Sunday, July 06, 2008

The British air force in the Middle East

By Spring 1942, the British air strength was greatly strained by the military situation. They were especially short of trained aircrew. One of the ongoing complaints about the air crews in the Middle East was the lack of operational training. The Middle East needed reinforcements, but the home forces were so taxed that there was little available to send. Bomber Command was in such as state that there was only one pilot per heavy bomber at this date. The Air Ministry reacted negatively to Air Marshall Tedder's plea for more air crew for the Middle East, but they stretched enough to send some reinforcements.

An important piece of the plans for the upcoming land offensive was to have a stronger air strength available to both protect the troops and to attack the Axis forces on the ground and sea. A new fighter group headquarters, No.211 Group, was built from two wing headquarters. Group Captain K.B.B. Cross was the first commander. He had been a senior wing commander during the recent Crusader battle. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.

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