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  #1  
Old 27th May 2009, 18:38
Aussie7 Aussie7 is offline
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103 MU at Aboukir

I am interested in the activities of the High Altitude Flt of 103 MU at Aboukir from Jun 42. I have found it difficult to research as I couldn't find an ORB at the PRO. I have found claims for 8 and 1 shared E/A destroyed in various references, is that about right ? I am also seeking further info on the claims for JU86's destroyed on 2 Jul 43 and 4 Jul 43. If anyone can help it would be appreciated.

Ian Westworth (Adelaide)
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Old 27th May 2009, 19:36
Larry deZeng Larry deZeng is offline
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Re: 103 MU at Aboukir

The following should help with the latter part of your question, but I have no information on the high-altitude Spitfire unit or any record of the 4 July claim:

2.(F)/Aufkl.Gr. 123
[extracts]
June 1942: Staffel received 4 pressurized, high-altitude Ju 86 P-2s in late May/early June for use over Egypt due to the heavy losses in Ju 88s to RAF fighters. Later, the Ju 86 P-2 (or Ju 86 R-1 according to other sources) missions were flown along the Nile from Alexandria to Cairo, and along the Suez Canal from Port Said to Suez in August and early September 1942, and brought back photographic evidence of the huge build-up of Allied equipment and supplies, leading the Germans to the correct conclusion that Montgomery would soon be in a position to launch a major and perhaps decisive offensive in North Africa.
June 1942 – June 1943: two Ju 86s lost, one in combat and the other in a crash.
2 July 1943: Ju 86 (4U+IK) FTR from Alexandria, 100%, 2 MIA.
6 July 1943: Ju 88 D-l trop crashed at Athens-Tatoi due to engine failure, 100%, 4 killed.
8 July 1943: in a report up the chain of command on its high altitude capability, the Staffel stated it had 2 Ju 86s and 2 Ju 88Ts but that all four of these were unserviceable for various reasons and consequently the Staffel could not comply with an urgent Luftflotte 2 demand for high-altitude missions over Cyprus, Alexandria or Benghazi.

There is no further mention of 2.(F)/123 Ju 86 losses in the surviving documents.

Larry

P.S. According to the carefully maintained German loss records, the Staffel only lost two Ju 86s to the enemy, as you can see from this tabulation: http://www.ww2.dk/oob/bestand/aufkl/b2ag123.html . 2.(F)/123 had the only aircraft of this type that would have been used for these long distance flights to Egypt. There were no others in the Mediterranean theater.

Last edited by Larry deZeng; 28th May 2009 at 18:14. Reason: add postscript
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Old 28th May 2009, 01:04
Brian Brian is offline
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Re: 103 MU at Aboukir

Hi Ian

Looking at my very incomplete notes for 103 MU, I have the following claims

26/6/42 P/O GEC Genders Ju86 shared damaged

27/6/42 P/O GEC Genders Ju86 shared damaged

24/8/42 F/O GWH Reynolds Ju86

6/9/42 P/O GEC Genders and P/O A. Gold Ju86

?/9/42 F/O GWH Reynolds Ju86

21/10/42 P/O GEC Genders Ju88

early 1943 P/O AF Wilson Ju88

2/7/43 P/O J. Hunter & P/O GT Pratley (80 Squadron) and two pilots of 103 MU Ju88 (4U+IK Ltn Franz Stock & crew)

12/8/43 Two Spits 103 MU Ju88 4U+IK Ltn Hans Peters & crew)

13/9/43 Two Spits 103 MU Ju88T-1 4U+7K Werner Schiller & crew

I believe F/O Freckingham was involved in one of the above.

Are you able to add anything to the above?

Cheers
Brian
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Old 28th May 2009, 08:09
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JohnE JohnE is offline
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Re: 103 MU at Aboukir

I have D.N. McQueen (RAAF) as the pilot on September 9th 1943 (Those Other Eagles).

And I have G.H. Purdy (RAAF) damaging a Ju88 on August 13th 1943 (naa12.naa.gov.au)

John
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Old 28th May 2009, 17:06
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: 103 MU at Aboukir

I understand that the Flight was attached to one of the fighter squadrons. One fo the pilots was Alec Arnell, and another - Johnie Kent.
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Old 28th May 2009, 20:13
Stig Jarlevik Stig Jarlevik is offline
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Re: 103 MU at Aboukir

Guys

Excuse my ignorance, but I thought a Maintenance Unit was tasked with doing what it says, maintenance and not combat. Was 103 MU an unusual or very special unit since it formed a high altitude flight? Why wasn't the task going to one of the regular squadrons in the area? Did any other MU score victores either in Europe or Africa?

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Stig
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Old 28th May 2009, 22:08
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: 103 MU at Aboukir

The MU was responsible for modifications of combat aircraft and had a qualified personnel and tools to do the task. Also it had an own pool of test pilots. But as noted, the Flight was operationally attached to another Fighter Squadron.
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Old 28th May 2009, 22:43
Stig Jarlevik Stig Jarlevik is offline
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Re: 103 MU at Aboukir

Thanks Franek

Sounds strange to me though, since their foremost task after all was to maintain the aeroplanes in an as fit shape as possible, that is to overhaul them and send them back to operational units. I can fully understand that they were capable of minor modifications as might be needed, but somehow my feeling is that the British didn't do a lot of major modifications in the field.

However it does not answer my questions since I still find the formation of a combat flight within a MU (even if attached to a squadron) to tackle high altitude reconnaissance aeroplanes to be highly irregular even if they were used to modify aeroplanes. Why was not the flight formed within or as an extension of a regular combat squadron??

So what about it, can anyone answer my original questions?

Cheers
Stig
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Old 28th May 2009, 23:51
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Re: 103 MU at Aboukir

103 MU as well as some other MUs were responsible for quite advanced modifications. It was the Mu which introduced Aboukir Filters and clipped wings in the area, for example. Spitfires for the Flight were highly modified to increase their altitude performance.
They obviously required skilled groundcrew and experienced pilots, who were of short supply in operational Squadrons. Therefore it was likely much more easier logistically to attach MU crew rather than to send extra people to a particular Squadron.
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Old 29th May 2009, 02:04
Frank Olynyk Frank Olynyk is offline
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Re: 103 MU at Aboukir

The claims of 103 MU can be found in the Aboukir Station ORB, Air 28/9. This ORB may have further information on why an MU was involved in combat operations. I do not have a copy so I cannot check.

Frank.
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