Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Warplanes of the Second World War preserved in Croatia

Warplanes of the Second World War preserved in Croatia

The aim of this website is to locate, identify and document Warplanes from the Second World War preserved in Croatia.  Many contributors have assisted in the hunt for these aircraft to provide and update the data on this website.  Photos are as credited.  Any errors found here are by the author, and any additions, corrections or amendments to this list of Warplane Survivors of the Second World War in Croatia would be most welcome and may be e-mailed to the author at hskaarup@rogers.com. 

Data current to 11 Nov 2018.

Independent State of Croatia

On 10 April 1941, the Independent State of Croatia (Nezavisna Država Hrvatska, or NDH) was declared to be a member of the Axis, co-signing the Tripartite Pact.  The NDH remained a member of the Axis until the end of Second World War, its forces fighting for Germany even after NDH had been overrun by Yugoslav Partisans.   The Croatian Home Guard (Hrvatsko domobranstvo) was the official military force of the NDH.  Originally authorized at 16,000 men, it grew to a peak fighting force of 130,000.  The Croatian Home Guard included an air force and navy, although its navy was restricted in size by the Contracts of Rome.  In addition to commanding the Croatian Home Guard, NDH leader Paveli? was the supreme commander of the Ustaše militia, although all NDH military units were generally under the command of the German or Italian formations in their area of operations. Many Croats volunteered for the German Waffen SS.

The Ustaše government declared war on the Soviet Union, signed the Anti-Comintern Pact of 1941, and sent troops to Germany’s Eastern Front.  Ustaše militia were garrisoned the Balkans, battling the Chetniks and communist partisans.  Ustaše never had widespread support among the population of the NDH. Their own estimates put the number of sympathizers, even in the early phase, at around 40,000 out of total population of 7 million.

The Croatian Air Force (Croatian: Hrvatsko bojno zrakoplovstvo), originally the Air Force of the Independent State of Croatia (Zrakoplovstvo Nezavisne Države Hrvatske, ZNDH), was the air force of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), a puppet state established with the support of the Axis Powers during the Second World War.  The ZNDH was founded under German authority in April 1941.  Its main contribution to the war effort was to carry out anti-partisan patrols over occupied Croatia.  It also supplied a few staffels of pilots to Luftflotte 4 in Russia.

Although it could not be considered a large air arm in the wider context of the Second World War, the ZNDH nonetheless had on its charge at one time or another some 650 aircraft between April 1941 and May 1945, as well as anti-aircraft and paratroop units.  Although it began as a small organization in 1941, the ZNDH was still providing a measure of air-support in the form of fighter, attack and transport aircraft and aircrews until the last days of the Second World War in Europe.

During the middle part of 1941, some of the ZNDH’s man-power capacity was sent to the Eastern Front as part of the Luftwaffe.  This force was known as the Croatian Air Force Legion (Hrvatska Zrakoplovna Legija, HZL; Kroatische Luftwaffen Legion).  Most of the Croatian Air Force Legion’s personnel were back on ZNDH territory by late 1943 and early 1944 to help counter the growing Allied air threat.  A Croatian Anti-Aircraft Legion was also deployed.

The ZNDH maintained a flying school, originally at Rajlovac airfield near Sarajevo and then at Velika Gorica and Pleso airfields in Zagreb.  Its parachute and paratroop school was located in Koprivnica, and its scout (fighter) school was located in Zagreb.

Aircraft types that saw service with the Croatian Air Force included more than 50 Messerschmitt Bf 109G & K fighters, 48 Morane-Saulnier M.S. 406 fighters, more than 30 Fiat G.50 fighters, 18 Macchi C.202 Folgore fighters, four Macchi C.205 Veltro fighters, more than ten Fiat CR.42 fighters, two Messerschmitt Bf 110G-2 fighters, seven Avia BH-3 fighter-trainers, four Ikarus IK-2 fighters, eleven Dornier Do-17K, 30 Do-17E and 21 Do-17Z bombers, eight Bristol Blenheim Mk. I bombers and two Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 bombers, ten CANT Z.1007 bombers, six Fiat BR.20 bombers, one Avia Fokker F.39 bomber, seven Caproni Ca.310 bomber/utility 16 Caproni Ca.311/313/314 bomber/utility, 50 Breguet Bre 19 reconnaissance/utility, 42 Potez 25 reconnaissance/utility, eleven Fieseler Fi 156 Storch utility, 8 to 12 Fieseler Fi 167 utility and two de Havilland DH 80 Puss Moth utility aircraft, one RWD-13 utility, 25 Beneš-Mráz Beta-Minor trainer/utility, 22 Bücker Bü 181 Bestmann trainer/utility, 25 Saiman 200 trainers, two Saiman trainer/utility, 20 AVIA FL.3 trainer/utility, one Rogozarski SIM-XI and one SIM-X trainer, one Ikarus MM-2 fighter/trainer, eleven Rogozarski R-100 fighter/trainer/attack, 46 Bücker Bü 131 Bestmann trainer/utility, ten Bücker Bü 133 trainer/utility, 20 Zmaj Fizir FN trainers, 23 Zmaj Fizir FP-2 trainer/utility, seven Avia Fokker F.VII transports, two Avia Fokker F.IX transports, one Junkers Ju 52 and four Junkers W 34 transports, 15 Junkers Ju 87 dive bombers, and two Airspeed Envoy transports.

Warplanes of the Second Word War preserved in Croatia

Bukcer Bu-131D-2 Jungmann (Serial No. 0865), Reg. No. YU-CLY..

Dar.9 Siniger (Focke-Wulf Fw 44J), (Serial No. 9784).

 (acesflyinghigh Photo)

Republic P-47D Thunderbolt (Serial No. 13109), Nikola Tesla Technical Museum, Zagreb.