Saturday, July 07, 2007
In the air: late December 1941 and early January 1942
Both British and Axis air forces were greatly stressed by the last campaign, with then changes in locale. The British "day bomber" situation was pretty unsatisfactory. There were eight squadrons, but two were being sent to the Far East, in response to the Japanese attack. Two were in the process of refitting. Of the other four, two were used on the attack on Axis forces around Halfaya. That left two squadrons to support the current operations near Mersa Brega. They had one success on 29 December, when ten bombers "caused over forty casualties". The British used the LR Hurricanes (No.33 Squadron) and Beaufighters (No.272 Squadron) to reach beyond the lines for reconnassance and attacks. On the other hand, on 28 December 1941, the Axis put up "over a hundred aircraft". New comers to the North African theater included the Kittyhawk fighter and the Liberator bomber. The Germans had the Me-109F, which was superior to any Allied fighter in the theater. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.