230th Review The BULGARIAN AIR FORCE in the Second World War-Alexander Mladenov, Evgeni Andonov and Krassimir Grozev
This book tells the story of a country on the Balkan (Bulgaria) which in WO II could not do much else than to stay out of the way of the Wehrmacht and later the Red Army. In the meantime Bulgaria also had to keep the partisan armies of the surrounding countries, Romania, Greece, Hungaria and of course arch-enemy Turkey, outside her borders.
Here the Bulgarian air force comes into the picture. Because Bulgaria fought in WO I at the side of Germany/Austria against the Russians it got an armament ban enforcement. Only shortly before the start of WO II the Bulgarians saw chance, under the inspirational lead of Tsar Boris III, to obtain some planes again. Firstly a mixture of Polish, Czech and Italian jumbles. Enthusiasm for piloting was what made the Bulgarians go. Make Do was what it was all about!
The confounding success of the Wehrmacht left the Bulgarians no choice. Settle yourself in your destiny and join the German side or, …. With this Bulgaria became a springboard for, in successively order, the occupation of Greece and Yugoslavia. Followed by Operation Barbarossa.
Meanwhile the Bulgarians had good material, modern Me 109’s, Stuka’s and Do 17 bombers, which the allied later also encountered when they started bombing the oilfields in Romania. From November 1944 this air force turned itself, in commission of the Russians, against the Germans when Bulgaria had capitulated for the Red Army. After the Bulgarians had given their contribution in chasing away their former ally, the whole Bulgarian force was cleared by the Soviets of all members that had fought on German side. That meant the end of the Bulgarian independence for a long time.
All in all, an in war history interested captivating report of what happened in that corner of Europe during WO II. With a lot of personal reports of fight missions, excellent photo material and for the model builders, great colour prints of all partaking planes.