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Do.17Z-2 15.(Kroat.)/KG53

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hawkeyededic #1 Posted 30 July 2018 - 09:34 PM

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Do.17Z-2, 15.(Kroat.)/KG53, Croatian Air Force Legion (Croatian: Hrvatska Zrakoplovna Legija), Russian Front, winter 1942



The Croatian Air Force Legion (Croatian: Hrvatska Zrakoplovna Legija), or HZL, also known as the Croatian Legion, was a foreign volunteer unit of the Luftwaffe raised from volunteers drawn from the Independent State of Croatia which fought on the Eastern Front between 1941-1943 in the Second World War. It was then absorbed by the Air Force of the Independent State of Croatia and its surviving members fought back on Croatian soil. The legion had approximately 360 men.


The unit was sent to Germany for training on 15 July 1941 before heading to the Eastern Front. Many of the pilots and crews had previously served in the Royal Yugoslav Air Force during the Invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941. Some of them also had experience in the two main types that they would operate, the Messerschmitt 109 and Dornier Do 17, with two fighter pilots having actually shot down Luftwaffe aircraft.


The Legion's commander was Ivan Mrak. During operations over the Eastern Front, the unit's fighters scored a total of 283 kills while its bombers participated in 1,332 combat missions.


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