No. 462 Squadron RAAF


No. 462 Squadron RAAF
No. 462 Squadron RAAF
462 Sqn (AWM P01523033).jpg
A No. 462 Squadron Halifax in 1944, the yellow tail stripes giving it away as part of No. 4 Group RAF.
Active 1942–1944
1944–1945
2005–current
Country Australia Australia
Branch Ensign of the Royal Australian Air Force.svg Royal Australian Air Force
Role Heavy bomber (1942–1944)
Electronic warfare (1944–1945)
Information operations (2005–current)
Part of Information Warfare Wing RAAF
Current location Canberra
Battle honours
  • Fortress Europe, 1940–1944
  • France and Germany, 1944–1945
  • Ruhr, 1940–1945
  • Berlin, 1940–1945
  • German Ports, 1940–1945
  • South-East Europe, 1942–1945
  • Egypt and Libya, 1940–1943
  • North Africa, 1942–1943
  • Mediterranean, 1940–1943
  • Sicily, 1943
  • Italy, 1943–1945
  • El Alamein
  • El Hamma[1]
Insignia
Squadron Codes Z5 (Aug 44 – Sep 45)[2][3]
Tail markings Three vertical yellow stripes
Aircraft flown
Bomber Handley Page Halifax

No. 462 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force squadron which forms part of the Information Warfare Wing in the RAAF's Aerospace Operational Support Group. The squadron was first formed in 1942 as a heavy bomber unit and saw combat in this role in the Mediterranean area until it was disbanded in March 1944. It was reformed in the United Kingdom in August 1944 to participate in the bombing campaign against Germany, and in December that year converted to a specialist electronic warfare unit. No. 462 Squadron continued in this role until the end of the European war in May 1945 and was disbanded in September that year. The squadron was reformed in its current role during April 2005.

Contents

Squadron history

1942–44

No. 462 Squadron was formed on 7 September 1942 at RAF Fayid, Egypt from detachments of Nos. 10, 76 and 227 Squadron RAF.[4] While the unit was an Australian Article XV squadron, due to the manner of its formation almost all personnel were British and it initially had only a single Australian airman and no Australian ground crew.[5][6] The Squadron was equipped with Halifax B.Mk.II heavy bombers and flew its first operation on the night of 8/9 September 1942 against ground targets at Tobruk. No. 462 Squadron was the only Halifax-equipped squadron in North Africa during 1942 and suffered from shortages of aircrew as a result. This problem became so severe in December that the squadron became non-operational until January 1943.[7]

A No. 462 Squadron bomber crew in September 1942. Only the man third from the right is Australian and the others are from Britain, Newfoundland and New Zealand

RAAF Overseas Headquarters attempted to have more Australians posted to No. 462 Squadron during late 1942, largely without success. Most of the Australian ground crew which were assigned to the squadron in 1942 had no experience with Halifax bombers, and this caused the unit's aircraft availability rate to decrease for a period. The British majority were also unhappy about serving in an 'Australian' unit and this contributed to tensions between the Australian and British airmen.[7] In January 1943, the Australian Air Board agreed to a proposal by Air Marshal Richard Williams, RAAF Overseas Headquarters' commanding officer, to concentrate eight RAAF squadrons into a single group in RAF Bomber Command which would have included redesignating No. 462 Squadron as a Royal Air Force (RAF) unit and reforming it as an Australian unit in Britain. This plan was never fully put into effect, however, and No. 462 Squadron remained in North Africa throughout 1943.[8]

During 1943 and 1944 No. 462 Squadron conducted raids against Axis targets throughout the Mediterranean area. In the early months of 1943 it primarily attacked harbours and shipping in Sicily. These raids were initially made from Cyrenaica until the squadron moved to Gardabia Main in Tunisia on 14 February. From this base it participated in the Tunisia Campaign until it concluded in May.[9] More Australian personnel were posted into the squadron in early 1943, but by March only 120 of its 660 personnel were Australian. By August almost all aircraft maintenance was being conducted by Australian ground crew and the relationship between the Australian and British members of the squadron had improved. Following the end of the Tunisian Campaign No. 462 Squadron moved to Hosc Raui in Libya from where it attacked targets in Sicily and southern Italy.[10] On 1 October the squadron moved again to Terria in Libya and conducted raids against German targets in Greece, Crete, Rhodes and other islands in the Dodecanese. In December 1943 its operations included conducting attacks on Greek ports to divert attention away from aircraft laying naval mines nearby. On 1 January 1944 No. 462 Squadron moved to El Adem in Libya and continued these operations, as well as also conducting raids in which propaganda leaflets were dropped over Greece.[11]

Despite the efforts of Australian authorities the Squadron contained mostly British aircrew and ground staff. Frustrated with the British dominance of the squadron the RAAF Overseas Headquarters requested that the squadron be disbanded and reformed in Britain as an Australian squadron and this was agreed to in December 1943.[7][12] After relocating to Celone airfield in Italy, No. 462 Squadron was re-designated No. 614 Squadron RAF on 1 March 1944.[11] While it was intended that the squadron's Australian personnel would be posted to other units, this took time to implement and it was not until mid-1944 that Australian ground crew began to be transferred and the proportion of Australian aircrew in the unit had dropped to a level similar to that of other squadrons in No. 205 Group RAF.[12]

1944–45

Australian ground crew working on one of No. 462 Squadron's Halifax bombers in December 1944

No. 462 Squadron was reformed at RAF Driffield, Yorkshire in Britain on 12 August 1944 as an Australian heavy bomber squadron within RAF Bomber Command, now equipped with Halifax B.Mk.III bombers.[11] In its new incarnation the squadron had an Australian commanding officer and a higher proportion of its personnel were Australians.[7] Many of its initial personnel were transferred from No. 466 Squadron RAAF, then also at Driffield.[11] No. 462 Squadron flew its first operational mission on 25 August and subsequently took part in attacks against 39 different targets over the next four months in support of Allied ground fores in Western Europe and as part of Bomber Command's campaign against Germany.[7][13]

On 27 December 1944 No. 462 Squadron was relocated to RAF Foulsham and became part of No. 100 Group RAF. This group specialised in electronic warfare and No. 462 Squadron's aircraft were modified to radar jamming equipment and other countermeasures.[14][15] Until the end of the war the squadron used its special equipment and mounted small diversionary attacks to deceive the Germans as to the location of the raids conducted by Bomber Command. While the squadron maintained a high rate of operations at times, its losses were relatively light as the countermeasures carried by the aircraft also protected them from attack.[15] No. 462 Squadron continued to operate until almost the end of the war in Europe, and was the only Australian squadron in Bomber Command to either fly a higher number of sorties in April 1945 than March or operate in May.[16] The squadron flew its final operation of the war on the night of 2/3 May.[15]

Following the end of the European war, the RAF sought to retain No. 462 Squadron for a period so that it could be used to test radio countermeasure equipment and techniques.[17] As a result, the squadron continued to fly training and ferry flights and also conducted armed patrols over Germany. These duties continued until the squadron was disbanded at Foulsham on 24 September 1945.[15]

Since 2005

No. 462 Squadron was reformed in April 2005 as a non-flying squadron within the Information Warfare Wing of the RAAF's Aerospace Operational Support Group. The Squadron's role is to "protect the Air Force's capability through the conduct of information operations".[18] The Squadron is based in Canberra but is scheduled to move to RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia in 2012.[19]

Aircraft operated

Aircraft operated by no. 462 Squadron RAAF, data from[20][21][22]
From To Aircraft Version
September 1942 March 1944 Handley Page Halifax Mk.II
August 1944 September 1945 Handley Page Halifax Mk.III

Squadron bases

Bases and airfields use by no 462 Squadron RAAF, data from[20][21][22]
From To Base
7 September 1942 13 November 1942 RAF Fayid, Egypt
13 November 1942 29 November 1942 LG.237 Kilo 40/Jebel Hamzi, Egypt
29 November 1942 14 December 1942 LG.167/Bir el Baheira, Libya
14 December 1942 18 January 1943 LG.237 Kilo 40/Jebel Hamzi, Egypt
18 January 1943 24 January 1943 LG.167/Bir el Baheira, Libya
24 January 1943 14 February 1943 Soluch I, Libya
14 February 1943 22 May 1943 Gardabia Main, Libya
22 May 1943 1 October 1943 Hosc Raui, Libya
1 October 1943 1 January 1944 Terria, Libya
1 January 1944 1 March 1944 LG.144/El Adem, Libya
1 March 1944 3 March 1944 Celone airfield, Italy
12 August 1944 29 December 1944 RAF Driffield, Yorkshire
29 December 1944 24 September 1945 RAF Foulsham, Norfolk
11 April 2005 Present Canberra, Australia

Commanding officers

Officers commanding no. 462 Squadron RAAF in the Mediterranean, data from[1]
From To Name
7 September 1942 8 October 1942 Wing Commander David Oswald Young, DSO, DFC, AFC, RAF
9 October 1942 13 January 1943 Wing Commander George Philip Seymour-Price, DFC, RAF
14 January 1943 14 July 1943 (killed in action) Wing Commander Peter George Batty Warner, DSO, RAFVR
17 July 1943 19 August 1943 Squadron Leader Reginal Owen Buskell, DFC, RAF (temporarily commanding)
29 August 1943 15 February 1944 Wing Commander William Taylor Russell, RAF

Squadron disbanded 3 March 1944 at Celone airfield, Italy.
Squadron reformed 12 August 1944 at RAF Driffield, UK

Officers commanding no. 462 Squadron RAAF in the European theater of operations, data from[1]
From To Name
12 August 1944 17 January 1945 Wing Commander David Eliot Strachan Shannon, DFC, MID, RAAF
17 January 1945 24 September 1945 Wing Commander Peter McCallum Paull, DFC(US), RAAF

Squadron disbanded 24 September 1945 at RAF Foulsham, UK.
Squadron reformed 11 April 2005 in Canberra, Australia

Officers commanding no. 462 Squadron RAAF in its present incarnation
From To Name
11 April 2005 21 January 2007 Wing Commander Brett 'Frosty' Newell, RAAF
21 January 2007 January 2009 Wing Commander Nicholas Allan Cram, RAAF
21 January 2009 Present Wing Commander Darren Reyce May, RAAF

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Australian War Memorial: 462 Squadron RAAF
  2. ^ Bowyer and Rawlings 1979, p. 122.
  3. ^ Flintham and Thomas 2003, p. 123.
  4. ^ RAAF Historical Section (1995), p. 124
  5. ^ Herington (1954), pp. 305, 360
  6. ^ Stephens (2006), p. 99
  7. ^ a b c d e Eather (1995), p. 121
  8. ^ Herington (1954), pp. 454–455
  9. ^ RAAF Historical Section (1995), p. 125
  10. ^ RAAF Historical Section (1995), p. 126
  11. ^ a b c d RAAF Historical Section (1995), p. 127
  12. ^ a b Herington (1963), p. 82
  13. ^ RAAF Historical Section (1995), p. 128
  14. ^ Herington (1963), p. 405
  15. ^ a b c d Eather (1995), p. 122
  16. ^ Herington (1963), p. 446
  17. ^ Herington (1963), p. 447
  18. ^ "462SQN is born again". Air Force. 8 February 2007. http://www.defence.gov.au/news/raafnews/editions/4901/topstories/story9.htm. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  19. ^ Defence Support Group (2009). "RAAF Base Edinburgh Redevelopment Stage 2. Statement of Evidence to the Standing Committee on Public Works". Parliament of Australia. pp. 1. http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/pwc/raafedinburghstage2/subs/sub001.pdf. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  20. ^ a b Moyes 1976, p. 256.
  21. ^ a b Halley 1988, p. 482.
  22. ^ a b Jefford 2001, p. 95.

References

External links


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