Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Royal Air Force in the Desert from February to May 1942

The end of the Crusader Battle left the RAF to rebuild. They had suffered great losses in the battle during a transition period when some aircraft types were out of production while their replacements were slow in arriving. As the Hurricane I had lost its effectiveness, there were not many Hurricane IIs in the pipeline. This was the case for a number of aircraft:

Old Model Status New Model Status
Hawker Hurricane I outperformed Hawker Hurricane II slow in arriving
Curtis Tomahawk production ended Curtis Kittyhawk few arriving
Martin Maryland production ended Martin Baltimore few arriving,
needed modifications
Bristol Blenheim IV engine troubles Douglas Boston engine troubles

One positive move was the arrival of Consolidated Liberator and Handley Page Halifax heavy bombers in the Middle East. They were much more capable than the older Vickers Wellington medium bombers. They belonged to the original twin-engined heavy bomber category that had gradually become obsolescent. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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