sunnuntai 24. syyskuuta 2017

Constantin Cantacuzino

Constantin Cantacuzino (nicknamed Bâzu; 11 November 1905 – 26 May 1958) was a Romanian aviator, one of his country's leading World War II fighter aces, and a member of the Cantacuzino family.

In 1939 he won the national aerial aerobatics contest with his Bü 133 Jungmeister and in 1941 was named chief pilot of the Romanian national air transport company LARES. Even though this was a comfortable job, he managed to get in the front line as a fighter pilot in the 53rd Fighter Squadron (equipped with Hurricane Mk.I).
                Kuvahaun tulos haulle Constantin Cantacuzino
                                                  (Asisbiz foto)

After the capture of Odessa, the Romanian Army reduced the number of front line troops and he was one of the reservists who were sent home. He took up his position at LARES. However he managed to arrange a return to active duty in 1943. On 26 April 1943 he was remobilized and assigned to the 7th Fighter Group, which was equipped with the new Messerschmitt Bf-109. On 5 May he arrived on the front line and was named commander of the 58th Fighter Squadron. 

On 29 June, he and his wingman engaged four Yakolevs, two La-5s and four Spitfires, while trying to protect three Romanian Ju-88s bombers. His wingman was badly hit and forced to return to base. He continued the fight on his own and shot down two Spitfires. His aircraft was damaged, but managed to escape and make a belly landing. Two of the bombers were destroyed. In July he flew both day and night missions, even though his aircraft was not equipped for low-visibility flying. Cantacuzino tried to stop the Soviet night bombings of his airfield. The Germans protested, considered him a little mad, so he eventually gave up the night missions.
                Kuvahaun tulos haulle Constantin Cantacuzino
On 27 July 1943, he shot down the Soviet Air Forces' flying ace Nikolay F. Khimushin (12 kills). Between 2 and 5 August he shot down nine aircraft (four Yaks and five Ilyushin Il-2 ground attack aircraft), raising his score to 27. On 5 August he was alone on patrol and he encountered a Soviet formation about 40-50 planes strong (Il-2s and Yaks). He realized that he could not destroy them all, but felt he could inflict some damage on the formation. He dove into the Il-2 formation and shot down two of them before he was attacked by the Soviet fighters. He managed to shake them off and shoot down one. The day of 16 August was an excellent day for the pilots of the 7th Fighter Group. They scored 22 confirmed kills and five probables, with Cantacuzino shooting down three (two La-5s and a Il-2). On 28 August he received the Iron Cross, 1st class.
                Aiheeseen liittyvä kuva
                                                         IAR 80M
                Kuvahaun tulos haulle Constantin Cantacuzino
                                                      IAR 81C
In the autumn of 1943 Cantacuzino became ill and was interned in a hospital and was kept from the front so he could rest and recuperate. On 10 February 1944 he returned to active duty in the 7th Fighter Group, which was sent to the front with the Soviets in Moldova. On 15 April, there was a USAAF raid and Cantacuzino and his wingmen attacked the bomber formations and shot down six B-24 Liberators (the prince got one himself). He continued flying missions against the Soviet Air Force and scored several victories.

In August 1944, Cantacuzino became the commander of the 9th Fighter Group, succeeding Captain Alexandru Şerbănescu, who was shot down in combat with US fighters on August 18.

After 23 August 1944, when Romania quit the Axis, the Luftwaffe started bombing Bucharest from airfields close to the capital which were still in German hands. The remains of the 7th and 9th Fighter Groups were brought in to protect the capital. Cantacuzino shot down 3 Heinkel He-111s on this occasion.

Bazu cantacuzino.jpgCantacuzino was then given a special mission: to transport Lieutenant-Colonel James Gunn III, the highest ranking American prisoner-of-war in Romania, to the airbase at Foggia and return to Romania with 56 B-17s converted for transport duty to airlift 1,274 U.S. PoWs. He returned flying a P-51 Mustang because his Bf-109 could not be refueled.                                                                                                                                     Constantin Cantacuzino  >>>     He needed only one flight to become familiar with the new aircraft and dazzled the Americans with his aerobatics.
Cantacuzino was credited with 43 aerial victories (one shared) and 11 unconfirmed. According to the counting system used through much of the war, his kill total was 69, the highest in the Romanian Air Force.
After the war ended, Cantacuzino was demobilized and returned to LARES. The USSR imposed a communist regime that confiscated private property and began imprisoning the old elite and opponents of the regime. 

Aiheeseen liittyvä kuva
Cantacuzino lost all his land and soon his wife left him. In 1946 he married Nadia Gray. He managed to escape to Italy in 1947 and then he settled in Spain. There he was helped by the Romanian community to buy himself an airplane, in order to earn his living at air shows.

Cantacuzino was born in Bucharest. His father was Mihai Cantacuzino and his mother Maria Rosetti; they were both from old Romanian noble families. After his father died, Maria Rosetti married for a second time, to George Enescu (Romania's greatest composer and a world class violinist).

Constantin Cantacuzino went to high-school in Bucharest. He loved motor sports and he could afford to practice them all the time. He was an excellent motor bike racer, winning several races, and driver. He set a new record on the Paris-Bucharest race. 

He also played tennis and was the captain of the Romanian ice hockey team at the World Championships in 1931 and 1933.

He was the father of novelist Oana Orlea.

lauantai 23. syyskuuta 2017

Ivan Kozhedub

Chief Marshal of Aviation Ivan Kozhedub (Russian: Иван Hикитович Кожедуб; Ukrainian: Іван Микитович Кожедуб; June 8, 1920 – August 8, 1991) was a Soviet military aviator and a World War II fighter ace. Kozhedub took a part in the Korean War as a commander of the 324th Fighter Air Division. 

He is credited with 64 +2 (P-51) individual air victories, most of them flying the Lavochkin La-5 – the top scoring fighter pilot on the Allied side during World War II. He is one of the few pilots to have shot down a Messerschmitt Me 262 jet. He was made a Hero of the Soviet Union on three occasions 
(4 February 1944; 19 August 1944; 18 August 1945).

KozhedubIN.jpgKozhedub was of Ukrainian descent. He was born in the village of Obrazhiyevka, a settlement in the Sumy region during the Russian Civil War. He was the youngest of five children. 

For two years he attended a school for young workers, and in early 1940 graduated from the Shostka chemical technical school. Kozhedub learned to fly aircraft in the Shostkinsk aeroclub and joined the Soviet army in 1940. He graduated from the Chuguev Military Air School in 1941 at the start of the German invasion of the Soviet Union, but he was retained as an instructor. Kozhedub remained at the school for two years where he trained many young Soviet pilots.

Feeling his talents would be better used in combat, he requested a transfer to an operational unit and in March 1943 was posted, as a Starshii Serzhant (Senior Sergeant), to 240th IAP, one of the first units to receive the new Lavochkin La-5.

After his first military flight on 26 March 1943, he operated on the Voronezh Front and, in July over the Kursk battlefields. His first kill was a Junkers Ju 87 Stuka shot down during the Battle of Kursk on 6 July 1943. By 16 August he had claimed eight air victories. He was promoted to Mladshii Leitenant (Junior Lieutenant). 
                 Kuvahaun tulos haulle Ivan Kozhedub
Then his unit moved towards Kharkiv. At this time he usually flew escort for Petlyakov Pe-2 twin-engine bombers. During World War II, he then served as a fighter pilot in several areas (Steppe Front, 2nd Ukrainian Front, 1st Belorussian Front) and at different ranks, starting from senior airman up to the deputy commander of the air regiment. He claimed his 61st and 62nd victories – his final claims – over Berlin on 16 April 1945.
Kozhedub holds the record for the highest number of confirmed air combat victories of any Soviet or Allied pilot (effectively the Allied "Ace of Aces") during World War II. He is regarded as the best Soviet flying ace of the war, and is associated with flying the Lavochkin La-7. He was also reputed to have a natural gift for deflection shooting, i.e. aiming ahead of a moving target at the time of firing so that the projectile and target will collide.

Kozhedub's World War II record consists of:
330 combat missions
120 aerial engagements
62 enemy aircraft shot down, including one Me 262 jet fighter (possibly Uffz Kurt Lange of 1./KG(J)54
In 1949 Kozhedub graduated from the Air Force Academy.
In April 1951, promoted to Polkovnik (colonel), he commanded the 324th IAD (Fighter Air Division) and dispatched to Antung airfield on the China-North Korea border to fly the MiG 15 during the Korean War supporting the North Korean forces. He was not given permission to participate in combat missions. Under his leadership the 324th IAD claimed 239 victories, including 12 Boeing B-29 Superfortresses for the loss of 27 MiG-15s in combat and 9 pilots.

In 1956 he graduated from the High Command Academy, after which he was promoted to General. From 1971 he served in the Central Office of the Soviet Air Force and from 1978 in the general inspection group of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR. He was made an Aviation Marshal in 1985.

Kozhedub was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union with the Order of Lenin three times (1944, 1944, 1945), seven Orders of the Red Banner, two Order of Alexander Nevsky, two Orders of the Red Star, Order of the Patriotic War First Class, and numerous medals. He was promoted to his final rank of Marshal shortly before retirement.
                  Aiheeseen liittyvä kuva
As with other famous figures, some myths have sprung up around Kozhedub's life. One story is that once he encountered a group of American B-17 Flying Fortresses under attack by Luftwaffe aircraft. 

The story goes on to suggest that his aircraft was mistaken by American escort fighters for the enemy and attacked. Kozhedub, having no other option, defended himself by shooting down two of the P-51 Mustangs. So far, this story is not confirmed completely. Film footage exists that had been touted as Kozhedub's actual gun camera film from the event. 

However, it is highly suspect, as the footage was shot using Zeiss equipment, which was used primarily by the Luftwaffe, and the aircraft shown in the footage are shown with drop tanks attached. This would seem to contradict the story that Kozhedub was jumped by the P-51s, as the attacking fighters would normally drop these tanks before entering combat. 

A more likely story is that the gun camera footage was from a Luftwaffe aircraft which attacked American aircraft in an unrelated incident. However, another aircraft was shown without drop tanks, which can mean that the first pilot was unable or forgot to release his tanks, or perhaps even decided not to do so.

A military university in Kharkiv is named in his honor, the Kozhedub University of the Air Force.

perjantai 22. syyskuuta 2017

Farman 222

The Farman F.220 and its derivatives were thick-sectioned, high-winged, four engined monoplanes from Farman Aviation Works. Based on the push-pull configuration proven by the F.211, design started in August 1925 and the first flight of the prototype was on May 26, 1932. 

The definitive F.222 variant was the biggest bomber to serve in France between the world wars. One variant was designed as an airliner.

After testing the sole F.220 prototype, Farman made a number of changes to the design, including a new tail fin, fully enclosing the nose and ventral gunners' positions, and changing from V-engines to radials. The first example of this version, dubbed the F.221 flew in May 1933, and was followed by ten production examples delivered to the Armee de l'Air from June 1936. 

These machines featured hand-operated turrets for the three gunners' stations. Meanwhile, the prototype F.220 was sold to Air France, where christened Le Centaur, it flew as a mail plane on the South Atlantic route. This led to a batch of four similar aircraft being built for the airline.
                                                  Wings balette

General characteristics
Crew: five or six
Length: 21.5m 
Wingspan: 36.2m 
Height: 5.2m 
Wing area: 188 m2 
Empty weight: 10,488 kg 
Loaded weight: 18,700 kg 
Powerplant: 4 × Gnome-Rhône 14N-11 radial engines, 708 kW (950 hp) each
Maximum speed: 320 km/h at 3,960 m 
Cruise speed: 280 km/h at 3960 m 
Range: 1,995 km 
Service ceiling: 8,460 m 
Rate of climb: 473 m/min 
Guns: three 7.5mm MAC 1934 manually aimed in nose turret, dorsal and ventral positions

Bombs: 5,190 kg (F.222/2)

The F.222 variant began to enter service with Armee de l'Air in the spring of 1937. Unlike its predecessor, this plane featured a retractable undercarriage. Twenty-four aircraft were produced with redesigned front fuselages and dihedral added to the outer wing. During World War II these planes were used in leaflet raids over Germany and then night bombing raids during May and June 1940. These resulted in three losses.

The Farman F.222 was involved in a notable operation carried out by French fighter pilot James Denis. On June 20, 1940, realising that the Battle of France was lost, Denis borrowed a Farman F.222 from an airbase near Saint-Jean-d'Angély. He flew to Britain with twenty of his friends, and joined the Free French Air Force, in which service he subsequently became an ace, shooting down nine German aircraft.

The F.223 (redesignated NC.223 when Farman was absorbed into SNCAC) incorporated significant changes, including a twin tail and a considerably refined fuselage. The first prototype was ordered as a long range mail plane and in October 1937 established a record by flying 621 miles with a 22,046 lb payload. 

The Ministere d l'Air ordered a production run of 8 of the NC223.3 variation which was commenced in 1939. A variant NC 223.4 Jules Verne of Naval Aviation French was the first Allied bomber to raid Berlin: on the night of 7 June 1940 aircraft of this variant dropped eight bombs of 250 kg and 80 of 10 kg weight on the German capital. This operation, which was of a primarily psychological-warfare nature, was repeated three days later.
The first NC 223.3 bombers were delivered on May 1940 and participated in night bombing attacks on Germany before being transferred to North Africa in June 1940. The bombers were subsequently relegated to transport roles, seeing service with both the Vichy regime and the Free French.

The F.224 was a dedicated civil variant able to seat 40 passengers. Six machines were produced for Air France, but were ultimately rejected because the 224 could not maintain altitude on three engines. The aircraft went on to serve in the Armée de l'Air instead with a reduced payload.