No. 121 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No.121 Squadron was the second 'Eagle' squadron, manned by American volunteers. It was formed at Kirton-in-Lindsey, and was initially equipped with Hurricanes. Defensive patrols began in October 1941, and the Spitfire arrived in the following month. In December the squadron moved to North Weald, and in February 1942 began to fly offensive fighter sweeps over Northern France.

The squadron was involved in the 'Channel Dash' - the successful German attempt to move the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau from French waters back to Germany early in 1942. The squadron was meant to have escorted the Swordfish that made a gallant but unsuccessful attack on the German ships, but were unable to join up with the attack force in advance. Instead they arrived after the attack was over, and became involved in a battle with the German escort fighters. In August 1942 the squadron was one of 48 Spitfire squadrons to be involved in Operation Jubilee, the disastrous raid on Dieppe.

During 1942 the Americans put a great deal of pressure on the British to return the 'Eagle Squadrons' to USAAF control, and on 29 September 1942 No.121 Squadron became the 335th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group.

Aircraft
May-July 1941: Hawker Hurricane I
July-November 1941: Hawker Hurricane IIB
October-November 1941: Supermarine Spitfire IIA
November 1941-September 1942: Supermarine Spitfire VB

Location
May-September 1941: Kirton-in-Lindsey
September-October 1941: Digby
October-December 1941: Kirton-in-Lindsey
December 1941-June 1942: North Weald
June-September 1942: Southend
September 1942: Debden

Squadron Codes: AV

Duty
August 1942: 11 Group, Fighter Command

Books

Spitfire Mark V Aces, 1941-45, Dr Alfred Price. A well written and nicely balanced look at the combat career of the Spitfire Mk V and of the men who flew it. The Spitfire V fought in more theatres than the more famous Mk I/II, including over France in 1941, on Malta, in North Africa and even in northern Australia. [see more]
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Spitfire: Flying Legend - 60th Anniversary 1936-96, John M. Dibbs. A beautifully illustrated book focusing on surviving flyable Spitfires, with some very impressive modern colour photos backed up by a good selection of archival pictures and a good selection of relevant quotes from wartime Spitfire pilots [see more]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (7 December 2010), No. 121 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/121_wwII.html

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