No. 11 Group RAAF

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No. 11 Group RAAF
Active 1945–1946
Country Australia
Branch Royal Australian Air Force
Commanders
Commander Air Commodore Raymond Brownell
Aircraft flown
Fighter Supermarine Spitfire, Curtiss P-40

No. 11 Group was a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) group formed at Morotai in the last weeks of World War II to command the RAAF's garrison units in the region. The group was established at the end of July 1945, but was not yet fully active when the war ended on 14 August. It remained active at Morotai until being disbanded at the end of March 1946.

History[edit]

No. 11 Group was established at Morotai in the Netherlands East Indies on 16 July 1945 to free the Australian First Tactical Air Force from garrison duties after most of its combat elements had moved forward from bases in Morotai and near New Guinea to islands off Borneo to support the Borneo Campaign.[1] No. 11 Group's commanding officer was Air Commodore Raymond Brownell, who had previously been Air Officer Commanding, Western Area.[2][3]

No. 11 Group took over administrative control of all RAAF units on Morotai on 30 July. The group's initial area of responsibility was all Dutch territory north of latitude 7 degrees south and east of longitude 108 degrees east, British North Borneo and Sarawak. The principal RAAF airfields in these areas were at Hollandia, Biak, Middelburg, Morotai, Labuan and Tarakan.[4]

The group had three main responsibilities:[4]

  1. Local air defence duties and sea lane protection
  2. Support of adjacent formations and offensive operations against Japanese targets within range
  3. Line of communication duties
The commanding officer of No. 11 Group serving a drink to an airman at the group headquarters' Christmas dinner

No. 11 Group was to be formed from elements of the RAAF's Northern Command and the First Tactical Air Force. It was planned that the group would initially consist of its headquarters and No. 79, No. 452, No. 457 and No. 120 squadrons, all of which were equipped with fighter aircraft.[4] On 30 July No. 80 Wing's headquarters was absorbed into No. 11 Group, with most of its personnel being transferred into the newly formed group.[5] No. 11 Telecommunications Unit was also formed on 1 August to provide communications services for the group.[6]

The war ended before No. 11 Group was fully formed and assumed its full responsibilities, and its combat operations were limited to small strikes against Japanese positions on Halmahera. No. 79 Squadron attacked Halmahera with its Spitfire fighters on 30 and 31 July. These attacks were followed up by a larger attack on 4 August in which No. 11 Group commanded an attack on Halmahera which involved twelve B-24 Liberator heavy bombers from the United States Thirteenth Air Force and six No. 79 Squadron Spitfires. No. 79 Squadron continued daily operations against Halmahera until the end of the war. No. 11 Group also directed operations conducted by No. 82 Wing on an unofficial basis in the last days of the war.[5]

No. 11 Group celebrated Christmas 1945 with a formal dinner.[7] It was disbanded at Morotai on 31 March 1946.[8]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Ashworth (1999), p. xxiii
  2. ^ Odgers (1968), pp. 477–478.
  3. ^ Edmonds, Leigh (1993 (print edition)). "Brownell, Raymond James (1894 - 1974)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 2009-02-06. 
  4. ^ a b c Odgers (1968), p. 478.
  5. ^ a b Odgers (1968), pp. 478–479.
  6. ^ Hall (1978), p. 160
  7. ^ "The Amenities at Morotai". The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879-1954) (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 24 January 1946. p. 9. Retrieved 31 December 2010. 
  8. ^ Australian War Memorial (1995), p. 32.

References[edit]