lt. av. (r) Nicolae Poilizu-Micsunesti


Picture courtesy of Mr. Dan Polizu-Micsunesti

Nicolae Polizu-Micsunesti is in the right part of the photo. The other officer is lt. George Polizu-Micsunesti, his brother.

Fighter Pilot

Born: 2 July 1904, Harlau


Combat missions: over 160

Victories: 10 confirmed + 1 probable


Died: 5 May 1943, KIA


Nicolae Polizu was another one of Romania's "flying aristocracy". He was born at Hârlau on 2 July 1904 in a family related to the Ghica princes. He graduated high school in Bucharest after WWI and then went on to practice boxing, fencing, tennis, ski, rugby and ice hockey.

In the spring of 1939 he approached a new and more fascinating sport: flying. He went first to the "Mircea Cantacuzino" Fligt School and then to the Prahova Air Club at Strejnic and obtained his pilot license on 14 June 1939. He then, as the international situation worsened, went to the Military Flight School at Tecuci, which he finished in 1940 and received the rank of sublocotenent (2nd lt.), but in reserve. He was mobilized and assigned to the 5th Fighter Group (in the 51st Squadron), which had just received He-112Bs.

The 51st Fighter Squadron was transferred on 21 August to an airfield in Transylvania to counter the incursions of Hungarian reconnaissance aircraft over Romanian territory. But due to the poor characteristics of the He-112B, they were not able to. On 27 August, the newly promoted locotenent (1st lt.) Nicolae Polizu apparently intruded into Hungarian airspace and attacked a MKHL Ca-135bis from the Hungarian 3rd Bomber Group and damaged it and wounded a radio operator/gunner. The bomber had to make an emergency landing on the Debrecen airfield. Polizu claimed the victory and it was confirmed.

In February 1941, as more Bf-109Es became available, two new squadrons were formed with some of the most promising pilots ARR had. Polizu was assigned to the 57th Fighter Squadron and began training on the new aircraft with German instructors. These two squadrons (57th and 58th) joined the 56th in the 7th Fighter Group, which would become the elite unit of the Romanian fighter force in 1941-44.

The group began flying war missions from the first hours of Operation Barbarossa. But the first victory for Polizu came three days later, on 25 June. He was part of a patrula (Romanian for Schwarm) under the command of lt. cdor. av. Alexandru "Popicu" Popisteanu (the CO of the 7th Fighter Group), which was escorting several Romanian He-111H3s to bomb the Basarabeasca railway station. After the bombs were dropped, Popisteanu returned to strafe the remains. An I-16 dived after him. Polizu spotted him and alerted the commander. The leader ordered him, calmly, to take care of it and soon the Rata was going down in flames, becoming Polizu's first victory in 1941.

However, he had to wait more than a month for his next victory. On 5 August Polizu encountered a VVS bomber formation escorted by 8 I-16s. He attacked the bombers first, but after after two attacks he hadn't achieved anything. The fighters engaged him, but he managed to shoot one of them down before several German Bf-109s appeared and chased the Ratas away.

Four days later he and adj. av. Iolu claimed one victory each after an engagement with 12 Soviet fighters. His score increased again on 16, the same month, when his patrula shot down three aircraft, as air activity around Odessa intensified. Thus he became an ace with five confirmed kills.

He scored victories both in September and October, thus becoming the top scoring Romanian ace in 1941, with 8 kills. For this he was one of the three Romanian airmen who received the highest Romanian military award: the Mihai Viteazul Order 3rd class. The other two were awarded posthumously.

Apparently, he did not participate in the 1942 campaign. This is easy explainable, through the fact that he was a reserve officer. But he could not stay away from the front, even though it would have been easy for him, given his social position. In March 1943, he was again part of the 7th Fighter Group, which then was assigned to JG 3 Udet, where it was supposed to convert to the more modern Bf-109Gs.

His first kill in 1943, which was also going to be his last, came on 3 April, during a free-hunting mission. He and his wingman, adj. av. Laurentiu Catana, were patrolling in the Izyum sector, when they spotted several unidentified aircraft below them. They dived and saw that they were several Yaks pursuing two German He-111s. They attacked, but did not obtain any results. Polizu then saw that a Yak was closing in on his wingman from behind, so he made a climbing turn, trying to surprise him. The Soviet saw him and tried hide in the clouds. The Romanian ace followed him with full throttle and caught up. After several bursts from his weapons, the horizontal stabilizers and smoke started to come out of the engine. The Yak fell 5 or 6 km from Izyum. Adj. av. Laurentiu Catana also managed to shoot down a Yak in the engagement, his first victory.

One month later, on 2 May, lt. av. Nicolae Polizu's Bf-109G was damaged in a dogfight. As he was trying to bring it home, he crashed close to the airfield, the ammunition exploded and he died in the fire. Thus the 7th Fighter Group lost one of its best pilots. Ironically, his place was taken by cpt. av. Constantin Cantacuzino, who eventually became the Romanian top scoring ace of WWII.

During his career, lt. av. (r) Nicolae Polizu had obtained 10 confirmed victories and one probable one, during over 160 missions and at least 52 dogfights.

Bibliography: AIRMAG Hors Serie, no. 1 Les Messerschmitt Bf 109 roumains; Dénes Bernád, "He-112 in action", Squadron/Signal Publications, 1996; Vasile Tudor, "Un nume de legenda - Cpt. av. erou Alexandru Serbanescu", Editura MODELISM, 1998.

Profile courtesy of Bogdan Patrascu

This Bf-109E3 was flown by lt. av. (r) Nicolae Polizu-Micsunesti in the 7th Fighter Group.


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