|Warplanes of the Second World War preserved in Slovakia
Warplanes of the Second World War preserved in Slovakia
The aim of this website is to locate, identify and document Warplanes from the Second World War preserved in Slovakia. 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 Slovakia would be most welcome and may be e-mailed to the author at email@example.com.
Data current to 25 Oct 2018.
Slovakia (Tiso regime)
The Slovak Republic under President Josef Tiso signed the Tripartite Pact on November 24, 1940. Slovakia had been closely aligned with Germany almost immediately from its declaration of independence from Czechoslovakia on 14 March 1939. Slovakia entered into a treaty of protection with Germany on 23 March 1939.
Slovak troops joined the German invasion of Poland, having interest in Spiš and Orava. Those two regions, along with Cieszyn Silesia, had been disputed between Poland and Czechoslovakia since 1918. The Poles fully annexed them following the Munich Agreement. After the invasion of Poland, Slovakia reclaimed control of those territories.
Slovakia invaded Poland alongside German forces, contributing 50,000 men at this stage of the war. Slovakia declared war on the Soviet Union in 1941 and signed the revived Anti-Comintern Pact of 1941. Slovak troops fought on Germany’s Eastern Front, furnishing Germany with two divisions totaling 80,000 men. Slovakia declared war on the United Kingdom and the United States in 1942. Slovakia was spared German military occupation until the Slovak National Uprising, which began on 29 August 1944, and was almost immediately crushed by the Waffen SS and Slovak troops loyal to Josef Tiso. After the war, Tiso was executed and Slovakia was rejoined with Czechoslovakia. The border with Poland was shifted back to the pre-war state. Slovakia and the Czech Republic finally separated into independent states in 1993. (Wikipedia)
After the division of Czechoslovakia by Nazi Germany in 1939, Slovakia was left with a small air force composed primarily of Czechoslovakian combat aircraft. This force defended Slovakia against Hungary in 1939, and took part in the invasion of Poland in support of Germany. During the Second World War, the Slovak Air force was charged with the defence of Slovak airspace, and, after the invasion of Russia, provided air cover for Slovak forces fighting against the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front. While engaged on the Eastern Front, Slovakia’s 24 obsolete Avia B-534 biplane fighters were replaced with German combat aircraft, including the Messerschmitt Bf 109. The air force was sent back to Slovakia after combat fatigue and desertion had reduced the pilots’ effectiveness. Slovak air units took part in the Slovak National Uprising against Germany from late August 1944.
The Avia B-534 was a Czechoslovak biplane fighter produced during the Second World War. There are no real surviving airframes, but a B-534 replica is on display in the Prague Aviation Museum, Kbely, Czech Republic. A second replica is displayed at the Slovak Technical Museum at Košice International Airport, Slovakia. Both of these replicas use some original parts in their construction.
On 1 September 1938, less than a month before the Munich Agreement would cause Czechoslovakia to lose 30% of its territory and 34% of its population, 328 B-534 and Bk-534s equipped 21 fighter squadrons of the Czechoslovak Air Force, with other aircraft being assigned to reserve and training squadrons, and deliveries continuing of the final batch of fighters. On 14 March 1939, Germany forced the partition of Czechoslovakia, with Slovakia being declared as the nominally independent Slovak Republic with Germany annexing the remaining “Czech” part of Czechoslovakia as the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia the next day. The Slovenské vzdušné zbrane (Slovak Air Force) was organised out of the units of the Czechoslovak Air Force that were based in Slovakia at the time of partition, and inherited about 71 B-534s and Bk-534s.
Slovakia quickly had to use its new formed air force, weakened by the departure of Czech pilots, to defend itself when Hungary invaded on 23 March 1939. Two B-534s were shot down by Hungarian anti-aircraft fire with four more being shot down by Hungarian Fiat CR-32 fighters and another Avia making a forced landing behind Hungarian lines, and being captured.
In September 1939, Slovakia participated in the German Invasion of Poland, with the aim of regaining territories lost to Poland at Munich. Two squadrons of B-534s supported the attack, escorting Luftwaffe Junkers Ju 87 bombers on eight missions, losing two B-534s while claiming a single Polish RWD-8 liaison aircraft shot down. The same squadrons served with the Germans in Ukraine during summer 1941, with one squadron returning in 1942 for anti-partisan duty. Obsolescence, lack of spare parts and the old Czechoslovak air force’s curious fuel mixture (BiBoLi, or some other mix of alcohol, benzol and petrol) finally relegated the surviving B-534s to training duties.
This would have been the last operational service of the B-534s in Slovak colors if not for the Slovak National Uprising of September–October 1944. The rest of the Slovak air assets did not turn-coat as expected and the leaders of the uprising were faced with using a rag-tag collection of leftover aircraft, including several B-534s at Tri Duby airfield. On 2 September 1944, Master Sergeant František Cyprich, just after testing a repaired B-534, downed a Junkers Ju 52 transport under Hungarian colours on its way to a base in occupied Poland. This was at once the first aerial victory for the Uprising and the last recorded biplane air-to-air victory. As the Slovak National Uprising was desperate for available aircraft, Sergeant Cyprich was derided by his colonel for not trying to force the Junkers Ju 52 to land and be captured instead. The last two B-534s at Tri Duby were burned as the base was evacuated on 25 October 1944. (Wikipedia)
Aviation Museums of Slovakia
Muzeum Letectva, Kosice Airport, 041 75.
Vojenske Historicke Muzeum, Zilinska 6545, Piestany, 921 01.
Dopravne Muzeum, Bardejovska, Presov.