National known Pilots...

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Airman 1st Class
Mar 18, 2005
I would be interested in finding out about some of the war partcipant countries best known Pilots...

Although he didn't take part in the war here is the story of Cpt. Dumitru "Pufi" Popescu. He was the first testpilot of the romanian IAR-80, a great flight instructor, aerobtics, and fighter pilot. "Pufi" starts his flight career in the year 1927, when he obtains the Observer Licence and is promoted to Second Lieutenen. In 1929 he obtains his Flying Licence, no. 744. He is promoted to Lieutenent on 8th june 1931, and then Captain on 10th may 1938. In 1940 he is dispached to the 7th Fighting Squadron, and appointed Commanding Officer to the 57th Squadron, equipped with Bf-109E... Unfortunately he would die in the 3rd december 1940 in a trgic aviation accident. He was training in formation with Cpt. Horning, practicing the 'turn in formation' routine where the germans applied the 'constant speed' technique, pilots changing formation their courses would intersect. During one of these manouvers his propeller touches the other aircraft, desintegrating. Cpt. Popescu tries to bail out but his Paraschute is cought in the plane. The other pilot mannages to land his plane safely, but Cpt. Dumitru Popescu looses his life.

I'm sorry I have no scaned photo... but I will post one as soon as I can...
Yeap...I like it too... I'm quite proud of the little flyer too... It's quite good looking, and it also performs well...
Look at this... Man the IAR-80 DC was odd looking...


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The highest scoring Polish ace was major Stanislaw Skalski with 22 confirmed kills. But I will write about him other day.
Now I would like to mention another interesting Polish pilot, Witold Urbanowicz.
He was born in 1908 and in 1930 joined theAir Force School. 15th August 1932 he was nominated to 2Lt. and as an observer joined the night bombardment squadron of the 1st Airforce Regiment (Warsaw).

In 1933 he graduated from the advanced flying course in Grudziadz and joined 113th (later also 111th) fighter squadron, but n 1936 came to Deblin (Air Force Academy) as an instructor.

In September 1939 he fought arm in arm with his students and led them to Romania. Then, he arrived to the UK, where, after completing Hurricane training joined the 145th sqn.

On 21st August 1940 he was transferred to the 303rd (Polish) sqn where he was appointed a flight lieutenant. On 7th September he became a commander of this famous sqn (highest scoring RAF unit during the BoB). During this battle he shot down 16 German planes becomint the most effective Polish fighter.

The High Command considered him to be too precious to risk his life in combat, so he was transferred to the HQ of the 11th Fighter Group. Urbanowicz was one of the "founding fathers" of the 1st Polish Fighter Wing.
In June 1941 he was sent to the USA where he was giving some lectures about fighter tactics. A year later he became a deputy Air Attache of the Polish Embassy in Washington.

In September 1943 he was invited by Gen. Chennault to join the 75th Fighter Sqn in Ku-Ming in China. He took part in several sorties and flying P40E he shot down 2 Zero fighters.

He passed away in NY in 1996.
He was awarded the Silver Cross of the Virtuti Militari medal (the highest Polish war medal), 3 times a Cross of valour (Krzyż Walecznych), Distinguished Flying Cross (in a group of first 4 Polish pilots decorated with this medal), American DFC and Chinese Flying Cross.


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Yep, in many sources the Japanese a/c Urbanowicz downed are Oscars, but he wrote in his book there were Zekes.
But it's quite strange - Zeros were mostly used by IJN, so what were doing over the continent where Army air force was operating?
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 of sublocotenent (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 promoted locotenent (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 a patrula (Romanian for Schwarm) 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: the Mihai 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 JG 3 Udet, 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.


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Horia Agarici was born on 6 April 1911 in Lausanne, Switzerland, where his family was during a business trip. He grew up in Iasi, being raised by his aunt. There he went to the elementary school and then continued high school in Pitesti, Brasov, only to return to Iasi, where he graduated in 1929. For one year he attended the courses of the Polytechnic Institute in Timisoara. In 1931 he was admitted in the Air Force Officer School in Bucharest, which he finished in 1933 and was assigned to the 1st Baloon Flotilla. At his request he was transferred to the Flight School in Tecuci. He graduated in 1934 and was sent to the bombers. In 1937 he went to the Fighter School at Buzau and then he was assigned to the 1st Fighter Flotilla.

In the eve of the beginning of Operation Barbarossa, lt. av. Horia Agarici was part of the 53rd Fighter Squadron, based at Mamaia airfield, near Constanta, which had the mission to defend the Romanian coastline and the railroad bridge over the Danube against Soviet air attacks. It was the only Romanian unit equipped with the Hawker Hurricane Mk. I and it will distinguish itself in the air battles of 1941.

From the first day of the war, 22 June 1941, the Hurricanes claimed several kills over VVS fighters, while escorting formations of Romanian bombers that were attacking Soviet bases in southern Bessarabia. However, lt. av. Agarici wasn't among the victors. It was the following day that made him famous.

On 23 June 1941, the Hurricanes of the 53rd Fighter Squadron took off on an escort mission. After a while lt. av. Agarici returned to the airfield, because of a malfunction that caused oil to spill over his windscreen. He landed without problems and the mechanics started to work on the airplane. After a few minutes they heard engine roar coming from the sea. They saw three Soviet bombers heading towards Constanta, probably with the intention to bomb the harbor. Lt. av. Agarici immediately took off, although the problem on his Hurricane hadn't been solved. He quickly gained altitude to meet the DB-3s that were flying at about 2000 m. He then dived and attacked the formation leader. Soon after that the bomber caught fire and probably fell into the sea. He again gained altitude and attacked. A second DB-3 started to go down in flames. It dropped its bombs over the sea and crash-landed on Romanian soil. The crew was later taken prisoner. The third bomber had already turned back when lt. av. Horia Agarici reached it. He attacked and set it on fire. Another Soviet bomber formation appeared, but retreated after seeing what happened to the first one. Agarici came back to the airfield and landed. He did not know the result of the battle, because his windscreen was almost entirely covered with oil. Only two of the claims were confirmed. One remained probable.
This action was transformed into a very popular song about Agarici and his victories, composed apparently that night at the party thrown for the ace in a restaurant in Constanta. The story was picked up by the Romanian propaganda and soon Agarici and his song became well known throughout Romania.

By the end of August 1941, lt. av. Horia Agarici had claimed another two aircraft shot down, of which one was a Yak-1, mistakenly identified as a Hurricane. Thus he achieved the ace status with five kills.

All the publicity and fame generated by the song and the propaganda service created him only problems, as he attracted the envy of other fighter pilots, who did not regard him as a very good pilot and soldier. His superiors did not usually qualify him as a good pilot, but a medium one. He was a more a poet, than a warrior. He even published a poetry volume during the war. Even Agarici himself was embarrassed by his fame. This made him loose his interest in the war and did not perform any more impressive feats until the end of the war.

In 1942 he was promoted to the rank of captain and received the command of the 52nd Fighter Squadron, which had replaced the 53rd on the Mamaia airfield. It was equipped with IAR-80 aircraft and usually provided air cover for the Axis convoys in the Black Sea. In early 1943 he was assigned to the 7th Fighter Group and received a administrative job as chief of the operations bureau.

In October 1943, the 7th Fighter Group returned to Romania for reorganization and refitting. Cpt. av. Horia Agarici was assigned to the 58th Fighter Squadron, with which he took part in the fights with the US 15th Air Force in the spring of 1944. During the first American raid over Romania that year, on 4 April 1944, cpt. Agarici claimed a B-24, while flying the IAR-80C no. 381. His aircraft was also damaged and he had to make a crash landing at Epuresti. It was his last kill.

After the war ended and the Communists gained the power, he was obviously thrown out of the army and stripped of his rank. He was however reinstated as captain later, but his life was marked by the wartime fame and he suffered because of it until his death on 13 July 1982 at Constanta, the city he defended that day in June 1941.


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I'm sorry to post 3 consecutive posts... but I was too ethusiastic about these two pilots... Please don't be mad at me... and read all of it... it's deadly me pls...
toffigd said:
Stanisław Skarżyński :)

Not necessarily fighter pilot...
He flew on several sorties with Vickers Wellington and was lost at sea, after "emergency landing" onthe water. All of his crew members rescued themselves but he didn'y manage to abandon the cockpit of sinking plane.
Shame, as he was a brilliant pilot, his Atlantic Crossing in RWD 6 bis, something amazing...
RWD-6 bis... :shock:

Eeeerrrrrr!!!! Wrong asnwer! ;) :)
RWD-5bis, besides in live in Skarzynskiego Street :D[/quote]

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