Born: 25 August 1909, Fratautii Noi
Combat missions: over 140
On 21 September 1943, cpt. av. Popovici took off together with another 4 Ju-88A4s from the squadron he commanded (the 79th) to bomb a target near Balshoy-Tokmak. They knew that the objective was heavily defended both by AAA and fighters and the fact that they hadn't been provided with escorts didn't make them very optimistic. On the way to the Balshoy-Tokmak they were intercepted by 12 Soviet fighters. After their first pass the Ju-88A4 no. 115A on the extreme left simply exploded. Soon they entered in Soviet AAA barrage as they were preparing to bomb. The P-39s disengaged, but reappeared after the Romanian bombers had dropped their cargo and were returning home. Again, the airplane on the extreme left of the formation was hit and forced to crash-land (in friendly lines). They descended to tree-top level in order to reduce the fighters' room for maneuver. But still the lead airplane was hit, burst into flames and hit the ground. There were only two Ju-88As remaining. Cpt. av. Popovici's bomber was hit by several bullets. But the machine-gunners managed to shoot down one of the attackers, which disengaged after this. But their troubles weren't over yet. As cpt. av. Popovici was landing, the undercarriage leg which had been damaged during combat broke and the aircraft belly-landed. This was one of the most terrible days of the elite 5th Bomber Group.
Died: 2000, Bucharest
Profile courtesy of Bogdan Patrascu
Cpt. av. Eusebie Popovici flew this Ju-88A4 when he was part of the 5th Nomber Group.