Eastern Europe

Air Forces covered here include:

{short description of image}Bulgaria

The Bulgarian Air Force was obsolete at the beginning of World War 2. It was armed with a lot of Polish-built equipment (PZL P.11s, P.24s, P.23s and P.46s) bought in 1938-39, some Italian aircraft bought in the 1930s, and Czech aircraft bought in 1939 after Germany took over (72 Avia B-534 fighters + 32 Avia B-71 (SB-2) bombers).

Over the course of the war, Bulgaria received more equipment from Germany:

OB as of June, 1940

{short description of image}Croatia

The Croatian Air Force was an organization set up and armed by the Germans. It performed two tasks:


In 1938, Germany threatened Czechoslovakia. For a variety of reasons, England and France backed down in the face of the threat of war with Germany, and allowed Germany to dismember Czechoslovakia and create the "rump" state of Slovakia, a puppet ally through out World War 2. This was more of a feat than it seems - Germany was the 5th rated industrial power in the world, and Czechoslovakia was the 7th.

Czechoslovakia had a fine second-tier air force that could have come into play had the European part of World War 2 started in September, 1938:

Type 1st Line A/C Reserves Factory ready A/C
Courier 259 99 25
Recon 61 11 20 Letov S.328 & Aero biplanes
Fighter 326 74 50 250 B.534
20 BK.534
Reserves=older B.*34 series
Lt Bomber 101 31 8 B.71 (SB-2)
10 Aero 100
Medium Bomber 54 18 9 MB.200
Total 801 233 112

The B-534 was a fast, clean, maneuverable biplane fighter. In 1937, it placed 2nd in a major air race - close behind a souped up Bf-109B.

Aircraft from the Czech Air Force were given to various German Balkan allies:

Uncle Ted's has ADCs for the B-534 and the B.71 (as the SB-2) and a variant of the MB.210 describes the MB.200.


The Greek Army Air Service was a small, but well-trained service. Their effectiveness using second-rate aircraft certainly surprised the Italian Air Force when they invaded in the fall of 1940.

In November, 1940, the Hellenic Air Service consisted of:

Fighters 21
12 PZL P-24f
12 PZL P-24f
12 PZL P-24f/g
9 MB.151
Bombers 31
11 Potez Po.633
12 Bristol Blenheim IV
12 Fairey Battle




9 Breguet Br.XIX
9 Breguet Br.XIX
15 Henschel Hs126A
17 Potez Po.25A



12 Fairey IIIF
12 Dornier Do22G
9 Anson

As these took casualties, the RAF gifted the Greeks Gladiator Is and Blenheim Is, as well as shifting RAF units into Greece.

The PZL P-24f was originally armed with 2 Oerlikon 20mm cannon. Most of these were removed shortly after the breakout of war in 1939, since the Greeks had only a small store of Oerlikon ammo and too little hope of adequate supply during the war.

By April, 1941, when Germany invaded, the Greek Army Air Service was down to 41 combat (and 36 other) aircraft left, including a few Hurricanes and Gladiators donated by the RAF as the British began to retreat.

Pilot Quality: Good

More Information

Try Royal Hellenic Air Force

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{short description of image}Hungary

Hungary began slowly, quietly building an airforce in the lte 1930s in contravention of the Treaty of Versailles, which forbade Hungary (and Germany) an air force.

In March, 1939, Hungary joined in the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, supplying air support to its ground units. The air contingent carried out bombing, recon, and patrol missions, but met no aerial opponents.

Fighters 1/I Group (sqdn 1,2,3) 27 CR.32
Bombers 3/II Group (sqdn 3,4,5) 27 Ju-86K-2
LR Recon 1 LR group 9 He170A


By December, 1939, Hungary had grown the Royal Hungarian Air Force into the following:

Fighters 1/I Group (sqdn 1,2) 18+6 CR.32
1/II Group (sqdn 3,4) 18+6 CR.32
2/I Group (sqdn 1,2) 18+6 CR.42
2/II Group (sqdn 3,4) 18+6 CR.42
Bombers 3/I Group (sqdn 1,2,3) 12+3 Ju-86K-2
3/II Group (sqdn 3,4,5) 12+3 Ju-86K-2
4/I Group (sqdn 1,2,3) 12+3 Ju-86K-2
4/II Group (sqdn 3,4,5) 12+3 Ju-86K-2
SR Recon 10 sqdns 34 He46 biplanes
51 WM21 biplanes
LR Recon 1 LR group (sqnd 1,2) 16 He170A
Transport 1 sqdn 5 SM.75 (nationalized from airline)


By April, 1941, the RHAF had upgraded to:

Fighters 1/I Group (sqdn 1,2) 18+6 CR.32
1/II Group (sqdn 3,4) 18+6 CR.42
2/I Group (sqdn 1,2) 18+6 CR.32
2/II Group (sqdn 3,4) 18+6 CR.42
Bombers 3/I Group (sqdn 1,2,3) 27+9 Ju-86K-2
3/II Group (sqdn 4,5) 18+6 Ju-86K-2
4/I Group (sqdn 1,2,3) 27+9 Ca.135b
4/II Group (sqdn 4,5) 18+6 Ju-86K-2
SR Recon 11 sqdns 42+14 He46 biplanes
24+8 WM21 biplanes
LR Recon 1 LR group (sqnd 1,2) 18+6 He170A
Transport 1 sqdn 5 SM.75 (nationalized from airline)


In June, 1941, Hungary sent a field army to Operation Barbarossa. Hungary's Air Force was composed as follows:

Fighters 1/I Group (sqdn 1,2) 18+6 CR.32 (+ field test unit of 9 Re.2000s)
2/II Group (sqdn 3,4) 18+6 CR.42 (in process of changing to Re.2000s)
Bombers 4/I Group (sqdn 1,2,3) 27+9 Ca.135b
4/II Group (sqdn 3,4) 18+6 Ju-86K-2
SR Recon 7 sqdns 24+8 He46 biplanes
18+6 WM21 biplanes
LR Recon 1 LR group (sqnd 1,2) 18+6 He170A

Predictably enough, Operation Barbarossa took a big bite out of these aircraft. They were replace by German aircraft, and Germany began to set up aircraft factories in Hungary to produce components and assemble aircraft.

In October, 1942, Germany gave Hungary 50 Bf109F-4s, which were used to re-equip Re.2000 units. 40 Ju87D-1s, 30 Ju87D-5s, 6 Bf110G-4s, and 160 Me210s (which the Germans were happy to get rid of) were added to the Hungarian Air Group to be used on the Russian Front.

By May, 1943, 50 Bf109G-2s re-equipped 2 squadrons armed with F-4s. By May, 1944, 4 squadrons on the Russian Front and 6 for home defense (against British and American bombers based in Italy) were armed with G-6s. By December, 1944, The Russians were at the door step of Budapest; all 9 remaining squadrons were armed with G-6s. a few surviving squadrons retreated with the Germans and continued to fly G-6s until May, 1945.

The Re2000, He170, Ju87Ds, and Ju52 are available from Uncle Ted's.

Pilot Quality: Average

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In 1939, the Polish Air Force was organized as two organizations - a national air defense and bomber force, and as air defense, close air support, and recon units serving with the field armies.

National Air Force
Pursuit Bgd III/1 (111, 112 sqdns)
IV/2 (113, 114 sqdns)
III/2 (123 sqdn)
20 PZL P.11c
20 PZL P.11c
10 PZL P.7a
Bomber/Recon Bgd X/1 (211, 212 sqdns)
XV/1 (216, 216 sqdns)
II/2 (21, 22 sqdns)
VI/6 (64, 65 sqdns)
18 PZL P.37b medium bomber
18 PZL P.37b medium bomber
20 PZL P.23 light bomber
20 PZL P.23 light bomber
Observation Bgd 16 sqdn 7 Lublin R-XIII biplanes
Liaison Bgd I, II, IX, XII sqdns 3 RWD 8 each sqdn (12 total)
Army Air Detachments
Army Pomorze III/4 (141, 142 sqdn) (ftr)
III/4 (42 sqdn) (scout/attack)
43, 46 sqdn (observation)
7, 8 sqdn (liaison)
22 PZL P.11c
10 PZL P.23
14 Lublin R-XIII biplanes
7 RWD 8
Army Poznan III/4 (131, 132 sqdn) (ftr)
III/4 (34 sqdn) (scout/attack)
33, 36 sqdn (observation)
5, 6 sqdn (liaison)
22 PZL P.11c
10 PZL P.23
14 Lublin R-XIII biplanes
7 RWD 8
Army Lodz III/6 (161, 162 sqdn) (ftr)
III/6 (32 sqdn) (scout/attack)
63, 66 sqdn (observation)
10 sqdn (liaison)
12 PZL P.11c, 10 PZL P.7a
10 PZL P.23
7 RWD 14, 7 Lublin R-XIII biplanes
3 RWD 8
Army Krakow III/2 (121, 122 sqdn) (ftr)
III/2 (24 sqdn) (scout/attack)
23, 26 sqdn (observation)
3 sqdn (liaison)
20 PZL P.11c
10 PZL P.23
7 RWD 14, 7 Lublin R-XIII biplanes
3 RWD 8
Army Modlin III/5 (152 sqdn) (ftr)
III/5 (41 sqdn) (scout/attack)
53 sqdn (observation)
11 sqdn (liaison)
10 PZL P.11c, 10 PZL P.7a
10 PZL P.23
7 RWD 14
3 RWD 8
Army Karpaty 31 sqdn (scout/attack)
56 sqdn (observation)
5 sqdn (liaison)
10 PZL P.23
7 Lublin R-XIII biplanes
3 RWD 8
Group Narew 151 sqdn (ftr)
51 (scout/attack)
13 sqdn (observation)
9 sqdn (liaison)
10 PZL P.7a
10 PZL P.23
7 RWD 14 parasol wing
3 RWD 8

I have created a set of ADCs portraying Poland's aircraft of 1939.

Pilot Quality: Good

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More Information

For more detailed information about the Polish Air Force and the 1939 Campaign, try Robert Postowcz's Polish Aviation History Pages.

{short description of image}Rumania

The Rumanian Air Force (Fortelor Regal ale Aeriene Romana or FRAR) was armed largely with Polish-built aircraft in the beginning of the war, both aircraft they bought or built under license and aircraft interned during the Polish Campaign of 1939.

Rumania sent a sizable air element with their field army to Operation Barbarossa in 1941. It was attached to Luftflotte 4. It included:

Field service was not something the FRAR was prepared for; accordingly, they suffered a very high maintenance attrition rate. In July, 1942, Germany re-supplied the Air Group with:

In addition to supporting the Rumanian field army in Russia, they were also charged with home defense. In 1943, their home-defence PZL P.24Cs proved rather ineffective against the B-24s that hit Ploesti. Germany rushed an air group to Ploesti, and also began to supply the FRAR with 150 Bf109Gs; some of these were G-6s sent to the 4 fighter sqdns on the Russian Front, as well as 115 Ju-87Ds and 3 squadrons of Ju-88 bombers. Romania built 1 squadron of IAR-80s for recon, as well as building them for home defense squadrons.

By February, 1944, the Air Group was down to one functional squadron. The war had moved to Rumania itself. In August, the home defense units flew Bf109G-6s and domestic IAR-80s - and in September, Rumania changed sides as the Russians invaded, and turned her remaining aircraft against Germany.

The IAR-80, Po.633, PZL P.11, P.23, P.43 and P.36, and He 112B are all available from Uncle Ted's.

Pilot Quality:

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Slovakia was a puppet government set up by the Nazis in eastern Czechoslovakia after it overran Czechoslovakia. Its equipment was originally leftovers from the Czech air force. Most of its duties were anti-partisan patrols over its territory - usually in obsolete aircraft. It later included a fighter Gruppe that served on the Eastern front.

red starSoviet Union

The Soviet Union was a major air force (at least by size) throughout World War II. I will not document it, but I will describe its organization.

During the Winter War with Finland (1939-40) (and during the Nomonhan Incident in the Far East in Summer, 1939), the Soviet Air Force was organized into large squadrons of 20-30 aircraft. This proved very unwieldy in size to use in the field.

The Soviet Union reorganized their air units. The basic unit was the Air Regiment of about 60 aircraft of the same type. The air regiment was divided into 3 or 4 "flights" (which curiously provides something about the size of everyone else's squadron).

3-5 Air Regiments were organized as an Air Division.
3-8 Air Regiments were sometimes organized as an Air Group.

Soviet Bombs, Rockets, & Accessories

The Soviet Union used the following bombs:

Name Type Weight Load points Soft/Hard Attack Strength Year Avail.
25 kg HE 55 lb. 0.5 5/2 1936
50 kg HE 110 lb. 1.0 10/5 1936
100 kg HE 220 lb. 2.0 20/10 1936
250 kg HE 550 lb. 3.0 40/20 1936
500 kg HE 1100 lb. 5.0 80/40 1939
1000 kg HE 2200 lb. 7.0 150/70 1941
2000 kg HE 4400 lb. 15.0 400/150 1943
RS-82 Rocket 35 lb. 0.5 5/2 1937
RS-132 Rocket 60 lb 0.5 10/5 1942
RBS-132 Rocket 60 lb. 0.5 6/10 1942
Torpedo 2068 lb. 7.0 100/80 1938
22-Gal FT FT 200 1.5/1.0 (I-15 & I-16 a/c) 1937

Uncle Ted's includes a selection of Soviet fighters and Soviet bombers.

Yugoslavia Yugoslavia

The Yugoslavian Air Force was a new service, poorly organized and, too new to have been well-integrated into the nation's defense. They were armed with a lot of German equipment when they were attacked on 6 April, 1941. A lot of equipment was destroyed on the ground. When invaded, the Yugoslav Air Force consisted of about 500 aircraft, including:

8 Fighter "flights"

73 Me109E-3s (~27 grounded with engine problems)
40 Hurricane Ia
24 Fury II
12 Ikarus IK-3 (6 available)
6 Ikarus IK-2

14 Bomber "flights" 45 SM 79B
70 Do17K (a third destroyed on ground on 6-Apr-41)
30 Blenheim Mk I

The Ikarus IK-2 was a mid-30s gull-wing design built with an early version of the French moteur-canone used with the MS.406 and D.510 and D.520. The Ikarus IK-3 was a decent Yugoslav design that was reported as better than the Bf109E-4s they faced. 6 of 12 were in flight condition, and there was an order for another 12. Those that flew shot down 12 Bf109s over Belgrade, where they were assigned with a squadron of Bf109E-3s.

See also additional detail from Ivan Bajlo.

The Fury II and Do17K are available from Uncle Ted's.

Some of the surviving aircraft were later given to the Croatian Air Force (this Croatia being the Nazi-created puppet state, not the current state called Croatia).

Pilot Quality: Poor

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