Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Air strengths in North Africa in 1940
Air Marshall Arthur Longmore commanded the British airforces in Africa and the Middle East in 1940-1941. There were 25 squadrons spread across the theater, including Aden. There were 168 aircraft in Egypt and Palestine. The Italians had about 400 aircraft in Libya. In East Africa, there were 85 British aircraft set against 170 Italian aircraft. At the declaration of war, British aircraft staged surprise raids on Italian airfields that caused considerable damage. The British were still outclassed, as the best British fighters in the theater were the biplane Gladiators. The Italians had a few much superior fighters. This is from an old photocopy from a chapter called "After the Fall of France" on page 96. It is obviously from an official history, perhaps that for the Mediterranean and Middle East.