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Mitch Williamson 7th January 2005 06:03

SAAF and RAF aircraft losses in East Africa Campaign 1940-41

I'm looking for records of SAAF and RAF aircraft losses in the East Africa Campaign 1940-41.

The RAF where based out of Aden then into Abyssina.

The SAAF Wing in Kenya.

In East Africa, however the SAAF’s exploits began to hit the headlines. Equipped with a few squadrons of Gloster Gladiators, Hawker Hurricanes, Furies, Hartbeest and JU86s, the SAAF took on an Italian air component comprising nearly 300 modern aircraft. By the end of the campaign, the SAAF pilots had destroyed 71 Italian aircraft in the air and many more on the ground. In addition, the had struck at innumerable railways, convoys and supply dumps in interdiction sorties in support of the ground forces. SAAF losses during the East African campaign were 79 pilots and air crew killed and five missing.

Unfortunately no aircraft losses mentioned.

Best Wishes

Ruy Horta 7th January 2005 10:30

Isn't this covered in "Dust Clouds in the Middle East", by Chris Shores and others?

IIRC it also covered the East African campaign, but since I am at work I cannot check. These books generally cover a/c losses.

Juha 7th January 2005 11:58

Yes, the "Dust Clouds " by Chris Shores and others covers the East African Campaign.


Mirek Wawrzynski 7th January 2005 15:30

There are more then only "Dust Clouds"
Yes the Dust Clouds is/was almost fundamental book about air war over East Africa.
There are some other sources which should be mentioned like the last one: Springbook Fighter Victory: SAAF Fighter Operation 1939-1945 vol. 1 East Africa 1940-41 by Michael Schoeman, quite fresh from 2002-04
I do not have this book but I have seen how many times it was used by Hakan Gustavsson on Biplane Fighter Aces from WWII side and some information he has given according this last book.

Beside Shores/Ricci chapter about East africa there are also several memories of RAF pilots (in magazines or in a book like Wellesley pilo memories). When you read them you get a little bit other data concernig losses put on Dust Clouds and other information.
I have met several tims such a differences in Shores and in other memories.

There was/(is?) also the side by Alex Crawford about Gloster Gladiator (he wrote a book about Gloster Gladiator) where you may find data about this fighter and his pilot (RAF/SAAF) + losses over East Africa.

In 2001 I have written in Poland an quite long article (only Polish) Air war over east Africa: RA v. SAAF, RAF, so I can say that I know more sources then the Dust Clouds which is still anyway very good book/chapter about East Air War.

BTW I do not have a link to Hakan side, I have lost with my last computer configuration but I think some of the visitors can help you with this. There you aslo find a list of references.

The last one should be mentioned RAF losses list (units) keep in archives in Great Britain (but this is obvious)

Mirek Wawrzyński

stefaan 7th January 2005 20:27

SAAF losses
Hi Mirek.
The best reference is a book called Springbok Fighter Victory Vol 1 by
Micheal Schoeman.
It has an Appendix on p135 and covers 1940- to 1941 that covers victories and losses.
You can get it by ordering it from Aviation Hobbyshop in SA or
Luftvaart hobbyshop in Amsterdam.(
The next Vol should be out one day.
Both the shops are on the net.
Stefaan Bouwer

klemen 7th January 2005 22:23

Hi Stefaan!

This is a bit off topic question but do you know how detailed information about the Air War over Italian East Africa 1940-1941 has the following South African World War II Official History Book:

Brown, James Ambrose: "South African Forces World War II, volume 2: Gathering of Eagles": The Campaigns of the South African Air Force. Cape Town: Purnell, 1970. Air operations in Italian East Africa, 1940-1941.

Also which book would you recommend me as the best source of information about SAAF aerial operations against on the Vichy-held Comores Islands in 1941? And or Magadascar 1941-1942?

Thanks in advance.


p.s.: Mirek, we meet here too, hehe... :D :lol:

stefaan 8th January 2005 13:37

SAAF in Aest Africa
For pure data the Springbok Victory is the best for East Africa.Problem is it has no index but I believe they are going to rectify that.We all moaned like hell.
For Madagascar,Dust clouds is the best but that was written from a RAF perspective.
Gathering of Eagles if also very good if you want info and I used it for SAAF at War which is mainly pictorial.
A friend of mine is doing a 16 sqn History book which will feature Madagascar in depth.It is a few years from being finished.
Comores was very small,limited to Recce flights as far as SAAF concerned.
I don't see it even reflected in the index(just went to look)
Hope it helps.

Tundra 9th January 2005 00:05

There are some on line sources as well 3 Sqn RAAF and 112 sqn RAF have losses mentioned in the webpages a link to 3 Sqn can be found on the links page of 112 Sqn Raf. Link found below.

Håkan Gustavsson

3 Sqn


Ruy Horta 9th January 2005 00:34

Remember, you can now edit your posts, so no need for multiple postings.

Took the liberty of editing your previous double post into one Tundra.

Mirek Wawrzynski 9th January 2005 15:45

Tribut to Italian units in East Africa in 1940-41
To Steefen
Thanks for the futher info about SAAF book, I will check this option.

To Mitch W.
I have to comments some info about 300 modern Regia Aeronautica planes in East Africa. If one think that Caproni Ca 133 or Savoia S.81 bomber could be counted as a modern comabt planes I can not agrree, Thses both planes had fought in war n Abisynia and in Spanish Civil war.

There were in fact only few modern military planes in RA inventoro on June 1940 (12 Savoia S.79 bombers in 44 Gruppo and 24 modern Fiat CR.42 fighters, the rest planes were outdated like 18 Fiat CR.32 from about 300 military planes.
On the beginning of this war RAF and SAAF had smaller amount of combat planes but parts of them were much more military, modern planes then Italina had.
Since 1941 this distance of planes values had been bigger (next supplaies from Britain) and RAF and SAAF had ovehelming superiority over Italina air force (like possesed more Hurricanes from RAF stocks supplied to SAAF units :1..2. 3. Sq SAAF).

Looking at the achivments of RA units their crews fought quite long, brave and had shown the stubborn resistance and had inflicted quite serious losses on SAAF and RAF units possesing rather obsolet and old planes (especialy since March 1941 - Aliied campaigne).
This is obvious if one compare the Fiat CR.32 and Fiat CR42 with the Furies (a few), Gloster Galdiator I II, Hurricane Mk I and Curtiss Mohawk IV on the Allied side.
Or Ca 133 and SM 81 (most of the bomber force) and with Blenheims, Battles or Wellesley bombers.
One should be very brave even mad to sit in Ca 133 cocpit having overhead in the wing a big fuel tank and making with this knowledge the comabts flights on enemy position. Not funy and nice perspecitve - the tank was not protecting.and not selfsealing and he was easly burning like a torch.

Three times even this old FIAT CR 32 shot down Hawker Hurricane - confirmed and more Bristol Belnheim or one Martin 167. The planes far superior in a speed then old FIAT CR.32 .

SAAF and RAF had overhelming superiority over RA units.


Mirek Wawrzyński

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