Thursday, July 21, 2005
British air reinforcements to the Middle East in early 1941
Air Chief Marshal Longmore commanded the RAF in the Mediterranean and Middle East. With the government directive to aid Greece, the forces available for North Africa were stripped further. They had hopes for air reinforcements from America, but they quickly found problems with the Curtis Mohawk fighters that meant that they couldn't be used until they had a major modification. Thirty of these had been promised to Greece. 500 Curtis Tomahawk fighters were purchased, but there was no ammunition for the American machine guns in the theater. It was unclear when these aircraft would arrive, as well. The British also had no experience with the aircraft to know its capabilities. Air Chief Marshal Longmore did learn that more aircraft would be sent through March 1941. By then, 100 Hurricanes, 120 Blenheim IVs, 45 Martin Marylands, and 35 Wellingtons would arrive. This is from the account in Vol.I of the Official History.