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Combat Reports from 159 and 160 Squadrons

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9 years 6 months ago #1074 by phasselgren
phasselgren replied the topic: Combat Reports from 159 and 160 Squadrons
Hi,
I have been trying to make a list of all air-to-air claims made by 159 and 160 Squadrons during 1942. Unfortunately the Operational Record Books are messy and have conflicting information when I compare Forms 540 and 541.

Is there anyone that have seen any Combat Reports from these units? According to what I have read on other Forums these are often found in the Squadron ORB Appendices for units in the Medeiterranean area. Sofar I have no access to the Appendices for these two units.

Thanks in advance,
Peter

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9 years 5 months ago #1087 by Matt_Poole
Matt_Poole replied the topic: Combat Reports from 159 and 160 Squadrons
Peter,

I think you're out of luck, as the 159 & 160 records are so hit or miss in 1942. The June and July records for 159, for example, are missing altogether. I've never seen combat reports of the kind you hoped to find. Robert Quirk's website has transcribed 1942 records for both units, and unless there are notations about fighter claims found there, I'd say there aren't any surviving squadron records with additional info.

Google on "Robert Quirk" and "159 Squadron" and you'll get a link to Robert's site, but I'm guessing you would have found these transcribed records already. It's an easy search on Robert's site for the 160 records, plus some of the 160 Sqn Assn newsletters.

Good luck,

Matt Poole

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9 years 5 months ago #1088 by phasselgren
phasselgren replied the topic: Combat Reports from 159 and 160 Squadrons
Matt,
Thank you for the answer. I have transcribed copies of the Operational Record Books and I have also been in contact with Robert Quirk. He has been very helpful but besides the ORBs he had no further information.
As you write the quality the ORBs is not the best. I still have some hope for the Appendices. These can be found at the National Archives: "AIR 27/1063 159 Sqn Appendices 1942 April - 1944 June" and "AIR 27/1067 160 Sqn Appendices 1942 Sept - 1945 June"
According to what I have seen on RAF Commands Forum Combat Reports for Mediterranean units can usually be found in the Appendices. The problem is that the Appendices can also include almost any type of documents and photos. Therefore I do not want to order any copies before I know more about the content.
Regards, Peter

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9 years 5 months ago #1089 by Matt_Poole
Matt_Poole replied the topic: Combat Reports from 159 and 160 Squadrons
Hi, Peter,

I do have those appendices, and I'm surprised that there are some sortie reports.

AIR 27/1063, with 159 Sqn's appendices, has NOTHING for the Middle East.

AIR 27/1067, with 160 Sqn's appendices, has short post-sortie reports, but only for 22/23 Sept 1942 to 14/15 Jan 1943 (the last Middle East report before moving to India).

I went through all of these reports, covering about 38 ops. They are not generally very detailed, but they do mention enemy aircraft if sighted (rarely). Out of all these sorties, only the following two had any claims:

01 Oct 1942, evening: Three Me.110s and one Ju.88 intercepted. One Me.110 destroyed. Seen to hit sea. One Me.110 probable. Last seen going down apparently out of control. Much smoke from port engine. Ju.88 claimed possible. Last seen going down with much smoke from port engine.

06 Oct 1942, evening: One formation attacked by three Me.110s and one Ju.88. One Me.110 seen to hit sea. Another Me.110 seen last at 1000 feet with flames and losing height. One Ju.88 last seen in steep dive at 1000 feet with one engine stopped and smoke from other engine.

These same details are also found in the 160 Sqn ORB Form 540 October summary found in AIR/1065 and, I think, on Robert's website. The ORB Form 541 individual a/c sortie details in AIR/1065 and transcribed on Robert's site say just a little more, but you also have seen these. So no new enlightenment here, sad to say.

Regards,

Matt

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9 years 5 months ago #1090 by phasselgren
phasselgren replied the topic: Combat Reports from 159 and 160 Squadrons
Hi Matt,
Thank you for taking time to check these appendices. You have saved a lot of time for me and you have most probably also saved me from a lot of frustration if I had ordered these appendices myself.
I still hope I can find some information in the Group records or logbooks. I have also discovered yesterday that operational information can be found in recommendations for medals.
You have already done a lot to help but might I ask you to check if there is anything in AIR 27/1063 regarding the following two claims made when operating from India:
Form 540
17 November 1942 “The operation was carried out over Mingaldon Aerodrome; …some night fighters made attacks but were driven off without activity and results. One was probably hit.”
25 November 1942 “Encountered enemy opposition over target. ... Target area for these
operations was Mingaladon Aerodrome. One enemy fighter shot down.”
No Form 541 from this month.

Once again thank you,
Peter

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9 years 5 months ago #1091 by Matt_Poole
Matt_Poole replied the topic: Combat Reports from 159 and 160 Squadrons
Hi, Peter,

Good news. I have a logbook which provides shootdown evidence for the 25 Nov '42 air combat. It also mentions being attacked by a fighter on the 17th, but at this point I have no further details for the 17th.

If I find anything more, I'll post it.

I tried attaching a scan of the logbook page, but nothing happened, so if you e-mail me at feb2944 AT aol.com (making the obvious changes to the address), I'll send that scan to you.

Below are my details on 25 Nov 1942.

Cheers,

Matt
++++++++
Harry Reid DFM, Service number 1064111, was rear gunner aboard 159 Squadron Liberator AL544B (skipper: F/Lt Dyer) during a sortie to Mingaladon airfield, Rangoon on the night of 25 Nov '42. The four 159 Squadron Libs making up the bomber force were attacked, and three of the four were shot up. All made it home, but there were two serious injuries and one minor injury.

Reid’s logbook remarks on this operation were: “MINGALADON AERODROME RANGOON. ATTACKED BY 3 OR MORE NIGHT FIGHTERS. ONE DESTROYED. ONE PROBABLE (ZERO),CONFIRMED LATER. HIT BY CANNON FIRE. 3,000 ROUNDS FIRED REAR TURRET.”

I found a little more info on this from my 159 Sqn records and then contacted Hiroshi Ichimura, a Japanese research friend, whose father flew for the most famous Japanese Army Air Force fighter squadron of the war -- the 64th Sentai in Burma. Hiroshi searched through his extensive records and found proof that, yes indeed, one 64th Sentai Oscar (the Japanese Army Air Force's main fighter) was shot down by a Liberator gunner that night.

Two Oscars of the 64th got airborne and attacked the Libs. The first Oscar, piloted by the legendary ace and leader, Yasuhiko Kuroe (30 kills, roughly), was damaged in the attack and had to break off. Nine or so bullet holes were counted in Kuroe’s fighter. (Kuroe survived the war, only to drown in a fishing accident in 1965.)

The second attacker was another ace, Yoshito Yasuda (10+ victories), whose war had already been very exciting. I'm digressing, because it's interesting. He had been shot up, by (I think) Duke Hedman and Chuck Older of the American Volunteer Group on 10 April 1942. On 22 May 1942 he made the initial attack on a 60 Sqn Blenheim, but was injured by return fire and broke off the attack. The second attacker that day was the much-beloved leader of the 64th, Tateo Kato. However, in his first air combat ever, the Blenheim gunner named McLuckie lived up to his name and shot down Kato. It was a major blow for the Japanese. Stevenson, the AOC of India Command, or whatever it was called in '42 (I'm too lazy to look it up at the moment...), wrote a congratulatory telegram to the C.O. of 60 Sqn and to McLuckie. There's a photo of the telegram in Vol. 2 of Bloody Shambles, by Christopher Shores.

Back to 25 November 1942. After being hit during his attack on the Liberators on this date, Yasuda bailed out badly burned and landed in a marshy area, where he was picked up the following day -- to fly and fight again. He survived the war.

I think Harry Reid was credited with the destruction of a fighter that night, though I’m not positive of this.

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