No. 11 Squadron (SAAF): Second World War

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No.11 Squadron, S.A.A.F. went through two incarnations during the Second World War, first as an army co-operation squadron in East Africa, and later as a Spitfire-equipped fighter squadron in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The squadron was first formed on 11 December 1939 at Waterkloof and was equipped with the Hawker Hartbees army co-operation aircraft, a version of the Hart built in South Africa. These aircraft were retained until June 1940, when the squadron received its first Fairey Battle. This was used by the Commanding Officer to fly photographic reconnaissance missions over Italian Somaliland, but was shot down on 19 June 1940.

The entire squadron had converted to the Battle by 19 August 1940, and used the aircraft during the campaign in Italian Somaliland and Ethiopia. In May-June 1941 the squadron was either renumbered as No.15 Squadron, or gave that squadron its Battles. In either case No.11 Squadron was disbanded.

The squadron was reformed on 29 June 1944 in Egypt as a Spitfire fighter squadron (one of several short-lived South Africa fighter squadrons formed in Egypt during 1944). No. 11 Squadron survived for longer than most. After forming with the Spitfire the squadron was re-equipped with the Kittyhawk and moved to Italy to join the Desert Air Force (October 1944). Once in Italy the squadron became part of No.8 (S.A.A.F.) Wing, and flew ground-attack and fighter-bomber sweeps in support of the armies in Italy until the end of the war.

In August 1945 the squadron received Spitfire Mk.IXs. These aircraft were flown to Egypt in September, before on 30 October the squadron was disbanded.

June 1941 go to (or is renumbered as) No.15 Squadron, SAAF, who use then to August 1941

Aircraft
11 December 1939-June 1940: Hawker Hartbees (licence built Hart)
June 1940-May 1941: Fairey Battle

July-August 1944: Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VB and Mk.VC
October 1944-August 1945: Curtiss Kittyhawk Mk.IV
August-October 1945: Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX

Location
11 December 1939-May 1940: Waterkloof
May 1940-: Kenya
June 1940?-May 1941: Operating in Italian Somaliland and Ethiopia

June-July 1944: Almaza
July-September 1944: Edku
September-November 1944: Perugia (Italy)
November 1944: Peretola
November 1944-April 1945: Pontedera
April-May 1945: Bologna
May-September 1945: Villafranca
September-October 1945: Fayid (Egypt)

Squadron Codes: ND

Duty
December 1939-May 1941: Army co-operation squadron

June 1944-October 1945: Fighter Squadron

Books

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (pending), No. 11 Squadron (SAAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/SAAF/11_wwII.html

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