No. 30 Dive Bomber Squadron (RNZAF): Second World War

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No.30 Dive Bomber Squadron, RNZAF, was a short-lived unit that took part in the fighting on Bougainville in March 1944 and the campaign against Rabaul, before being disbanded in May 1944.

The squadron was formed at Gisborne, the only RNZAF airfield on New Zealand's east coast. At first it was equipped with a mix of Vickers Vincents and Harvards, but later it converted to the Grumman TBF Avenger.

The squadron trained as a torpedo bomber unit, but by the time it moved to Espiritu Santo early in 1944 torpedo bombers weren't required and the unit retrained in dive and skip bombing.

Nos.25 and 30 Squadrons both moved to Bougainville in late March 1944, during the Japanese offensive against the American bridgehead. They both began operations on 25 March. No.30 Squadron flew twelve sorties on the first day, against targets within a few minutes flight of the airfield. For the next two weeks the squadrons operated every day, dive bombing and straffing Japanese targets during the day and carrying out patrols over the defensive perimeter at night.

On 26 March the squadron contributed seven aircraft to an attack on Kavieng, carried out to prevent Japanese aircraft based there from interfering in the Allied invasion of Emirau.

Once the immediate crisis on Bougainville was over the two RNZAF dive-bomber squadrons focused on Rabaul, sending six or twelve aircraft on every day when flying was possible. The Japanese airfields at Vunakanau and Tobera were their most frequent target.

In late May 1944 the squadron was withdrawn from Bougainville. It returned to New Zealand where it was disbanded.

June 1943-: Vickers Vincent and North American Harvard
September 1943-May 1944: Grumman TBF Avenger

September 1943-January 1944: Gisborne, New Zealand
February-March 1944: Espiritu Santo
March-May 1944: Bougainville



How to cite this article: Rickard, J (4 February 2022), No.30 Dive Bomber Squadron (RNZAF): Second World War,

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