Fighters for Malta. Where did they come from?

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Allan M
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Fighters for Malta. Where did they come from?

Post by Allan M » 10 Mar 2010 08:08

Split from http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=93416


"For the Takoradi route, please refer to this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=56&t=52658"

Thank you for the directions. I've already read through those posts though. :-) They are very informative and I've gotten much use from them. Maybe I'll find what I want in those volumes by Playfair. Off to the library!

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Andy H
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Re: Axis shipping in the Mediterranean

Post by Andy H » 10 Mar 2010 15:13

Hi Allen

As well as Playfair have a look at:-

Entries Pg247-249
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/UK/U ... F-I-9.html

Regards

Andy H

Allan M
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Re: Axis shipping in the Mediterranean

Post by Allan M » 11 Mar 2010 07:22

Thank you :-) I found the following there: "Longmore now decided to send Malta six Hurricanes. Landing-grounds having been captured in Cyrenaica the flight presented no undue difficulty, and on 30th January [1941] the aircraft took off from Gazala" That's the kind of info I'm looking for. It's fairly easy to find when and how many Spitfires and Hurricanes arrived in Malta, and the Takoradi data is presented above. But references to transfers between Malta and North Africa are hard to find. It was just possible to ferry Spitfires in from Malta on long-range tanks. 601 Squadron was re-assigned from Malta to Egypt and ferried a dozen in June 1942. But I'm not sure if the same could be done with Hurricanes. If so, maybe they started releasing their Hurricanes to Egypt after the Spitfires starting arriving at Malta in March 1942 when feeling more secure.

Very unintentionally funny bit near the end regarding the two British high muckey mucks' strategies, one wanting to send all the aircraft available to bomb, from Turkey, the Russians and the other the Germans. And of course the Turks wanting nothing to do with either plan!

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Re: Axis shipping in the Mediterranean

Post by Dili » 11 Mar 2010 22:38

Woudn't be easier trying to find how many went to the Meditarranean theatre in first place?

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Re: Axis shipping in the Mediterranean

Post by Allan M » 12 Mar 2010 01:05

"Woudn't be easier trying to find how many went to the Meditarranean theatre in first place"

I already know that: 525+1033 Hurricanes and 78 Spitfires from Jan41 to Sep42 came up from Takoradi. About 323 Hurricanes and 376 Spitfires from Jul40 to Nov42 arrived at Malta. But what I'm after are movements within the Mediterranean and out of the Mediterranean to the middle and far east.

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Re: Axis shipping in the Mediterranean

Post by Dili » 12 Mar 2010 21:41

Okay great what means the 525+1033 split?
Did you already made the sum of those that came in aircraft carriers?
Btw maybe losses would let us know how many were spent in Mediterranean theatre: The total losses plus filling all squadrons will show how many were employed. Then we can get an approaching number of those that went far east.

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Re: Axis shipping in the Mediterranean

Post by Allan M » 14 Mar 2010 01:10

"Okay great what means the 525+1033 split?"

Those two numbers come from two messages in the takoradi air route thread of 11 Aug 2004 at times 16:31 and 16:44. It just means that 1558 Hurricanes came up from Takoradi from Jan41 to Sep42.

"Did you already made the sum of those that came in aircraft carriers?"

Yes, 323 Hurricanes and 376 Spitfires arrived at Malta from aircraft carriers. The Hurricane numbers I got from Dannreuthers' Force H and the Spitfire numbers from a website. The latter is accurate, other more solid sources echo a similar number.

"Btw maybe losses would let us know how many were spent in Mediterranean theatre: The total losses plus filling all squadrons will show how many were employed."

I have gathered little information about losses yet, but a cursory reading shows that the British lost 575 aircraft between mid-November 1941 and mid-March 1942. Again, there is no breakdown as to what kinds of aircraft. (These facts are from Royal Air Force 1939-1945 by Denis Richards).

However, here is a complicating issue: were some of the supposedly lost aircraft subsequently repaired? 810 aircraft were delivered back repaired to the battle area from mid-November 1941 to mid-March 1942. I think the only hard evidence that planes are irrevocably lost is if the pilot was killed. It is known that 174 Allied fighter pilots died over Malta.

"Then we can get an approaching number of those that went far east."

Nearly 550 aircraft went east of Suez between end of December 1941 and mid-March 1942. (I want to know how many went east because then I will know how many aircraft were in the Mediterranean) But included in that number are all sorts of aircraft. I'm really only interested in the Spitfires and Hurricanes.

Still, what I want most of all is to know how many, when, and where aircraft moved within the Mediterranean area. And so far all I know of that is that one squadron of Spitfires went from Malta to Egypt, half a squadron of Hurricanes from Cyrenaica to Malta, and that another squadron of Hurricane pilots that arrived from an aircraft carrier in November 1941 went from Malta to the Far East sometime after having been retained to defend the island for a period of time, but maybe went without their aircraft.

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Re: Fighters for Malta. Where did they come from?

Post by Dili » 15 Mar 2010 09:54

Allan maybe this can help you: http://www.rafweb.org/Menu.htm#Sqn Markings they there have a history of each one.


I have found this data in my texts but without attribution about the planes that came from carriers.

Type Hurricane (all Marks) Spitfire (all Marks) Swordfish Albacore
Flown off 353 384 8 17
Arrived 334 367 7 11

James A Pratt III
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Re: Fighters for Malta. Where did they come from?

Post by James A Pratt III » 15 Mar 2010 21:52

See the books "Malta the Hurricane Years 1940-1941" and "Malta the Spitfire Year 1942" for how the fighters got there.

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