No. 6 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

No. 6 Squadron spent the entire Second World War in the Mediterranean theatre. At the outbreak of war it was located in Palestine, proving support to the police and army in that tense region, flying a mix of Hawker Hardys, Gloster Gauntlet and Westland Lysanders. This mix of aircraft would be typical of the squadron for the first two years of the war.

From September 1940 the squadron began to operate in the Western Desert, flying tactical reconnaissance missions. For this purpose, one flight was converted to the Hawker Hurricane to provide a fighter escort for the vulnerable Lysanders. June 1941 saw the last Lysanders withdrawn, but soon afterwards the squadron was withdrawn, and its aircraft distributed amongst other units. A second tour of duty followed between August 1941 and January 1942, this time with Lysanders, Gladiators, Hurricanes and Blenheims.

In April 1942 the squadron received Hawker Hurricane IIDs, equipped with two 40mm Vickers ‘S’ guns, and became an anti-tank squadron. It carried out this duty in the Western Desert and Tunisia from December 1942 until September 1943, with a short break for shipping protection duties between December 1942 and February 1943.

In September 1943 the squadron's converted to Hurricane IVs armed with rockets, by now the preferred weapon for ground attack aircraft. Armed with these rockets it transferred to Italy, flying ground attack operations in Italy and across the Balkans. After the war No. 6 Squadron returned to Palestine.

Aircraft
January 1938: Hawker Hardy arrives
August 1939: Gloster Gauntlet II arrives
September 1939: Westland Lysander I and II arrive
December 1939: Westland Lysander I and II withdrawn
February 1940: Westland Lysander I and II return
April 1940: Hawker Hardy withdrawn; Gloster Gauntlet II withdrawn
March 1941: Hawker Hurricane I arrives
June 1941: Westland Lysander I and II withdrawn
June 1941: Hawker Hurricane I withdrawn

August 1941-January 1942: Westland Lysander I, II
August 1941-January 1942: Gloster Gladiator II
September 1941-January 1942: Hawker Hurricane I
November 1941-January 1942: Bristol Blenheim IV

April 1942-December 1942: Hawker Hurricane IID
December 1942-February 1943: Hawker Hurricane IIC
February 1943-July 1943: Hawker Hurricane IID
July 1943-January 1947: Hawker Hurricane IV

Books

Gloster Gladiator Aces, Andrew Thomas. A look at the wartime career of the only biplane fighter still in RAF service during the Second World War. Covers the Gladiator's service in Finland, Malta, North Africa, Greece, Aden, East Africa and Iraq, where despite being outdated it performed surprisingly well.
cover cover cover
Hurricane Aces 1941-45, Andrew Thomas. This book covers the later career of the Hurricane, starting with its final months as a front line fighter in Britain in 1941 before moving on to look at its career in North Africa, the Mediterranean and over the jungles of Burma [see more]
cover cover cover

Group and Duty
1938-September 1941: Police and Army Cooperation in Palestine
September 1941-January 1942: Tactical reconnaissance in the Western Desert
June 1942-December 1942: Anti-tank in Western Desert
December 1942-February 1943: Shipping protection from Egypt
February-September 1943: Anti-tank in Western Desert
February 1944-May 1945: Ground attack with rockets in Italy and Balkans

Location
22 November 1937-17 February 1937: Ramleh (Palestine)
19 September 1940-1 February 1941: Detachment to Qasaba (Western Desert)
1-17 February 1941: Detachment to Tobruk
17-24 February 1941: Aqir (entire squadron)
24 February-4 April 1941: Barce
4-6 April 1941: Maraua
6-8 April 1941: El Adem
8-9 April 1941: El Gubbi
9-23 April 1941: Tobruk West
23 April-1 July 1941: Qasaba
1 July-18 August 1941: Tel Aviv
18 August 1941-12 February 1942: Wadi Halfa
28 August 1941-12 January 1942: Detachment to Kufra
12-22 February 1942: Helwan
22 February-28 April 1942: Kilo 26
28 April-4 June 1942: Shandur
4-17 June 1942: Gambut
17-28 June 1942: Sidi Haneish
28-29 June 1942: LG.106
29 June-29 July 1942: LG.91
29 July 1942-6 November 1942: LG.89
6 November-9 December 1942: LG.172
9 December 1942-2 February 1943: Idku
2 February-2 March 1943: Bu Amud
2-7 March 1943: Castel Benito
7-14 March 1943: Sorman
14 March-4 April 1943: Gabes
4-8? April 1943: Sfax/ El Maoui
8?-16 April 1943: Bou Goubrine
16 April-2 June 1943: Ben Gardane
2 June-8 September 1943: Heliopolis
8-22 September 1943: Fayid
22 September 1943-24 February 1944: Fayid
24 February-4 July 1944: Grottaglie (Italy)
4 July-14 August 1944: Foggia
14 August 1944-9 April 1945: Canne
8 February 1945: Detachment to Prkos
9 April-18 May 1945: Entire squadron at Prkos
18 May-7 July 1945: Canne

Known Raids/ Significant Dates
September 1940: First combat operations against the Italians.
June 1943: First combat operations against the Afrika Korps.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (28 April 2007), No. 6 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/6_wwII.html

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