846 Naval Air Squadron
|846 Naval Air Squadron|
|Active||1943 - 2013|
|Type||Land based squadron|
|Part of||Fleet Air Arm|
|Motto||Semper Instans (Latin:"Always Threatening")|
|Equipment||10 Westland Sea King HC4+|
|Battle honours||Atlantic 1944, Arctic 1944–5, Norway 1944–5, Normandy 1944–5, Falklands 1982|
846 Naval Air Squadron was a squadron of the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm. It operated the Westland Sea King HC4 helicopter and provided troop transport and load lifting support to 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines. The squadron was based at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset. 846 was disbanded in the summer of 2013 and its personnel, buildings and equipment were absorbed into 845 Naval Air Squadron, with 845 now assuming its former commitments.
Second World War
846 Naval Air Squadron was established in April 1943 at the Naval Air Station Quonset Point, Rhode Island, USA. It was equipped with 12 Grumman Avenger I torpedo bombers. Two months later the squadron embarked on the escort carrier HMS Ravager (D70) and was transferred to the UK. Before being assigned to HMS Tracker (D24) in January 1944, four Grumman Wildcat V fighters were added to 846 NAS. HMS Tracker was first assigned to convoys going to Gibraltar, then to Murmansk. On the latter voyage, aircraft from 846 NAS attacked eight German U-Boats.
HMS Tracker was damaged in June 1944 in a collision with the Canadian frigate HMCS Teme (K458) while forming part of the naval screen for the D-Day landings, and the squadron disembarked to RAF Limavady airfield, Northern Ireland, joining 15 Group RAF Coastal Command. A month later 846 NAS was assigned to HMS Trumpeter (D09), mainly laying mines off Norway until September 1944.
In December a detachment was formed and transferred to HMS Premier (D23) for a few days. The remainder of 846 NAS operated from HMS Trumpeter or RNAS Hatston in Orkney up to May 1945. On May 4, 1945 twelve Avenger and four Wildcat aircraft of the squadron took part in Operation Judgement, Kilbotn, the last air-raid of the war in Europe. The fighter flight was disbanded after the end of hostilities in Europe.
846 NAS was then assigned to the 4th Carrier Group and should deploy to the Far East aboard the fleet carrier HMS Illustrious (87). However, a change of plans led to the squadron becoming a trials unit. It was renumbered 751 NAS and was disbanded at Machrihanish, in September 1945.
846 NAS was reformed in 1962 as a Commando squadron equipped with the Westland Whirlwind HAS7. It was deployed to Borneo aboard the commando carrier HMS Albion (R07) and flew in support of actions against guerrillas during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation. British Army units gave 846 NAS the nickname 'Junglies' in Borneo, which the squadron has kept until today.
After returning for the Far East, 846 NAS was disbanded again, only to be reformed in 1968 at RNAS Culdrose. This time the squadron was equipped with the Westland Wessex HU5. The squadron deployed aboard the dock-landing ship HMS Fearless (L10) and conducted cold weather trials in Norway. In May 1972, the squadron was relocated to RNAS Yeovilton as the Wessex Headquarters and Trials Squadron. In February 1979 the squadron was deployed aboard the commando carrier HMS Bulwark (R08). In December of the same year 846 NAS started to convert to the Westland Sea King HC4.
In April 1982, 846 NAS embarked aboard the carrier HMS Hermes (R12) as part of the Royal Navy task force in the Falklands War. During the war 846 NAS Sea King’s flew over 2800 hours, completed 10,000 individual troop moves and transported more than 81,600 t of freight.
In 1983, detachments were deployed aboard the carriers HMS Hermes and HMS Invincible (R05). At the end of 1983 a detachment was deployed aboard HMS Fearless to the coast of Lebanon for the eventual withdrawal of British Nationals and troops from Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War.
In 1990, 846 NAS took part in the Gulf War. In six weeks the squadron flew a total of 1200 hours in support of Allied ground forces. After the end of hostilities the squadron moved to northern Iraq to assist with humanitarian relief for the Kurds.
In January 1993, 846 NAS was deployed until March aboard the carrier HMS Ark Royal to the Adriatic as part of UN operations in Yugoslavia. Shortly after returning to the UK the squadron was deployed to Northern Ireland to replace 707 NAS to provide support to security forces. It returned to the Balkans to provide air support for Multi-National Division-SW (SFOR), which was then commanded by the British, in Bosnia. This deployment lasted until 2002.
It was planned that 846 NAS would re-equip with ex RAF Merlin HC3 helicopters in 2015, however with 846 NAS currently disbanded, the future of the 846 emblem remains unclear.
- Sherborne School CCF
- King's School, Bruton CCF
- Cardiff URNU
- 1st Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
- "846 NAS at the Fleet Air Arm Archive". Retrieved 2010-02-01.
- "15 April 1998". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) (House of Commons). col. 718.
- "Air Support Changes to MND-SW". nato.int. 18 July 2002.
- "Royal Navy Sea Kings - Flying Over Afghanistan for Two Years". Retrieved 2010-02-01.
- Jane's Defence Weekly 17 August 2011 p. 34