No. 198 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No.198 Squadron was a Typhoon equipped fighter squadron that began life in Fighter Command operating against German fighter-bombers, before joining 2nd Tactical Air Force and taking part in the liberation of Europe.

The squadron reformed at Digby on 8 December 1942 as a Typhoon equipped night fighter squadron. Defensive patrols over the north-east of England began in March 1943, but in the same month the squadron moved south to Marston to help protect against enemy fighter bomber attacks on coastal towns. Ground attack missions over Francewere also flown, starting from June 1943.

Between October 1943 and February 1944 Nos.198 and 609 Squadrons, operating together from Manston, had an impressive run of success. Most of their victories came during 'Ranger' missions, offensive sweeps over occupied Europe. The squadron's first major success came on the last day of November when nine aircraft on a long range sweep across Holland claimed five enemy aircraft destroyed and one badly damaged. The squadron also flew some escort missions, including one on 4 December 1944 in support a Flying Fortress raid in which the same two squadrons destroyed eleven Do 217s from KG 2.

At the start of 1944 the squadron transferred to the Second Tactical Air Force, its aircraft were equipped to carry rockets, and it became a dedicated ground attack squadron, part of No.123 Wing, itself part of No.84 Group.

Amongst of the group's most important targets in the period before D-Day were German radar bases. On 16 March the squadron proved that rockets could be used against them during an attack on a radar base at De Haan and a series of raids on similar targets followed. These could be dangerous targets - the squadron's commander, Sqn Ldr John Niblett was killed four days before D-Day during an attack on a coastal radar base at Caude Cote, to the west of Dieppe. The next CO - Sqn Ldr I J 'Dave' Davies only lasted for two weeks before being killed when he was forced to bail out very low during a sortie to support US troops in the Cherbourg peninsula.

On 1 July the squadron moved to Normandy, along with the rest of No.123 Wing, although heavy rain forced the squadron to briefly return to the UK and it wasn't firmly established in France until mid July. At this point the squadron flew a mix of armed reconnaissance missions and attacks on pre-selected targets, but in mid-August the 'cab rank' system came into wide use. Aircraft circled over the battlefield waiting for instructions from a ground controller accompanying the army, allowing for a very rapid response to any problem on the ground. 

On 20 August the squadron took part in a series of attacks that stopped a German counterattack aimed at the Polish Armoured Brigade near Chambois.

As the Allied armies moved into Holland and Belgium No.123 Wing was given the task of eliminating the remaining German garrisons in the Scheldt estuary and on Walcheren Island. By November these included attacks on garrisons around Arnhem and Nijmegen.

The wing didn’t take part in many of the 'set piece' attacks on German headquarters, but it did carry out attacks on the HQ of the 15th Army on 28 November and 8 December. On this second occasion No.198 Squadron was able to contribute eight aircraft, for what proved to be a costly raid. At the start of April the wing took part in the much delayed liberation of Arnhem, before moving to bases in Germany. Tragically one of the squadron's last missions of the war saw it sink two ships loaded with concentration camp inmates, the Cap Arcona and the Thielbek, believed at the time to be carrying SS and Nazi leaders attempting to flee to Norway to continue the fight.

After the end of hostilities the squadron formed part of the occupation forces before being disbanded on 15 September 1945.

Aircraft
December 1942-September 1945: Hawker Typhoon IA and IB

Location
December 1942-January 1943: Didby
January-February 1943: Ouston
February-March 1943: Acklington
March-May 1943: Manston
May-June 1943: Woodvale
June-August 1943: Bradwell Bay
August 1943-March 1944: Manston
March 1944: Tangmere
March-April 1944: Llanbedr
April 1944: Thorney Island
April 1944: Llanbedr
April-June 1944: Thorney Island
June 1944: Funtington
June-July 1944: Hurn
July 1944: B.5 and B.10
July 1944: B.5 Camilly
July 1944: B.10 Plumetot
July-September: B.7 Martragny
September 1944: B.23 Morainville
September 1944: B.35 Baromesnil
September-October 1944:B.53 Merville
October-November 1944: B.67 Ursel
November 1944: Fairwood Common
November 1944: B.67 Ursel
November-December 1944: B.77 Gilze-Rijen
December 1944-January 1945: A.84 Chievres
January-March 1945: B.77 Gilze-Rijen
March-April 1945: B.91 Kluis
April-May 1945: B.103 Plantlunne
May-September 1945: B.116 Wunstorf

Squadron Codes: TP

Duty
March 1944: No.123 Wing; No.84 Group, 2nd Tactical Air Force
March 1944: No.146 Wing; No.84 Group; 2nd Tactical Air Force
March-April 1944: APC Llanbedr
April-November 1944: 123 Wing; No.84 Group, 2nd Tactical Air Force
November 1944: APC Fairwood Common
November 1944-May 1945: 123 Wing; No.84 Group, 2nd Tactical Air Force

Role
1942-1944: Fighter Command
1944-1945: Ground Attack Squadron

Books

Typhoon and Tempest Aces of World War War 2, Chris Thomas. This book tells the tale of the troubled Hawker Typhoon, concentrating on its use as a fighter rather than its more successful career as a ground attack aircraft, and its transformation into the excellent Tempest, one of the best fighters of the later years of the Second World War [see more]
cover cover cover

Bookmark this page: Bookmark with Delicious  Delicious  Bookmark with Facebook  Facebook   Bookmark with StumbleUpon  StumbleUpon

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (1 February 2011), No. 198 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/198_wwII.html

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us -  Subscribe in a reader - Join our Google Group - Cookies