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Bristol Beaufighter over Zuzemberk

Bristol Beaufighter over Zuzemberk

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Bristol Beaufighter, Jerry Scutts (Crowood Aviation). A detailed look at the development and service career of the Bristol Beaufighter, the first dedicated night fighter to enter RAF Service. Superceded by the Mosquito in that role, the Beaufighter went on to serve as a deadly anti-shipping weapon, and to earn the nickname "whispering death" over the jungles of Burma.

Bristol Beaufort

The Bristol Beaufort (manufacturer designation Type 152) was a British twin-engined torpedo bomber designed by the Bristol Aeroplane Company, and developed from experience gained designing and building the earlier Blenheim light bomber. [2] At least 1,180 Beauforts were built by Bristol and other British manufacturers.

Type 152 Beaufort
Colour photo of two Beaufort Mk.Is of 217 Squadron
Role Torpedo bomber
National origin United Kingdom
Manufacturer Bristol Aeroplane Company
First flight 15 October 1938
Introduction 1939
Retired 1944
Primary users Royal Australian Air Force
RAF Coastal Command
Fleet Air Arm
Number built 1,121 (+700 in Australia) [1]
Developed from Bristol Blenheim
Variants Bristol Beaufighter

The Australian government's Department of Aircraft Production (DAP) also manufactured variants of the Beaufort. These are often known collectively as the DAP Beaufort. [3] More than 700 Australian-built Beauforts saw service with the Royal Australian Air Force in the South West Pacific theatre, where they were used until the end of the war.

Beauforts first saw service with Royal Air Force Coastal Command and then the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm from 1940. They were used as torpedo bombers, conventional bombers and mine-layers until 1942, [4] when they were removed from active service and were then used as trainer aircraft until being declared obsolete in 1945. [5] Beauforts also saw considerable action in the Mediterranean Beaufort squadrons based in Egypt and on Malta helped interdict Axis shipping supplying Rommel's Deutsches Afrikakorps in North Africa.

Although it was designed as a torpedo-bomber, the Beaufort was more often used as a medium day bomber. The Beaufort also flew more hours in training than on operational missions and more were lost through accidents and mechanical failures than were lost to enemy fire. [6] The Beaufort was adapted as a long-range heavy fighter variant called the Beaufighter, which proved to be very successful and many Beaufort units eventually converted to the Beaufighter. [7]

Historical Snapshot

In 1942, the British-built Beaufighter began operating with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) under the designation A19. These aircraft proved to be extremely effective in operations and are particularly well known for their role in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. In January 1943, the Department of Aircraft Production (DAP) made the decision to end Beaufort production in favor of an Australian-built version of the Beaufighter.

The Bristol Company dispatched 55,000 drawings via Airgraph Service (similar to the United States&rsquo &ldquoVictory Mail&rdquo) to DAP. The original plan was to produce an Australian equivalent of the British Beaufighter Mk VII, but it was ultimately decided to build a version similar to the British Beaufighter TF Mk X, which was designated DAP Bristol Beaufighter Mk 21. Unlike the British version, the Air-to-Surface Vessel (ASV) radar and dorsal fin were never applied to the DAP model. However, like the Mk X aircraft flown by RAAF crews in Europe, all the Hercules XVII engines had their two-speed blowers made fully operational, thus becoming Hercules XVIIIs.

The first DAP Beaufighter was flown on May 26, 1944, and five days later, the aircraft was taken over by the RAAF and given the designation A8. As production continued at Fishermans Bend and Mascot factories, the Australian A8 Beaufighter began to replace the British A19 Beaufighter. Beaufighters saw combat throughout New Guinea, the Celebes, Borneo and the Philippines. The longest mission flown by the Australian Beaufighters was a bomber escort mission to Tarakan on May 2, 1945, as part of the opening moves of Operation Oboe, the campaign to liberate Borneo. Beaufighters served with Nos. 22, 30, 31, 92 and 93 Squadrons, and when production ceased at the end of 1945, a total of 364 DAP Beaufighters had been built.

In the post-war years, Beaufighters continued to operate with No. 30 Squadron, where they were gradually reduced to a target-towing role. The last aircraft, A8-357, was flown to Edinburgh for disposal on Dec. 9, 1957.

Mosquito vis-a-vis Beaufighter

What was the relationship between the Mosquito and the Beaufighter? Were they complementary? Did the Mosquito "replace" the Beaufighter? Did they fulfill largely different missions? Was the Beau better for North Africa and the Far East because it wasn't made of wood and glue? I'd like to know not just out of curiosity but for an Aviation History Magazine article I'm doing on the Mosquito.

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By: Snoopy7422 - 29th May 2014 at 02:49 Permalink - Edited 1st January 1970 at 01:00

The Beau' wasn't a bad aircraft, it just that the Mosquito was better. The Beau' sprang out of the Blenheim, a much less advanced design than the Mosquito. Not only that, the Mosquito was more versatile and made better use of strategic materials and other resources. The glue problems in the Far East et al were overcome. Even with the same Merlins, the Beau was slower.

The Beau was designed for quite a different role to the Mosquito too. The Mosquito could do anything the Beau could do, better, and was more inherently adaptable. Their roles only really coincided as night fighters and anti-shipping a/c. Whilst both could carry external bombs and rockets, the Beau was more commonly-equiped to carry a torpedo. (I think this was only done experimentally with the Mosquito.). The Mosquito really was the original MRCA.

It's often forgotten that the Mosquito was originally designed purely as a bomber. Even judged in that role alone, it was in a class of it's own. Mosquito loss-rates were remarkably low. It has been argued, and the facts back this up, that if instead of building large, slow and vulnerable four-engined 'heavies', Bomber Command had have had many, many more Mosquitos, a great number of the Commands 55,000 casualties could have been avoided. The Heavies only made one trip a night to Germany, whereas it was not unusual for Mosquitos to make several trip a night. The Mosquito could carry the same bomb-load as a B17 and even carry the large 'Cookies'. All for half the engines, half the fuel and less than half the crewmen, but much more than half the risk. Quite sobering. Analysis along these lines makes for some very uncomfortable reading. Used more effectively, in much greater numbers, the Mosquito might have achieved more - and sooner - and all that, crucially, with that much lower casualty rate.
Mosquitos ranged over all over occupied Europe, almost at will, especially at night. Whilst all this was going on, Mosquito night-fighters were in the bomber-stream attacking Luftwaffe night-fighters, and Mosquito Night-Intruders were harrying the Luftwaffe night-fighters at take-off and landing. All of this with relative impunity.

The early risky low-level Mosquito ops by the likes of the Marham-based squadrons such as 105 Sqn with the BIV, were good for moral, but not, strictly, what the machine was designed for. All the low-level fighter-bomber operations with the FBVI's were very spectacular, but many other a/c, including the Beau', were able to carry out many of these out almost as effectively as the Mosquito.
Especially noteworthy were the operations of Coastal Commands Banff Strike Wing, which operated in the North Sea against Axis shipping and shore targets, sometimes with fighter-support. I think the Banff Wing operated a broadly equal mix of Beau's and Mosquitos (Presumably FBIV's.) and it's operations were well known for being highly effective.

The other varied roles of the Mosquito extended both the altitude and range of the machine. The MkXVIII even used a field-gun against U-Boats for a while. The PR versions of the Mosquito were sublime, much in demand and the small numbers given to the USAAF highly prized. It still worth emphasising however, that whilst there was some commonality of roles, the Mosquito can stand unchallenged on it's performance in it's intended role as a pure altitude-bomber alone.

Name : 'Monument on Cvibelj Hill' or 'Monument to the Liberation War in Žužemberk'

Location : On Cvibelj Hill in Žužemberk, Slovenia

Dimensions : 25m tall monument

Materials used : Poured concrete, rebar, marble blocks and aluminum panels

( ZHU-zhem-berk )

The monument at the spomenik complex in Žužemberk, Slovenia commemorates the fallen Partisans who perished fighting in the Suha Krajina district during the National Liberation War (WWII).

When Slovenia was invaded by Axis forces in April of 1941, the entire town of Žužemberk (located in the Suha Krajina (Dry Carniola) region) was besieged and annexed by an occupation force of Italian soldiers. The Italian military command stationed their regional headquarters at the town's historic Žužemberk Castle. As the end of 1941 approached, Slovenes in Žužemberk (and across Slovenia) began to organize themselves into armed resistance groups in an effort to defend against and drive out occupying forces. Calling themselves the Slovene Partisans, organized by the anti-fascist Liberation Front (OF) political group, these resistance fighters initially operated in crude guerilla units, however, during 1942, they became more organized and began operating as a coordinated fighting force. While the Slovene Partisans predominately fought against Italian Axis forces across the Suha Krajina region, they also engaged against some Slovene Catholic activists, whom Partisans felt were collaborating and aiding Italian forces. These Catholics eventually formed anti-communist militias, with fighting between the two groups resulting in thousands of deaths on both sides. The Italian attacks upon the Slovene Partisans were relentless, which went as far as even dropping bombs on them from Italian fighter plans when they attempted to operate in or near Žužemberk. Sources report that the main square of Žužemberk was bombed nearly 30 times (demolishing more than 1/4 of it). However, when Italy capitulated in 1943, Italian forces left Žužemberk, but they were soon replaced with an occupation of German troops. s

Photo 1 : Balkan Air Force dropping bombs over Žužemberk, 1944

In 1944, Tito's Partisans began to breakthrough into Žužemberk's Lower Carniola region, which allowed for greater cooperation and coordination between the Slovene Partisans (who until then had been fighting autonomously) and the greater Partisan movement across the rest of the Yugoslav region. Allied bombing missions across Slovenia began in early 1944 which targeted specifically Nazi strongholds in the Lower Carniola region. In early February of 1944, Axis positions across Žužemberk were hit by these bombing missions, most notably Žužemberk Castle (where the German supporting Slovene Home Guard had established a base). The castle was heavily damaged but not fully destroyed. Žužemberk was finally liberated from German control when rocket and cannon shells from planes of the Balkan Air Force surprised German and Slovene forces on February 13th of 1945 ( Photo 1 ), which then allowed Yugoslav Partisan ground troops to take the city. Small skirmishes continued between German fighters and the Partisans, but by May of 1945, the Germans and the Slovene Home Guard had been completely driven from the area. During the course of the war, hundreds of the town's civilians and much of Žužemberk was left in ruins. Furthermore, reports also indicate that over 1,000 local Partisan soldiers were killed.

As a historical aside, it is interesting to note that the famous image of the dramatic rocket attack on Žužemberk Castle seen in Photo 1 is asserted by some sources to be the very first air rocket attack ever photographed. A fascinating story of how this photo was taken can be seen in this short video on YouTube .

In the late 1950s, local government and veteran groups (with aide from the Yugoslav government) organized plans to creating a commemorative spomenik complex in a forested park on the outskirts of Žužemberk on Cvibelj Hill. Notable Slovenian designer Marjan Tepina was granted the commission to create the complex. The complex was officially unveiled to the public in February of 1961 during a grand commemorative ceremony ( Photo 2 ).

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Photo 2 : A photo of the unveiling ceremony for the Žužemberk monument in Feburary of 1961

The primary element of the spomenik is a 16m tall aluminum tri-point obelisk standing on top of a 10m tall pedestal. In a crypt underneath the site is interred the remains of somewhere around 1,000 of the Slovene Partisans who fought across the Suha Krajina and for the liberation of Žužemberk, with the names of those interred inscribed on stone panels next to the monument spire. However, it is important to point out that not all of the victims listed on the plaques are actually interred in the tomb, as some families were granted the request to take the remains of their loved ones to be buried in their home towns. When this memorial was built, it was (and still is) the largest Partisan tomb in Slovenia. Originally, the monument's pedestal was polished black granite and much thinner, having the name of the fallen Partisans engraved directly on it. However, in 1988 the complex was renovated, with the pedestal widened and the engraved names being moved to inscribed standing stone panels adjacent to the monument.

The memorial complex here at Žužemberk currently exists in excellent shape, having very well maintained grounds and exhibiting few visible signs of any damage or neglect. It appears that local visitors patronize this site regularly (as many flowers and wreaths can be found left here in tribute). In fact, many in the local community are even still working towards researching local Partisan soldiers from WWII whose names have not yet been included on the site's engraved panel. Meanwhile, the site continues to host a number of annual commemorative and remembrance events. Ceremonial events at the monument often take place around October 25th, which is Sovereignty Day in Slovenia (which celebrates the day that the last Yugoslav Army soldiers left the country in 1991). In fact, ceremonial events at this site are so significant that in October of 2015, the President of Slovenia Borut Pahor attended an event at the monument , while in October of 2018, the Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan &Scaronarec paid tribute during a ceremony at the site.

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Photo 3 : The English bomb found at Cvibelj Hill in 2016

Interestingly, local reports indicate that in November of 2016 during an excavation of the hillside just a few dozen meters away from the central memorial sculpture at Cvibelj Hill Park, a WWII-era unexploded 250kg English aircraft bomb (containing about 70kg of explosives) was found buried in the ground ( Photo 3 ). A unit from the Slovenian Military's Civil Protection came to retrieve the ordnance to dispose of it properly.

Plaques, Engravings and Graffiti:

There are a number of engraved and inscribed elements at the monument complex here at Žužemberk. Firstly, on the west-facing side of the granite pedestal, there is a large engraving done directly onto the stone blocks ( Slides 1 & 2 ). It reads as, roughly translated from Slovenian to English:

" During the National Liberation War, in battle against occupiers & domestic traitors, across the Suha Krajina , fell 1,144 Partisans and supporters who fought with the Liberation Front. We honor them. "

In addition, there are nine standing stone blocks on the south side of the monument ( Slide 3 ) engraved with the names of those 1,144 fallen soldiers.

It is important to note that the thick triangular block pedestal and 9 standing black stone blocks are not original to the monument. They were added in a 1988 restoration. Originally, the pedestal was much thinner and had all of the names of the fallen fighters engraved directly onto it ( see Slide 4 ). The 1988 restoration made the pedestal thicker and changed the location of the engraved names from the pedestal itself to those 9 standing stone blocks. Finally, there is an small discreet engraving at the base of the pedestal which relates the construction date and the renovation date of this memorial ( Slide 5 ). It translates from Slovenian to English as:

As far as graffiti goes, there was none present or visible at the site upon my most recent visit. Furthermore, I have seen no photos from recent decades of the site that show any graffiti anywhere around the monument.

The exact intended representational meaning, if any, of the memorial sculpture here at Žužemberk, created by Marjan Tepina, is not immediately apparent upon a first viewing. It is possible that this sculpture is a work of pure abstract sculpture, possessing no specific or overt symbolic meaning. Yet, examining the form of the sculpture in closer detail, one begins to notice the very dramatic play of light on the polished metal skin of the structure, while the three points on the spire's apex reach towards the sky in what appears to be a very deliberate and jubilant expression of symbolism. These qualities of the sculpture very successfully communicate an overall atmosphere of spiritual exaltation, as if this monument perched here atop Cvibelj Hill, visible across the whole valley, is broadcasting the victory won by those who are buried beneath it, almost like a shining reflective beacon ( Photo 4 ). Many WWII monument across the former Yugoslavia use polished metal in their sculptural forms as a symbolic gesture of 'reflection' and the concept of radiating light from a place where there was once darkness. In a 2007 article by historian Jože &Scaronkufca, the symbolism of the Cvibelj Hill monument is described as follows (translated into English):

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Photo 4 : The monument on Cvibelj Hill looking over the countryside

"This magnificent memorial, placed in memory of the victims of freedom, with its monumentality dominates the entire upper Krka valley, and any man who ascends to it has raised within him feelings of respect and greatness. It is surrounded by silence, peace and memories. It warns of the horrors of the war. With its slim shape and upwards-pointing figure, it symbolizes the inner light that has called the people to rebellion, handing it over to revolutionary rapture and flight. It is there to remind us of the toughest and most famous days of our history."

At present, the WWII spomenik complex here at Žužemberk is kept in very good shape. Firstly, the grounds and landscaping around the memorial are well maintained and kept adequately manicured, without any overgrown or out of control vegetation. Meanwhile, the structural condition of the memorial itself appears in very good condition, with it plainly visible that the monument's facade is regularly cleaned and repaired. No elements of the memorial site bore any graffiti or vandalism, while the grounds were free of trash and debris. Additionally, it is important to note that this site went through a major redevelopment phase in 1988. During this renovation, the monument's original pedestal, which was much thinner and composed of a black marble engraved with hundreds of names (seen in Slide 1 of the Historic Images section), was replaced with a much thicker and simpler pedestal made of grey stone panels, bearing only one simple inscription on its front face. The engraved list of fallen fighters was moved to 9 tall standing stone panels arranged in a row located directly adjacent to the monument.

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Photo 5 : Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan &Scaronarec at 2018 ceremony

While there are no multi-lingual interpretive signs at this locations, the engraved Slovenian inscriptions on the monument itself are clearly legible and relate the site's historic importance and history. However, directional signage to this memorial was minimal, to say the least, and I was not able to determine to what degree, if any, this site is promoted by the local municipality of Žužemberk as a regional tourist attraction or local point of interest. While I did not encounter any other individuals visiting this memorial on Cvibelj Hill upon my most recent visit, I did find many sets of honorific candles, wreaths and flowers left here, indicating that the site is still very much respected by the local community. Meanwhile, I found multiple sources which indicate that numerous commemorative and remembrance events continue to be annually held at this site ( Photo 5 ). Finally, there is a large excavated area of earth on the slope just downhill of the spomenik complex to the north which has existed in this state for the last few years. While it is not disturbing or impeding on the memorial complex itself, it is extremely close to it. The purpose of this construction work is not immediately clear and does not seem to be directly related to the complex itself.

Additional Sites in the Žužemberk Area:

This section explores additional Yugoslav-era historical, cultural and memorial sites in and around the greater Žužemberk region that might be of interest to those studying the monuments of the former Yugoslavia. The sites examined here will be the Žužemberk Castle, the Kočevski Rog "Baza 20" Slovenian Partisan headquarters and hospitals, as well as the Oath Monument at Ple&scaronivica pri Žalni.

As the Žužemberk Castle plays an integral role in the town's WWII history, as well as being pivotal to the cultural history of the town as a whole, it seems necessary to give a brief description and exploration of the castle's story. Situated on a sharp bluff overlooking the beautiful Krka River , Žužemberk Castle is often regarded as one of the most picturesque castles in Slovenia. The first fortifications at this site are believed to have been created around the year 1000. A castle-like structure was first built on the rock terrace in the 1200s, at which point Žužemberk was officially mentioned in writing for the first time in documents recording the castle being sold to Count Albert I of Gorizia . However, when the lineage of the Gorizia noble family ended it the 1300s, the castle was taken over by Ulrich II who was the Count of Celje. When Ulrich died childless in 1456, the castle passed into the ownership of the House of Hapsburg . In 1538, the property was converted into a landowner estate as the Hapsburg king Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor sold the castle to Auersperg family of Turjak . The castle would then stay within the ownership of the Auersperg family for the next 400 years.

It was during these following 400 years that the castle began to take the shape that we recognize today, with the construction of additional towers and fortifications. An interesting often-told tale from the castle's medieval history is that in 1575, a bear wandered into the castle's courtyard and killed King Ivan Auersperg's wife, Ana von Eck. In tribute, he planted a Linden tree in the courtyard at spot where she was killed. The tree survived for 424 years when it was ultimately cut down in 1999 as it began to finally decay. Towards the end of the 1800s, the court of Auersperg slowly began to withdraw from the castle, resulting in its slow decline. In 1893, its last family member Count Karl Auersperg moved out of Žužemberk Castle to the nearby Soteska Castle. After this point the castle sat vacant and unused for several decades until WWII.

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Photo 6 : A series of mages of Žužemberk Castle between the 1600s and present-day

After Žužemberk Castle was devastated and left in ruins after WWII, but restoration projects slowly began in the 1960s. By the 1990s, rehabilitation was well underway and the shape of the castle was again well recognizable at the start of the 2000s. Today, the castle is in excellent condition but still undergoing continual improvement and restoration. It is open to the public and free to visit. It hosts annual Medieval Days celebrations and cultural events on July 15th. For more information, you can visit the castle's official website here . The exact coordinates for Žužemberk Castle are N45°49཭.6", E14°55ཨ.7" .

Roughly 20km south of Žužemberk in the remote forested karst plateau of Kočevski Rog is the location where the Slovene Partisan leadership built their operational command base during WWII in the spring of 1943. This particular base was given the code-name ' Baza 20 ' ( Photo 7 ). This forest had been a refuge and hotbed for Partisan resistance since 1941, but after the Italian's deadly 1942 Rog Offensive that swept the region, other locations became too exposed for the Partisans, so it was decided the remote and inaccessible forests of Kočevski Rog were the perfect location to establish a new base. From Baza 20, the Slovene Communist Party leadership established their headquarters, while it was also the site which the Slovene Partisan command used to conduct operations throughout the region. Several additional bases existed around Kočevski Rog, such as Baza 15, 21 and 80, among others, but Baza 20 was the only base to be preserved after the war.

Photo 7 : A present-day image of the Baza 20 Slovene Partisan HQ historical site [Photo from Dolenjski muzej ]

Photo 8 : Partisan fighters being treated at Jelendol Hospital, 1944

Baza 20 contained everything the Partisans needed to be self-sufficient, such as kitchens, munitions manufacture, printing facilities, workshops, dorms, power production, schools, etc. These facilities were housed in small wooden shacks clustered the dense forest's steep ravines and gullies, which provided better cover and protection from being discovered by the enemy. A map of the Baza 20 complex can be found at THIS link . In addition to the above-mentioned facilities, a number of significant hospital complexes were created, notably Jelendol ( Photo 8 ) and Zgornji Hrastnik . By the fall of 1944, nearly 180 people were being housed at the base. The Partisan and Communist Party leadership operated at Baza 20 until December of 1944, at which point a new headquarters was established in the nearby town of Črnomelj. Throughout the entirety of WWII, the Baza 20 Partisan compound was never discovered. Many civilians were saved by taking refuge at Baza 20 during WWII, and its hospitals treated and saved the lives of thousands of Partisan soldiers. However, in the months after WWII, the forests of Kočevski Rog saw a great deal of death as well, as the victorious Yugoslav forces used the forest's deep karst pits for the mass executions of Axis collaborators .

After WWII, Baza 20 and the Jelendol and Zgornji Hrastnik hospitals were all converted into historical sites open to tourists, adminsitered by the Dolenjska Museum in nearby Novo Mesto. The base is notable in the fact that it is the " only such headquarters of a European resistance movement which is still preserved ", continuing to this day as a popular historical attraction in Slovenia (even after the Yugoslav era) and was declared a protected cultural monument in 1952. The exact coordinates for the main entrance to the Baza 20 complex and the Lukov Dom visitor center are N45°41཮.0", E15°02ྲྀ.0" . The coordinates for the Zgornji Hrastnik Hospital complex (2.5km south of Baza 20) are N45°40ར.3", E15°03ཚ.3" , while the coordinates for the Jelendol Hospital complex (1.5km northwest of Baza 20) are N45°42ན.4", E15°02༼.4" . There are also hiking trails to access both hospital complexes from the Lukov Dom visitor center.

Oath Monument at Ple&scaronivica pri Žalni:

Roughly 20km west of Žužemberk near the village of Ple&scaronivica pri Žalni is a small unique monument in the shape of a hand ( Photo 9 ). This monument marks the location where two units of the National Security (Narodna za&scarončita) defense force were sworn into their duties on May 28th, 1942, whose primary tasks were to perform background and supplementary duties for the Slovene Partisans. This memorial sculpture's shape is meant to depict the hand sign a soldier would make while giving their oath to be sworn into their military position. The monument was unveiled on May 28th, 1977, celebrating 35 years since the swearing-in ceremony, and was created by Slovene architect Janez Lužar. A metal plaque at the base of the monument reads (translated into English): " Notable people and surrounding villagers were here on May 28th, 1942 when the Liberation Front swore in and established two National Security units. The Union of Fighters and the local community of Žalna. " The coordinates for the monument are N45°55ཝ.9", E14°42ཀྵ.7" .

Photo 9 : A photo of the monument at Ple&scaronivica pri Žalni [photo by Marko Krojac ]

One curious aspect of this monument is that the three finger oath in which it depicts is a symbol which is often directly associated with the Serbian people, or, as political scientist Anamaria Dutceac Segeste notes , " . the salute remains a distinctive sign for the ethnic Serb and a symbol for belonging to the Serbian nation ". For instance, in 2017 a memorial sculpture to Bosnia War victims was built in Zvornik , BiH by the ethnic-Serb community there in a very similar style to this one. From this perspective, its presence here in Slovenia seems potentially a bit unusual. Perhaps the Slovene Partisans borrowed this symbol for their oath ceremonies, but I was unable to find any sources which indicated this. If anyone from the region has further insights as to the symbolic or historical significance behind the usage of this hand-oath gesture in this monument's design, please contact me.

And Additional Sites of Interest:

Dolenjska Museum : Roughly 24km east of Žužemberk is the Dolenjska Museum, also known as the Lower Carniola Museum, located in nearby Novo Mesto. This museum has a wide range of exhibits that explore the long-reaching history of this region, which includes a significant amount of material about the area's WWII history. The museum's official website can be found at THIS link , while its exact location is N45°48ཇ.1", E15°10ཁ.0" .

Getting to the monument here at Cvibelj Hill in Žužemberk is a relatively easy endeavor. From the town center of Žužemberk, take Road 650 northeast in the direction of Dobrava. Just as you are about to exit the town limits of Žužemberk, you will see a small unmarked paved road on the left ( view on Google StreetView ). Follow this road west up the hill for about 300m and you will notice to spomenik up on top of the hill on your left. Once the spomenik is in view, you will then approach a gravel parking lot on the left where you can park ( view on Google StreetView ). From here you can easily walk to the spomenik. The exact coordinates for parking are N45°50ཉ.4", E14°55ཱ.7" .

Valiant Wings Publishing | Airframe Album 14: The Bristol Beaufighter

Valiant Wings Publishing has just released the 14th instalment in their Airframe Album series, entitled The Bristol Beaufighter: A Detailed Guide To Bristol's Hard-hitting Twin. In common with previous titles in the series, this one is authored by Richard A. Franks, a well-known name in modelling and aviation publishing.

The first thing that strikes you with this book is the terrific cover art by Seweryn Fleischer. The presentation of material in this book is impressive throughout. Photographs are generally clear and crisply reproduced, as are the 3D isometric line drawings by Chris Sandham-Bailey. The colour profiles by Richard Caruana are handsomely rendered.

The content itself is organised into four main sections plus an introduction and appendices:

  • Introduction
  • 1. Technical Description
  • 2. Evolution - Prototype, Production and Projected Variants
  • 3. Camouflage and Markings
  • 4. Model
  • Appendices
    • I. Beaufighter Kit List
    • II. Beaufighter Accessory, Mask and Decal List
    • III. Bibliography

    It should be evident from the list of contents alone that this title is aimed squarely at the modeller. There's plenty here for aviation enthusiasts and Beaufighter aficionados too, but the emphasis is on providing the modeller with copious data and as much detail as possible.

    The Introduction is actually a 23-page potted history of the Beaufighter, and makes for very interesting reading if you're not intimately familiar with the development of the type. I found myself quite surprised by the large number of foreign operators, for example.

    The Technical Description section of the book is packed with period photographs, technical drawings, and photos of surviving examples. The airframe is covered pretty comprehensively from nose to tail, with special emphasis on those areas of the most interest to modellers: cockpit, landing gear, and engines. There's also extensive coverage of the internal structure of the airframe, by way of photos and drawings.

    The section on the evolution of the airframe gives a concise but very clear overview of the development of the Beaufighter, from its initial concept as an adaptation of the Beaufort, to prototypes and test airframes, target tugs, and the Australian DAP version. There were an amazing number of one-off trial airframes in the Beaufighter's development history!

    The Camouflage and Markings section covers the type's use by the RAF, Coastal Command, FAA, and foreign air forces, and includes an impressive variety of attractive colour schemes. A decent selection of period photographs is included, along with the terrific colour profiles. There's some serious inspiration in this section!

    I'd like to see larger versions of some of the photos, but that's a perennial constraint that all aviation publications have to deal with, and hardly a criticism.

    The last of the main sections of the book features two model builds, the introduction to which pre-empts my usual grumble about not including the Revell 1/32 scale kit:

    Apologies for not covering the type in 1/32 scale, but model builds are not a major component of the Airframe Album series and the Revell example in that scale is over 40 years old now, so we have refrained from doing an in-depth build of it in this section.

    That said, the two builds included are both excellent. The first features Libor Jekl's new Airfix TF Mk X kit in 1/72 scale. The second build is the equally new 1/48 scale kit from Revell by Steve Evans, built from a test shot. Both are magazine-style builds, and certainly worth a look if you're interested in building either of these kits.

    The final section is the Appendices, and these follow the customary pattern for this series of books, in outlining what options the modeller has in terms of kits, accessories, decals and masks for producing a scale replica Beaufighter. Only a smattering of 1/32 scale items is available, unfortunately.

    The book rounds things out with a bibliography of existing titles covering the Beaufighter, which serves as a handy launch pad for further research into the type.

    Here's a small selection of sample pages, courtesy of Valiant Wings:


    This is a detailed, comprehensive and modeller-friendly title. If you're building, or intend to build, a model of the Beaufighter in any scale, this book will prove invaluable, and I highly recommend it. I must say that I feel rather inspired to drag my Revell kit out of the stash now!

    Thanks to Valiant Wings Publishing for the review sample.

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    This review was published on Monday, December 10 2018 Last modified on Monday, December 10 2018

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    IAF Aircraft Inventory: Bristol Beaufighter

    Known as the "Whispering Death" by the Japanese in the far east during WWII, the Bristol Beaufighter was instrumental in driving the Japanese from South East Asia and in the defeat of the Luftwaffe's night bombing offensive against Britain. 4 Beaufighters were purchased for the IAF in Britain on the pretext of being used for a film. In front of the director, the cameras and the whole filming "crew" they took off from a British air field — and never returned. By the time British authorities came to, the four bombers were somewhere over the Mediterranean, on their way to Israel. They took part in operations to drive out invading Egyptian forces on the southern front and also against the Egyptian navy during the War of Independence. On October 22, 1948, a Beaufighter on a sortie to bomb the Egyptian flagship "The Emir Farouk" encountered an Egyptian Hawker Fury. Aware that the Beaufighter stood little chance in a dogfight, the pilot put his bomber into a dive, followed by the Fury, and pulled up in time to see the fighter crash into the sea behind him. Unfortunately, the pilot of the Beaufighter was killed the next day, bombing an enemy stronghold on the southern front. The remaining aircraft were put out of service shortly after the end of the war.

    Specification: Bristol Beaufighter TF.Mk X
    Type: three seat anti-shipping strike fighter.
    Powerplant: 2 * Bristol Hercules XVII.
    Performance: max speed — 303 mph at 13,000ft, operational range — 1,470 miles.
    Weights: max takeoff weight — 11521kg.
    Dimensions: span — 17.63m, length — 12.70m.
    Armament: 4 * 20mm cannon and 1* 7.7mm machine gun with 2 * 113kg bombs or 8 * 41kg rockets under the wings.

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    The Beaufighter and Biggles [ edit | edit source ]

    Biggles in Borneo [ edit | edit source ]

    The Beaufighter makes its first appearance in Biggles in Borneo where it is chosen as the strike fighter for Biggles' secret airbase "Lucky Strike" which was situated in a remote mountain plateau in Japanese occupied Borneo. Air Commodore Raymond described it as the ideal aircraft for the job. With its range, it could hit most of the Japanese possessions in Southeast Asia.

    Given that the book was written in 1943 and the story set around March to May 1942, the variant Biggles probably used was the Coastal Command Mk.1C which was introduced around mid-1941. Biggles would have chosen a ship-strike/ground attack variant rather than the night fighter Mk.1F as he had no use for the airborne radar. A second possibility was the later Coastal Command variant Mk.VIC which had more powerful engines optimised for low level performance and could carry either bombs or a torpedo. The Mk VIC was introduced in mid-1942, making Biggles' squadron one of the first receive this later variant. Biggles was given a free hand in equipment so he might have chosen the best and latest!

    In Chapter 2, Biggles gives Captain Rex Larrymore a rather detailed description of the Beaufighter. Perhaps Johns also meant it for his readers, who might not have been so familiar with the type as they were with the Spitfire, Hurricane or Mosquito. Besides mentioning the four cannon in the nose and six machine guns in the wings, he also says, "There are more guns in the rear cockpit, which is a power-operated turret behind the pilot." Among the other descriptions given by Biggles:

    • carries 550 gallons of fuel
    • range of 1500 miles
    • speed slightly less than 330 mph
    • ceiling around 29,000 feet

    Johns then goes into an in-depth description of features such as the escape hatches, air brakes, the provision of intercommunication between pilot and gunner and even the fact that the tail wheel can retract! While this might seem a little unusual, it was perhaps Johns' way of impressing upon his young readers how advanced a design the Beaufighter was. At that time, a retractable tail wheel was probably a rare innovation. The Spitfire Mk.IX, a contemporary of the Beaufighter, did not have a retractable tail wheel!

    The description is fairly accurate except in two points

    • Biggles describes the Liberator as slightly faster than the Beaufighter--which is not true. Their speeds are compatible with the Liberator slightly slower.
    • Biggles mentions the power-operated turret but actual production Beaufighters did not carry one. The navigator or rear gunner position had a flexible mount for Vickers K machine guns under a perspex hood instead. Only in the Beaufighter Mk.V was an attempt made to mount a Bolton-Paul Defiant type powered turret just behind the pilot but this affected the performance so much that only two prototypes were built.

    This illustration in Chapter 3 of the 1st edition shows the illustrator was following the text--Johns mentioned a power operated turret and this drawing shows a Defiant or Beaufort type turret in the rear gunner position, which is historically inaccurate. Note how the aircraft on deck are facing the stern of the carrier! The arrangement of the funnel shows that the artist was inspired by the Kaga as she looked before her reconstruction in 1934.

    The rear guns are used in the story, though. In Chapter 3, while attacking the Japanese aircraft carrier, Biggles "banked steeply so that Ginger could bring his guns to bear," thus giving Ginger a chance to "beat a triumphant tattoo as his bullets added to the work of destruction."

    It would have been more interesting but sadly neither bombs nor torpedoes were ever dropped by Biggles' Beaus.

    The Beaufighter features heavily in the story. Three were brought to Lucky Strike base and participated in the first patrol, destroying a enemy patrol boat as well as attacking an aircraft carrier and shore installations at Kuching.

    On subsequent days, Biggles and Bertie took Beaufighters to conduct reconnaissance flights to Singapore and Surabaya respectively. Later Algy and Ginger bale out of one when they discover a snake in the cabin, leaving the Beaufighter to crash. The remaining two Beaufighters took part in the strike on Cotabato. There is mention of bombs being dropped, although it is not clear if they came from the Beaufighters or from the Liberator.

    The last two Beaufighters were later destroyed by enemy bombers attacking Lucky Strike. Towards the end of the book, an Australian squadron of Beaufighters with R.A.A.F. crews arrived to reinforce Lucky Strike, in time to attack and eliminate Yasnowada's troops as they advanced through the jungle towards the base.

    Insert (Fred Leander): W. E. Johns' concept here is quite interesting. In 1941/42 the British had no secret bases on Borneo, but the Dutch had - Samarinda II, north of Balikpapan. From there they attacked Japanese convoys on both sides of Borneo, the larger part of Borneo was under the Dutch East Indies colony. As the Dutch base was discovered by the Japanese the Dutch planes were withdrawn to Sumatra and Java but the ground troops remained, awaiting US reinforcements. However, these never showed up and the base was eventually captured by the Japanese.

    Johns bettered this - he sent in some RAAF units instead.

    Biggles in the Orient [ edit | edit source ]

    In Biggles in the Orient, a Beaufighter was part of the mixed aircraft type inventory of Biggles' squadron in Calcutta, India. It was flown by Flight Lieutenant Johnny Crisp during the big Japanese raid on Calcutta. Johnny Crisp was one of two surviving members of 818 Squadron, normally equipped with Hurricanes. By this time, in 1944, the Beaufighter would most probably be the Mk.X variant.

    Biggles Delivers the Goods [ edit | edit source ]

    In Biggles Delivers the Goods, Johnny Crisp appears again, this time as the commander of a squadron of Beaufighters. He obviously enjoyed his flight at Calcutta so much he converted to the type. His squadron turns up towards the end of the story to attack and destroy two Japanese troop transport ships which were approaching the Elephant Island. Clearly a maritime strike type such as the the Mk.X was being used.

    Biggles Hunts Big Game [ edit | edit source ]

    Bertie and Ginger used this as their means of transport from London to Almaza Airport, Cairo.

    1988 Bristol Beaufighter Convertible

    Again, as this is a Bonhams lot, not the actual picture. This is a random Beaufighter that looks to be in better condition than the one coming up for auction, which is a sort of sea green.

    Bristol is as English as English car firms come. They haven’t published production figures since the early 80s and even then it was a tick over 100 cars per year. Production as been suspended as of early 2011 – but there was a time when people were buying these cars – and that’s when they would be built.

    The Beaufighter was a slightly re-styled 412, a model introduced in 1975. It featured an updated engine, in this case a turbocharged 5.9 liter Chrysler V8 making the car capable of 150 mph. The body was by Zagato, as was the 412, the main difference being the four headlights on the Beaufighter versus two headlights on the 412. Production ceased in 1993 after 11 years.

    The original price of this car was £40,000 in 1988, a far cry from the pre-sale estimate of £6,000-£8,000. The fact that this car has been in storage for 10 years is not helping its value. Bristol cars are rare enough as it is, so they don’t come up for auction that often. Bonhams sold a red Beaufighter similar to the one pictured above for £12,000 back in 2009 and that car was in much better condition. Then again, there are Beaufighter for sale in private hands that are asking almost as much as their price when new. Compared to that, this car is a bargain, but who knows what sort of maintenance and repair costs lay in wait.

    Beaufighter Restoration in Australia

    Its exciting news that the Bristol Beaufighter rebuild project has recently moved back into the workshops and display hangar at HARS Albion Park where work is about to recommence on the rebuilding of the Beaufighter aircraft itself. HARS has had a project to rebuild a Beaufighter to fly for decades however the opportunity to accomplish the task has only recently been a realistic proposition. This follows on from the recent progress having been made by Peter Brooke at Historical Aircraft Engines in Brisbane Queensland with rebuilding of several Bristol Hercules engines for the Bristol Beaufighter project of the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) and Robert Grienert’s Historic Aircraft Restorations Limited (HARL) at Albion Park NSW. Details are in our Warbirds Online news item dated June 2019 – Beaufighter Engine Restoration News.

    Warbirds Online recently visited Albion Park NSW to view the aircraft on display awaiting its rebuild resumption. Most of the components of the fuselage have already received some structural restoration with the cockpit and stern frames already rebuilt structurally. The nose/cockpit being sourced from the UK built Mk. 1f X7688 the Ex RAF Halton UK engine test rig which was purchase from Skysport in the UK and was composed of the forward fuselage and center-section with engines and props. At present it is proposed to utilize the center section of X7688 as the project component although there are several other center sections on hand if required. The center section has been moved back to Albion Park from the storage facility and is also on display pending commencement of work on it shortly which will consist of strip down and examination of the entire structure followed by repair and replacement as required. The reasoning behind the use of this center section is that it is the most complete and recently serviceable center section available so should be quicker and better to restore.

    Nose cockpit & components
    Nose cockpit restoration
    Beaufighter rebuild commences
    Bristol Beaufighter top view
    DAP Beaufighter fuselage under restoration
    Beaufighter horizontal stabiliser

    The rear fuselage section has already been structurally restored and this means that the entire fuselage structure has been completed and will allow for quicker completion of the airframe once the center section is completed. Outer wing panels are in stock but will require a complete dismantling and rebuild in purpose built wing jigs which will be a time consuming process.

    The horizontal stabilizer has had some reconstruction work completed however it will also take some time to verify and complete. The fin and rudder are on hand however will also require a complete restoration before they can be fitted. All wing and tail control surfaces are also in hand and will likewise require overhaul.

    All of the work on the Beaufighter will be completed in house as it is a large and complex aircraft which requires a lot of work to coordinate and administer the restoration. Once all of the structural work is completed the task of fitting out the aircrafts systems will be carried out including the hydraulic, electrical and fuel plumbing.

    As with all projects currently underway at Historic Aircraft Restorations Limited (HARL) work is expected to accelerate considerably in the coming months. Given the excellent progress being made at HARL on their 3 P38 Lightning projects they have proven themselves capable of working on complex large multi engine Warbirds and despite the rarity of the Beaufighter the expertise and knowledge of the type, should see this project through to a successful completion in a reasonable timeframe.

    Beaufighter center section & restored cockpit
    Beaufighter side view
    Rear stern frame
    Internal view rear stern
    Bristol Hercules engine support ring
    Bristol Hercules engine trial fitout

    HARL have not as yet settled on the exact model and identity of the completed Beaufighter except to say that it will be an Australian operated aircraft from an Australian squadron. It is a fantastic project that will see this magnificent type fly again in a reasonable time frame, something that has always seemed elusive given the hurdle of solving the engine and propeller issues that plagued other efforts in the past. It is indeed fortunate that HARL now have access to the resolution of these issues which have allowed this project to resume.

    Everyone likes a Beaufighter in the Warbird world however they have remained an illusionary beast in the air at least until now. Beaufighters (with the exception of the Rolls Royce Merlin engine MkII) were powered by the Bristol Hercules sleeve valve engine which in its Beaufighter guise is very rare and extremely difficult to rebuild as are the propellers however a lot of hard work has made a successful restoration and operation of a Beaufighter a reality.

    Upon completion the aircraft will be housed within the HARS collection at Albion Park NSW and operate within their fleet, hopefully attending many airshows, events and reunions well into the future.

    Watch the video: Beaufighter pilot Paul Kruger (May 2022).


  1. Halirrhothius

    Remove everything that does not concern the subject.

  2. Koen

    You read this and think….

  3. Fahy

    I confirm. It happens. Let's discuss this issue. Here or at PM.

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