Macchi C.202 Folgore Croatian 2/Kro.JGr1 flown by Capt Josip Helebrant, CO of 2/Kro.JGr1, 1943-1944.
Photos of Macchi Mc 202, Serie XII aircraft just after their delivery by the Germans to the Croatian 11th Squadron at Kurilovec. Note that one photo shows Black 1 of Hauptmann Josip Helebrant, commanding officer of 2/JGr. Kro.
Mc.202 Black 1 of Hauptmann Josip Helebrant, commanding officer of 2/JGr. Kro, Pleso, May 1944. 2/JGr. Kro received 16 C.202s in the spring of 1944 which were from a batch of Serie XII Breda machines captured by the Germans after the German occupation. The C.202 was not considered in high opinion by Croat pilots who thought its armament too light to effectively attack American B-24s. Hauptmann Helebrant indicated that the C.202s of his unit were old, weary and unusable and that his men had low morale.
Hptm Josip Hellebrant born 10/14/1910 in Karlovac, Croatia
Units: JFS-4, 10 or 11 Sq./Kroat 4th Ftr Grp(Mariupol 12/41), 15(Kroat)/JG-52, Stfkpt 2/KroJGr-1(12/43)
Awards: EK 1 & 2, Wound Badge(10/6/42), Fighter Operational Clasp
Known Aircraft: Bf 109E, Bf 109G-2 Wk# 13463 "Blk 8"(8/42), Fiat C-202 "Blk 1"(5/44), Bf 109G-10 "Blk 3"(4/45)
Asisbiz database list of 11 aerial victories for Josip Hellebrant
On 23 December 1943 the HZL fighter component was reorganised as Stab, 1., 2. and 3. Kroatien Jagdgruppe 1. The Gruppenkommandeur was Major Ivan Cenic, his Staffelkapitäne being Oberleutnant Dukovac (then still on the strength of III./JG 52 in the east), Hauptmann Helebrant and Oberleutnant Bencetic.
3./Kro JGr 1 was originally conceived as an operational training unit to supply 2. Staffel with combat-ready pilots. Apart from a few veterans from Russia, most of its pilots were fresh from JG 104, and at the end of the year Kro JGr 1 had just two non-operational CR.42s in Croatia.
Then, at the end of January 1944, eight brand-new Macchi C.202 fighters arrived at Lucko airfield, with another four flying in two weeks later, although one was lost during a test-flight. In the meantime, operational training on CR.42s and G.50s started as a prelude to C.202 training in March. That month the first contact with American aircraft came west of Zagreb, although combat was avoided – the Macchi pilots were instructed to attack only damaged aircraft and stragglers from the main formation. On 1 April the unit was re-designated I./Jagdgruppe Kroatien, just in time for the first combats. The ZNDH also received another 19 MS 406s at this point.
On 2 April the Fifteenth Air Force mounted a large-scale raid on the Austrian industrial city of Steyr. The bombers’ route was directly over the NDH, and two 2./JGr Kro pilots took off to intercept the B-24s on their return journey. One pilot (almost certainly Eastern Front veteran Feldwebel Bozidar Bartulovic) claimed a bomber, but as its demise was not seen, his victory was not confirmed.
Around this time 2./JGr Kro despatched a Schwarm to Zaluzani airfield, near Banja Luka, this move, it was assumed, being undertaken in order to give pilots more opportunity for the interception of American bombers. However, on the 6th Spitfire Mk IXs of the South African Air Force’s No 7 Wing (specifically Nos 1, 2 and 4 Sqns) made a devastating attack on the airfield. They approached Zaluzani undetected, and thus took the defences completely by surprise.
During the attack, Daut Secerbegovic, then a mechanic with 23.LJ, witnessed the death of Cvitan Galic, Croatia’s second-ranking ace with 38 kills. He recalls: ‘Aircraft were in the open all across the field, and the hangars were full. Nobody bothered to disperse them because no attack was expected. Galic had just returned from a test flight. He taxied up to the hangar and shut down his engine. An airman helped him release his straps and get out. ‘He was standing by his machine when, out of the blue, bullets whistled around us and bombs started going off. We dashed to nearby trenches and dived in just in time. I looked back and saw Galic standing in complete shock. We shouted to him to run to our trench, but he thought it was too far and jumped under his aeroplane instead. Seconds later a bomb exploded near his Morane, which caught fire and collapsed on top of him. Galic was by then beyond help, although I don’t think that he could have survived the initial explosion of the bomb in any case.'
The only SAAF unit to use bombs during this attack was No 2 Sqn, and it was one of its pilots who almost certainly accounted for the 38-victory ace.
Elsewhere on the airfield there was complete chaos. No fewer than 21 ZNDH aircraft were written off and ten damaged, whilst 16 Luftwaffe machines (including one C.202, plus another damaged) were also destroyed. 23.LJ practically ceased to exist, as only one of its dozen MS 406s remained intact, with another repairable. Two Macchis returned to Lucko the following day.
Osprey Aircraft of the Aces series 49 Croatian Aces of World War 2 by Dragan Savic & Boris Ciglic pages 63-64
Yugoslavian Air Force
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.
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)
Unit Type Number 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
Zemun 2. Vazdusna Mesovita Brigada 4. Vazdusni Lovacki Puk 33. Grupa Hurricane Mk. I 13 Bosanski Aleksandrovac 34. Grupa Hurricane Mk. I
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
Veliki Radinci 81. Samostalna Bombarderska Grupa SM-79 14 Ortijes Samostalna Lovacka Eskadrila ME-109
Hurricane Mk. I
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
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
Some Key Dates in Yugoslavian Air Force History
- November 1902 engineering captain Kosta Miletic returns from St. Petersburg after finishing Aeronautical Technical School
- end of 1909 2 balloons and hydrogen station were delivered
- February 1912 Ministry of War issued a call for candidates to be sent to France and trained for pilots
- July 23rd, 1912 Mihailo Petrovic got FAI degree No. 979 becoming first Serbian military pilot
- September 1912 order for 8 planes, erector hangars and spare parts were placed in France, with 2 more planes ordered in Russia
- December 24th, 1912 - War Minister Radomir Putnik issues a decree establishing Aviation Command - this is the service holiday
- March 29th, 1913 - lieutenant Zivojin Stankovic and sergeant Miodrag Tomic made first successful combat mission. For 45 minutes they observed Turkish positions in city of Skadar
- middle of 1915 - first pilot school in Serbia established in Pozarevac
- April 1918 - Prva Srpska Eskadrila (First Serbian Escadrille) became operational with 12 Dorand AR type I A2 and 3 Nieuport XXIV C1 from French-Serbian composite Escadrille AR 521 and commanded by French officer (Serb national) lieutenant Mihajlo Marinkovic
- October 11th, 1923 - IKARUS , first Yugoslav aircraft factory was formed
- March 28th, 1924 - first localy produced aircraft, SB-1 from IKARUS, were delivered to AF
- December 1928 - Air Force has 367 airplanes in operation and 22 planes in storage.
- April 6th, 1941 - Nazi forces attacked Yugoslavia, with heavy bombing of capital Belgrade. Despite German and Italian superiority (6:1) and treason pilots fought bravely. For 9 days they flew over 1400 sorties downing 90 enemy aircraft. After capitulation some crews with their planes flew to Egypt and fought with the Allied forces
- May 1942 - partisan forces in occupied Bosnia fly missions with two planes
- September 28th- Aviation section were formed by Partisan's High Command
- October 14th, 1943 - first Air base in occupied Europe was formed in Livno
- middle of 1944 - RAF in Africa forms 351. (Hurricane) and 352. (Spitfire) squadrons staffed with Yugoslavs
- end of 1944 - USSR hands over to Yugoslavia 11. (Yak-1) and 42. (Il-2m3) division
- September 12th, 1945 - Military Aviation academy was established
- March 1948 - first radar company was established
- May 23th,1948 - paratrooper course started
- June 1948 - break up with Stalin
- 1950 - Air Force Technical School was formed in Zemun
- 1952 - first aircraft from USA (P-47 thunderbolt) and UK(Mosquito) were delivered
- October 1952 - first indigenously produced jet Ikarus 451M flew
- March 10th, 1953 - first jet aircraft(T-33) for YAF came
- June 1955 - first complete EW units were formed
- July 1959 - AF and AD units from army united to form Air Force and Air defence
- May 1961- SOKO Galeb G-2 trainer, produced in aproximately 150 examples, made first flight
- September 1962 - First MiG-21f-13 fighter were delivered
- 1962 - S-75 DVINA were put in operational service
- 1991 - break up of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
- May 1992 - forming of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Air Force and Air Defence
Name Rank Unit & Position Enemy
Napomena 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 poginuo Bojan Preseènik poruènik 103. lovaèka eskadrila 1 ranjen Otmar Lajh potporuènik 103. lovaèka eskadrila Dobrica Novakoviæ potporuènik 103. lovaèka eskadrila 1 poginuo Jovan Kapeiæ potporuènik 103. lovaèka eskadrila 2 poginuo Branisalv Todoroviæ n.v.t. èinov nik 103. lovaèka eskadrila 1 poginuo Milutin Petrov narednik-vodnik 103. lovaèka eskadrila poginuo Vladimir Gorup narednik-vodnik 103. lovaèka eskadrila 1 poginuo 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 ranjen Vilim Aciger poruènik 104. lovaèka eskadrila Dragomir Miloeviæ narednik 104. lovaèka eskadrila Milovoje Bokoviæ narednik 104. lovaèka eskadrila 1 poginuo Zvonimir Halambek narednik 104. lovaèka eskadrila Milutin Grozdanoviæ kapetan I klase komandir 142. lovaèke eskadrile 1 ranjen 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 smenjen
MiloŽunjiæ kapetan I klase komandir 102. lovaèke eskadrile 1 poginuo Milan Žuniæ kapetan I klase 102. lovaèka eskadrila 1 Momèilo Milosavljeviæ kapetan 102. lovaèka eskadrila Mihailo Nikoliæ kapetan 102. lovaèka eskadrila 1 ranjen Miodarg Bo koviæ potporuènik 102. lovaèka eskadrila 2 ranjen MiloDrakuliæ potporuènik 102. lovaèka eskadrila August Kovaè potporuènik 102. lovaèka eskadrila Dragoslav Krstiæ potporuènik 102. lovaèka eskadrila Ðorðe Stojanoviæ potporuènik 102. lovaèka eskadrila 3 ranjen Karlo Štrbenk narednik-vodnik 102. lovaèka eskadrila 1 poginuo 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 poginuo MiloGagiæ 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 ranjen Milan Ristiæ kapetan 162. lovaèka eskadrila Kosta Antonov kapetan 162. lovaèka eskadrila Eduard Banfiæ niži
162. lovaèka eskadrila 1 ranjen Dragan Bojoviæ poruènik 162. lovaèka eskadrila 1 ranjen Dobrivoje Milovanoviæ narednik 162. lovaèka eskadrila Mihailo Ðorðeviæ kapetan I klase komandir 17. aerodromske èete
A MC202XII flown by Capt Josip Helebrant , CO of 2/Kro.JGr1, 1943-1944. Template by Macwan. Details : hotbox1 Entry date : 15th Dec 2007
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