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Br. 145 eskadrila (RAF): Drugi svjetski rat

Br. 145 eskadrila (RAF): Drugi svjetski rat

Br. 145 eskadrila (RAF) tokom Drugog svjetskog rata

Avioni - Lokacije - Grupe i dužnosti - Knjige

145. eskadrila bila je lovačka eskadrila koja se borila u bitci za Britaniju i premošćivanju kanala 1941. prije nego što se preselila na Mediteran, gdje je učestvovala u kampanjama u sjevernoj Africi, na Siciliji i u Italiji, završivši rat kao borac -Bombarderska eskadrila.

Eskadrila se 10. oktobra 1939. reformisala u Croydonu kao lovačka eskadrila. Njegov prvi avion, neki lovci Blenheim, stigao je u novembru 1939., ali su u martu 1940. zamijenjeni uraganima.

Eskadrila je ušla u borbu tokom borbi u Francuskoj u maju 1940. Dio jedne eskadrile pridružio se eskadrili broj 85 od 13. do 14. maja, a drugi let se preselio u Francusku 16. maja, djelujući paralelno s letom iz eskadrile br. 601. Nakon ovoga, sve osim jedne eskadrile uragana u komandi lovaca bile su u Francuskoj, a samo 66 uragana se sigurno vratilo u Britaniju na kraju kampanje. Nakon povratka iz Francuske, eskadrila je učestvovala u borbama oko Dunkirka, često ih je bilo znatno manje. U jednom incidentu 27. maja pet uragana eskadrile napalo je formaciju Dornier Do 17 samo da bi ih napala sila od 20-30 Bf 110.

Eskadrila je bila jako uključena u odbranu konvoja 'Peewit' 8. avgusta, tvrdeći 21 pobjedu (od kojih se 11 može potvrditi). Flt Lt A H 'Ginger' Boyd, zapovjednik leta 'B', pripisan je pet pobjeda tokom borbi oko konvoja. Zapovjednik eskadrile, J R A Peel, također je ostvario značajne pobjede u ovom ranom periodu bitke za Britaniju. Eskadrila je izgubila pet pilota 10. avgusta, još dva 11. avgusta, a Peel je i sam povređen. Nakon toga eskadrila je premještena u Drem, istočno od Edinburga, gdje se pridružila grupi 13 za odmor.

Eskadrila se vratila na jug u oktobru, nakon što je glavna dnevna faza bitke za Britaniju završena. Uragani su zamijenjeni Spitfiresima u februaru 1941. godine, a u aprilu je eskadrila počela letjeti u ofanzivnim pokretima preko Kanala. To je trajalo samo do jula 1941. godine, kada se eskadrila preselila u Jorkšir.

Početkom 1942. eskadrila se pripremala za preseljenje u inostranstvo, a u februaru je otputovala na Bliski istok, stigavši ​​u april u Egipat. Krajem maja preselila se u zapadnu pustinju, postavši prva eskadrila Spitfire koja je to učinila. Operacije su počele 1. juna, taman na vrijeme za učešće u odbrani od posljednje Rommelove ofanzive, kampanje koja je završila kod El Alameina i na egipatskoj granici.

Eskadrila je letjela mješavinom borbenih patrola i letova u pratnji bombardera od tada do kraja kampanje u Sjevernoj Africi. Preselila se na Maltu u junu 1943. i počela letjeti u ofanzivne patrole Sicilije, a zatim je pokrila iskrcavanje saveznika. Preselila se na Siciliju ubrzo nakon iskrcavanja saveznika, stigavši ​​13. jula, a zatim se preselila na italijansko kopno u septembru 1943. godine.

Do kraja 1943. neprijateljski borci postajali su rijetki na nebu iznad Italije. 145. eskadrila počela je izvršavati misije kopnenog napada, da bi u junu 1944. postala eskadrila lovaca-bombardera. Ovu ulogu nastavio je obavljati do kraja rata, a na kraju se raspao 19. avgusta 1945. u sjevernoj Italiji.

Avioni
Mart-februar 1941: Uragan Hawker I
Februar 1941-februar 1942: Supermarine Spitfire IIA i IIB
Juli 1941: Supermarine Spitfire VA i VB
Novembar 1941-februar 1942: Supermarine Spitfire VA i VB
April 1942-avgust 1943: Supermarine Spitfire VA i VB
Kolovoz 1943.-kolovoz 1945.: Supermarine Spitfire VIII
Jun 1943.-avgust 1945.: Supermarine Spitfire IX

Location
Oktobar 1939.-maj 1940 .: Croydon
Maj-jul 1940: Tangmere
Jul-avgust 1940: Westhampnett
Avgust 1940: Drem
Avgust-oktobar 1940: Dyce
Oktobar 1940.-maj 1941: Tangmere
Maj-jul 1941: Merston
Juli 1941-februar 1942: Catterick

April 1942: Heliopolis
April-maj 1942: Helwan
Maj-jun 1942: Gambut
Juni 1942: LG.155
Juni 1942: LG.76
Juni 1942: LG.13
Juni 1942: LG.15
Jun-avgust 1942: LG.154
Avgust 1942: Idku
Avgust-septembar 1942: LG.154
Septembar-oktobar 1942: LG.92
Oktobar-novembar 1942: LG.173
Novembar 1942: LG.21
Novembar 1942: LG.155
Novembar 1942: Gambut West
Novembar 1942-januar 1943: Msus
Januar 1943: El Chel
Januar 1943: Hamraiet
Januar-februar 1943: Wadi Sirru
Februar 1943: Kastel Benito
Februar-mart 1943: Hazbub
Mart 1943: Ben Gardane
Mart-april 1943: Bu Grara
April 1943: La Fauconnerie
April-maj 1943: Goubrine
Maj 1943: Hergla
Maj-jun 1943: Ben Gardane
Jun-jul 1943: Luqa
Juli 1943: Pachino
Juli 1943: Cassibile
Juli-septembar 1943: Zapadni Lentini
Septembar-oktobar 1943: Gioia del Colle
Oktobar 1943: Tortorella
Oktobar-novembar 1943: Foggia/ Triolo
Novembar 1943-januar 1944: Canne
Januar-april 1944: Marcianise
April-maj 1944: Venafro
Maj-jun 1944: Lago
Juni 1944: Venafro
Juni 1944: Littorio
Jun-jul 1944: Fabrica
Jul-avgust 1944: Perugia
Avgust-septembar 1944: Loreto
Septembar-decembar 1944: Fano
Decembar 1944-maj 1945: Bellaria
Maj-avgust 1945: Treviso

Kodovi eskadrila: SO (1940-1942), ZX (1942-1945)

Dužnost

1939-1941: Komanda boraca
1942-1943: Eskadrila lovaca, Sjeverna Afrika
1943: Eskadrila lovaca, Sicilija i Italija
1944-1945: Eskadrila lovaca-bombardera, Italija

Dio:
8. avgusta 1940: Grupa br.11, komanda lovaca
Od sredine avgusta 1940 .: grupa 13, komanda lovaca
27. oktobar 1942: br.244 Krilo; No.211 Group; A.H.Q. Western Desert; Bliskoistočna komanda
10. juli 1943: krilo br.244; No.211 Group; Desert Air Force; Taktičko zrakoplovstvo Sjeverne Afrike; Zračne snage sjeverozapadne Afrike; Mediteranska vazdušna komanda

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Tragovi Drugog svjetskog rata RAF - br. 145 eskadrila 10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940

Dana 10. oktobra 1939., No 145 se reformisao u Croydonu kao lovačka eskadrila, primivši Blenheims u novembru. U ožujku 1940. počela se ponovno opremati uraganima, a u svibnju je postala operativna nad sjevernom Francuskom.

Dana 16. maja, Wg/Cdr. Ginger preuzima privremenu komandu eskadrile br.145. 145 je tek nedavno stigao u Francusku, a trenutno se nalazi u Crepyju.

Dana 17. maja, dok je vodio eskadrilu br.145 na naletu preko St.Quentina, Wg/Cdr. Đumbir je sam uništio 5 uništenih neprijateljskih aviona. Kao priznanje za izuzetnu posvećenost ratnim naporima, Ministarstvo rata Francuske nagradilo ga je Croix de Guerre (Ratni križ).

Dana 31. maja, Wg/Cdr. Ginger je unaprijeđen u lidera grupe i postavljen u grupu H.Q.

Nakon pokrivanja evakuacije iz Dunkirka, eskadrila je učestvovala u bici za Britaniju do povlačenja u Škotsku sredinom augusta, a u oktobru se vratila na jug.

Stanice
Tangmere 10. maja 1940
Crepy, Francuska - ca. 15. maja 1940?
Tangmere
Westhampnett 31. jula 1940
Drem 14. avgusta 1940
Dyce 31. avgusta 1940
Tangmere 9. oktobra 1940

Poslovanje i gubici 10.5.1940 - 30.06.1940
Nisu navedene sve operacije s fatalnim gubitkom.

18.05.1940: Patrol, Belgija. 1 avion izgubljen.
19.5.1940:?, Francuska. 1 izgubljen avion, 1 KIA
27/05/1940: Dunkirk, 2 izgubljena aviona, 1 KIA, 1 MIA
03/06/1940: Dunkirk, F. 1 izgubljen avion, 1 KIA

18.05.1940: Patrol, Belgija

Ne 145 prva eskadrila u ratu od 18. maja. Prilikom patroliranja nad Briselom, dvanaest He III presretnuto je u razbijenom oblaku. Kada su njemački bombarderi izašli iz zaklona napadan je uragan.

Tip:
Hawker Hurricane Mk I
Serijski broj: N2600, SO-G
Operacija: Patrola
Izgubljeno: 18/05/1940
F/O Michael Newling
Zbog borbenih oštećenja, F/O Michael Newling bio je prisiljen napustiti svoju formaciju i odletjeti prema svojoj bazi. Iznad sela Pamel-Roosdaal (provincija flamanskog Brabanta), Newling je bio prisiljen napustiti svoj uragan u 16.25 sati. On je sigurno sletio padobranom, a 13 -godišnji dječak ga je proveo njemačkim linijama - vidi 'Oporavak uragana N2600'.

Tip: Hawker Hurricane Mk I
Serijski broj: ?, SO-?
Operacija: ?
Izgubljeno: 19/05/1940
Službenik pilot (pilot) Kenneth R. Lucas, RAF 41854, 145 kvadratnih metara, nepoznata starost, 19.5.1940., Proširenje za zajedničko groblje Warloy-Baillon, F

Dana 27. maja, iako su bili prisutni cijeli dan na jednoj ili drugoj patrolnoj liniji, borci RAF -a su obično bili znatno brojniji. Na primjer, jedanaest Spitfirea eskadrile br. 74 vodilo je bitku sa trideset Do.17 -ih i Me.109 -ih pet uragana iz eskadrile br. 145 napalo je zadnji dio formacije Do.17 samo da bi se našli na dvadeset ili trideset Me .110's dvadeset uragana i spitfire eskadrila br. 56 i 610, pokušavajući da otkupe jednog He.111, odjednom su naletjeli na trideset ili četrdeset Me.110.

No, iako lovci nisu mogli spriječiti neprijatelja da grad i luku Dunkirk pretvori u ruševine, zasigurno su mu pokvarili cilj protiv ciljeva koji su bili najvažniji, te krtica u luci i brodova. Jer šteta nije, unatoč prvim dojmovima, onemogućila evakuaciju iz luke, iako je bilo desetak zajedničkih napada na naša plovila, kao i mnogo pojedinačnih napada, potopljena su najviše dva broda.

Tip: Hawker Hurricane Mk I
Serijski broj: ?, SO-?
Operacija: ?
Izgubljeno: 27/05/1940
Oficir pilot Alan Elson, RAF 41272, 145 kvadratnih metara, 25 godina, 27.05.1940., Nestao

Tip: Hawker Hurricane Mk I
Serijski broj: ?, SO-?
Operacija: ?
Izgubljeno: 27/05/1940
Oficir pilot (pilot) Peter H.O. Rainier, RAF 41869, 145 kvadratnih metara, 20 godina, 27.05.1940., Suvenirsko groblje Longuenesse (St. Omer), F

03.06.1940: Dunkirk, F

Tip: Hawker Hurricane Mk I
Serijski broj: ?, SO-?
Operacija: Dunkirk
Izgubljeno: 03/06/1940
Leteći časnik (pilot) Henry P. Dixon, RAF (AAF) 90283, 145 kvadratnih metara, 25 godina, 03/06/1940, gradsko groblje u Dunkirku, F


Br. 71 (Orao) Piloti eskadrile


Originalni spisak pilota 1940
LC 'Lance' Wade, iz Recklawa, Texas, dobrovoljno se prijavio za službu u RAF -u 1940. Nakon obuke pilota u Sjedinjenim Državama i napredne letačke obuke u Engleskoj, pridružio se 33. eskadrili u Egiptu i ostvario svoje prve pobjede na 18. novembra 1941. kada je oborio dva italijanska Fiata CR42. Učestvovao je u najtežim borbama u Zapadnoj pustinji prije nego što je završio prvu turneju operacija u septembru 1942. Potom je obišao ustanove za obuku i avione na probnim letovima u SAD-u prije nego što se vratio u operacije u Sjevernoj Africi kao komandant leta sa brojem 145 Eskadrila RAF-a u januaru 1943. On je narednog mjeseca postavljen za zapovjednika i dodao je pobjedu nad Tunisom, Sicilijom i Italijom, prije nego što je završio svoju drugu turneju kao najbolji saveznički pilot-lovac u mediteranskom području u studenom 1943. Wade je bio unaprijeđen u zapovjednika krila i pridružio se osoblju u sjedištu pustinjskog ratnog zrakoplovstva, da bi poginuo tijekom rutinskog leta kada se njegova Auster okrenula i srušila u Foggia 12. siječnja 1944. Ostaje najviši američki pilot koji je služio isključivo u RAF-u, sa 25 pobeda. Fotografija: IWM (CM - 2866)
Kolovoz 1942 Pilot's Disperal Hut na aerodromu Rochford, osoblje eskadrile br. 121 (Eagle) igra poker dok čeka naredbu da se "potuku". Slijeva na desno oni su: George Carpenter (stoji, iz Oil Cityja, Pennsylvania), Gilbert Halsey (Oklahoma), narednik leta James Milton Sanders (Nashville, Tennessee) i narednik leta Fred Renshaw Vance (Virginia). U zadnjem desnom uglu fotografije može se vidjeti telefonist, zajedno sa nekoliko drugih djelatnika koji čekaju poziv na akciju. Fotografija: IWM

Tragovi Drugog svjetskog rata RAF - br. 245 (Sjeverna Rodezija) eskadrila 10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940

Eskadrila se reformirala u Leconfieldu 30. listopada 1939. opremljena borcima iz Blenheima, a od siječnja 1940. Fairey Battles. Oba ova tipa zamijenjeni su uraganima u ožujku 1940., a u svibnju su se preselili u Drem u Škotskoj. Međutim, tijekom evakuacije iz Dunkirka upravljao je odredom iz Hawkingea, ali je u srpnju prebačen u Aldergrove u Sjevernoj Irskoj, gdje je ostao tokom cijele bitke za Britaniju na odbrambenim dužnostima.

Poslovanje i gubici 10.5.1940 - 30.06.1940
Nisu navedene sve operacije s fatalnim gubitkom.

01/06/1940: Patrola, Dunkirk, F. 2 izgubljena aviona, 2 MIA
20.06.1940: Aerodrom Rouen, F

01/06/1940: Patrola, Dunkirk

Tip:
Hawker Hurricane Mk I
Serijski broj: ?, DX-?
Operacija: Patrola, Dunkirk
Izgubljeno: 01/06/1940
Oficir pilot Alan L. Treanor, RAF 41965, 245 m2, 19 godina, 01.06.1940., Nestao

Tip: Hawker Hurricane Mk I
Serijski broj: ?, DX-?
Operacija: Patrola, Dunkirk
Izgubljeno: 01/06/1940
Oficir pilot Robert A. West, RAF 41972, 245 m2, nepoznata starost, 06.06.1940., Nestao

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20.06.1940: Aerodrom u Rouenu

Jedan posebno uspješan napad na niskom nivou na neprijateljski aerodrom u blizini Rouena izveli su 20. juna uragani iz eskadrile broj 245, kojom je komandovao vođa eskadrile Whitley. S njim su leteli poručnik Mowat i oficir pilot Spence. Napad su izvršila dva odjeljka, predvođena Whitleyjem i Mowatom, a treći je ostavljen iznad radi zaštite. Na zemlji je bilo pedesetak njemačkih aviona, a prijavljeno je da je znatan broj njih oštećen, a četiri su ostala u plamenu.

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Zadnja poštanska ceremonija u spomen na službu (402316) letećeg oficira Rolle Maxwell Cooke, br. 145 Sqn RAF, Drugi svjetski rat.

Ceremonija posljednjeg posta svakodnevno se predstavlja u komemorativnom prostoru australijskog ratnog spomenika. Svečanost se obilježava u znak sjećanja na više od 102.000 Australaca koji su dali svoje živote u ratnim i drugim operacijama i čija su imena zapisana na Časnoj listi. Na svakoj ceremoniji priča se priča iza jednog od imena na Časnoj listi. Domaćin Sharon Bown, priča za ovaj dan bila je (402316) Leteći časnik Rolla Maxwell Cooke, br. 145 Sqn RAF, Drugi svjetski rat.

402316 Leteći časnik Rolla Maxwell Cooke, br. 145 kvadratnih RAF
Slučajno ubijen 4. novembra 1941

Danas se sjećamo i odajemo počast letećoj časnici Rolli Maxwell Cooke.

Rolla Cooke rođena je u studenom 1917., jedino dijete Lionela i Ellen Cooke iz Mosmana, Novi Južni Wales. Njegov djed, profesor William Cooke, bio je astronom iz vlade Novog Južnog Walesa i profesor astronomije na Univerzitetu u Sydneyu. Njegov otac je dobio dozvolu pilota 1915. godine i služio je u Kraljevskom letećem korpusu tokom Prvog svjetskog rata. Nakon što je pohađao gimnaziju u Sydneyu, Rolla je radio kao bankovni službenik u Banci New South Wales u Sydneyu, a honorarno je paradirao sa 52. protuzrakoplovnom kompanijom u Middle Headu.

Rolla se u aprilu 1940. prijavio u Kraljevsku australijsku rezervu. Dok je čekao poziv za vazduhoplovstvo Citizens, oženio se Betty Mosman Harrison u crkvi St Thomas u sjevernom Sydneyu, nakon jednonedeljnog angažmana.

Rolla je započeo redovnu službu sa Kraljevskim australijskim vazduhoplovnim snagama u septembru 1940. i obučavao se za pilota pod pokroviteljstvom Imperijske sheme vazdušne obuke. Nakon početne obuke u Bradfield Parku, završio je osnovnu školu za obuku letenja u Tamworthu i službu za obuku letenja u Amberleyu u Queenslandu. U veljači 1941., dok je učio letjeti na CAC Wirrawayu u Amberleyu, Rolla je sudjelovao u prisilnom slijetanju kada je avion izgubio pritisak goriva, ali su i on i njegov instruktor leta uspjeli otići iz incidenta bez ozljeda.

Rolla je otputovao u Ujedinjeno Kraljevstvo kako bi se pridružio komandi lovaca Kraljevskih zračnih snaga u ožujku 1941. Po dolasku bio je raspoređen u Jedinicu 57 operativne obuke RAF-a Hawarden u Walesu kako bi stekao iskustvo u učenju letenja na jednosjednim lovačkim avionima Hawker Hurricane . U rujnu 1941., Rollo je postavljen u 145-u eskadrilu RAF sa sjedištem na aerodromu Catterick u Sjevernom Yorkshireu, koja se ponovno opremala Supermarine Spitfires dok je prekvalificirala pilote i vodila patrole Sjevernim morem u pripremi za prelazak na pozorište Bliskog istoka. operacije.

U popodnevnim satima 4. novembra 1941. godine, Rollin avion Spitfire P7624 srušio se tokom penjanja nakon polijetanja sa aerodroma Catterick. Prema njegovoj porodici, stajni trap na Rollovom avionu nije se ispravno uvlačio, problem je riješen, a posade su naložile Rolla da izvede Spitfire snažnu probnu letelicu. Nakon što se popeo na 400 stopa, Rolla je počeo izvoditi akrobacije i izgubio kontrolu nad zrakoplovom koji je zaronio i srušio se. Istražitelji sudara RAF -a kasnije su utvrdili da se noga podvozja desnog desnog kotača nije uspjela potpuno povući, što je dovelo do niske brzine, zastoja i pada aviona, što je Rollu odmah ubilo.

Pismo koje je ministar crkve Williaughby iz Svetog Stjepana napisao vlastima RAAF -a govori nešto o utjecaju Rollinog gubitka na njegovu mladu suprugu Betty. "Vijest o slučajnoj smrti u Engleskoj prenio sam supruzi oficira pilota Rolla Maxwell Cooke, kako je obaviješteno u jučerašnjem službenom telegramu", piše u pismu:
Mogao sam da izrazim hrišćansko saučešće mladoj udovici - to je vrlo tužan slučaj - očekuje svoju prvu bebu za otprilike mesec dana. Bila je divno hrabra.

Rolla nije uspio upoznati svog sina Davida. Kada je umro, imao je 23 godine, Rolla je sahranjen na groblju Catterick u Yorkshireu u blizini aerodroma na kojem je umro. Na nadgrobnom spomeniku pojavljuje se mali natpis koji su napisali njegovi ožalošćeni roditelji i udovica: "Njegova dužnost je plemenito obavljena".

Rollino ime navedeno je na Časnoj listi s moje lijeve strane, među gotovo 40.000 Australaca koji su poginuli dok su služili u Drugom svjetskom ratu.

Njegova je samo jedna od mnogih priča o službi i žrtvovanju ispričanih ovdje na Australijskom ratnom spomeniku. Sada se sjećamo Letećeg časnika Rolle Maxwell Cooke, koji je dao svoj život za nas, za naše slobode i u nadi u bolji svijet.

Aaron Pegram
Historičar, Odsjek za vojnu istoriju
663 riječi


RAF: Ne. 247 eskadrila

Jedna od karakterističnih karakteristika ratnih igara u usporedbi s eurima i porodičnim društvenim igrama je ta što one često uključuju značajke koje su besmislene ili gotovo iste u smislu igre, ali se pojavljuju jer su imale neku važnost u stvarnom životu.
Jedan primjer za to nalazi se u pasijansu RAF o bitci za Britaniju. Među svim eskadrilama vitalnih Spitfire -a, korisnim uraganima i ne beskorisnim Blenheimovim, postoji usamljena eskadrila opremljena Gladijatorom, dvokrilnim lovcem.
Ispostavilo se da broj 247 eskadrile ima uglednu historiju: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._247_Squadron_RAF
ali bitka za Britaniju nije bila najbolji čas. Gladijator je jednostavno bio prespor da bi uhvatio brže njemačke bombardere, a eskadrila nije "ubila" sve dok kasnije nije ponovo opremljena uraganima, nakon vremenskog perioda obuhvaćenog igrom.
U igri su Gladijatori, ako ništa drugo, malo korisniji nego što su bili u stvarnom životu. Mogu se koristiti za pokrivanje područja s niskom prijetnjom izvan njemačkog borbenog poligona uz male šanse za uspjeh. Ipak, u smislu igre, jedva vrijede letjeti i ne mogu se uvesti u teške borbe, a da zapravo ne naštete britanskoj stvari.
Istorijski gledano, Gladijatori su na kraju raspoređeni u noćne patrole, iako također bez uspjeha. Igra uključuje pravila noćne patrole, ali dozvoljava samo Blenheimsu da upravlja tom misijom. Kao manja varijanta, gladijatorima možete dozvoliti i noćne patrole, s obzirom na to da je njima dodijeljena misija stvarni događaj. Kako se radi o pasijansu, ne biste trebali imati problema s nagovaranjem protivnika.
Iako nije toliko korisno u smislu igre, br. 247 eskadrila bio tamo. Njegovi piloti bili među onih nekoliko kojima je toliko toliko dugovalo. Zato je vrlo prikladno da se pojavi.

Sadržaj

James MacLachlan rođen je 1. travnja 1919. u Styalu u Cheshireu, drugo od šestero djece Hugha MacLachlana i njegove supruge Helen (rođene Orr-Ewing). MacLachlanovi su živjeli u porodičnoj kući u Styalu, gdje je Hugh bio zaposlen kao proizvođač ulja i kemikalija do svoje prerane smrti 1928. od peritonitisa. Nakon očeve smrti, porodica se preselila u Southampton kako bi bila u blizini Heleninih roditelja. Njen otac Archibald Orr-Ewing bio je povezan s Plymouth Braćom, Kineskom unutrašnjom misijom i misionarskim poljem. Njegov utjecaj rezultirao je time da je James dvije godine upisan u evanđeosku školu kralja Edwarda. Nakon završenog predškolskog obrazovanja, James je postao ručak u školi Monkton Combe blizu Batha, Somerset u septembru 1931. godine, sa 12 godina. Jamesova braća, Hugh Jnr, Gordon i Archie kasnije su ga pratili kroz istu školu. [1]

MacLachlan nije bio akademik iako se isticao u poeziji. Privlačio je nevolje u školi pišući podmukle rime o svojim savremenicima i članovima osoblja. Igrao je ragbi i uživao u veslanju, ali općenito nije bio sportsko dijete. Uživao je u divljini i životinjama. Škola ga je potaknula na fascinaciju biologijom, pa je redovito dostavljao zečeve i druge uzorke u laboratoriju. Nikada nije imenovan za župana i nije se uzdigao do zapaženog čina u Korpusu za školovanje oficira škole. James se radije bavio stolarskim i metalnim radovima. On i njegovi prijatelji izgradili su i proizveli pištolj kalibra 22 u radionicama koje su testirali. [1]

Želeći da nabavi pravo vatreno oružje, nabavio je servisni revolver, ali je sebi pucao u ruku. Željan avanture, MacLachlan je razmišljao o svojoj budućnosti. Sa 17 godina otputovao je u Škotsku u maju 1936. na odmor u blizini Comrie i Crieffa. Dok je bio tamo, otišao je na let otvorenih vrata RAF Leuchars-a na pet šilinga koji je, prema riječima njegove majke, odlučio da postane pilot. Stekao je svjedodžbu o završetku škole i ušao u Kraljevsko zrakoplovstvo (RAF) na kratku službenu komisiju mjesec dana prije svog 18. rođendana u ožujku 1937. [1]

Dana 1. marta 1937. stigao je u osnovnu školu za obuku broj 10 i rezervni centar za obuku letenja u RAF Yatesbury u Wiltshireu. Vodila ga je British Airplane Company. Bio je raspoređen u avion B. MacLachlanu je bilo neprijatno zbog vojničke šale i upotrebe vjerskih psovki. On se takođe žalio na račune koje su podnosioci predstavke morali da plate. Računi za nerede navodno su iznosili 2 10 £ funti sedmično, a za rublje 5s. Većina njegove plaće potrošena je na te potrepštine. [2]

MacLachlanu nije dato vrijeme da se smjesti. Njegov prvi let bio je u Tiger Moth-u 2. ​​marta 1937. godine, u kojem je stekao 45-minutno iskustvo u otvorenoj kabini. Prvi put je samostalno leteo 9. marta nakon što se brzo uhvatio u koštac sa svojim trenerom. Napisao je: "Bit će vam drago čuti da sam danas otišao solo. Gospodin Sharp je polako rolao. Bilo je prilično mračno kada smo bili naopačke bez ičega osim 6000 stopa zraka između nas i zemlje. Jednostavno volim letjeti." [3] MacLachlan je bio najmlađi pripravnik u grupi i nakon 23 solo i 28 sati dvostrukog leta prošao je kao prosek pilotski razred 27. aprila. On je ukupno bio drugi na svojim ispitima. Narednog mjeseca otputovao je u RAF Uxbridge. Tamo je 18. maja 1937. dobio dužnost vršioca dužnosti službenika pilota 39639. Bio je raspoređen u treću školu za obuku letenja u Granthamu u Lincolnshireu. Prvi put je upravljao Hawker Hartom i Hawker Audaxom 20. maja 1938. Neizmjerno je uživao u brzini aviona i prepustio se strasti prema automobilima kupivši Austin 7 od zastupnika u Nottinghamu sa svojim prvim čekom za £ £ 14 7s. [3]

Uprkos tome što se izgubio na navigacijskim vježbama, prošao je kao "natprosječan" pilot i uslovno je položena. MacLachlan se odlučio za vrstu eskadrile s kojom želi letjeti. Odabrao je sa spiska srednjih eskadrila bombardera ili lakih bombardera i nastavio do 3. napredne škole za obuku letenja u Gloucestershireu. U školi je vježbao bombardovanje ronjenjem i bombardovanje na nivou, vježbao u bliskim operacijama zračne podrške i završio svoju obuku u RAF Penrose u blizini, Pwllheli Sjeverni Wales u kampu za obuku naoružanja broj 5. Dana 26. novembra 1937. MacLachlan je ponovo prošao kao pilot "iznad prosjeka". Odmah je raspoređen u broj 88 eskadrile RAF u RAF -u Boscombe Down. MacLachlanov dnevnik bilježio je 92 sata letenja. [4]

MacLachlanu se nije svidjela obuka bombardera. U pismu svojoj majci opisao je svoje zamjerke: "Danas smo započeli bombardiranje. To je užasno! Morate ležati na trbuhu i gledati kroz poklopac na dnu aviona [Hawker Hart]. Sav vrući uljni zrak iz radijator vam duva ravno u lice. Osjećam se prilično bolesno! ". [4] Bio je oduševljen opisivanjem matematičkih problema povezanih s bombardiranjem iz zraka i upotrebom kamera za procjenu točnosti, a ne upotrebom municije pod naponom, ali MacLachlan je bio više zaljubljen u naoružanje zrak-zrak. O svom treningu je napisao: "Danas sam radio naoružanje zrak-zrak sa prednjim topovima. To je super!" [4] Na kraju obuke korištena je bojna municija. MacLachlanu je bilo dozvoljeno da trenira sa 16 bombi, čija je cijena 11 £ po komadu. [4]

Eskadrila broj 88 bila je nova jedinica i dio je shema proširenja kasnih 1930 -ih dizajniranih za povećanje broja aviona kao odgovor na njemačku prijetnju Luftwaffe. Pridružio se eskadrili 6. decembra 1937. i ona je ponovo opremljena bitkom za Fairey. Prvi put je leteo avionom 30. decembra. Dana 1. marta 1938. potvrđeno je njegovo angažovanje kao oficira pilota, a u maju 1938. pridružio se 7. stanici za obuku naoružanja u Northumberlandu kako bi se bavio formacijskim letenjem, zračnim naoružanjem i bombardovanjem. Također je vježbao lažne napade na 2. pješadijsku diviziju britanske vojske. Do početka rata u septembru 1939, MacLachlan je imao dvogodišnje iskustvo u upravljanju mašinom. [5]

1. septembra 1939. Njemačka je napala Poljsku. MacLachlanova eskadrila preselila se u Francusku 2. septembra, a Britanija i njeni saveznici objavili su rat sljedećeg dana. 88 Eskadrila je bila dio RAF-ovih naprednih vazdušnih udarnih snaga (AASF) kojima je komandovao vicemaršal Air Patrick Playfair. Dana 12. septembra 1939. 88 eskadrila bila je smještena jugoistočno od Rheimsa. U ovom trenutku Luftwaffe bio jako angažiran u Poljskoj i samo nekoliko manjih okršaja je vođeno tankim njemačkim lovačkim ekranom koji je lijevo čuvao zapadnu Njemačku od francuskog napada. 20. septembra lovce Messerschmitt Bf 109 presreli su elementi eskadrile Jagdgeschwader 26 (borbeno krilo 26) preko granice. Srušena su četiri aviona Fairey Battle. 30. septembra 150 eskadrila izgubila je pet borbi u misijama bez pratnje u njemačkom zračnom prostoru. Posadama je brzo postalo jasno da je bitka prespora i suviše slabo naoružana da bi se odbranila, a operacije su zatvorene. Eskadrila je poduzela mjere kako bi povećala svoju odbrambenu moć dodavanjem trećeg mitraljeza u stražnji dio kokpita koji će posmatrač koristiti.

MacLachlan je 26. listopada unaprijeđen u letačkog oficira i preuzeo napadnu misiju. Tokom leta njegov vrh krila je uspostavio kontakt sa zemljom, ali se uspio vratiti u bazu. Eskadrila se smjestila u zimske odaje do marta, kada su preraspoređeni u pogranično područje Francuske sa Španijom. 1. aprila proslavio je 21. rođendan i iskoristio priliku da se od Perpignana preko granice preseli u Pirineje kako bi ga proslavio. Eskadrila je 9. aprila stavljena u stanje pripravnosti kada su Nijemci napali Dansku i Norvešku, a eskadrila je ubrzo preseljena u sjevernu Francusku u Mourmelonu. Lažni rat se 10. maja okončao njemačkom invazijom na Zapadnu Evropu. [6]

Bitka za Francusku Edit

Eskadrila nije vidjela akcije u bitci za Francusku prvog dana kampanje - 10. maja - ali mnoge druge borbene eskadrile jesu i pretrpjele su velike gubitke napadajući njemačke kopnene snage. Aerodrom eskadrile bio je napadnut iz vazduha od prvog dana. Junkers Ju 88 su u noćnom napadu uništili hangare i dva aviona. Dana 11. maja ponovo je bombardovan i tri od četiri aviona su izgubljena napadajući kolone njemačke vojske u danu. 14. maja McLachlan je poletio svojim prvim pohodom preko mostobrana Sedan. Njemački napad na Sedan prijetio je da će probiti liniju Maginot na jugu i savezničke vojske na sjeveru probojem u središte i napredovanjem prema Lamanšu. 12. maja Sedan je pao. XIX tenkovski korpus Heinza Guderiana i XXXXI tenkovski korpus Georga-Hansa Reinhardta probili su se 14. maja na zapadnu obalu. Očajnički želeći zaustaviti napade, general Marcel Têtu, zapovjednik Savezničkih taktičkih zračnih snaga u dogovoru s zračnim vicemaršalom Playfairom, zapovjednikom AASF-a, naredio je napadima svim raspoloživim jedinicama. Br. 88 eskadrila bila je predana vazdušnoj ofanzivi. Šest aviona napalo je položaje oklopnih kolona, ​​četiri napadnuta mosta. Jedan avion je izgubljen. Uprkos jakoj protivavionskoj vatri i protivljenju nemačkih lovaca, MacLachlan je napao i pobegao na maloj visini. Savezničke jedinice su tog dana pretrpjele 50 posto gubitaka. 15. maja aerodrom je ponovo pogođen dva puta i eskadrila se vratila u blizini Troyesa. [7]

Eskadrila je 19. maja letela noćnim operacijama zbog nemačke nadmoći u vazduhu. MacLachlan je izveo raciju protiv Giveta, na francusko-belgijskoj granici, svoju jedinu akciju podrške savezničkim snagama u bitci za Belgiju. Naređeno mu je da leti u letnjim misijama 21. maja u blizini Somme, gdje se nalazi njemački Panzer videlo se da se jedinice kreću. Eskadrila je tvrdila da je jedan njemački tenk uništen. Njegovo nisko letenje nije impresioniralo njegovog posmatrača, narednika Hardyja, koji je rekao članu eskadrile: "Ne želim da me ubije taj prokleti MacLachlan-ne mari za svoju posadu Odlazim u CO i tražim da me ukinu " - zapovjednik je odobrio njegov zahtjev. Na sljedećoj misiji Hardy je oboren i ubijen u akciji sa svojim novim pilotom. MacLachaln je tada uzeo novog topnika, Les Daviesa koji je kasnije upravljao noćnim lovcima. [8]

MacLachlan je 23. maja letio misijama protiv željezničkih ciljeva u nacističkoj Njemačkoj, napadajući Bingen am Rhein. 25. maja letio je protiv ciljeva u blizini Sedana i njegova bitka je oštećena flakom. Jedinica se preselila u Moissy i letio je misijama podrške snagama francuske vojske oko Abbevillea. Dana 10. juna u blizini Fleuryja, njegova hauba u kabini je pogođena preciznom vatrom iz zemlje, ali MacLachlan nije ozlijeđen. Dana 13. juna letio je na dnevnoj svjetlosnoj misiji protiv njemačkih vrhova koplja, a pri povratku u bazu letio je pod formacijom ronilačkih bombardera Jun 87 Ju 87. Prateći Bf 109 su jurili i oborili jednu bitku. MacLachlan je tvrdio da je uspio ispaliti dva Bf 109 i oštetio ih - ove tvrdnje se ne mogu potvrditi. [9]

Posljednji napad izveden je 14. juna - na dan pada Pariza - i eskadrila je napustila Francusku jer se saveznički otpor srušio. Sleteli su na aerodrom Houssay. Zatim su poletjeli za RAF Driffield u Yorkshireu. Dok su prelazili Englesku, MacLachlan je zaobišao kako bi napravio nisku letjelicu iznad svoje stare škole u Monkton Combeu blizu Bath. Triku je svjedočio njegov brat koji je u to vrijeme pohađao ustanovu. 88 eskadrila premještena u Belfast u Sjevernoj Irskoj 23. juna radi odmora i preuređenja. Nakon intenzivnih operacija tokom bitke za Francusku, MacLachlan je odlikovan Odlikovanim letećim križem (DFC) (objavljeno 16. jula 1940.). [10] [11]

Bitka za Britaniju na Malti Edit

MacLachlan nije prihvatio svoju novu objavu i želio se vratiti na akciju. MacLachlan se dobrovoljno prijavio za službu u komandi lovaca RAF -a tokom bitke za Britaniju koja je započela u julu 1940. On je 18. avgusta saznao da je bio jedan od pet pilota izabranih iz 88 eskadrile da se preobuku u pilote lovce. He was posted to RAF Drem for training with No. 145 Squadron. He flew a Hawker Hurricane fighter for the first time days later on 22 August. Within nine days he had logged 18 hours in the type. On 3 September he was given official leave to travel to London. There he received his DFC at Buckingham Palace. He returned to No. 145 shortly afterwards and was based at RAF Tangmere, Croydon and Westhampnett. No. 11 Group RAF was in the thick of the fighting and suffered many casualties. MacLachlan and his group were to replace the many pilots killed or wounded. MacLachlan practiced operational take-offs, fighter tactics, radio control, break-aways and dogfights—the essence of air-to-air combat. He was sent on patrols on 30 August, but only over Scotland, to guard against attacks from Luftflotte 5 (Air Fleet 5) based in Norway. No interceptions were made as air combat was rare in the north. On 21 September MacLachlan survived a force-landing at Dyce, caused by an oil leak. On 27 September 1940 MacLachlan was posted to the south at Debden, arriving two days later. He was then assigned to No. 73 Squadron RAF at RAF Castle Camps. [12]

On 30 September MacLachlan flew in defence of London as a large raid sought to attack the city. The RAF fighters performed well but 73 Squadron did not encounter the enemy. As September ended the Luftwaffe began sending fighter-bombers (Jabos)—bomb carrying Bf 109s—over England. The following day MacLachlan was promoted to flight lieutenant in view of his experience. On 7 October he intercepted one such raid and engaged in air-to-air combat for the first time as a fighter pilot. At 09:50 the unit was scrambled to defend Chelmsford. Flying with No. 257 Squadron they overflew the Thames Estuary. No contact was made. At 12:30 they were scrambled again. This time MacLachlan spotted two Bf 109s at 20,000 feet. Six more attacked the squadron and MacLachlan managed to fire a burst which hit one and it dove away emitting smoke and gained a probable victory. On 12 October 1940 MacLachlan pursued a Heinkel He 111 over Castle Camps but could not catch the enemy machine which was too far away at high altitude. It proved to be his last encounter with the enemy during the Battle of Britain. [13]

Two weeks later MacLachlan learned he was to be relocated to Malta. Twelve pilots and 207 men boarded HMS Argus in the River Clyde just off Greenock on 7 November 1940 and set sail for the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations. The convoy sent to Malta constituted a part of Operation Collar. The operation was to supply aircraft for the Island's defence. In June 1940 Italy had declared war on France when the country was on the verge of collapse at the hands of the German Wehrmacht. The Italians hoped they could take advantage of the weakened Allies by joining the Axis Powers. It was the Italian intent to launch a series of air, naval and land offensives throughout the Mediterranean and in particularly in North Africa. Malta lay across Italian sea communications between Sicily and Italian-held Libya. The island had the potential to be a useful base from which the British could disrupt Axis supplies to and from North Africa and the ensuing North African Campaign. The Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force) resolved to eliminate the island by bombing shipping bringing in supplies and attacking the island directly. With air power crucial to both sides, the island was reinforced. [14]

MacLachlan found himself at the heart of the battle for the island before the squadron arrived. On 27 November the convoy came under attack from the Italian Navy in the Battle of Cape Spartivento. MacLachlan saw the Italian fleet at a distance and witnessed enemy shells splashing around the ship. He also witnessed an attack by Italian Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 bombers but they failed to damage the ships. Most of the Hurricanes that took off from the Argus fell into the water out of fuel. The pilots had not run the Hurricanes at economic speeds for fuel consumption. [14]

Serving on Malta with No. 261 Squadron at RAF Ta' Qali, MacLachlan soon got bored, with little to do and no aircraft to fly. He was granted a trip to Tangiers in Spanish Morocco for Christmas and New Year's leave. While there he was arrested by the authorities for taking pictures near a Spanish Navy facility and released a short time later. He travelled to Gibraltar where he wangled trips on flying boats from No. 202 Squadron RAF which was monitoring German and Vichy French shipping sailing between eastern Spanish ports and Italy. MacLachlan returned to Malta on a Short Sunderland on 5 January 1941. [15]

Over Malta Edit

A new convoy, codenamed Operation Excess was on its way through Malta with ammunition supplies. Excess coincided with the arrival of the Luftwaffe Fliegerkorps X (10th Air Corps) in Sicily to support the faltering Italians in the theatre, after the failed invasion of Egypt. On 9 January the Regia Aeronautica flew a fighter sweep over the Grand Harbour. Eighteen Macchi C.200s from 6° Gruppo were engaged in aerial combat. MacLachlan climbed to 22,000 feet and spotted the enemy fighters 10,000 below. He attacked a group of six and shot one down into the sea where it left a large plume of water. MacLachlan circled the sea and noticed the Italian pilot had escaped his aircraft and survived. Capitano Luigi Armanino was taken aboard a rescue craft to a prisoner of war camp in Malta, wounded in the thigh and arm. MacLachlan claimed a second Macchi shot down minutes later. The following day he attacked an Italian Fiat CR.42 over the Excess convoy as the Italians attacked the ships once more. Four others appeared and they climbed over him and dropped onto his tail. Not risking a five to one encounter, MacLachlan flew over the Excess convoy hoping the ship's fire would protect him The British vessels fired at him in error but his aircraft was not hit. [16]

By the 10 January HMS Illustrious had docked in Malta. The Luftwaffe attacked the ship again and scored six damaging hits. MacLachlan's squadron failed to intercept the Ju 87 dive bombers that morning. On 16 January he witnessed several formations of Ju 87s and Junkers Ju 88s attack the ship. Unable to stand the sight, he raced with a fellow pilot to a dispersal strip and asked to take-off only to be refused permission. [17] [18] Three days later, MacLachlan was in action against two German units: Sturzkampfgeschwader 2 (StG 2—Dive Bomber Wing 2) and Sturzkampfgeschwader 1 (StG 1—Dive Bomber Wing 1). He attacked one Ju 87 killing the gunner before dispatching it into the sea. Returning to base he spotted a Ju 87 that had double-backed, hoping to slip past the defences to attack the aircraft carrier. MacLachlan destroyed the aircraft (3–4 victories) and then had to take evasive action when attacked by an Italian CR.42. [19] He shot the Italian fighter down: Sergente Maggiore Iacone from 70a Squadriglia bailed out was taken prisoner. He passed single CR.42s and Ju 87s flying low and unaware of his presence but his ammunition was exhausted. During the course of the mission his fifth victory made him a fighter ace. [20] RAF fighters claimed six Ju 87s shot down during the air battle and three can be confirmed. Oberfeldwebel Kurt Zube and his gunner was killed as was Unteroffizier Rudolf Vater—both served in I./StG 1. Obergefreiter Hans Küsters of II./StG 2 was also killed. A further I./StG 1 Ju 87 returned badly damaged with a dead gunner. [21]

Frustrated at exhausting his ammunition he landed. After the Hurricanes had been refuelled he was scrambled again to intercept an enemy formation. MacLachlan stumbled across a Cant Z.506-B bomber of 612 Squadriglia during the sortie which he destroyed. The pilot, Sottotenente Ignazio Rossi was killed in action. [22] After landing, yet another raid came in. MacLachlan climbed and singled out a Junkers Ju 88 of 8./Lehrgeschwader 1 (LG 1—Learning Wing 1). The Ju 88 saw him coming and swung around to a head-on position. After a brief turning duel MacLachlan hit the port engine and it crashed into the bay near Zonkor Point. For his actions he was awarded a bar to his DFC on 24 January. [23]

On 9 February he claimed a night victory—a Ju 88 which vanished. MacLachlan claimed it destroyed. The Malta Y Service was combing the air waves and picked up the German crew's desperate distress calls. The aircraft was actually a He 111 from 5./Kampfgeschwader 26 (KG 26—Bomber Wing 26). All the crew survived though one was wounded. Within half an hour he was in the air again. He engaged a Ju 88 from II./LG 1 and claimed it shot down. In fact the Ju 88 managed to reach Catania, Sicily where it was written off in a crash-landing. [24] [25]

Over the next few days morale began to sink when Bf 109s from 7./JG 26, led by Oberleutnant Joachim Müncheberg appeared over Malta and immediately took a toll of Hurricanes. The British fighter could not match the performance of the Bf 109. MacLachlan took a flight of them by surprise on the 11 February but the German pilots spotted them in time, climbed and dived. According to MacLachlan they "left us standing"—in his diary he noted the poor morale of the squadron owing to the success of the Bf 109s and he recorded the desperation of pilots eager to shoot one down. [26] On 16 February 1941 MacLachlan's Hurricane Mk. Ia (V7731) was again in battle with the Luftwaffe. In the morning his squadron engaged Bf 109s over Malta. After careful manoeuvering he managed to get onto the tail of a Bf 109 but neglected to check his own six o'clock position. He was hit by cannon fire which shattered his engine and cockpit. His left arm began bleeding profusely and ceased to function. He managed to remove his helmet and radio equipment and slide back the canopy and jump out. MacLachlan gave up trying to reach for his ripcord, assuming it must have been shot off. Later, MacLachlan said he had almost given up altogether when the thought of his mother reading the telegram informing her he had been killed in action spurred him on to try once again. He struggled and found the ripcord and deployed his parachute. Exhausted, he landed in a garden and lay there before being recovered. [27]

MacLachlan, after being shot down on 9 February 1941. [27]

MacLachlan probably was hit by a Bf 109 flown by Müncheberg himself—the German fighter leader had reported his 26th victory as a Hurricane with the pilot bailing out. He was the only British pilot to bail out in the battle. [28] The Hurricane crashed near Addolorata Cemetery near Paola. [29] MacLachlan remained in hospital with a severely wounded left arm. He was pumped with saline solution to prevent blood clotting but his arm was too badly damaged and it was amputated below the elbow. His determination and reputation was as such, the nurses and squadron were already taking bets on whether or not he would return to action within a fortnight on the day of the operation. [30] While in hospital he began speaking with Luigi Armanino, the pilot he had shot down days earlier. Among the topics of discussion were strengths of the Italian aircraft and Armanino's exploits piloting CR.42s during the Spanish Civil War. [31] [32]

MacLachlan stayed on Malta and took a flight in a transport aircraft on 6 March, winning the shilling bet. He embarked in HMS Defender on 22 March to return to Britain. He toured Egypt and then took a detour to Athens, Greece. The Axis had invaded Greece and Yugoslavia on 6 April and the Battle of Greece was on the verge of an out come within two weeks and MacLachlan was evacuated back to Egypt. He flew down the Nile River into Sudan and Kenya in a captured German Junkers Ju 52 and piloted the aircraft himself on 24 April. Stopping at various airfields he flew when he could. On one such occasion he flew a North American T-6 Texan in an aerobatic sortie. He reached South Africa on 10 May. He flew home on a Boeing 314 Clipper via Lagos, Bathurst in Gambia, Lisbon, Portugal, Dublin, Ireland arriving in Bristol on 7 August. [33]

Night fighter Edit

MacLachlan reported to No. 1 Depot, RAF Uxbridge and two days later attended No. 2 Central Medical Board on 13 August. He was certified fit to fly and flew Supermarine Spitfire on 21 August. He moved to Bournemouth to see his brother Gordon who was now a pilot officer in No. 501 Squadron RAF. At Queen Mary's Hospital he was fitted with a new arm. MacLachlan explained to the doctors that he required an arm that would allow him to fly a Hurricane. They designed a limb that allowed him to operate the throttle while taking the control column and firing button with his right hand. They spent hours studying the cockpit layout. The medical staff produced an arm with four spring-loaded pins, like fingers, which enabled him to use the controls on the port side of the cockpit. They secured his left arm to the levers of the throttle quadrant: throttle, propeller pitch control, supercharger and mixture control. The landing gear controls were located on the right side. The artificial arm had to interact with the control column while the gear was being retracted or lowered. His new arm proved sufficient and in September 1941 he flew as many hours in Hurricanes as possible, though not without incident. On 7 September 1941 he force-landed in darkness during a searchlight co-operation exercise. On 28 September 1941 he nearly collided with a Bristol Blenheim in low-cloud. Nevertheless, he was cleared for operational flying on 15 October. [34]

On 3 November 1941 MacLachlan was promoted to squadron leader, [35] and was given command of No. 1 Squadron at Redhill Aerodrome, equipped with the Hawker Hurricane Mk. IIc for night intruder operations over western Europe. MacLachlan was assigned his personal aircraft, Hurricane BD983/JX-Q. He painted an emblem showing a left arm with a cannon shell passing through it and the fingers giving the V sign. The squadron spent the winter, 1941–2 in intensive night fighter training with searchlight and ground control station. In February 1942 he attended the Searchlight School at Shrivenham. In his absence he missed the Channel Dash and subsequent air battle during which the squadron lost two pilots. The squadron scored its first success on 1 April—his 23rd birthday—when Karel Kuttelwascher—with whom he often flew—destroyed two Ju 88s. MacLachlan found locating German aircraft in the dark difficult, though he himself claimed a locomotive damaged on the night and left two of its wagons destroyed. [36]

In 1942 the Baedeker Raids were in operation against British cities in retaliation for RAF Bomber Commands attacks on Germany. The Luftwaffe was stepping up its campaign although it was fully engaged on the Eastern Front. On 18 April Do 217s raided Portsmouth in retaliation for an attack on Lübeck on 28/29 March. An attack on Rostock resulted in retaliation with raids on Bath, Exeter, Canterbury, Norwich and York. On the night of 26–27 April 1942 the Luftwaffe attacked Bath. MacLachlan took off in the evening of the 26 April and headed for airfields around Evreux and Dreux. He claimed a I./Kampfgeschwader 2 (KG 2—Bomber Wing 2) Dornier Do 217 destroyed which came down near Evreux severely damaged. A second was damaged but his port cannon jammed preventing its destruction. Air Vice Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory sent his congratulations and his exploits were printed in The Times newspaper. On 30 April MacLachlan and Kuttelwascher set out again with a 25-minute interval between both. Kuttelwascher claimed a Do 217 and He 111, but MacLachlan settled for the destruction of two locomotives between Le Havre and Rouen. He also damaged a tug boat on the Seine and destroyed another locomotive near Yvetot. These successes were achieved in two missions on the same night. [37]

James MacLachlan to the BBC on 18 May 1942. [38]

On 4/5 May the Luftwaffe hit Exeter severely. That night MacLachlan claimed destroyed two He 111s of Küstenfliegergruppe 506. He trailed the German bombers back to France and attacked them where they believed they were safe. In fact both of his victims were Ju 88s which crashed near Dinard. From Feldwebel Robert Bogel's Wrk Nr. 1528, only the gunner was able to bail out, while observer Leutnant zur See (naval rank) Roman Wallner and Obergefreiter Johan Beibl were killed. There was only one survivor from Unteroffizier Josef Palmer's Ju 88D-4 Wrk Nr. 1154 Unteroffizier Karl Schorn managed to bail out but Leutnant zur See Ernst Tramp and Richard Staub were killed. [39] [40]

On 16 May MacLachlan was informed that he would be decorated with the Distinguished Service Order (DSO). On 29 May the award was announced. His tally stood at 11 air victories and he was becoming a recognised night flyer and ground-attack ace. On 18 May 1942 the BBC interviewed him for the 9 pm news. During the interview he gave his views on the dangers and thrills of night fighter operations. [41]

On 3/4 June 1942 MacLachlan infiltrated a group of Do 217s from KG 2 as they orbited in preparation for landing at Saint-André-sur-Orne. Within 14 seconds he had shot down two bombers and damaged two more (victories 12–13) before German defences were alerted and began returning fire. Flying with Kuttelwascher, they trailed a formation of 15 German bombers that had raided Poole. Sighting them over their own airfield he destroyed one and then was detected by searchlights. Taking evasive action he latched onto another and shot it down. A third and fourth were damaged. Kuttelwascher arrived and as MacLachlan left and claimed another He 111 and Do 217. [42] MacLachlan saw two flashes on the ground denoting a crashed aircraft after he attacked. German records show two Do 217s shot down one crash-landed and one severely damaged. MacLachlan's first victim appears to have been Unteroffizier Gerhard Wagner's Wrk Nr. 5392 Do 217 from 3./KG 2. Wagner, Feldwebel Wilhelm Oberwohr, Unteroffizier Josef Maier and Oberfledwebel Anton Lamm were killed. Another II./KG 2 Do 217 crashed there while another was severely damaged. Another Do 217 fell 40 miles south of Cherbourg but this machine—Wrk nr. 5331 piloted by Feldwebel Hans Koch of 7./KG 2—was likely a victim of Kuttelwascher. All of the crew were killed in action. [43] It was MacLachlan's last victory with the squadron. He flew five more intruder sorties during which he returned via Antwerp and Ostend at near-zero feet after his map had blown out the side-canopy window on 26 June and chased a Ju 88 45 miles south of Selsey Bill without result on 2 July. [44]

The Daily Express hailed their success with two articles, "The Killers Who Stalk By Night". Needing a rest, the squadron was withdrawn to Yorkshire. On 31 July MacLachlan was posted to 59 Operational Training Unit (OTU) as an instructor. While there he and Kuttelwascher were decorated with the Czechoslovak War Cross by the exiled President of Czechoslovakia Edvard Beneš on 11 August 1942. Before he left, MacLachlan had the opportunity to fly the Hawker Typhoon which was to replace 1 Squadron's ageing Hurricanes. [45] [46]

American tour Edit

While based at Crosby-on-Eden with 59 OTU MacLachlan spent time flying other types of aircraft including the Bristol Beaufighter. On 20 August 1942 he was posted to the Air Fighting Development Unit at RAF Duxford for a short time. MacLachlan flew as often as he could regardless of the activity. He flew as a co-pilot in a Short Stirling heavy bomber and practiced fighter evasion techniques and then proceeded to fly 15 types of aircraft in 11 days. MacLachaln also flew Supermarine Spitfires, acting as an attacking fighter as well as the American-made Bell P-39 Airacobra. MacLachlan also flew with the No. 1426 Flight RAF which operated captured German aircraft. He flew a Ju 88, M2+MK formerly of Küsten Flieger Gruppe 106 which force-landed at RAF Chivenor in November 1941. Hew flew in a passenger on Heinkel He 111 (AW177) 1H+EN of 5./KG 26 which force-landed in Scotland in February 1940. At this time he provided escort to the resident Messerschmitt Bf 110 at the unit as it moved around airfields, although it is unknown if he flew it. By 4 October 1942 he had received notice that he had been selected as an RAF representative to tour the United States lecturing British and American trainee's in United States Army Air Force facilities. MacLachlan left 59 OTU with immediate effect. [47]

MacLachlan departed Liverpool for Canada aboard the RMS Queen Elizabeth in a heavily guarded convoy and arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia on 17 October 1942. He travelled to Montreal on 24 October where he was met by reporters and photographers to publicise the event before moving to New York City that night. From New York he went to Washington D.C. on 28 October where he received orders from the RAF delegation. MacLachlan was to teach British officer cadets in American flying schools RAF General Service Regulations to prepare them for when they entered an OTU in Britain. Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama was designated as his headquarters but MacLachlan was based at Eglin Air Force Base initially. His post necessitated trips to the Craig Air Force Base near Selma, Alabama. [48]

MacLachlan travelled to flight schools across America. In November he flew to Orlando, Florida and across to Galveston, Texas near Palm Beach. The lecturing tour took him to Los Angeles California at the end of 1942. By January 1943 he had also visited Arizona and Texas. His flight log had expanded throughout this period to include a variety of types. Using his privileged position he flew the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, Lockheed P-38 Lightning and Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. Through flying MacLachlan felt the urge to participate in combat operations again but he enjoyed American hospitality immensely. In February he flew at an aerobatic show in Mesa, Arizona. On 18 February 1943 MacLachlan had a close call. While flying from Fort Stockton to El Paso, he force-landed in the desert when he ran out of fuel. According to a legend, MacLachaln used a local pipeline to fill the tanks. While in America he undertook several public relations tours and met movie stars such as Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine when he visited Hollywood for autographed photo-shoots. [48]

On 6 March 1943 MacLachlan began the journey back to Britain. He flew to Canada in a Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar where he spent eight days with the RAF Ferry Command in Montreal flying B-25 Mitchells. MacLachlan flew one of these aircraft under the railway bridge in Quebec. From Canada he flew to Bluie West, Greenland then to Reykjavik, Iceland. MacLachlan reached Prestwick on 3 April 1943. MacLachlan visited his comrades in 1 Squadron based nearby at Ibsley before moving on to Hunsdon to see night fighter officer John Cunningham. MacLachlan may have wanted another squadron command but on 15 April 1943 MacLachlan was sent back to the Air Fighting Development Unit at RAF Wittering. [48]

MacLachlan's stay was unhappy. On 19 April 1943 he received news that his brother Gordon MacLachlan had been shot down over Brest, France while escorting B-24 bombers. They were intercepted by Focke-Wulf Fw 190s belonging to 1./Jagdgeschwader 2. Unteroffizier Erich Henning and Hauptmann Jürgen Heppe each claimed a Spitfire. 616 Squadron lost Gordon and Squadron leader Pip Lefevre. Lefevre survived and evaded capture, returning to Britain via Gibraltar. Gordon was killed and the Germans recovered the body and buried him at Plouguerneau. MacLachlan was bitter at the loss of his brother and was keen to get back into action against the enemy. [48]

MacLachlan rejoined the AFDU at Wittering on 15 April 1943. On 19 April he began trials in the P-51 Mustang (termed Mustang IA by the RAF). He selected FD442 which became his personal mount. The P-51, was at that time, powered by an Allison V-1710 and armed with two 20 mm cannon in each wing. MacLachlan also flew Mustangs powered by the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine which proved so successful in later variants which flew and fought in the USAAF. MacLachlan visited his old school at Monkton on 29 May 1943 which had pledged £1,000 for the five needed to buy a Spitfire as part of a local Wings for Victory campaign. [49]

MacLachlan was not content in his position and pestered his superiors for an operational posting after weeks of practicing air combat with RAF Army Cooperation Command. Reluctantly, AOC Fighter Command Trafford Leigh-Mallory gave him permission to carry out Ranger operations over occupied France. Since his return MacLachlan had been devising tactics for long-range penetrations into enemy airspace, where Allied fighter aircraft had not operated before in daylight. He proposed to get through the Luftwaffe defence belt at low-altitude and consequently trained in low-level navigation by spending hours flying around England at tree-top height. With this in mind, he flew a sortie on the 8 June 1943. The poor weather combined with the sighting of two Fw 190s near Le Tréport forced him to turn for home. The rear-ward vision of the P-51B (or IA as the British referred to it), was limited. Flying alone where enemy aircraft could approach unseen was courting disaster and MacLachlan decided he needed assistance. [49]

Flight Lieutenant Geoffrey Page had just arrived at the ADFU. He had been a fighter pilot but was shot down and badly burned on 12 August 1940 during the Battle of Britain. Page was also keen on vengeance and approached MacLachlan in the Mess and proposed a two-fighter patrol. [50] He said that he wanted one German fighter for each of the 15 operations he had endured since 1940. The two pilots began to practice together in two Mustangs. The operation required little wind, so it would not interfere with navigation and a low cloud base to allow the two to spot enemy aircraft silhouette against it at even great distances. Hawker Typhoons from MacLachlann's former 1 Squadron to carry out diversion attacks against shipping off Boulogne. The operation was flown on 29 June 1943. At 08:55 they took off from RAF Lympne. Page later recalled, "Fine bloody pair we are, going off to tackle the enemy with only one good hand between us!" [49] [51]

As the two P-51s crossed over the Seine and reached Rambouillet, they sighted a formation of enemy aircraft. Brief bursts of machine gun fire dispatched four Focke-Wulf Fw 56 trainers—two falling to MacLachlan. Their victims were from JG 105. Gefreiter Walter Seigler was killed in Wrk. Nr. 1868 and Kurt Prager died in Wrk Nr. 2438. Gefreiter Alois Erdl was wounded and the aircraft written off and the fourth was able to force-land safely, damaged. Gefreiter Gotze-Gerd Kuhn was unhurt. They continued their hunt and flying near Bretigny spotted two Ju 88 night fighters or bombers coming into land. MacLachlan destroyed the first and shared the second with Page. Both aircraft belonged to IV./Kampfgeschwader 6 (KG 6—Bomber Wing 6). The pilots—Gefreiter Gerhard Zimmermann and Unteroffizier Karl Brocks—were killed. The Mustangs retreated when the airfield defences retaliated with gunfire. MacLachlan and Page returned at 1,000 feet and crossed the coast south-west of Dieppe and crossed between Brighton and Newhaven upon their return. MacLachlan was awarded a second Bar to his DFC while Page received the DFC. [49]

Page and MacLachlan flew to No. 96 Squadron RAF which was then flying de Havilland Mosquito night fighters. He requested his old gunner, Les Davies, who now piloted Mosquitos to join them. Davies accepted but MacLachlan was killed before he could take up the offer. MacLachlan and Page flew to Tangmere on 15 July. On his next mission on 18 July 1943 MacLachlan's Mustang FD442 was probably hit by ground fire when crossing the French coast near Dieppe. Page noticed MacLachlan's Mustang suddenly pull up sharply from their tree-top height by about 1,000 feet. He saw MacLachlan pull back the canopy but apparently changed his mind about bailing out as the aircraft leveled out and descended. The Mustang then headed towards a small field. MacLachaln touched down three-quarters the way across and the Mustang ploughed into an orchard at the field's edge which ripped off the wings. Page orbited the crash site several times and considered landing to rescue him but the space was too confined. Page dived at the wreck and took gun-camera footage but could see no signs of life and then headed home. The Operations Record was unable to determine the cause of the crash. MacLachlan made no radio broadcast. It was possibly the result of enemy small-arms fire or mechanical failure. On 30 July MacLachlan was awarded a second Bar to his DFC. [49]

MacLachlan was critically injured. The Germans took him prisoner, and treated him for a fractured skull at Field Hospital 711 at Pont-l'Évêque. MacLachlan lingered for 13 days before succumbing to the wounds on 31 July 1943. He was buried at Pont-l'Évêque Communal Cemetery in Grave 4, Zone 7. French civilian Monsieur Huet and his son attended the funeral that was administered by a German priest. They took a photograph of the grave which was covered in flowers by French civilians. A wooden plaque was placed there with the words "He died so France might live"— German authorities quickly had it removed. [49] Page learned years later that McLachlan survived the crash and died weeks afterwards. [52] MacLachlan's wartime score was 16 aircraft claimed destroyed, one shared with three aircraft claimed damaged. [53]

  • 16 July 1940 – Flying Officer James McLachlan (39639) of No. 88 Squadron is awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy: [54]
  • 11 February 1941 – Flight Lieutenant James McLachlan DFC (39639) of No. 261 Squadron is awarded the Bar to the DFC for gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy:

During intensive operations one day in January 1941 this officer destroyed four and possibly five enemy aircraft. Ten days previously he destroyed two enemy aircraft, one of which he had pursued for many miles out to sea. Flight Lieutenant McLachlan has set a fine example of courage, initiative and leadership.

  • 29 May 1942 – Squadron leader James McLachlan DFC and Bar (39639) of No. 1 Squadron is awarded the Distinguished Service Order for gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy:

During the early part of the war, this officer served in the Middle East where he destroyed eight enemy aircraft. Following an injury, his left arm was amputated, but, within a few weeks, he was flying again. Since his return to England, Squadron Leader MacLachlan has trained intensively in night flying operations and has achieved much success. On one night in May 1942, near Dinard, he show down a Dornier 217 and a few minutes later he shot down a Heinkel 111. The later burst into flames on impact with the ground, causing a fire which could be observed from a distance of 10 miles. Squadron Leader MacLachlan has attacked goods trains, trucks and barges with damaging effect. He is a gallant and skillful pilot whose example is an inspiration to all pilots.

  • 30 July 1943 – Squadron leader James McLachlan DFC and Bar (39639) of ADFU flight is awarded a second Bar to the DFC for gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy:

Recently these officers in the course of an operation over enemy occupied territory, shot down six enemy aircraft, three of which were destroyed by Squadron leader MacLachlan and two by Flight Lieutenant Page, while the other was destroyed jointly. The operation, which was planned by Squadron Leader MacLachlan, was brilliantly executed and the successes were worthily earned.


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