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145 Skuadron (RAF): Perang Dunia Kedua

145 Skuadron (RAF): Perang Dunia Kedua


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145 Skuadron (RAF) semasa Perang Dunia Kedua

Pesawat - Lokasi - Kumpulan dan Tugas - Buku

No.145 Squadron adalah skuadron pejuang yang bertempur dalam Pertempuran Britain dan penyeberangan lintas saluran tahun 1941 sebelum pindah ke Mediterranean, di mana ia mengambil bahagian dalam kempen di Afrika Utara, Sisilia dan Itali, mengakhiri perang sebagai pejuang -bomber skuadron.

Skuadron diperbaharui pada 10 Oktober 1939 di Croydon sebagai skuadron pejuang. Pesawat pertamanya, beberapa pejuang Blenheim, tiba pada bulan November 1939, tetapi mereka digantikan dengan Badai pada bulan Mac 1940.

Skuadron memasuki pertempuran semasa pertempuran di Perancis pada Mei 1940. Bahagian dari skuadron bergabung dengan No.85 Squadron pada 13-14 Mei, dan satu lagi penerbangan bergerak ke Perancis pada 16 Mei, beroperasi bersama dengan penerbangan dari No.601 Squadron. Selepas ini, satu-satunya skuadron Hurricane di Fighter Command ada di Perancis, dan hanya 66 Taufan yang selamat kembali ke Britain pada akhir kempen. Setelah kembali dari Perancis, skuadron mengambil bahagian dalam pertarungan melawan Dunkirk, sering kali jumlahnya sangat buruk. Dalam satu kejadian pada 27 Mei, lima Hurricanes skuadron menyerang formasi Dornier Do 17s hanya untuk diserang oleh kekuatan 20-30 Bf 110s.

Skuadron itu terlibat dalam pertahanan Konvoi 'Peewit' pada 8 Ogos, dengan meraih 21 kemenangan (11 daripadanya dapat disahkan). Flt Lt A H 'Ginger' Boyd, komandan Penerbangan 'B', dikreditkan dengan lima kemenangan semasa pertempuran di atas konvoi. Komandan skuadron, J R A Peel, juga mencatat kemenangan penting dalam tempoh awal Pertempuran Britain ini. Skuadron kehilangan lima juruterbang pada 10 Ogos, dua lagi pada 11 Ogos dan Peel sendiri cedera. Selepas ini skuadron dipindahkan ke Drem, timur Edinburgh, di mana ia bergabung dengan Kumpulan No.13 untuk berehat.

Skuadron bergerak kembali ke selatan pada bulan Oktober, setelah fasa siang hari Pertempuran Britain berakhir. Badai digantikan dengan Spitfires pada bulan Februari 1941, dan pada bulan April skuadron mulai melakukan penyerangan menyerang di Channel. Ini hanya berlangsung hingga Julai 1941, ketika skuadron berpindah ke Yorkshire.

Pada awal tahun 1942, skuadron bersiap untuk pindah ke luar negeri, dan pada bulan Februari, pasukan itu berangkat ke Timur Tengah, tiba di Mesir pada bulan April. Pada akhir Mei ia berpindah ke gurun barat, menjadi skuadron Spitfire pertama yang melakukannya. Operasi bermula pada 1 Jun, tepat pada masanya untuk mengambil bahagian dalam pertahanan terhadap serangan terakhir Rommel, kempen yang berakhir di El Alamein dan sempadan Mesir.

Skuadron terbang campuran rondaan tempur dan pengawal pengebom antara ketika dan akhir kempen di Afrika Utara. Ia berpindah ke Malta pada bulan Jun 1943 dan mula melakukan rondaan ofensif di Sicily, kemudian meliputi pendaratan Sekutu. Ia berpindah ke Sisilia tidak lama setelah pendaratan Sekutu, tiba pada 13 Julai, kemudian pindah ke daratan Itali pada bulan September 1943.

Pada akhir tahun 1943, para pejuang musuh menjadi langka di langit di Itali. No.145 Skuadron mulai menjalankan misi serangan darat, sebelum pada bulan Jun 1944 menjadi skuadron pengebom tempur. Ia terus melakukan peranan ini hingga akhir perang, akhirnya bubar pada 19 Ogos 1945 di utara Itali.

Kapal terbang
Mac-Februari 1941: Taufan Hawker I
Februari 1941-Februari 1942: Supermarine Spitfire IIA dan IIB
Julai 1941: Supermarine Spitfire VA dan VB
November 1941-Februari 1942: Supermarine Spitfire VA dan VB
April 1942-Ogos 1943: Supermarine Spitfire VA dan VB
Ogos 1943-Ogos 1945: Supermarine Spitfire VIII
Jun 1943-Ogos 1945: Supermarine Spitfire IX

Lokasi
Oktober 1939-Mei 1940: Croydon
Mei-Julai 1940: Tangmere
Julai-Ogos 1940: Westhampnett
Ogos 1940: Drem
Ogos-Oktober 1940: Dyce
Oktober 1940-Mei 1941: Tangmere
Mei-Julai 1941: Merston
Julai 1941-Februari 1942: Catterick

April 1942: Heliopolis
April-Mei 1942: Helwan
Mei-Jun 1942: Gambut
Jun 1942: LG.155
Jun 1942: LG.76
Jun 1942: LG.13
Jun 1942: LG.15
Jun-Ogos 1942: LG.154
Ogos 1942: Idku
Ogos-September 1942: LG.154
September-Oktober 1942: LG.92
Oktober-November 1942: LG.173
November 1942: LG.21
November 1942: LG.155
November 1942: Gambut Barat
November 1942-Januari 1943: Cik
Januari 1943: El Chel
Januari 1943: Hamraiet
Januari-Februari 1943: Wadi Sirru
Februari 1943: Castel Benito
Februari-Mac 1943: Hazbub
Mac 1943: Ben Gardane
Mac-April 1943: Bu Grara
April 1943: La Fauconnerie
April-Mei 1943: Goubrine
Mei 1943: Hergla
Mei-Jun 1943: Ben Gardane
Jun-Julai 1943: Luqa
Julai 1943: Pachino
Julai 1943: Cassibile
Julai-September 1943: Lentini West
September-Oktober 1943: Gioia del Colle
Oktober 1943: Tortorella
Oktober-November 1943: Foggia / Triolo
November 1943-Januari 1944: Canne
Januari-April 1944: Marcianise
April-Mei 1944: Venafro
Mei-Jun 1944: Lago
Jun 1944: Venafro
Jun 1944: Littorio
Jun-Julai 1944: Fabrica
Julai-Ogos 1944: Perugia
Ogos-September 1944: Loreto
September-Disember 1944: Fano
Disember 1944-Mei 1945: Bellaria
Mei-Ogos 1945: Treviso

Kod Skuadron: SO (1940-1942), ZX (1942-1945)

Kewajipan

1939-1941: Komando Pejuang
1942-1943: Skuadron Fighter, Afrika Utara
1943: Skuadron Fighter, Sicily dan Itali
1944-1945: Skuadron Fighter-Bomber, Itali

Sebahagian daripada:
8 Ogos 1940: Kumpulan No.11, Komando Pejuang
Dari pertengahan Ogos 1940: Kumpulan No.13, Komando Fighter
27 Oktober 1942: Sayap No.244; Kumpulan No.211; A.H.Q. Gurun Barat; Perintah Timur Tengah
10 Julai 1943: Sayap No.244; Kumpulan No.211; Tentera Udara Gurun; Tentera Udara Taktikal Afrika Utara; Angkatan Udara Afrika Barat Laut; Perintah Udara Mediterranean

Buku

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Jejak Perang Dunia 2 RAF - No. 145 Skuadron 10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940

Pada 10 Oktober 1939, No 145 mereformasi Croydon sebagai skuadron tempur, menerima Blenheims pada bulan November. Pada bulan Mac 1940 ia mula melengkapkan kembali dengan Badai dan pada bulan Mei mula beroperasi di utara Perancis.

Pada 16 Mei, Wg / Cdr. Halia mengambil alih perintah sementara Skuadron No.145. No.145 baru sahaja tiba di Perancis, dan kini berpusat di Crepy.

Pada 17hb Mei, sementara memimpin Skuadron No.145 dalam permainan atas St.Quentin, Wg / Cdr. Halia secara sendirian menyumbang 5 pesawat musuh yang musnah. Sebagai penghargaan atas dedikasinya yang luar biasa untuk usaha perang, Kementerian Perang Perancis telah memberikannya Croix de Guerre (Salib Perang).

Pada 31hb Mei, Wg / Cdr. Halia dipromosikan menjadi Ketua Kumpulan dan diposkan ke Kumpulan H.Q.

Setelah membuat liputan mengenai pengungsian dari Dunkirk, skuadron itu mengambil bahagian dalam Pertempuran Britain sehingga menarik diri ke Scotland pada pertengahan Ogos, kembali ke selatan pada bulan Oktober.

Stesen
Tangmere 10 Mei 1940
Crepy, Perancis - ca. 15 Mei 1940?
Tangmere
Westhampnett 31 Julai 1940
Drem 14 Ogos 1940
Dyce 31 Ogos 1940
Tangmere 9 Oktober 1940

Operasi dan kerugian 10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940
Tidak semua operasi yang disenaraikan mengalami kerugian maut.

18/05/1940: Patrol, Belgium. 1 Pesawat hilang.
19/05/1940:?, Perancis. 1 Pesawat hilang, 1 KIA
27/05/1940: Dunkirk, 2 Pesawat hilang, 1 KIA, 1 MIA
03/06/1940: Dunkirk, F. 1 Pesawat hilang, 1 KIA

18/05/1940: Patrol, Belgium

No 145 aksi pertama perang Squadron pada 18 Mei. Dalam rondaan di Brussels, dua belas orang He III dipintas di awan yang pecah. Ketika pengebom Jerman muncul dari penutup Taufan diserang.

Jenis:
Taufan Penjaja Mk I
Nombor siri: N2600, SO-G
Operasi: Rondaan
Hilang: 18/05/1940
F / O Michael Newling
Kerana kerosakan tempur, F / O Michael Newling terpaksa meninggalkan formasinya dan terbang menuju pangkalannya. Di atas kampung Pamel-Roosdaal (provinsi Flemish Brabant), Newling terpaksa meninggalkan Taufan pada jam 16.25 jam. Dia mendarat dengan selamat dengan payung terjun dan dipimpin melalui garis Jerman oleh seorang budak lelaki berusia 13 tahun - lihat 'Pemulihan Taufan N2600'.

Jenis: Taufan Penjaja Mk I
Nombor siri: ?, SO-?
Operasi: ?
Hilang: 19/05/1940
Pegawai Juruterbang (Juruterbang) Kenneth R. Lucas, RAF 41854, 145 Sqdn., Umur tidak diketahui, 19/05/1940, Peluang Perkuburan Komuniti Warloy-Baillon, F

Pada 27 Mei walaupun hadir sepanjang hari di satu atau beberapa barisan rondaan yang berbeza, para pejuang RAF biasanya jauh lebih banyak. Sebelas Spitfires No. 74 Squadron, misalnya, bertempur dengan tiga puluh Do.17's dan Me.109 lima Badai No. 145 Squadron menyerang bahagian belakang formasi Do.17 hanya untuk mendapati diri mereka diserang oleh dua puluh atau tiga puluh Me Dua puluh Hurricanes dan Spitfire Nos. 56 dan 610 Squadron, cuba melepaskan satu He.111, sekaligus berlari ke tiga puluh atau empat puluh Me.110's.

Tetapi walaupun para pejuang tidak dapat mencegah musuh mengurangkan kota dan pelabuhan Dunkirk menjadi runtuh, mereka pasti merosakkan tujuannya terhadap sasaran yang paling penting & mdashthe tahi lalat kapal dan kapal. Kerana kerosakan tidak, walaupun kesan pertama, membuat pemindahan dari pelabuhan tidak mungkin dilakukan dan walaupun ada belasan serangan bersama terhadap kapal kami, serta banyak serangan individu, tidak lebih dari dua kapal karam.

Jenis: Taufan Penjaja Mk I
Nombor siri: ?, SO-?
Operasi: ?
Hilang: 27/05/1940
Pegawai Perintis Alan Elson, RAF 41272, 145 Sqdn., Umur 25, 27/05/1940, hilang

Jenis: Taufan Penjaja Mk I
Nombor siri: ?, SO-?
Operasi: ?
Hilang: 27/05/1940
Pegawai Juruterbang (Juruterbang) Peter H.O. Rainier, RAF 41869, 145 Sqdn., Umur 20, 27/05/1940, Tanah Perkuburan Cenderamata Longuenesse (St. Omer), F

03/06/1940: Dunkirk, F

Jenis: Taufan Penjaja Mk I
Nombor siri: ?, SO-?
Operasi: Dunkirk
Hilang: 03/06/1940
Pegawai Penerbangan (Juruterbang) Henry P. Dixon, RAF (AAF) 90283, 145 Sqdn., Umur 25, 03/06/1940, Tanah Perkuburan Dunkirk Town, F


Juruterbang Skuadron No. 71 (Helang)


Daftar juruterbang asal pada tahun 1940
LC 'Lance' Wade, dari Recklaw, Texas, menawarkan diri untuk berkhidmat dengan RAF pada tahun 1940. Setelah latihan penyegaran juruterbang di Amerika Syarikat dan latihan terbang maju di England, dia bergabung dengan No. 33 Skuadron di Mesir dan meraih kemenangan pertamanya di 18 November 1941 ketika dia menembak jatuh dua Fiat CR42 Itali. Dia mengambil bahagian dalam pertempuran paling berat di Gurun Barat sebelum menyelesaikan lawatan operasinya yang pertama pada bulan September 1942. Dia kemudian melakukan lawatan ke tempat latihan dan pesawat terbang uji coba di AS sebelum kembali ke operasi di Afrika Utara sebagai komandan penerbangan dengan No. 145 Skuadron RAF pada Januari 1943. Dia dijadikan Pegawai Memerintah pada bulan berikutnya dan menambah tuntutan kemenangannya ke atas Tunisia, Sicily dan Itali, sebelum mengakhiri lawatan keduanya sebagai juruterbang pejuang Bersekutu yang mendapat markah tertinggi di kawasan Mediterranean pada bulan November 1943. Wade adalah dinaikkan pangkat menjadi Komandan Wing dan bergabung dengan kakitangan di Markas Tentera Udara Desert, hanya dibunuh semasa penerbangan rutin ketika Austernya berputar dan terhempas di Foggia pada 12 Januari 1944. Dia tetap menjadi juruterbang Amerika yang mendapat markah tertinggi untuk bertugas di RAF, dengan 25 kemenangan. Foto: IWM (CM - 2866)
Ogos 1942 Pilots 'Dispersal Hut di lapangan terbang Rochford, kakitangan Squadron No 121 (Eagle) bermain Poker ketika mereka menunggu pesanan untuk' berebut '. Dari kiri ke kanan ialah: George Carpenter (berdiri, dari Oil City, Pennsylvania), Gilbert Halsey (Oklahoma), Sarjan Penerbangan James Milton Sanders (Nashville, Tennessee) dan Sarjan Penerbangan Fred Renshaw Vance (Virginia). Di sudut kanan belakang foto, telefon bimbit dapat dilihat, bersama dengan beberapa kakitangan lain yang menunggu panggilan untuk bertindak. Foto: IWM

Jejak Perang Dunia 2 RAF - Skuadron No. 245 (Rhodesia Utara) 10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940

Skuadron direformasi di Leconfield pada 30 Oktober 1939 yang dilengkapi dengan pejuang Blenheim dan mulai Januari 1940, Fairey Battles. Kedua-dua jenis ini digantikan oleh Badai pada bulan Mac 1940 dan pada bulan Mei ia berpindah ke Drem di Scotland. Walau bagaimanapun, semasa pengungsian Dunkirk, ia melakukan detasemen dari Hawkinge tetapi pada bulan Julai ia dipindahkan ke Aldergrove di Ireland Utara, di mana ia tetap bertahan sepanjang Pertempuran Britain dengan tugas pertahanan.

Operasi dan kerugian 10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940
Tidak semua operasi yang disenaraikan mengalami kerugian maut.

01/06/1940: Patrol, Dunkirk, F. 2 Pesawat hilang, 2 MIA
20/06/1940: Lapangan terbang Rouen, F

01/06/1940: Rondaan, Dunkirk

Jenis:
Taufan Penjaja Mk I
Nombor siri: ?, DX-?
Operasi: Rondaan, Dunkirk
Hilang: 01/06/1940
Pegawai Juruterbang Alan L. Treanor, RAF 41965, 245 Sqdn., Umur 19, 01/06/1940, hilang

Jenis: Taufan Penjaja Mk I
Nombor siri: ?, DX-?
Operasi: Rondaan, Dunkirk
Hilang: 01/06/1940
Pegawai Perintis Robert A. West, RAF 41972, 245 Sqdn., Umur tidak diketahui, 01/06/1940, hilang

sandarkan

20/06/1940: Lapangan terbang Rouen

Satu serangan tahap rendah yang sangat berjaya di lapangan terbang musuh yang berada di dekat Rouen dibuat pada 20 Jun oleh Badai dari Skuadron No. 245, yang diperintahkan oleh Pemimpin Skuadron Whitley. Penerbangan bersama Leftenan Penerbangan Mowat dan Pegawai Juruterbang Spence. Serangan itu dibuat oleh dua bahagian, masing-masing diketuai oleh Whitley dan Mowat, yang ketiga ditinggalkan di atas untuk perlindungan. Terdapat kira-kira lima puluh pesawat Jerman di darat dan sebilangan besar pesawat tersebut dilaporkan rosak dan empat terbakar.

sandarkan


Upacara Pos Terakhir untuk memperingati perkhidmatan (402316) Pegawai Penerbangan Rolla Maxwell Cooke, No. 145 Sqn RAF, Perang Dunia Kedua.

Majlis Pos Terakhir disajikan di kawasan Peringatan Peringatan Perang Australia setiap hari. Upacara itu memperingati lebih dari 102,000 orang Australia yang telah mengorbankan nyawa mereka dalam perang dan operasi lain dan yang namanya tercatat di Roll of Honor. Pada setiap upacara, kisah di sebalik salah satu nama di Roll of Honor diceritakan. Dihoskan oleh Sharon Bown, cerita untuk hari ini adalah (402316) Pegawai Penerbangan Rolla Maxwell Cooke, No. 145 Sqn RAF, Perang Dunia Kedua.

402316 Pegawai Penerbangan Rolla Maxwell Cooke, No. 145 Sqn RAF
Dibunuh secara tidak sengaja pada 4 November 1941

Hari ini kami mengingati dan memberi penghormatan kepada Pegawai Penerbangan Rolla Maxwell Cooke.

Rolla Cooke dilahirkan pada bulan November 1917, satu-satunya anak Lionel dan Ellen Cooke dari Mosman, New South Wales. Datuknya, Profesor William Cooke, pernah menjadi ahli astronomi kerajaan New South Wales dan profesor astronomi di Universiti Sydney. Ayahnya telah memperoleh lesen juruterbangnya pada tahun 1915 dan berkhidmat dengan Royal Flying Corps semasa Perang Dunia Pertama. Setelah bersekolah di Sydney Grammar School, Rolla bekerja sebagai pegawai bank di Bank of New South Wales di Sydney, dan berarak sambilan dengan Syarikat Anti-Pesawat ke-52 di Middle Head.

Rolla mendaftar di Rizab Tentera Udara Diraja Australia pada bulan April 1940. Sementara menunggu dipanggil untuk Angkatan Udara Warga, dia menikah dengan Betty Mosman Harrison di Gereja St Thomas di Sydney Utara, setelah bertunangan selama seminggu.

Rolla memulakan perkhidmatan sepenuh masa dengan Tentera Udara Diraja Australia pada bulan September 1940 dan dilatih sebagai juruterbang di bawah naungan Empire Air Training Scheme. Selepas Latihan Awal di Bradfield Park, dia menyelesaikan Elementary Flying Training School di Tamworth dan Service Flying Training School di Amberley di Queensland. Pada bulan Februari 1941, ketika belajar menerbangkan CAC Wirraway di Amberley, Rolla terlibat dalam pendaratan paksa ketika pesawat kehilangan tekanan bahan bakar, tetapi dia dan instruktur penerbangannya dapat menjauh dari kejadian itu tanpa cedera.

Rolla berlayar ke United Kingdom untuk bergabung dengan Komando Fighter Tentera Udara Diraja pada bulan Mac 1941. Setibanya di sana, dia ditempatkan di Unit Latihan Operasi No. 57 di RAF Hawarden di Wales untuk mendapatkan pengalaman belajar menerbangkan pesawat tempur Hawker Hurricane satu tempat duduk. . Pada bulan September 1941, Rollo diposkan ke No. 145 Skuadron RAF yang berpusat di lapangan terbang Catterick di North Yorkshire, yang dilengkapi kembali dengan Supermarine Spitfires sambil melatih juruterbang dan melakukan rondaan di Laut Utara sebagai persiapan untuk pindah ke teater Timur Tengah operasi.

Pada petang 4 November 1941, pesawat Rolla, Spitfire P7624, terhempas ketika mendaki setelah berlepas dari lapangan terbang Catterick. Menurut keluarganya, alat pendaratan di pesawat Rollo belum menarik dengan baik, masalahnya telah diperbaiki, dan Rollo diperintahkan oleh kru darat untuk memberikan Spitfire uji coba yang kuat. Setelah mencapai ketinggian 400 kaki, Rolla mula melakukan aerobatik dan hilang kawalan pesawat yang menyelam dan terhempas. Penyiasat kemalangan RAF kemudiannya menentukan bahawa kaki di bawah kereta sebelah kanan gagal ditarik sepenuhnya yang menyebabkan kecepatan udara rendah, terhenti dan terhempasnya pesawat, membunuh Rolla serta-merta.

Surat yang ditulis oleh menteri Gereja Willoughby St Stephen kepada pihak berkuasa RAAF menceritakan tentang kesan kehilangan Rolla kepada isterinya yang masih muda, Betty. "Saya menyampaikan berita kematian tidak sengaja di England kepada isteri Pegawai Perintis Rolla Maxwell Cooke seperti yang diberitahu dalam telegram rasmi semalam", surat itu berbunyi:
Saya dapat mengucapkan belasungkawa Kristian kepada janda muda itu - ini adalah kes yang sangat menyedihkan - dia mengharapkan bayi pertamanya dalam masa sebulan. Dia sangat berani.

Rolla tidak pernah bertemu dengan anaknya, David. Berusia 23 tahun ketika meninggal, Rolla dikebumikan di Tanah Perkuburan Catterick di Yorkshire berhampiran lapangan terbang tempat dia meninggal. Sebuah tulisan kecil yang ditulis oleh ibu bapa dan janda yang bersedih muncul di batu nisannya: "Tugasnya Mulia Selesai".

Nama Rolla tertera di Roll of Honor di sebelah kiri saya, di antara hampir 40,000 orang Australia yang meninggal semasa berkhidmat dalam Perang Dunia Kedua.

Ini hanyalah salah satu dari banyak kisah pengabdian dan pengorbanan yang diceritakan di sini di Australian War Memorial. Kita sekarang ingat Pegawai Penerbangan Rolla Maxwell Cooke, yang memberikan nyawanya untuk kita, untuk kebebasan kita, dan dengan harapan akan dunia yang lebih baik.

Aaron Pegram
Ahli Sejarah, Bahagian Sejarah Ketenteraan
663 patah perkataan


RAF: No. 247 Skuadron

Salah satu keistimewaan permainan perang berbanding dengan permainan papan kekunci euro dan keluarga ialah mereka sering merangkumi ciri-ciri yang tidak berguna atau hampir dari segi permainan tetapi muncul kerana mereka mempunyai kaitan dengan kehidupan nyata.
Salah satu contohnya terdapat dalam permainan solitaire RAF mengenai Pertempuran Britain. Di antara semua skuadron Spitfires penting, Badai berguna dan Blenheim tidak berguna ada skuadron kesepian yang dilengkapi dengan Gladiator, seorang pejuang biplane.
Ternyata No. 247 Squadron mempunyai sejarah yang terkenal: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._247_Squadron_RAF
tetapi Pertempuran Britain bukanlah masa terbaiknya. Gladiator terlalu lambat untuk menangkap pengebom Jerman yang lebih cepat dan skuadron tidak mendapat "pembunuhan" sehingga ia dilengkapi semula dengan Taufan kemudian, setelah jangka masa yang diliputi dalam permainan.
Dalam permainan, Gladiator, jika ada, sedikit lebih berguna daripada yang ada dalam kehidupan nyata. Mereka dapat digunakan untuk menutupi wilayah dengan ancaman rendah di luar jangkauan pejuang Jerman dengan beberapa peluang kecil untuk berjaya. Namun, dari segi permainan mereka hampir tidak layak terbang dan tidak dapat dilancarkan dalam pertempuran berat tanpa benar-benar melukai perjuangan British.
Menurut sejarah, Gladiator akhirnya ditugaskan untuk melakukan rondaan malam, walaupun juga tidak berjaya. Permainan ini merangkumi peraturan rondaan malam, tetapi hanya membenarkan Blenheims melakukan misi itu. Sebagai varian kecil, anda mungkin membenarkan Gladiator melakukan rondaan malam juga, memandangkan mereka ditugaskan sebagai misi adalah kejadian sebenarnya. Oleh kerana ia adalah permainan solitaire, anda seharusnya tidak mempunyai masalah untuk membuat lawan anda bersetuju.
Walaupun tidak semua yang berguna dari segi permainan, Squadron No. 247 adalah di sana. Juruterbangnya adalah di antara segelintir orang yang berhutang banyak oleh begitu banyak. Oleh itu, sangat wajar ia muncul.

Kandungan

James MacLachlan dilahirkan pada 1 April 1919 di Styal di Cheshire, anak kedua dari enam anak Hugh MacLachlan dan isterinya Helen (née Orr-Ewing). MacLachlans tinggal di rumah keluarga di Styal, di mana Hugh bekerja sebagai pengeluar minyak dan kimia sehingga kematian pramatangnya pada tahun 1928 akibat peritonitis. Berikutan kematian ayah mereka, keluarga tersebut berpindah ke Southampton untuk berada dekat dengan ibu bapa Helen. Ayahnya Archibald Orr-Ewing berhubung dengan Plymouth Brothers, China Inland Mission dan bidang dakwah. Pengaruhnya menyebabkan James mendaftar di sekolah evangelis King Edward selama dua tahun. Setelah menamatkan pendidikan awalnya James menjadi pesantren di Monkton Combe School dekat Bath, Somerset pada bulan September 1931, berusia 12. Saudara James, Hugh Jnr, Gordon dan Archie kemudian akan mengikutinya melalui sekolah yang sama. [1]

MacLachlan tidak akademik walaupun dia cemerlang dalam puisi. Dia menarik masalah di sekolah dengan menulis sajak-sajak yang memalukan mengenai orang-orang sezamannya dan anggota stafnya. Dia bermain ragbi dan gemar mendayung tetapi secara amnya bukan kanak-kanak yang bersukan. Dia menikmati hidupan liar dan haiwan. Sekolah mendorongnya untuk tertarik dengan biologi, dan dia selalu membekalkan arnab dan spesimen lain ke makmal. Dia tidak pernah dilantik sebagai pengawas dan tidak naik pangkat yang terkenal di Kor Latihan Pegawai Sekolah. James lebih gemar terlibat dalam pekerjaan pertukangan dan logam. Dia dan rakannya membina dan mengeluarkan pistol .22 di bengkel yang mereka uji. [1]

Ingin memperoleh senjata api sebenar, dia memperoleh revolver servis tetapi menembak dirinya di tangan. Bersemangat untuk bertualang, MacLachlan merenungkan masa depannya. Pada 17, dia pergi ke Scotland pada Mei 1936 untuk percutian berhampiran Comrie dan Crieff. Semasa di sana, dia pergi untuk penerbangan lima shilling di RAF Leuchars pada hari terbuka yang, menurut ibunya, memutuskan untuk menjadi juruterbang. Dia memperoleh Sijil Meninggalkan Sekolahnya dan memasuki Tentera Udara Diraja (RAF) dengan komisen perkhidmatan pendek satu bulan sebelum ulang tahunnya yang ke-18 pada bulan Mac 1937. [1]

Pada 1 Mac 1937, dia tiba di Pusat Latihan Elementary No. 10 dan Pusat Latihan Penerbangan Terbang di RAF Yatesbury di Wiltshire. Ia dikendalikan oleh Syarikat Penerbangan Britain. Dia ditugaskan untuk Penerbangan B. MacLachlan tidak selesa dengan ejekan tentera dan penggunaan kata-kata tidak senonoh agama. Dia juga mengadu tentang bil yang dipaksa oleh pemohon untuk membayar. Bil pesanan dilaporkan £ 2 10s seminggu dan cucian 5s. Sebilangan besar gajinya dibelanjakan untuk keperluan ini. [2]

MacLachlan tidak diberi waktu untuk menetap. Penerbangan pertamanya adalah di Tiger Moth pada 2 Mac 1937 di mana dia memperoleh pengalaman 45 minit di kokpit terbuka. Dia terbang solo untuk pertama kalinya pada 9 Mac setelah cepat bertemu dengan jurulatihnya. Dia menulis, "Anda akan senang mendengar saya pergi solo hari ini. Mr Sharp melakukan gerakan perlahan. Cukup suram ketika kami terbalik dengan udara 6.000 kaki antara kami dan darat. Saya suka terbang." [3] MacLachlan adalah pelatih termuda dalam kumpulan itu dan setelah 23 kali penerbangan solo dan 28 jam, dia lulus sebagai rata-rata juruterbang gred pada 27 April. Dia menduduki tempat kedua keseluruhan dalam peperiksaannya. Dia pergi ke RAF Uxbridge pada bulan berikutnya. Di sana, dia ditugaskan bertindak sebagai pegawai perintis perkhidmatan nombor 39639 pada 18 Mei 1937. Dia ditempatkan di No. 3 Flying Training School di Grantham di Lincolnshire. Dia menerbangkan Hawker Hart dan Hawker Audax untuk pertama kalinya pada 20 Mei 1938. Dia sangat menikmati kelajuan pesawat dan meminati minatnya terhadap kereta bermotor dengan membeli Austin 7 dari sebuah dealer Nottingham dengan cek gaji pertamanya dengan harga £ 14 7s. [3]

Walaupun tersesat dalam latihan navigasi, dia lulus sebagai juruterbang "di atas rata-rata" dan percubaannya berjaya. MacLachlan membuat pilihannya mengenai jenis skuadron yang ingin diterbangkannya. Dia memilih dari senarai skuadron pengebom sederhana atau pengebom ringan dan melanjutkan ke Sekolah Latihan Penerbangan Terbang No.3 di Gloucestershire. Di sekolah itu dia berlatih serangan bom selam dan pengeboman tingkat dan berlatih dalam operasi sokongan udara dekat dan mengakhiri latihannya di RAF Penrose dekat, Pwllheli North Wales di Kem Latihan Senjata No. 5. Pada 26 November 1937 MacLachlan sekali lagi dilantik sebagai juruterbang "di atas rata-rata". Dia segera dihantar ke No. 88 Skuadron RAF di RAF Boscombe Down. Buku log MacLachlan berbunyi 92 jam dengan tepat. [4]

MacLachlan tidak menyukai latihan pengebom. Dalam sepucuk surat kepada ibunya, dia menjelaskan rungutannya, "Kami telah mulai mengebom hari ini. Ini mengerikan! Anda harus berbaring di perut dan melihat melalui pintu perangkap di dasar pesawat [Hawker Hart]. Semua udara berminyak panas dari radiator meniup terus ke wajah anda. Ini membuatkan saya berasa agak sakit! ". [4] Dia bersemangat untuk menjelaskan masalah matematik yang berkaitan dengan pengeboman udara dan penggunaan kamera untuk menilai ketepatan daripada menggunakan peluru hidup, tetapi MacLachlan lebih terpikat dengan tembakan udara-ke-udara. Dia menulis tentang latihannya, "Saya telah melakukan senapang udara ke udara dengan senjata depan hari ini. Sangat hebat!" [4] Peluru hidup digunakan pada akhir latihan. MacLachlan dibenarkan melatih menggunakan 16 bom, yang berharga 1 £ setiap satu. [4]

Number 88 Squadron adalah unit baru dan bagian dari skema pengembangan pada akhir 1930-an yang dirancang untuk meningkatkan jumlah pesawat sebagai tindak balas terhadap ancaman Jerman Luftwaffe. Dia bergabung dengan skuadron pada 6 Disember 1937 dan dilengkapi dengan Pertempuran Fairey. Dia menerbangkan pesawat untuk pertama kalinya pada 30 Disember. Pada 1 Mac 1938, komisennya sebagai pegawai juruterbang telah disahkan dan pada bulan Mei 1938 dia bergabung dengan Stesen Latihan Senjata No. 7 di Northumberland untuk terlibat dalam latihan terbang, senjata api dan latihan pengeboman. Ia juga melakukan serangan palsu pada Bahagian Infantri ke-2 Tentera Inggeris. Pada saat perang meletus pada bulan September 1939, MacLachlan mempunyai dua tahun pengalaman dalam menerbangkan mesin. [5]

Pada 1 September 1939, Jerman menyerang Poland. Skuadron MacLachlan berpindah ke Perancis pada 2 September, dan Britain dan sekutunya mengisytiharkan perang pada hari berikutnya. 88 Skuadron membentuk sebahagian daripada Angkatan Serangan Udara Lanjutan RAF (AASF) yang diperintahkan oleh Naib Marshal Udara Patrick Playfair. Pada 12 September 1939 88 Skuadron berpusat di tenggara Rheims. Pada masa ini Luftwaffe banyak terlibat di Poland dan hanya beberapa pertempuran kecil yang diperjuangkan dengan layar tempur tipis Jerman yang tersisa untuk melindungi Jerman barat daripada serangan Perancis. Pada 20 September elemen skuadron dipintas oleh pejuang Messerschmitt Bf 109 dari Jagdgeschwader 26 (Fighter Wing 26) di atas sempadan. Empat pesawat Fairey Battle ditembak jatuh. Pada 30 September 150 Skuadron kehilangan lima Pertempuran dalam misi yang tidak dikawal ke ruang udara Jerman. Dengan cepat menjadi jelas kepada kru bahawa Pertempuran terlalu lambat dan bersenjata terlalu lemah untuk mempertahankan diri dan operasi ditutup. Skuadron mengambil langkah-langkah untuk meningkatkan kekuatan pertahanannya dengan menambahkan mesingan ketiga di belakang kokpit untuk digunakan oleh pemerhati.

Pada 26 Oktober MacLachlan dipromosikan menjadi pegawai penerbangan, dan melakukan misi serangan. Sepanjang penerbangan, hujung sayapnya bersentuhan dengan tanah tetapi dia dapat kembali ke pangkalan. Skuadron itu menetap di kawasan musim sejuk hingga bulan Mac ketika mereka ditugaskan kembali ke wilayah perbatasan Perancis dengan Sepanyol. Pada 1 April dia menyambut ulang tahunnya yang ke-21 dan mengambil kesempatan memandu dari Perpignan melintasi perbatasan ke Pyrenees untuk meraikannya. Pada 9 April, skuadron waspada ketika Jerman menyerang Denmark dan Norway dan skuadron tersebut segera dipindahkan ke Perancis utara di Mourmelon. Pada 10 Mei Perang Phoney berakhir dengan pencerobohan Jerman ke Eropah Barat. [6]

Pertempuran Perancis Edit

Skuadron tidak melihat aksi dalam Pertempuran Perancis pada hari pertama kempen - 10 Mei - tetapi banyak skuadron Pertempuran lain mengalami dan mengalami kerugian yang tinggi ketika menyerang pasukan darat Jerman. Lapangan terbang skuadron diserang udara sejak hari pertama. Junkers Ju 88s menghancurkan hangar dan dua pesawat dalam serangan malam. Pada 11 Mei ia dibom lagi dan tiga dari empat pesawat hilang menyerang tiang Tentera Darat Jerman pada waktu siang. Pada 14 Mei McLachlan menerbangkan kapal pengawal pertamanya di atas jambatan Sedan. Dorongan Jerman di Sedan mengancam akan melepasi Jalur Maginot di selatan dan Tentera Bersekutu di utara dengan menerobos di tengah dan maju ke Selat Inggeris. Pada 12 Mei Sedan jatuh. Xix Panzer Corps Heinz Guderian dan XXXXI Panzer Corps Georg-Hans Reinhardt menerobos ke tebing barat pada 14 Mei. Putus asa untuk menghentikan serangan itu, Jeneral Marcel Têtu, komander Angkatan Udara Taktikal Bersekutu dalam perundingan dengan Wakil Marsekal Udara Playfair, komandan AASF, memerintahkan semua unit yang ada untuk menyerang. No 88 Squadron telah melakukan serangan udara. Enam pesawat menyerang kedudukan tiang lapis baja, empat menyerang jambatan. Satu pesawat hilang. Walaupun tembakan anti-pesawat yang kuat dan pembangkang tempur Jerman MacLachlan menyerang dan melarikan diri di ketinggian rendah. Unit bersekutu mengalami kerugian 50 peratus pada hari itu. Pada 15 Mei lapangan terbang dipukul dua kali lagi dan skuadron bergerak kembali berhampiran Troyes. [7]

Pada 19 Mei skuadron terbang operasi malam kerana kelebihan udara Jerman. MacLachlan melakukan serangan terhadap Givet, di perbatasan Perancis-Belgia satu-satunya tindakannya untuk menyokong pasukan Sekutu dalam Pertempuran Belgium. Dia diperintahkan untuk terbang misi siang hari pada 21 Mei berhampiran Somme tempat orang Jerman Panzer unit dilihat bergerak. Skuadron itu mengaku satu tangki Jerman musnah. Penerbangan rendahnya tidak mengesankan pemerhati, Sarjan Hardy, yang berkata kepada anggota skuadron: "Saya tidak mahu dibunuh oleh MacLachlan itu - dia tidak peduli dengan anak buahnya . Saya akan pergi ke CO dan meminta untuk dipanggil semula "—pegawai komando menyetujui permintaannya. Pada misi berikutnya Hardy ditembak mati dan dibunuh dalam aksi dengan juruterbang barunya. MacLachaln kemudian mengambil penembak baru, Les Davies yang kemudian menerbangkan pejuang malam. [8]

MacLachlan terbang misi melawan sasaran kereta api di Nazi Jerman pada 23 Mei, menyerang Bingen am Rhein. Pada 25 Mei dia terbang ke arah sasaran dekat Sedan dan Pertempurannya telah dirosakkan oleh serpihan. Unit itu berpindah ke Moissy dan dia terbang misi untuk menyokong pasukan Tentera Darat Perancis di sekitar Abbeville. Pada 10 Jun dekat Fleury, tudung kokpitnya ditembak oleh tembakan tanah yang tepat tetapi MacLachlan tidak cedera. Pada 13 Jun dia terbang misi siang hari melawan ujung tombak Jerman dan ketika kembali ke pangkalan terbang di bawah formasi pengebom penyelam Junkers Ju 87. Pengawal Bf 109s mengejar dan menembak satu pertempuran ke bawah. MacLachlan mengaku berjaya menembak dua Bf 109 dan merosakkannya - tuntutan ini tidak dapat disahkan. [9]

Satu serangan terakhir dilakukan pada 14 Jun - pada hari Paris jatuh - dan skuadron meninggalkan Perancis ketika perlawanan Sekutu hancur. Mereka mendarat di lapangan terbang Houssay. Mereka kemudian berangkat ke RAF Driffield di Yorkshire. Ketika mereka melintasi England, MacLachlan mengambil jalan memutar untuk melakukan lintasan terbang rendah di sekolah lamanya di Monkton Combe berhampiran Bath. Aksi itu disaksikan oleh saudaranya yang menghadiri institusi itu pada waktu itu. 88 Skuadron berpindah ke Belfast, Ireland Utara pada 23 Jun untuk berehat dan menyiapkan diri. Berikutan operasi intensif semasa Pertempuran Perancis MacLachlan dianugerahkan Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) (diwartakan 16 Julai 1940). [10] [11]

Pertempuran Britain ke Malta Edit

MacLachlan tidak mengambil entri barunya dan tidak sabar untuk kembali beraksi. MacLachlan menawarkan diri untuk berkhidmat dengan Komando Tempur RAF semasa Pertempuran Britain yang dimulai pada bulan Julai 1940. Dia belajar pada 18 Ogos bahawa dia telah menjadi salah satu daripada lima juruterbang yang dipilih dari 88 Skuadron untuk dilatih sebagai juruterbang pejuang. Dia diposkan ke RAF Drem untuk latihan dengan Skuadron No. 145. Dia menerbangkan pesawat pejuang Hawker Hurricane untuk pertama kalinya pada 22 Ogos. Dalam masa sembilan hari, dia telah masuk 18 jam dalam jenisnya. Pada 3 September dia diberi cuti rasmi untuk pergi ke London. Di sana dia menerima DFC di Istana Buckingham. Dia kembali ke No. 145 tidak lama kemudian dan berpusat di RAF Tangmere, Croydon dan Westhampnett. No. 11 Kumpulan RAF sedang dalam pertempuran dan mengalami banyak korban. MacLachlan and his group were to replace the many pilots killed or wounded. MacLachlan practiced operational take-offs, fighter tactics, radio control, break-aways and dogfights—the essence of air-to-air combat. He was sent on patrols on 30 August, but only over Scotland, to guard against attacks from Luftflotte 5 (Air Fleet 5) based in Norway. No interceptions were made as air combat was rare in the north. On 21 September MacLachlan survived a force-landing at Dyce, caused by an oil leak. On 27 September 1940 MacLachlan was posted to the south at Debden, arriving two days later. He was then assigned to No. 73 Squadron RAF at RAF Castle Camps. [12]

On 30 September MacLachlan flew in defence of London as a large raid sought to attack the city. The RAF fighters performed well but 73 Squadron did not encounter the enemy. As September ended the Luftwaffe began sending fighter-bombers (Jabos)—bomb carrying Bf 109s—over England. The following day MacLachlan was promoted to flight lieutenant in view of his experience. On 7 October he intercepted one such raid and engaged in air-to-air combat for the first time as a fighter pilot. At 09:50 the unit was scrambled to defend Chelmsford. Flying with No. 257 Squadron they overflew the Thames Estuary. No contact was made. At 12:30 they were scrambled again. This time MacLachlan spotted two Bf 109s at 20,000 feet. Six more attacked the squadron and MacLachlan managed to fire a burst which hit one and it dove away emitting smoke and gained a probable victory. On 12 October 1940 MacLachlan pursued a Heinkel He 111 over Castle Camps but could not catch the enemy machine which was too far away at high altitude. It proved to be his last encounter with the enemy during the Battle of Britain. [13]

Two weeks later MacLachlan learned he was to be relocated to Malta. Twelve pilots and 207 men boarded HMS Argus in the River Clyde just off Greenock on 7 November 1940 and set sail for the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations. The convoy sent to Malta constituted a part of Operation Collar. The operation was to supply aircraft for the Island's defence. In June 1940 Italy had declared war on France when the country was on the verge of collapse at the hands of the German Wehrmacht. The Italians hoped they could take advantage of the weakened Allies by joining the Axis Powers. It was the Italian intent to launch a series of air, naval and land offensives throughout the Mediterranean and in particularly in North Africa. Malta lay across Italian sea communications between Sicily and Italian-held Libya. The island had the potential to be a useful base from which the British could disrupt Axis supplies to and from North Africa and the ensuing North African Campaign. The Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force) resolved to eliminate the island by bombing shipping bringing in supplies and attacking the island directly. With air power crucial to both sides, the island was reinforced. [14]

MacLachlan found himself at the heart of the battle for the island before the squadron arrived. On 27 November the convoy came under attack from the Italian Navy in the Battle of Cape Spartivento. MacLachlan saw the Italian fleet at a distance and witnessed enemy shells splashing around the ship. He also witnessed an attack by Italian Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 bombers but they failed to damage the ships. Most of the Hurricanes that took off from the Argus fell into the water out of fuel. The pilots had not run the Hurricanes at economic speeds for fuel consumption. [14]

Serving on Malta with No. 261 Squadron at RAF Ta' Qali, MacLachlan soon got bored, with little to do and no aircraft to fly. He was granted a trip to Tangiers in Spanish Morocco for Christmas and New Year's leave. While there he was arrested by the authorities for taking pictures near a Spanish Navy facility and released a short time later. He travelled to Gibraltar where he wangled trips on flying boats from No. 202 Squadron RAF which was monitoring German and Vichy French shipping sailing between eastern Spanish ports and Italy. MacLachlan returned to Malta on a Short Sunderland on 5 January 1941. [15]

Over Malta Edit

A new convoy, codenamed Operation Excess was on its way through Malta with ammunition supplies. Excess coincided with the arrival of the Luftwaffe Fliegerkorps X (10th Air Corps) in Sicily to support the faltering Italians in the theatre, after the failed invasion of Egypt. On 9 January the Regia Aeronautica flew a fighter sweep over the Grand Harbour. Eighteen Macchi C.200s from 6° Gruppo were engaged in aerial combat. MacLachlan climbed to 22,000 feet and spotted the enemy fighters 10,000 below. He attacked a group of six and shot one down into the sea where it left a large plume of water. MacLachlan circled the sea and noticed the Italian pilot had escaped his aircraft and survived. Capitano Luigi Armanino was taken aboard a rescue craft to a prisoner of war camp in Malta, wounded in the thigh and arm. MacLachlan claimed a second Macchi shot down minutes later. The following day he attacked an Italian Fiat CR.42 over the Excess convoy as the Italians attacked the ships once more. Four others appeared and they climbed over him and dropped onto his tail. Not risking a five to one encounter, MacLachlan flew over the Excess convoy hoping the ship's fire would protect him The British vessels fired at him in error but his aircraft was not hit. [16]

By the 10 January HMS Illustrious had docked in Malta. The Luftwaffe attacked the ship again and scored six damaging hits. MacLachlan's squadron failed to intercept the Ju 87 dive bombers that morning. On 16 January he witnessed several formations of Ju 87s and Junkers Ju 88s attack the ship. Unable to stand the sight, he raced with a fellow pilot to a dispersal strip and asked to take-off only to be refused permission. [17] [18] Three days later, MacLachlan was in action against two German units: Sturzkampfgeschwader 2 (StG 2—Dive Bomber Wing 2) and Sturzkampfgeschwader 1 (StG 1—Dive Bomber Wing 1). He attacked one Ju 87 killing the gunner before dispatching it into the sea. Returning to base he spotted a Ju 87 that had double-backed, hoping to slip past the defences to attack the aircraft carrier. MacLachlan destroyed the aircraft (3–4 victories) and then had to take evasive action when attacked by an Italian CR.42. [19] He shot the Italian fighter down: Sergente Maggiore Iacone from 70a Squadriglia bailed out was taken prisoner. He passed single CR.42s and Ju 87s flying low and unaware of his presence but his ammunition was exhausted. During the course of the mission his fifth victory made him a fighter ace. [20] RAF fighters claimed six Ju 87s shot down during the air battle and three can be confirmed. Oberfeldwebel Kurt Zube and his gunner was killed as was Unteroffizier Rudolf Vater—both served in I./StG 1. Obergefreiter Hans Küsters of II./StG 2 was also killed. A further I./StG 1 Ju 87 returned badly damaged with a dead gunner. [21]

Frustrated at exhausting his ammunition he landed. After the Hurricanes had been refuelled he was scrambled again to intercept an enemy formation. MacLachlan stumbled across a Cant Z.506-B bomber of 612 Squadriglia during the sortie which he destroyed. The pilot, Sottotenente Ignazio Rossi was killed in action. [22] After landing, yet another raid came in. MacLachlan climbed and singled out a Junkers Ju 88 of 8./Lehrgeschwader 1 (LG 1—Learning Wing 1). The Ju 88 saw him coming and swung around to a head-on position. After a brief turning duel MacLachlan hit the port engine and it crashed into the bay near Zonkor Point. For his actions he was awarded a bar to his DFC on 24 January. [23]

On 9 February he claimed a night victory—a Ju 88 which vanished. MacLachlan claimed it destroyed. The Malta Y Service was combing the air waves and picked up the German crew's desperate distress calls. The aircraft was actually a He 111 from 5./Kampfgeschwader 26 (KG 26—Bomber Wing 26). All the crew survived though one was wounded. Within half an hour he was in the air again. He engaged a Ju 88 from II./LG 1 and claimed it shot down. In fact the Ju 88 managed to reach Catania, Sicily where it was written off in a crash-landing. [24] [25]

Over the next few days morale began to sink when Bf 109s from 7./JG 26, led by Oberleutnant Joachim Müncheberg appeared over Malta and immediately took a toll of Hurricanes. The British fighter could not match the performance of the Bf 109. MacLachlan took a flight of them by surprise on the 11 February but the German pilots spotted them in time, climbed and dived. According to MacLachlan they "left us standing"—in his diary he noted the poor morale of the squadron owing to the success of the Bf 109s and he recorded the desperation of pilots eager to shoot one down. [26] On 16 February 1941 MacLachlan's Hurricane Mk. Ia (V7731) was again in battle with the Luftwaffe. In the morning his squadron engaged Bf 109s over Malta. After careful manoeuvering he managed to get onto the tail of a Bf 109 but neglected to check his own six o'clock position. He was hit by cannon fire which shattered his engine and cockpit. His left arm began bleeding profusely and ceased to function. He managed to remove his helmet and radio equipment and slide back the canopy and jump out. MacLachlan gave up trying to reach for his ripcord, assuming it must have been shot off. Later, MacLachlan said he had almost given up altogether when the thought of his mother reading the telegram informing her he had been killed in action spurred him on to try once again. He struggled and found the ripcord and deployed his parachute. Exhausted, he landed in a garden and lay there before being recovered. [27]

MacLachlan, after being shot down on 9 February 1941. [27]

MacLachlan probably was hit by a Bf 109 flown by Müncheberg himself—the German fighter leader had reported his 26th victory as a Hurricane with the pilot bailing out. He was the only British pilot to bail out in the battle. [28] The Hurricane crashed near Addolorata Cemetery near Paola. [29] MacLachlan remained in hospital with a severely wounded left arm. He was pumped with saline solution to prevent blood clotting but his arm was too badly damaged and it was amputated below the elbow. His determination and reputation was as such, the nurses and squadron were already taking bets on whether or not he would return to action within a fortnight on the day of the operation. [30] While in hospital he began speaking with Luigi Armanino, the pilot he had shot down days earlier. Among the topics of discussion were strengths of the Italian aircraft and Armanino's exploits piloting CR.42s during the Spanish Civil War. [31] [32]

MacLachlan stayed on Malta and took a flight in a transport aircraft on 6 March, winning the shilling bet. He embarked in HMS Defender on 22 March to return to Britain. He toured Egypt and then took a detour to Athens, Greece. The Axis had invaded Greece and Yugoslavia on 6 April and the Battle of Greece was on the verge of an out come within two weeks and MacLachlan was evacuated back to Egypt. He flew down the Nile River into Sudan and Kenya in a captured German Junkers Ju 52 and piloted the aircraft himself on 24 April. Stopping at various airfields he flew when he could. On one such occasion he flew a North American T-6 Texan in an aerobatic sortie. He reached South Africa on 10 May. He flew home on a Boeing 314 Clipper via Lagos, Bathurst in Gambia, Lisbon, Portugal, Dublin, Ireland arriving in Bristol on 7 August. [33]

Night fighter Edit

MacLachlan reported to No. 1 Depot, RAF Uxbridge and two days later attended No. 2 Central Medical Board on 13 August. He was certified fit to fly and flew Supermarine Spitfire on 21 August. He moved to Bournemouth to see his brother Gordon who was now a pilot officer in No. 501 Squadron RAF. At Queen Mary's Hospital he was fitted with a new arm. MacLachlan explained to the doctors that he required an arm that would allow him to fly a Hurricane. They designed a limb that allowed him to operate the throttle while taking the control column and firing button with his right hand. They spent hours studying the cockpit layout. The medical staff produced an arm with four spring-loaded pins, like fingers, which enabled him to use the controls on the port side of the cockpit. They secured his left arm to the levers of the throttle quadrant: throttle, propeller pitch control, supercharger and mixture control. The landing gear controls were located on the right side. The artificial arm had to interact with the control column while the gear was being retracted or lowered. His new arm proved sufficient and in September 1941 he flew as many hours in Hurricanes as possible, though not without incident. On 7 September 1941 he force-landed in darkness during a searchlight co-operation exercise. On 28 September 1941 he nearly collided with a Bristol Blenheim in low-cloud. Nevertheless, he was cleared for operational flying on 15 October. [34]

On 3 November 1941 MacLachlan was promoted to squadron leader, [35] and was given command of No. 1 Squadron at Redhill Aerodrome, equipped with the Hawker Hurricane Mk. IIc for night intruder operations over western Europe. MacLachlan was assigned his personal aircraft, Hurricane BD983/JX-Q. He painted an emblem showing a left arm with a cannon shell passing through it and the fingers giving the V sign. The squadron spent the winter, 1941–2 in intensive night fighter training with searchlight and ground control station. In February 1942 he attended the Searchlight School at Shrivenham. In his absence he missed the Channel Dash and subsequent air battle during which the squadron lost two pilots. The squadron scored its first success on 1 April—his 23rd birthday—when Karel Kuttelwascher—with whom he often flew—destroyed two Ju 88s. MacLachlan found locating German aircraft in the dark difficult, though he himself claimed a locomotive damaged on the night and left two of its wagons destroyed. [36]

In 1942 the Baedeker Raids were in operation against British cities in retaliation for RAF Bomber Commands attacks on Germany. The Luftwaffe was stepping up its campaign although it was fully engaged on the Eastern Front. On 18 April Do 217s raided Portsmouth in retaliation for an attack on Lübeck on 28/29 March. An attack on Rostock resulted in retaliation with raids on Bath, Exeter, Canterbury, Norwich and York. On the night of 26–27 April 1942 the Luftwaffe attacked Bath. MacLachlan took off in the evening of the 26 April and headed for airfields around Evreux and Dreux. He claimed a I./Kampfgeschwader 2 (KG 2—Bomber Wing 2) Dornier Do 217 destroyed which came down near Evreux severely damaged. A second was damaged but his port cannon jammed preventing its destruction. Air Vice Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory sent his congratulations and his exploits were printed in The Times surat khabar. On 30 April MacLachlan and Kuttelwascher set out again with a 25-minute interval between both. Kuttelwascher claimed a Do 217 and He 111, but MacLachlan settled for the destruction of two locomotives between Le Havre and Rouen. He also damaged a tug boat on the Seine and destroyed another locomotive near Yvetot. These successes were achieved in two missions on the same night. [37]

James MacLachlan to the BBC on 18 May 1942. [38]

On 4/5 May the Luftwaffe hit Exeter severely. That night MacLachlan claimed destroyed two He 111s of Küstenfliegergruppe 506. He trailed the German bombers back to France and attacked them where they believed they were safe. In fact both of his victims were Ju 88s which crashed near Dinard. Dari Feldwebel Robert Bogel's Wrk Nr. 1528, only the gunner was able to bail out, while observer Leutnant zur See (naval rank) Roman Wallner and Obergefreiter Johan Beibl were killed. There was only one survivor from Unteroffizier Josef Palmer's Ju 88D-4 Wrk Nr. 1154 Unteroffizier Karl Schorn managed to bail out but Leutnant zur See Ernst Tramp and Richard Staub were killed. [39] [40]

On 16 May MacLachlan was informed that he would be decorated with the Distinguished Service Order (DSO). On 29 May the award was announced. His tally stood at 11 air victories and he was becoming a recognised night flyer and ground-attack ace. On 18 May 1942 the BBC interviewed him for the 9 pm news. During the interview he gave his views on the dangers and thrills of night fighter operations. [41]

On 3/4 June 1942 MacLachlan infiltrated a group of Do 217s from KG 2 as they orbited in preparation for landing at Saint-André-sur-Orne. Within 14 seconds he had shot down two bombers and damaged two more (victories 12–13) before German defences were alerted and began returning fire. Flying with Kuttelwascher, they trailed a formation of 15 German bombers that had raided Poole. Sighting them over their own airfield he destroyed one and then was detected by searchlights. Taking evasive action he latched onto another and shot it down. A third and fourth were damaged. Kuttelwascher arrived and as MacLachlan left and claimed another He 111 and Do 217. [42] MacLachlan saw two flashes on the ground denoting a crashed aircraft after he attacked. German records show two Do 217s shot down one crash-landed and one severely damaged. MacLachlan's first victim appears to have been Unteroffizier Gerhard Wagner's Wrk Nr. 5392 Do 217 from 3./KG 2. Wagner, Feldwebel Wilhelm Oberwohr, Unteroffizier Josef Maier and Oberfledwebel Anton Lamm were killed. Another II./KG 2 Do 217 crashed there while another was severely damaged. Another Do 217 fell 40 miles south of Cherbourg but this machine—Wrk nr. 5331 piloted by Feldwebel Hans Koch of 7./KG 2—was likely a victim of Kuttelwascher. All of the crew were killed in action. [43] It was MacLachlan's last victory with the squadron. He flew five more intruder sorties during which he returned via Antwerp and Ostend at near-zero feet after his map had blown out the side-canopy window on 26 June and chased a Ju 88 45 miles south of Selsey Bill without result on 2 July. [44]

The Ekspres Harian hailed their success with two articles, "The Killers Who Stalk By Night". Needing a rest, the squadron was withdrawn to Yorkshire. On 31 July MacLachlan was posted to 59 Operational Training Unit (OTU) as an instructor. While there he and Kuttelwascher were decorated with the Czechoslovak War Cross by the exiled President of Czechoslovakia Edvard Beneš on 11 August 1942. Before he left, MacLachlan had the opportunity to fly the Hawker Typhoon which was to replace 1 Squadron's ageing Hurricanes. [45] [46]

American tour Edit

While based at Crosby-on-Eden with 59 OTU MacLachlan spent time flying other types of aircraft including the Bristol Beaufighter. On 20 August 1942 he was posted to the Air Fighting Development Unit at RAF Duxford for a short time. MacLachlan flew as often as he could regardless of the activity. He flew as a co-pilot in a Short Stirling heavy bomber and practiced fighter evasion techniques and then proceeded to fly 15 types of aircraft in 11 days. MacLachaln also flew Supermarine Spitfires, acting as an attacking fighter as well as the American-made Bell P-39 Airacobra. MacLachlan also flew with the No. 1426 Flight RAF which operated captured German aircraft. He flew a Ju 88, M2+MK formerly of Küsten Flieger Gruppe 106 which force-landed at RAF Chivenor in November 1941. Hew flew in a passenger on Heinkel He 111 (AW177) 1H+EN of 5./KG 26 which force-landed in Scotland in February 1940. At this time he provided escort to the resident Messerschmitt Bf 110 at the unit as it moved around airfields, although it is unknown if he flew it. By 4 October 1942 he had received notice that he had been selected as an RAF representative to tour the United States lecturing British and American trainee's in United States Army Air Force facilities. MacLachlan left 59 OTU with immediate effect. [47]

MacLachlan departed Liverpool for Canada aboard the RMS Ratu Elizabeth in a heavily guarded convoy and arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia on 17 October 1942. He travelled to Montreal on 24 October where he was met by reporters and photographers to publicise the event before moving to New York City that night. From New York he went to Washington D.C. on 28 October where he received orders from the RAF delegation. MacLachlan was to teach British officer cadets in American flying schools RAF General Service Regulations to prepare them for when they entered an OTU in Britain. Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama was designated as his headquarters but MacLachlan was based at Eglin Air Force Base initially. His post necessitated trips to the Craig Air Force Base near Selma, Alabama. [48]

MacLachlan travelled to flight schools across America. In November he flew to Orlando, Florida and across to Galveston, Texas near Palm Beach. The lecturing tour took him to Los Angeles California at the end of 1942. By January 1943 he had also visited Arizona and Texas. His flight log had expanded throughout this period to include a variety of types. Using his privileged position he flew the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, Lockheed P-38 Lightning and Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. Through flying MacLachlan felt the urge to participate in combat operations again but he enjoyed American hospitality immensely. In February he flew at an aerobatic show in Mesa, Arizona. On 18 February 1943 MacLachlan had a close call. While flying from Fort Stockton to El Paso, he force-landed in the desert when he ran out of fuel. According to a legend, MacLachaln used a local pipeline to fill the tanks. While in America he undertook several public relations tours and met movie stars such as Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine when he visited Hollywood for autographed photo-shoots. [48]

On 6 March 1943 MacLachlan began the journey back to Britain. He flew to Canada in a Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar where he spent eight days with the RAF Ferry Command in Montreal flying B-25 Mitchells. MacLachlan flew one of these aircraft under the railway bridge in Quebec. From Canada he flew to Bluie West, Greenland then to Reykjavik, Iceland. MacLachlan reached Prestwick on 3 April 1943. MacLachlan visited his comrades in 1 Squadron based nearby at Ibsley before moving on to Hunsdon to see night fighter officer John Cunningham. MacLachlan may have wanted another squadron command but on 15 April 1943 MacLachlan was sent back to the Air Fighting Development Unit at RAF Wittering. [48]

MacLachlan's stay was unhappy. On 19 April 1943 he received news that his brother Gordon MacLachlan had been shot down over Brest, France while escorting B-24 bombers. They were intercepted by Focke-Wulf Fw 190s belonging to 1./Jagdgeschwader 2. Unteroffizier Erich Henning and Hauptmann Jürgen Heppe each claimed a Spitfire. 616 Squadron lost Gordon and Squadron leader Pip Lefevre. Lefevre survived and evaded capture, returning to Britain via Gibraltar. Gordon was killed and the Germans recovered the body and buried him at Plouguerneau. MacLachlan was bitter at the loss of his brother and was keen to get back into action against the enemy. [48]

MacLachlan rejoined the AFDU at Wittering on 15 April 1943. On 19 April he began trials in the P-51 Mustang (termed Mustang IA by the RAF). He selected FD442 which became his personal mount. The P-51, was at that time, powered by an Allison V-1710 and armed with two 20 mm cannon in each wing. MacLachlan also flew Mustangs powered by the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine which proved so successful in later variants which flew and fought in the USAAF. MacLachlan visited his old school at Monkton on 29 May 1943 which had pledged £1,000 for the five needed to buy a Spitfire as part of a local Wings for Victory campaign. [49]

MacLachlan was not content in his position and pestered his superiors for an operational posting after weeks of practicing air combat with RAF Army Cooperation Command. Reluctantly, AOC Fighter Command Trafford Leigh-Mallory gave him permission to carry out Renjer operations over occupied France. Since his return MacLachlan had been devising tactics for long-range penetrations into enemy airspace, where Allied fighter aircraft had not operated before in daylight. He proposed to get through the Luftwaffe defence belt at low-altitude and consequently trained in low-level navigation by spending hours flying around England at tree-top height. With this in mind, he flew a sortie on the 8 June 1943. The poor weather combined with the sighting of two Fw 190s near Le Tréport forced him to turn for home. The rear-ward vision of the P-51B (or IA as the British referred to it), was limited. Flying alone where enemy aircraft could approach unseen was courting disaster and MacLachlan decided he needed assistance. [49]

Flight Lieutenant Geoffrey Page had just arrived at the ADFU. He had been a fighter pilot but was shot down and badly burned on 12 August 1940 during the Battle of Britain. Page was also keen on vengeance and approached MacLachlan in the Mess and proposed a two-fighter patrol. [50] He said that he wanted one German fighter for each of the 15 operations he had endured since 1940. The two pilots began to practice together in two Mustangs. The operation required little wind, so it would not interfere with navigation and a low cloud base to allow the two to spot enemy aircraft silhouette against it at even great distances. Hawker Typhoons from MacLachlann's former 1 Squadron to carry out diversion attacks against shipping off Boulogne. The operation was flown on 29 June 1943. At 08:55 they took off from RAF Lympne. Page later recalled, "Fine bloody pair we are, going off to tackle the enemy with only one good hand between us!" [49] [51]

As the two P-51s crossed over the Seine and reached Rambouillet, they sighted a formation of enemy aircraft. Brief bursts of machine gun fire dispatched four Focke-Wulf Fw 56 trainers—two falling to MacLachlan. Their victims were from JG 105. Gefreiter Walter Seigler was killed in Wrk. Nr. 1868 and Kurt Prager died in Wrk Nr. 2438. Gefreiter Alois Erdl was wounded and the aircraft written off and the fourth was able to force-land safely, damaged. Gefreiter Gotze-Gerd Kuhn was unhurt. They continued their hunt and flying near Bretigny spotted two Ju 88 night fighters or bombers coming into land. MacLachlan destroyed the first and shared the second with Page. Both aircraft belonged to IV./Kampfgeschwader 6 (KG 6—Bomber Wing 6). The pilots—Gefreiter Gerhard Zimmermann and Unteroffizier Karl Brocks—were killed. The Mustangs retreated when the airfield defences retaliated with gunfire. MacLachlan and Page returned at 1,000 feet and crossed the coast south-west of Dieppe and crossed between Brighton and Newhaven upon their return. MacLachlan was awarded a second Bar to his DFC while Page received the DFC. [49]

Page and MacLachlan flew to No. 96 Squadron RAF which was then flying de Havilland Mosquito night fighters. He requested his old gunner, Les Davies, who now piloted Mosquitos to join them. Davies accepted but MacLachlan was killed before he could take up the offer. MacLachlan and Page flew to Tangmere on 15 July. On his next mission on 18 July 1943 MacLachlan's Mustang FD442 was probably hit by ground fire when crossing the French coast near Dieppe. Page noticed MacLachlan's Mustang suddenly pull up sharply from their tree-top height by about 1,000 feet. He saw MacLachlan pull back the canopy but apparently changed his mind about bailing out as the aircraft leveled out and descended. The Mustang then headed towards a small field. MacLachaln touched down three-quarters the way across and the Mustang ploughed into an orchard at the field's edge which ripped off the wings. Page orbited the crash site several times and considered landing to rescue him but the space was too confined. Page dived at the wreck and took gun-camera footage but could see no signs of life and then headed home. The Operations Record was unable to determine the cause of the crash. MacLachlan made no radio broadcast. It was possibly the result of enemy small-arms fire or mechanical failure. On 30 July MacLachlan was awarded a second Bar to his DFC. [49]

MacLachlan was critically injured. The Germans took him prisoner, and treated him for a fractured skull at Field Hospital 711 at Pont-l'Évêque. MacLachlan lingered for 13 days before succumbing to the wounds on 31 July 1943. He was buried at Pont-l'Évêque Communal Cemetery in Grave 4, Zone 7. French civilian Monsieur Huet and his son attended the funeral that was administered by a German priest. They took a photograph of the grave which was covered in flowers by French civilians. A wooden plaque was placed there with the words "He died so France might live"— German authorities quickly had it removed. [49] Page learned years later that McLachlan survived the crash and died weeks afterwards. [52] MacLachlan's wartime score was 16 aircraft claimed destroyed, one shared with three aircraft claimed damaged. [53]

  • 16 July 1940 – Flying Officer James McLachlan (39639) of No. 88 Squadron is awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy: [54]
  • 11 February 1941 – Flight Lieutenant James McLachlan DFC (39639) of No. 261 Squadron is awarded the Bar to the DFC for gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy:

During intensive operations one day in January 1941 this officer destroyed four and possibly five enemy aircraft. Ten days previously he destroyed two enemy aircraft, one of which he had pursued for many miles out to sea. Flight Lieutenant McLachlan has set a fine example of courage, initiative and leadership.

  • 29 May 1942 – Squadron leader James McLachlan DFC and Bar (39639) of No. 1 Squadron is awarded the Distinguished Service Order for gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy:

During the early part of the war, this officer served in the Middle East where he destroyed eight enemy aircraft. Following an injury, his left arm was amputated, but, within a few weeks, he was flying again. Since his return to England, Squadron Leader MacLachlan has trained intensively in night flying operations and has achieved much success. On one night in May 1942, near Dinard, he show down a Dornier 217 and a few minutes later he shot down a Heinkel 111. The later burst into flames on impact with the ground, causing a fire which could be observed from a distance of 10 miles. Squadron Leader MacLachlan has attacked goods trains, trucks and barges with damaging effect. He is a gallant and skillful pilot whose example is an inspiration to all pilots.

  • 30 July 1943 – Squadron leader James McLachlan DFC and Bar (39639) of ADFU flight is awarded a second Bar to the DFC for gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy:

Recently these officers in the course of an operation over enemy occupied territory, shot down six enemy aircraft, three of which were destroyed by Squadron leader MacLachlan and two by Flight Lieutenant Page, while the other was destroyed jointly. The operation, which was planned by Squadron Leader MacLachlan, was brilliantly executed and the successes were worthily earned.


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