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Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume I

AIR FORCES IN BALKANS AND MIDDLE EAST

AIR FORCES IN BALKANS AND MIDDLE EAST

German: The Germans have concentrated the following air forces:

In Roumania:

  • 40 dive bombers

  • 120 single-engined fighters

  • 40 twin-engined fighters

  • 42 bomber-reconnaissance aircraft

  • 120 Army co-operation aircraft

  • 70 to 80 transport aircraft

In Bulgaria:

  • 40 long-range bombers

  • 80 dive bombers

Preparations are being made in addition which we estimate will allow a further 80 single-engined fighters and up to 120 Army co-operation aircraft to be operated from Bulgaria in about ten days. It would be possible to operate from Bulgaria the whole of the German air forces in Roumania by about the first week in April, but it is unlikely that Roumania would be left without air forces.

From Bulgaria German long-range bombers could reach the whole of Greece, Crete, and the Dodecanese. Their dive bombers could reach a line approximately Komitsa, Larissa, south of Lemnos and including the Sea of Marmara. Single-engined fighters could be provided for the bombers from Bulgaria up to, approximately, Aliakmon northward, and from the Salonika area as far as Lamia. Twin-engined fighters could cover Greece up to the Corinth Canal from Bulgaria, and could include most of Morea from the Salonika area. The aerodromes in the Salonika area could accommodate approximately nine squadrons now and perhaps three or four more by late spring.

page 263

British: The present air forces in the Middle East include the following aircraft serviceable, or serviceable within fourteen days, in Egypt, the Sudan, and Greece:

  • 71 S9 Blenheim I

  • 71 Blenheim IV

  • 102 Gladiator

  • 61 Hurricane

  • 134 Wellington

  • 38 Wellesley

  • 100 Lysander

In addition, there are three Royal Air Force squadrons at Aden and four South African Air Force squadrons in Kenya. Some of these aircraft are engaged in operations against Italian East Africa and will become available to reinforce Greece if and when Italian resistance collapses.

On the way to Egypt at present there are:

  • 110 Hurricanes

  • 90 Blenheim IV

  • 24 Lysander

  • 39 Glen Martin

  • 16 Mohawks

  • 102 Tomahawks

The capacity of the reinforcement route via Takoradi is now 80 to 120 aircraft each month and as soon as possible this is being expanded.