No. 198 Squadron RAF
|No. 198 Squadron RAF|
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
No. 198 Squadron was a Royal Air Force aircraft squadron that operated during the Second World War particularly in the ground attack role as the allies advanced through continental Europe.
No. 198 Squadron was formed at Rochford on 1 June 1917 with Avro 504K biplanes to teach pilots elementary night flying and later a comprehensive night flying course for home defence pilot. It disbanded at Rochford in September 1919.
The squadron reformed at Digby as a fighter squadron equipped with the Hawker Typhoon on 8 December 1942. From March 1943 198 Squadron joined 609 Squadron at Manston where it provided fighter-escorts to the twin-engined Westland Whirlwind fighter bomber on sorties into continental Europe. Over the next nine months 198 Squadron and 609 Squadron were the only Typhoon units to operate full-time on escort duties for RAF and USAAF bombers and long-range fighter sweeps (code-named "Ramrods") over France, Belgium and the Netherlands; during these operations the squadron used long-range Typhoons each equipped with a cigar-shaped 45 gallon fuel tank mounted below each wing. In these roles the unit was very successful, becoming one of the top scoring Typhoon units.
During this time most of the other Typhoon units began to be equipped with bomb racks or rocket rails and had started training to carry out ground attack operations in preparation for the cross-channel invasion.
After building up a score of enemy aircraft destroyed the squadron changed role to ground attack at the beginning of 1944, when the Typhoons were fitted with RP-3 rockets. In January 1944 the squadron became part of the Second Tactical Air Force's 123 Airfield (later known as 123 Wing), partnered with 609 Squadron. Initially 123 Airfield was commanded by New Zealander Wing Commander Desmond J. Scott.
The squadron lost several of its pilots during this re-organisation to bring them into line with 2nd TAF's established strength requirements, and the ground crew echelon was completely changed. Morale slumped for a short while, but soon picked up as the squadron became familiarised with its new role. In March 1944 Scott was replaced by Wg Cdr R. E. P Brooker and 123 Wing moved to an Armament Practice Camp (APC) at Llanbedr in Wales before moving in April to RAF Thorney Island in preparation for D-Day. After the landings the squadron was heavily involved in fighting around Caen using the rocket equipped Typhoons against tanks and enemy positions. In July it moved to France and followed the advancing troops into the Netherlands and eventually moving to Wunstorf in Germany in May 1945. On 15 September 1945 the squadron was disbanded.(it is now an aircadets squadron 198 Hinkley squadron)
The RAF's top scoring Typhoon pilot was 198 Squadron's John Robert Baldwin, who claimed 15 aircraft shot down during 1942–44. Baldwin became C/O of the squadron in November 1943 and relinquished command in April 1944. He continued his association with 198 Squadron and ended the war as a Group Captain commanding 84 (Typhoon) Group.
|1942–1943||Hawker Typhoon||IA||Original 12 x .303 armed Typhoon variant. A few were used to train pilots.|
|1942–1944||Hawker Typhoon||IB||Main production variant. Armed with 4 20mm cannon. Squadron used aircraft equipped with RP-3 rockets from early 1944.|
Aircraft and Pilot Losses
|Dates||Aircraft lost||Pilots killed||Unit roles - notable events|
|16 February 1943 - 31 December 1943||25||9||Training and squadron work-up. Fighter interception missions over English coast and long-range fighter sweeps and bomber escort missions over France|
|1 January 1944 - 5 June 1944||12||10||Became part of 123 Airfield, 2 TAF. Start of ground attack operations. Attacks on V-1 launch sites, coastal Radar installations.|
|6 June 1944 - 31 December 1944||27||20||123 Airfield operating during D-Day and Operation Overlord. Intensive ground attack sorties in support of ground troops: Caen breakout and Falaise pocket.|
|1 January 1945 - 8 May 1945||16||4||Bodenplatte to V-E Day|
|9 May 1945 - 15 September 1945||1||-||Squadron officially disbanded 15 September.|
|16 February 1943- 15 September 1945||Total: 81||Total: 43||Information from "The Typhoon and Tempest Story" |
Commanding Officers 1942 to 1945
|Name||Awards||Period in Command||Notes|
|S/Ldr J. W. Villa||DFC,||Dec 1942 - May 1943.|
|S/Ldr J. Manak||DFC||May 1943 - Aug 1943.||Shot down by flak, ditched aircraft west of Knocke, became POW, 28 August 1943.|
|S/Ldr C C F Cooper||Aug 1943 - Oct 1943||Shot down by flak, baled out near Klundert, became POW, 4 October 1943.|
|S/Ldr J. M. Bryan||DFC||Aug 1943 - Nov 1943.|
|S/Ldr J. R. Baldwin||DSO, DFC||Nov 1943 - Apr 1944.||Top scoring Typhoon pilot. Moved from 609 Squadron to command 198. Went on to become Group Captain 84 Group. MIA Korean War .|
|S/Ldr J. M. Bryan||DFC||Apr 1944 - May 1944.||Went on to become Wing Commander, C/O 136 Wing. Shot down by flak : KIA 10 June 1944.|
|S/Ldr J. Niblett||DFC||May 1944 - June 1944.||Shot down by flak attacking radar site near Dieppe: KIA 2 June 1944.|
|S/Ldr I. J. Davies||DFC||June 1944.||Shot down by flak engaging ground target near Cherbourg: KIA 22 June 1944.|
|S/Ldr Y. P. E. H. Ezanno||Croix de Guerre||June 1944 - Oct 1944.||Free French. Tour ended 22 October 1944.|
|S/Ldr A. W. Ridler||Oct 1944 - Dec 1944.|
|S/Ldr N. J. Durrant||DFC||Dec 1944 - Sept 1945.|
123 Wing Commanding Officers
- W/Co D J Scott DSO, DFC and bar, Jan 1944 - Mar 1944
- W/Co R. E. P. Brooker DFC, Mar 1944 - July 1944.
- W/Co W. Dring DSO, DFC, July 1944 - Jan 1945.
- W/Co J. C. Button DFC, Jan 1945 - Sept 1947
84 Group Commanding Officers
- G/C D. J. Scott DSO,OBE, DFC and bar, Mar 1944 - Feb 1945.
- G/C J. R. Baldwin DSO, DFC, Feb 1945 - Dec 194
- Note: These combined units of two or more squadrons were to be designated "Airfields" rather than "Wings" for several months.
- Shores and Thomas 2004, p.77
- Note: The APC at Llanbedr (called 13 APC) was one of several which had been set up throughout the UK to provide training for all 2nd TAF units.
- Thomas and Shores 1988, pp.195-212.
- Note: Information from 198 Squadron website.
- Thomas and Shores 1988, p.199.
- Shores and Thomas 2004, pp. 150,154.
- Shores and Thomas 2004, pp.116, 118.
- Shores and Thomas 2004, pp. 174-175
- Shores and Thomas 2005, p. 330
- Jefford, C.G. (1988). RAF Squadrons. Airlife Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
- The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985). Orbis Publishing.
- Shores, Christopher and Thomas, Chris. Second Tactical Air Force Volume One. Spartan to Normandy, June 1943 to June 1944. Hersham, Surrey, UK: Ian Allan Publishing Ltd, 2004. ISBN 1-903223-40-7
- Shores, Christopher and Thomas, Chris. Second Tactical Air Force Volume Two. Breakout to Bodenplatte July 1944 to January 1945. Hersham, Surrey, UK: Ian Allan Publishing Ltd, 2005. ISBN 1-903223-41-5
- Thomas, Chris and Shores, Christopher. The Typhoon and Tempest Story. London: Arms and Armour Press, 1988. ISBN 0-85368-878-8.
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