Monday, June 20, 2005

Air power to be sent to Greece: late 1940

The British commanders planned about what air units could be sent to aid Greece. This started about November 4, 1940, when instructions arrived. The commanders found that what could be sent would be limited by the availability of suitable airfields. The main problem was the lack of all-weather airfields. The terrain was very unsuitable, as well, for constructing new airfields. To protect what airfields there were, General Wavell was to send AA artillery. That would initially be one heavy and one light AA batteries. After that, three Blenheim squadrons would be sent. One of these was actually a mixed squadron of bombers and Gladiators. One additional fighter squadron equipped with Gladiators would be sent. As the Hurricane inventory reached the critical point, a second fighter squadron would then be sent. Egypt would be stripped to the bare minimum, if not below that level. Given the hindsight we have about how forelorn an operation this would be, the risks that were taken seem reckless, in the extreme. This is based on the account in Vol.I of the Official History.

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