No. 450 Squadron (RAAF): Second World War

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No.450 Squadron, RAAF, was a fighter squadron during the fighting in Syria in 1941 and in North Africa before becoming a fighter-bomber squadron for the campaigns in Sicily and Italy.

The squadron was formed in New South Wales in February 1941, although without aircraft. Its personnel left for the Middle East in April, and arrived in Egypt in May, where they joined No.250 Squadron, RAF. The combined fighter squadron took part in the Allied invasion of Vichy Syria in June-July 1941.

After the end of the fighting in Syria No.450 Squadron regained its separate identity. It was briefly issued with Hurricanes and Magisters,but there were removed after two weeks. The squadron's ground personnel moved to the Western Desert where they spent the rest of 1941 acting as a repair depot.

The squadron's first Kittyhawks began to arrive in December 1941, and on 20 February 1942 the squadron finally went operational in its own right. The squadron flew a mix of bomber escort and ground attack missions (with bomb racks attached to their aircraft), first against Rommel's advancing armies, then over the El Alamein battlefield. 

After the Allied victory at El Alamein the squadron followed the advancing armies, harassing the Axis forces all the way back to Tunisia. During this period the squadron suffered several losses from mines while operating from new airfields in the desert.

In July 1943 the squadron moved to Malta, to take part in the early stages of the invasion of Sicily. It was only on Malta for a week before moving onto Sicily to be closer to the action, the squadron moved to Italy after the Allied invasion, and spent the rest of the war operating as a ground attack squadron in the Italian theatre. It also flew missions over Yugoslavia, supporting Tito's partisans.

In May 1945 the squadron began to convert to the Mustang III, but kept operating its Kittyhawks. The first few Mustangs entered service alongside the older aircraft, but the war ended before the squadron completed the switch. The squadron remained in Italy until it was disbanded on 20 August 1945.

Aircraft
June-October 1941: Hawker Hurricane I
December 1941-September 1942: Curtiss Kittyhawk I
September 1942-November 1943: Curtiss Kittyhawk III
November 1943-August 1945: Curtiss Kittyhawk IV
May-August 1945: North American Mustang III

Location
May 1941: Geneifa
May-June 1941: Abu Sueir
June 1941: Aqir
June-July 1941: Amman
July-July 1941: Mezze
    July 1941: Detachment to Haifa
July-August 1941: Haifa with detachment at Beirut
August 1941: El Bassa
August 1941: Haifa
August-October 1941: Rayak
October-December 1941: Burg el Arab
December 1941-January 1942: LG.Y
January-February 1942: LG.12
February-June 1942: Gambut I
June 1942: Sidi Azeiz
June 1942: LG.75
June 1942: El Daba
June-October 1942: LG.91
October 1942: LG.224
October-November 1942: LG.175
November 1942: LG.106
November 1942: LG.101
November 1942: Sidi Azeiz
November 1942: Gambut
November 1942: Gazala
November-December 1942: Martuba
December 1942: Belandah
December 1942: Marble Arch
December 1942-January 1943: Amel-el-Chel
January 1943: Hamraiet I
January 1943: Sedada
January 1943: Bir Dufan
January-February 1943: Castel Benito
February-March 1943: El Assa
March 1943: Neffatia
March-April 1943: Medenine
April 1943: El Hamma
April 1943: El Djem
April-May 1943: Kairouan
May-July 1943: Zuara
July 1943: Luqa
July-August 1943: Pachino
August-September 1943: Agnone
September 1943: Grottaglie
September 1943: Bari
September-October 1943: Foggia No.2
October-December 1943: Mileni
December 1943-May 1944: Cutella
May-June 1944: San Angelo
June 1944: Guidonia
June-July 1944: Falerium
July-August 1944: Crete
August-September 1944: Iesi
September 1944: Foiano
September-November 1944: Iesi
November 1944-February 1945: Fano
February-May 1945: Cervia
May-August 1945: Lavariano

Squadron Codes: OK

Duty
June-August 1941: Fighter Squadron Syria
February 1942-July 1943: Fighter/ fighter-bomber, North Africa
July 1943 onwards: Fighter-bomber, Sicily then Italy

Books

 

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (17 August 2012), No. 450 Squadron (RAAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAAF/450_wwII.html

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