Many of you will have heard of the Hawker Sea Fury, the monoplane fighter that served in several air forces just after World War Two. However there was a biplane called the Hawker Fury that served around the world just before the war. It remained in service with some air forces even during the Second World War.
One of the main selling points of the Fury was that it could be fitted with a huge variety of engines, which meant eight countries brought it, and most fitted their own preferred engines.
In 1941 Yugoslavia had two squadrons of 15 Furies, these were Grupa 35 and 36. Grupa 36 was based at the airfield at Rezanovacka Kosa. The Yugoslavian Air Force was formed from pilots with little experience or training. They had suffered a blow when the high ranking officer Vladimir Kren had stolen an aircraft and defected to Austria. Despite this setback the morale of the pilots was exceptionally high.
Grupa 36 had been warned to expect German bombers on April the 6th, 1941. Before 0600, as the sun poked over the wooded hills on the horizon two Furies were dispatched on patrol to look out for German bombers. The remainder of the Grupa's pilots were stood to, in position in their aircraft with the engines switched on and running at idle.
Kapetan Konstantin A. Jermakov had been born in Russia, but had ended up in the Yugoslavian Air Force as the leader of one of the flights of Grupa 36. In the dogfight so far he had emptied his guns into the German planes to no effect. In a fit of rage or desperation, we shall never know which, he flew his plane at a BF110, crashing into the wing. Both planes fell to the ground in a mangled smashed heap of wreckage killing both pilots and the crew of the BF110.
The remaining Fury joined Grupa 35, which fought for the remainder of the war. The only other air to air engagement was against the Italians, which saw both sides having aircraft shot down.
Furies were to see action once more in the Second World War, their last engagement is strange in that it technically wasn't under any air force.
In August 1941 the Soviets and British forces invaded Iran. The Iranians resisted, but in a patchy way. In some places they put up fierce fights, in others little resistance. The Iranians were facing an overwhelming force and the matter was decided before it began.
Less than three days later the war was all but over, political agreements meant that the Shah issued orders for a cease fire, including orders to the main Tehran airbase not to engage Soviet paratroopers should they land.
On September the 17th a flight of five Polikarpov I-16's heading to reinforce the Soviet forces in Iran were over the Caspian sea approaching land, when the two Furies reappeared. The Iranians immediately launched an attack on the Soviets. Their planes were outclassed and one of the Furies was shot down.