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> Aeronautica Regala structure, June 1940, (an add-on to an older topic)
Agarici
Posted: August 12, 2011 06:48 am
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Some days ago I watched an interesting aviation-related TV broadcast (re-aired on TVR 2), which included an interesting interview with the former Romanian WW 2 fighter pilot, gen. (retired) Ion Diecezare. Unfortunately I didn’t see the dialogue from the beginning, but Mr. Diecezare recalled being part of (and training intensely with) the 7th Fighter group, in the summer of 1940, on Pipera airfield, close to Bucharest. He mentioned that the group was equipped with the new and superior Bf. 109 E, and that on the same airfield the 5th Fighter group was located. The later had under control the He 112s and the Hurricanes, so (apparently, by that time) no mixed Bf 109 - Hurricane composition of 7th Fighter group existed.

To continue the quest started and abandoned some time ago in a different topic, I would like to reconstitute the structure of ARR by the time of Soviet ultimatum regarding Besserabia, June 1940. Any type of what if/counterfactual questioning should start form examining the existent situation, and the controversy concerning the number of Me 109 squadrons operational in ARR by summer 1940 is not the only one.

Thus, according to some sources, the 7th Fighter group was constituted in mid-1940, having (at least) two squadrons (but which, exactly?), endowed with 20~20+ Bf 109 E (or 11 Messerschmitts and 12 Hurricanes?). But, in his résumé from early 1950s (published in an older Modelism issue), Ion Milu mentiones that, from November 1939 (not mid-1940) until June 1941, he trained with the 57th fighter squadron. So, had the “Romanian” Messerschmitts been delivered earlier than 1940? And if so, how many (for example, if only a squadron was delivered, why constituting the 57th squadron (according to Milu) before the 56th?

The 6th Fighter group was formed in early June 1940, but the last PZL P 24 E planes were delivered by the IAR factory to ARR in January-February 1940. Why this delay in organizing them into a structure, in the time of a European/world-scale conflict? Another tricky question is the reliability of PZL 24 E, considered as a weapons platform. According to an extensive (and impressive, congratulations!) article of Denes Bernard, published in ModelIST magazine, the plane was plagued by excessive engine vibrations (due to the engine-propeller couple, initially projected without a rotation reductor), and because of that the 2x20 mm Oerlikon automatic cannons were discarded during its operational use. The same problem was mentioned, but rather en-passant, by Ion Ţarălungă (and, in his article, by a memoir of G. V. Bibescu which he quotes). But, considering that a fact, I think there still is an interrogation point left: why didn’t we hear of such (or similar) problems with the PZL 24’s delivered to some other nations, as Greece and Turkey? And I’m thinking here at the models equipped with cannons too, like PZL 24 F which gave a good account of itself fighting the Italians (together with the rest of the Greek PZL’s) and the PZL 24 A’s which soldiered and remained for a long tine in service in Turkey (even in the first postwar years, according to some sources, as trainers)? Didn’t those have the same engines/technical arrangements?

A similar problem could be raised concerning the (Romanian) He 112, which allegedy couldn’t reach the maximal speed indicated (by the manufacturer) in the technical specifications (?) - which would have been odd, at least, in my oppinion.

Now, for the first issue connected with Mr. Diecezare - I don’t want to interfere with anyone schedule, but perhaps C 2 could make an attempt to call him and ask about that sometime, or at least mention that to him in a discussion. Thank you in advance!

This post has been edited by Agarici on August 12, 2011 04:49 pm
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Agarici
Posted: August 24, 2011 06:49 pm
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No feedback? :unsure:
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Agarici
Posted: August 24, 2011 08:17 pm
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Let’s try to summarize the known data, starting with:

FIGHTER AVIATION/UNITS:

Fighter flotillas = 2,3?

Fighter groups = 7 (6, more?)

[breakdown]

FLOTILLAS:

1st Fighter Flotilla ?

2nd Fighter Flotilla, Transylvania, created 25 Oct. 1939 - source WorldWar2.ro, http://www.worldwar2.ro/arr/?article=439:
- 1st Fighter Group, commander lt. cdor. av. Govela: 41 and 42 squadrons, 2 x 10 planes each (2 x 12?), PZL 11 f, glossy khaki livery (some in the “Romanian cammo”?)
- 4th Fighter Group, probably similar number of planes with the 1st

3rd Fighter Flotilla ?

GROUPS:

- 3rd Fighter Group (another 20-24 Pzl 11 f?)

- 5th Fighter group, Pipera airfield near Bucharest, Mizil airfield (?), created 15 September 1939: 51 and 52 squadrons, 2 x 15 planes each, Heinkel He 112 B1 and B2, ~ half of them in grey and half in two-tone green cammo [+ 53rd Squadron?]

- 6th Fighter Group, Moldova (?), created 7 June 1940, lt. cdor. av. Nicolae Radulescu: 62 and 63 squadrons, 2 x 15 planes each, PZL P 24 E, Romanian aviation three-tones cammo (source http://www.worldwar2.ro/arr/?article=444)

- 7th Fighter Group, Pipera airfield, created on 1 June 1940, commander lt. cdor. av. Alexandru Popisteanu: 57 (and the 56?) squadron(s), 11 (+ another 19-13?) Messerschmitt Bf 109 E 3, khaki [+ 53rd Squadron?]

SQUADRONS (independent?):

53 Fighter Squadron, Pipera airfield (Mamaia?), created early 1940, commander capt. Av. Elil Georgescu, 12 Hawker Hurricane Mk I, British cammo


ANY addition/correction is encouraged. Thank you!


PS: Question - around 40+ out of the total of 95-96 PZL 11 f are missing. Where do you think they fit? Same question about the (30+?) PZL 11 c, interned from Poland in September 1939; were those organized in any frontline unit(s)?

This post has been edited by Agarici on August 26, 2011 09:05 am
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Victor
Posted: August 27, 2011 12:26 pm
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QUOTE (Agarici @ August 24, 2011 08:49 pm)
No feedback?  :unsure:

It's holiday season :)

Regarding the 7th Fighter Group, you can find its initial composition on the website: http://www.worldwar2.ro/arr/?article=445 : 53rd Fighter Squadron (Hurricane Mk. I) and 57th Fighter Squadron (Bf-109E).

Regarding the missing PZL P. 11, there is a slight miscalculation. If the 1st, 3rd and 4th Groups had each 20-24 P.11f, then there would be only around 27 missing, not 40+ and these could have been assigned to fighter pilot schools. Gen. Dobran and his class of 1941 had earned their fighter pilot license on this type of aircraft. I believe it is safe to assume that the situation was similar in 1940.
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Agarici
Posted: September 05, 2011 06:27 pm
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Thank you for your answer, Victor!

I agree with you about the total number of “missing” planes. But regarding the machines used in the fighter pilots schools, I think the logical thing would have been to use the older PZL P 11 b for that (or the new surplus constituted from the ex-Polish PZL’s), and to “save” the Fs for frontline duties. What about those (the ex-Polish airplanes), were they organized and/or integrated in any (new) structure?
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MMM
Posted: September 08, 2011 01:51 pm
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QUOTE (Agarici @ September 05, 2011 09:27 pm)
What about those (the ex-Polish airplanes), were they organized and/or integrated in any (new) structure?

Unfortunately I have found no answer; in most books there is just a simple phrase about the "internment" of the military equipment, comprising tanks and planes, but nothing about new units being created! Perhaps Mr. Pentelescu's book could be of more help, but I no longer have access to it... :(
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