Friday, June 16, 2006

Middle East air operations June-October 1941

During a four month period from mid-June to mid-October 1941, there were widespread air operations in the Middle Eastern theater. The Tripoli port was hit at night 72 times by a total of 357 Wellingtons (one aircraft per sortie). Daylight raids were made by Marylands and Blenheims. As the British were only able to use 500 lbs. bombs and smaller, the damage was not as extensive as it might have been.

Operations continued from Malta. They hit targets in Sicily and Southern Italy, concentrating on airfields and ports.

Benghazi was hit in 102 attacks by Wellingtons operating from Egypt. The squadrons involved were No.37, No.38, No.70, and No.148. Marylands from No.12 Squadron SAAF and No.24 Squadron SAAF, as well as No.39 Squadron RAF. Marylands and Blenheims also were used in night attacks on Benghazi, starting in August. By the end of this period, SAAF Marylands were used in daylight attacks. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Official History.

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