RAF squadron to operate in China, 1942?

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daveshoup2MarDiv
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RAF squadron to operate in China, 1942?

Post by daveshoup2MarDiv » 03 Apr 2024 01:48

Apparently the British offered to deploy an RAF bomber squadron in China in 1942; anyone have more information?

https://history.state.gov/historicaldoc ... -43/pg_464

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Sheldrake
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Re: RAF squadron to operate in China, 1942?

Post by Sheldrake » 03 Apr 2024 10:42

One of my late father's work colleagues was a navigator in 113 Squadron RAF in the war. He told the tale of how his squadron was sent to Greece, where they were bombed on the ground, then to North Africa, where they were bombed on the ground and then to Burma. Twelve aircraft were sent to bomb Bangkok. The Japanese sent one hundred and twenty aircraft back to bomb them. He and at least part of the squadron withdrew to China, where he became the navigator for Madam Chang Kai Chek's personal Ju52.

Wikipedia says that the unit was withdrawn to Calcutta and reformed as a fighter squadron with Hurricanes and then Thunderbolts.

I was doubtful if the RAF deployed complete squadrons to China because of the logistic difficulties. However, a quick check of the RAF Muusem reveals this

https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/blog/the-r ... otal%20one.

Including an image of a Mosquito in the colours of the PLAF
Image

and the story of a Battle of Britain ace who flew with the Flying Tigers.
Image

daveshoup2MarDiv
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Re: RAF squadron to operate in China, 1942?

Post by daveshoup2MarDiv » 03 Apr 2024 16:19

Sheldrake wrote:
03 Apr 2024 10:42
One of my late father's work colleagues was a navigator in 113 Squadron RAF in the war. He told the tale of how his squadron was sent to Greece, where they were bombed on the ground, then to North Africa, where they were bombed on the ground and then to Burma. Twelve aircraft were sent to bomb Bangkok. The Japanese sent one hundred and twenty aircraft back to bomb them. He and at least part of the squadron withdrew to China, where he became the navigator for Madam Chang Kai Chek's personal Ju52.

Wikipedia says that the unit was withdrawn to Calcutta and reformed as a fighter squadron with Hurricanes and then Thunderbolts.

I was doubtful if the RAF deployed complete squadrons to China because of the logistic difficulties. However, a quick check of the RAF Muusem reveals this

https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/blog/the-r ... otal%20one.

Including an image of a Mosquito in the colours of the PLAF
Image

and the story of a Battle of Britain ace who flew with the Flying Tigers.
Image
Interesting material; thanks. Certainly makes it clear there was a level of institutional support present, if not operational - given the language Soong used about WSC approving an operational deployment, wonder if this was a Churchillian "gesture" that went from "send a bomber squadron" (113, apparently, with Blenheims) at Chequers to "set up a cargo handling base" in the theater?

Nice gesture, but presumably somewhat challenging to put into practice.

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Re: RAF squadron to operate in China, 1942?

Post by Sheldrake » 03 Apr 2024 17:53

I think my father's colleague may have been an individual aircraft stranded in China. I would not place 113 Squadron there. The stations were probably to do with support for the Over the Hump route. Churchill said a lot of stuff which was not always put into practice. I think we have discussed this before.

In the US the commander in Chief gives an order and everyone says yes sai. In the UK orders are sometimes merely the basis for a discussion. Ever seen Yes Minister?

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Re: RAF squadron to operate in China, 1942?

Post by daveshoup2MarDiv » 03 Apr 2024 20:17

Sheldrake wrote:
03 Apr 2024 17:53
I think my father's colleague may have been an individual aircraft stranded in China. I would not place 113 Squadron there. The stations were probably to do with support for the Over the Hump route. Churchill said a lot of stuff which was not always put into practice. I think we have discussed this before.

In the US the commander in Chief gives an order and everyone says yes sai. In the UK orders are sometimes merely the basis for a discussion. Ever seen Yes Minister?
True.

"If you're going to do this damn silly thing, don't do it in this damn silly way."

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Re: RAF squadron to operate in China, 1942?

Post by EwenS » 04 Apr 2024 12:04

When Churchill spoke in June 1942 about sending a squadron of light bombers to China, he must have been looking some months into the future. As of 1 July 1942 there were only 3, all equipped with Blenheims - 11 in the defence of Ceylon and 113 & 60 in the Calcutta area (this excludes GR Hudsons and Beaufort TB).

But Vultee Vengeance dive bombers had begun to arrive in India in May and the first squadron received them in Aug followed by2 more before the end of the year and more in early 1943. Initial operations were coastal patrols in Oct. RAF Orders of Battle describe the as "light bombers".

By the end of the year the number of other light bomber squadrons had increased to 4 with Blenheim/Bisley.

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Re: RAF squadron to operate in China, 1942?

Post by daveshoup2MarDiv » 05 Apr 2024 04:43

EwenS wrote:
04 Apr 2024 12:04
When Churchill spoke in June 1942 about sending a squadron of light bombers to China, he must have been looking some months into the future. As of 1 July 1942 there were only 3, all equipped with Blenheims - 11 in the defence of Ceylon and 113 & 60 in the Calcutta area (this excludes GR Hudsons and Beaufort TB).

But Vultee Vengeance dive bombers had begun to arrive in India in May and the first squadron received them in Aug followed by2 more before the end of the year and more in early 1943. Initial operations were coastal patrols in Oct. RAF Orders of Battle describe the as "light bombers".

By the end of the year the number of other light bomber squadrons had increased to 4 with Blenheim/Bisley.
That seems like a stronger possibility; good point. The Chinese NAF had purchased Vultee V-11 and V-12 attack aircraft in the 1930s, some of which were assembled in India, so there may have been thought it was better suited to what was available in terms of sustainment in China at the time.

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