No. 66 Squadron RAAF


No. 66 Squadron RAAF
No. 66 Squadron RAAF
Active 1943–1944
Country  Australia
Branch  Royal Australian Air Force
Role Maritime patrol
Engagements World War II
Insignia
Squadron code BU
Aircraft flown
Patrol Anson
Beaufort (attached)

No. 66 Squadron was a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) maritime patrol squadron of World War II. The squadron was formed in May 1943 as an emergency measure and was disbanded in January 1944.

History

During the first half of 1943 Japanese submarines operated off the Australian east coast, sinking 16 ships and damaging several more. In response to these losses the Australian Government expanded the military's anti-submarine warfare (ASW) forces. Three new RAAF maritime patrol units equipped with Avro Anson training aircraft, No. 66, No. 67 and No. 71 squadrons, were raised during this expansion. While it was recognised that the Ansons lacked sufficient range and payload to be effective in the ASW role, superior aircraft were not available.[1]

No. 66 Squadron was formed at Bundaberg, Queensland on 20 May 1943 from elements of No. 8 Service Flying School, and was the last of the three new Anson-equipped squadrons to be raised.[1][2] It received its first Ansons on 2 July, began flight training on 26 July and conducted its first operational patrol the next day. Pilots from the squadron ferried more Ansons from RAAF Base Laverton to Bundaberg in early August, and it reached a strength of 18 aircraft on the 8th of that month.[3] A flight of Beaufort aircraft from No. 32 Squadron was also attached to the unit.[4]

From late July 1943 onwards the squadron escorted Allied shipping travelling off the east coast of Australia. These patrols were uneventful, and the squadron did not sight any Japanese submarines or ships. No. 66 Squadron aircraft also exercised with Royal Australian Navy ships east of Moreton Island on 29 and 30 August.[3] While several of the squadron's Ansons were involved in accidents, only one was written off.[5] In November 1943 the Government decided to reduce the military's ASW force as no Japanese submarines were known to have operated off Australia since June.[6] Accordingly, No. 66 Squadron was disbanded on 8 January 1944 and its personnel were transferred to No. 8 Service Flying School, No. 1 Operational Conversion Unit and No. 71 Squadron.[2][7]

Notes

  1. ^ a b Wilson (1992), p. 48
  2. ^ a b Eather (1995), p. 81
  3. ^ a b RAAF Historical Section (1995), p. 83
  4. ^ Wilson (1992), p. 49
  5. ^ Barr, Joe (2009). "ADF Aircraft Serial Numbers RAAF A4 Avro Anson". Australian Military Aircraft Serials and Aircraft History. http://www.adf-serials.com/2a4.shtml. Retrieved 3 November 2009. 
  6. ^ Odgers (1968), pp. 155–156
  7. ^ RAAF Historical Section (1995), p. 84

References


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