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Nr. 3 eskadrille (RAF): Anden Verdenskrig

Nr. 3 eskadrille (RAF): Anden Verdenskrig


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Nr. 3 eskadrille (RAF) under Anden Verdenskrig

Nr. 3 eskadrille var en af ​​de grundlæggende eskadriller i Royal Flying Corp i 1912. I 1939 var det en jagereskadron udstyret med Hawker Hurricane. I løbet af vinteren og foråret 1939-40 blev den bevaret Storbritannien, men da den store tyske offensiv begyndte den 10. maj 1940, var eskadrille nr. 3 en af ​​flere ekstraenheder, der skyndte sig til Frankrig. Ti dage senere var eskadrillen tilbage i U.K., efter at have mistet næsten hele sin styrke under sammenbruddet.

Da han var tilbage i Storbritannien, blev eskadronen sendt til Skotland for at genudstyre og omgruppere. Den 21. juli 1940 blev "B" -flyvning af nr. 3 eskadrille løsrevet for at danne kernen i nr. 232 skvadron. Da han var tilbage i styrke, blev nr. 3 eskadrille brugt til at bevogte den store flådebase ved Scapa Flow, der blev tilbage i Skotland indtil april 1941.

I den måned flyttede eskadronen tilbage sydpå og begyndte to års natkæmperopgaver. Enmotorede krigere var ikke rigtig velegnede til natkæmperrollen, manglede plads til AI -radaren eller udholdenhed til at foretage lange patruljer. Ikke desto mindre forblev nr. 3 eskadrille på denne pligt indtil juni 1943, da den som tyfoneskadron gik til offensiven og angreb fjendens skibsfart og flyver dag og nat indbrudsmissioner over Frankrig og lave lande.

Juni-september 1944 blev eskadrillen omdirigeret til defensive operationer mod V-1 Flying Bomb, for nylig at have modtaget Hawker Storm. Ved afslutningen af ​​V-1-offensiven flyttede eskadronen til kontinentet, sluttede sig til 2. Tactical Air Force og udførte jagerbomberfejninger bag fjendens linjer i resten af ​​krigen (denne pligt blev kendt som "væbnet rekognoscering", med vægt på de "bevæbnede").

Fly
Juli 1939-april 1941: Hawker Hurricane Mk I
April 1941-november 1941: Hawker Hurricane Mk IIA, IIB
April 1941-maj 1943: Hawker Hurricane Mk IIC
Februar 1943-april 1944: Hawker Typhoon IB
Februar 1944-april 1949: Hawker Tempest V

Bøger

Gruppe og pligt
3. september 1939-10. Maj 1940: Jagereskadron med base i U.K.
10.-20. Maj 1940: Kort indsættelse i Frankrig
23. maj 1940-april 1941: Hvile og genudstyr i Skotland, derefter forsvar af Scapa Flow
April 1941-juni 1943: Natkæmper og ubudne gæster
Juni 1943-juni 1944: Jagerbomberopgaver over kanal, Frankrig og lave lande
Juni-september 1944: Anti V-2 pligter
September 1944 og fremefter: Bevæbnede rekognoseringsopgaver med 2. Tactical Air Force

Beliggenhed
28. august 1936-2. Maj 1939: Kenley
2. maj-2. september 1939: Biggin Hill
2-10 september 1939: Croydon
10.-17. September 1939: Manston
17. september-10. maj 1940: Croydon
17. december 1939-10. Februar 1940: Afdeling til Hawkinge
10. maj-20. maj 1940: Merville (Frankrig)
20. maj-23. maj 1940: Kenley
23. maj-2. september 1940: Wick
2-14 september 1940: Castleton
14. september-9. oktober 1940: Turnhouse
9.-12. Oktober 1940: Dyce
12. oktober 1940-7. Januar 1941: Castletown
2. januar-29. marts 1941: Afdeling til Sumburgh
7-10 januar 1941: Skeabrae
10. februar-3. april 1941: Castleton
3. april-3. maj 1941: Martlesham Heath
3-13 maj 1941: Debden
13. maj-23. juni 1941: Martlesham Heath
23. juni-9. august 1941: Stapleford Tawney
9. august 1941-14. August 1942: Hunsdon
14. august-21. august 1492: Shoreham
21. august 1942-14. Maj 1943: Hunsdon
14. maj-11. juni 1943: West Malling
11. juni-28. december 1943: Manston
28. december 1943-14. Februar 1944: Swanton Morley
14. februar-6. marts 1944: Manston
6. marts-6. april 1944: Bradwell Bay
6.-14. April 1944: Ayr
14.-28. April 1944: Bradwell Bay
28. april-21. september 1944: Newchurch
21. september-28. september 1944: Matlask
28. september-1. oktober 1944: B.60 Grimbergen
1. oktober 1944-2. April 1945: B.80 Volkel
2-17. April 1944: Warmwell
17.-26. April 1945: B.112 Hopsten
26. april-21. juni 1945: B.152: Fassberg

Væsentlige datoer
10.-20. Maj 1940: Kostbar udsendelse til Frankrig
28. september 1944: Retur til Frankrig med 2. taktiske luftvåben


Fil: Personel fra No.121 (Eagle) Squadron ser på, da tre Spitfire Vbs kommer ind for at lande på RAF Rochford i Essex, efter en jagerfejning over det nordlige Frankrig i august 1942. D9509.jpg

HMSO har erklæret, at udløbet af Crown Copyrights gælder i hele verden (ref: HMSO Email Reply)
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Nr. 115 Squadron RAF er opført på dette websted som en af ​​de mange RAF Squadrons, hvor RAAF's personale tjente, kæmpede og døde under 2. verdenskrig.

Empire Air Training Scheme leverede titusinder af flybesætninger til Royal Air Force (RAF) luftkrig i Europa under anden verdenskrig. Mens en række såkaldte artikel XV nationale eskadroner blev oprettet i Fighter, Bomber og Coastal Commands for RAF, blev størstedelen af ​​australske flybesætninger udstationeret sammen med deres Commonwealth-kolleger til RAF Squadrons som individuelle besætningsmedlemmer, hvor de ville ' besætning 'ofte med et meget multinationalt flybesætning bestående af mænd fra hele Commownwealth. Jordpersonalet blev på samme måde tildelt.

Nr. 115 eskadrille stammer fra første verdenskrig, men var blevet opløst i mellemkrigsårene for at genopstå lige før udbruddet af 2. verdenskrig. Den var udstyret med den robuste og pålidelige dobbeltmotorede Vickers Wellington mellemstore bombefly, hvormed den udførte en lang række razziaer, herunder minelægning. Det blev kort knyttet til Coatsal Command. Senere testede den Gee -navigationshjælpen, som dramatisk forbedrede navigationsnøjagtigheden og dermed effektiviteten af ​​bombeangreb.

Fra 1943 var eskadrillen udstyret med Lancaster Mk II, der let kunne identificeres ved, at den havde Bristol Hercules luftkølede radialmotorer frem for den in-line væskekølede Rolls Royce Merlins, som Lancaster oftest er forbundet med.

Ved krigens slutning opererede 115 Lancaster MK I og III'er, og to af disse fly loggede henholdsvis 97 og 105 sorteringer, langt over gennemsnittet.

Nr. 115 eskadrille havde en af ​​de fineste operationelle servicejournaler i Bomber Command.

Det fløj 261 bombeangreb og 27 minedragter bestående af 4678 Lancaster -sorteringer. Dette var det næsthøjeste antal sorteringer i Bomber Command. Formentlig faldt den næststørste tonnage bomber, cirka 23.000 tons. Eskadrillen mistede 110 fly (2,4 procent) i disse razziaer. Lider mest tabt i hele Bomber Command. Ed note thi ville blive bestridt af andre eskadriller og afhænger af, hvordan 'tab' beregnes. Yderligere 22 Lancasters blev ødelagt i styrt.

Nr. 115 eskadrille fortsatte med at eksistere efter krigen, der opererede Lancasters indtil 1949, da den genudrustede Avro Lincoln. Flere oplysninger om dets efterkrigsaktivitet findes i linket til MoD i sidelinjen.

Vi vil især opfordre individuelle historikere, forskere eller medlemmer af enhedsforeninger til at bidrage til udviklingen af ​​en mere detaljeret historie og fotografier vedrørende denne enhed og dens medlemmer.


Nekrolog: Polsk krigsveteran tjente i artilleri og to RAF -eskadriller

Wladyslaw (Walter) Swirski fik et ry som historiefortæller, og det er ikke underligt. Hans liv svarede til levetiden for flere mænd.

Waterdown -forretningsmanden —, der døde 5. december 2020 ved 99 — tilbragte tid i en sibirisk arbejdslejr, efter at russerne beslaglagde halvdelen af ​​Polen efter starten på Anden Verdenskrig i 1939.

Befriet efter at tyskerne angreb Sovjetunionen, tjente han i artilleriet i slaget ved El Alamein, der førte til tyskernes nederlag i Nordafrika i slutningen af ​​1942.

Derefter uddannede han sig til pilot og fløj Lancasters og myg under RAF, og tjente med 300 polske bombefly -eskadron og 307 polske natkæmpe -eskadron.

I missioner så polakkerne bombe Berlin og Berchtesgaden, smide mad til de sultende hollændere i Operation Manna og færge britiske PoW'er tilbage til Storbritannien.

Senere fik han sin luftfartsingeniøreksamen i England, og efter at han kom til Canada, arbejdede han på Avro Arrow, som blev annulleret af Diefenbaker -regeringen i 1959. Swirski drev et byggefirma, byggede Waterdown Village Plaza i 1963 — baseret på sit eget design — og drev et par andre virksomheder. Han talte også fem sprog, var aktiv i sin kirke og var biavler.

Jeg ser på de ting, han gjorde — wow — denne mand gennemgik det hele, ” sagde hans datter Mary Swirski, der er ved at udarbejde sin fars papirer. Han gjorde så mange ting. ”

Swirski ’s krigshistorie er blevet genfortalt af The Flamborough Review, The Memory Project og et Oral History Project af Crestwood, en privatskole i Toronto.

Swirski blev født den 7. maj 1921 i Bogdanowka, nær den russiske grænse. Hans forældre, Michael og Maria, var velstående landmænd. Hans far havde været en polsk officer i den polsk-sovjetiske krig 1919-1921.

Swirski sagde, at hans far anbefalede ham at lære russisk og sagde, at det var praktisk, da russerne greb ham, hans forældre og bror Joseph og forviste dem til Sibirien i 1940.

Swirski sagde, at hans familie tilbragte en måned i en kvægbil på vej til en lejr i en sibirisk skov. Hvis det ikke var for mad slægtninge havde givet dem, sagde han, at de ville have sultet ihjel.

De var ligeglade med, om vi døde eller levede, ” sagde han.

Denne melodi ændrede sig, efter at tyskerne invaderede Rusland i juni 1941. Alle de polske mænd blev bragt til en hal af russerne og fik at vide, at de nu alle var venner, fordi de havde en fælles fjende. Han og hans far begyndte at træne i artilleri med den polske hær. Swirski kom til Palæstina for at slutte sig til general Wladyslaw Anders ’ hær.

Slaget ved El Alamein blev lanceret 23. oktober 1942. Det startede med intens artilleriild og Swirski fortalte The Review, “I to dage kunne jeg ikke høre noget. ” Han blev senere såret i armen, da hans artillerienhed flyttede til Italien.

I 1943 tog han til Skotland for at uddanne sig til pilot. Han fløj først Lancasters i 300 eskadrille. Han blev overført til 307 -eskadronen, som havde mygbomberen/jagerflyet. Han sagde, at eskadrillen blev valgt til at bombe Berlin på grund af myggenes smidighed.

Vi måtte lade Hitler vide, at han ikke var uberørt, ” sagde Swirski.

Han vendte tilbage til 300 eskadrille og havde et par rystende oplevelser. Hans fly styrtede tilbage ved en mission, fordi hans landingsudstyr ikke fungerede. Lancen brød i brand, og han måtte trækkes fra flyet, fordi han skadede sine knæ.

I en mission over Frankrig blev han skudt i begge ben af ​​en tysk jager og måtte igen slæbes fra flyet, da det landede tilbage i England.

Indlæser.

Jeg kunne ikke løfte mine ben, og han huskede. Mine støvler var fulde af blod. ”

Lancasters blev senere udstyret med amerikanske kanoner, og hans eskadre fik til opgave at bombe Berteschgaden, Hitler ’s hjem i de bayerske alper. Hans kommandant var ivrig efter at prøve kanonerne mod tyske krigere og fortalte ham at bremse farten efter bombningen, så krigerne kunne indhente. Han huskede, at de amerikanske kanoner beviste deres slagkraft — han sagde, at to krigere, der fangede Lancen, hurtigt blev skudt ned.

Efter krigen afviste Swirski et tilbud om at vende tilbage til det kommunistisk kontrollerede Polen og tog sin vej til Hamilton med sin engelske brud Ethel. De flyttede til Waterdown i 1951

Swirski efterlader sine børn, Susan, Andrzej, Ted, Mary, Anna, Paul og Katherine, 13 børnebørn, seks oldebørn. Han blev afkommet af sin kone Ethel i 2007 og sin bror Joseph i 1986.


Sydafrikanere i Royal Air Force – 1939 til 1945


Der er et sarkastisk ordsprog i militæret – “Karma er en tæve! .
Gestapo -medlem Johannes Post, bøddel for Sqn Leader Rodger Bushell (kendt som ‘Big X ’, da han mastermindede “The Great Escape ”), i det øjeblik dødsstraf blev annonceret under Post ’s retssag. Han blev hængt.
Roger Bushell, født sydafrikaner, var advokat i London og meldte sig ind i RAF, da der blev erklæret krig.
Roger Bushell var i RAF som medlem af RAF Auxillary Air Force før krigen, han var medlem af 601 (London County) eskadrille også omtalt som “millionaires ” Squadron baseret på Hendon før krigen. Lige før krigen flyttede den til Biggon Hill.
Han ledede den berømte flugt fra den tyske krigsfangelejr, Stalag Luft III. Han var offer for Stalag Luft III -henrettelsesgrupperne, da de flugte krigsfanger blev fanget og bragt tilbage.
Roger Bushell og et udvalg af yderligere 49 allierede krigsfanger, der var involveret i denne “ Great Escape ” blev henrettet af den tyske Gestapo (hemmeligt politi) på ordre fra Adolf Hitler, henrettelsen blev erklæret som en krigsforbrydelse, da den brød med konventioner til behandling af krigsfanger, blev major Johannes Post stillet til regnskab sammen med 13 andre nazistiske embedsmænd, og alle blev dræbt.
Historie for den sydafrikanske legion af Peter Dickens. Billede copyright Topham.


Gruppekaptajn P H “Dutch ” Hugo (til venstre), kommandør i nr. 322 Wing RAF og Wing Commander R “Raz ” Berry, der overtog ledelsen af ​​fløjen i januar 1943 og talte i Tingley, Algeriet. Petrus Hendrik Hugo, en sydafrikaner, sluttede sig til RAF i en korttjenestekommission i februar 1939. Han fløj med nr. 615 skvadron RAF under slaget ved Frankrig og slaget ved Storbritannien og blev flyverfører i september 1941. Han blev udsendt til kommando nr. 41 Squadron RAF i november 1941 og overtog derefter ledelsen af ​​Tangmere Wing i april 1942, men blev skudt ned (for anden gang) og såret kort efter. Ved genopretning blev Hugo Wing Leader i Hornchurch, men blev snart udstationeret til at lede nr. 322 Wing i den kommende invasion af Nordafrika (Operation TORCH). Han overtog kommandoen over fløjen i november 1942 og tilføjede betydeligt til sin sejrscore over Algeriet og Tunesien. Fra marts til juni 1943 tjente Hugo i staben ved HQ North-West African Coastal Air Force, men vendte tilbage til kommando over 322 Wing i Malta, Sicilien, Frankrig og Italien, indtil den blev opløst i november 1944. Efter at have opnået 17 bekræftede og 3 delte sejre , sluttede han derefter til staben HQ Mediterranean Allied Air Forces og afsluttede krigen med at flyve med Central Fighter Establishment.
Copyright IWM -samling.


King George VI overlod en bar til Flying Officer A Lewis ’s DFC ved en prisuddeling i Duxford, Cambridgeshire. Lewis, en sydafrikaner, var netop vendt tilbage til tjeneste med nr. 249 eskadron RAF, efter at være blevet skudt ned og alvorligt forbrændt den 28. september 1940, på hvilket tidspunkt han selv havde skudt 18 fjendtlige fly ned.
Foto copyright IWM -samling.

Gruppekaptajn A G ‘Sailor ’ Malan, en sydafrikaner, der blev et flyvende es i anden verdenskrig under slaget ved Storbritannien og sluttede krigen med 35 luftsejre.
Sailor Malan var en af ​​krigens mest succesrige piloter og vandt både DSO (Distinguished Service Order) med Bar og DSC (Distinguished Service Cross) med Bar. Malan blev født i Wellington, Western Cape. Han sluttede sig til det sydafrikanske træningsskib General Botha i 1924 eller 1925 som en kadet (kadetnummer 168), hvorefter han sluttede sig til Union-Castle Line for International Mercantile Marine Co., som senere gav ham tilnavnet “Sailor ” blandt hans pilotkolleger.

Her er han fotograferet i cockpittet på sin Supermarine Spitfire på Biggin Hill, Kent.
Efter krigen vendte Sailor Malan tilbage til Sydafrika for at blive en hård modstander af apartheid, og i 1951 sammen med den sydafrikanske ‘Springbok ’ Legion dannede han en protestgruppe sammen med War Veterans Action Committee for at appellere til en bredere base af tidligere tjenestemænd, som de kaldte ‘Torch Commando ’, som en taktik til at bekæmpe Nationalpartiets & apartheidspolitik.
I sin højde knyttede Torch Commando 250 000 mennesker til og kampagneede aktivt i 5 år. Det største stævne tiltrækker 75 000 tidligere WW2 -servicemænd uden for rådhuset i Johannesburg. Sømand Malan blev citeret for at sige ved dette stævne ”Styrken ved denne samling er et bevis på, at de mænd og kvinder, der kæmpede i krigen for frihed, stadig værdsætter det, de kæmpede for. Vi er fast besluttede på ikke at blive nægtet frugten af ​​den sejr. ”
Dette foruroligede dagens regering noget, som derefter gik i gang med et gradvist program med at marginalisere WW2 -veteranerne og veteranforeningerne, som de så som en trussel.
Adolph ‘Sailor ’ Malan døde af Parkinson ’s sygdom i 1963.

Gruppekaptajn Adolph Gysbert “Sailor” Malan DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar (24. marts 1910 - 17. september 1963), den sydafrikanske verdenskrig 2 flyvende es i samtale her med flyvesergent Vincent Bunting ved Biggin Hill i 1943 .
Vincent Bunting var en af ​​en lille gruppe af 'sorte' britiske og Commonwealth -piloter i fulde kamproller under Anden Verdenskrig - han blev født i Panama i juni 1918 og opvokset i Kingston, Jamaica. Han sluttede sig til RAF på No 1 Recruitment Center, Uxbridge, den 26. juli 1940. Udvalgt til flyvetræning fortsatte han med at blive jagerpilot hovedsageligt med RAF 611 Squadron.
Dette billede af tidlig race -anerkendelse er vidnesbyrd om Sailor Malan som ikke kun en af ​​de mest højt ansete jagerpiloter i krigen, men de fremtidige tegn på Sailor Malan som en politisk kriger og forkæmper for racemæssig lighed.
Sømand Malan forlod Royal Air Force og vendte tilbage til Sydafrika i 1946. I 1950 ’s dannede han en protestgruppe af tidligere tjenestemænd kaldet ” Torch Commando ” for at bekæmpe National Party ’s planer om at fjerne Cape coloured vælgere fra fællesrullen. Den Cape-farvede franchise blev beskyttet i Union Act fra 1910 af en forankret klausul om, at der ikke kunne ske ændringer uden et flertal på to tredjedele af begge parlamentshuse, der sad sammen. Den nationalistiske regering, med kynisme uden sidestykke, vedtog loven ved High Court of Parliament, der effektivt fjernede retsvæsenets autonomi, pakkede senatet med NP -sympatisører og dermed frakendte de farvede.
I en tale ved et massivt stævne uden for rådhuset for sydafrikanske veteraner i Johannesburg henviste krigshelt “Sailor ” Malan til de idealer, som den anden verdenskrig blev udkæmpet for:
Styrken ved denne samling er bevis på, at de mænd og kvinder, der kæmpede i krigen for frihed, stadig værdsætter det, de kæmpede for. Vi er fast besluttede på ikke at blive nægtet frugten af ​​den sejr. ”
Torch Commando kæmpede kampen mod apartheidlovgivning i mere end fem år. På sit højeste havde kommandoen 250 000 medlemmer, hvilket gjorde det til en af ​​de største protestbevægelser i sydafrikansk historie. DF Malans regering var så foruroliget over antallet af dommere, offentligt ansatte og militære officerer, der sluttede sig til organisationen, at det var forbudt for dem inden for public service eller militæret at melde sig - på lang sigt førte dette pres til gradvis erosion af organisationen .
Desværre bukkede Sømand Malan op den 17. september 1963 for den sjældne Parkinson ’s sygdom, som man på det tidspunkt kun vidste lidt om.
Det er til skam nu over hans behandling som en sydafrikansk militærhelt, at alle hvervede sydafrikansk militærpersonale, der deltog i hans begravelse, hvor de blev instrueret i ikke at bære deres uniformer af den nyformaterede SADF (regeringen ønskede ikke en afrikaner, som Malan var, idealiseret i døden i frygt for, at han ville blive et forbillede for fremtidige afrikansk unge).
Alle anmodninger om at give ham en fuld militær begravelse blev afvist, og endda det sydafrikanske luftvåben blev instrueret i ikke at give ham nogen hyldest. Ironisk nok står denne handling nu som et vidnesbyrd om, hvor bange regeringen var blevet for ham som en politisk kriger.
For dem, der tjente med Royal Air Force's 74 eskadrille når som helst mellem 1936 og 1945, var han den største leder af dem alle. Som et lille tegn på deres agtelse præsenterede 28 af de tilbageværende et ceremonielt sværd for eskadrillen i juli 1966 ved Headquarters Fighter Command til stolt minde om Sømand og til ære for hans enestående tjeneste for eskadronen.
Det er meningen, at dette sværd skal tjene som inspiration for dem, der kommer efter, så hans høje standarder for mod, beslutsomhed og lederskab skal leve videre.
John Mungo Park (der efterfulgte Sailor som kommandør for 74 eskadrille) sagde:
Det jeg godt kan lide ved Sailor er hans rolige, faste måde og hans kolde mod. Han er begavet med uhyggeligt syn og er en naturlig jagerpilot. ”
At læse Mungo ’s ord er næsten at høre Sailor's stille stærke toner, der kalder: “ Lad os skære lidt kage. Lad ’em få det! ” som om årene ikke var gledet væk, og som om hans dødelige levninger ikke lå under Kimberley -solen, så langt fra den engelske himmel, hvor han kæmpede så godt. Han var en mand, der mere end nogen anden kunne citere mottoet for 74 eskadrille og i sandhed sige:
“Jeg frygter ingen mand. ”
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Fantastisk farvet billede af Sailor Malan – en af ​​Sydafrikas største flyvende esser og nationalhelt.
Her er gruppekaptajn A G “Sailor ” Malan, kommandør med kommando nr. 145 Wing baseret på Merston, der klatrer ind i cockpittet på sin Supermarine Spitfire, inden han tager afsted fra Appledram, Sussex. Billedet taget omkring 1943.
Sømand Malan vendte tilbage til Sydafrika og fortsatte med at blive en hård kamp mod apartheid efter krigen. En sand nationalhelt, som historien i Sydafrika har glemt. Han bukkede under for Parkinsons sygdom i 1963 (det er sandsynligt, at tidlig begyndelse nu forstås at være forårsaget af kampstress), og han ligger nu under en Kimberly -sol.
Billede copyright Imperial War Museum samling. Den fantastiske farvning udført af Tinus Le Roux – mange tak for at bringe nyt liv til denne helt.

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En anden bemærkelsesværdig sydafrikansk helt og Victoria Cross -vinder, kaptajn Edwin (Ted) Swales VC, DFC (billedet i midten med sit mandskab) blev født i Inanda, Natal, Sydafrika, han gik på Durban High School (DHS) og sluttede sig derefter til Natal Mounted Rifles, der så handling i Afrika, før han overførte til det sydafrikanske luftvåben og derefter gik i tjeneste hos Royal Air Force (RAF).
I 1945, mens han var sammen med RAF Pathfinders (nr. 582 eskadron), var kaptajn Swales mesterbomber og kaptajn for Avro Lancaster III PB538. Den 23. februar 1945, samme dag som hans D.F.C. pris blev sat, ledede Swales bombeangrebet på Pforzheim, Tyskland.
Swales ’ Victoria Cross citat lyder:
“Kaptajn Swales var ‘Master Bomber ’ af en flystyrke, der angreb Pforzheim natten til 23. februar 1945. Som mesterbomber havde han til opgave at lokalisere målområdet med præcision og at give målstyrede instruktioner til hovedstyrken af bombefly i hans kølvandet.
Kort efter at han nåede målområdet, blev han forlovet af et fjendtligt fly, og en af ​​hans motorer blev sat ud af drift. Hans bageste kanoner mislykkedes. Hans lamme fly var et let bytte for yderligere angreb. Uforstyrret fortsatte han med sin tildelte opgave klart og præcist og udsendte målstyringsinstruktioner til hovedstyrken. Imens lukkede fjendens jagerfly banen og affyrede igen. En anden motor af Captain Swales 'fly blev sat ud af funktion. Næsten forsvarsløs blev han over målområdet og udstedte sine målinstruktioner, indtil han var overbevist om, at angrebet havde nået sit formål.
Det vides nu, at angrebet var et af de mest koncentrerede og vellykkede i krigen. Kaptajn Swales betragtede imidlertid ikke sin mission som afsluttet. Hans fly blev beskadiget. Dens hastighed var blevet så meget reduceret, at den kun med besvær kunne holdes i luften. De blindflyvende instrumenter virkede ikke længere. Fast besluttet for enhver pris på at forhindre hans fly og besætning i at falde i fjendens hænder satte han kursen hjemad.
Efter en time fløj han ind i skyer med tyndt lag. Han holdt kursen ved at flyve dygtigt mellem lagene, men senere blev tung sky og turbulente luftforhold opfyldt. Flyet, der nu var over venligt område, blev mere og mere vanskeligt at kontrollere, det tabte højde støt. Da han indså, at situationen var desperat, beordrede kaptajn Swales sit mandskab til at redde. Tiden var meget kort, og det krævede alle hans anstrengelser at holde flyet stabilt, mens hver af hans besætninger skiftede sig til flugtlugen og faldskærm i sikkerhed.
Næppe havde det sidste besætningsmedlem hoppet, da flyet styrtede til jorden. Kaptajn Swales blev fundet død ved kontrollerne. Uforfærdet i angrebet, modig over for fare, gjorde han sin pligt til det sidste og gav sit liv, at hans kammerater kunne leve ”


En Battle of Britain -helt, der bosatte sig i Sydafrika efter krigen og gjorde det til sit hjem.
Wing Commander M N Crossley står foran en Hawker Typhoon i Gravesend, Kent. I 1940 skød Crossley 22 fjendtlige fly ned over Frankrig og under slaget ved Storbritannien, mens han fløj med nr. 32 eskadrille RAF, sidst som sin øverstbefalende. Han ledede en fløj af Supermarine Spitfires i 1941 og blev derefter sendt til USA som testpilot for British Air Commission.
Han vendte tilbage til England i 1943 for at lede den foreslåede Detling Wing, men hans operationelle flyvekarriere blev afkortet, da han pådrog sig tuberkulose, og han immigrerede til Sydafrika.
IWM Copyright


En anden sydafrikansk helt, løjtnant Albert Sachs – sydafrikansk luftvåben udsendte til nr. 92 eskadrille Royal Air Force, siddende på sin Supermarine Spitfire Mark VIII i Canne, Italien. Den 5. december 1943 scorede Sachs den 99. og 100. sejr for sin eskadre, da han skød ned to Focke Wulf Fw 190'er nær Pescara, inden han kolliderede med en tredje Fw 190 og blev tvunget til at bale ud. Efter en periode som flyvende instruktør i Det Forenede Kongerige vendte han tilbage til Italien for at kommandere nr. 93 Squadron RAF fra september 1944 til februar 1945.
Foto copyright IWM Collection


Kampens højdepunkt i ‘Battle of Britain ’, den sydafrikanske pilotofficer Albert G Lewis fra nr. 85 eskadrille griber sin flyvende hjelm fra haleplanen i hans orkan, P2923 VQ-R, da et medlem af grundbesætningen varmer op motoren forud for en sortie, Castle Camps, juli 1940.
Foto Copyright IWM Collection.


Sydafrikanere og mænd og kvinder fra hele rigsfællesskabet udførte alle mulige roller, der tjente med Royal Air Force i 2. verdenskrig, mange som en udstationering fra SAAF baseret på nødvendige færdigheder, og mange i stærkt farlige roller – som denne billedtekst konturer.
Besætningen på en Consolidated Liberator B Mark VI fra nr. 178 Squadron RAF, der deltog i operationerne for at genforsyne den polske hjemmearme med fly under Warszawa -opstanden. I forsøget på at tabe deres læsse under 500 fod over faldzoner i midten af ​​den stærkt forsvarede by i løbet af august 1944 led eskadrille store tab, hvor 9 fly blev skudt ned på mindre end to uger.
Besætningen er fotograferet på deres base i Amendola, Italien, og består af (venstre til højre): Sergent John Rush (pilot) fra Newcastle-on-Tyne Sergeant Derek Coates (trådløs operatør) fra Manchester Sergeant Peter Green (midterste overskytter) af Morden, Surrey Lieutenant Keith Murray SAAF (navigatør) fra Johannesburg, Sydafrika Flight-Sergeant Derek Stuart RAAF (2. pilot) fra Ascot Vale, Australien og Flight-Sergeant Kenneth Pierce (tail gunner) fra Pontypridd, South Wales.
Foto copyright IWM Collection

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En anden berømt sydafrikansk helt og uden tvivl den bedste jagerpilot, vi har produceret – Squadron Leader Marmaduke Thomas St. John “Pat ” Pattle DFC & Bar (3. juli 1914—20. April 1941) mere i ham, men her er en Messerschmitt Bf 109E af III/JG 77, der styrtede ned på flyvepladsen i Larrissa, Grækenland, muligvis en af ​​to påståede skudt ned af den sydafrikanske eskadronleder “Pat ” Pattle, Officer Commanding No. 33 Squadron RAF den 20. april 1941.
Billede copyright IWM samling.


Foto fra en LIFE Magazine -artikel om en af ​​Sydafrikas største piloter under Slaget om Storbritannien i 2. verdenskrig. Artiklen fulgte den sydafrikanske pilotofficer Albert G Lewis og fik titlen ‘A Pilot and his Hurricane ’, her er hans orkan blevet bevæbnet igen. Billedteksten lyder “ Tre rustninger, kaldet ‘ blikkenslagere, ’ genindlæser orkanens otte maskingeværer med ammunitionsbælter. Hver pistol får 300 kugler, nok til at vare gennem 15 sekunders affyring, som kommer er korte bursts. Hvert fly tager tolv jordmænd for at holde det ved. ”
Foto copyright LIFE magazine.

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Verdenskrig 2. Eskadronleder J J Le Roux, kommandør for nr. 602 skvadron RAF i cockpittet på hans Supermarine Spitfire Mark IX, “Betty ”, på B11/Longues, Normandiet. Le Roux, en sydafrikaner, sluttede sig til nr. 73 Squadron RAF i Frankrig i 1940. Han blev skudt ned tolv gange, men nød bedre held med Squadron nr. 91 i 1941 og 1942 og nedskydede otte fjendtlige fly, før han sluttede sig til nr. 111 Squadron RAF i Nordafrika. Han afsluttede sin anden tur under kommandoen over eskadrillen. Efter et hvil fra operationen fik han kommandoen over eskadrille nr. 602 i juli 1944. Le Roux krediteres generelt som piloten, der angreb og sårede Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel i sin personalebil på vejen mellem Livarot og Vimoutiers den 17. juli 1944, den dag, hvor han også ødelagde to Messerschmitt Bf 109'er og beskadigede yderligere to for at bringe sin sejrscore til 23,5. Den 29. august 1944 tog Le Roux af sted i dårligt vejr for at hente noget øl til sin eskadrille fra England, men gik tabt undervejs.
Foto copyright IWM Collection

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Supermarine Spitfire Mark VIII, JF294, der blev fløjet fra Kairo til Cape Town af Flying Officer G E “Tiger ” Camplin fra RAF Transport Command Mediterranean Group, til præsentation for den sydafrikanske regering. Fra marts til september 1944 gav Fg Off Camplin en række flyvende demonstrationer i Unionen, og flyet blev udstillet under ‘Liberty Cavalcades ’ i en række byer. JF294 blev overført til SAAF i oktober 1944 og blev overført til det sydafrikanske nationalmuseum for militærhistorie i Saxonwold i 1948, hvor det i øjeblikket vises som � ’
Fotograf copyright – Imperial War Museum

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Der er store sydafrikanere, og så er der dem, der står på stormændenes skuldre, og denne mand er en af ​​dem. Denne sydafrikaner er uden tvivl det bedste allierede jageras i 2. verdenskrig og står hoveder og skuldre over andre jageras, og denne temmelig usungte helt er virkelig en af ​​Sydafrikas største sønner.
Eskadronleder Marmaduke Thomas St. jagerpilot af krigen.
Pat Pattle blev født i Butterworth, Cape Province, Sydafrika, den 3. juli 1914, søn af sydafrikanskfødte forældre af engelsk afstamning, sergent-major Cecil William John “Jack ” Pattle (f. 5. september 1884) og Edith Brailsford (1881–1962). Marmaduke was named after his maternal grandfather, Captain Thomas Marmaduke Pattle, who resigned his commission in the Royal Horse Artillery and emigrated to South Africa from England in 1875.
Pattle was academically intelligent. He considered a degree and career in Mining engineering before developing an interest in aviation. He travelled to the United Kingdom and joined the RAF in 1936 on a Short Service Commission (SSC). Pattle negotiated the training programs with ease and qualified as a pilot in the spring, 1937.
Assigned to No. 80 Squadron RAF, he was sent to Egypt before the war in 1938. He remained there upon the outbreak of war in September 1939. In June 1940 Italy entered the war on the side of the Axis Powers and he began combat operations against the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force) gaining his first successes during the Italian invasion of Egypt. By November 1940 had gained four aerial victories but had been shot down once himself.
In November 1940 his Squadron was redeployed to Greece after the Italian invasion. Pattle achieved most of his success in the campaign. In subsequent operations he claimed around 20 Italian aircraft shot down. In April 1941 he faced German opposition after their intervention.
During the 14 days of operations against the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) Pattle claimed his 24—50th aerial victories all but three were German. Pattle claimed five or more aircraft destroyed in one day on three occasions, which qualified him for “Ace in a day” status. Pattle achieved his greatest success on 19 April 1941, claiming six air victories.
The very next day, having claimed more aerial victories than any other Western Allied pilot, he took off against orders, and suffering from a high temperature to engage German aircraft near the Greek capital Athens. He was last seen battling Messerschmitt Bf 110 heavy fighters. His fighter crashed into the sea during this dogfight, killing Pattle.
Pattle’s death was equally heroic as he had dived down to rescue a fellow pilot who had a Bf-110 on his tail, Pattle managed to save him but at the loss of his own life, as he was also been attacked by Bf-110’s during the rescue – and he chose to ignore them to save his buddy.
Pattle was a fighter ace with a very high score, and is sometimes noted as being the highest-scoring British and Commonwealth pilot of the war. If all claims made for him were in fact correct, his total could be in excess of 51. It can be stated with confidence that his final total was at least 40 and could exceed this value. Log-books and semi-official records suggest this figure while personnel attached to his Squadron suspect the figure to be closer to 60. A total of 26 of Pattle’s victims were Italian 15 were downed with Gloster Gladiators, the rest with Hawker Hurricanes. He is considered to be the highest-scoring ace on both Gladiator (15 victories) and Hurricane (35 victories) fighters.
Pattle is however regarded as the ‘unofficial’ Highest scoring Western Allied Fighter pilot for WWII. Unfortunately the squadron war dairy and his log books were lost in the retreat from Greece.
Pattle’s medals are on display at the Ditsong National Museum of Military History in Saxonworld Johannesburg.
Thank you to Tinus Le Roux for the use of this rather rare photo of Pat Pattle, copyright and use to Tinus Le Roux.
Content thanks to Wikipedia and Sandy Evan Hanes.

This is the Official Website for South African Military Veterans Organisation of the USA - SAMVOUSA Their ideal is our legacy - Their sacrifice our inspiration At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.


Welcome to North Weald Airfield History The famous Battle of Britain fighter base

North Weald Airfield was the famous Battle of Britain fighter base - RAF North Weald - near to the Essex town of Epping and easily accessible from London. The airfield is still very active, and on most summer week-ends visitors may see some of the veteran and classic aircraft based on the airfield, such as the Spitfire, Mustang, Invader, Vampire, Hunter, Dakotas, Yaks and Jet Provosts, land and take-off.

The airfield also has a museum, and North Weald Airfield Museum is all about people. It's about the service personnel and civilians, who have lived, worked, flown, fought and died here since the airfield opened in 1916.

The museum sets out to tell their story of a famous airfield that has protected London during two world wars. The story is told in displays, with photographs, artefacts and personal memories.

The NWAMA Collection is housed in the former RAF North Weald Station Office. The extensive collection of photographs and artefacts is displayed in theme rooms that tell the story of the airfield and its people from 1916 to the present day. It is without doubt one of the best documented former RAF stations. There is access to an extensively researched history of the airfield. The area is enhanced by the new Memorial. Combine a visit to the Museum and the RAF North Weald Memorial, dedicated to all who served at North Weald.


Days of destiny: 5 key dates in the Battle of Britain

What are the key dates in the Battle of Britain? Kate Moore picks out five moments from that fateful summer, when a group of Allied pilots were engaged in desperate battles with their German foes, hoping to secure control of the skies and prevent a Nazi invasion of Britain

This competition is now closed

Published: September 15, 2020 at 11:45 am

Following the collapse of France, the Luftwaffe had spent most of the latter half of June and early July 1940 preparing for the coming battle with the British. As Wintson Churchill electrified the nation with his soaring oratory, strengthened the resolve of the embattled British people and gave them hope, a small band of fighter pilots – just over 700 in total – would indeed act as that thin blue line of defence.

Tentative plans had been made for an invasion of England, codenamed Operation Seelöwe (Sea Lion), but Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, commander of the Luftwaffe, believed that his air force alone could bring Britain to her knees. Göring, however, failed to recognise that the campaigns in the Low Countries and France had taken their brutal toll, and the Luftwaffe could now only muster 1,380 bombers and 428 dive-bombers, nowhere near the 5,000 he liked to boast of in his propaganda.

Supplemented by 1,100 fighters, the Luftwaffe still enjoyed a numerical superiority of almost five to one over the British defenders. But Göring’s bomber pilots should have taken little comfort in this. They were simply ‘potential kills’ for Spitfires and Hurricanes, incapable of attacking the British fighters effectively themselves. If the British pilots were deployed correctly, then the dice would not be as heavily stacked against Fighter Command as is commonly believed. It all came down to how the imminent battle would be fought.

10 July 1940: the official start of the Battle of Britain

The battle began with the Kanalkampf, or Channel Battles phase, when the Germans launched sustained attacks against British shipping to prevent much-needed supplies from reaching the beleaguered British Isles. Such attacks had been taking place since late June, but early July saw a marked increase in the frequency and ferocity.

The tenth of the month was the date later chosen by the RAF as the official start date for the battle proper and this day certainly saw the largest dogfight fought over the Channel up to that point. By sundown the RAF had lost seven planes against the Luftwaffe’s 13. This was an astonishing rate of success for the outnumbered British fighter pilots. German losses should have sent alarm bells ringing within the Luftwaffe high command but instead they chose to believe their own inaccurate intelligence reports that claimed 35 British ‘kills’. It was a portent of things to come.

Explore the Battle of Britain and its wider context in the Second World War

13 August 1940: Eagle Day

With the outcome of the Kanalkampf phase of the battle inconclusive, Göring made plans for an all-out assault against Fighter Command on the British mainland. Codenamed Adlerangriff (Eagle Attack), it was due to commence on 13 August. Yet the weather was to throw German plans into disarray. Grey skies and mist forced the Luftwaffe high command to order a postponement, and when several bombers – unaware of the change in plans – arrived over England unprotected by their fighter escort, they were badly mauled. The Luftwaffe regrouped in the afternoon and, flying in better weather conditions, launched a determined assault.

Throughout August the airfields would come under virtually unremitting attack, causing devastating losses to fighters caught on the ground as well as support crew. But the Luftwaffe continued to rely on faulty intelligence, frequently attacking bases that were not operational fighter stations. A total of 87 RAF aircraft were destroyed on the ground on 13 August, but only one of these was from Fighter Command. Three British pilots were killed, while the Luftwaffe lost almost 90.

Fighter Command could take heart from its performance. The tactic of deploying in small numbers to prevent all available fighters being caught refuelling on the ground was paying dividends. However this policy required nerves of steel from the heavily outnumbered British pilots.

18 August 1940: The Hardest Day

Believing their attacks were decimating the much smaller force of Fighter Command, the Luftwaffe planned a series of ambitious assaults on key British airfields including Kenley, Biggin Hill, Hornchurch and North Weald. With the British pilots putting up a desperate defence, the attacks were soon reaping a grim harvest. In fact, 18 August saw both sides suffering their greatest number of losses so far: 69 German aircraft versus Fighter Command’s 29. It had been a terrible day but just one in an ongoing battle of attrition.

It is little wonder then that many pilots on the frontline of Britain’s defence were beginning to show the strain, as Spitfire pilot Alan Deere recalled: “You were either at readiness or you were in the air. It was pretty tiring. I was bloody tired, I can tell you very tired. My squadron, 54, I think we were down to five of the original pilots so were operating on a bit of a shoestring.”

Listen to historian James Holland describing how the Luftwaffe and RAF fought to control the skies over Britain in 1940, in a talk from our 2015 History Weekend at Malmesbury. He explains how Britain came out on top in one of the pivotal clashes of the Second World War:

7 September 1940: The Blitz begins

Dismayed by the failure to destroy Fighter Command and incensed by a British bombing raid on Berlin, Göring turned his attention to London. Now the citizens of the British capital would feel the full wrath of the Luftwaffe, and in the process either the RAF would be destroyed or the British government would be forced to the negotiating table.

British radar screens lit up as wave after wave of German bombers streamed towards London. It was an astonishing and terrifying sight, 350 Luftwaffe bombers accompanied by 617 German fighter aircraft.

Within an hour, every squadron in a 70-mile radius of the capital was either airborne or waiting to be scrambled. Fighter Command realised too late that the raid’s intended target was not its own airfields – and soon, bomb after bomb began to rain down on the docks, factories and houses below. The British were caught unprepared and lost 28 aircraft and 448 lives in the attacks. But once again there was no definitive result. Another test was required.

15 September 1940: Battle of Britain Day

A spell of bad weather had meant a delay in hostilities on Eagle Day. But 15 September dawned clear and bright. As the first German bombers began to appear one after the other, the British scrambled their fighter squadrons.

Air Vice-Marshal Keith Park, commander of No 11 Group, responsible for the defence of London, famously ordered all his aircraft into the air to defend the capital, abandoning his own policy of deliberate, smaller attacks by individual squadrons.

Drawing on reserves from No 12 Group to the north, the British fighters swarmed around the massed German formations, peeling the fighter escorts off into individual dogfights. It was a tactic that left the bombers unprotected – and they were soon falling in devastating numbers.

Park’s decision was absolutely critical. If the Germans had launched a second mass raid immediately after the first, British fighters would have been caught on the ground refuelling. But Park had banked on the Luftwaffe having no reserves, as was the case with Fighter Command. He took a huge gamble, but battles are not won by the timid. For months the Luftwaffe had believed that Fighter Command was on its last legs and all that was required was a final knock-out blow. As the Germans tallied up their devastating losses, it was clear that they had failed.

Kate Moore is the author of The Battle of Britain (2010), which was published by Osprey in association with the Imperial War Museum


No. 3 Squadron (RAF): Second World War - History

41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946

This website provides a nominal role of every pilot known to have served on 41 (F) Squadron RAF during its first 30 years, from April 1916 to March 1946, plus key data pertaining to the Squadron during this period.

41(R) Squadron is one of the oldest Royal Air Force squadrons in existence it will celebrate its Centenary in 2016. The unit has seen service from World War I, through Policing Duties in Aden in the 1930s, throughout World War II, and more recently in the First Gulf War and Yugoslavia.

At least 187 pilots served with the Squadron during World War I. Of these, 39 were killed in action or died on active service, 48 were wounded or injured, and 21 became Prisoners of War. They were credited with destroying 111 aircraft and 14 balloons, sending down 112 aircraft out of control, and driving down a further 25 aircraft and five balloons. The men were awarded four DSOs, six MCs, nine DFCs, four Mentions in Dispatches, and two French and two Belgian Croix de Guerre two of the ground crew also received Military Medals.

41 Squadron was formally disbanded on 31 December 1919, but re-formed again at RAF Northolt on 1 April 1923. At least 202 pilots served with the unit between 1 April 1923 and 2 September 1939. During this period, eleven men were killed and three injured in flying accidents, three injured in airscrew accidents on the ground, and one pilot killed and a second injured in automobile accidents. Although no Battle Honours were granted nor any decorations awarded during this time, the era produced ten Air Commodores, nine Air Vice-Marshals, two Air Marshals and two Air Chief Marshals.

A further 325 pilots served with 41 Squadron during World War II, of whom 64 were killed in action or flying accidents, or died of injuries, wounds or other causes on active service. Fifty-eight were wounded in action, or injured in flying or non-flying accidents. Three pilots were shot down over enemy territory and evaded capture, and four were shot down or ditched in the Channel and were rescued. Another 21 pilots became Prisoners of War. The men were awarded three DSOs, 21 DFCs, one DFM, and one Mention in Dispatches.

It is believed that at least another 29 pilots also served with the unit between 1 June 1945 and its disbanding on 31 March 1946. This suggests that almost 700 pilots served on 41 Squadron during its first thirty years. Biographical details and information on the service of every one of these men are included in this website.

This website was created on 31 January 2003 and was last updated on 3 July 2020


As with all aspects of the history of Bomber Command, Canadians played a major role in the Dams Raid. Of the 133 airmen that set out on the raid, 30&hellip

In 1939 the only aircraft available to Bomber Command were twin engined and includedthe Whitworth Whitley, Bristol Blenheim, Handley Page Hampden, and Vickers Wellington. As the war progressed the swift, twin-engined de avilland Mosquito&hellip


Imaging the Empire: the 3rd Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron in World War II.

The strategic bombardment of Japan by the Twentieth Air Force, combined with the Allied naval and land offensives, paved the way for victory over the Japanese Empire m 1945. To accomplish this feat. the XXth's bomber commands dropped more than 147,000 tons of bombs and supported the 509th Composite Group's two atomic strikes. The success of this aerial onslaught belonged in no small part to the efforts of one overworked and under-appreciated unit--the 3d Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron (3d PRS).

The 3d PRS was activated on June 10, 1941, as the Army Air Corps expanded in the run up to World War II. Initially, the 3d PRS was used to chart the Western Hemisphere, but moved on to map the China-Burma-India Theater in December 1943. The unit was disestablished overseas and re-established at Smoky Hill Army Airfield, Kansas, in April 1944, for conversion to the Boeing F-13. (1)

On April 7, 1944, requirements were established for a B-29 modified to perform photo reconnaissance missions, with the first production F-13 to be delivered on September 19. Production B-29s were sent to the Denver Modification Center. where the bomb bay was sealed and extra fuel tanks added. A camera section was built in the aft pressurized section of the fuselage behind the central fire control station. A single vertical camera, a split-vertical two camera assembly, and a tri- metrogon camera assembly made up the mission payload of the F-13. In addition, a camera was added to image the scope of the AN/APQ-13 radar to provide radar images for blind bombing and navigation. (2)

Due to the delay in F-13 development, the 3d PRS's initial flight training in Kansas involved photographic missions flown in reconnaissance versions of the B-17 and type conversion flown on hand-me-down B-29s. (3) The squadron, commanded by ex-test pilot, Lt. Col. Patrick McCarthy since July 1943, worked through these delays and put the ground echelon aboard a troop train on August 3 for the trip to California and embarkation to Saipan. The air echelon stayed and trained with whatever was available. While a "training" F-13 arrived on August 24, the first operational F-13 for overseas use did not arrive in Kansas until October 4. As more operational aircraft arrived, crews were put through their paces and sent off to the fight, with the first F-13 departing on October 19. (4)

Just as the 3d PRS was reformed specifically to operate the F-13, the Twentieth Air Force was created for the sole purpose of using the B-29 to bomb Japan. Originally composed of the XXth Bomber Command, based in India, it started a desultory bombing campaign against Japan in mid-1944. But it was not until early 1945, after the creation of the XXIst Bomber Command, on Saipan and Guam, hat the campaign accelerated. Possessing scant data on Japan's war industry and home defenses, a long-range photographic squadron was critical to the success of this plan. (5)

The ground echelon of the 3d PRS, contained in the holds of six ships, pulled into Saipan's harbor on September 18. Twenty-five Quonset huts were erected within the squadron operations area, as a ground echelon, under Major Yost, rushed to get ready for flight operations that would commence as soon as their aircraft arrived. The first two F-13As winged into Saipan via Oahu and Kwajalein on October 30, and were immediately prepared for a mission. Two days later, Capt. Ralph Steakley, rested from the ferry flight, flew the first combat sortie with F-13A S/N 42-93852, "Tokyo Rose," imaging industrial installations and aircraft plants around Tokyo. Nineteen Japanese fighters rose to try and intercept the lone B-29 type aircraft--as well as to engage the F-13 with flak--to no avail. Steakley earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for this mission and would be awarded the Bronze Star four weeks later for saving aircraft during a Japanese raid on the base.

Images from this mission provided the Twentieth's planners their first good look at targets around Tokyo the images were quickly utilized on XXIst Bomb Command missions later that month. While the first mission was a stunning success, five of the next seven sorties ran into bad weather, causing the subsequent eight missions to be devoted to weather observation to help the meteorologists better understand Japan's weather. By the end of the month, nine F-13s were on strength and twenty-seven sorties were flown twelve more F-13s would arrive over the next three months, making up for three combat losses and an unlucky aircraft destroyed during a Japanese air raid on December 7, 1944. (6)

By the turn of the year, the squadron still under the steady hand of Lieutenant Colonel McCarthy, averaged thirty sorties per month and flew myriad imagery-related missions. Many missions expanded the knowledge of the Twentieth's staff by mapping large swaths of Japan and surveying air defenses to obtain accurate airfield and anti-aircraft artillery orders of battle. In addition, the squadron's F-13s would range across Japan, imaging industrial sections of Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo, and other large cities to plot future targets or winging over a target area following a raid to provide battle damage assessment. The 3d PRS was also tasked to support the upcoming invasion of Okinawa, fighting bad weather on seventeen missions over a three-month period, before finding a clear day and mapping the entire island on February 28. The squadron also experimented with flying bomber support missions to aid in the survivability of their B-29 brethren. Between November 24 and December 13, five missions tasked F-13s with dropping "rope" (300-foot foil strips held vertical by a small parachute) out of flare chutes. Dispensing of this "chaff" would commence with the aircraft's climb to altitude and would continue for approximately 100 miles, stopping before the aircraft crossed the Japanese coast and flew on to its tasked targets. Their intent was to confuse Japanese defenders into believing the single F-13 was an inbound Twentieth Air Force bomber raid and drawing some Japanese interceptors away from the main bomber effort of the day. It appears the mission was not performed after December 1944, but by March the 3d PRS was preparing to fly additional bomber support missions with modified B-24 aircraft. (7)

A flight of the 3d PRS was assigned four modified B-24J/M aircraft for the purpose of electronically mapping the Japanese air defense system. The flight was essentially a self-contained unit within the 3d PRS and operated unique B-24 aircraft that were hand-built at the Fairfield Air Depot in Ohio. The bomb bay was sealed over, with the forward bomb bay housing additional fuel tanks and the aft bay housing a compartment for two electronic warfare officers and their equipment. At mid-fuselage, the radar operator worked with the navigator to accurately plot the aircraft location, while in the nose two Japanese linguists operated communications intercept gear. The aircraft carried sensitive electronic receivers that allowed the crew to intercept and plot Japanese radars, noting their electronic characteristics to aid in setting radar jammers used by the B--29 force. (8)

The Japanese linguists listened in on Japanese fighter controllers and enabled the Twentieth's intelligence staff to better understand Japanese fighter tactics. (9) The flight started flying operationally on May 18, 1945 and logged forty-two combat missions by the end of the war. These missions --many ranging up to twenty hours and including en route refueling stops--were flown in conjunction with bomber strikes and over time helped increase the survivability of not only the B-29s, but also the F-13s operated by their squadron mates. (10)

By late 1944, the 3d PRS crews settled into a routine that would last for the remainder of the war. A typical mission would start with mission planning the evening prior to the sortie. Crews were awakened two and one half hours prior to takeoff, allowing time for breakfast, a briefing and a truck ride to their assigned F-13. The aircraft was usually in the air before 4:00 AM, with a long over-water flight to Japan accomplished below 2,000 feet to decrease radar detection. LORAN assisted in getting the F-13 to its climb point 250 miles from the coast, a distance that allowed the aircraft to be over 30,000 feet by the time it crossed the target. This altitude helped decrease the effects of anti-aircraft fire and the chance of interception by Japanese fighters. Most missions met little opposition, Kawasaki Ki-61 and Ki-45 fighters along with Nakajima Ki-44 and J1N aircraft were all noted in 3d PRS combat debriefs as making single runs at the well-armed F-13s. A few missions reported simultaneous attacks by four to five fighters but the results were normally in favor of the 3d PRS crews due to the poor high altitude performance of the Japanese fighter aircraft. Flak was usually light as well, though some major cities would throw 50 to 100 rounds of ammunition at the single reconnaissance aircraft passing overhead. (11)

Though the 30,000 foot altitude protected the F-13s from the Japanese defenses, it could also hinder the crews from completing their primary mission. Many times in the winter and spring, the crews would find their targets cloud covered, leaving the pilots the option of searching for clear skies to shoot targets of opportunity or taking radar scope images of their tasked targets. Often the pilots would push their aircraft into a dive to seek out the base of the clouds, popping into the clear at 10,000 feet or lower and commencing their photo run at this riskier altitude. (12)

An hour or so would be spent making photo graphic runs before the aircraft turned for home, recovering up to fourteen hours after takeoff. The film was rushed to the squadron photo labs for processing immediately after landing, with high priority targets printed out and distributed to Twentieth Air Force leaders by 8:00 AM the next day. All useful photographs were interpreted and the results summarized in Damage Assessment Reports, Survey Reports, Photo Interpretation Reports and others were distributed throughout the Pacific. The Twentieth Air Force staff was an avid consumer of the Damage Assessment Reports, using the imagery assessments to judge the effectiveness of raids and call for re-attacks on targets if necessary. (13)

Like their bomber squadron brethren, the 3d PRS crews also had to contend with the mechanical challenges of operating the B-29-type airframe. Many missions were aborted due to mechanical problems, while others worked through engine problems to accomplish their assignments. Mission 272, flown by Lt. Robert Hickethier on June 8, 1945, was typical. F-13 [SN 42-93865] departed North field, on Guam, at 1501 Zulu on June 7, with the intent of imaging Kobe and Osaka. The flight to Japan was uneventful, though it was noted that engine No. 1 tended to backfire occasionally. Once landfall was made, engine No. 1 backfire d repeatedly and in an intense manner. After directing the flight engineer to reduce power on that engine, Lieutenant Hickethier, a 3d PRS veteran who had been at Guam since November, decided to press on with the mission. He encountered light, but accurate flak and bad weather. Nonetheless, flying through gaps in the clouds over Osaka, the crew succeeded in taking some photographs. After checking the rest of the targets and finding them socked in, Hickethier turned home toward Guam, landing on North Field almost exactly fourteen hours after departing. (14)

The squadron continued to base out of Saipan, though the balance of the squadron personnel transferred to Guam on January 11, 1945. Starting in mid-January, longer duration missions would launch from the more northern base of Saipan and recover at Guam, a trend that continued until April, when all missions were originating and ending out of Guam. Saipan continued to be a divert field for weather or low fuel, though it was replaced by Iwo Jima in late March after this island was secure. In April, the squadron stood up a maintenance detachment at Iwo for this purpose, servicing sixteen returning aircraft in July alone. (15)

The squadron charged hard through the spring of 1945, building upon the experience gained from the past five months of combat operations. Squadron F-13s ranged across Japan, splitting their time between bomb damage assessment, search and survey work, and target development imaging. Many target areas were re-tasked as Japan dispersed critical war industries throughout the countryside. For the rest of the war the 3d averaged fifty-five sorties per month, many accomplished in surges of four to five missions in a single day, followed by two or three down days, likely driven by maintenance, weather, and Twentieth Air Force operational tempo. These missions were flown by the twenty-five 3d PRS crews in the fifteen to eighteen aircraft carried on the unit roster. (16)

In April 1945, the 3d PRS dispatched a detachment of three aircraft and requisite personnel to Morotai Island to map the Netherlands East Indies for the Thirteenth Air Force. The F-13As ranged across Java, mapping the island and towns of Batavia and Soerabaja for a month before returning to Guam. The 3d PRS also expanded their repertoire over Japan, trying out different missions besides the standard daylight imagery profile they flew daily in and out. Six missions were flown in May and June to take films of Twentieth Air Force B-29 strikes over Japan, detailing bomber formations and damage from the attacks. Four night missions were also flown in April and May, shooting photos under the glare of photo flash bombs. Neither mission type appears to have caught on with the unit. (17) At the end of June, the squadron bid farewell to its commander of two years, Colonel McCarthy, who was succeeded by Maj. Robert Hutton, an experienced reconnaissance pilot.

Hutton "did not miss a beat," expanding squadron operations in July, the squadron winged further north and started to image the Korean peninsula. At the end of the month, three aircraft deployed to Iwo Jima and performed a ten-day, in-depth survey of Japanese merchant and naval vessels. By late July, aircraft started to use Okinawa as an alternate landing field, three F-13s landing at the newly-liberated island for maintenance or refueling. As the war entered its final month, the squadron gave two missions to the shadowy 509th Composite Group. The atomic bombers planned the routes for the post-strike survey flights flown by the F-13s and processed all the film, keeping all information on the atomic attacks in-house. (18)

It was fitting that the 3d PRS helped the 509th Composite Group knock Japan out of the war. In the ten months the squadron was part of the Twentieth Air Force, it flew 450 imagery and forty-two signals intelligence missions. Reconnaissance photos turned out to be a critical factor in the strategic bombing campaign against Japan, not only for locating Japan's industry for the first time, but also in providing timely damage assessment that allowed planners to adjust future bomber strikes. Indeed, the 3d was crucial in providing Maj. Gen. Curtis E. LeMay feedback in bomber effectiveness as he adjusted B-29 tactics in the spring of 1945. After hostilities ceased, the squadron continued its survey missions throughout the western Pacific, updating maps for postwar use until the call came to case its colors in March 1947. With little fanfare, the squadron that had helped direct the strategic bombing of Japan faded into oblivion. (19)

The 3d PRS helped set the stage for postwar Strategic Air Command's reconnaissance efforts. As opposed to Eighth Air Force operations in Europe, that utilized Royal Air Force imagery and electronic reconnaissance efforts, the Twentieth Air Force was a completely American show. Airmen were able to see the criticality of strategic reconnaissance for a bombing campaign, and for the need to have this information available at the start of the campaign, not mid-way through it. Strategic Air Command's whole-hearted embrace of the reconnaissance mission for the next forty years was due in no small part to a solitary squadron and its odd collection of modified B-24 and B-29 aircraft. The ripple effects of these missions are felt even today, as daily 55th and 9th Reconnaissance Wings' sensitive reconnaissance operations probe the fringes of future hot spots, and preparing the battle space for possible follow on operations. Never again should we go into a bombing campaign unprepared.

(1.) Mauer Mauer, World War H Combat Squadrons of the United States Air Force, (Smithmark Publishers, Woodbury, N.Y., 1992), pp. 21-22 3 PRS, Historical Data, Narrative History, Documents of 3d Photo Reconnaissance Squadron [3d PRS], Period: 13 Apr 1944 to 1 Nov 1944, Air Force Historical Research Agency, Sq-Photo-3-HI, Apr 1944-May 1945, Maxwell AFB, Ala. [hereafter, AFHRA]

(2.) David Morse, "Eye in the Sky: The Boeing F-13," Journal American Aviation Historical Society, Summer 1981, pp. 150-53.

(3.) HQ, Second Air Force, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Memo for Commanding General, Army Air Forces, Attn: AC of Air Staff, Training, Reconnaissance Training Branch, dated June 3, 1944, subj "Periodic Report Third Photo, Reconnaissance Squadron (VLR)," HQs 499th Bombardment Group (VH), SHAAF, Salina, Kansas, unaddressed memo, July 31, 1944, subj "Report on the Status of 3rd Photo Recon Squadron as of 31 July 1944," AFHRA, Sq-Photo-3-Su-Co, 1942-1944.

(4.) 3 PRS, Historical Data, Narrative History, Documents of 3d Photo Reconnaissance Squadron, [PRS] Period: 13 April 1944 to 1 Nov 1944, AFHRA, Sq-Photo-3HI, Apr-1944-May 1945.

(5.) Alvin Coox, "Strategic Bombing in the Pacific, 1942-1945," in R. Cargill Hall, Case Studies in Strategic Bombardment, (Wash., D.C.: Center for Air Force History, 1998), pp. 275-99.

(6.) 3 PRS, History of the Advance and Air Echelon of the 3rd Photo Reconnaissance Squadron from 18 September 1944 to 3 December 1944. AFHRA, Sq-Photo-3-HI, Sep 44 -Dec 44 Public Relations Office, Twentieth Air Force, Release No. 329, Aug 26, 1945. AFHRA. Sq-Photo-3-SuCo, Aug 44-Oct 45.

(7.) 3 PRS, History of the Advance and Air Echelon of the 3rd Photo Reconnaissance Squadron from 18 September 1944 to 3 December 1944. AFHRA, Sq-Photo-3-HI, Sep 44-Dec 44 3 PRS, History for Month of January 1945. AFHRA, Sq-Photo-3-HI, Jan-45, 3 PRS, History for Month of February 1945. AFHRA, Sq-Photo-3-HI, Feb 45.

(8.) "The Search for Jap Radar," Radar, Issue 10, 30 June 1945, Radiation Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology reprinted March 1985, Product Support Department, Ferranti Defense Systems, Ltd.

(9.) Office of the Communications Officer, Headquarters, XXI BC. Memo to DCS/Operations, subj: RCM Ferret Aircraft, dated 25 February 1945. Filed in Monograph II-RCM Reconnaissance and Countermeasures, 24 November 1944-June 1945. August 1945. AFHRA, 762.041-2 Larry Tart and Robert Keefe, The Price of Vigilance: Attacks on American Surveillance Flights (N.Y.: Ballantine Books, 2001), pp. 170-71.

(10.) For additional information on "R Flight", please see the author's article in March 2011, issue of FlyPast magazine.

(11.) Public Relations Office, Twentieth Air Force, Release No. 329, August 26, 1945. AFHRA, Sq-Photo-3-Su-Co, Aug 44-Oct 45,.

(12.) Public Relations Office, Twentieth Air Force, Release No. 329, August 26, 1945. AFHRA, Sq-Photo-3-Su-Co, Aug 44-Oct 45.

(14.) 3 PRS, Combat Mission No. 272, Sq-Photo-3-Su-Ops, 8 Jun 45, AFHRA.

(15.) 3 PRS, History for Month of January 1945. AFHRA, Sq-Photo-3-HI, Jan 45 3 PRS, History for Month of February 1945. AFHRA, Sq-Photo-3-HI, Feb 45 3 PRS, History for Month of April 1945. AFHRA, Sq-Photo-3-HI, Apr-45, Headquarters 3rd Photo Reconnaissance Squadron, APO 234, Memo for Commanding Officer, 3d PRS, dated Jan 22, 1945, subj "Operations of 3rd Photo Recon Squadron from Guam, Staging at Forward Bases.", SqPhoto-3-Su-Co, Aug 44-Oct 45 3 PRS, History for Month of July 1945, AFHRA, Sq-Photo-3-HI, Jul 45.

(16.) 3 PRS, History for Month of February 1945. AFHRA, Sq-Photo-3-HI, Feb 45, Maxwell AFB, Ala., 3 PRS, History for Month of March 1945, AFHRA, Sq-Photo-3-HI, Mar 45, Maxwell AFB, Ala. 3 PRS, History for Month of April 1945, AFHRA, Sq-Photo-3-HI, Apr 45. 3 PRS, Mission Reports 31-112, AFHRA Sq-Photo-3-Su-Ops, Feb-Mar 45.

(17.) 3 PRS, History, May 1945, AFHRA Sq-Photo-3-HI, May 4. 3 PRS, History for Month of April 1945, Sq-Photo3-HI, Apr 45 3 PRS, History, June 1945, AFHRA SqPhoto-3-HI, Jun 4 3 PRS, Mission Reports 113-310. AFHRA, Sq-Photo-3-Su-Ops, Apr-Jun 45.

(18.) David Morse, "Eye in the Sky: The Boeing F-13," Journal American Aviation Historical Society, Summer 1981, p. 159-60 3 PRS, History for Month of July 1945. AFHRA, Sq-Photo-3-HI, Jul 45 3 PRS, History for Month of August 1945, AFHRA, Sq-Photo-3-HI, Aug 45.

(19.) 3 PRS, History for Month of August 1945, AFHRA, Sq-Photo-3-HI, Aug 45.


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Kommentarer:

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