No. 13 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No. 13 Squadron began the Second World War as an army co-operation squadron, equipped with the Westland Lysander. As such it soon moved the France, to support the BEF. In May 1940 the pre-war army co-operation concept was proved to be obsolete. The Lysander squadrons in France suffered very heavy casualties while trying to observe the German armoured columns as they cut across France and the Low Countries. No. 13 Squadron was forced back to Britain by the start of June 1940.

It retained its Lysanders for another year and its army cooperation role for the next year, in the period when Britain was threatened with invasion. As the invasion threat faded in 1941, the squadron re-equipped with the Bristol Blenheim. With the Blenheim it combined the old army-cooperation role with a new role as a bomber squadron. In the army co-operation role it took part in the Dieppe raid of August 1942, while it was one of the squadrons involved in the thousand bomber raid of May 1942.

Finally, in November 1942 the squadron moved to North Africa, to take part in Operation Torch. A short period of intense day and night raids followed, before heavy loses forced the Blenheim off day operations. In the aftermath of the Allied victory in Tunisia, the squadron spend a short period as a shipping protection and anti-submarine squadron, before moving to Egypt to re-equip with the Baltimore.

In February 1944 the squadron began to move to Italy, going operational with the Martin Baltimore on 1 April 1944. There it took part in attacks on Italian communications, and then switched to the night interdiction role - attacking enemy ground units. The squadron finished the war flying the Douglas Boston, with twice the bomb load of the Baltimore.

Aircraft
May 1937-February 1939: Hawker Hector I
January 1939-May 1941: Westland Lysander I and II
May 1941-September 1941: Westland Lysander III
July 1941-September 1942: Bristol Blenheim IV
September 1942-December 1943: Bristol Blenheim V
October-December 1943: Ventura V
January-October 1944: Baltimore IV and V
October 1944-April 1946: Boston IV and V

Squadron Codes:

Group and Duty
April 1924-May 1940: Army Co-operation squadron
May 1940: Tactical reconnaissance in France
June 1940-November 1942: Army co-operation with some bombing
November 1942-December 1943: Bomber squadron in North Africa
December 1943-March 1944: Refitting in Egypt
March 1944-September 1945: Bomber squadron in Italy

Location
16 February 1937-2 October 1939: Odiham
2 October 1939-11 May 1940: Mons-en-Chaussee (France)
11-22 May 1940: Douai
22-29 May 1940: Abbeville
1-17 June 1940: Hooton Park (United Kingdom)
17 June-13 July 1940: Speke
13 July 1940-14 July 1941: Hooton Park
14 July 1941-1 August 1942: Odiham
1 August-10 November 1942: Macmerry
18 November-5 December 1942: Bilda (Africa)
5 December 1942-8 February 1943: Canrobert
8 February-22 May 1943: Oulmene
22 May-4 September 1943: Blida
4 September-12 October 1943: Protville II
12-26 October 1943: Sidi Ahmed
26 October-19 December 1943: Sidi Amor
19 December 1943-21 March 1944: Kabrit (Egypt)
21 March-2 May 1944: Biferno (Italy)
2 May-22 June 1944: Regina
22 June-18 July 1944: Tarquinia
18 July-16 October 1944: Cecina
16 October-31 October 1944: Perugia
31 October-28 December 1944: Marcianise
28 December 1944-7 March 1945: Falconara
7 March-12 May 1945: Forli
12 May-13 September 1945: Aviano

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (16 May 2007), No. 13 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/13_wwII.html

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