Bristol Blenheim Romanian Royal Air Forces

gionit

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Jan 12, 2023
Hello all,

I have found this photo in my late grandmother's albums. Family lore states that one of the young men in this picture is an uncle of my grandma's (we don't know which one, we assume it's the young guy in the back behind the lady in white's right shoulder). The plane is a Bristol Blenheim Mk1, and if I zoom on the underside of the right wing, I believe I can see the Romanian Royal Air Forces markings.

There's a handwritten note on the back (in Romanian cursive) stating, "In order to remember the fifteen days spent together", signed "Remus" and dated 6 VI 941 (6th of June 1941 - two weeks before Operation Barbarossa).

I have no additional info. It would be great if anybody here has more historical information about this group. I will be modelling this plane, and I would want to know if anybody has other BB Mk1 pictures that can help me identify this plane's number.

Thank you,

gionit
 

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Wurger

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Romania ordered 40 Bristol Blenheims in 1939, but only 37 made it to Romania, the rest being lost on the way. They equipped 4 long range reconnaissance squadrons (1st-4th) and played an important role in providing information on the movement of forces on the USSR, Hungarian and Bulgarian borders.

a couple of pictures ..

 

gionit

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Jan 12, 2023
Romania ordered 40 Bristol Blenheims in 1939, but only 37 made it to Romania, the rest being lost on the way. They equipped 4 long range reconnaissance squadrons (1st-4th) and played an important role in providing information on the movement of forces on the USSR, Hungarian and Bulgarian borders.

a couple of pictures ..

Thank you. I also saw here and on different sites there were two paint schemes for the RRAF Blenheims. I read what I was able to find on the internet about the Romanian Blenheims, but I was interested if there's a way to find out the number of this plane (by correlating this image to other pictures out there, maybe). Also, what was this "15 days" training they had in June '41? Why were there women there? Finally, who's the cool pilot with the glasses?
 

gionit

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Jan 12, 2023
Wasn't "Viniceriu" the traditional Romanian name for September?
It's actually "Rapciune", but nobody uses it. The original writing on the back of the photo is "6 VI 941", I made a mistake in my original posting. People were using roman numerals for months until the end of the 20th century in Romania.
 

gionit

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Jan 12, 2023
I found this picture on the web (sorry, I forgot the source, it might be from this site). This plane looks extremely similar to the one in my picture. I believe the tail number is 4? Maybe we can find a better picture out there...
 

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Wurger

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Regarding the camouflage you are right. It is quite smilar. However, the pointed part is a yellow band that was introduced for the Eastern Front after the German attack on the USSR. Also the wing tips on the undersides were of the yellow what was the quick ID system for the Axis planes used at the front. The most of Romanian Blenheims had the markings and the camo applied.
I have had a close up view at your image above and it is quite difficult to state what kind of the camo and markings were painted.
 

33k in the air

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The book Rumanian Air Force — The Prime Decade, 1938–1947 by Dénes Bernád has this to say about the Blenheim I (Squadron/Signal Publications, 1999):

A third bomber unit, Flotilla 3 bombardament, was formed on 26 November 1940. This unit was based at Craiova, Wallachia, and inherited the remaining bomber aircraft — I.A.R. 37s, Bloch 210s, and Potez 543s. The regiment also took charge of all 35 Bristol Blenheim Mk Is. The Blenheims had been acquired the previous fall for the long-range reconnaissance mission, but also possessed a secondary bombing capability. Additionally, the 3rd BF received the obsolescent P.Z.L. P.23 Karas light bombers which were used to form Escadrila 73 bombardament. (p.48)

Another aircraft that appeared in the Ipoteza 32 plan was the British-built Bristol Blenheim Mk I. Blenhiems equipped five long-range reconnaissance squadrons, each with a theoretical strength of eight aircraft. The Blenheims had been acquired for reconnaissance duty, however, they also possessed a limited bombing capability. Only 35 of the original 40 Blenheims remained in service in 1941. This resulted in only four escadrile de recunoastere-bombardament (reconnaissance-bomber squadrons) — Nos. 1 through 4 — being fielded. These four squadrons were assigned to the three existing flotile de informatie, each covering one of the three major provinces of the pre-war Rumanian Kingdom. Escadrila 2 and 4 of Flotila 1 informatie were based at Iasi, Moldavia, while Escadrila 1 of Flotila 2 informatie was based at Cluj, Transylvania. Escadrila 3 was assigned to Flotila 3 informatie at Galanti to cover Wallachia and Dobruja. (p.64)

This chapter of the book goes on in several paragraphs to describe the use and actions of the Blenheim and other reconnaissance aircraft on the Eastern Front.
 

gionit

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Jan 12, 2023
The book Rumanian Air Force — The Prime Decade, 1938–1947 by Dénes Bernád has this to say about the Blenheim I (Squadron/Signal Publications, 1999):





This chapter of the book goes on in several paragraphs to describe the use and actions of the Blenheim and other reconnaissance aircraft on the Eastern Front.
Thank you, this is great info.
 

gionit

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Jan 12, 2023
Some time ago I posted on the TOCH forum details of these Blenheims, and others exported to Finland and Yugoslavia and Turkey.
Here is the link -

Thank you, Alex. Lots of interesting research, but not that much info on Romanian Blenheims. Should I post this picture in that forum, as well, maybe it generates more info?
 

Alex Smart

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Oct 25, 2018
Hello,
I see no reason why you shouldn't post it. It will possibly bring some new input from members hopefully.
All the best
Alex
 

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