No. 60 Squadron (SAAF): Second World War

Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books

No.60 Squadron, S.A.A.F., was a photographic survey and reconnaissance squadron that operated in East Africa and the Mediterranean.

The squadron was initially equipped with the Avro Anson, which it has used to conduct a photographic survey of East Africa.

In July 1941 it moved to Egypt, and converted to the Martin Maryland. The new aircraft were used on reconnaissance missions over hostile territory in North Africa and for photographic surveys of Allied areas. In January 1942 the squadron began to concentrate on the photographic surveys, and slowly ran out of aircraft.

In October 1942 the squadron received a number of Douglas Baltimores which allowed it to resume active operations. This time the reconnaissance took priority, and the squadron was used to map the German defences in Tunisia, including the strong Mareth line . The Baltimore was too slow for this duty, making it vulnerable to enemy attack, and so in February 1943 the first two Mosquitoes arrived. By the summer of 1943 the squadron was completely equipped with the Mosquito, which it used to survey the German defences on the landing beaches in Italy (operating under the contgrol of the US 3rd Reconnaissance Group)

The new aircraft allowed the squadron to operate over a much wider area than before. After moving to Italy in December 1943 the squadron flew reconnaissance missions over Austria, southern Germany, the Balkans and northern Italy, losses some aircraft in clashes with Me 262 jet fighters. The squadron was also used to conduct a photographic survey of parts of Austria, Italy, France and the Alps, and after the war of Greece.

On 3 August 1945 control of the squadron reverted to the SAAF, and later in the month ten surviving Mosquitoes flew to South Africa.

Aircraft
August 1941-June 1943: Martin Maryland I and II
October 1942-June 1943: Martin Baltimore II
October 1942-August 1943: Martin Baltimore III
February-October 1943: de Havilland Mosquito PR.IV
July-December 1943: de Havilland Mosquito VI
July 1943-September 1944: de Havilland Mosquito PR.IX
February 1944-August 1945: de Havilland Mosquito PR.XVI

Location
July-November 1941: Heliopolis
November-December 1941: Fuka
December 1941-January 1942: Tmimi
January-July 1942: Heliopolis
July-August 1942: Beirut
August-September 1942: LG.100
September-November 1942: LG.201
November-December 1942: Tmimi
December 1942-January 1943: Benina
January 1943: Marble Arch
January-February 1943: Darragh
February-March 1943: Castel Benito
March-April 1943: Senem
April 1943: El Djem North
April-May 1943: Monastir
May-July 1943: Sorman
July-September 1943: Sabratha
September-November 1943: Ariana
November-December 1943: El Aouina
December 1943-August 1945: San Severo

Squadron Codes: -

Duty
November 1941 : under direct authority of Air Headquarters, Western Desert

October 1942: No.285 Wing, Air Headquarters, Western Desert , with a detachment under direct command of HQ, RAF Middle East

July 1943 - No.285 Wing, Desert Air Force, North African Tactical Air Force, Northwest African Air Forces.

Books

 Mosquito Photo-Reconnaissance Units of World World 2, Martin Bowman. The third of three books looking at the RAF career of the Mosquito, this volume looks at the career of the Mosquito as a unarmed photo-reconnaissance aircraft, relying on its exceptional speed to keep it safe. [see more]
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The Decisive Campaigns of the Desert Air Force 1942-1945, Bryn Evans. . Looks at the activities of the RAF's tactical air force in the North Africa and Italian Theatres, where it developed many of the close support techniques used with greater fame by 2nd Tactical Air Force in Normandy. This is a valuable account of the services of a key, but often overlooked, part of the wartime RAF. [read full review]
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (5 November 2009), No. 60 Squadron (SAAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/SAAF/60_wwII.html

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