No. 618 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.618 Squadron was formed to use a scaled down version of Barnes Wallis' 'bouncing bomb' as an anti-shipping weapon, but despite a great deal of effort and a transfer to the Far East the squadron never carried out an attack with its new weapon.

The squadron was formed on 1 April 1943. It was to use a modified version of the 'bouncing bomb', scaled down so that it could be carried by a modified Mosquito and using rockets to spin the bomb (instead of the powerful motors used by the Lancasters of No.617 Squadron). This weapon, code-named 'Highball', proved to be very difficult to perfect. Early trials were carried out in April 1943 and a number of problems were uncovered. These were still present during tests in May and June and so it was decided to use the existing Highball weapons as standard depth charges. Before this could happen the squadron was grounded (13 September) and its personnel dispersed while work continued on the mine.

The aircrews went to No.248 Squadron, where they gained some combat experience with the Mosquito. In the meantime it was decided to transfer the squadron to the Far East where it was hoped some suitable targets might be found. The squadron's members came back together and after some deck landing practice with Barracudas on HMS Rajah received their modified Mosquitos. More training followed, before the squadron set sail for the Far East. It reached Australia in January 1945 but once again suffered from a lack of suitable targets. The squadron was based in Australia for the first half of 1945 while attempts were made to find a target for it, but it was finally disbanded on 14 July 1945.

Aircraft
April-June 1943: Bristol Beaufighter II
April 1943-June 1945: de Havilland Mosquito IV
July-October 1944: de Havilland Mosquito VI
October 1944-June 1945: de Havilland Mosquito XVI
March-June 1945: de Havilland Mosquito VI
December 1944: Fairey Barracuda II

Location
April 1943-July 1944: Skitten
July-August 1944: Wick
August-October 1944: Beccles

December 1944-February 1945: Melbourne
February-June 1945: Narromine

Squadron Codes: P, S

Duty
1943-1945: Special Purpose bomber squadron

Books

 

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (13 April 2012), No. 618 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/618_wwII.html

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