Air raids on Bulgaria

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casimiro
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Air raids on Bulgaria

Postby casimiro » 08 Mar 2016 23:15

I have read that heavy Allied air attacks on Bulgaria began in late 1943. Two questions: Were these attacks limited to Sofia and its environs? Were these air raids by American, British or Russian aircraft?

James A Pratt III
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Re: Air raids on Bulgaria

Postby James A Pratt III » 28 May 2016 02:38

the USAAF chronology online lists the USAAF raids on Bulgaria.

Osprey has a book Slovak and Bulgarian aces.

Larry D.
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Re: Air raids on Bulgaria

Postby Larry D. » 28 May 2016 13:19


dibo
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Re: Air raids on Bulgaria

Postby dibo » 01 Jun 2016 15:03

casimiro wrote:I have read that heavy Allied air attacks on Bulgaria began in late 1943. Two questions: Were these attacks limited to Sofia and its environs? Were these air raids by American, British or Russian aircraft?


Air attacks on Bulgarian territory began in 04.1941 (Yugoslav planes bombed Kyustendil and Sofia, where German troops were passing on their way of invading Yugoslavia), then in 06.1941 (Soviet planes bombed Ruse shortly after 22.06.), some in 1942, but mostly in 1943-1944 by British and American warplanes (these 1943-44 bombings were mostly concentrated on Sofia, but were not limited there - many other cities were bombed and allied planes routinely dropped randomly bombs on the return flights from Ploesti). There are numerous books on the subject in Bulgarian and some in English. The topic is well documented and researched.

Dili
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Re: Air raids on Bulgaria

Postby Dili » 03 Jun 2016 19:00

One question about Bulgarian Air Defense, when it got first radars?

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Re: Air raids on Bulgaria

Postby dibo » 06 Jun 2016 09:10

Dili wrote:One question about Bulgarian Air Defense, when it got first radars?


1943 - Freya F and Freya LZ radars - first German personnel, then after training - Bulgarian personnel. 8 stations - 7 stationary (Chibovtsi village near Sofia, Devetaki village near Lovech, Hissar, Sliven, Razgrad, Kichevo village near Varna, Kablehskovo village near Pomorie) and 1 railway in Gorna Oryahovitza for the railway line Pleven - Varna.

Dili
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Re: Air raids on Bulgaria

Postby Dili » 07 Jun 2016 03:48

Thanks Dibo, can you pinpoint to first half or second half of 1943?

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Re: Air raids on Bulgaria

Postby dibo » 07 Jun 2016 13:30

I can not be more precise unfortunately, but my bet is somewhere in mid 1943, as by the time of the first serious raids on Romania and Bulgaria after August 1943 at least some of these have been already operational, as there are mentions about information received from these about incoming Allied raids in the Air Defence HQ in Sofia.

Dili
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Re: Air raids on Bulgaria

Postby Dili » 22 Jun 2016 01:35

Sorry for late reply. Thanks.

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Re: Air raids on Bulgaria

Postby Larry D. » 22 Jun 2016 13:45

Some miscellaneous notes to add to this discussion:

"The very first radar installations in Romania-Bulgaria area were set up to watch for Soviet air and sea incursions over the Black Sea and Allied air attacks coming from Egypt and Cyprus. Burgas got a Freya and a Würzburg Type A, Carmen-Sylva got a Freya, Constanta a Würzburg and Sulina a Freya and a Würzburg. All sightings went by radio and later by landline to the reporting and evaluation center in Constanta. It was the 11 June 1942 raid on Ploesti that spurred this activity. Additional radar installations were built and became operational from the beginning of 1943 and these were located at Tatar Bunar, Leipzig (near Tarutino in Bessarabia), Mt. Bes Tepe in the Danube delta, Campina/40 km NW of Ploesti and Slatina/130 km WSW of Ploesti."
[Source: Hoffmann, Band II, Teil 1, pp.174-75]

And,
Hoffmann, Band II/Teil 2: Drahtnachrichtenverbindungen und Richtfunkverbindungen 1939 – 1945. Chapter: “Vom ruhigen bis zum verhängnisvollen Einsatz in Rumänien und Bulgarien 1942-1944”, pages 213-30.

“In response to the 12 June 1942 attack on Ploesti and the rapidly increasing danger to the oilfields there, at the end of February 1943 II.(Tel.Bau)/Ln.-Rgt. 24 was ordered from Holland to Bucharest to begin line construction for the linking of the fighter and Flak air defenses in Romania and Bulgaria with the aircraft reporting (Flugmelde-) network with III.(Tel.Bau)/Ln.-Rgt. 24 following suit in March, coming by road from Ukraine. As 5., 6., 7., 8. and 9. Kpn. did the wire and cable construction work in Romania, 4. Kp was sent to Bulgaria in June 1943 and attached to the Nafü (signals officer) of DLM Bulgarien in Sofia and began laying lines from Giurgiu/Russe to Stara Zagora, and Sofia – Plovdiv – Burgas. Likewise, two radar sites in Lipnik near Russe (operated by schwere Flugmeldekompanie z.b.V. 3, later by 22.(Flum.)/Luftgau-Nachr.Rgt. 17) and in Devetaki/c.35 km SE of Pleven (operating unit not known) were connected to the net. The connection for the radar site in Stolnik (Grigorevo), 20 km E of Sofia (cover name Georg) was carried out by 7.(Tel.Bau)/Ln.-Rgt. 24, which had also been designated responsible for further line construction in the Sofia – Plovdiv area. The work of 4. Kp. was almost completed by the end of September 1943 and it then took over the maintenance and repair of the lines.”

Sites:

Site Georg
Jun-Sep 44: there was a radar site at Grigorevo/23 km E of Sofia in Bulgaria and it came directly under Stab/Ln.-Flugmelde-Abt. Jagdabschnittsführer Bulgarien. (4)
1944: later, Hoffmann states that Georg was located at Stolnik/20 km E of Sofia. (4)

Site Skorpion
May – Aug 44: at Sombor/Yugoslavia operated by 2./Ln.-Abt. 84. (4)

Site ?????
1 Jun 44: 13.(le.Flum.)/Luftgau-Nachr.Rgt. 25 (FpN L 46383) was operating a radar site in N Bulgaria under V./Luftgau-Nachr.Rgt. 25. (4)

Site ?????
Jul 44: 21.(Flum.)/Luftgau-Nachr.Rgt. 25 (FpN L 49240) in Sofia attached to Ln.-Flugmelde-Abt. Bulgarien. (Comment: can’t tell if this radar or not, but 2 years earlier it was operating both Würzburg and Freya radars in Russia.) (4)

Site ?????
2 Nov 42: schw.Flugmelde-Kp. z.b.V. 3 (FpN L 20192) was at Varna/Bulgaria, presumably operating the radar site there under DLM Rumänien. (3)

Site ?????
23 Feb 43: schw.Flugmelde-Kp. z.b.V. 3 (FpN L 20192), which was renamed 22.(schw.Flugm.Mess)/Luftgau-Nachr.Rgt. 17 (FpN L 01950, 20192) right at about this time, was operating an unnamed radar site at Lipnik near Ruse (Russe) in NE Bulgaria and continued to do so until the end of Aug 44. (4) (5) (Comment: not seen before - it would have been operating by 1 Aug 43.)

Site ?????
Jun-Sep 44: there was a radar site at Petarch/21 km NW of Sofia city center in Bulgaria and it came directly under Stab/Ln.-Flugmelde-Abt. Jagdabschnittsführer Bulgarien. (4)

Site ?????
Jun-Sep 44: there was a radar site at Radomir/34.5 km SW of Sofia city center in Bulgaria and it came directly under Stab/Ln.-Flugmelde-Abt. Jagdabschnittsführer Bulgarien. (4)

Site ?????
(Vitosa (Vitosha) was 24 km E of Radomir.) The Mt. Vitosa site is described as a “Jägermeßstellung” in a postwar list (on website geschichtsspuren.de). The equipment was designated FuSAn-733 Heinrich Peiler 5 (Jägermeßstellung). Das Y-Verfahren (Jagd) was a system whereby the position of the fighter was established through radio range measurement by the Hans E-Mess Gerät and the bearing was established by the Heinrich Peiler. The combination being known as Y-Bodenstelle FuSAn 733. The function of the Jägerleit Stellungen was initially to track day-fighters and report their position to the Jagddivision, which performed the intercept control. It looked like a 60-foot forest ranger tower with a small cupola on top upon which sat a pair of “H” shaped rabbit ears. http://www.gyges.dk/Jargerleit%20Stellungen.htm
Also see the Greg Singh and Rolf’s contributions at: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=154296&p=1955124#p1955124 .

Sources
(1) Website http://www.ww2.dk, click Ground Units, click Luftnachrichtentruppe, click Ln.-Regiments.
(2) NARA RG 242, Microcopy T-77, roll 1421 and/or 1422, ff.339-493.
(3) Refers to Directorate of Air Intelligence/Air Ministry information obtained through ULTRA, “Y” Service and on occasion from wartime captured documents and POW interrogations.
(4) Hoffmann, Karl Otto. , Ln: Die Geschichte der Luftnachrichtentruppe, 3 Bde (Neckargemünd, 1965-73).
(5) NARA RG 242, Microcopy T-311, roll 187.

L.

Dili
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Re: Air raids on Bulgaria

Postby Dili » 23 Jun 2016 17:42

Excellent. Thanks.

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Air raids on Bulgaria

Postby Tom from Cornwall » 31 Aug 2016 20:51

Hi,

Does anyone have any details of damage caused by RAF bombing of the Sofia marshalling yards in April 1941? The missions were very limited in terms of the number of Wellington bombers sent and, given the poor weather experienced and the very small percentage of Bomber Command aircraft reaching their targets at the same time in Germany, I don't suppose they did much damage.

Regards

Tom

dibo
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Re: Air raids on Bulgaria

Postby dibo » 03 Sep 2016 12:52

06.04.1941 20:05-20:20 and 20:55-21:10 - group of English bombers (8-10 according to the Bulgarian AD - Vickers Wellingtons from 37th RAF Squadron) bomb Sofia around the railway station from an attitude of 1500-2000m and then the airfield at Bozhuriste - total of 43 bombs (50-100 kg according to AD), 16 of which - duds. 100 incendiary bombs counted. 14 buildings destroyed, 3 more set on fire. 18 killed, 38 wounded. 10 more bombs fell near the Orlandovtzi village near Sofia, 3 more at Oranovo village - no damage.
14.04.1941 - 1:15 - the railways station at Sofia is again attacked by a group of 8-10 bombers from the attitude of 1000-1200m. One train with ammo is set on fire. The Vrazhdebna airfield is also attacked. Total of 64 bombs, another 77 duds, 20 incendiary bombs, 6 more bombs fell at the nearby Busmantzi village (other data shows 35 bombs and 70 incendiaries). 14 buildings destroyed, 13 fires, 14 killed, 25 wounded.

All casualties, except one wounded soldier, are civilians. The Air Defense - both Bulgarian and German in both cases opened fire unsuccessfully.

The Air Defense of Sofia at that time (April 1941) consisted of 4 Bulgarian heavy batteries (2 88mm (4 guns each) and 2 75mm), 5 Bulgarian light platoons (each has 6 20mm), 2 more 20mm platoons at the two Sofia airfields - Bozhuriste and Vrazhdebna, 3 German heavy batteries (88m), 2 German light batteries and 3 Bulgarian 150 cm and 24 German 60 cm searchlights.

There were 34 Bulgarian Avia B-534s based at the Bozhuriste airfield at that time.

Maps of Sofia from the time can be found here:
http://www.pbase.com/ngruev/mapsofsofia
http://stara-sofia.com/karti.html

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Air raids on Bulgaria

Postby Tom from Cornwall » 03 Sep 2016 19:46

Hi Dibo,

Thanks for those details - it was just what I was looking for.

Where did you find them?

Regards

Tom

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DenesBernad
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Re: Air raids on Bulgaria

Postby DenesBernad » 14 Nov 2016 17:08

Hi Dibo,
Were any Bulgarian (and German) airplanes destroyed in those raids performed by RAF and RYAF in April 1941?
Thanks,
Dénes


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