FOREWORD

HB W.18

The work on this book started almost by chance. Being the aviation history enthusiast for all subjects related to the territory of ex-Yugoslavia, I met many interesting people and accumulated some extraordinary materials about Austro-Hungarian Naval Aviation throughout the years, but never studied them in detail. Proposal for preparation of an exhibition about naval aviation in Southern Adriatic for a private museum in Montenegro lead into a new field of research and uncovered a fascinating story of flying, made by, today long forgotten, men of many nationalities. The exhibition was eventually canceled, but the intrigue of naval airmen from Bocche remained, too deep to be left aside. Eventually, this book is the first result of it. The one about Royal Yugoslav Naval Aviation will follow.
Many facts and occurrences, however, have long been lost and, unfortunately, will remain unknown forever. In November 1918 complete war archive of Seeflugstation Kumbor was taken away and hidden by its chief administrator Nikša Nardelli. Unfortunately, he destroyed it during a move in 1954. Today, there are no more living witnesses from the epoch and few published memoirs and documents scattered in archives and private collections across Europe cannot always provide a clear picture of the events. Eventually, I have no doubt that I could have made some misinterpretations and omissions on the pages that follow.
It must be stressed that none of this would have been possible without generous help from people from around the world which share the same passion as I do. My dear friends and colleagues, Peter Schupita, Bernd Tötschinger, Vladimir Dronjić, Peter Plattner, Oliver Trulei and Dieter Winkler from Austria, Mario Raguž, Josip Novak, Danijel Frka, Dragutin Prica and Robert Čopec from Croatia, Jan Zahálka and Zdeněk Čejka from Czech Republic, David Méchin from France, Zvonimir Freivogel from Germany, Lászlo Jávór and Dénes Bernárd from Hungary, Mauro Antonellini, Paolo Varriale and Gregory Alegi from Italy, Čedomir Janić (+), Ognjan Petrović, Dragan Savić, Dragan Šaler, Predrag Miladinović, Šime Oštrić, Mario Hrelja, Aleksandar Radić, Veljko Leković, Vuk Lončarević, Milan Micevski, Aleksandar Smiljanić, Miodrag Savić and Aleksandar Stošović from Serbia, Bogdana Marinac, Tomaš Perme and Marko Ličina from Slovenia, Ray Rimell from United Kingdom, and Paul Halpern and Grant Moulton from the United States, have been of tremendous help and I am so grateful for that. I would especially like to thank the late Austro-Hungarian naval aviators and their families, both those that I had the privilege to meet in person as well as those known by my friends and colleagues, which enabled me to get acquainted with their heritage, foremost the families of Heinrich Bayer von Bayersburg, Stevan Drakulić, Većeslav Dujšin, Dušan Đukić, Federik Miroslav Gogala Dominis, Dimitrije Konjović, Konstantin Maglić, Artur, Eduard and Albert Malbohan, Nikša Nardelli, Georg Freiherr Regner von Bleyleben, Dragutin Reman, Antun Sesan, Miroslav Štumberger, Aleksandar Ulmanski od Vračevog Gaja, Todor Vrbica and Walter Zelezny.
A centenary after the appearance of the first flying boats in Bocche, as the work on this book neared its finish, news arrived from Montenegro that building of a tourist complex at the location of former naval air station has begun. Instead of being a war-haven, Kumbor will become one of the most beautiful and luxurious resorts in the Mediterranean. Thanks to the understanding of Azerbaijan investors from Azmont Investments and Montenegrin Ministry of Culture and government, hangars H12 and H14 were saved from destruction, dismantled and taken to Belgrade Aviation Museum in Serbia. There, the unique industrial monuments will become a part of the exhibition and shelter for historical aircraft in the future. The monument erected in 1939 to the fallen aviators of the Royal Yugoslav Naval Aviation will stay in Kumbor as a sole testimony of the extraordinary aviation history of the Bocche. And whoever comes to Kumbor in a year or two, will never guess how different, interesting and variegated this place must have been in the past, with all those colourful seaplanes and their tamers. While writing these lines, on the 100th anniversary of the decisive shots fired by Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo, I hope that this book will preserve at least a small piece of memory of some other time and some other people.

Belgrade, St. Vitus Day, 28 June 2014

Boris Ciglić

ABOUT THE BOOK

Donnet Leveque Type C

Publisher: Jeroplan Books
Generala Horvatovića 48
11 000 Belgrade
Serbia

Phone: +381 64 29 68 608

Editor: Boris Ciglić

Artwork: Ognjan Petrović

Translation of files in Italian: Aleksandar Stošović & Miodrag Savić

Proofreading of the text in English: Miodrag Savić

Graphic Design: Unibrand 360

Number of prints: 500

Format: 290 x 210 mm

144 pages

190 authentic photographs

33 aircraft profiles

Paperback

Release Date: 25 August 2014

ⓒ 2014 All rights reserved by Boris Ciglić

INTRODUCTION

002 Do 17Ka-2 Br.22

Yugoslav aviators flew various versions of Dornier Do 17 medium bomber for more than a decade within five different Air Forces and in area that swept from African Desert to Northern Russia. The same type of aircraft was extensively used by Axis Air Forces from the first to the last day of the Second World War in Yugoslavia. This book tells the previously untold story of bomber crews of the Royal Yugoslav Air Force and their tough resistance during the April War, of German aerial operations over Yugoslavia, of Croat Leggionnaires and their endeavour on the Eastern Front, of Croat flying units struggling to counter the insurgency, of Bulgarian actions against Yugoslav Partisans and later Germans, and of Partisan efforts to form their own aviation and liberate the country.
This book draws on the archives of Serbia, Croatia, Germany, Britain and the United States, as well as the recollections, diaries and personal documents from numerous veterans. It includes a multitude of previously unknown facts, over 30 aircraft color profiles and 230 photographs, majority of which have never been published before

ORDERING DETAILS

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Publisher’s price: 55,00 EUR

 

Shipment costs for European countries:

Registered air mail: 16,00 EUR

Unregistered surface mail: 13,80 EUR

 

Shipment costs for overseas countries:

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ABOUT THE BOOK

003 Ni11 N1483 02

Publisher: Infinitas d.o.o.

e-mail: adresa

Editor: Zoran Vacić

Artwork: Dragan Šaler

Design: Grigorije Lazarević

English translation: Miodrag Savić

ISBN-13: 978-86-6045-005-2

Bilingual English-Serbian edition

Number of prints: 700

Format: 295 x 210 mm

544 pages

519 photographs from the epoch

22 photographs of artefacts

66 aircraft drawings

Hardback

Full color

Release date: 10 September 2009

ⓒ 2009 All rights reserved by Boris Ciglić & Infinitas

PREFACE

001 Bleriot XI ArtllerieIt is almost an unknown fact, that a small and undeveloped Kingdom of Serbia was one of the first countries in the world that formed its military aviation, and then used it in combat. This wasn’t done out of curiosity, fashion or foresighting nor was the path taken an easy one. Conscience about the imperiled existence of the state, threats from abroad and the dream of liberation of enslaved parts of the fatherland impelled the military and political leaders to establish conditions for introduction of a new component of armed forces, at the time when this has not been considered in some of the much wealthier countries. The first Serbian officer was sent to Russia for balloonist training in 1901 and the first class of Serbian pilots went to France in 1912. At the end of that year, the Aviation Command of the Serbian Army was constituted and its members suffered first casualties during the siege of Scutari a few months later. From the very beginning of the Great War, Serbian aviators tirelessly rose into the sky in their weak, slow and unreliable aircraft and brought back reports of immense significance for directing of operations on the ground. Soon they were helped by members of French Aéronautique Militaire, establishing with them throughout the war the bond of broderhood in blood, which was mutually cherished until the end of their lives. The collapse of the Serbian defense in the second year of the conflict and later miraculous resurrection of the Serbian army away from the homeland did not surpass the air force. With the cordial human and material help of the mighty ally, France, the remnants of the Aviation Command were transformed into Aéronautique de l’Armée Serbe which, by the time of the final operations for the liberation of the fatherland, grew into a respectable fighting outfit. The end of the Great War and the creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes did not mean the end of its life: as an armed formation Aéronautique de l’Armée Serbe existed until the 1920. Simultaneously, several pilots defended the Serbian military honor on the waste battlefields of the Western Front. As Montenegro has been proudly considered the native soil of the greatest among the Serbs at the time, a due respect is given here to the first aviators from Montenegro as well.

The main structure for writing of this book came from archival funds preserved in Museum of Yugoslav Military Aviation, National Museum of Čačak, Military Archive, Service historique de la Défense and Österreichische Staatsarchiv. Apart from the lack of documents for certain periods, the absence of consistency in the calender in Serbian sources, especially for the period on Salonica Front, proved to be a serious problem. Very often it was hard to distinguish whether the dates presented were in Julian calender – at the time still in official use in the Kingdom of Serbia, or in Gregorian calender – applied by the allies. Unfortunately this is just one of the few, up until now, published books which elaborate history of the military aviation of the Kingdom of Serbia. It is even more sad that, to date, the most comprehensive study on this subject has been written back in 1932 by Sava Mikić with the help of his war friends. A few of the direct protagonists left us their written memoirs about their participation in these events, and those are of immense significance. However, it was necessary for a state, in which the history of aviation began on 21 May 1942, to break apart, for this historical subject to receive certain attention again, in the nineties of the last century.

Work on such a specific, technical theme from the long passed time would not be possible without the unselfish help of numerous friends, aviation historians, researchers and enthusiasts from around the world. Among them I am particularly grateful to the following gentlemen: Šime Oštrić, Predrag Miladinović, Vladeta Vojinović, Mario Hrelja, Milan Micevski, Aleksandar Radić, Ognjan Petrović, Čedomir Janić, Đorđe Nikolić and Aleksandar Smiljanić from Serbia, David Méchin and Christophe Cony from France, and Dimitar Nedialkov from Bulgaria, which gave me without hesitation a full access to their personal archives and collections, amassed through the years of their hard labor. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the families of the glorious Serbian and French warriors, both to those that I had the privilege to meet in person as well as to those met by my friends, which enabled me to get acquainted with their war heritage, foremost the families of Orestije Krstić, Živorad Petrović, Miodrag Tomić, Sava Mikić, Aleksandar Deroko, Jovan Kalember, Borivoje Popadić, Janko Markićević, Dragutin mišić, Tadija and Vladislav Sondermajer, Agaton Zarić, Aleksa Marinović, Sergej Urvačev, Miloš Živanović, Radomir Žunjić, François Tulasne, Theodore Marcheval andAugustin Passot. I am endlessly thankful to Mr. Dragan Šaler, who produced such a fine artwork for this book, and to Mr. Miodrag Savić, for his share in preparation of the English translation. Last but not least, I wish to thank to Mr. Zoran Vacić who recognized the significance of this project and gave his best to present it to the wide auditorium in this form, at the same time providing me with a full freedom of creativity.

As it is the case with every research done with such a time lapse, many truths and occurrences will remain forever unknown to us. There are no more living witnesses from the epoch, and the accessible sources could not always lead to the real picture of the events described. Also, it is normal to expect that data, which might question some of the conclusions and assumptions presented on the pages that follow, will be discovered sooner or later. This book is not pleading to present the ultimate historical truth and by no means should be the last on this subject, moreso its intention is to be the starting point for further research about the early days of Serbian aviation.

After almost ninety years of delusion, Serbia has returned to itself, to its name and tradition. As much as the memory on the heroic days of Serbia, on its most shiny moments and greatest sacrifices in two Balkan Wars and the Great War, has been pushed aside and faded from the collective memory of its descendants, knowledge about the pioneering days of its air force and first Serbian aviators is almost non existent. Few have ever heard of the names of Mihailo Petrović, Miodrag Tomić, Branko Vukosavljević, Miodrag Miletić, Siniša Stefanović, Aleksandar Antić, Petar Marinović and hundreds of other daring and courageous warriors. In a year when exactly a century has passed since the first flight of an aircraft with Serbian markings, this is an attempt to bring another time, time of pain, pride, beauty and glory, closer to the new generations. This is a portrait of Serbian timeless fatherland. The one that we believe in and for which we live. The one that we do all this for…

Belgrade, 1 August 2009.

Boris Ciglić