Tuesday, June 16, 2015

BAF Hurricanes and Spitfires

There were two Yugoslav squadrons in the RAF during WW II, 352 squadron (Prva eskadrila NOVJ) and 351 squadron (Druga eskadrila NOVJ).

The so called Prva eskadrila NOVJ (The first squadron of the National Liberation Army of Yugoslavia) initially trained on Harvards and later on Hurricanes Mk II C in North Africa, and re equipped with Spitfire MkVc for operations. They also had a few Mk Vb which were passed over to other units as they standardized on MkVc by September 1944.

The so called Druga eskadrila NOVJ (The second squadron of the National Liberation Army of Yugoslavia) trained on Hurricane MkIIc, and re equipped with Hurricane Mk IV RP. Hurricane Mk IV RP were used extensively in the Balkans until the end of the war. Mk IIc were used just for training in Africa.

Most of the aircraft in both squadrons were in continental camouflage of Dark Green, Dark Sea Grey and Sea Grey Medium, however there were aircraft in tropical camouflage of Mid Stone, Dark Earth and Azure Blue (a Hurricane MkIIc in Africa, LD116/A, Spitfire MkVc HM592/G). All the Hurricanes had tropical filters, while all but one Spitfire had the Vokes filter (MH592 had the Aboukir type).

One spitfire had the unusual combination of Azure Blue undersurfaces with Dark Green and Dark Sea Grey upper surfaces.

Markings were modified from the standard British ones by adding a five pointed red star in the place of the red circle on British markings. These were the ONLY machines operational in the RAF which did not carry the standard RAF markings.

On spitfires there were three types of markings on upper wing surfaces:
1. Red star inscribed in blue disk, no white (early operations autumn 1944.)
2. Red star inscribed in blue disk, but white disk added also, similar to a star inscribed in pre war British roundel, in the blue disk.
3. As above, but red star inscribed in white disk, instead of blue (late war, spring 1945).

Hurricanes in Africa had type 1 or 2, in the Balkans mostly type 2 or 3, some even had a yellow surround to the star in Africa.

Undersurface markings were almost universally type 2 on Spits, except on one, the same also on Hurricanes. Fuselage marking on Spits was essentially type C1 RAF roundel with red star inscribed, but more varied on the Hurricanes, sometimes with very wide white area.

Tail markings were reworked from RAF fin flash, by widening the white area to pre 1942 standard, and had a star inscribed in white. Sometimes, the red and blue colours were reversed as well. No squadron codes were worn, just the aircraft letter.

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