Royal Romanian Air Force

The Air Arm of the Royal Romanian forces in World War II was officially named the Aeronautica Regala Romana (ARR), or the Romanian Royal Aeronautics, though it is more commonly referred to in English histories as the Forţele Aeriene Regale ale României (Royal Romanian Air Force, FARR), or simply Forţele Aeriene Române (Romanian Air Force). It provided support to land forces, carrying out reconnaissance and mounting air raids between other missions.

Royal Romanian Air Force
Insignia
Active1941-1944
Country Kingdom of Romania
TypeAir Force
RoleAerial warfare
Size322
Part ofRoyal Romanian forces
Garrison/HQBucharest
Nickname(s)ARR
ColoursYellow and Blue
EngagementsWorld War II
Battle of Stalingrad
Hungarian Invasion of Transylvania
Commanders
Notable CommandersMichael I of Romania
Insignia
Ensign
Roundel

Insignia

The insignia of the FARR was a yellow cross (Michael the Brave cross) in the fuselage and upper and lower wings, and the national colours on the tail, with a yellow engine cowling and vertical band on the fuselage. It was later changed at tricolor (red-yellow-blue) roundels on the fuselage and wings, and a tricolor band on the tail.

History

FARR flew aircraft from Germany and Italy, with their own and other foreign aircraft, as well as captured enemy aircraft. The Royal Romanian Air Force fought against the Magyar Királyi Honvéd Légierö (Royal Hungarian Air Force) during the Hungarian annexation of Transylvania. The most basic unit of their formations was the squadron (Grup). The Romanian Air Force fought alongside the Luftwaffe during the advance into the Ukraine and Crimea, until the Battle of Stalingrad, when the Southern Luftwaffe Command was installed in Bucharest. It also carried out some reconnaissance and patrol missions over the Black Sea alongside Bulgarian units. The Romanian Air Force was tasked with the air defence of the Ploieşti oil installations, and also Bucharest against Allied air raids, and to protect Axis convoys in the Black Sea. These units fought against the USAAF and RAF during their raids against Romania.

The main models of aircraft used include the PZL P.24F, Hawker Hurricane, Heinkel He 112, Messerschmitt 109E and G types, Messerschmitt 110 (for night defence), IAR 80A were used too, alongside other types of interceptors used by the Luftwaffe units in area.

When the country was invaded by Soviet forces, King Mihai I (Michael) ordered Romanian forces to attack Axis forces, and the FARR was allied with Soviet Voenno-vozdushniye Sily against German and Hungarian forces in Transylvania and Slovakia, though some units continued to fight with the Axis in Luftwaffe volunteer units.

Romanian Air Aces

Structure

  • Grupul 3° Picaj, Corpul 2° Aerian, Luftflotte 4, South Russia Front, Winter of 1943-44.
  • Grupul 3° Picaj, Corpul 1° Aerian, Cioara, Dolcesti, Romania August 1944; under orders of Luftwaffe, Luftflotte Kommando 4 with commands in Debrecen, Hungary.
  • 6th Fighter Group
  • 7th Fighter Group
  • 8th Fighter Group (1941–1943)
  • 9th Fighter Group
  • 5th Bomber Group

Aircraft companies

Aircraft constructed under foreign license

Enemy aircraft interned or captured

As a result of the Soviet Invasion of Poland, a large number of Polish Air Force aircraft were interned in Romania. Also, some Soviet aircraft were captured during World War II, as well as a few American B-24 Liberator bombers.

Aircraft of RRAF

Aircraft manufactured in Romania until the end of World War II

All of the aircraft listed below were completed before the end of World War II. Prototypes are omitted from the list. Unless specified otherwise, all aircraft machine guns have the caliber of 7.92 mm. All of the data is sourced from:[1]

Model Type Number Armament
SET 7KTraining, communication, observation202 x Lewis guns (twin mount)
SET 7KBReconnaissance and observation202 x Lewis guns (twin mount)
1 x Vickers machine gun
6 x 12 kg bombs
SET 7KDCommunication201 x Lewis gun
Potez 25Reconnaissance bomber1843 x machine guns
200 kg of bombs
IAR 37Light bomber504 x Browning machine guns
12 x 50 kg bombs
IAR 38Reconnaissance and artillery spotting753 x Browning machine guns
24 x 12 kg bombs
IAR 39Reconnaissance and light bomber2553 x Browning machine guns
24 x 12 kg bombs
Fieseler Fi 156Reconnaissance and communications161 x MG 15 machine gun
PZL P.11FFighter954 x FN Browning machine guns
24 x 12 kg bombs (38)
Grenade launchers (57)
PZL P.24EFighter252 x machine guns
2 x 20 mm autocannons
2 x 50 kg (110 lb) bombs
Grenade launchers
Bf 109 G-4Fighter172 x 20 mm MG 151 autocannons
2 x 13 mm MG 131 heavy machine guns
1 x 250 kg/4 x 50 kg bomb(s)
IAR 80Fighter494 x FN Browning machine guns
IAR 80AFighter916 x FN Browning machine guns
IAR 80BFighter502 x 13.2 mm FN Browning heavy machine guns
4 x FN Browning machine guns
IAR 80CFighter502 x 20 mm Ikaria autocannons
4 x FN Browning machine guns
IAR 81Fighter and dive bomber506 x FN Browning machine guns (4 for 10 of them)
2 x 13.2 mm FN Browning heavy machine gun (10 of them)
1 x 225 bomb
2 x 50 kg bombs
IAR 81AFighter and dive bomber102 x 13.2 mm FN Browning heavy machine guns
4 x FN Browning machine guns
1 x 225 kg bomb
2 x 50 kg bombs
IAR 81CFighter1482 x 20 mm MG 151 autocannons
2 x FN Browning machine guns
Werfer-Granate 21 (1)
JRS-79BBomber365 x machine guns
1,575 kg of bombs
JRS-79B1Bomber311 x 20 mm Ikaria autocannon
7 x machine guns
1,400 kg of bombs
Savoia-Marchetti SM.62Flying boat54 x machine guns
600 kg of bombs

References

  1. Mark Axworthy, London: Arms and Armour, 1995, Third Axis, Fourth Ally: Romanian Armed Forces in the European War, 1941–1945, pp. 239-272
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