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New Zealanders with the Royal Air Force (Vol. I)


page ix


foreword vii
introduction xix
chapter 1 the royal air force and early new zealnd representation 1
Events leading to formation of RAF—Early difficulties and achievements—Failure of Disarmament Conference—Belated expansion—Fighter, Bomber, and Coastal Commands in August 1939—Respective strengths of RAF and Luftwaffe.
New Zealanders early with the RAF—Prominent personalities—Service in many spheres between the wars— Increasing flow to Britain from 1936—Various training schemes—New Zealanders with the RAF at outbreak of war—Maori airmen and the Dominion contribution.
chapter 2 early operations from britain and france 23
The war at sea begins in earnest—Early reconnaissance patrols —Protection for convoys and fishing fleets—Bombers seek and attack enemy warships—Leaflet raids—Patrols against German minelaying bases—Origin and formation of No. 75 Squadron.
With the RAF in France—Early inactivity—The first combats.
chapter 3 meeting the german attack 40
Denmark and Norway invaded—British efforts to assist Norway—New Zealanders take part in reconnaissance, minelaying, and bombing attacks—Fighter pilots operate from Norway—Gain air superiority in Narvik area—The withdrawal from Norway.
The German attack in the West—New Zealanders in action with the fighter squadrons in France—Bombing attacks from French and English bases—The German breakthrough —Covering the evacuation from Dunkirk—Operations over France during June 1940.
chapter 4 the battle of britain 70
The fateful hour—A short respite is well used—New Zealanders in Fighter Command—Relative strengths and tactics of opposing air forces—The German plan—Combats during the first phase—The main assault begins—New Zealand pilots in action—The critical period—Enemy attack switches to London—Park’s tactics—Further successes by New Zealand pilots—Change of enemy plan—The ebb of battle—Comparison of British and German tactics. page x
chapter 5 bombing and reconnaissance, 1940 103
Early bombing policy—New Zealanders with Bomber Command—The first bombing raids—The part of No. 75 Squadron—New Zealanders with other units.
The work of Coastal Command—Anti-invasion patrols— Reconnaissance of the Norwegian coast—Escorting convoys —New Zealanders among the pioneers of photographic reconnaissance.
Changing strategy of the air war at end of 1940.
chapter 6 defeating the night raider 125
The closing phases of the German assault on Britain—Scale of the night attack—British air-raid casualties—Early efforts to intercept the night bomber—New Zealanders among the successful pilots—Improvements in the technique of night interception—RAF achievement during the spring of 1941— Virtual cessation of German raids by June but counter measures continued.
The first ‘Intruder’ patrols—New Zealanders with No. 23 Squadron—A promising form of night fighting is developed.
chapter 7 air war at sea 140
German advantages and achievements, 1940—The Battle of the Atlantic opens—New Zealanders in air patrol and attack—Early operations from Iceland—A U-boat surrenders —New Zealanders open the first base in West Africa.
The campaign against enemy shipping—Aerial minelaying —Attacks with bomb and torpedo—The Bismarck and the Prinz Eugen.
chapter 8 early bomber offensive 161
Increasing New Zealand strength in Bomber Command— Prominent personalities—The organisation of bombing operations—Night raids on Germany and Italy during the second winter—Daylight attacks by the Blenheims—Early difficulties of night bombing—Some typical experiences— Growth of the German defences—Operations against Germany during 1941—Further attacks on Italy—The warships at Brest.
chapter 9 the part of no. 75 squadron 183
The base at Feltwell—New Zealanders with sister squadron —Operations during the severe winter of 1940—Some eventful missions—Intensive activity during the spring— Attacks on the German transport system—Sergeant Ward wins the VC—Further hazardous flights—Heavier casualties during the autumn—Bombing the battleships. page xi
chapter 10 increasing new zealand participation— formation of nos. 485, 488, and 489 squadrons 207
Meeting the demand for trained aircrew—The Empire Air Training Plan—Its conception and development—New Zealand’s part—The Article XV Squadrons—Formation and early operations of Nos. 485, 488, and 489 Squadrons—New Zealanders in varied roles—Instructors and Medical Officers— Isherwood leads the RAF Wing to Russia—Pioneering the Atlantic Ferry—The development of air transport and reinforcement—The ‘met’ flights and air-sea rescue.
chapter 11 day fighters, 1941 224
Aftermath of the Battle of Britain—Brief appearance of the Italian Air Force—Small-scale German raids—New Zealand pilots in combat—Daylight activity declines—Fighter Command renews its strength—New Zealanders as leaders and squadron commanders during 1941—The convoy patrols —Offensive sweeps over northern France begin—Intensified with the German attack on Russia, June 1941—New Zealand pilots in action—The part of No. 485 Squadron—Some varied experiences—Stronger enemy opposition—A change of tactics—Further episodes involving New Zealand pilots.
chapter 12 heavier bombing raids—advent of no. 487 squadron 246
Allied strategy and the bomber offensive—A shortage of trained crews—Increasing Dominion representation in Bomber Command—New Zealanders with No. 2 Group—The formation of No. 487 Squadron—An eventful first mission— Daylight raids by the heavier bombers—Attacks on the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau—The advent of ‘Gee’—Air Marshal Harris appointed AOC-in-C of Bomber Command— Heavier attacks on Germany by night—The ‘thousand bomber’ raids—The part of No. 75 Squadron.
chapter 13 pathfinders and raids on italy 273
Allied strategy is more clearly defined—Night raids in July and August 1942—Heavier casualties and the need for better navigational aids—Formation of the Pathfinder Force—New Zealanders amongst the first crews—The early Pathfinder raids—Some hazardous missions—Successful attacks on Italy—December raids on Germany—The part of No. 75 Squadron during the second half of 1942
chapter 14 battle of the atlantic, 1942 291
A critical period in the war at sea—New Zealanders with Coastal Command—The convoy patrols—Men and their machines—The U-boat campaign in the Western Atlantic— Early Biscay patrols—The first Leigh Light aircraft— Further improvements in anti-submarine warfare—Enemy page xii counter measures in the Bay of Biscay—Patrol and attack in the North Atlantic—Protecting the North African convoys— New Zealanders in successful attacks on U-boats—The bitter struggie in the North Atlantic continues.
chapter 15 attacking enemy ships with mine, bomb, and torpedo 315
The challenge to Britain’s sea power—German ore traffic from Scandinavia—Laying mines from the air—An eventful sortie—New Zealanders in bombing attacks on enemy merchant ships—The early work of No. 489 Squadron —Torpedo attacks on German warships—Increasing defences of the enemy merchant vessels—No. 489 Squadron begins patrols along the Norwegian coast—Successful torpedo attacks —The development of the first Strike Wing.
chapter 16 day fighters during 1942 333
The changing role and equipment of Fighter Command— New Zealanders in command of bases, wings, and squadrons during 1942—Nos. 485 and 486 Squadrons—Intensive activity on a February afternoon—Renewal of the offensive over northern France in strength—A typical mission—Operations during March and April—New Zealand pilots in combat—The part of No. 485 Squadron.
Stronger enemy opposition to sweeps and ‘circuses’ —Covering the Dieppe raid—New Zealanders lead formations in patrol and attack—Offensive operations during the closing months—Protection of coastal shipping during 1942—No. 486 Squadron and the ‘tip and run’ raiders.
chapter 17 night fighters, 1942 359
German effort against the United Kingdom—The British night fighter force—New Zealand representation—The technique of night interception—Dominion airmen in action.
‘Intruder’ patrols are continued—Some successful missions —Decline of enemy activity by night towards the close of the year—The German Air Force at the end of 1942 and the growing ascendancy of Allied air power.
I Principal Events of the Second World War (1939–42) with particular reference to air operations in Europe 370
II A Flight to Italy in November 1940 382
III Strengths and Casualties 388
IV Principal types of British and German operational aircraft during the first three years 389
V Glossary 392
VI Bibliography 395