Post by Dave Homewood on Jun 17, 2017 20:48:03 GMT 12
I seem to recall that almost all the groundcrew of No. 73 Squadron RAF (Cobber Kain's squadron), plus most of the squadron's records, were lost in this disaster.
It pales in comparison however to a later troopship sinking where the German vessel Wilhelm Gustloff was torpedoed by a Russian submarine and an estimated 9,400 German troops were killed. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Wilhelm_Gustloff
Over 240 RAF personnel died at the scene including 40 from 73 Squadron and 90 from 98 Squadron. They had been evacuated from airfields at nearby Nantes. The squadron aircraft had already been ferried back to England. Cobber Kain had died 10 days earlier when he crashed during an impromptu aerobatic display.
18 June 1940 In the speech delivered by Winston Churchill to the House of Commons was his prophetic phrase: “What General Weygand has called the Battle of France is over ... the Battle of Britain is about to begin.” and concluded with his inspirational: ”Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say - “ This was their finest hour. “
19 June 1942 US Vice Admiral Ghormley assumed command of the South Pacific Area at Auckland, New Zealand.
Japanese Vice Admiral Shigeyoshi Inoue inspected prospective sites for airfield construction on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands.
19 June 1944 During the first day of the Battle of the Philippine Sea, US carrier aircraft won a decisive victory over their Japanese counterparts in the Mariana Islands,in what became known as “The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot” Between the IJN attacks on the American fleet and the US raids on the islands of Guam and Rota, 429 Japanese planes were shot down. On the day that the largest carrier-to-carrier battle in history commenced, the IJN fleet carriers Shokaku and Taiho were sunk and Japan lost the bulk of its naval air strength which would never be recovered.
20 June 1940 German battlecruiser Gneisenau and heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper departed Trondheim, Norway for operations near Iceland, as a diversion to allow battleship Scharnhorst to sail for Kiel and complete repairs. British submarine HMS Clyde detected Gneisenau while in transit and damaged her with a torpedo that forced her return to Trondheim.
20 June 1944 On the second day of the Battle of Philippine Sea, IJN carrier Hiyo and two tankers were sunk and carriers Zuikaku, Chiyoda and Junyo damaged.
22 June 1940 At Compiegne, France, French General Huntzinger and German General Keitel signed the armistice to end the invasion of France. Charles de Gaulle broadcast a speech from London on the BBC, in which he used the term Free French for the first time, while declaring himself the French leader in exile. During the previous night Flight Lieutenant Hal Bufton and wireless operator Corporal Mackie discovered the presence of German Knickebein radio navigation beams intersecting over the Rolls-Royce factory at Derby.
22 June 1941 Germany launched Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of Russia, which was the largest military operation in history. In support, German aircraft destroyed 2,000 Soviet aircraft, many on the ground, allowing the Germans to gain air superiority across the entire front.
22 June 1944 Soviet forces launched Operation Bagration, a major offensive against German forces in Byelorussia, with 1.2 million men, 31,000 heavy guns, 5,200 tanks, and 6,000 aircraft.
22 June 1945 The Americans secured Okinawa, Japan. Three months of savage fighting had cost the Japanese 129,700 military and 42,000 civilian dead. Just over 10,000 were taken prisoner. The Japanese had also lost 7,800 aircraft and six capital ships. The Americans had lost 12,520 dead, 36,600 wounded, 763 aircraft destroyed and 40 warships sunk.
At 22 June 1941 the Soviet Air Force held the numerical advantage with a total of approximately 19,533 aircraft, which made it the largest air force in the world. About 7,133–9,100 of these were deployed in the five western military districts. An additional 1445 were under Naval control.
The Luftwaffe reportedly destroyed 1,489 aircraft on the first day of the invasion and over 3,100 during the first three days. Hermann Göring distrusted the reports and ordered the figure checked. Luftwaffe staff surveyed the wreckage on Soviet airfields and their original figure proved conservative, as over 2,000 Soviet aircraft were estimated to have been destroyed on the first day. In reality Soviet losses were likely higher; a Soviet archival document recorded the loss of 3,922 Soviet aircraft in the first three days against an estimated loss of 78 German aircraft. The Luftwaffe reported the loss of only 35 aircraft on the first day of combat. A document from the German Federal Archives puts the Luftwaffe's loss at 63 aircraft for the first day.
During the 5 months of Operation Barbarossa 21,200 Soviet aircraft were lost.
23 June 1940 Adolf Hitler arrived in Paris and did some sightseeing early in the morning. This would be his only visit to the city.
23 June 1941 Adolf Hitler arrived for the first time at his new secret Wolfsschanze (The Wolf's Lair) headquarters, which had been constructed in the Masurian woods near Rastenburg, Germany (now Ketrzyn, Poland)
23 June 1942 Axis forces crossed the Libyan-Egyptian border and marched toward the Allied defensive positions at Mersa Matruh 100 miles to the east, engaging units of the British 7th Armoured Division en route at Sollum.
23 June 1944 Corporal Sefanaia Sukanaivalu became the only Fijian to win the Victoria Cross during the fighting on Bougainville in the Solomon Islands. After rescuing two wounded comrades he was hit in the groin whilst attempting to rescue a third. Unable to move and knowing that his comrades would not leave him whilst he remained alive, Sukanaivalu selflessly raised himself in full view of the enemy, and died in a hail of bullets.
Wow, those Barbarossa figures are staggering! That must have been devastating to the Russian morale. Thanks for digging out the stats Ron.
I think the fact that the Luftwaffe did not achieve air superiority over the RAF in 1940 during the Battle of Britain (BoB), may have been a contributing factor to the all out destruction of the Russian Air Forces on the first day. The Luftwaffe had during the BoB gone for the RAF airfields to deny the RAF airstrips but didn't destroy the aircraft, either by ground attack or aerial attrition, though that was close thing anyway. With the RAF Fighters still a force to be reckoned with, come the time of the proposed invasion of Britain, the German army and navy could not count on being protected during the channel crossing, from the RAF (who still also has a reasonable bomber force). Different story for the Russians come 1941, where an all out attack catching all those aircraft on the ground, and those that made it into the air didn't survive long to make a huge difference.
Also fact that Britain was EXPECTING and AWAITING the German air campaign, whereas Stalin had a peace pact with Hitler and believed he was his FRIEND and that there was NO POSSIBILITY that his FRIEND would attack him, even though all his intelligence sources highlighted the German build up and much other suspicious activity all along the huge frontier. As to the perceived importance of the RAF in countering a German invasion of the British isles, it is fairly obvious that Hitler (and Goering) considered it necessary to knock out Fighter Command in the first instance. As to protecting his own invasion forces I don't know exactly how seriously Hitler took the threat from Bomber Command (no doubt advised by his air marshal), but my gut feeling is that his greatest dread might have been the vision of his packed invasion barges being overrun and obliterated by the bulk of the heavy ships of the Royal Navy, a force which the Kriegsmarine was unlikely to approach head on, and which the Luftwaffe may have found a bit of a handful to engage, with only the dive bombers likely to be of much use against. Luftwaffe torpedo bombers were mighty scare at the time, and the U-boat fleet was still relatively small at this early stage, but would have been able to ambush some heavy ships as the approach of British naval units would be easy to detect in fair weather. Just my ten cents worth, having never read any of the books on the planned invasion and the known risks. David D
24 June 1942 Australian 39th Battalion and the British colonial Papua Infantry Battalion were deployed to defend the Kokoda Track (Trail), a rough jungle path that linked the northeastern coast of New Guinea with Port Moresby. On the same day, other Australian units departed from Port Moresby aboard Dutch ships Karsik and Bontekoe to construct new airfields on the coast of Milne Bay to the east.
24 June 1944 British and Indian troops under command of Lieutenant General Geoffrey Scoones broke the siege of Imphal. But they failed to pursue the weakened Japanese force retreating from northeastern India, thinking that the they might be planning a counterattack from Tamu and Bishenpur.
RAF 617 Squadron attacked the 20-foot thick concrete dome containing V-2 rockets at Wizernes, France with "Tallboy" bombs.
25 June 1900 Louis Battenburg (later Mountbatten) was born in Windsor Castle.
25 June 1940 After the French surrender was signed at Compiègne, Adolf Hitler ordered the site destroyed, including the rail car which had also been used for Germany's surrender in 1918.
25 June 1942 Admiral Ernest King ordered the preparation for an offensive in the lower Solomons; Santa Cruz, Tulagi, and other nearby islands, to be undertaken by US Marines. To that end, US PBY Catalina aircraft bombed Tulagi. The US Army also began to form a garrison for the occupation of these islands. The planned launch date of the offensive was set for 1 Aug 1942.
25 June 1943 As part of the preparation for Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily, some 130 US B-17 bombers from the Northwest African Tactical Air Force dropped over 300 tons of bombs on Messina.
Post by Dave Homewood on Jun 26, 2017 23:02:25 GMT 12
Are you sure about that Packard Merlin fact? The Mustang prototype did not even fly till 26th of October 1940, and it had an Allison, as did the early production airframes. Merlin engined P-51B's did not start production till 1943.
Was Packard building them for other British aircraft?
I would tend to agree with Dave H, that American Merlin production was intended to supply Allied needs generally, and not any specific aircraft type. The original Mustang was designed around the Allison V-1710 of course. American Merlins ended up in some Barracudas, Canadian-built Hurricanes and Sea Hurricanes, Australian and Canadian-built Mosquitos, a good number of British-built Lancasters (Mk. IIIs) and Spitfires (Mk. XVIs), and perhaps a few others (including Australian-built Mustangs), also quite a number of P-40s (F and L models, all with single-stage engines) as well as most P-51s from B model onwards. Off the top of my head, Packard built about a third of all the Merlins produced, in a single factory. British Merlins were built in about three factories (Crewe, Derby and Dagenam, latter by Ford UK), plus a small number were built in Australia towards the end of the war, all went into GAF Lincolns I believe. David D
I agree it doesn't read too well. Maybe this version is more accurate: "The Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan received the licence from Rolls-Royce to build Merlin engines, later models of which were used in the P-51 Mustang fighter"
Although the licence was issued in June 1940 it took over a year to standardise drawings, threads and production methods. The first American built version was the Packard Merlin 28 (Mark XX), designated the V-1650-1 by the US military. First produced in August 1941 it was used in P40-F and Canadian-built Hurricanes amongst others. The Merlin 61 was later produced by Packard as the V-1650-3 and powered the P-51B (Mustang III) entering service in 1943.
27 June 1917 A Sopwith Camel single-seat biplane fighter of No.70 Sqn RFC scored the type's first victory over the Western Front in WW1.
27 June 1940 Despite Admiral Darlan's previous assurances that French ships would not fall into German hands, the British War Cabinet ordered the Royal Navy to seize or destroy all French warships in British and North African ports.
27 June 1942 Before sundown, German 21st Panzer Division surrounded New Zealand 2nd Infantry Division at Minqar Qaim, Egypt. The New Zealand troops would be able to break out of the envelopment after dark with a bayonet charge.
27 June 1943 The dams in the Ruhr region of Germany, damaged by the 17 May 1943 British raid, returned to full capacity.
27 June 1944 In France US troops captured Cherbourg while British forces took Hill 112 near Caen. Elsewhere in France, the British 3rd Infantry Division and tanks launched Operation Mitten to seize two German occupied chateaux, la Londe and la Landel. The evening assault was repulsed.
27 June 2017 The goodies won the Battle of Bermuda.
27 June 1917 A Sopwith Camel single-seat biplane fighter of No.70 Sqn RFC scored the type's first victory over the Western Front in WW1.
Correct only in respect of the RFC. The RNAS were first to put the Camel into action, scoring their first victory with it on 4 June 17.
The RFC's first victory, incidentally, was scored by none other than New Zealander Clive Collett while serving with 70 Sqn.
Author: Swift to the Sky – New Zealand’s Military Aviation History Author/publisher: For Your Tomorrow - A record of New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Services since 1915 & A Passion For Flight - New Zealand aviation before the Great War. Publisher of Gp Capt C M Hanson’s By Such Deeds - Honours and Awards in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, 1923-1999