takoradi air route

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daveh
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takoradi air route

Post by daveh » 16 Jun 2004 20:10

I have come across brief references to the use of this air route to Egypt. I am interested in knowing more.

In particular I am interested in:

The numbers and types of aircraft using the route.
The losses en route
Organisation(s) involved in running the route
Source of the ground servicing personnel, eg were they members of the RAF?
Who flew the routes? were they just ferry pilots? or were the pilots used as re enforcements/ replacements in operational units on arrival?
Were pre existing airfields used, if so were they expanded? and how many new ones were established?
Did the Vichy French or the Germans or Italians attempt to block the route in any way?

thanks in advance

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Andy H
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Post by Andy H » 29 Jun 2004 02:18

The following paragraph is from Jon Latimers Operation Compass

"It took 70 days for reinforcements to reach Egypt via the Cape. In July 1940, an advanced party of Technicians were sent to Takoradi in the Gold Coat (Ghana) to begin work on the installations necessary to open the new trans-Africa route for reinforcement traffic designed to handle up to 140 aircraft per month.
So well did they work that the first reinforcement flight took off on September 20th flying via Fort Lamy (captured by the FF under Gen.Leclerc on August 29th) By the end of October 1943, over 5,000 aircraft had flown this route"

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Post by Jon G. » 02 Jul 2004 11:47

IIRC, the first aircraft to fly this route were Blenheims and Hurricanes. I don't know if any Warhawks flew this route too?

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DrG
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Post by DrG » 02 Jul 2004 22:02

From March to October 1941 300 Curtiss Tomahawk reached Egypt through Takouradi route.
(source: Tullio Marcon, "Falchi americani sul Mediterraneo: il P-40", Storia Militare n.88 gen.2001; in the text is quoted another article, T. Marcon, "La legge "Affitti e Prestiti": effetti in campo aeronautico", Storia Militare n.8 lug.1998, has anybody read it?)

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Post by daveh » 04 Jul 2004 14:14

would that I could read Italian :D

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Post by Andy H » 12 Aug 2004 00:08

The following is from The Mediterranean & Middle East Vol II by Maj.Gen Playfair (The Official British history)

“The main work at Takoradi was the erection of cased aircraft, and the monthly output was intended to grow to 150a/c in Feb’41 and 180a/c in March’41. In fact, by Feb the output had never exceeded 103, and of these 40 had been flown in from HMS Furious and did not require erection. By early March there were some 170a/c awaiting erection or unable to fly for various reasons: whilst others were held up along the route by bad weather, and there was still a lack of spares, tools and equipment at Takoradi and the various staging posts.

A large number of the grounded a/c were US Tomahawks, with which the technical staff was not yet familiar, and which had arrived without much of their equipment…..The route achieved better results in April’41 as far as Blenheims and Hurricanes were concerned, though the Tomahawk problem increased to 200a/c stranded, mainly due to spares, tools kits and other essential equipment. In addition it was necessary to modify them for desert op’s by fitting filters to the carburettor intakes.

In May’41 the position was improving. 161a/c were erected in May and in June the forecast figure of 200 was reached for the first time.

Towards the end of that June, Mr A Harriman-FDR’s PR arrived in the Middle East. Under his instruction some 20 transport a/c were despatched to Takoradi to help in amongst others things-the ferrying back the pilots who had flew the a/c to Egypt”

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Last edited by Andy H on 12 Aug 2004 00:21, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Andy H » 12 Aug 2004 00:18

The following is from The Mediterranean & Middle East Vol III by Maj.Gen Playfair (The Official British history)

By the summer of '42 the desert airforce was losing RAF Sqn strength. To avert this crisis the British goverment undertook several responses, one of which was:-

"42 Spitfires en route to Australia were, with the consent of the Australian Goverment, to be unloaded at Freetown for Takoradi early in July"

"The American reinforcements included some 80 Kittyhawks (1 fighter group's worth) which came from the US on a aircraft carrier bound for Takoradi"

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Post by Andy H » 12 Aug 2004 00:31

The following is from The Mediterranean & Middle East Vol II by Maj.Gen Playfair (The Official British history)-Appendix 7

Details of Arrivals of Aircraft in Middle East by Takoradi & Lagos Route January-October’41

Jan
Blenheim 11
Hurricane 44
Maryland 1
Tomahawk

Feb
Blenheim 38
Hurricane 30
Maryland 2
Tomahawk

Mar
Blenheim 35
Hurricane 13
Maryland 6
Tomahawk 2

Apr
Blenheim 37
Hurricane 62
Maryland 7
Tomahawk 25

May
Blenheim 39
Hurricane 39
Maryland 6
Tomahawk 41

June
Blenheim 28
Hurricane 62
Maryland 11
Tomahawk 46

July
Blenheim 76
Hurricane 52
Maryland 5
Tomahawk 27

Aug
Blenheim 44
Hurricane 27
Maryland 11
Tomahawk 44





Sept
Blenheim 25
Hurricane 115
Maryland 3
Tomahawk 14

Oct
Blenheim 26
Hurricane 81
Maryland 0
Tomahawk 6

Total
Blenheim 359
Hurricane 525
Maryland 52
Tomahawk 205



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Post by Andy H » 12 Aug 2004 00:44

The following is from The Mediterranean & Middle East Vol III by Maj.Gen Playfair (The Official British history)-Appendix 7
Details of Arrivals of Aircraft from the UK to the Middle East by Takoradi Route November’41-September’42
Nov
Beaufighter
Blenheim 16
Boston
Hurricane 26
Lysander
Maryland
Moth
Spitfire
Tomahawk

Dec
Beaufighter
Blenheim 60
Boston
Hurricane 93
Lysander
Maryland
Moth 1
Spitfire
Tomahawk

Jan
Beaufighter
Blenheim 52
Boston
Hurricane 186
Lysander 3
Maryland
Moth
Spitfire
Tomahawk

Feb
Beaufighter
Blenheim 7
Boston 4
Hurricane 87
Lysander
Maryland 1
Moth
Spitfire
Tomahawk

Mar
Beaufighter
Blenheim
Boston 10
Hurricane 71
Lysander
Maryland
Moth
Spitfire
Tomahawk

Apr
Beaufighter 5
Blenheim
Boston 2
Hurricane 111
Lysander
Maryland
Moth
Spitfire 15
Tomahawk

May
Beaufighter 17
Blenheim 23
Boston
Hurricane 13
Lysander
Maryland
Moth
Spitfire
Tomahawk 3

June
Beaufighter 31
Blenheim 42
Boston 5
Hurricane 122
Lysander
Maryland
Moth
Spitfire 6
Tomahawk

July
Beaufighter 28
Blenheim 136
Boston
Hurricane 78
Lysander
Maryland
Moth
Spitfire 4
Tomahawk

Aug
Beaufighter 49
Blenheim 101
Boston
Hurricane 83
Lysander
Maryland
Moth 1
Spitfire 3
Tomahawk



Sept
Beaufighter 51
Blenheim 51
Boston
Hurricane 163
Lysander
Maryland
Moth
Spitfire 50
Tomahawk

Total
Beaufighter 181
Blenheim 488
Boston 21
Hurricane 1033
Lysander 3
Maryland 1
Moth 2
Spitfire 78
Tomahawk 7
Grand Total 1,814


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Post by Andy H » 12 Aug 2004 00:47

The following is from The Mediterranean & Middle East Vol III by Maj.Gen Playfair (The Official British history)-Appendix 7
Details of Arrivals of Aircraft from the USA to the Middle East by Takoradi Route November’41-September’42

Kittyhawk deliveries were:-
40 in May'41, 35 in June'41 and 50 in September'42.
Giving a total of 125a/c

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Post by Andy H » 12 Jan 2005 21:04

In November 1940, 20 Polish pilots (under Wg Cdr M.Izycki) were tasked to just ferry planes along the route.

The trip (inc fighters) of over 4,000miles would be as follows

Day 1: Takoradi to Lagos, Nigeria 380miles
Day 2: Lagos to Kano, Nigeria 525miles
Day 3: Kano to El Genina, Sudan (refuelling at Maiduguri, Nigeria and Fort Lamy, French Equatorial Africa) 960miles
Day 4: El Genina to Khartoum, Sudan (refuelling at El Fasher and El Obeid) 1060miles
Day 5: Khartoum to Wadi Halfa 520miles
Day 6: Wadi Halfa to Abu Sueir, Cairo (refuelling at Luxor) 500miles

Source: Hurricanes over Malta by Brain Cull & Frederick Galea

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Post by Michael Emrys » 15 Jan 2005 21:32

Surprising to see there are no Baltimores listed there. Were they arriving by other routes, i.e., only by ship? Also to see such large numbers of Blenheims used so late in the war, but I suppose they were still adequate in the Mediterranean theater.

The USAAF operated some B-24s and B-25s in the Middle East from the latter third of 1942 IIRC. Did they arrive by some other routes? I am especially wondering if the longer-ranged craft could come UK/Gibraltar/Malta/Egypt.

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Post by Andy H » 16 Jan 2005 12:55

Also to see such large numbers of Blenheims used so late in the war, but I suppose they were still adequate in the Mediterranean theater.


1942 isn't that late :wink:

The Blenhiems were used in bombing,fighter and coastal attack and recce roles. Agreed not the best plane ever to take to the air.

In relation to other delivery methods, I believe that a similar route was up through South Africa, and off course many were delivered directly via ship into the Allied ME ports etc

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Post by Michael Emrys » 16 Jan 2005 18:58

Now that I think of it, I recall that some heavy bombers were flown from the US down to Brazil, then across the narrows of the Atlantic to Africa. I think this route was initiated before Torch, but I can't swear to it.

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Post by Michael Emrys » 17 Jan 2005 04:26

Andy H wrote:
Also to see such large numbers of Blenheims used so late in the war, but I suppose they were still adequate in the Mediterranean theater.


1942 isn't that late :wink:


One might have hoped that they would have been replaced with Beaufighters by that time. Of course there were reasons why they were not—I'm not ignoring that side of it. But one can dream, can't one?

:lol:

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