Friday, April 19, 2013

Spitfire Mk. Vbt, No. 352 (Y) RAF Squadron

This time something more exotic than Luftwaffe, a Yugoslav Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb trop (ES264/X) with Merlin engine and inscription Slovenec (Slovene), which served in the No. 352 Squadron from August 1944 to March 1945, when it was handed over to the Italian Co-Belligerent Air Force...

The No. 352 (Y) RAF Squadron was formed at Benina, Lybia in 1944. It was a first Yugoslav-manned fighter unit formed in the Mediterranean. In the beginnig the squadron used Hakwer Hurricanes IIC which were later replaced with Supermarine Spitfires. (Mk. Vb, Vc and IX)
The squadron provided escort for fighter-bomber squadrons and conducted ground attack missions from its airbase on Island of Vis in the Adriatic Sea.

Through the nine months of the war, No. 352 Squadron RAF carried out 367 combat operations with 1210 take offs. These tasks include supporting troops in Yugoslavia, fighter protection and reconnaissance. The squadron used primarily Canne (Italy) and Island of Vis (Croatia) airbases.
Headquarters remained in Italy until it was moved to the Yugoslav mainland to join its air echelon in April 1945 and the squadron disbanded from the RAF on 16 May 1945.On 18 May 1945, together with No. 351 Squadron it formed First Fighter Regiment of SFR Yugoslavia.

There is an awesome book about No. 352 (Y) RAF Squadron:

This Tamiya kit is quite nice, correct shape-n-size unlike some other kits. On the downside all the sprues are silver metal plated (limited silver plated edition), which makes it almost impossible to paint, so a lot had to be sanded off. 
I added CMK gun bays and Eduard's photo etched interior to spice it up a little and I also used phenomenal Balkan Models Yu Spitfires decal set.

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