Romanian Armed Forces
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Recon aircraft
Blenheim Mk. I
Blenheim Mk. I

Romania ordered 40 Bristol Blenheims in 1939, but only 37 made it to Romania, the rest being lost on the way. They equipped 4 long range reconnaissance squadrons (1st-4th) and played an important role in providing information on the movement of forces on the USSR, Hungarian and Bulgarian borders.

In 1941, the 2nd Long Range Recon Squadron was disbanded and its Blenheims given to the other three squadrons. These units carried out some of the first missions of Operation Barbarossa, but also suffered some heavy losses: four airplanes in one day! This included the first loss of ARR in WWII. Until the end of the 1941 campaign another six Blenheims were destroyed.

In August 1942, because of supply problems, only 27 Blenheims remained in service, including three ex-Yugoslav aircraft bought from Germany. The ARR's Stalingrad campaign started the next month, but only the 1st Long range Recon Squadron was equipped with Blenheims. Three were lost until the end of December, when they were retreated back to Romania.

Throughout 1943, the few serviceable Blenheims flew mostly over the Black Sea, but pilots seldom ventured far from the coast.

After 23 August 1944, the three Blenheims were shortly joined with the Ju-88D1s, but because they were obsolete, they were soon relegated to transport duties.


The Blenheim Mk. IF

Picture from "Rumanian Air Force, the prime decade 1938-1947" by Dénes Bernád, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1999

Wingspan 17.18 m
Length 12.18 m
Height 3 m
Weight (empty) 4000 kg
Weight (loaded) 5334 kg
Maximum speed at 4000 m 447 km/h
Service ceiling 7500 m
Range 1690 km
Engine 2xBristol Mercury VIII 840 HP
Machine-guns 2x7.7 mm
Crew 4
Bombs 500 kg
Author: Victor Nitu
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