15 Ruma
2. Vasdusna Izvidjacka Grupa 5. Armije Brege 19/Potez 25 16 Sarlince
3. Vasdusna Izvidjacka Grupa 2. Armije Brege 19/Potez 25 19 St. Topolje (Nasice)
4. Vasdusna Izvidjacka Grupa 2. Armije Brege 19/Potez 25 18 Kurilovec
5. Vasdusna Izvidjacka Grupa 3. Armije Brege 19/Potez 25 14 Tetovo
6. Vasdusna Izvidjacka Grupa 7. Armije Brege 19/Potez 25 16 Crklje, Brege
7. Vasdusna Izvidjacka Grupa 6. Armije Brege 19/Potez 25 18 Smederevska Palanka
Samostalan Izvidjacka Eskadrila Brege 19/Potez 25 4 Mostar
Pomorsko Vazduhoplovstvo
1. Hidroplanska Komanda      
1. Grupa      
1.Eskadrila SIM-XIV 5 Krtole
2.Eskadrila Various 10 Rose
2. Grupa      
20.Eskadrila DO-22 H 6 Orahovac
21.Eskadrila DO-W, Various 6 Dobrota
2. Hidroplanska Komanda      
3. Grupa      
25.Eskadrila DO-22 H 6 Zlarin i Visovac
26.Eskadrila Do-W, various 6 Krapanj, Jadrtovac
4. Grupa      
5.Eskadrila SIM-XIV 5 Tijesno
15.Eskadrila Various 10 Murter
Skolska Hidroplanska Eskadrila Various 20  

Luftwaffe pilot Service Types

Name Rank Unit & Position E/D
Božidar Kostiæ potpukovnik, komandant Šestog lovaèkog puka 2
Stevan Ivaniæ major, pomoænik komandanta puka  
Stevan Krajinoviæ kapetanI klase aðutant puka 1
Aæim Slijepèeviæ kapetan obave tajni oficir puka  
Milan Stojanoviæ poruènik na službi u komandi puka 1
Danilo Ðorðeviæ major komandant 32. lovaèke grupe 1
Ilija Vlajiæ kapetan I klase komandir 103. lovaèke eskadrile 1
Miho Klavora kapetan I klase 103. lovaèka eskadrila 2
Bojan Preseènik poruènik 103. lovaèka eskadrila 1
Otmar Lajh potporuènik 103. lovaèka eskadrila  
Dobrica Novakoviæ potporuènik 103. lovaèka eskadrila 1
Jovan Kape iæ potporuènik 103. lovaèka eskadrila 2
Branisalv Todoroviæ n.v.t. èinov nik 103. lovaèka eskadrila 1
Milutin Petrov narednik-vodnik 103. lovaèka eskadrila  
Vladimir Gorup narednik-vodnik 103. lovaèka eskadrila 1
Borivoje Markoviæ kapetan I klase komandir 104. lovaèke eskadrile 1
Božidar Ercigoj kapetan 104. lovaèka eskadrila  
Ivo Novak kapetan 104. lovaèka eskadrila  
Vasa Kolarov poruènik 104. lovaèka eskadrila 1
Vilim Aciger poruènik 104. lovaèka eskadrila  
Dragomir Milo eviæ narednik 104. lovaèka eskadrila  
Milovoje Bo koviæ narednik 104. lovaèka eskadrila 1
Zvonimir Halambek narednik 104. lovaèka eskadrila  
Milutin Grozdanoviæ kapetan I klase komandir 142. lovaèke eskadrile 1
Radisav Stamenkoviæ kapetan 142. lovaèka eskadrila  
Milisav Velikiæ kapetan 142. lovaèka eskadrila 1
Ðorðe Ke eljeviæ poruènik 142. lovaèka eskadrila 1
Miodrag Aleksiæ potporuènik 142. lovaèka eskadrila 2
Ivo Rahek narednik 142. lovaèka eskadrila  
Veljko Štalcer narednik 142. lovaèka eskadrila  
Josip Helebrant kapetan I klase komandir
16. aerodromske èete
 
Adum Romeo major komandant 51. lovaèke grupe  
Milo  Žunjiæ kapetan I klase komandir
102. lovaèke eskadrile
1
Milan Žuniæ kapetan I klase 102. lovaèka eskadrila 1
Momèilo Milosavljeviæ kapetan 102. lovaèka eskadrila  
Mihailo Nikoliæ kapetan 102. lovaèka eskadrila 1
Miodarg Bo koviæ potporuènik 102. lovaèka eskadrila 2
Milo  Drakuliæ potporuènik 102. lovaèka eskadrila  
August Kovaè potporuènik 102. lovaèka eskadrila  
Dragoslav Krstiæ potporuènik 102. lovaèka eskadrila  
Ðorðe Stojanoviæ potporuènik 102. lovaèka eskadrila 3
Karlo Štrbenk narednik-vodnik 102. lovaèka eskadrila 1
Vukadin Jeliæ narednik 102. lovaèka eskadrila 1
Vladimir Puziæ narednik 102. lovažka eskadrila  
Todor Gogiæ kapetan I klase komandir 161. eskadrile i
51. lovaèke grupe
2
Du an Borèiæ potporuènik 161. lovaèka eskadrila 2
Milo  Gagiæ potporuènik 161. lovaèka eskadrila  
Milisav Semiz narednik 161. lovaèka eskadrila 4
Du an Vujièiæ narednik 161. lovaèka eskadrila 3
Savo Poljanec kapetan I klase komandir 162. lovaèke eskadrile 1
Milan Ristiæ kapetan 162. lovaèka eskadrila  
Kosta Antonov kapetan 162. lovaèka eskadrila  
Eduard Banfiæ niži vojno-tehnièki èinovnik 162. lovaèka eskadrila 1
Dragan Bojoviæ poruènik 162. lovaèka eskadrila 1
Dobrivoje Milovanoviæ narednik 162. lovaèka eskadrila  
Mihailo Ðorðeviæ kapetan I klase komandir 17. aerodromske èete  

Web Reference: http://www.ww2wings.com/wings/yugoslavia/yugoslaviamain.shtml