Nicolae Polizu was another one of
Romania's "flying aristocracy". He was born at Hârlau on 2 July 1904 in a
family related to the Ghica princes. He graduated high school in Bucharest
after WWI and then went on to practice boxing, fencing, tennis, ski, rugby
and ice hockey.
In the spring of 1939 he approached a
new and more fascinating sport: flying. He went first to the "Mircea
Cantacuzino" Flying School and then to the Prahova Air Club at Strejnic
and obtained his pilot license on 14 June 1939. He then, as the
international situation worsened, went to the Military Flight School at
Tecuci. which he finished in 1940 and received the rank of
sublocotenent aviator (2nd lt.), but in reserve. He was mobilized and
assigned to the 5th Fighter Group (in the 51st Squadron), which had just
The 51st Fighter Squadron was
transferred on 21 August to an airfield in Transylvania to counter the
incursions of Hungarian reconnaissance aircraft over Romanian territory.
But due to the poor characteristics of the He-112B, they were not able to.
On 27 August, the new locotenent aviator (1st lt.) Nicolae
Polizu apparently intruded into Hungarian airspace and attacked a MKHL
Ca-135bis from the Hungarian 3rd Bomber Group and damaged it and wounded a
radio operator/gunner. The bomber had to make an emergency landing on the
Debrecen airfield. Polizu claimed the victory and it was confirmed.
In February 1941, as more Bf-109Es
became available, two new squadrons were formed with some of the most
promising pilots ARR had. Polizu was assigned to the 57th Fighter Squadron
and began training on the new aircraft with German instructors. These two
squadrons (57th and 58th) joined the 56th in the 7th Fighter Group, which
would become the elite unit of the Romanian fighter force in 1941-44.
The group began flying war missions from
the first hours of Operation Barbarossa. But the first victory for Polizu
came three days later, on 25 June. He was part of a patrula
(Romanian for Schwarm) under the command of lt. cdor. av. Alexandru
"Popicu" Popisteanu (the CO of the 7th Fighter Group), which was escorting
several Romanian He-111H3s to bomb the Basarabeasca railway station. After
the bombs were dropped, Popisteanu returned to strafe the remains. An I-16
dived after him. Polizu spotted him and alerted the lt. commander. The
leader ordered him, calmly, to take care of it and soon the Rata was going
down in flames, becoming Polizu's first victory in 1941.
However, he had to wait more than a
month for his next victory. On 5 August Polizu encountered a VVS bomber
formation escorted by 8 I-16s. He attacked the bombers first, but after
after two attacks he hadn't achieved anything. The fighters engaged him,
but he managed to shoot one of them down before several German Bf-109s
appeared and chased the Ratas away.
Four days later he and adj. av. Iolu
claimed one victory each after an engagement with 12 Soviet fighters. His
score increased again on 16, the same month, when his patrula shot
down three aircraft, as air activity around Odessa intensified. Thus he
became an ace with five confirmed kills.
He scored victories both in September
and October, thus becoming the top scoring Romanian ace in 1941, with 8
kills. For this he was one of the three Romanian airmen who received the
highest Romanian military award: the "Mihai Viteazu" Order, 3rd class. The
other two were awarded posthumously.
Apparently, he did not participate in
the 1942 campaign. This is easy explainable, through the fact that he was
a reserve officer. But he could not stay away from the front, even though
it would have been easy for him. In March 1943, he was again part of the
7th Fighter Group, which then was assigned to JG 3 Udet, where it suppose
to convert to the more modern Bf-109Gs.
His first kill in 1943, which was also
going to be his last, came on 3 April, during a free-hunting mission. He
and his wingman, adj. av. Laurentiu Catana, were patrolling in the Izyum
sector, when they spotted several unidentified aircraft below them. They
dived and saw that they were several Yaks pursuing two German He-111s.
They attacked, but did not obtain any results. Polizu then saw that a Yak
was closing in on his wingman from behind, so he made a climbing turn,
trying to surprise him. The Soviet saw him and tried hide in the clouds.
The Romanian ace followed him with full throttle and caught up. After
several bursts from his weapons, the horizontal stabilizers and smoke
started to come out of the engine. The Yak fell 5 or 6 km from Izyum. Adj.
av. Laurentiu Catana also managed to shoot down a Yak in the engagement,
his first victory.
One month later, on 2 May, lt. av.
Nicolae Polizu's Bf-109G was damaged in a dogfight. As he was trying to
bring it home, he crashed close to the airfield, the ammunition exploded
and he died in the fire. Thus the 7th Fighter Group lost one of its best
pilots. Ironically, his place was taken by cpt. av. Constantin Cantacuzino,
who eventually became the Romanian top scoring ace of WWII.
Lt. av. (r) Nicolae Polizu had
obtained 10 confirmed victories and one probable one, during over 160
missions and at least 52 dogfights.