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Storm over Belgrade
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From April 7th 16:00 GMT to April 8th 16:00 GMT


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60 enemy aircraft in Arcade battles

or 20 enemy aircraft in Realistic battles

or 10 enemy Aircraft in Simulator battles

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By  Oleg "QuarterNinja" Hrustić


The attack on Yugoslavia and aerial bombing of Belgrade was directly influenced by a military coup d'état that was carried out on March 27th by a group of Royal Yugoslav Air Force and Yugoslav Royal Guard officers led by Brigadier General Borivoje Mirkovic which was opposed to a Tripartite Pact signing which in turn was done by the Yugoslav government once all of it’s neighbours had signed it.

The Coup d'état angered Hitler who took it as personal insult and and was so angered that he was determined, in his words, "to destroy Yugoslavia militarily and as a nation" (Jugoslawien militärisch und als Staatsgebilde zu zerschlagen), and to do so "without waiting for possible declarations of loyalty of the new government". On the same day he issued Führer Directive 25 which called Yugoslavia a hostile state. That day Hitler decided Belgrade would be bombed in retribution.

The Operation was carried out by the commander of Luftflotte IV, Generaloberst (General) Alexander Löhr who changed Hitler’s orders of the general destruction of Belgrade into military objectives at the last minute. The Germans had 2236 aircraft (1570 German and 666 Italian) including, He-111P, Ju-88A, Do-17Z, Ju-87B, Bf-109E, Bf-110C, S.79, G.50, CR.42 while the Royal Yugoslav Air Force had 494 airplanes, only 269 of modern type including the Hawker Fury, IK-2, IK-3, Hurricane Mk.I, Bf-109E, Blenheim Mk.I, Do-17K, S.79.

On 6th April 1941 07:00, a massive attack on Belgrade started and lasted for two days. The first waves of Ju-87 dive bombers which were tasked with the destruction of anti air defences were followed by level bombers, mostly Ju-88 and Do-17 which in the course of two days dropped between 215–360 long tons on the Yugoslav capital. Although tasked with the destruction of military and government targets, the Belgrade bombing destroyed objects like the National Library of Serbia which was hit by bombs and set on fire, in the process hundreds of thousands of books, maps, rare documents and medieval manuscripts were destroyed.

The bomb damaged Old Palace in central Belgrade; Bundesarchiv, B 145 Bild-F016226-0005A / CC-BY-SA

Tasked with the defense of Belgrade was the elite 6th Fighter Wing armed with modern Bf-109E-3 and IK-3 fighters with the 2nd Fighter Wing armed with modern Bf-109E-3 and Hawker Hurricane fighters which joined the defense later in the day. Even with overwhelming odds against them, the Yugoslav pilots fought valiantly. They usually fought in small groups usually outnumbered 3 to 1 or more but still they kept coming until there were no more planes to fly and no more airfields to take off from.

This is a short extract told by kapetan I klase Milutin Grozdanovic. “At 06:30 a big formation of bombers flew over us, must be a hundred of them at least. As soon as we have seen them we jumped into our planes which were ready from 03:00 in the morning. We flew in pairs and after 2-3 minutes we managed to catch up with them. The Commander of the group Danilo Ðordevic as well as Božidar Ercigoj, Radoslav Stamenkovic and I attacked bombers, each of us attacked one. we had two cannons and two machine guns each.

After a short break at 10:00 we attacked German bombers again, there was so many of them, some were flying towards Belgrade, some were coming back, oh my god there is so many of them. On the return I’ve seen big group of 60-70 German Stuka dive-bombers. I attacked from distance of 20-30 meters not even using sights. We were so eager to fight that we didn’t care if we shot down plane or not, we just kept attacking until we run out of ammo. Then and only then I flew low towards the airfield to replenish the ammo and fuel and give a chance to other pilots to take off.

In enduring the battles, lieutenant Vasa Kolarov managed to shoot down two Stukas, but German fighters got him. Heavily wounded he still managed to jump out of his plane. To intercept the last Luftwaffe attack at 16:00, April 6th Lieutenant Colonel Božidar Kostic commander of 6th Fighter Wing took off in his Bf-109E-3. In enduring the battle he managed to shoot down two enemy planes.

Unfortunately traitors in midst of army were doing everything in their power to undermine efforts of the Royal Yugoslav Air Force by guiding Germans to attack reserve airfields, ammo / fuel dumps and any other target worth of attacking. One of these traitors was captain Valter Kren who escaped to Vienna with a Potez-25 where he gave the enemy stolen plans of places of gathering and auxiliary airfields used by the Yugoslav Army.

Rogožarski SIM-XIV-H

In the short April war, the Royal Yugoslav Air Force managed to shoot down around 95 enemy planes for loss of around 80 planes. Many bomber squadrons executed multiple attacks against targets in Hungary, Austria, Bulgaria etc. Most of the the Royal Yugoslav Air Force planes were destroyed either in combat, bombing or by its crews on the ground.

In the midst of the Belgrade bombing No. 37 Squadron of the Royal Air Force conducted two bombing raids on Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. This was done as retaliation for the bombing of Belgrade. No. 37 Squadron, operating Vickers Wellington bombers flying from the Greece, conducted raids on 6–7 April and 12–13 April, dropping 30 long tons of high-explosive bombs on targets. These raids were carried out despite the fact that Britain was not at war with Bulgaria until 12th December 1941.

As a special treat to all our players we are introducing the roundel of the Royal Yugoslav Air Force which will come in patch 1.39. Enjoy.


War Thunder Team

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