Sunday, June 11, 2006

Factors limiting the RAF in the Middle East

The RAF's numeric strength in the Middle East grew rapidly from June to October 1941. This is a summary of the numbers:

Formed Squadrons Total Aircraft Newest Aircraft
Mid-June 1941 34-1/2 549 419
Mid-August 1941 49 722 550
Mid-October 1941 52 846 780

Air Marshal Tedder was concerned that the air strength would expand beyond the capacity of air fields, maintenance, and trained air crew. The air crew training was a major issue. On paper, there were three operational training units in the Middle East, but none were functional in June. The operational training units would be expanded to four and built up to an efficient state, but progress was slow. By "late Autumn", one was "fully staffed". One other was half-ready, while another had untrained staff, and the fourth had not been formed, yet. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.

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