US 15th AF losses over the Balkans?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Bf 109 Strela, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. Bf 109 Strela

    Bf 109 Strela New Member

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    First let me say "hello" to everyone on the forums! I wasn't sure whether to post the thread in here or in the "Aircraft Requests" sub forum, so please accept my apologies if I posted in the wrong place!

    To the point - since I was a kid I've been interested in the air warfare over Bulgaria (not surprising considering my nationality) during WW2. As every good researcher... well, aviation enthusiast to be honest, needs to do, I'm trying to find books from the US perspective on the subject, but they're quite scarce (not surprising since the entire episode was a sideshow compared to the air war over Germany). The few sources I've found on the web, as well as accidental mentions in various aviation volumes regarding the losses of the VnVV (Bulgarian airforce) seem to be quite exaggerated. On the other hand, I couldn't find reliable sources for US losses, especially since no units are given (just random aircraft names, like P-38 or even "bomber/fighter").
    If a plane wasn't found within the borders of Bulgaria it also wasn't confirmed as shot down, so I'm also trying to verify the claims of Bulgarian pilots compared to official US stats.
    Can anyone tell me which 15th AF units (fighter and bomber) participated in the strategic bomber offensive against targets in the Balkans, namely Sofia, Skopje and Karlovo airfield in Bulgaria? And what were their combat losses during these missions? I can post the exact date of each mission if that would help.
    Sadly, I don't have access any VnVV fighter squadron's logbooks, so the hundreds of individual dogfights with US aircraft returning from bombing missions against Ploesti can't be properly researched. The only info I have on this is that from April to 26th August 1944 (last aerial combat over Bulgaria) the VnVV registered 384 dogfights with enemy planes. :rolleyes:

    By the way, I'm also interested in this as an aircraft modeler. I want to add a "Balkan Mustang" to my collection, but alas, I don't know which units fought over here and how their planes were painted. :oops:

    Hope anyone can help me and that we could discuss the topic, or at least to point me towards some nice books on the subject.

    Sorry for the poor spelling, and best wishes!
     
  2. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    15th AF fighter groups are not covered as they are in books like the 8th AF and the overall history has been minimalized greatly and this is very sad. you can post dates and maybe some of us can follow along with some help for your searches. I have a few book son individual units so this may help ?

    E ~
     
  3. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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  4. seesul

    seesul Active Member

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    Perhabs 2nd BG websites are Second Bomb Group
    Good source of thier missions flown is a book Defenders of Liberty they have in they offer.
    Anyway, I got this book so having the dates you´re interested in I could help you...
     
  5. Bf 109 Strela

    Bf 109 Strela New Member

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    I’ve tried to search via the Wikipedia article for the 15th AF, but with little success.
    The book “Army Air Forces in WWII Vol.2. Europe: Torch to Pointblank” states that on the December 10th attack two P-38s were lost. The VnVV lost a single D.520 from 652nd yato , 2nd orlyak , 6th fighter regiment piloted by Pavel Pavlov. Interestingly, no claims for shot down US planes are made. This is the only cross-reference for air losses I’ve found so far.

    Those are the dates of the larger air engagements. I’ll try to find when individual dogfights against planes returning from Romania occurred.

    August 1 1943 - fighters intercept planes returning from Ploesti.
    November 14 1943 - first raid against Sofia.
    November 24 1943 - second raid against Sofia.
    December 10 1943 - third raid against Sofia.
    December 20 1943 - fourth raid against Sofia.
    January 4 1944 - fifth raid against Sofia. VnVV didn’t react due to poor weather conditions.
    January 10 1944 - sixth raid against Sofia, combined day and (by RAF) night bombing.
    January - March 1944 - several night raids by RAF, only met with flak (VnVV was denied its request for night fighters by the Luftwaffe).
    March 30th 1944 - seventh raid against Sofia.
    April 17 1944 - “Black Easter” - eight raid against Sofia. Heaviest losses for the VnVV during the air war, nine planes and six pilots lost due to surprise from the escorting Mustangs, rather than P-38s. Check out for a couple of P-51Bs shot down on that day.

    June 12 and 28 1944 - two (day and night) raids on the Karlovo airfield.

    The claims for “shot down” US were only accepted if the crash site of the plane was found. “Probable” and “damaged” are very hard to determine since those were mostly planes that (if they were shot down) fell west of the Bulgarian borders, where Yugo partisans operated, the Adriatic or the high mountains.

    Thanks for the help! ;)
     
  6. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    armyairforces.com

    site was mentioned and you need to check one of the link boxes on the front page in the upper part that says MACR's

    read the instructions on placing dates and you will find just what bombers/fighters were lost through reports. Now I must say there is always a few that trickle through and are not mentioned as this has been in the case through my own searching on certain dates in late 44-45. it is just the fact of life nothing can be perfect.

    E `
     
  7. Bf 109 Strela

    Bf 109 Strela New Member

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    Thanks for the advise to use armyairforces.com ! That site proved very helpful!
    Any chance anyone has any photos or paintings of P-51 serial 42-106479 (I think its a B-model) from the 31st FG? Don't know which of the three squadrons of the 31st it's from. Also, any good books with stories from the pilots of the 31st FG and their participation in the Ploesti bombings?
     
  8. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    Strela google in the 31st fg. there should still be a web-site dedicated to the fighter group still running. also a book or two has been published on the unit. you may also want to do a google search on the book(s) as well for your searches.
     
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