The Bulgarian Air Force In World War II...

...Germany's Forgotten Ally, new from Kagero via Casemate Books

Title:  The Bulgarian Air Force In World War II

Author: Eduardo M. Gil Martinez

Publisher:  Kagero

ISBN:  978-83-65437-55-6

This new book from Kagero is number 2 in their Library of Armed Conflict series and it covers one of the less well known air forces involved on the side of the Germans during WW2, or at least for much of it.  It would be even more correct to call it the Royal Hungarian Air Force apparently.  At the outset of the war the Bulgarian king was under pressure from Germany of course, as well as France and the UK, let alone the Soviets.  The initial stance was to remain Neutral but following the defeat of France and with more pressure from Germany and the Soviet Union, in 1941 Bulgaria joined the Axis.  Things had changed by late 1944, as Soviet troops were approaching the Bulgarian borders, and a revolt within Bulgaria led to them changing sides and fighting the closing stages of the war alongside the Russians.

The book starts with the background history of Bulgaria in WW2 and this is followed by more detail on the development of the Bulgarian Air Force (BAF) from 1920 through to 1945.  That is followed by chapter 3 examining the story of the Fighter Units.  The BAF did little outside their own borders but were caught up with attacking allied bomber streams, such as when they were on their way to Ploesti in Romania.  As well as the Me Bf.109 they were also equipped with the French built Dewoitine D.520.  Chapter IV looks at the bombers used by the BAF.  Attack Units come next, starting with Polish supplied aircraft that the BAF used at the start of the war but Stukas served them well in the role.  The remaining chapters look in turn at Reconnaissance and Liaison: Training: Maritime Surveillance: Transport Units and detail on Bulgarian Aviation Insignia, the rather unusual Aerial Victory Scoring system they used and finally a table showing Rank Equivalents in the BAF.

The history of one of the lesser known Axis air forces is interesting and enlightening along with the added benefits of a good selection of archive photos that illustrate the various aircraft types used by the BAF and some of the pilots, while as might be expected from Kagero, there are also a good selection of fine colour profiles which illustrate the variety of colour schemes and markings applied to an equally varied selection of aircraft.  In themselves these might well be an inspiration for some modellers to have a go at building a collection of models which display the different markings and colour schemes seen on BAF aircraft..

Distributed by Casemate Books, who kindly provided my review copy.

Robin