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

Warplanes of the Second World War preserved in Serbia

The aim of this website is to locate, identify and document Warplanes from the Second World War preserved in Serbia.  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 Serbia would be most welcome and may be e-mailed to the author at hskaarup@rogers.com. 

Data current to 18 Nov 2018.

The Former Yugoslavia

On 25 March 1941, fearing that Yugoslavia would be invaded otherwise, Prince Paul signed the Tripartite Pact with significant reservations.  Unlike other Axis powers, Yugoslavia was not obligated to provide military assistance, nor to provide its territory for Axis to move military forces during the war.  Yugoslavia’s inclusion in the Axis was not openly welcomed; Italy did not desire Yugoslavia to be a partner in the Axis alliance because Italy had territorial aims on Yugoslavia.  Germany, on the other hand, initially wanted Yugoslavia to participate in Germany’s then-planned Operation Marita in Greece by providing military access to German forces to travel from Germany through Yugoslavia to Greece.

Two days after signing the alliance in 1941, after demonstrations in the streets, Prince Paul was removed from office by a coup d’état.  17-year-old Prince Peter was proclaimed to be of age and was declared king.  The new Yugoslavian government under King Peter II, still fearful of invasion, stated that it would remain bound by the Tripartite Pact.  Hitler, however, suspected that the British were behind the coup against Prince Paul and vowed to invade the country.

The German invasion began on 6 April 1941.  Yugoslavia was a country concocted by the Treaty of Versailles as multi-ethnic state, and was heavily dominated by peoples of the Eastern Orthodox religion.  With unresolved questions of national identity, resistance to the Nazi occupation was not united until major resistance groups like the partisans and Chetniks formed and began making offensives in the Balkans.  Resistance crumbled in less than two weeks and an unconditional surrender was signed in Belgrade on 17 April.  King Peter II and much of the Yugoslavian government had left the country because they did not want to cooperate with the Axis.

While Yugoslavia was no longer capable of being a member of the Axis, several Axis-aligned puppet states emerged after the kingdom was dissolved.  Local governments were set up in Serbia, Croatia, and Montenegro.  The remainder of Yugoslavia was divided among the other Axis powers.  Germany annexed parts of Drava Banovina.  Italy annexed south-western Drava Banovina, coastal parts of Croatia (Dalmatia and the islands), and attached Kosovo to Albania (occupied since 1939).  Hungary annexed several border territories of Vojvodina and Baranja.  Bulgaria annexed Macedonia and parts of southern Serbia.  (Wikipedia)

Serbia under German Occupation

In April 1941 Germany invaded and occupied Yugoslavia.  On 30 April a pro-German Serbian administration was formed under Milan A?imovi?.  In 1941, after the invasion of the Soviet Union, a guerilla campaign against the Germans and Italians was launched by the communist partisans under Josip Broz Tito.  The uprising became a serious concern for the Germans, as most of their forces were deployed to Russia; only three divisions were in the country.  On 13 August 546 Serbs, including many of the country’s most prominent and influential leaders, issued an appeal to the Serbian nation that called for loyalty to the Nazis and condemned the partisan resistance as unpatriotic. 

Two weeks after the appeal, with the partisan insurgency beginning to gain momentum, 75 prominent Serbs convened a meeting in Belgrade and formed a Government of National Salvation under Serbian General Milan Nedi? to replace the existing Serbian administration.  On 29 August the German authorities installed General Nedi? and his government in power.  Nedi? would serve as Prime Minister, while the former Regent, Prince Paul, was recognized as head of state.  The Germans were short of police and military forces in Serbia, and came to rely on armed Serbian formations to maintain order.  By October, 1941, Serbian forces under German supervision became increasingly effective against the resistance.  These Serbian formations were German-armed and equipped.

Royal Yugoslav Air Force

The original Royal Yugoslav Air Force operated from 1918 to 1941 and at the start of World War Twowas equipped with a large number of modern combat aircraft from numerous nations which were purchased directly and licence-built. These included Bristol Blenheim I (61), Dornier Do 17K (69) and Savoia-Marchetti SM.79K (40) bombers and fighters such as the Hawker Hurricane I (47), Messerschmitt Bf-109E-3 (73) and the then relatively new, home-grown  Rogožarski IK-3 (11 with more under construction).

In total the Royal Yugoslav Air Force had over 460 aircraft and 2,000 pilots at the outbreak of the Second World War.  Unfortunately, the air force ceased to exist following the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia, which commenced on 6 April 1941 and ended in surrender by the Kingdom of Yugoslavia on 18 April 1941.

Warplanes of the Second World War preserved in Serbia by aircraft type, serial number, registration number and location:

Belgrade Aviation Museum (BAM)

 (BAM Photo)

Bücker Bü 133 (Wk. Nr.).

 (BAM Photo)

de Hasvilland DH.82 Tiger Moth, NM150.

 (BAM Photo, 22 July 1952)

de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito FB Mk. VI.  Yugoslavia purchased 77 Mosquito fighter-bombers in 1951-1952 (most were retired by 1960 but 9 were kept operational until 1963 with a sea-reconnaissance squadron and were mainly used as target tugs) and in 1952.

 (BAM Photo)

 (Sr?an Popovi? Photo)

Douglas C-47B Skytrain, 214.

Fieseler Fi 156C Storch (Wk. Nr. 9393), Reg. No. YU-COE 91.

Focke-Wulf Fw 190F-8/R1 (Wk. Nr. 930838) 3, in storage awating restoration.

 (BAM Photo)

 (Marko M Photo)

Hawker Hurricane Mk. IV (Serial No. LD785), RP.  Yugoslav Aeronautical Museum.

 (BAM Photo)

Ikarus S-49 with Yugoslav Air Force pilots, 1940.

 (Marko M Photo)

Ikarus S-49 similar in appearance to the Yakovlev Yak-9 but a new design based off an advanced development of the Rogozarski IK-3 fighter, previously operated by the Royal Yugoslav Air Force from 1940 to 1941.  The S-49A model (45 in service from 1950) had a Soviet Klimov M-105 engine which was later replaced in 1952 with a Hispano-Suiza 12Z-17 engine in the S-49C model (113 in service from 1952).  The S-49 with a top speed of 628 km/h / 390 mph and armed with an engine mounted 20mm cannon, two 12.7-mm machine guns plus underwing bombs/rockets remained in service from 1950 to 1961 (the S-49A was retired in 1957).  One S-49C is on display at the Belgrade Aeronautical Museum.

  (Marko M Photo)

 (BAM Photo)

Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik.

Junkers Ju 52/3m (Wk. Nr. 7208) 222.

Junkers Ju 87B-2 (Wk. Nr. 9801) 0406.

Lockheed P-38L Lightning (Serial No. 44-25786), in storage awaiting restoration in the Museum of Aviation, Belgrade.

  (Orlovic Photo)

 (BAM Photo)

 (Marko M Photo)

Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2 (Wk. Nr. 9663), (Wk. Nr. 14792), ex-GJ + QJ, ex-Yugoslavian AF 9663 "63", Yugoslavian Aviation Museum, Belgrade.

 (BAM Photo)

 (Marko M Photo)

North American Harvard Mk. IIB (Serial No. FT152).

North American P-51D-5NA Mustang (Serial No. 44-13278), Belgrade Air Museum.

 (BAM Photo)

 (Marko M Photo)

Polikarpov Po-2 (Serial No. 0089), YU-CNT.

 (Marko M Photos)

 (BAM Photo)

Republic F-47D-40E Thunderbolt.  The Yugoslav Air Force received 150 heavy hitting P-47s in 1951-52 that became their primary fighter-bomber until their were relegated to a training role in 1957 and retired by 1961. 

 (BAM Photo)

Supermarine Spitfires of RAF No. 352 (Y) Squadron (Balkan Air Force), before their first mission on 18 Aug 1944, from Canne  airport, Italy.

  (Marko M Photo)

 (BAM Photos)

Supermarine Spitfire F Mk. Vc Trop (Serial No. JK808), Former Yugolsav Air Force (Serial No. 17-545), painted in RAF No. 352 (Yugoslav) Squadron colours as worn in March 1945.  It flew in 11 missions over the former Yugoslavia. It was transferred to the 1st Fighter Aviation Regiment of Yugoslav Air Force, in May 1945, then to Mostar Air Base HQ (today in Bosnia and Herzegovina) in August 1945.  In 1949, it received YAF (Serial No. 9489).  JK-808 was thoroughly restored in 1973 by Tehni?ka direkcija JAT( JAT Tehnika ) at Belgrade International Airport.

RAF No. 351 (Yugoslavian) Squadron was formed in Libya on 1 July 1944 flying Hawker Hurricane Mk.IIC fighter-bombers and re-equipped with the Hawker Hurricane Mk.IV in September 1944.  The Yugoslav pilots went on to fly combat operations over Italy and Yugoslavia from Oct 1944 to 16 May 1945 as part of No. 281 Wing of the Balkan Air Force.  Their ground attack missions were naturally dangerous and 23 pilots including the Squadron Commander were lost in combat.

 (Marko M Photos)

 (BAM Photo)

Yakovlev Yak-3.

Yugoslav Air Force 1945

On 18 May 1945 both No. 351 and No. 352 squadrons became part of the official Yugoslav Air Force, forming the 1st Fighter Regiment at Zadar Airport in Croatia and the RAF officially disbanded both squadrons on 15 June 1945 (the 1st Fighter Regiment was short-lived though and disbanded with personnel and equipment redistributed to other units at the end of August 1945).  By wars end the pilots of No. 351 Squadron had flown 971 combat missions and No. 352 Squadron had flown 1210 missions.

By the end of the Second World War, Yugoslav pilots and crews flying with the RAF and the Soviet Air Force had valuable combat experience, flying some 3,500 combat sorties and 5,500 operational flying hours.  On 12 Sep 1945, the Military Aviation School was formed in Belgrade to train future air force pilots.

Post War Period

The air arm of Yugoslavia became one of the larger air forces in Europe with 40 squadrons by 1947.  The initial inventory of the Yugoslav Air Force in 1944/45 was a mix of British and Soviet fighter aircraft that included the Supermarine Spitfire (18 Mk. Vc operated until 1954, used as reconnaissance aircraft in later years of service and three Mk. IX operated from 1944 until 1945), Hawker Hurricane Mk. IV (over 20 operated from 1944 until 1951), Yakovlev Yak-3 (71 operated from 1944 to 1957) and Yakovlev Yak-9 (over 135 DD/P/M/U models from 1945 to 1957).  The fighter aircraft flew alongside ground attack aircraft like the “flying tank” Ilyushin Il-2M3 Sturmovik (over 200 operated from 1944 with the last in service until 1955) and the Petlyakov Pe-2FT/UP-2 light bomber (over 150 in service from 1945 to 1954).