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Socialist Yugoslavia: Aircraft markings

Last modified: 2006-10-14 by ivan sache
Keywords: air force | roundel | fin flash | star (red) |
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Roundel of the Yugoslav Air Force - Image by Francisco Gregoric, 22 January 2000

See also:

Fin flash and roundel

During the Socialist era the Yugoslav Air Force used a fin flash which was a full fin width stretched national flag (but without vertical deformation of the star, of course).

However, as part of the RAF's Balkan Air Force (June 1944 - July 1945), the Yugoslav Air Force while using the same roundel as in the later Socialist era used a square fin flash combined of vertical blue-white-red stripes with a red star in the center of the white stripe.
I guess that it was done in order to provide a better identification by looking like the fin flash to the British RAF

Dov Gutterman, 20 January 2000

A colour illustration in Robertson [rob67] shows it as red-white-blue (red being the colour nearest the front of the fin) vertical stripes with a red star.
In an earlier Robertson's book [rob56] there is a black and white photograph of a Balkan Air Force Spitfire in which the front stripe of the fin flash appears to be red. The top front corner of the white stripe is close to the leading edge of the fin, with the result that, due to the shape of the tail, the red "stripe" is triangular not rectangular.
The fuselage roundel at first glance looks (colours guessed) like a red star painted over an RAF roundel. However it was probably a completely re-painted insignia, as the white is too wide to be part of a C1 roundel and the yellow is too narrow to be part of an A1 roundel. The wing roundel appears to be a red star on a blue circle.
The roundel illustrated in Robertson's book with the fin flash described, has a red star superimposed on a light blue circle surrounded by a white ring, outside which is a red ring joining the points of the star. This, and the fin flash is labelled, "National Army of Liberation 1944-6."

David Prothero, 22 January 2000

According to pictures of Yugoslav military planes I have seen, there have been differences in the width of the yellow border of the red star of the roundel around the time. According these pictures apparently in post Second World War planes there were "more yellow" in the roundel than in the final years of Socialist Yugoslavia.

Francisco Gregoric, 13 December 2005

As far as I am aware, the width of the yellow border in the roundel just as in the national flag of Yugoslavia was never defined and it was up to the manufacturer of the item in question how he found out what was most fit or what was most convenient by the given technique of application. Even if this get more "uniformed" in the military I do not think that there was any more strict rule regarding the roundels and the width of the yellow stripe was probably a result of the "art of the school" who did the actual painting on the planes.

Željko Heimer, 17 December 2005

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