Romanian Armed Forces
in the Second World War
Home + Organization + OoB + Aeronautics + Weapons + Decorations
Military Operations + Generals + Memoirs, Journals + Media + WW1 + Forum
Romana English
The Bessarabian and Odessa campaign -1941
The Stalingrad campaign - 1942
The Ukrainian campaign - 1943-44
The home defense campaign - 1944
The anti-Axis campaign - 1944-45
The Ukrainian campaign - 1943-44

In the spring of 1943, a new reorganization started. All the Polish, French, Italian and English airplanes were retired from service, because they were obsolete and their maintenance was very difficult due to the lack of spare parts. They were replaced mainly by Romanian and German planes.

The 4th Fighter Group (45th, 46th and 49th Squadron) was equipped with the IAR-80C and the 9th Fighter Group (43rd, 47th and 48th Squadron) with the IAR-81C. The newly created 1st Fighter Group (63rd and 64th Squadron) and 2nd Fighter Group (65th and 66th Squadron) were also equipped with the IAR-81C. The 2nd Bomber Group (82nd and 83rd Squadron) was also created and had JRS-79B1s.

The Air Corps received modern German airplanes. The 2nd Long Range Recon Squadron replaced the Do-17M with the Ju-88D1. The 7th Fighter Group got the Bf-109G, the 5th Bomber Group the Ju-88A4, the 3rd Bomber Group the Ju-87D3 and D5 and changed its name to 3rd Dive Bomber Group and the 8th Fighter Group received the Hs-129B2 and changed its name to 8th Assault Group. A part of these planes were only loaned by the Germans to the ARR. This meant their the maintenance and replacements were done by the Luftflotte IV.

The majority of the Romanian built airplanes were regrouped inside Romania and had defensive tasks. The 3rd Fighter Group, equipped with the older IAR-80A, was transformed into a pilot training unit.

In the second half of 1943, 3 new units were created: the 107th Transport Squadron (Ju-52), the 109th Squadron (IAR-39), which towed the DFS-230 transport gliders and the 51st Night Fighter Squadron (Bf-110C1 and C3).

In June 1943, the reorganization of the ARR ended. The 1st Air Corps, which was in the front line, was made up of the:

  • 1st Fighter Flotilla:
    • 7th Fighter Group: 56th, 57th and 58th Fighter Squadrons (Bf-109G)
    • 9th Fighter Group: 43rd, 47th and 48th Fighter Squadrons (IAR-81C)
    • 8th Assault Group: 41st, 42nd and 60th Assault Squadrons (Hs-129B2)
  • 3rd Bomber Flotilla:
    • 3rd Dive Bomber Group: 73rd, 81st and 85th Bomber Squadrons (Ju-87D3 and D5)
    • 5th Bomber Group: 77th, 78th and 80th Bomber Squadrons (Ju-88A4)
    • 6th Bomber Group: 74th, 86th and 87th Bomber Squadrons (Ju-88A4)
  • 2nd Long Range Recon Squadron (Ju-88D1)
  • 105th Transport Squadron (Ju-52)
  • 115th and 116th Liaison Squadron (Fleet-10G)

It had about 200 airplanes, which had the mission to support the German troops in southern Ukraine. It was one of the most effective periods of ARR during WWII.

Initially the 9th Fighter Group wasn't sent to the front, because it was preparing to change to Bf-109Gs. It replaced the 7th Fighter Group in October 1943, also taking over its best pilots and airplanes. The exhausted 7th Fighter Group was brought back home for rest and refitting. It had been fighting since March, when it was part of JG 3 Udet. The 5th Fighter Group (52nd and 53rd Squadron) was reorganized in the second half of 1943 and equipped with Bf-109Es and Gs. The 52nd Squadron (IAR-80Cs and later Bf-109Es) was assigned to coastal defense, while the 53rd (Bf-109G) was part of the mixed German-Romanian group (I/JG 4), which was defending the oil fields and refineries at Ploesti.

The 5th Bomber Group arrived on the front in August and replaced the badly hit 6th Bomber Group, which began training for transition to the Ju-87Ds.

On 1 August 1943, the first massive USAAF attack on the Ploesti refineries took place. The Americans suffered heavy casualties and the primary result was the increase in AA defenses in the area, defenses which will cause the highest loss ratio for the Allied raids in Europe.

The Romanian AA artillery shot down 17 USAAF bombers and 84 VVS aircraft in 1943. The fighters brought down 10 American and over 300 Soviet airplanes.

Author: Victor Nitu
Antoniu D., Cicos G. Vanatorul IAR-80, istoria unui erou necunoscut, Editura MODELISM, 2000

BernĂ¡d D. Rumanian Air Force, the prime decade 1938-1947, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1999

User Comments Add Comment
There are no comments for this article