Action This Day

Eagle Day to Bombing of the Reich is a improved and enhanced edition of Talonsoft's older Battle of Britain and Bombing the Reich. This updated version represents the best simulation of the air war over Britain and the strategic bombing campaign over Europe that has ever been made.

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Re: Action This Day

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401 Sqn RCAF (Kenley – Spitfire IX) 7.1.43

Weather: Fog so thick it is impossible to see 100’ in any direction. Wind: 10 m.p.h. from the S.W. At 0830 hours Squadron 30 minutes available. At 1300 hours “B” Flight on readiness. At 1734 hours, the Squadron was released.

Serviceability: “A” Flight: 7 a/c, 8 pilots. “B” Flight: 7 a/c, 7 pilots.

BOMBER COMMAND
ESSEN
3 Pathfinder Mosquitoes and 19 Lancasters of 5 Group. No aircraft lost.

This raid was not as effective as earlier Oboe trials. Only incendiary bombs were recorded in Essen but 9 buildings were destroyed, 34 seriously damaged and 10 people were killed

USAAF
GREECE: A single IX Bomber Command B-24 on a special mission attacks a quay in Piraeus harbour.

SICILY: Ten IX Bomber Command B-24s of 25 dispatched attack Axis shipping in Palermo harbour. This is the first USAAF attack against Palermo.

TUNISIA: XII Bomber Command B-26s attack the harbour and airdrome at Gabes. While escorting the B-26s to Gabes in his unit’s North Africa combat debut, an 82d Fighter Group P-38 pilot downs a Bf-109.

RAF
Base Changes
60 Sqn SAAF TR (Maryland I/II, Baltimore II/III) moves to Marble Arch
232 Sqn (Spitfire VB/VC) moves to Bone

First and Last Operational Missions
154 Sqn (Bone) flies its first OM in the Spitfire VC
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Re: Action This Day

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467 Sqn RAAF (Bottesford – Lancaster I) 8.1.43
OPERATIONS again detailed for tonight, 7 crews being detailed. All were scrubbed with the exception of two, Sgt Stewart and crew and Sgt Wark and crew. Sgt Stewart & crew returned to BASE after successful trip. Deeply regret to have to report Sgt Wark and his crew are missing from this operation. This was an exceptionally good crew and their loss is deeply felt by the Squadron. Sgt Wark and Sgt Hanbridge, both of the crew, were being considered for commissioning as they were of the right type and fully justified officer’s rank.

ADDENDUM – Lancaster I ED367 PO-H. Crew: Sgt AM Wark RCAF, Sgt EJC Florrey RAAF, Sgt DHB Powell RCAF, Sgt RT Hanbridge RCAF, Sgt SV Royce RCAF, Sgt JW Humphries RAAF, Sgt HA Horton RCAF. T/o 1726 Bottesford. Lost without a trace. All are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. Sgt Wark was an American from Seattle, while Sgt Horton hailed from Brooklyn, New York. This was the first Lancaster reported missing from 467 Sqn.

BOMBER COMMAND
Duisburg
3 Mosquitoes of the Pathfinders, now officially designated as 8 Group, and 38 Lancasters of 5 Group. (It can be assumed that all Mosquitoes on night-bombing operations were from 8 Group until otherwise stated and, in other operations, the terms ‘8 Group’ and ‘Pathfinders’ will both be used; they are quite interchangeable.) 3 Lancasters were lost. No report is available from Duisburg.

Minor Operations: 73 aircraft minelaying off the Danish and German coasts, 2 O.T.U. sorties. 2 minelaying Lancasters were lost.

USAAF
TUNISIA: XII Bomber Command B-17s attack the naval base at Bizerte and the port facilities at Ferryville; XII Bomber Command B-26s attack Kairouan Airdrome; XII Bomber Command B-25s attack bridges and rail lines at Graiba and Kalaa Srira; XII Fighter Command A-20s and P-40s attack German Army tanks near Gabes; and IX Bomber Command B-24s attack Tunis after being diverted by bad weather from the briefed primary, Bizerte.

While escorting and supporting the various bombing missions, fighter pilots of the 1st, 14th, 33d, 52d, and 82d Fighter groups down a total of eight GAF fighters.

RAF
Base Changes
257 Sqn (Typhoon IB) moves to Warmwell
601 Sqn (Spitfire VC) moves to Haraiet

First and Last Operational Missions
51 Sqn (Snaith) flies its first OM in the Halifax II
77 Sqn (Elvington) flies its first OM in the Halifax II
90 Sqn (Ridgewell) flies its first OM in the Stirling III
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Re: Action This Day

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419 Sqn RCAF (Middleton St. George–Halifax II) 9.1.43
Five aircraft on a mine-laying operation in the area of the FRISIAN ISLANDS. One aircraft failed to return and its loss was presumed to be due to enemy action.

ADDENDUM – Halifax II W7857 VR-O. Crew: Sgt FH Barker RCAF, Sgt RE Sackville-Golden, F/S HA Dunn RCAF, F/S VA Hugli RCAF, Sgt DA Watson RCAF, Sgt WD Cameron RCAF, F/S WG Murphy RCAF. T/o 1632 Middleton St. George. Down by Oblt. Hans-Joachim Jabs (17th victory) 11./NJG1 into the sea 20 km. W. Vlieland at 2215 hours. F/S Dunn and F/S Hugli lie in Sage War Cemetery, while Sgt Watson rests in Kviberg Cemetery, Sweden. The others are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. These were the first operational casualties from 419 Squadron since converting to the Halifax.

BOMBER COMMAND
12 Venturas dispatched to Ijmuiden steelworks, 12 Bostons to Abbeville airfields and 7 Mosquitoes to railway targets at Mons and Rouen. The Abbeville force was recalled but all other targets were bombed. 1 Mosquito lost.

ESSEN
2 Pathfinder Mosquitoes and 50 Lancasters of 5 Group. 3 Lancasters lost.

Essen reports concentrated bombing in or near the centre with 127 buildings destroyed or seriously damaged and 28 people killed.

MINELAYING
121 aircraft – 78 Halifaxes, 41 Wellingtons, 2 Stirlings – on a large minelaying operation in the Frisians, the German Bight, and the Kattegat. 97 aircraft reported laying mines in the designated areas. 4 Halifaxes lost.

USAAF
LIBYA: XII Bomber Command B-26s attack Tripoli/Castel Benito Airdrome.

TUNISIA: XII Bomber Command B-25s attack Axis shipping at sea off Tunisia’s northern coast.

RAF
Base Changes
40 Sqn SAAF TR (hurricane IIB) moves to Hamraiet
92 Sqn (Spitfire VB/VC)moves to Hamraiet
112 Sqn (Kittyhawk III) moves to Hamraiet
145 Sqn (Spitfire VC) moves to Hamraiet
230 Sqn (Non-Op) moves to SEAC

First and Last Operational Missions
129 Sqn (Grimsetter) flies its first OM in the Spitfire VC
408 Sqn RCAF (Leeming) flies its first OM in the Halifax II
417 Sqn RCAF (Idku) flies its last OM in the Hurricane IIC
419 Sqn RCAF (Middleton St. George) flies its first OM in the Halifax II
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Re: Action This Day

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401 Sqn RCAF (Kenley – Spitfire IX) 10.1.43
Weather: Milder with fog covering aerodrome. Visibility 200 yards. Wind: 20 M.P.H. from S. At 0820 hours Squadron 30 minutes available. At 0850 hours Blue section on readiness. At 1300 hours Squadron 30 minutes available. At 1742 hours Squadron released.

Serviceability: “A” Flight: 7 a/c and 8 pilots; “B” Flight: 6 a/c and 8 pilots.

USAAF
TUNISIA: XII Bomber Command B-26s attack the marshalling yards and oil depot at Gabes; XII Bomber Command B-26s dispatched against Sousse abort in the face of bad weather; XII Fighter Command A-20s and P-40s attack the Axis military camp at Kebili; and IX Bomber Command B-24s attack La Goulette after being thwarted by bad weather over Bizerte.

During a fighter raid against Kairouan, Maj Philip G. Cochran, the commanding officer of the 33d Fighter Group’s 58th Fighter Squadron, is credited with scoring a direct hit with a bomb on the building housing the regional German Army headquarters. In return, however, six Bf-109s strafe the 33d Fighter Group’s advance fighter base at Thelepte.

RAF
Base Changes
65 Sqn (Spitfire VB) moves to Drem

First and Last Operational Missions
46 Sqn (Idku) flies its first OM in the Beaufighter VIF
243 Sqn (Bone – Spitfire VB) flies its first OM in the MTO
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Re: Action This Day

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401 Sqn RCAF (Kenley – Spitfire IX) 11.1.43
Weather: Heavy gsround haze 10/10 cumulus at 1000’. Wind: 25 m.p.h. from S.E. At 0817 hours Squadron 30 minutes available. At 1400 hours pilots briefed for Fighter Rodeo. Weather: Thin wispy clouds over Kenley at 5000’, 1/10 cumulus over Channel at 4000’, 5/10 cumulus over Frace at 4000’ with good visibility. Wind: 30 m.p.h. from South.

Briefing: 401 and 402 Squadrons. R/V: Kenley 500’ at 1445 hours. Route and Timing: Hardelot 25,000’ at 1511 hours. Cayeux 25,000’ at 1521 hours. Sweep – Hardelot – Abbeville – Cayeux Area flying at 25,000’ and engage any huns that may be in the vicinity. The Wing Leader to have complete freedom of action.

General Report: S/Ldr. K.L.B. Hodson D.F.C., led the Kenley Wing and reported Squadron airborne at 1443 hours after joining 402 Squadron airborne at the same time and who were supplying top cover, set course for France. The English coast was crossed at Dungeness at 10,000’ and the French coast at Hardelot at 20,000’ and after penetrating for about 10 miles the Squadron turned right and flew south as far as Abbeville. The Squadron turned left and flew directly over Abbeville Aerodrome at 23,000’ where black, heavy, accurate, intense flak was encountered bursting at 25000’. One F.W.190 was seen taking off for Abbeville but was lost immediately after it was airborne. The Squadron proceeded to the French coast at Berck-sur-mer where they turned left and orbited Berck-sur-mer – Cayeux Area for 20 minutes but no E/A were seen so they set course for home, crossing the English coast at Dungeness at 10,000’ and all our aircraft landed safely at 1605 hours. No enemy shipping was reported.

At 1715 hours, W/C Fee gave the pilots a talk on the high speed supercharger which is installed on Spitfire IX’s. At 1744 hours the Squadron was released.

Serviceability: “A” Flight: 6 a/c and 7 pilots; “B” Flight: 6 a/c and 7 pilots.

BOMBER COMMAND
ESSEN
4 Pathfinder Mosquitoes and 72 Lancasters of 1 and 5 Groups. 1 Lancaster lost.

Essen’s records have no report for this night but it is not known whether bombs did not fall in the city or whether the local officials did not retain the report

USAAF
ITALY: IX Bomber Command B-24s attack the port of Naples with 40 1,000-pound bombs, but results are obscured by the cloud cover over the target. Two B-24s are lost to enemy fire. (This is the only one of many missions against Naples to actually reach the assigned target in the month of January 1943. Because of poor weather conditions and low visibility throughout the month, twenty-two other missions against Naples are diverted to Palermo, Messina, and other secondary targets.)

LIBYA: In two separate afternoon actions, 57th Fighter Group P-40 pilots down three Bf-109s and an Italian Air Force Mc.202.

TUNISIA: XII Bomber Command B-17s attack fortifications in and around Gadames and the rail and highway bridge spanning the Oued el-Akarit River, near Gabes. In a 25-minute running battle, two escorting 1st Fighter Group P-38s and their pilots are lost against one Bf-109 confirmed destroyed.

XII Bomber Command B-25s attack Axis shipping at sea off the northern Tunisian coast. While escorting the B-25s, 14th Fighter Group P-38s pilots down two Ju-52s and a six-engine flying boat.

While attacking German Army tanks near Fondouk el-Aouareb, 33d Fighter Group P-40 pilots down two FW-190s.

GAF fighters strafe the advance fighter strip at Thelepte.

RAF
Base Changes
2 Sqn SAAF (Kittyhawk I) moves to Belindah
3 Sqn RAAF (Kittyhawk II) moves to Hamraiet 3
4 Sqn SAAF (Kittyhawk I) moves to Belindah
5 Sqn SAAF (Kittyhawk III) moves to Antelat
12 Sqn SAAF (Boston III) moves to Gzina
21 Sqn SAAF (Baltimore III/IV) moves to El Chell 2
73 Sqn (Hurricane IIC) moves to Tamet
91 Sqn (Spitfire VA/VB) moves to Hawkinge
250 Sqn (Kittyhawk III) moves to Hamraiet 3
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Re: Action This Day

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401 Sqn RCAF (Kenley – Spitfire IX) 12.1.43
Weather: Very unsettled 10/10 cumulus at 1000’. Raining at 1200 hours. Wind: 25 m.p.h. from S. At 0817 hours Squadron on 30 minutes available. At 0827 hours F/O Godefroy and P/O MacDonald airborne on Rhubarb to Yvetet Area. Landfall was made on French coast at Etretat. Flew to railway just west of Yvetet and followed it westward to Bolbec, turning north and coming out at Vattetot. One flak post fired on them just west of Etretat and three machine guns opened up just east Yvetet. Weather over France 5/10 cumulus at 4000’. Both aircraft landed safe at Kenley at 0940 hours. At 1000 hours a fighter ramrod was planned but cancelled due to weather. At 1640 hours Squadron was released.

Serviceability: “A” Flight: 8 a/c and 8 pilots; “B” Flight: 6 a/c and 8 pilots.

BOMBER COMMAND
ESSEN
4 Pathfinder Mosquitoes and 55 Lancasters of 1 and 5 Groups. 1 Lancaster lost.

The Oboe equipment of the first Mosquito to arrive failed and the other 3 Mosquitoes were all late. Because of this, many of the Lancasters bombed on dead reckoning. Some bombs did fall in Essen, where 20 houses were destroyed or seriously damaged and 9 people were killed, but other bombs fell in Neviges, Remscheid, Solingen and Wuppertal, a group of towns 12–20 miles south of Essen. 19 people were killed in Remscheid.

Minor Operations: 32 aircraft minelaying off Biscay ports, 5 O.T.U. sorties. No losses.

USAAF
LIBYA: Twelve B-17s of XII Bomber Command’s 97th Heavy Bombardment Group, escorted by 15 1st Fighter Group P-38s, attack Tripoli/Castel Benito Airdrome from medium altitude at about 1400 hours. At least 20 of the estimated 110 bombers, fighters, and other aircraft parked at the airdrome are claimed as destroyed. During the withdrawal, a large number of Italian fighters attack the bombers, but only one bomber is damaged. Two Italian fighters are claimed as probably downed by a pair of the P-38 pilots, and bomber gunners claim 14 enemy fighters destroyed and three probably destroyed.

MEDITERRANEAN: XII Bomber Command B-25s dispatched to attack Axis ships at sea in the Gulf of Gabes and the Straits of Sicily fail to locate any targets.

TUNISIA: XII Bomber Command B-26s attack bridges at Chaaba and La Hencha.

1st Fighter Group P-38s attack trucks and moored seaplanes during a sweep over the Ben Gardane region. One Fi-156 observation plane is downed.

Seven GAF Ju-88s and five Bf-109s attack the advance fighter base at Thelepte, and two of the Ju-88s are downed by 33d Fighter Group P-40 pilots.

RAF

BASE CHANGES

26 Sqn (Mustang I) moves to Detling
238 Sqn (Hurricane IIC) moves to Gamil
260 Sqn (Kittyhawk II/III) moves to Bir Dufan
450 Sqn RAAF (Kittyhawk III) moves to Hamraiet 1

FIRST AND LAST OPERATIONAL MISSIONS

55 Sqn (LG.86) flies its last OM in the Baltimore II
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Re: Action This Day

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305 Sqn (Polish) (Hemswell – Wellington IV) 13.1.43
Weather: Fair to fine but showery at first. Wind: W.S.W. 10 – 15 m.p.h. backing to S.S.W. later.

OPERATION No. 171. Four aircraft were detailed to lay mines in enemy waters, the Captains being SGT. BOJARCZUK, SGT. KWIATOWSKI, SGT. GZELLA, and P/O. KRAWCZYK. Only the first-named successfully completed the operation; the second and third being obliged to turn back with their mines over the target and from START POINT respectively. PILOT OFFICER KRAWCZYK’s aircraft crashed near GRANTHAM, from an unknown cause on the outward journey – all the crew were killed and the aircraft burnt out. SGT. KWIATOWSKI’s aircraft landed at EXETER on return.

BOMBER COMMAND
ESSEN
3 Mosquitoes and 66 Lancasters. 4 Lancasters lost.

The Oboe Mosquitoes were again in trouble. 2 aircraft had to return without marking and the sky-markers of the third aircraft failed to ignite above the cloud. German aircraft also appeared to have dropped decoy flares to distract the Lancasters. Despite all this, Essen reports a sharp raid with 52 buildings destroyed and 67 seriously damaged. 20 of the buildings destroyed were wooden hutments for workers. 63 people were killed, including 11 French prisoners of war and 6 other foreigners, and 113 people were injured.

This raid concluded the recent series of Oboe Mosquito trials.

36 aircraft of 2 Group – 18 Venturas, 12 Bostons, 6 Mosquitoes – attacked airfield and railway targets in France. 6 Wellingtons laid mines in the Frisian Islands. No aircraft lost.

USAAF
FRANCE: Sixty-four VIII Bomber Command B-17s, escorted by 4th Fighter Group Spitfires, strike industrial targets in the Lille area with 125 tons of bombs. After dropping their bombs, two 306th Heavy Bombardment Group B-17s collide. Both bombers are lost and all 20 crewmen are listed as missing. Other losses amount to one B-17 missing and 15 B-17s damaged with two crewmen killed, ten crewmen missing, and nine crewmen wounded in battles with GAF fighters.

LIBYA: IX Bomber Command B-24s and B-25s abort their respective missions in the face of bad weather, but 57th Fighter Group P-40 pilots down two Bf-109s in one of two separate fighter actions.

MEDITERRANEAN: XII Bomber Command B-25s attack a sinking Axis freighter midway between Sicily and Tunisia.

TUNISIA: Five GAF Ju-88s bomb the advance fighter base at Thelepte early in the evening, but two are downed and another is damaged by 33d Fighter Group P-40 pilots based there.

Revised the following section on 12.1.43, I was a day ahead of myself yesterday.

RAF
Base Changes
94 Sqn (Hurricane IIC) moves to Martuba
243 Sqn (Spitfire VB) moves to Tingley
252 Sqn (Beaufighter IF/VIF) moves to Berka 3

First and Last Operational Missions
55 Sqn (LG.86) flies its last OM in the Baltimore III
466 Sqn RAAF (Leconfield – Wellington X) flies its first OM of the war
541 Sqn (Benson) flies its last OM in the Spitfire PRIX
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Re: Action This Day

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426 Sqn RCAF (Dishforth – Wellington III) 14.1.43
The long awaited day has arrived and Group requested five aircraft for mining off the Frisian coast. Briefing for this operation was almost completed when Group advised that plans had been and that 10 aircraft were to be detailed for bombing – Lorient the target. Armament Section shifted into top gear and by take-off 9 a/c, all that were serviceable and equipped with universal type carrier, were completely prepared, a magnificent effort on part of the Armament Section and ground crews, working in darkness and without supper. Nine crews were formed by mustering all aircrew who had not already taken off on operations in Harrogate or hockey in Durham. At 22.18 hours Wellington “A”, piloted by W/Cmdr. S.S. Blanchard became airborne, leading 426 Squadron on their first major effort, followed rapidly by the other 8 aircraft. All a/c carried a mixed load of 1,000 G.P. and incendiaries, and 7 a/c reached and bombed the target. Wellington X.3696 failed to bomb due to urgent difficulties and U/S rear turret. Wellington B.K.165 piloted by P/O. G. Milne has not been heard from since leaving base. The crews reported a number of searchlights in the target area with considerable light but little heavy flak.

Shortly after crossing the French coast at 19,000 ft., Sgt. H. Riles in the astro dome of W/C. S.S. Blanchard’s a/c sighted a JU.88 on the starboard beam at approx. 2,000 yards. The enemy a/c appeared to dive away and was then seen by the rear gunner, Sgt. J.H. Kveline, on the starboard quarter at 800 yards. Evasive action was started at 600 yards, and rear gunner opened fire at 400 yards, the enemy a/c broke away and was not sighted again.

ADDENDUM – Wellington III BK165. Crew: P/O G Milne, P/O RC Richards RCAF, Sgt JA Pollock RCAF, P/O GA McQuillin RCAF, Sgt WJ Sullivan RCAF, Sgt AR Madison. T/o 2237 Dishforth. Lost without a trace. All are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

The urgent difficulty in X3696 was the failure of the oxygen system.

BOMBER COMMAND
6 Halifaxes on a cloud-cover raid to Leer but only 1 aircraft bombed, through a gap in the clouds. 7 Wellingtons of 4 Group minelaying in the Frisians; 1 aircraft lost.

LORIENT
122 aircraft – 63 Halifaxes, 33 Wellingtons, 20 Stirlings, 6 Lancasters – in the first of 8 area attacks on this French port being used as a U-boat base. 2 Wellingtons lost. This was 6 Group’s first bombing operation, with 9 Wellingtons and 6 Halifaxes being sent to Lorient. Wellington BK165 of 426 Squadron was the group’s first loss.

The Pathfinder marking of the target was accurate but later bombing by the Main Force was described as ‘wild’. Lorient’s scanty report shows a minimum of 12 people killed in the centre of the town and 120 buildings, including 2 churches, destroyed.

Minor Operations: 41 aircraft minelaying off Lorient and Brest, 13 O.T.U. flights. 1 Wellington of 91 O.T.U. lost.

USAAF
BELGIUM: While attacking ground targets, 4th Fighter Group Spitfire pilots down two FW-190s.

One squadron of the 4th Fighter Group becomes the first Eighth Air Force operational unit to completely re-equip with P-47 fighters.

FRENCH MOROCCO: Top Allied leaders, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Sir Winston S. Churchill, open a conference at Casablanca to formulate international war plans for 1943.

LIBYA: In two separate actions near Gheddhia, 57th Fighter Group P-40 pilots down three Bf-109s and an Italian Air Force Mc.202.

MEDITERRANEAN: XII Bomber Command B-25s and P-38s are dispatched to attack Axis shipping at sea in the Straits of Sicily, but no ships are located. On the return flight, the P-38s strafe German Army vehicles and troop concentrations along the coast.

TUNISIA: During the afternoon, 26 XII Bomber Command B-17s, escorted by 17 1st Fighter Group P-38s, drop more than 63 tons of bombs on the port facilities and shipping at Sfax and Sousse. No bombers are lost, but one P-38 is downed by a Bf-109. Also, a Bf-109 is downed by a P-38 pilot.

XII Bomber Command B-26s attack the rail junction at Kalaa Srira and warehouses and rail facilities at Mahares.

A 52d Fighter Group Spitfire pilot downs a Bf-109 near Cape Rosa at 1215 hours


RAF
Base Changes
175 Sqn (Non-Op) moves to Odiham

First and Last Operational Missions
223 Sqn (Amriya) flies its last OM in the Baltimore II
300 Sqn (Ingham) flies its last OM in the Wellington IV
307 Sqn (Exeter) flies its first OM in the Mosquito NFII
426 Sqn RCAF (Dishforth – Wellington III) flies its first OM of the war
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Re: Action This Day

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427 Sqn RCAF (Croft – Wellington III) 15.1.43
Seven aircraft again were detailed for operations against LORIENT. Six aircraft took off in six minutes. Sgt Chambers in “P” had to be scrubbed at the last moment due to engine trouble developing while running up. This was the first bombing raid undertaken by the Squadron. Squadron Leader M.A.L. Williams, “A” Flight Commander and crew in “K” failed to return, the other five landed at Tangmere. The pilots reported that they had successfully bombed the target and three photographs were obtained,

ADDENDUM – Wellington III BK364 ZL-G. Crew: S/L MAL Williams, P/O ER Charlesworth, P/O AR Eckton, Sgt HD Munro, Sgt WH Pates. T/o 1732 Croft. Presumed crashed in the target area. All are buried in Guidel Communal Cemetery.

BOMBER COMMAND
10 Bostons attacked a whaling factory ship at Cherbourg but scored no hits. 6 Wellingtons attempted a cloud-cover raid to Norden but only 1 aircraft bombed. No aircraft lost on this day.

LORIENT
157 aircraft – 65 Wellingtons, 48 Halifaxes, 40 Stirlings, 4 Lancasters. 1 Stirling and 1 Wellington lost.

Bombing was more accurate than on the previous night. At least 800 buildings were destroyed and 12 civilians killed. Most of the inhabitants had fled the town during the previous day.

Minor Operations: 2 Mosquitoes to Aachen, 9 Wellingtons minelaying off Lorient and St-Nazaire, 3 O.T.U. sorties. No losses. The 2 Mosquitoes raiding Aachen used Oboe when bombing; it can be assumed that most attacks by small numbers of Mosquitoes in and around the Ruhr area will now be Oboe raids.

USAAF
LIBYA: In a move to thwart German efforts to seal the entrance to the Tripoli harbor, IX Bomber Command B-24s attack the remains of previously disabled and wrecked ships at Tripoli that can be used for that purpose. (These attacks will continue through January 21, when the Germans nonetheless sink four wrecks and actually do block the harbour.)

The British Eighth Army reopens its stalled final drive to clear Tripoli, and soon overruns forward German Army positions. 57th Fighter Group P-40s support the ground attack by strafing and bombing German Army positions.

MEDITERRANEAN: XII Bomber Command B-25s and B-26s leave an Axis vessel in flames while conducting anti- shipping searches. While escorting the bombers, 14th Fighter Group P-38 pilots down three Ju-52s near Marettimo Island and two Ju-52s and a six-engine transport at an undisclosed location. On the return to base, the P-38 pilots also strafe German Army trucks along the coast.

TUNISIA: XII Bomber Command B-26s attack the rail and highway bridge across the Oued el-Akarit River, and an escorting 82d Fighter Group P-38 pilot downs a Bf-109.

When nine Ju-88s, escorted by GAF fighters, attack the advance fighter base at Thelepte without warning at about 1420 hours, 33d Fighter Group P-40s on patrol drive off the escorts while P-40s on strip-alert status scramble through falling bombs to take on the bombers. Flak accounts for one Ju-88, and four P-40 pilots from the 33d Fighter Group’s 59th Fighter Squadron are credited with the remaining eight Ju-88s, of which four are downed by Capt Carmon B. Boone. However, a similar attack on the 33d Fighter Group’s other base, at Youks-les-Bains, is not challenged, and heavy damage is inflicted upon facilities and aircraft. The 33d Fighter Group, which entered combat on December 6 with 71 operational P-40s, is now down to just 30 operational fighters.

The day’s tally of 15 Axis aircraft downed over Tunisia and the Mediterranean is the USAAF’s highest one-day total against Germany and her allies since the start of the war.

The 81st Fighter Group, a P-39 unit that has been staging into North Africa bases since late December, conducts its first ground-support missions from Thelepte as part of the XII Air Support Command

RAF
Base Changes
72 Sqn (Spitfire VC) moves to Souk-el-Khemis
208 Sqn (Non-Op) moves to Aqsu

First and Last Operational Missions
178 Sqn (Shandur – Liberator II) flies its first OM of the war
424 Sqn (Topcliffe – Wellington III) flies its first OM of the war
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Re: Action This Day

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19 Sqn (Perranporth – Spitfire VB) 18.1.43
1135 – P/O. J.W.Foster and Sgt. R.E. Wass (Blue Section) carried out a Convoy patrol. Nothing of interest was seen, and the section landed at 1305 hours.

1350 – “A” Flight led by S/Ldr. V.H. Eakins, made rendezvous with 3 Whirlwinds over Lizard flying at 0 feet on a course of 156° which was held for 28 minutes, and then turned on a course of 258° flying on this course for 14 minutes which brought them within two miles of Ushant. Turning north on a course of 009° for 3 minutes, the Flight spotted sighted 4 F.W.190s flying at sea level SE to NW. S/Ldr. Eakins gave orders to break formation, when 2 more F.W.190s were seen to the left 1,000 yards away firing at our sections. Combat then took place in which F/Lt. P.H. Bell damaged a F.W.190. P/O. D.W. Connor also attacked a F.W.190 without results being observed – no claim. Sgt. A. Glover received many hits on his aircraft, a large hole in the fuselage, rudder controls shot away, but in spite of the damage to his aircraft and injuries to himself, he made an excellent landing. Sgt. A. Glover received severe injuries to himself, from a cannon shell which after passing through the armour plated seat exploded in his right buttock. Sgt. W.H. Sloan was missing as a result of this operation.

Five aircraft landed at 1530 hours.

ADDENDUM – Spitfire EP603. Pilot W.H. Sloan KIA. Shot down by FW190s of JG2.

BOMBER COMMAND
21 Venturas and 14 Bostons to Caen and Cherbourg were all recalled because of unfavourable weather.

MINELAYING
22 Stirlings and 7 Wellingtons of 3 Group to the Frisian Islands without loss.

USAAF
LIBYA: XII Bomber Command B-17s attack Tripoli/Castel Benito Airdrome, and IX Bomber Command B-24s attack Tripoli harbor. In an engagement with GAF fighters over both targets between 1410 and 1430 hours, 1st Fighter Group P-38 pilots down three Bf-109s and damage as many as nine others.

The 57th Fighter Group “A” Party joins the “B” Party at Darragh West and immediately resumes fighter-bomber missions in support of the British Eighth Army advance.

During the night of January 18–19, nine 12th Medium Bombardment Group B-25s join RAF light bombers in an attack against Axis aircraft concentrated at Castel Benito Airdrome.

MEDITERRANEAN: XII Bomber Command B-26s attack two Axis vessels in the Gulf of Hammamet.

RAF
Base Changes
2 Sqn SAAF (Kittyhawk I) moves to Hammraiet 1
4 Sqn SAAF (Kittyhawk I) moves to El Hameit
5 Sqn SAAF (Kittyhawk III) moves to Hammraiet 1
40 Sqn SAAF TR (Hurricane IIB) moves to Sedadah
131 Sqn (Spitfire VB/VC) moves to Castletown
248 Sqn (Beaufighter VIC) moves to Predannack
462 Sqn RAAF (Halifax II) moves to LG.167
547 Sqn (Wellington VIII) moves to Tain

First and Last Operational Missions
144 Sqn (Leuchars) flies its last OM in the Hampden I
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Re: Action This Day

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401 Sqn (Kenley – Spitfire IX) 19.1.43
Weather: Heavy ground haze covering aerodrome, clearing towards noon. Ceiling 400’. Wind: 10 M.P.H. from S. At o815 hours Squadron 30 minutes available. At 1300 hours “B” Flight at readiness. At 1522 hours Squadron at readiness. At 1745 hours Squadron released.

USAAF
ENGLAND: The 3d Bombardment Wing headquarters is remanned and reactivated following a long hiatus caused by the transfer of U.K.-based groups to North Africa.

LIBYA: IX Bomber Command B-24s attack the city of Tripoli, and IX Bomber Command B-25s attack Tripoli/Castel Benito Airdrome and motor vehicles.

TUNISIA: IX Bomber Command B-24s attack Sousse; XII Bomber Command B-17s attack industrial targets south of Tunis and the marshalling yard at Jabal al-Jallud; and XII Bomber Command B-25s attack the town of Medenine and a nearby motor park.

RAF
Base Changes
1 Sqn SAAF (Spitfire VC) moves to Wadi Sirru
40 Sqn SAAF TR (hurricane IIB) moves to Darragh West
70 Sqn (Wellington IC) moves to Benina
89 Sqn (Beaufighter I) moves to Bersis
92 Sqn (Spitfire VB/VC) moves to Wadi Sirru
112 Sqn (Kittyhawk III) moves to Bir Dufan
129 Sqn (Spitfire VB/VI) moves to Skeabrae
234 Sqn (Spitfire VB) moves to Grimsetter
250 Sqn (Kittyhawk III) moves to Bir Dufan
260 Sqn (Kittyhawk II/III) moves to Bir Dufan
450 Sqn RAAF (Kittyhawk III) moves to Bir Dufan
601 Sqn (Spitfire VC) moves to Darragh North

First and Last Operational Missions
225 Sqn (Souk-el-Arba) flies its first OM in the Spitfire VB
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Re: Action This Day

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332 Sqn (Norwegian) (North Weald – Spitfire IX) 20.1.43
Cloudy in the morning but clearing later. Just before midday, the pilots were briefed for a Rodeo operation, but 10 minutes before take off time, this Squadron was scrambled in connection with enemy mass activity over the South Coast and Kent area. They took off at 1250 hours. The Squadron was ordered under Sector control to between Dungeness and Dover where the cost was crossed at 10,000 feet. When 5-7 miles off coast, 2 W.W.190,s were observed at 11-O’clock flying 2,000 feet above. The e/a prepared for attack by flying up sun, so the Squadron made a climbing turn to starboard to meet them. As Red 2, Sgt. Sand B., turned sharper than the rest of the Squadron, he found the leading e/a heading down on him. The e/a broke off the attack making a climbing turn to port, and at this moment Red 2 pulled his nose up and gave a burst on e/a which he didn’t hit as his position did not allow him to give enough deflection. The remainder of the Squadron turned to port after the e/a and Yellow section, followed when they dived towards clouds over the French coast West of Calais. Another section of 2 F.W.190’s appeared on scene and some dog fights developed between the e/a and our pilots. Yellow 4, Sgt. Fugelsang N. turned toward the rearmost of two F.W.190’s in a sharp port turn and fired a short burst at it. A few seconds later he opened fire on the same e/a as it came out of clouds 50 yards in front of him. The e/a then dived vertically disappearing into the clouds. White and black smoke pouring from it and it appeared out of control. Yellow 1, Lieut. Mollestad P., who is missing from this operation, is believed to have dived after the first section of F.W.190’s when they dived for cloud cover Cap Griz Nez-Calais area. Squadron reformed in Dover area, made an uneventful orbit towards Calais and landed at base at 1400 hours.

ADDENDUM – Spitfire IX BS252. Pilot Lt. PG Mollestad KIA

BOMBER COMMAND
8 Mosquitoes made a low-level attack on the Stork engineering works at Hengelo. 6 aircraft bombed successfully and there were no losses.

8 Wellingtons minelaying in the Frisians without loss.

USAAF
LIBYA: IX Bomber Command B-24s attack Tripoli harbour.

One Bf-109 is downed in a midday fighter battle involving 57th Fighter Group P-40s engaged in supporting the British Eighth Army.

MEDITERRANEAN: Six 310th Medium Bombardment Group B-25s, escorted by twelve 14th Fighter Group P-38s, sink an Axis tanker carrying fuel from Sicily to Tunisia.

TUNISIA: Thwarted from attacking Tripoli by bad weather, XII Bomber Command B-17s attack Cap Mangin, near Gabes.

RAF
Base Changes
3 Sqn RAAF (Kittyhawk II) moves to Wadi Sirru
24 Sqn SAAF (Boston III) moves to Gzina
40 Sqn (Wellington IC) moves to LG.237
182 Sqn (Typhoon IB) moves to Sawbridgworth
274 Sqn (Hurricane IIB/IIC) moves to Misurata
604 Sqn (Spitfire VB) moves to Perranporth

First and Last Operational Missions
129 Sqn (Skeabrae) flies its last OM in the Spitfire VI
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Re: Action This Day

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420 Sqn RCAF (Middleton St. George – Wellington III) 21.1.43
Again carried out mining operations. Three aircraft took part and successfully laid mines in designated area. One aircraft failed to return.

ADDENDUM – Wellington III BJ966 PT-R. Crew: Sgt SJ Gergley RCAF KIA, P/O EG Kendel RCAF KIA, Sgt RH Welsh RCAF KIA, Sgt CW Hollingshead RCAF KIA, Sgt AG Olsen RCAF KIA, Sgt CA Dunphy RCAF KIA. T/o 1710 Middleton St. George for minelaying operations in the Nectarine area. Lost without a trace. They were the first all RCAF crew in Bomber Command to be reported missing in 1943.

BOMBER COMMAND
36 Bostons and 15 Venturas attempted to attack the docks at Flushing and Cherbourg and an airfield near Caen. Cloud spoiled most of the bombing. There were no losses.

ESSEN
79 Lancasters and 3 Mosquitoes encountered 10/10ths cloud and bombs were dropped blindly on estimated positions. 4 Lancasters lost.

MINELAYING
70 aircraft on a large operation in the Frisian Islands; 4 Wellingtons and 2 Halifaxes lost.

USAAF
ALGERIA: The 68th Observation Group’s 154th Observation Squadron, in P-39s, moves from Oujda, French Morocco, to Youks-les-Bains Airdrome to prepare to enter combat.

FRENCH MOROCCO: The CCS “Casablanca Directive” reaffirms that the primary objective of the Allied air forces in Europe is the destruction of Germany’s military, industrial, and economic base and the morale of the German people. Listed in order of importance are the following targets: submarine-construction facilities, the aircraft industry as a whole, transportation, oil plants, and other war industries. Also, the new directive formally relieves VIII Bomber Command of the burden of supporting the North African Campaign.

MajGen Ira C. Eaker, Eighth Air Force commanding general, presents to Gen Henry H. Arnold a paper entitled “The Case for Day Bombing.” Later, in a conversation with Prime Minister Sir Winston S. Churchill, Eaker successfully argues his case, and wins Churchill’s approval. The paper and Churchill’s support eventually lead to the formulation of the strategic Combined Bomber Offensive against Germany.

LIBYA: IX Bomber Command B-24s attack Tripoli harbor; IX Bomber Command B-25s attack targets of opportunity along an interior road; and Ninth Air Force P-40s support ground attacks by the British Eighth Army.

Under relentless pressure, especially from WDAF and IX Bomber Command bombers, the Axis air forces abandon Tripoli/Castel Benito Airdrome, their last base inside Libya.

MEDITERRANEAN: During a morning anti-shipping mission, six 319th Medium Bombardment Group B-26s, escorted by 82d Fighter Group P-38s, attack an Axis convoy bound from Sicily to Tunisia, sinking one freighter and damaging another near Cap Bon. Then, in a running battle between Bizerte and Cap Bon, 82d Fighter Group P-38 escort pilots down a total of seven German and Italian fighters and transports. Two P-38s and their pilots are lost in this action.

TUNISIA: XII Bomber Command B-25s attack the highway and rail bridge just north of Pont-du-Fahs; while strafing a long German Army road column along the Gabes–Ben Gardane road in southern Tunisia, 24 1st Fighter Group P-38 pilots destroy 65 vehicles and also down two Bf-109s at 1430 hours; and XII Fighter Command A-20s attack advancing German Army tanks and troops in the Ousseltia Valley in support of a ground counterattack by the U.S. 1st Armored Division.

RAF
Base Changes
39 Sqn (Beaufort I/II) moves to Luqa
124 Sqn (Spitfire VI) moves to Martlesham Heath
134 Sqn (non-Op) moves to Shandur
235 Sqn (Beaufighter VIC) moves to Leuchars

First and Last Operational Missions
429 Sqn RCAF (Wellington III/X) flies its first OM of the war
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Re: Action This Day

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464 Sqn RAAF (Feltwell - Ventura II) 22.1.43
Weather poor but operation on. Circus. Fighter Co-operation from 10 Group. 1 box of 6. Also loaned 3 to 487 Squadron. Take-off 12.15 hours. Target Mauperpus <sic> Aerodrome, France. Flak target area heavy and accurate, 5 machines hit. Whilst on way out, Sgt. Powell was seen to fly into sea, cause unknown, and not heard of since. Sgt. Pilkington crash landed Isle of Wight. Sgts. Luah and Robinson force landed at Hurn, both shot up. P/O Abbot and F/O Kerr were also hit but made base all crews were uninjured. 487 and 21 Squadron also suffered losses. Show described as “a bit of a shaky do”.

ADDENDUM – Ventura II AJ188 SB-U. Crew: Sgt NE Powell KIA, Sgt PA Nodes KIA, Sgt PA Nodes KIA, Sgt J Dunne KIA, Sgt SJ Newton KIA. Sgt Powell is buried in Nottingham Southern Cemetery, his crew are all commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

BOMBER COMMAND
23 Bostons and 18 Venturas attacked airfields in France while 12 Mitchells of 98 and 180 Squadrons carried out the first raid by this new type of aircraft on oil targets at Terneuzen near Ghent. 2 Venturas and 3 Mitchells were lost, including the aircraft of Wing Commander C. C. Hodder, commander of 180 Squadron.

2 Mosquitoes attacked Cologne without loss. This was the first Oboe attack on Cologne, which reports 55 houses damaged, 5 people killed and 22 injured. These details of damage and casualties in a minor raid have been included because they show that a few aircraft using modern aids could sometimes cause as much damage as the forces of up to 100 bombers which had often been sent to Cologne in marginal weather conditions in 1941 and 1942.

USAAF
ALGERIA: The Allied Air Support Command is established as a component of LtGen Carl Spaatz’s Allied Air Force. The new headquarters is to coordinate air support for and operations with the Allied ground forces active in North Africa. Command of the new echelon is given to BriGen Laurence S. Kuter.

FRANCE: While supporting RAF light bombers in a raid over the French coast, 4th Fighter Group Spitfire pilots down four Bf-109s around Dunkirk. One Spitfire and its pilot are lost in the fight, and a damaged Spitfire is further damaged beyond repair when it crash-lands at a base in England.

LIBYA: XII Bomber Command B-25s attack a road junction near Tripoli, and Ninth Air Force P-40s support the British Eighth Army.

MEDITERRANEAN: Six XII Bomber Command B-26s severely damage an Axis freighter while on an anti-shipping sweep between Sicily and Tunisia; and 14th Fighter Group P-38 pilots down two Ju-88s near the Egadi Islands at 1110 hours.

TUNISIA: Two formations of XII Bomber Command B-17s attack Tunis/El Aouina Airdrome in the morning; XII Bomber Command B-26s attack Tunis/El Aouina Airdrome shortly after noon; and XII Bomber Command B-25s attack Tunis/ El Aouina Airdrome again during the afternoon.

While helping Allied ground forces hold against a German Army counterattack in the Pont-du-Fahs area, the 81st Fighter Group makes its combat debut with an attack by ten 92d Fighter Squadron P-39s against vehicles and gun positions. Also participating in the day’s numerous ground-support missions are 16 33d Fighter Group P-40s, and P-40s of the USAAF-equipped Lafayette Escadrille, a Free French Air Force unit operating as part of the Twelfth Air Force. In addition to the USAAF fighter attacks, 47th Light Bombardment Group A-20s attack a German Army tank depot near Ousseltia. Only one 33d Fighter Group P-40 is lost in the course of the group’s many dangerous low-level attacks. Also, two 1st Fighter Group P-38s and their pilots are lost to GAF fighters while attacking German Army road columns in southern Tunisia.

RAF
Base Changes
60 Sqn SAAF R (Maryland I/Baltimore II/III) moves to Darragh
73 Sqn (Hurricane IIC) moves to Bir Dufan
231 Sqn (Hurricane IIC) moves to Misurata West
221 Sqn (Wellington VIII) moves to Luqa
242 Sqn (Spitfire VB) moves to Tingley
404 Sqn RCAF (Beaufighter II) moves to Chivenor

First and Last Operational Missions
98 Sqn (Foulsham – Mitchell II) flies its first OM of the war
180 Sqn (Foulsham – Mitchell II) flies its first OM of the war
401 Sqn RCAF (Kenley) flies its last OM in the Spitfire IX
456 Sqn RAAF (Valley) flies its last OM in the Beaufighter VIF and its first OM in the Mosquito NFII
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Re: Action This Day

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408 Sqn RCAF (Leeming - Halifax II) 23.1.43
Weather: Cloudy with good visibility. Five of our aircraft were prepared for a bombing raid on Lorient. Take off was 1715 hours. Visibility was excellent and crews reported the target was attacked accurately. Flak was experienced but no damage was done by same. Four aircraft returned to base and one crash landed at Ossington owing to the failure of two engines. This aircraft was piloted by Sgt. Craig and no injuries were sustained by the crew.

BOMBER COMMAND
6 Wellingtons of 6 Group on a cloud-cover raid to a target near Wilhelmshaven; all found somewhere to bomb without loss. 4 Mosquitoes bombed Osnabrück railway yards; 1 Mosquito lost.

LORIENT
121 aircraft – 75 Halifaxes, 33 Stirlings, 8 Lancasters, 5 Wellingtons – dispatched and claimed successful bombing of the target area in good visibility. 1 Stirling lost.

DÜSSELDORF
80 Lancasters and 3 Mosquitoes of 1, 5 and 8 Groups dispatched and bombed through complete cloud cover. A brief report from Düsseldorf says that some bombs fell in the south of the city. 2 Lancasters lost.

4 O.T.U. Whitleys dropped leaflets on French towns without loss

USAAF
FRANCE: Thirty-five of 73 VIII Bomber Command B-17s dispatched against the Lorient port area attack that target while 18 B-17s of the leading 305th Heavy Bombardment, plus one B-17 from another group, opt for the Brest U-boat base following a temporary bombsight malfunction in the lead bomber while over Lorient. Losses to flak and GAF fighters amount to five 303rd Heavy Bombardment Group B-17s missing with all 50 crewmen, two B-17s damaged beyond repair in crash-landings in the U.K., two crewmen killed, and 26 crewmen wounded or injured. It is noted that, for the first time, GAF fighters encountered over Lorient are attacking in groups of up to six at a time against a single bomber.

FRENCH MOROCCO: Results of the Casablanca Conference are determined. In the war against Germany, upon completion of the Tunisian Campaign, the Allies are to attack Sicily and shift the weight of the Anglo-American offensive from the south to northwestern Europe, from the U.K.

LIBYA: The British Eighth Army drives into Tripoli and secures the port facilities. The pursuit of retreating Axis forces toward Tunisia continues without pause. 57th Fighter Group P-40s support the British Eighth Army.

MEDITERRANEAN: XII Bomber Command B-26s attacking an Axis convoy between Sicily and Tunisia leave one ship listing and another exploding and capsizing. An escorting 82d Fighter Group P-38 pilot downs an Italian Air Force flying boat near Pantelleria Island, and other escorting fighters attack Axis trucks and tanks near Enfidaville, Tunisia during the return flight.

SICILY: During the night of January 23–24, IX Bomber Command B-24s attack Palermo harbour.

TUNISIA: Two formations of XII Bomber Command B-17s attack the Bizerte naval base and Axis shipping at sea in the area. One vessel is claimed as being sunk. As many as 100 GAF fighters attack the heavy bombers over and near the target, and bomber gunners claim 20 of them.

XII Fighter Command A-20s and P-40s attack German Army artillery, machine guns, and two infantry companies while supporting U.S. Army ground forces in the Ousseltia Valley. While attacking German Army road columns along the Gabes–Ben Gardane road, six 1st Fighter Group P-38s and their pilots are lost in a counterattack by GAF fighters, and a Bf-109 is downed in the area by a 14th Fighter Group P-38 pilot.

In two separate actions, pilots of the 52d and 82d Fighter groups down a Bf-109 and an Italian Air Force flying boat

RAF
Base Changes
37 Sqn (Wellington IC) moves to El Magrun
70 Sqn (Wellington IC) moves to El Magrun
260 Sqn (Kittyhawk II/III) moves to Castel Benito
401 Sqn RCAF (Non-Op) moves to Catterick

First and Last Operational Missions
59 Sqn (Thorney Island) flies its first OM in the Fortress IIA
129 Sqn (Skeabrae) flies its first OM in the Spitfire VB
156 Sqn (Warboys) flies its last OM in the Wellington III
417 Sqn RCAF (Idku) flies its first OM in the Spitfire VBT
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Re: Action This Day

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401 Sqn RCAF (Catterick – Spitfire VB) 24.1.43
Weather: The fog was so thick that flying was impossible. The boys were on the job bright and early and spent the day unpacking and were ready to operational by the end of the day. At 1700 hours F/L Murray accompanied by P/O Sancton and by S/P’s Chapin, Gray, A.S. and Gray, P.K. and 19 ground crew under F/S Gunn, left for Thornaby, a Coastal Command O.T.U. on the coast 30 miles away, where four Spitfires left by 403 Squadron are kept on readiness. The detachment reached there by 1900 hours and soon settled for the night. Thornaby was badly overcrowded, Czechs and Poles swelling the normal population. Quarters were squalid and all ranks wasted no time getting out to reconnoitre the district of Thornaby and Stockton, where night life abounds.

USAAF
LIBYA: 57th Fighter Group P-40s support the British Eighth Army.

TUNISIA: XII Bomber Command B-17s attack Sousse harbor; XII Bomber Command B-25s and B-26s, and IX Bomber Command B-25s attack Medenine Airdrome during three separate missions; and Twelfth Air Force fighters attack Axis vehicles and troop concentrations in support of Allied ground forces.

RAF
Base Changes
3 Sqn RAAF (Kittyhawk II) moves to Castel Benito
40 Sqn SAAF TR (Hurricane IIB) moves to Castel Benito
123 Sqn (Non-Op) moves to Abadan
145 Sqn (Spitfire VC) moves to Wadi Sirru
250 Sqn (Kittyhawk III) moves to Castel Benito
450 Sqn RAAF (Kittyhawk III) moves to Castel Benito
462 Sqn RAAF (Halifax II) moves to Solluch I
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Re: Action This Day

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226 Sqn (Swanton Morley – Boston III) 25.1.43
Morse practice 30 minutes. 1 aircraft to <unreadable> and SQUIRES GATE and return. 12 aircraft on operations to FLUSHING. 1 missing (SGT. WILSON and Crew).

ADDENDUM – Boston III W8354 MQ-J. Crew: Sgt AG Wilson RAAF KIA, P/O RHA Evans KIA, Sgt DJD Thomas KIA, Sgt AS Oakes KIA. T/o 1046 Swanton Morley. Hit by Kriegsmarine flak and crashed 1147 in the target area. All are3 buried in the town’s northern cemetery.

BOMBER COMMAND
12 Bostons bombed Flushing docks; 1 Boston lost.

USAAF
NORTH AFRICA: Nearly all theater air operations are shut down by bad weather, but several missions are mounted by Ninth Air Force P-40s in support of the British Eighth Army in Libya.

RAF
Base Changes
239 Sqn (Mustang I) moves to Stoney Cross
403 Sqn RCAF (Spitfire VB) moves to Kenley
417 Sqn RCAF (Spitfire VBT) moves to Maryut
603 Sqn (Non-Op) moves to Idku
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Re: Action This Day

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429 Sqn RCAF (East Moor – Wellington III) 26.1.43
Ten aircraft from this Squadron took part in a Bombing Raid on Lorient tonight. A notable feature of the operation was the perfect timing in the take-off, the ten aircraft taking off in 6 minutes and 44 seconds. Three aircraft returned early without completing the operation, one was not reported after leaving base, and six successfully completed the operation.

ADDENDUM – Wellington III BK163 AL-H. Crew: Sgt LL Rogers RAAF KIA, Sgt C Davies KIA, Sgt D Lewis KIA, Sgt AG Allen KIA, Sgt G Amos KIA. Lost without a trace, but possibly hit by 2./schw. Flak Abt. 667, crashed in sea near Lorient at 2009 hours.

BOMBER COMMAND
157 aircraft – 139 Wellingtons, 11 Lancasters, 4 Halifaxes, 3 Stirlings – dispatched and bombed in poor visibility. 2 Wellingtons and 1 Lancaster lost.

Minor Operations: 9 Halifaxes of 6 Group attempted to bomb shipping in the River Gironde; only 3 aircraft bombed, Bordeaux docks. 18 O.T.U. sorties were flown. There were no losses from these operations.

USAAF
The 68th Observation Group’s 154th Observation Squadron, in P-39s, flies its first combat-reconnaissance missions of the war.

ITALY: During the night of January 26–27, IX Bomber Command B-24s attack Naples.

LIBYA: 57th Fighter Group P-40 fighter-bombers supporting the British Eighth Army become the first Allied aircraft to refuel at the newly captured Tripoli/Castel Benito Airdrome.

MEDITERRANEAN: XII Bomber Command B-26s dispatched on anti-shipping sweeps are recalled or abort because of bad weather.

SICILY: IX Bomber Command B-24s encounter such stiff headwinds while on a late-afternoon attack against Naples that they divert to Messina, where they attack the town and the train ferry terminal. Also, IX Bomber Command B-24s attack Messina again during the night of January 26–27.

RAF
Base Changes
192 Sqn (Wellington X) moves to Gransden Lodge
274 Sqn (Hurricane IIB/IIC) moves to Mellaha

First and Last Operational Missions
3 Sqn (Hunsdon) flies its last OM in the Hurricane IIC
156 Sqn (Warboys) flies its first OM in the Lancaster
166 Sqn (Kirmington – Wellington III) flies its first OM of the war
300 Sqn (Ingham) flies its first OM in the Wellington III
307 Sqn (Exeter) flies its last OM in the Beaufighter VIF
401 Sqn RCAF (Catterick) flies its first OM and second tour of duty in the Spitfire VB
428 Sqn RCAF (Dalton – Wellington III/X) flies its first OM of the war
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Re: Action This Day

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105 Sqn (Marham – Mosquito BIV) 27.1.43
Six Mosquito aircraft detailed to attack BURMEISTER & WAIN DIESEL ENGINE WORKS, COPENHAGEN. These aircraft took off at approximately 1420 and set course in starboard echelon in company with three aircraft of 139 Squadron. Five aircraft reached the primary objective and bombed it at 1705 hour from low altitude with various calibre of bombs, i.e. 11 secs. 30 min, and 36 hour delays. Hits were seen test shops by various aircraft and verification of red sheets of flames by last two aircraft. Light flak was encountered by flak ships on way in and intense light flak experienced. Aircraft piloted by F/Lt. Gordon turned back after crossing enemy coast. Trailing edge of starboard wing was seen to be enveloped in blue smoke. Thinking he had been hit by flak the pilot carried out evasive action and in so doing caught port wing in telegraph wires damaging port aileron. The rest of the formation had gained considerable lead, and pilot decided to abandon trip. The bombs were jettisoned at 1609 hours in positon 55° 34’N, - 08°27’E. This aircraft returned to base safely. Aircraft piloted by Sgt. Dawson successfully bombed primary and was last seen in position 55°35’N-11°32’E hours to explode on ground in sheet of flames. Missing. All other aircraft returned safely to base.

ADDENDUM – Mosquito BIV DZ407 GB-R. Crew: Sgt JG Dawson KIA, Sgt RH Cox KIA. Flew into high tension cables and crashed 1713 near Tveje-Merlose in SW suburbs of Holbaek, Denmark, where both lie in Tveje-Merlose Churchyard.

BOMBER COMMAND
9 Mosquitoes made a successful low-level attack on a diesel engine factory at Copenhagen. 1 aircraft lost.

DÜSSELDORF
162 aircraft – 124 Lancasters, 33 Halifaxes, 5 Mosquitoes. 3 Halifaxes and 3 Lancasters lost, 3.7 percent of the force.

This was the first occasion when Oboe Mosquitoes carried out ‘ground marking’ for the Pathfinders. (‘Ground markers’ were the now standard target indicators set to burst and cascade just above the ground. They were far more accurate than the ‘sky-marker’ parachute flares previously used by Mosquitoes when marking targets.) Pathfinder Lancasters ‘backed-up’ the Oboe-aimed markers. There was a thin sheet of cloud over the target and, without Oboe and the new target indicators, this raid would have almost certainly been another typical Ruhr area failure. Bombing was well concentrated on the southern part of Düsseldorf. The local report lists damage at a wide variety of property: 10 industrial firms destroyed or seriously damaged, 21 lightly damaged; 9 public buildings or amenities destroyed or seriously damaged, 7 lightly damaged; 456 houses destroyed or seriously damaged, 2,400 lightly damaged. The opera house was destroyed. 66 people were killed and 225 injured; 23 of the dead and 169 of the injured were members of the Wehrmacht who were in a train at the main railway station when it was hit by high-explosive bombs.

MINELAYING
54 aircraft to Texel and the Frisians; 1 Stirling lost.

USAAF
GERMANY: In the first USAAF attack against a target on German soil, 55 VIII Bomber Command heavy bombers (of 91 B-17s and B-24s dispatched) attack the Wilhelmshaven U-boat base and port shortly after 1100 hours with more than 120 tons of bombs. The two B-24 groups involved are unable to locate the target due to poor visibility and poor navigation, and they return to base with their bombs. Two B-17s that cannot locate Wilhelmshaven drop their bombs on Emden. GAF fighters damage 32 B-17s and nine B-24s, force 30 crewmen to bail out (they are listed as missing), and kill two and wound three crewmen.
MEDITERRANEAN: XII Bomber Command B-25s attacking two Axis destroyers at sea off Algeria’s northern coast leave one on fire. However, XII Bomber Command B-26s dispatched on a separate anti-shipping strike are unable to attack any of several targets sighted because of bad weather.

SICILY: IX Bomber Command B-24s attack Palermo after being diverted by bad weather from the briefed primary, Naples.

TUNISIA: XII Fighter Command A-20s attack Mezzouna.

RAF
First and Last Operational Missions
56 Sqn (Matlask) flies its last OM in the Typhoon IA
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Re: Action This Day

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401 Sqn RCAF (Catterick – Spitfire VB) 28.1.43
Weather: Raining in the morning ceiling at 700’. Clearing in the afternoon. Wind: 20 M.P.H. from S.W. At 0821 hours Red Section (2 a/c) on readiness. At 0944 hours Red Section on release. At 1055 hours Red Section on readiness. At 1119 hours Red Section released.
SERVICEABILITY: “A” Flight 6 a/c and 8 pilots. “B” Flight 3 a/c and 3 pilots.

USAAF
FRENCH MOROCCO: Following a voyage from Norfolk, Virginia, the USS Ranger launches 72 325th Fighter Group P-40s, which land at Cazes Airdrome. Unbelievably, the base has received no advance warning from higher authority that the fresh group will be arriving.

LIBYA: In order to reach Axis supply sources and lines of supply with more efficiency, IX Bomber Command’s 98th Heavy Bombardment Group displaces forward to the Gambut Airdrome complex from its former bases in the Nile Delta.

TUNISIA: XII Bomber Command B-17s, B-25s, and B-26s, respectively, attack the port, shipping, and marshalling yards at Sfax in three waves during the early afternoon. One B-26 and one P-38 are downed by GAF fighters, but bomber gunners claim five enemy fighters, and a Bf-109 is downed by a 14th Fighter Group P-38 pilot.

XII Air Support Command P-40s attack German Army artillery and infantry in direct support of U.S. Army and Free French ground forces attacking in the Ousseltia Valley.

The 14th Fighter Group (just two squadrons strong) is withdrawn from combat to give the overstressed pilots time to rest and recuperate. The unit’s P-38s are turned over to the 82d Fighter Group, whose pilots are in better shape but which is experiencing equipment shortages. (The 14th Fighter Group, by then including a new third squadron, will not return to active combat until May 1943.)

RAF
Base Changes
243 Sqn (Spitfire VB) moves to Souk-el-Chemis
330 Sqn (N0n-Op) moves to Oban

First and Last Operational Missions
237 Sqn (Kirkuk) flies its last OM in the Hurricane I
warshipbuilder

Any ship can be a minesweeper, once.
ED/BTR Ressurection Project
https://www.bombercommandmuseumarchives.ca/
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