7th Fighter Group emblem: Donald (1941-42)
The 7th Fighter Group represented the elite of the Romanian fighter force during WWII.
It was created on 1 June 1940 and was equipped with the best fighters ARR could provide:
Hurricane Mk. I in the 53rd Squadron and Bf-109E3 in the 57th Squadron. The commander was
lt. cdor. av. Alexandru "Popicu" Popisteanu. The group was based on the Pipera airfield,
After Romania joined the Axis in the autumn of 1940, a German military mission arrived
in the country. It included a German fighter group (I./JG 28), which started to fly
training missions with the pilots of the 7th Fighter Group. On 18 February 1941, the rest
of 39 Bf-109Es arrived from Germany and two new squadrons were added to the group: the
56th and 58th. The 53rd Fighter Squadron was assigned to the 5th Fighter Group.
On 14 June 1941, the group was declared ready for action, by the German instructors.
The next day it moved to Râmnicu Sărat and on 21 to Bârlad.
Picture courtesy of mr. Manoliu
Lt. cdor. av. Popisteanu and pilots from his fighter group on the
The 7th Fighter Group sent early in the morning of 22 June, 4 Bf-109Es to escort the
He-111s of the 5th Bomber Group to Chisinau. The leader was cpt. av. Alexandru Manoliu,
57th Squadron's commander.
On their way back, he noticed an airfield near Ialoveni, with 14-15 airplanes on the
ground. Followed by lt. av. Dan Scurtu and adj. stg. av. Nicolae Iolu, he dived towards
the enemy base. After the first pass, two Soviet airplanes were on fire (one was destroyed
by him, the other by lt. av. Scurtu). Because the AA artillery fire was poor, they attacked
again and another aircraft was burning. Then they hurried to catch up with the bombers.
Only after the reoccupation of Bessarabia, the real result was found out. The Romanian
peasants that lived near the airfield told a different story. Two airplanes were destroyed
and a third one had a fire at one engine, but it was put out by the mechanics. However, out
of the 14 aircraft only 5-6 left the base flying, after a week of repairing. The others
were so badly hit that they were dismantled and mounted on trucks and never returned. The
two Romanian officers were a cited by the 4th Army. The group flew another 3 missions that
day and had three damaged aircraft.
Picture courtesy of mr. Manoliu
The 57th Fighter Squadron with its commander, cpt. av. Alexandru
Manoliu, on the front.
The next day, during a free-hunting mission, 16 Romanian Bf-109Es engaged 25 Soviet
fighters and shot down 6 of them, without suffering any losses. On 25 June, a
(Romanian for Schwarm) from the 7th Fighter Group, under the command of lt. cdor. av.
strafed the Basabareasca railway station, which the He-111Hs of the 5th Bomber Group had
just bombed. They were attacked by several I-16s, and managed to shoot down two if them.
On 27 June, the 56th Squadron made a low-level attack on the Bulgarica airfield and the
57th on the Tatar-Copceac airfield. 17 Soviet airplanes were claimed destroyed on the
ground. A Romanian Bf-109, which arrived late was intercepted by two I-16s and damaged. The
pilot managed to crash land his aircraft in friendly territory.
Profile courtesy of
This Bf-109E3 belonged to lt. cdor. av. Alexandru "Popicu" Popisteanu,
the CO of the 7th Fighter Group in 1941. He crash landed this aircraft, after being damaged
in a dogfight on 15 July 1941.
The first loss of the 7th Fighter Group occurred on 5 July, when the B-109E of adj. stg.
av. Ilie Vatamanu was hit by the Soviet AAA and crashed, during a bomber escort mission.
days later, during another such mission, adj. av. Ioan Panait shot down a I-16. On 8 July,
another two Ratas were claimed by the group's pilots.
Because the Romanian-German ground offensive was met by a strong defensive, the bombers
had an intensive activity and so had the fighters which had to protect them. Several other
Bf-109Es were damaged by the AA artillery and forced to make belly landings in friendly
territory. So, on 23 July the group had only 26 airplanes available.
On 27 July, the group flew 47 sorties, mainly fighter cover for the Romanian troops,
which were crossing the Dniester. Adj. av. Stefan Greceanu shot down a Soviet biplane. The
next day, adj. av. Tiberiu Vinca was on patrol with adj. av. Malacescu. They spotted a
of five Soviet fighters. They dived and attacked. Vinca engaged the first three, while his
wingman the last two. The Romanians, however, got separated during the dogfight, mainly
because of their lack of experience. Another two Luftwaffe Bf-109s joined the battle. Thus
Vinca managed to get behind a Soviet fighter and shot it down. Another two victories were
claimed on 30 July, when the 7th Fighter Group had 30 sorties.
Drawing courtesy of
Slt. av. (r) Ioan Dicezare and his wingman over Bessarabia
On 4 August, during an escort mission, adj. av. Ovidiu Clopotel shot down an I-16, only
be hit himself only a few moments after. He managed to land his damaged aircraft close to
Romanian lines, in the first line, where he was rescued by an infantry unit. He radioed
back to the group his situation and soon lt. cdor. av. Popisteanu and cdor. av. Nagaevschi
with a Fw-58 and retrieved him from the front line. For this action all of them were cited.
Four days later, a patrulă under the command of lt. av. Bocsan from the 7th
Group engaged 8 I-16s during a free-hunting mission. They soon spotted a similar Soviet
formation and a lone IAR-39 which was under attack. They dived to save the biplane and
in the following dogfight 4 Soviet fighters were claimed. The IAR, however, was severely
damaged and had to make a belly-landing, but the crew survived.
On 18 August, the group flew 38 sorties. The 58th Squadron covered the Romanian ground
troops. They engaged a formation of 8 I-16s which were attacking the Romanian soldiers
and sent 4 down in flames. Another six fighters joined the Soviet side and the Romanians
retreated. On his way back to base, adj. av. (r) Tiberiu Vinca spotted a lone Soviet
shot it down. However, due to the damaged suffered in the previous dogfight he had to make
a belly landing in friendly territory. Later that day, another patrulă covered the
Romanian infantry around Vigoda. They engaged several MBR-2s, but were soon attacked by the
escort. Another four I-16s were shot down.
Picture courtesy of gen. Ioan Dicezare
Slt. av. (r) Ioan Dicezare and his famous "Hai Fetita!"
Three days later, the 7th Fighter Group lost its commander, lt. cdor. av. Alexandru
Popisteanu, who, wounded, was trying to crash land his damaged aircraft. The group claimed
five victories, but this could not balance the lost of their leader. He was decorated
post-mortem with the highest Romannian war decoration: the "Mihai Viteazul" Order, 3rd
His name was also given to the 7th Fighter Group. To boost the morale of the Romanian
pilots, the commander of the 1st Fighter Flotilla, cpt. cdor. av. Mihail "Leu" Romanescu,
took over the group.
On 2 September, the group lost another pilot, but, on 5, adj. av. Mucenica shot down a
bomber, while adj. av. Ion Panait a fighter. By the end of the month the group had obtained
another 4 victories. Cdor. av. Athanase Georgescu was named the new commander at the end of
September. However only four aircraft were available on 4 October. The rest were under
repair in Bucharest or on the airfield.
Until 16 October 1941, when with the fall of Odessa the first campaign of the ARR ended,
the 7th Fighter Group claimed another 3 Soviet aircraft, raising the total for 1941 to
62 confirmed and 1 probable victories, plus seven destroyed on the ground. Only 6 aircraft
were lost by the 7th Fighter Group. Lt. av. (r) Nicolae Polizu, the top scoring ace of the
campaign with 8 kills, was also from the group.
The 7th Fighter Group returned to the Pipera airfield near Bucharest. Fifteen Bf-109E7s
arrived during the spring of 1942 and were assigned to the 56th Squadron. Until 31 July the
group trained with the new aircraft and pilots, under the command of cpt. av. Grigore
At the beginning of August it was declared combat ready and in September it was sent on
the front near Stalingrad. Its main mission was to provide fighter cover for the 3rd
The group arrived on 8 September on the Tuzov airfield with 37 Bf-109Es.The operations
started badly, when cpt. av. Alexandru Manoliu, the commander of the 57th
Squadron was shot down. He was replaced by lt. av. Alexandru Serbanescu. The first victory
for the 7th Fighter Group came two days later, when adj. av. Constantin Urasachi shot down
Yak-1 at 10 km from Stalingrad.
Picture courtesy of mr. Dan Antoniu
Pilots of the 7th Fighter Group on the front in 1942
The Romanian fighters were used mainly in bomber escort missions, which they executed
with professionalism, as shown in a note of gen. Martin Fiebig, CO of the Fliegerkorps
VIII: "the Stuka units
in action over Stalingrad have reported several times that the Romanian fighters have
protected them very well". On 19 September a patrulă covered the He-111 and
Ju-88 formations on a raid to the city. They ran into 16 Yaks and engaged them, adding
another victory to the group's list.
As a response, the Soviet bombers and recon airplanes started to appear over the
airfield, where the Romanian group was based. The Romanian fighters attempted to
prevent them from approaching, but because of the height and speed advantage of the Pe-2s,
only a few were shot down. However one was bagged by cpt. av. Crihană, who didn't fly too
because of his size. The Soviet fighters seldom passed beyond the Volga, so air combat
was sporadic. Only 11 victories were confirmed to the 7th Fighter Group in September 1942.
Because of the few available airplanes (the 57th had 4 and the 58th had 3) mixed
formations with the IAR-80s were organized.
In October the group moved to Karpovka, where a German fighter and reconnaissance units
were also based. Itwas virtually under German command and supply conditions.
They started to dig underground dwellings and prepare for
the first winter on the front. Engagements were even more rare. On 12 October, adj. av.
Chirvasuta shot down a Yak and on 19, slt. av. Hariton Dusescu faced alone a formation of
8 Soviet fighters and shot down one.
However, the situation around Stalingrad became critical on 19 and 20 November when
the Red Army broke through the Romanian 3rd and 4th Armies, which were situated north and
south of the city. The high command lost contact with many of the units and needed to
know the situation of the front. So the 7th Fighter Group carried out several recon
flights on 20, despite the very difficult weather conditions and low clouds. Slt. av. (r)
flew one of these missions on 21, but as he approached a Soviet column he was hit in the
fuel tank by a bullet and had to return to the Karpovka airfield with gas in his cockpit.
Serbanescu then took off on the same mission and on his way back discovered that the
Soviet tanks were only a few kilometres to the south of the airfield. Since slt.
av. (r) Dicezare's airplane was ready (the hole in the fuel tank had been covered by a
cork), he was ordered to go to the Romanian Air Corps command and report the situation.
He managed to get to Morozovskaya and get gen. Ermil Gheorghiu on the phone. Two JRS-79Bs
were then sent to the surrounded airbase and get as many personnel out of there as
In the meantime, lt. av. Alexandru Serbanescu, who had a lot of infantry experience (he
came in the air force from the elite mountain troops), organized the defense of the
airfield. He used the two AAA batteries (one 37 mm and one 75 mm battery) and the guns
on the airplanes, which were raised on barrels, to repulse the initial Soviet assault. The
heavy fire unleashed on the attackers probably made them believe that they were facing an
entrenched infantry formation, instead of a fighter group. However, things could not
remain this way and, early on 23 November, all available airplanes took off under the
artillery barrage of Soviet tanks. Five aircraft were damaged or destroyed during the
attempt, but eight managed to reach Tachinskaya. They also took one or even two (in the
case of adj. av. (r) Tiberiu Vinca) mechanics in their Bf-109Es. Another seven
were left behind. Later several Ju-52s returned to evacuate some of the personnel. The rest
retreated to the Pitovnik airfield, inside the Stalingrad bulge. Some managed to escape
on foot from the encirclement.
The remaining fighters were joined with several He-111s and formed the Mixed Group,
under the command of lt. cdor. av. Nicolae Iosifescu. Despite the small numbers, they
to fly the missions they were given and claimed two Hurricanes shot down on 20 January
1943. Another two victories were claimed at the beginning of February. A patrulă
strafed Soviet troops near Zaporozhye and stopped their attack, receiving a citation for
this action. At the end of the month, the group which had only He-111 and three Bf-109s
available, was brought back to Romania for a much needed rest and reorganization.
However, they did not enjoy this for long, because on 10 March the group was transferred
in JG 3 Udet and started to train on the 40 newly received Bf-109Gs. It had three
squadrons: 43rd, 57th and 58th and was under the command of cpt. av. Gheorghe Radu.
On 29 March the training was over and they started to fly their first missions in this
third campaign, in the Izyum sector. The first casualty occurred the same day, when cpt.
av. Radu was shot down and killed. It was his first war mission. Cpt. av. Serbanescu took
group for the moment. Bit by bit the Romanians started to gain more victories and also the
trust of the German pilots, who at first did not see them very well.
On 10 April, a formation of ten Romanian Bf-109Gs, under the command of the German ace
Eberhard von Boremski, strafed the Soviet airfield at Starobielsk, where the Romanians
claimed five Pe-2s destroyed on the ground.
Picture from "Rumanian Air Force, the prime decade 1938-1947" by
Dénes Bernád, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1999
From left to right: cpt. av. Serbanescu, lt. von Boremski and
probably lt. av. Nicolae Polizu (ace of the 1941 campaign). Last is gen. av. Jienescu,
the undersecretary of the Air.
Two days later, the group moved on to Kramatorskaya. By the end of the month another
Soviet aircraft were shot down and 1.6 tons of bombs had been dropped. About 12 trucks were
destroyed on the ground.
The day of 6 May was the first "hot" days for the 7th Fighter Group in 1943. At 3:45,
of. ec. cl. III Ion Milu took off together with adj. av. Gheorghe Firu, each with 200 kg of
bombs. Their mission was to bomb an artillery battery. At 2000 m they saw a large formation
of VVS aircraft (18 Il-2 and 20 La-5) heading towards the airfield. They hurried up to
their destination, dropped the load and then came back. Attacking from below, Milu forced
the Soviets to pull up, thus allowing his comrades to lift off and join the fight. He shot
down one La-5. But ten enemies turned on him. At 4:20 he abandoned the dogfight, after
shooting down another two La-5s. He was loosing fuel, because of a 20 mm shell that
perforated a fuel tank. In the meantime, lt. av. Greceanu took off with slt. av. Naghirneac
adj. av. Cristea Chirvasuta. The latter got separated and attacked the Il-2s, managing to
shoot down 2 and force the others to turn back. Lt. av. Greceanu engaged the fighters and
claimed a La-5. Later that day, cpt. av. Serbanescu also claimed a La-5, while on
By the end of May, when the group ended its collaboration with JG 3 Udet, another 7
aircraft were claimed, but only four were confirmed, raising the total to 28 in 583
sorties. The pilots also received from the Germans "Jagdflieger der Udetgeschwader"
On 6 June 1943, the group arrived on the Kirovograd airfield and was subordinated to the Romanian 1st Air Corps. The new commander was cpt.
av. Ioan Ignat and chief of the operations bureau cpt. av. Horia Agarici, who had shot down
Soviet bombers on 23 June 1941 and became famous afterwards thanks to a very popular song
describing his deeds.
The 31 Bf-109G4s of the 7th Fighter Group started to fly again on 16 June, mostly escort
missions for the Romanian bombers in the Mius sector in the Ukraine. By the end of the
month, three airplanes had been lost for the price of 13 victories in 237 sorties.
The month of July did not start very promising. The first victory, a LaGG, came on 7.
But things got better and, on 13, three Soviet fighters were claimed shot down. On 17 July,
no less than 7 aircraft were downed: 3 LaGGs and 4 Il-2s.
However, the next day the group flew 48 sorties and claimed a staggering 20 VVS
Only 15 were eventually confirmed. It was the greatest success since the first day of war.
Cpt. av. Serbanescu was on patrol with other 3 airplanes in the Kuybishev area. After 5-6
they saw about 10-12 Soviet fighters and engaged them. It didn't take long and two Yak-1s
were going down in flames, both claimed by Serbanescu. He took off on another patrol in
the same area. They soon found a large formation of Il-2s (18-20) escorted by 10-12
fighters. He and his wingman, adj. av. Mucenica, attacked the Sturmoviks, while the others
protected them. Serbanescu fired three times and finally the Soviet went down, right in
front the positions he was supposed to attack. The enemy fighters forced him
to defend himself. Even so he managed to attack another Il-2, which left a trail of smoke
behind it as it was heading to base.
On 27 July 1943, cpt. av. "Bâzu" Cantacuzino's patrulă was suppose to escort a
recon airplane. But because of technical problems, only "Bâzu’s" airplane could be fuelled
in time. When he reached the rendezvous point, the German plane was already under attack
by a Yak. There were another two Yaks
which were protecting the other one. He fired from distance and the Soviets turned on him.
After 2 minutes he managed to get behind the Soviet ace and shot him down, before the
wingmen could intervene. They ran away after seeing what happened to their leader, who
it seems was Nikolay F. Khimushin (11 kills). On his way back to the airfield "Bâzu" also
sent a Pe-2 to the ground.
The month of July was extremely "hot" for the 7th Fighter Group, which flew no less than
903 sorties and obtained 53 confirmed victories, for only five losses. Aside form the usual
bomber escort and free hunting missions, the Romanian fighters were also assigned to escort
German reconnaissance aircraft. They were quite successful as shown in a note from the
German Fliegerkorps IV.
August began also very well, when adj. av. Ion Moldoveanu came home rocking his wings
the airfield. The next day another 5 victories were claimed, but only three were confirmed.
On 5 August cpt. av. Cantacuzino was alone on patrol and he encountered a Soviet formation
about 40-50 planes strong (Il-2s and Yaks). He realized that he couldn't have obtained
outstanding results, but he could try to create them some problems. He dove into the Il-2
formation and shot down 2 of them, but he was immediately attacked by the Soviet fighters.
He managed to shake them off, only one remained, but soon he joined Cantacuzino's kill
Fighting peaked on 16 August, when the group flew 40 sorties and engaged in 16
The result was more than impressive: 22 confirmed and 5 probable kills! A day record for
the 7th Fighter Group and any other Romanian unit until then. Another record was set that
late summer day: the highest number of kills in one day by one pilot, when of. ec. cl. III
Ion Milu (the third ranking Romanian ace) bagged five Soviet aircraft. However, one pilot
was MIA and another had been wounded. Another two made belly landings.
By the end of the month, the group had amassed another 50 victories in 1198 sorties.
In recognition of their outstanding efforts, five of its pilots received the prestigious
"Mihai Viteazul" Order, 3rd class. But the losses suffered, meant that reinforcements
were absolutely necessary and 10 pilots from the 9th Fighter Group, who had finished their
training at Tiraspol, were transferred temporarily until the other group will replace the
already exhausted 7th.
Picture courtesy of Mrs. Balta
This picture belonged to lt. av. Constantin Balta. The writing on it
means: "the return of the ones decorated with the Mihai Viteazul order from Mariupol". Cpt.
av. Cantacuzino is not in the Bf-108 Taifun.
In September the group was moved to the Starii Blisnezy airfield, north of Melitopol.
they did not remain there for too long, because on 20 it was again moved, this time to
Genichesk, due to the Soviet advance in the Ukraine. This and the difficult weather caused
only a lower number of sorties (559) and victories (only a little over 10 confirmed).
The day of 1 October 1943 was very busy. At 15:40, slt. av. Gavriliu and his wingman,
av. Emil Balan (two of the newcomers), took off on a patrol mission. Soon they were
that the airfield was under attack. They returned and followed the Il-4s and their escorts,
which, as usually, were heading towards the sea. They remained behind them, in the sun,
for a while, until the Soviets seemed to to feel more secure. And that's when they
Gavriliu approached to within 150 m of one of the two Airacobras on the left side of the
bomber formation and fired. The P-39 went down with a smoke trail behind it. The 4
Airacobras on the right observed them and headed towards them. The Romanian Bf-109s saw
that it was time to retreat.
On 10 October, cpt. av. Alexandru Serbanescu was on patrol with other 3 pilots
(Muresan, Nicoara and Neacsu) after they had escorted some Ju-88s. They spotted Il-2s
and were getting ready to jump them, when they were them selves surprised by Soviet
fighters. Muresan was the first shot down. Nicoara "landed" in the Azov Sea (which is very
shallow and he simply stood on his airplane and the water was only at his waist; he was
later picked up by a German boat). Serbanescu, in flames and with five Soviets on his tail,
managed to reach the lines of the Romanian 4th Mountain Division and made a belly landing.
On 23 October the rest of the 9th Fighter Group arrived on the front. In several days
it took over the airplanes and some of the best pilots of the 7th Fighter Group, which
returned home after practically an entire year on the front line.
Picture from "Rumanian Air Force, the prime decade 1938-1947" by
Dénes Bernád, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1999
From left to right: cpt. av. Constantin Cantacuzino, lt. av. Ioan
Dicezare lt. av. Teodor Greceanu, cpt. av. Alexandru Serbanescu and of. echip. cl. III Ion
Milu. Together they shot down more than 150 aircraft.
The group was based in Romania on the Rosiorii de Vede airfield. It had only two
squadrons: the 57th (under the command of cpt. av. Horia Agarici) and the 58th (lt. av.
Dicezare). The group's CO was cpt. av. Virgil "Lampa" Trandafirescu. The lack of pilots
and airplanes was compensated with IAR-81Cs and the men finished the Galati Fighter School
(under German command).
The 43rd Fighter Squadron joined the group in early 1944. Until April, when the USAAF
raids began, the only activity was the incessant training. This resulted in 7 damaged
On 4 April, took place the third USAAF raid over Romania. The group raised 11 IAR-81Cs
and 7 Bf-109Gs. They claimed five B-24s, but only one was confirmed. Two aircraft were
damaged, one of which made a belly landing.
The 53rd Squadron, also equipped with Bf-109Gs was integrated into the 7th Fighter
Group instead of the 43rd. The next day, 28 aircraft (15 IAR-81C and 13 Bf-109Gs) of the
group's three squadrons took off to meet another American raid. Three bombers were claimed,
for the price of one loss. On 15 April there was another raid and the unit raised 32
aircraft. Cpt. av. "Bazu" Cantacuzino claimed his first victory in 1944.
On 19 April, the 7th Fighter Group (with the 53rd and 57th Squadrons) was transferred
on the front in Moldavia, under the command of the 1st Air Corps, despite gen.
protests. They were based on the Gheraesti airfield, near Bacau. On 22 April they started
to fly missions in the Targu-Frumos area.
The first victories came on 28 April, as well the some of the first losses of this
year on the front. By the end of the month the group had amassed 118 sorties and five
victories. But only 13 aircraft were available.
The fighting boomed at the beginning of May, when the Soviets were trying to brake
through the front in the Targu-Frumos area and were confronted by the German
"Grossdeutschland" Division. The group claimed 8 victories between 1 and 6 may and the
number of sorties was high, despite the small number of aircraft. On 3 May, for example,
there were 37 sorties.
Picture courtesy of mr. Dan Antoniu
Pilots of the 7th Fighter Group at Tecuci in 1944
Until 15 May, the situation was more calm and only 73 sorties were flown. On 28 May,
the 2nd Fighter Group arrived on Gheraesti airfield. The last mission on the front for the
7th Fighter Group was flown on 30 May. It was transferred back to home defense duties.
In its one and a half month campaign against the VVS, the group had claimed 22 victories,
which 4 remained unconfirmed.
The 58th Fighter Squadron returned to the group. The unit participated without success
in the attempt to intercept the raid on 6 June. But on 10 June, the Bf-109Gs of the 7th
Fighter Group claimed five P-38s for the price of one of theirs, which had to make a belly
landing. A formation of seven IAR-81Cs and Bf-109Gs of the 58th Squadron engaged the
Lightings, but prince slt. av. Gheorghe Brancoveanu was forced to crash land.
The next day, another raid and another 3 bomber claimed. But the situation was not at
good. only 12 fighters were still available. On 23 June, cpt. av. Trandafirescu, the
commander lead 11 aircraft into battle. He claimed one American, but was himself shot down
Mustangs and killed. It was the third CO lost by the group during its history. Cpt. av. Dan
Scurtu took over.
The raids continued, but the group could only muster about 10 aircraft, too little to
counter the large numbers of American fighters and bombers. On 15 July, only five took off
to enage the Americans. It was almost suicide.
The last mission against the USAAF was flown on 18 August, when the group raised 14
Two were lost. But the death of cpt. av. Alexandru Serbanescu, the CO of the 9th Fighter
and one of the top aces, determined the High Command to stop the groups from flying.
and 18 August 1944, the 7th Fighter Group had lost 13 aircraft (shot down or crash-landed)
had claimed 10 enemy aircraft.
After 23 August, when Romania sued for peace, German He-111Hs and Ju-87Ds bombed
remains of the 7th and 9th Fighter Group were brought in on the Popesti-Leordeni airfield
protect the capital. During these final air battles for the 7th Fighter Group, its pilots
seven German aircraft.
At the end of August, the 7th was absorbed by the 9th Fighter Group. Thus ended the
the most successful fighter group of ARR. Luckily, its place was taken by the other elite