Air raids on Suez canal

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daveh
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Air raids on Suez canal

Post by daveh » 12 May 2003 00:32

I am interested in details of aerial attacks on the Suez canal in WW2. I would like to know units involved and the effectiveness of the attacks in terms of vessels sunk, installations damaged and any time that the canal was closed due to eg mines.

Thanks in advance

varjag
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Post by varjag » 13 May 2003 12:40

Daveh - I've never read about any attack on the canal or shipping in it - but recall some isolated German attack on shipping in the Red Sea. Presumably based on Crete as it was a long way off. The Canal - itself is a difficult target (I've been through it a few times) to 'close' by aerial attack - unless u strike the Bullseye and sink something big in a narrow channel - most of it, for the ships of the time - was 2-lane anyway.

daveh
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Post by daveh » 13 May 2003 15:45

Thanks varjag for your comments.

Given the importance of the canal I would have thought some effort would be made in attacking the canal or at least shipping in it. The dropping of mines would have caused delays and possible material losses, all of which would have been beneficial to the axis. I assume recce fights would have been made over the canal given its importance so why not bombing or mining sorties as well?.

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Andy H
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Post by Andy H » 13 May 2003 22:37

Hi Dave

I found two entries so far regarding air op's against the canal.

The first is regarding bombing raids on Alexandria and also the Suez canal in April'42-the first since that February. The night fighters of 89Sqn RAF are credited with shooting down 4 He111's & 7 Ju88's, units not given.

In July'42 several bombing raids and mining op's were made against the canal. The bombing resulted in the loss of 6 He111's and 2 Ju88's for which they had to show one damaged pumping station and a fuel tank at Port Said. The mining resulted in the closure of the Canal for 1 week, the damage to shipping was limited to the loss of a water boat, the Boom defence vessel Punnet being badly damaged and H.E.M.S Fawzia was sunk whilst employed on coastguard duties in the Red Sea.

Andy

daveh
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Post by daveh » 14 May 2003 03:23

Thanks Andy

Fewer raids than Id expected. Im guessing bombers were from Crete or possibly North Africa. Ill try searching back from the dates you gave, having the aircraft types helps.

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Post by gabriel pagliarani » 16 May 2003 20:54

A special unit of Regia Aeronautica did it. After a fast landing for refuelling in the desert hundreds Kms behind enemy lines in Sudan, without using any known landing strip. The fuel was picked there by RA special ground intruders and a small unit of SM 81 bombed allied oil depots in Saudi Arabia facing Red Sea. But I have no more information about this hazardous and lucky raid. Those braves now are completely forgotten in Italy and I am talking about a legend held by old pilots.

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Andy H
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Post by Andy H » 17 May 2003 12:00

Between the period of July-October 1941 some 34 night attacks were made against the Suez Canal, mainly by Ju88's based in Greece. A total of 390 sorties were made. German losses amounted to 1 Ju88 shot down in August and 4 in September.

Andy

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