No. 302 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.302 'Poznanski' Squadron was a Polish-manned fighter squadron that fought in later stages of the Battle of Britain, before becoming a fighter-bomber squadron and joining 2nd Tactical Air Force during the invasion of Europe in 1944-45.

The squadron was formed on 13 July 1940 around a core of Polish airmen who had escaped from Poland in 1939 and then France in 1940. The squadron was equipped with Hurricanes, and spent the first part of the Battle of Britain in Yorkshire before moving south to Northolt in mid-October (arriving one day after No.1 Squadron, RCAF, moved away, and on the same day that No.303 Squadron moved to Leconfield), where it took part in the later stages of the battle (this period saw German fighter-bomber raids during the day and attacks on London at night). 

In May 1941 the squadron was moved to the Isle of Man, where it provided fighter protection for convoys in the Irish Sea. In August it moved again, this time to the south-west of England, where it converted to the Spitfire late in 1941.

Most of 1942 was spent flying offensive sweeps across France. In February 1943 the squadron moved north and spent four months providing defensive cover over Lincolnshire and Yorkshire.

In June 1943 the squadron moved back south and joined Second Tactical Air Force. The offensive sweeps over France resumed, before in April 1944 the squadron converted to the fighter-bomber role. It moved to France in August 1944 and took part in the battle of Normandy, providing close support for the Allied armies. The squadron took part in the breakout from Normandy, reaching Belgium by October. The rest of the war was spent flying offensive sweeps over Germany.

On 1 January the squadron's base was attacked during Operation Bodenplatte, but the three Polish squadrons of No.131 Wing had taken part in an early morning raid, and returned to their base as the Germans were attacking. As a result the Germans lost at least 17 aircraft, while the Poles only lost 2 in the air (and eighteen on the ground, but those could easily be replaced)

In April 1945 the squadron moved to a base inside Germany, and it remained there as part of the occupation force, before being disbanded on 18 December 1946.

Aircraft
July 1940-March 1941: Hawker Hurricane I
March 1941-May 1941: Hawker Hurricane IIA
May-July 1941: Hawker Hurricane I
July-October 1941: Hawker Hurricane IIB
October 1941-September 1943: Supermarine Spitfire VB and VC
September 1943-February 1945: Supermarine Spitfire IX
February 1945-December 1946: Supermarine Spitfire XVI

Location
July-October 1940: Leconfield
October-November 1940: Northolt
November 1940-April 1941: Westhampnett
April-May 1941: Kenley
May-August 1941: Jurby
August-September 1941: Churchstanton
September-October 1941: Warmwell
October 1941-April 1942: Harrowbeer
April-May 1942: Warmwell
May-June 1942: Heston
June-July 1942: Croydon
July-September 1942: Heston
September 1942: Ipswich
September 1942-Febuary 1943: Heston
February-April 1943: Kirton-in-Lindsey
April-June 1943: Hutton Cranswick
June 1943: Heston
June-August 1943: Perranporth
August-September 1943: Fairlop
September 1943: Tangmere
September 1943-April 1944: Northolt
April 1944: Deanland
April 1944: Southend
April 1944: Deanland
April-June 1944: Chailey
June-July 1944: Appledram
July-August 1944: Ford
August 1944: B.10 Plumetot
August-September 1944: Fairwood Common
September-October 1944: B.51 Lille/ Vendeville
October 1944: B.70 Deurne
October 1944-January 1945: B.61 St. Denis Westrem
January-March 1945: B.77 Gilze-Rijen
April-August 1945: B.122 Varrelbusch
August-September 1945: B.170 Sylt
September 1945: B.113 Varrelbusch
September-December 1945: B.111 Ahlhorn

Squadron Codes: WX

Duty
1941-1944: Fighter squadron
1944-1945: Fighter-bomber squadron

Part of
6 June 1944: No.131 Wing; No.84 Group; Second Tactical Air Force, Allied Expeditionary Air Force

Books

 

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (20 October 2011), No. 302 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/302_wwII.html

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