No. 317 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.317 'Wilenski' Squadron was a Polish fighter squadron that spent most of the war flying offensive sweeps over German occupied territory. The squadron was formed at Acklington on 22 February 1941, and was equipped with the Hurricane. These were taken south in June, and the squadron took part in the offensive sweeps over France designed to draw the Luftwaffe into combat, as well as providing bomber escorts.

Spitfires arrived in October 1941, and in April 1942 the squadron moved to Northolt to join other Polish squadrons. It remained there until September when it moved north to Yorkshire, staying in the north for the winter of 1942-43.

In April 1943 the squadron moved back south, and resumed its offensive sweeps over France. It then became part of Second Tactical Air Force, the British contribution to the air forces intended to support the D-Day landings. In August 1944 the squadron moved into the Normandy beachhead, and after the breakout it followed the armies east, reaching Belgium in October. The squadron spent the rest of the war 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)

It moved onto its first German base in April 1945. The squadron joined the post-war occupation forces, but was disbanded on 18 December 1946.

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

February-April 1941: Acklington
April-June 1941: Ouston
June 1941: Colerne
June-July 1941: Fairwood Common
July 1941-April 1942: Exeter
April-June 1942: Northolt
June-July 1942: Croydon
July-September 1942: Northolt
September 1942-February 1943: Woodvale
February-April 1943: Kirton-in-Lindsey
April-June 1943: Martlesham Heath
June 1943: Heston
June-August 1943: Perranporth
August-September 1943: Fairlop
September-December 1943: Northolt
December 1943: Southend
December 1943-April 1944: Northolt
April 1944: Deanland
April-June 1944: Chailey
June-July 1944: Appledram
July-August 1944: Ford
August-September 1944: B.10 Plumetot
September 1944: B.31 Londonieres
September-October 1944: B.51 Lille/ Vendeville
October 1944-January 1945: B.61 St. Denis Westrem
January-March 1945: B.60 Grimbergen
March-April 1945: B.77 Gilze-Rijen
April 1945: B.101 Nordhorn
April-September 1945: B.113 Varrelbusch
September 1945-October 1946: B.111 Ahlhorn
October-December 1946: Hethel

Squadron Codes: sss

February-June 1941: Defensive fighter squadron
June 1941-September 1942: Offensive sweeps
September 1942-April 1943: Defensive duties, northern England
April 1943 onwards: Offensive duties, later with 2nd Tactical Air Force

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



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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (4 November 2011), No. 317 Squadron (RAF): Second World War,

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