Northwest African Coastal Air Force

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The Northwest African Coastal Air Force (NACAF) was a specialized functionai command of the combined Northwest African Air Forces. The Mediterranean Air Command (MAC) oversaw the combined air forces until supereded by the MAAF.

The NACAF had responsibility for air defense of North Africa, sea/air reconnaissance, antisubmarine air operations, air protection of Allied shipping, and air interdiction of enemy shipping. The components of NACAF at the time of the Allied invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky) on July 10, 1943 are illustrated below.[1][2]

Northwest African Coastal Air Force
Air Vice-Marshal Sir Hugh Lloyd
Order of Battle, July 10, 1943

^No. 242 Group

Air Commodore Kenneth Cross

British Units American Units
No. 323 Wing

No. 73 Squadron, Spitfire
No. 255 Squadron, Beaufighter
No. II/5 Escadre (French), P-40
No. II/7 Escadre (French), Spitfire
Air Sea Rescue Units:
No. 283 Squadron, Walrus
No. 284 Squadron, Walrus

RAF Units

No. 13 Squadron, Blenheim
No. 614 Squadron, Blenheim
No. 36 Squadron, Wellington
No. 253 Squadron, Hurricane
No. 274 Squadron Hurricane
No. 313 Squadron, Hurricane
No. 500 Squadron, Hudson
No. 608 Squadron, Hudson
Flight No. 1575, Halifax, Ventura

52nd Fighter Group
Lieutenant Colonel James Coward

2nd Squadron, Spitfire
4th Squadron, Spitfire
5th Squadron, Spitfire

414th Night Fighter Squadron, Beaufighter
Major Arden Cowgill
415th Night Fighter Squadron, Beaufighter
Captain Gordon Timmons

No. 328 Wing

No. 14 Squadron, B-26 Marauder
No. 39 Squadron, Beaufort
No. 47 Squadron, Beaufort
No. 144 Squadron, Beaufighter
No. 52 Squadron Baltimore
No. 221 Squadron (Det.), Wellington
No. 458 Squadron (RAAF), Wellington

Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Units
Torpedo Spotter Reconnaissance

No. 813 Squadron (Det.), Swordfish
No. 820 Squadron, Albacore c
No. 821 Squadron, Albacore n
No. 826 Squadron, Albacore r
No. 828 Squadron, Albacore r

81st Fighter Group
Lieutenant Colonel Michael Gordon

Oran, Algeria Sector:
92nd Squadron, P-39 Airacobra
1st Air Defense Wing:
91st Squadron, P-39 Airacobra
93rd Squadron, P-39 Airacobra

Information in table taken from:

1) Participation of the Ninth &
Twelfth Air Forces in the Sicilian
Campaign, Army Air Forces Historical
Study No. 37, Army Air Forces
Historical Office Headquarters,
Maxwell AFB, Alabama, 1945.

Bone, Algeria Sector:

No. 32 Squadron, Hurricane
No. 87 Squadron, Hurricane
No. 219 Squadron, Beaufighter

350th Fighter Group
Lieutenant Colonel Marvin McNickle

345th Squadron, P-39 Airacobra
346th Squadron, P-39 Airacobra
347th Squadron, P-39 Airacobra

2) Maurer, Maurer, Air Force

Combat Units Of World War II,
Office of Air Force History,
Maxwell AFB, Alabama, 1983.

2nd Air Defense Wing:

No. 153 Squadron, Beaufighter

480th Antisubmarine Group
Colonel Jack Roberts

1st Squadron, B-24 Liberator
2nd Squadron, B-24 Liberator

^No. 242 Group was originally a part of the Northwest African Tactical Air Force (NATAF) but later transferred to NACAF.
The 1st and 2nd Antisubmarine Squadrons were assigned to NACAF for administration and placed under the operational control of United States Navy Fleet Air Wing 15 of the Moroccan Sea Frontier commanded by Rear Admiral Frank J. Lowry.
No. 144 Squadron was attached from the United Kingdom.
Air Ministry was asked to provide two additional Wellington squadrons.
An Africa-based RAF Hudson of No. 608 Squadron was the first aircraft to sink a U-boat using rockets.


  1. ^ 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).
  2. ^ 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.