No. 211 Group RAF

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No. 211 Group RAF
TR 000978 kittyhawk.jpg
A Kittyhawk of No. 112 Squadron, (No. 239 Wing) 211 Group at Medenine, Tunisia in 1943.
Active 10 December 1941-3 February 1942
Country United Kingdom
Branch RAF
Disbanded 3 February 1942
Further information: Desert Air Force
Spitfires of No. 244 Wing in early 1943.

No 211 Group or No. 211 (Medium Bomber) Group was a Group of the Royal Air Force (RAF) formed on 10 December 1941 by renaming Nucleus Group Western Desert. The group was officially disbanded from 3 February 1942 to 12 March 1943, although some references refer to some of its original squadrons during this period as being with 211 Group. On 12 March 1943, the group reformed as No. 211 (Offensive Fighter) Group and Air Commodore Richard Atcherley assumed command of the group on 11 April 1943.[1] At this time, 211 Group was the principle fighter force of the Desert Air Force (DAF) commanded by Air Vice Marshal Harry Broadhurst, and DAF was a sub-command of Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham's Northwest African Tactical Air Force (NATAF).[2]

The group included many units from the South African Air Force (SAAF), as well as several from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), with one each from the Hellenic Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force. Many personnel from other British Commonwealth air forces also served in RAF, SAAF, RAAF and RCAF units, under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and related arrangements.

Throughout the North African Campaign, the medium bomber and fighter squadrons of Air Headquarters Western Desert, also known at various times of the campaign as Air Headquarters Libya, Western Desert Air Force, or DAF, were primarily assigned to either 211 Group or No. 212 (Fighter Control) Group (later No. 212 (Fighter) Group).

Order of battle 1942 and 1943[edit]

Group assignments for squadrons during the campaigns in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia are for the period from July 1942 to 10 July 1943 when the Allies invaded Sicily (Operation Husky).[3][4]

Squadrons of Nos. 211 & 212 Groups
July 1942 – July 1943
No. 212 Group
July 1942
Nos. 211 & 212 Groups
27 October 1942
No. 211 Group
10 July 1943
No.233 Wing RAF/No.7 Wing SAAF No. 233 Wing [211 Group]
  • No. 2 Squadron SAAF (16 x Kittyhawks I, II & III)
  • No. 4 Squadron SAAF (16 x Kittyhawks I, II & III)
  • No. 5 Squadron SAAF (16 x Tomahawks)
  • No. 260 Squadron RAF (16 x Kittyhawks I & IIb)
No. 7 Wing SAAF
  • No. 2 Squadron SAAF, Spitfire
  • No. 4 Squadron SAAF, Spitfire
  • No. 5 Squadron SAAF, Kittyhawk
See No. 239 Wing
No. 7 Wing SAAF No. 7 Wing SAAF [No. 212 Group]

No. 80 Squadron SAAF (16 x Hurricane IIc)
No. 127 Squadron SAAF (16 x Hurricane IIb)
No. 274 Squadron SAAF (16 x Hurricane IIb)
No. 335 (Greek) Squadron (16 x Hurricane IIb)

No. 239 Wing RAF

No. 3 Squadron RAAF (Kittyhawk)
No. 112 Squadron RAF (Kittyhawk)
No. 250 Squadron RAF (Kittyhawk)
-
No. 450 Squadron RAAF (Kittyhawk)

No. 239 Wing [211 Group]

-
No. 112 Squadron RAF (16 x Kittyhawk IA)
No. 250 Squadron RAF (16 x Kittyhawk IIA)
No. 260 Squadron RAF (16 x Tomahawks)
66th Fighter Squadron (USAAF) (18 x P-40F Warhawks)

No. 239 Wing RAF

No. 3 Squadron RAAF, Kittyhawk
No. 112 Squadron RAF, Kittyhawk
No. 250 Squadron RAF, Kittyhawk
No. 260 Squadron RAF, Kittyhawk
No. 450 Squadron RAAF, Kittyhawk

No. 244 Wing RAF No. 244 Wing RAF [211 Group]
  • No. 73 Squadron RAF (16 x Tomahawks IIb)
  • No. 92 Squadron RAF (16 x Spitfires Vc)
  • No. 145 Squadron RAF (16x Spitfires Vb)
  • No. 601 Squadron RAF (16x Spitfires Vb)
No. 244 Wing

No. 1 Squadron SAAF, Spitfire
No. 92 Squadron RAF, Spitfire
No. 145 Squadron RAF, Spitfire
No. 417 Squadron RCAF, Spitfire
No. 601 Squadron RAF, Spitfire

No. 243 Wing RAF No.243 Wing RAF [No. 212 Group]
  • No.1 Squadron SAAF (16 x Hurricane IIc)
  • No. 33 Squadron RAF (16 x Hurricane IIc)
  • No. 213 Squadron RAF (16 x Hurricane IIb)
  • No. 238 Squadron RAF (16 x Hurricane IIb)
No. 322 Wing RAF
Colin Falkland Gray (RNZAF)
Other Other Squadrons: No. 324 Wing RAF

No. 43 Squadron RAF, Spitfire
No. 72 Squadron RAF
No. 93 Squadron RAF, Spitfire
No. 111 Squadron RAF, Spitfire
No. 243 Squadron RAF, Spitfire
-

Other Units: No. 212 Group was assigned to:
Air H.Q. Air Defences Eastern Mediterranean
and 211 Group was assigned to:
Air H.Q. Western Desert in February 1943.
Other:
Notes

SAAF – South African Air Force, RAAF – Royal Australian Air Force, RCAF – Royal Canadian Air Force; RNZAF -Royal New Zealand Air Force; PRU- Photographic Reconnaissance Unit; Sqns=Squadrons.

^The 57th Fighter Group USAAF [5] had the 64th, 65th, and 66th; and the 79th Fighter Group USAAF had the 85th, 86th, and 87th Fighter Squadrons. For Operation Husky, the 57th and 79th Groups, No. 239 Wing, and some other units, made up the Rear Headquarters of DAF in Tripoli, Libya while the rest of 211 Group (Nos 244, 322, & 324 Wings) made up the Advanced Headquarters of DAF on the island of Malta.

Operations[edit]

March/April 1942, Landing Ground 121, Egypt. Lieutenant Robin Pare (left), Major John "Jack" Frost (centre) and Captain Andrew Duncan (right) of No. 5 Squadron SAAF, Desert Air Force. All three had been killed or were missing in action by the end of June. Frost, the squadron commander, was the highest scoring ace in an SAAF unit during World War II.

Spitfires of No. 92 Squadron RAF and P-40F Warhawks of the 64th Fighter Squadron USAAF flew top cover for the P-40F Warhawks of the 65th and 66th Fighter Squadron and 314th Fighter Squadron (attached from the 324th Fighter Group), during the Palm Sunday Massacre of 18 April 1943. The three USAAF Warhawk Squadrons destroyed approximately 70 Axis aircraft that day.[6]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.rafweb.org/Grp07.htm
  2. ^ Army Air Forces Historical Office Headquarters, Participation of the Ninth & Twelfth Air Forces in the Sicilian Campaign, Army Air Forces Historical Study No. 37, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, 1945.
  3. ^ Craven, Wesley F. and James L. Cate. The Army Air Forces in World War II, Volume 2, Chicago, Illinois: Chicago University Press, 1949 (Reprinted 1983, ISBN 0-912799-03-X).
  4. ^ Richards, D. and H. Saunders, The Royal Air Force 1939–1945 (Volume 2, HMSO, 1953).
  5. ^ http://www.warwingsart.com/12thAirForce/orman.html
  6. ^ http://www.warwingsart.com/12thAirForce/blakeley.html

References[edit]

  • Craven, Wesley F. and James L. Cate. The Army Air Forces in World War II, Volume 2, Chicago, Illinois: Chicago University Press, 1949 (Reprinted 1983, ISBN 0-912799-03-X).
  • Richards, D. and H. Saunders, The Royal Air Force 1939–1945 (Volume 2, HMSO, 1953).
  • Howe, George F., Northwest Africa: Seizing the Initiative in the West, Center of Military History, Washington, DC., 1991.
  • Army Air Forces Historical Office Headquarters, Participation of the Ninth & Twelfth Air Forces in the Sicilian Campaign, Army Air Forces Historical Study No. 37, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, 1945.
  • Air of Authority – a history of RAF organization.