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Thursday, 16 January 2014

263 Squadron Whirlwind Missions [1]



I've been scouring the Operational Records Book (ORB) of No263 Squadron for 1942, in the hunt for potential historical scenarios for Bag the Hun games. It's a gold mine of interesting reports covering a whole range of ground attack and anti-shipping missions, complete with pilot rosters, aircraft codes and post mission analysis of the results.
The first one that I've picked out is from October 3rd 1942 during which 'A' flight launched a low level attack on a large merchant ship in Alderney harbour:




Following a P.R.U report and a further recco by 501 Squadron,  this Roadstead Operation was laid on to attack a 3000 ton M/V in Alderney Harbour. The Whirlwind bombers took off from Warmwell together with five Spitfires of 501 Squadron, antiflak, and rendezvoused over the base with 118 Squadron, rear support.
The antiflak aircraft did not catch up the Whirlibombers and only one of them crossed the target area. In order to attack out of sun, landfall was made at Casquets where the Whirlibombers turned East. When they were still more than two miles from Alderney there were engaged by flak from a hill top position and thereafter flak of all calibres was accurate and very intense; indeed it is reckoned that by reason of its concentration round the target area this was the most intense barrage through which Whirlwinds of the squadron have flown.
Three pilots attacked the large ship which was lying 40 yards off the mole. Results were not observed and the ship was only claimed Cat IV “Believed hit and Damaged”. No further information has been received by the squadron about the success or failure of the attack. The C.O.'s aircraft was hit by flak just as he bombed. He returned to base on one engine, very closely escorted by 118 Squadron. P/O King attacked a smaller ship alongside the mole. Results not seen. His aircraft was holed in the tailplane. A chunk was torn from F/Sgt Ridley's propeller. F/Lt Blackshaw led the other two Whirlwinds back to base. All had landed safely by 1900 hours.
As you can read for yourself, this would make a very straightforward anti-shipping scenario and would be a good basis for an introduction to both the flak and bombing rules, before any enemy aircraft are thrown into the equation. It also only requires four Whirlwinds and one Spitfire VB's, so very quick to set up and run.
...that's one scenario idea sorted!

3 comments:

  1. Whirlwinds were awesome planes. Pity only two squadrons used them.

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  2. I made an Airfix Whirlwind when I was a kid. Great plane

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  3. Great post!

    I have the Classic Airframes 1/48 scale kit ,one of my favourite 'planes; always good to see a post about them(:
    Cheers

    Guy

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