slt. av. Vasile Claru

Fighter Pilot

Born: 15 February 1918, Valcele, Bacau county


  • 29 July 1940 - 12 July 1941: 8th Fighter Group

Combat missions: 13

Victories: 1


  • Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class
  • Virtutea Aeronautica Gold Cross class

War episode:

In 12 July 1941, fighting reached a very high intensity in the Tiganca area, where several Soviet rifle divisions tried to push back the exhausted Guard and 21st Infantry Divisions over the Prut River. The 8th Fighter Group provided cover for the Romanian ground troops and for the bombers striking Soviet infantry and artillery concentrations. Four I-16s were spotted in the area over Tiganca and four IAR-80s led by lt. av. Ion Micu were dispatched to intercept them. Slt. av. Vasile Claru was part of the formation. They engaged the Soviets and lt. av. Micu and adj. av. Gheorghe Cocebas shot down two of them. Slt. av. Claru pursued one of the I-16s, which was heading to Taraklia and distanced himself from the formation. Another six VVS fighters appeared and he was soon engaged in a very uneven fight. Apparently he had finished his ammo and then collided with an I-16, going down in flames with his IAR-80 no. 23. The crash was seen by his wingman serg. av. Gavanescu. The Soviet pilot with whom he had collided was lt. Shamanov of 67 IAP, who died in a taran that day. It is not clear who initiated the ramming, but the Romanian propaganda picked up the story and inflated it a bit, by attributing another three kills to Vasile Claru that day and making hi man example of sacrifice for King and Country. He was awarded the Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class posthumously.

Died: 12 July 1941, Tiganca KIA

Picture from "Aripi Romanesti" no. 42/1943

Slt. av. Vasile Claru


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