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View Full Version : RAF Middle East Losses Wk ending 29-11-41


AndreasB
12th May 2010, 20:59
The RAF reported heavy losses in that week (AIR20/1934). They included

3x Fortress Cat. B (which I presume to mean B-17) and
2x D.C.2 Cat. B 1x D.C.2 Cat.E (could these be Douglas Bostons?)

Can someone provide some more background?

In case anyone is interested, they also report a Wellesley lost - I wonder if that was on ops in East Africa?

For the strength returns beginning November to February (AIR20/2021) they continue to report 3x Fortress as serviceable, and they do not report any D.C.2 on strength with the command at all for the year 1941 and 1942, but as I said, they might have been Bostons?

See here: http://crusaderproject.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/917/

I would very much appreciate to learn more about what went on here.

Many thanks!

All the best

Andreas

Alex Smart
13th May 2010, 16:40
Hello Andreas,

Aircraft Damage Categories
Cat B was Damaged, repairable either at a Maintenance Unit, a Civilian Repair Depot or at the Manufacturers.
Cat E was Written off, salvage impossible.
(ref: Bomber Losses in the ME & Med, vol 1 Gunby & Temple).

All the best
Alex

paulmcmillan
13th May 2010, 19:44
I suspect the 3 B-17 are the three B-17 from 90 Sqn ones sent to Middle East

Which I think were AN521, AN529, AN530

AndreasB
14th May 2010, 09:34
Alex Sorry, I mistyped - the Fortresses and the 2x D.C.2 are Cat. E, not B, and the 1x D.C.2 is Cat.B. Paul, many thanks for this. Do you have an idea on what they were used for? As for my thought that the D.C.2 could refer to Bostons, that is apparently not the case, since both Bostons and D.C.2 feature in the losses for week ending 13 December 41 (2x and 1x Cat. E, respectively). So I am still at a loss regarding the quality of the data - one of the two tables must, one thinks, per force be wrong. But which one? All the best Andreas

Col Bruggy
14th May 2010, 10:47
Hi Andreas,

Week Ending 13-12-1941:

Flight Lieutenant Howell (of 31 Sqn.RAF) was shot down, the date being the 8th December (1941), although on this occasion he was second pilot, the captain being Warrant Officer David "Lummie" Lord (later VC). Flying in (DC-2) DG475 "X" they were carrying supplies to LG138. Ten miles north-east of their objective they were attacked by three German fighters, and with both pilots slightly wounded and one passenger dead, they were forced to land in the desert. With the crew they walked to LG138 but were flying the next day.

See:
First in the Indian Skies.
Franks,Norman L R.
p.76

A detachment of No.31 Sqn RAF, was operating in the Middle East (Bilbeis and Maaten Bagush).

Col.

Henk Welting
14th May 2010, 12:08
Gents,
Air Britain DA100-DZ999 has DG475 (ex NC14924) date 25-12-1941.

Henk.

Col Bruggy
14th May 2010, 13:41
Hi Henk,

Three for (8th), two against (25th).

December 1941: North Africa.

Day Phase: 8 December 1941.

8.12.41 Ofw. Otto Schulz 4./JG 27 Douglas N. Ridotto 13:10 Film C. 2036/II Anerk: Nr.77.

Be interesting to see what "Though Without Anger", has to say, if anything!

Col.

Alex Smart
14th May 2010, 15:28
Hello Col,
"Though Without Anger", has 25-Dec-41.
Alex

Col Bruggy
14th May 2010, 16:54
Hello Alex,

Thanks for that.

Interestingly, Jagdgeschwader 27/Ring & Girbig (p.133, 8th ed. 1994) , records Schulz's claim on the 8-12-1941 as a "Boston". Likewise, Fighters Over The Desert p.75.

One of the sources I used for the DC-2 loss, was Chaz Bowyer's: For Valour:The Air VCs (p.406, 1992 Grub Street ed.). It quotes 8-12-1941.

Col.

Leendert
14th May 2010, 19:25
Andreas,

As far as I could find, then 90 Squadron sent four Fortresses to Egypt.
A fifth one had engine problems and stayed in England (AN527).
Of the four Fortresses two were lost: AN529 on 8 Nov 41 (forced landing)and AN521 on 10 Jan 1942 (engine fire).

The other two (AN518 and AN532) survived their Mideast adventure.

Regards,

Leendert

AndreasB
17th May 2010, 01:14
Many thanks everyone! Leendert - do you know what they were used for? Regarding the date the DC-2 was lost, this could maybe be established by looking up where LG138 was? If "Ridotto" refers to Ridotta Maddalena (which I think is quite likely), 25 Dec is pretty much impossible, since German fighters would not have operated there on that date, but they still would have been quite active on 8 December - when Gazala and airfields west of it were still in Axis hands and they still had gasoline. The Dutch website with the production list and history of all DC-2 has 25 December 41 shot down over Iraq. I seriously doubt that. All the best Andreas

Henk Welting
25th May 2010, 15:43
LG138 was 30°52.0'N 25°12.0'E

AndreasB
25th May 2010, 17:52
Thanks a lot Henk.

That in my view completely rules out 25 December, since the frontline was at Agedabia at that point, and makes it certain this happened on 8 December, when the frontline was east of Gazala.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=30%C2%B052.0%27N+25%C2%B012.0%27E&ie=UTF8&z=8

All the best

Andreas

AndreasB
27th December 2011, 16:24
Andreas,

As far as I could find, then 90 Squadron sent four Fortresses to Egypt.
A fifth one had engine problems and stayed in England (AN527).
Of the four Fortresses two were lost: AN529 on 8 Nov 41 (forced landing)and AN521 on 10 Jan 1942 (engine fire).

The other two (AN518 and AN532) survived their Mideast adventure.

Regards,

Leendert

Coming back to this after a while. Further looks into various papers have confirmed that there were four sent (via Malta, in groups of 3 and 1), and that they were used for high-level daylight raids on Tripoli. Apparently there was strong counsel against this, but Tedder wanted to have them in any case. In the end the effort was probably not worth it. There's a bit in Tedder's papers on it.

The forced landing in the desert on 8 November ended well for the crew, they were rescued. They burned the plane to prevent it from falling in Axis hands. Does anyone know how the other Fortress was lost?

All the best

Andreas

AndreasB
11th March 2013, 21:21
And coming back to it again. The war diary of 8 R.T.R. confirms a Douglas shot down by 3 Messerschmitts on 8 December, says however it took off from L.G.75. 6 wounded, including the colonel and adjutant of 8 R.T.R. It also states an air ambulance and a Bombay shot down.

The De Havilland Air Ambulance is confirmed here:

http://www.3squadron.org.au/subpages/st%20leon.htm

All the best

Andreas

niallc
14th March 2013, 16:56
Andreas
To add to this – or possibly hijack it:-) - the Wellesley lost on 29 November (and referenced in your first post) was not lost in East Africa, but appears to be one of a pair in transit between Heliopolis and Malta and which ditched off Malta (possibly lost or out of fuel, although the latter would seem unlikely in a Wellesley). The crew, recorded as Sgts Cunnison, Scholar and Taylor, were picked up safe by HSL128 and landed at Kalafrana.
Additionally there is a note on the Middle East Weekly State Report for Jan 2nd, 1942 that on Malta there was “in addition a special flight consisting of 1 Wellesley, 1 Whitley and 1 Halifax.” Presumably this Wellesley is the other one of the pair that set off from Helio on November 29th? And presumably the “special flight” refers to 138 Squadron’s detachments to the island to drop agents into Yugoslavia? Can anyone identify either of the Wellesleys or add any more about what they were supposed to be doing?
Niall

AndreasB
14th March 2013, 21:32
Added. :) Very nice info, many thanks!

Was there also a German floatplane with German markings used for covert operations (I have in my memory a Norwegian He 115). And do you happen to know what happened to the captured Italian Cant flying boat?

All the best

Andreas