Rusija Danas

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WING OF SERBIA
AVIATION COMMAND & AERONAUTIQUE DE LARMEE SERBE 1912-1920

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From Preface

It is almost an unknown fact, that a small and undeveloped Kingdom of Serbia was one of the first countries in the world that formed its military aviation, and then used it in combat. This wasnt done out of curiosity, fashion or foresighting nor was the path taken an easy one. Conscience about the imperiled existence of the state, threats from abroad and the dream of liberation of enslaved parts of the fatherland impelled the military and political leaders to establish conditions for introduction of a new component of armed forces, at the time when this has not been considered in some of the much wealthier countries. The first Serbian officer was sent to Russia for balloonist training in 1901 and the first class of Serbian pilots went to France in 1912. At the end of that year, the Aviation Command of the Serbian Army was constituted and its members suffered first casualties during the siege of Scutari a few months later. From the very beginning of the Great War, Serbian aviators tirelessly rose into the sky in their weak, slow and unreliable aircraft and brought back reports of immense significance for directing of operations on the ground. Soon they were helped by members of French Aronautique Militaire, establishing with them throughout the war the bond of broderhood in blood, which was mutually cherished until the end of their lives. The collapse of the Serbian defense in the second year of the conflict and later miraculous resurrection of the Serbian army away from the homeland did not surmiss the air force. With the cordial human and material help of the mighty ally, France, the remnants of the Aviation Command were transformed into Aronautique de lArme Serbe which, by the time of the final operations for the liberation of the fatherland, grew into a respectable fighting outfit. The end of the Great War and the creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes did not mean the end of its life: as an armed formation Aronautique de lArme Serbe existed until the 1920. Simultaneously, several pilots defended the Serbian military honor on the vaste battlefields of the Western Front. As Montenegro has been proudly considered the native soil of the greatest among the Serbs at the time, a due respect is given here to the first aviators from Montenegro as well.

The main structure for writing of this book came from archival funds preserved in Museumof Yugoslav Military Aviation, National Museum of ?a?ak, Military Archive, Service historique de la Dfense and sterreichische Staatsarchiv.

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