Aircraft of the Aces 49 Croatian Aces of World War 2. Pb

  • Croatian Aces of World War 2. Aircraft of the Aces 49
  • Authors: Boris Ciglic, Dragan Savic; Illustrator: John Weal
  • Paperback; October 2002; 96 pages; ISBN: 9781841764351
A first for a UK publisher, this volume charts the exploits of those fighter pilots who fought for the independent pro-axis state of Croatia, which formed a break-away nation when Yugoslavia was invaded by the German army in 1941. Providing a historical context against which to set the story, the author initially discusses the state of the Yugoslav air force at the time the country was invaded, and shows how a number of pilots fought against the invading German forces in German-built Bf 109s. Following the conquest of the Balkan state, two Croatian air groups were supplied to the Axis forces fighting on the Russian front, with the bulk of the pilots having previously served with the Yugoslav air force pre-war. Initially flying Italian-supplied Fiat G.50s, the Croat forces suffered heavy losses during 1942 whilst flying alongside JG 52 in the southern sector of the front. A significant number of kills also fell to future aces such as Cvitan Galic and Mato Dubovak during this time, and when the units re-equipped with far more effective Bf 109G-10s in 1943, the battle-seasoned Croat pilots started to build up impressive scores. By 1944 the Croat air groups were back on home soil defending Yugoslavia from British and American air raids. In the final months of the war, the handful of surviving pilots fought bravely in the face of overwhelming odds until final defeat in May 1945. Post-war, several of the aces were hanged by the Tito regime, whilst most of the others endured long prison sentences.