Latvian Air Force 1918-40
1. Junkers CL.I
Serial no. 10, Latvian Aviation Park, 1920. Aircraft is finished overall in Natural Metal. No serial number is carried. The early style of Latvian Ugunskrusts insignia is used with the hooks of the cross pointing in an anti-clockwise direction and is in Dark Red. It appears on a White circle on the fuselage sides and on White panels on the wings. This machine crashed early on in its career with the Latvians. The remains of the fuselage were repainted after 1921 with a later style of markings, and used as an airman's funeral carriage.
2. de Havilland DH9a
Serial no. 1, Latvian Aviation Regiment, late 1920s. Aircraft is Light Grey overall. Struts are Varnished Wood. The later style of Latvian Ugunskrusts insignia is used with the hooks of the cross pointing in a clockwise direction and is in Dark Red, though no White discs are used as was usual at the time. Serial number is Black. Wing crosses are displayed asymmetrically.
3. Ikars I-5 II
Serial number unknown, Aizsargu Aviacija (Latvian National Guard Aviation Branch), 1933. Aircraft fuselage is Natural Varnished Wood with Natural Metal forward fuselage and cowling. Flying surfaces are Clear Doped Linen. This aircraft used a marking based on a traditional Latvian ornament, the Auskelis, which was a Dark Red and White cross with swallow-tail tips. This was then superimposed onto a Latvian military Jack in Dark Red and White. This marking was used in six positions. The Ikars I-5 II was designed by Karlis Irbitis and built in 1926 by Nikolajs Pulins, who owned this aircraft. As an early member of the AA, he loaned it to the organisation, but it was later bought by them in 1933 when a flying training course was instituted. The flight instructor who trained over a dozen pilots in the I-5 was Alfreds Paulovskis, a former Aviation Regiment pilot.
4. VEF Irbitis I-12 (Single-seat version)
Serial no. 17, 1st Squadron, Aizsargu Aviacija
(Latvian National Guard Aviation Branch), 1938. Aircraft Dark Green overall, with Light Grey lower surfaces. The later style of AA markings with a simplified Auskelis cross in Dark Red on a White disc are used in six positions. Serial number is Black with a White outline. The AA had four I-12s, two of which were converted to single seaters with gun cameras for elementary air combat training.
The illustrations above are all taken from our Air Force Special No. 5 - The Latvian Air Force from 1918-1940.
All pictures and text © Blue Rider Publishing 2013