Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The air strength situation in the summer and fall 1942
As the American air presence built up in the Middle East, supplies of replacement aircraft to the British were not keeping pace with losses. 11 RAF fighter squadrons had been reduced to half-strength. 9 more squadrons had no aircraft. The British were receiving Kittyhawks and Baltimores from the United States, but not in numbers sufficient to make good the losses. The Merlin-engined Kittyhawks all went to American squadrons. The problem was exacerbated by the fact that the American squadrons were not ready for combat operations. There was plan to limit the RAF to just 65 squadrons and to have 24 American squadrons. Even if the RAF were reduced in strength, they still needed to replace obsolescent aircraft. This is based on the account in Vol.III of the Official History.