Romanian Air Force

Discussion in 'Aircraft Pictures' started by gekho, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #1 gekho, Mar 29, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
    Romania has a old and proud aviation history, being one of the few countries in the world to imagine, build and fly various types of aircraft. This history of aviation in Romania began very early in 1529, with the work of Conrad Haas, an artillery engineer and chief of arsenal of the town of Sibiu. Haas, a complex personality of the Renaissance, is nevertheless the father of the multi-stage rocket. He wrote about the construction of multistage rockets and tested many models in flight. Apparently these are the earliest existent writings about the science of rocket engineering in Europe.

    After the pioneering work of Conrad Haas in the 16th Century, the next known written document that deals with rocket-building and fireworks has its origin between 1784 and 1801 in Moldavia, another Romanian Principality. The text is part of a larger document of a great Moldavian family, the Conachi. The writing probably belongs to Gavril Conachi (Great Minister of Internal Affairs in 1785), schooled in mathematics and technology, initiated into the knowledge of ballistics. The language used in this text has technical terms coming from different sources, which is common for that time. It has 22 sketches without dimensions and guide marks, and a table with eight variants of rockets, arranged according to the mass of the fuel. The manuscript offers necessary details for the construction and use of a part of the rocket components. The rockets were used for fireworks and for besieging fortified towns.

    The tradition in fireworks and rocket-building has a continuation in the modern period of Romanian history by a number of printed books that deal with this specific field of aviation. One of them "Treatise on light pyrotechnics used in field warfare and sieges" was written by lieutenant Stergeanu, active in the Engineer Corps of the 2nd Regiment from Focsani. It was published in Bucharest at Modern printing house in 1892, and has 233 pages divided into 12 chapters, with 182 sketches which permit, in some cases, a better understanding of the text.

    One of the first suggestions for equipping a dirigible with a jet engine dates back as far as 1886, when Romanian inventor Alexandru Ciurcu (1884-1922), together with Frenchman Just Buisson, suggested that an aerostat built and exhibited with an electric engine at the Paris Exhibition of Electricity in 1881 be provided instead with their jet cylinder. Ciurcu built and tested their original first jet engine on a small ship running on the Seine River in Paris in 1886 and on a rail car in 1888. In 1910 a small Flying Corps (Corpul Aerian Romana) was established by the Romanian Army. During the First World War the Flying Corps disintegrated as the country was overrun by Austro-German forces.

    On April 1st 1913, the Romanian Parliament voted the law of the military aviation, Romania being the fifth nation in the world to have an Air Force. The law on the organization of Military Aeronautics stipulated the independent existence of the aeronautics within the Engineers Command. Also Romania was one of the first nations in the world to use aircraft in the war, during the Balkans War in 1913. After Balkans war, on 10 August 1915 by the Higher Royal Decree No. 305, Corpul Aerian Roman - Romanian Flying Corps - was established, having 80 pilots and 25 air observers. It was directly subordinated to the Ministry of War and included all the operational aviation and aerostation structures.

    During the First World War the Flying Corps pilots and aircraft of the Romanian Air Corps fought with German Air Force winning many victories and performing air reconnaissance missions, but finally disintegrated as the country was overrun by Austro-German forces. After the Romanian government was re-established in 1918, it set about forming a new air arm, called the Divizia 1 Aeriana (1st Air Division), under a Directorate of Army Aviation. The new air arm expanded rapidly, and was able to rely increasingly on the domestic aircraft industry. Unfortunately, when World War Two arrived, most of this equipment was obsolete and, with Romania staying neutral, it became difficult to obtain new aircraft from abroad. In September 1940, a Luftwaffe advisory mission arrived to reorganize the air force, (by now called the Fortele Aeriene Regale Romane - Royal Romanian Air Force), and on 23 November 1940 Romania signed the Axis Tripartite Pact.

    The number of German 'instructors' was progressively increased, as was the quantity of German aircraft supplied. When Germany attacked Russia on 22 June 1941, Romanian air elements supported the German attack on the Bessarabian front to liberate Eastern part of Romania, occupied in 1940 by Soviet troops. By the beginning of 1944, the Romanian squadrons operating in Russia had suffered huge losses, equivalent to almost half of the total front-line strength of the Romanian air force. The severely weakened force was withdrawn to help with countering growing Allied air attacks on the Ploiesti oil fields. The antifascist coup of 23 August 1944 took the Germans completely by surprise. Attempts were made to move German troops into Bucharest by air, but as the Romanians held all the serviceable airfields, the operation was cancelled. Romanian Air Force fought the rest of the war against Germany, being active in combats to liberate Romanian territory, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Austria, until the final victory on 8 May 1945. During WW II, Romanian pilots proved their abilities as fighter pilots, the most known aces being Constantin "Bâzu" Cantacuzino, Alexandru Serbanescu, Ion Dobran, Vasile "Chitu" Gavriliu, Ion Milu, among many others.
     
  2. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #2 gekho, Mar 29, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2013
    Romania ordered 50 Bf 109E in December 1939, of which 11 aircraft were dlivered in 1940 and the remaining 39 a year later. They equipped the newly-formed Grupul 7 Vanatoare and took part in operation Barbarossa from the very first missions. Even the successful 1941 campaign was draining the group's resources at a troubling pace. The group had to be replenished by 15 second-hand German Bf 109E-7s in mid-1942. It was sent back to front again just in time to join the battle of Stalingrad. The unit was surrounded by the Soviet counteroffensive and had to make a dramatic escape from encirclement, losing 8 of its aircraft. The remnants were joined with the rests of other units to form a mixed group which remained on the front until February 1943. Then the unit returned home for replenishment and later converted to Bf 109Gs.

    The Bf-109G entered FARR service in March 1943. This aircraft of Grupul 9 Vanatoare belonged to the then second-best Romanian fighter ace, prince Constantin Cantacuzino (Bazu). This Bf 109 was in action against Americans on August 18th, 1944, when the unit commander and the top ace of FARR Al Serbanescu was shot down and killed by Mustangs. The nose insignia is the Desloch-Serbanescu coat of arms. Only a week later, after 23 August 1944, the group was brought in to defend the capital against German air raids and scored a number of 'kills' against Luftwaffe bombers and transports. Later on, over the front in Transylvania, Romanian Bf 109Gs met German Gustavs in combat. The unit remained in front line service until the end of the war and even managed to score a kill against a Bf-109K, the last and best model of the Messerschmitt's fighter.
     

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  3. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #3 gekho, Mar 29, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2013
    In March 1939, Romania purchased 30 He 112Bs. The aircraft were assigned to Grupul 5, Escadrila 51 52. These units saw action from the first day of war, June 22nd, 1941. Flying the "black 4", slt.av. Teodor Moscu shot down 2 Polikarpov I-16s that day over Bulgarica. Actually, Moscu claimed three victories but the third one hadn't been confirmed.

    The Heinkels were subsequently used mainly in a ground attack role and were quite successful, but due to the lack of armour protection the rate of attrition was high. In August 1941, Escadrila 52 transferred its remaining He-112Bs to the Escadrila 51 and received IAR-80As. The 51st was assigned temporarily to home defence, but in October it was sent back to front to take part in the siege of Odessa. After Odessa's capture on October 16th, the squadron remained there and flew tactical reconnaissance missions until July 1942, when it was brought back to Romania for aerial defense. In early 1943, the Escadrila 51 finally converted to Bf 110s and the remaining Heinkels were relegated to advanced trainer role.
     

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  4. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    Romania showed interest in the new design. Even before the P.11a, 50 aircraft designated P.11b were produced for the Romanian Air Force and delivered in 1932[2]. They were fitted with Gnome-Rhone 9Krsd Mistral 595 hp (444 kW) engines, otherwise they were similar to the P.11a. After the P.11c had been developed, the Romanians decided to buy a licence and produce the new model at the IAR factory. As a result, from 1936 IAR built 70 aircraft as the IAR P.11f with the slightly updated 9Krse of 610 hp (450 kW). The Romanians then produced another Polish fighter, the PZL P.24, developed from the P.11 exclusively for export.
     

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  5. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Nice shots!
     
  6. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #6 gekho, Mar 30, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
    In response to Romanian requests for a more useful torpedo-carrying bomber, the Germans delivered twelve Heinkel He 111H-6 bombers in the first months of 1942, these entering service as the Escadrila 78 Bombardament Maritim. Again, it's unclear whether this squadron ever flew any operational torpedo missions, only that they were equipped to do so, though as the war progressed the number of potential targets tended to grow more elusive, with Soviet warships virtually abandoning the western Black Sea by the fall of 1943, by which time demands from the front in southern Russia saw the Heinkels of Escadrila 78 Bombardament Maritim being deployed inland (the formation would see much action in Bessarabia and Moldavia in the spring and summer of 1944, and later fly missions in Transylvania against Hungarian and German targets).

    The He111H-6's were relegated to conventional bombing duties as of the spring of 1944, though presumably they could have been sent on a torpedo mission at that time. Sources indicate that of the nearly sixty assorted Heinkel He 111 bombers supplied to Romania during the war (thirty-odd He 111H-3's, a dozen He 111H-6 torpedo carriers and the rest an assortment of He 111E's and other older models for training duties), less than a dozen were still airworthy by the spring of 1945. Several Heinkel's were retained although converted as transports by May 1946 but even these had been withdrawn from service before 1950.
     

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  7. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    Late 1940 through 1943 the Royal Romanian Air Force (Fortele Aeriene Regale ale Romaniei – FARR) received 155 Ju-87s of variants -1, -2, -3 and -5s to replace the obsolete French and British aircraft they had been using. The aircraft were given to the 3rd Dive Bomber Group and also later the 6th Dive Bomber Group operated within the 3rd Bomber Flotilla. Their main task was to provide air support for the ground troops which they did and received much praise from the troops and the Fliegerkorps. In June 1944 the group were flying missions in support of the Axis troops fighting on the River Mius. Then in July the 3rd Dive Bomber Group was moved to the Kerch peninsula to provide air support for troops at the Kuban bridgehead. The Stukas were tasked with many types of missions and within 2 to 3 months had suffered damage to 31 of the 45 aircraft they received. On August 20, 1944 Soviet forces began an offensive at Yassy (Jassy – Jassi – Iassy) and Tiraspol in eastern Romania. The attacks by the 3rd and 6th Romanian Dive Bomber Group managed to destroy or damage a lot of Soviet equipment but were unable to stop their progress. On August 23, 1944 realizing that they were supporting the losing side Romanian King Michael announced that his country had reached an armistice with the Allies and they were about to switch sides. They now helped the Soviets liberate parts of Romania that were under German control. By late 1944 the Romanian Air Force once again found themselves with limited numbers of aircraft and a scarcity of spare parts so their effectiveness basically came to an end at this time.
     

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  8. muggs

    muggs Member

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    Thanks for the thread !
     
  9. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    Seven Savoia-MarchettiS.55 Italian flying boats were purchased by Romania in the 1930's. Axworthy (see sources) indicates six were ordered and received in early 1931 and the seventh in the summer of 1936, while Bernad and Roba report their acquisition as being in 1933. Be that as it may, seven were in service as of September 1939, originally formed into the "Escadrila S.55" but later designated as the 102nd Hydro Reconnaissance and Bomber Squadron [or Escadrila 102 Hidro-informatie si Bombardament, if you will] which in the summer of 1941 participated in the attack on Russia under the command of Capitan Aviatori Constantin Afenduli.

    It's unclear whether the S.55's ever flew any torpedo missions during the war, as by 1941 their aging condition had severely restricted their operational capacity -- as a rule their mechanical unreliability limited their patrols to no more than twenty-odd miles from the coast. In fact, the few instances I've found of their combat missions for this period show them carrying 50-kilo depth charge bombs for antisubmarine duty; when later in the year Soviet warships *did* bombard Constanta, which certainly would have been within the S.55's modest patrol zone, there's no evidence of the S.55's making any torpedo attacks.

    By August of 1941 several of the S.55 flying boats had been grounded for essentially irrevocable repairs, and by March of 1942 only three machines were still in service, dropping to zero as of January 1943 (some sources suggest that one machine may have remained airworthy into 1944, but if so it would have been limited to homeland training duties or the like as none were listed with any regular service units after the end of 1942).
     

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  10. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    Interesting ....more 109's please....:)
     
  11. muggs

    muggs Member

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    Happy to oblige :D No more color ones though ! ( ok maybe 1 )
     

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  12. Bernhart

    Bernhart <b>2012 Forum Fantasy Football Champion</ b>

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    any ideas on the colours of 4 and 5?
     
  13. muggs

    muggs Member

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    Here you go
     

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  14. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Good stuff!
     
  15. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    What a cool topic, Thanks for posting it!
     
  16. muggs

    muggs Member

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    Junkers Ju-87 Stuka

    A couple more pics
     

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  17. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    In May 1939 the Aeronautica Regalã Românã (A.R.R. or Royal Romanian Aeronautics), the official name of the Roumanian Air Force, ordered 12 fully equipped Cant Z.501s and six spare engines in Italy. All these aircraft were delivered in 1940 but unfortunately nr. 5 was lost on the 11th of May during its delivery flight and nr. 6 crashed only six days later. In January 1941 the remaining 10 Cants were operated by the newly formed Flotila de Hidroaviatie for combined air operations along the Black Sea Coastline. This unit consisted of Escadrila 101 (Cant Z.501s), Escadrila 102 (Savoia Marchetti S.55s and S.62s) and Escadrila 53 (Hawker Hurricane Mk. I fighters).

    On the 26th of July 1941 a Romanian Cant Z.501 managed to shoot down one out of two MBR-2s some 200 kilometers east of Constanta. Both flying boat Escadrile carried out 586 sorties during 1941 and a further 905 during 1942 for the loss of four Z.501s in 1941 (one shot down in coFrom that moment on, Heinkel He 114s began to replace the old Italian flying boats in the A.R.R. This process was completed at the end of 1943 and the remaining four Z.501s were withdrawn from service.
    mbat and the others were lost due to accidents) and two more in 1942.
     

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  18. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #18 gekho, Mar 31, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2013
    Out of the 50 ordered Hurricanes, Romania eventually only received twelve. This aircraft, "red 3" belonged to Escadrila 53, which in 1941 was included in the Dobruja air command. Its main mission was to defend the Constanta harbour and Cernavoda railway bridge. It also carried out bomber escort missions. Romania's top-scoring fighter ace, lt.av. Horia Agarici shot down 3 (2 confirmed) Soviet DB-3 bombers over Constanta flying this aircraft on June 25th, 1941. The lack of spare parts quickly became a major problem for the Romanian Hurricanes and after more IAR-80s became available in late 1942 and early 1943 they were taken out of active duty.
     

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  19. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    Designed by Breguet's chief engineer, Marcel Vuillerme, as a successor to the Breguet 14, the Breguet 19 was intended either as a two-seat day bomber (B.2 category) or as a reconnaissance aircraft (A.2 category). The Bre.19.01 prototype was exhibited at the Paris Salon de l'Aeronautique in November 1921, with an experimental Breguet-Bugatti 16-cylinder powerplant installed, comprising two eight-cylinder Bugatti engines coupled to drive a single propeller. Re-engined soon afterwards with a more conventional 450 hp (336 kW) Renault 12Kb, it made its maiden flight in March 1922. Eleven evaluation aircraft followed, and during an extensive test programme these were fitted with a variety of engines. Quantity production started in 1923, and by 1927 some 2,000 Breguet 19s (divided almost equally between reconnaissance and bomber versions) had been delivered to the French Aviation Militaire.

    The Breguet 19 had a circular-section fuselage built up on a duralumin tube framework, covered as far as the rear cockpit with duralumin sheet and aft of this with fabric. The unequal-span fabric-covered wings were two-spar structures with spars and ribs of duralumin. The tail unit, which had horn-balanced elevators, had duralumin frames with fabric covering. The landing gear of production aircraft was of simple cross-axle type, the single tapered strut on each side having cable cross-bracing. First version to go into French service was the Bre.19 A.2 reconnaissance variant, which equipped the 32e, 33e, 34e and 35e Régiments d'Aviation from the autumn of 1924 onwards. The Bre.19 B.2 bomber version first went into service in June 1926 with the 11e Régiment d'Aviation de Bombardement.

    Royal Romanian Air Force bought 50 Breguet 19 A2s and B2s in 1927, then 108 Br.19 B2s, and five Br.19.7's in 1930. They were in service until 1938.
     

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  20. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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