Kagero's Bulgarian Air Force in WWII


Eduardo M Gil Martinez




$22.95 from Casemate Publishing


Scott Van Aken

Notes: #91002. ISBN 978-83-65437-55-6, 120 pages, 110 illustrations,7x10, softcover

Some of Germany's partners in WWII were relatively unwilling to join the Axis. One of these was Bulgaria. However, Germany needed to be able to travel freely through the country in order to pursue its war in the Balkans. There was a great deal of intrigue concerning the Bulgarian king, but eventually, the promise of the return of territory taken after WWI and German military equipment brought the king around.

The Bulgarian Air Force itself was one of those that ceased to exist after WWI, thanks to the Paris Treaty, but was eventually brought back into being in the mid 1930s. It consisted originally of some locally designed aircraft as well as those from other nations, particularly Poland when it came to offensive types. Germany did supply some obsolete types such as Do-11 bombers and Ar-65 fighters, but nothing really modern.

Eventually, the need to have the Bulgarian Air Force a viable force to help protect the country from USAAF bombing in 1943 resulted in supplying them with more modern types. Many of these were used against the Germans in late 1944 when they joined the Soviets and were used into the late 1940s until replaced by Soviet equipment.

The author relies heavily on the work of other researchers to help tell this story. I also had some difficulty following things as he is not a native English speaker and did not have the book proof-read by someone who was. It results in some odd sentence structure that can take the reader by surprise.

Basically, a goodly amount of background is provided as well as a year by year development of the Bulgarian AF. This includes unit organization as well as efforts to get new equipment. Bulgaria had a fairly advanced aviation industry and produced many secondary types such as trainers and recce aircraft. The second major section of the book is on the different types with areas covering fighters, bombers, transports and such.

There are a lot of period photos of the men and aircraft involved as well as some very nicely done color profiles. It may be that there is a dearth of BAF photos as I found about a half dozen very commonly seen images of US airplanes included. I'd rather have seen more Bulgarian types.

Overall, it is a worthwhile book, despite having a few rough edges as mentioned. This is one air arm that has had very little information available on it and for those interested in the smaller Axis partners, it is a book that does deserve to be on your shelf.

November 2017

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