No. 312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron RAF

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No. 312 Squadron RAF
RAF312Sq.gif
Badge of № 312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron RAF
Active 29 August 1940 – 15 February 1946
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Allegiance Czech Republic Czechoslovakia
Branch Air Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg RAF Fighter Command
Role Fighter Squadron
Motto(s) Latin: Non Multi Sed Multa
("Not many, but much")
Engagements Normandy landings
Dieppe Raid
Insignia
Squadron Badge A stork volant
Squadron Codes DU (August 1940 – February 1946)
Armourers preparing belts of .303-inch ammunition for Hawker Hurricane Mk I DU-J

No. 312 Squadron RAF was a Czechoslovak-manned fighter squadron of the Royal Air Force in the Second World War.

History[edit]

It was formed at Duxford in July 1940, equipped with Hawker Hurricane Mk I fighters and crewed mostly by escaped Czechoslovak pilots. Its first victory was on 8 October 1940, when its Yellow Flight (Denys Gillam, Alois Vašátko and Josef Stehlík) shot down a Junkers Ju 88 medium bomber over Liverpool.[1]

On 3 March 1941 the squadron moved to RAF Valley and began flying convoy patrols over the Irish Sea.[2] In April and early May, 1941, the squadron was briefly stationed at RAF Jurby, Isle of Man. No. 312 Squadron was re-equipped with the Hurricane Mk II in May 1941, then with the Supermarine Spitfire Mk IIA in October and again with the Spitfire Mk VB/C in December.[3]

The squadron operated from the west of England in 1942, mainly on coastal patrols and shipping reconnaissance flights. It provided air cover for the Operation Jubilee raid on Dieppe in 1942. During the raid Miroslav Liškutín shot down a Dornier Do 217 bomber[4] and 312 Squadron lost one of its own aircraft.[citation needed]

In September 1943 the squadron joined the 2nd Tactical Air Force as a fighter-bomber unit. The squadron operated over France softening up targets in preparation for the invasion and then supporting the landings.[5]

In January 1944 the squadron was re-equipped with the Spitfire Mk IX.[3] In March it moved to RAF Appledram near Chichester, West Sussex. From here its operations included intercepting V-1 flying bombs, escorting bombers and attacking rail and road targets in German-occupied Europe.[4]

A Spitfire Mk IX that served with 312 Squadron

In July 1944 the squadron moved to RAF Coltishall and operated daytime bomber escort flight over continental Europe.[5] However, early in August its duties were switched to the Air Defence of Great Britain (ADGB), for which it was moved back to West Sussex, this time to RAF Tangmere. A little later the squadron was moved again, to RAF Lympne.[4]

In August 1945 at the end of the war the squadron moved to Prague. On 15 February 1946 it officially disbanded as an RAF squadron and became a squadron of the new Czechoslovak Air Force.[3]

Seven Spitfire F Mk IXs survive today that flew with the squadron in 1944–45. This is by far the largest number of surviving aircraft associated with a single squadron.

Notable members[edit]

Aircraft operated[edit]

[11][12][13]

From To Aircraft Variant Notes
August 1940
May 1941
May 1941
December 1941
Hawker Hurricane I
IIb
single-engined monoplane piston-engined fighter
October 1941
November 1941
December 1941
August 1942
September 1943
January 1944
June 1944
December 1941
January 1942
February 1944
June 1943
February 1944
June 1944
February 1946
Supermarine Spitfire IIa
IIb
Vb
Vc
Vc
LF.IXb
HF.IX
single-engine monoplane piston-engined fighter

Aircraft of this squadron used a unit code letters DU.

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "08/10/1940 - Junkers Ju88 Wk No 4068". Speke. South Lancs Aviation. 
  2. ^ "Station History". RAF Valley. Ministry of Defence. 
  3. ^ a b c Jackson 2003, p. 89.
  4. ^ a b c d "Miroslav Liskutin – RAF's Czech fighter pilot". Chichester Observer. Johnston Press. 7 July 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Orbis 1985, page 4092
  6. ^ "Žijí už jen dva. Letec RAF Liškutín oslavil 97. narozeniny". iDNES (in Czech). 28 August 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2017. 
  7. ^ "Otto Smik". Free Czechoslovak Air Force. 19 August 2010. Retrieved 12 November 2017. 
  8. ^ "Czech wartime RAF fighter pilot Standera dies aged 95". Czech News Agency. 20 February 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2014. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Czech pilot who fought for UK, France dies at 95". Associated Press. 2 February 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2014. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Stehlík, Josef" (in Czech). Valka. Retrieved 12 November 2017. 
  11. ^ Rawlings 1978, p. 398
  12. ^ Halley 1988, p. 363
  13. ^ Jefford 2001, p. 87

Bibliography[edit]

  • Halley, James J (1988). The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth, 1918–1988. Tonbridge: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. ISBN 0-85130-164-9. 
  • Hurt, Zdeněk (2004). In Focus: Czechs in the RAF. Walton-on-Thames: Red Kite. ISBN 0-9538061-9-7. 
  • Jackson, Robert (2003). Spitfire The History of Britain's Most Famous World War II Fighter. Bath: Parragon. p. 89. ISBN 0-75258-770-6. 
  • Jefford, Wg Cdr CG (2001) [1998]. RAF Squadrons, A Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912 (second ed.). Shrewsbury: Airlife Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84037-141-3. 
  • Liškutín, Miroslav A (1988). Challenge in the Air: a Spitfire pilot remembers. London: William Kimber. ISBN 0718306910. 
  • Polak, Tomas; Rajlich, Jiří; Vancata, Pavel (2008). No. 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron, 1940–45: Hurricane, Spitfire. France: www.RAF-in-Combat.com. ISBN 2-9526381-1-X. 
  • Rawlings, John DR (1976) [1969]. Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft (new ed.). London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd. ISBN 0-354-01028-X. 
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982–1985). Orbis Publishing. 1985. 

External links[edit]