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New Zealanders with the Royal Air Force (Volume III)


page vii


Part I: Mediterranean and Middle East
1 PRELUDE TO WAR Importance of the Middle East to Britain – The Italian challenge – Royal Air Force, Middle East – New Zealand participation before and at outbreak of hostilities.
2 EARLY OPERATIONS OVER MANY FRONTS Royal Air Force takes the initiative – successful operations over Western Desert, East Africa and from Aden – Problems of supply and reinforcement – Development of the Takoradi air route – Supporting Wavell's advance to Benghazi – The campaign in East Africa – Advent of the German Air ForceGreece, Crete and Cyrenaica are lost, Iraq and Syria saved. 13
3 WESTERN DESERT – THE SECOND YEAR Back in Egypt – Supplying Tobruk and harassing the enemy – Reorganisation of RAF – Increasing New Zealand participation – Life with Desert Air Force – The ‘Late Arrivals' Club’ – Bomber crews and the Benghazi ‘mail run’ – Fighter and transport missions during crusader – Rommel's counter-attack – Intensive operations during the retreat to El Alamein-The first supply missions to Yugoslavia. 42
4 WESTERN DESERT – THE THIRD YEAR Holding the enemy at El Alamein – The Battle of Alam el Halfa – Continuing assault on Rommel's supply lines – The part of the bomber and torpedo-bomber crews – Preparing for the great offensive – Intensive activity during the Alamein battle and subsequent pursuit – On to Tripoli – Important contribution by transport aircraft – The achievement of Desert Air Force. 77
5 ALGERIA AND TUNISIA Operation TORCH – Covering the landings – Initial difficulties in Algeria – Reorganisation of the Allied forces – The fight for Tunisia – Prominent New Zealand leaders – The work of the fighter and bomber crews – Supporting the First Army – Covering the Eighth Army's advance from Tripoli – Heavy bomber, coastal and transport missions. 104
6 MALTA The island's place in Mediterranean strategy – The first enemy raids – The achievement of Maynard and his pilots – Malta's offensive activity increases – The Luftwaffe returns – page viii Bitter air battles and the crisis of 1942 – Reinforcement and recovery – Final defeat of the LuftwaffeMalta's squadrons strike with renewed vigour – Support for North African campaign – Preparing for the invasion of Sicily and Italy. 127
7 SICILY Operation HUSKY – Preliminary air activity – Pantellaria and Lampedusa – The airborne invasion of Sicily – Covering the landings by sea – Defeat of the Luftwaffe – Supporting the land advance – The battle for Catania – Air activity over the Messina Straits – The work of New Zealand aircrew during the campaign – Individual episodes and incidents. 160
8 ITALY Invasion preparations – Covering the landings in southern Italy – The fight for Salerno – Driving the Luftwaffe back – Support for the northward advance – ‘Cab-rank’ patrols – Lively activity over Anzio – The battle for Cassino – Operation STRANGLE – The advance beyond Rome – Invading southern France – Forward to the Gothic Line. 187
9 BEYOND THE ITALIAN BATTLEFRONT The strategic bomber offensive – Minelaying in the Danube – Fighter and bomber missions over Yugoslavia – The Aegean and eastern Mediterranean – The work of the transport crews – With Coastal Air Force over the Mediterranean and Red Sea approaches – Air-sea rescue patrols – Photographic reconnaissance – New Zealanders in non-flying roles. 214
10 THE END IN ITALY The winter stalemate – Attacking enemy communications and supplies – The final offensive by land and air – The Allied air forces and the Italian campaign. 236
Part II: South-east Asia
11 MALAYA, SUMATRA AND JAVA The Japanese attack – Our disastrous air weakness – Operations during the Malayana campaign – Final effort over Singapore, Sumatra and Java – The part of New Zealand fighter pilots – No. 488 NZ Squadron's story – Bomber and reconnaissance missions – The work of the New Zealand Airfield Construction Unit. 245
12 THE RETREAT FROM BURMA The air defence of Burma – New Zealanders with No. 67 Squadron – Air battles over Rangoon – Hurricane and Blenheim operations – A defensive victory is won – The retreat from Rangoon is covered – Last blow from Magwe – Air support from India – Maritime reconnaissance – Successful defence of Ceylon. 269page ix
13 FIGHTING BACK FROM INDIA Aftermath of retreat – Preparing to defend India – The renewal of Allied air power – New Zealanders with RAF units – Air supply to China – Support for the Army in Arakan – Offensive missions over Burma – Supplying Wingate's first expedition – Bombing and reconnaissance – Operations during the 1943 monsoon. 284
14 AIR SUPERIORITY AND THE ARAKAN BATTLE Growing Allied strenght – Mountabatten and South-east Asia Command – The struggle for air supremacy – The Spitfire victories and their significance – The part of New Zealand fighter pilots – The strategic situation, January 1944 – Allied and Japanese plans – The second Arakan campaign – Air supply and support are decisive – New Zealand participation. 306
15 OPERATION ‘THURSDAY’ AND THE VICTORY AT IMPHAL Wingate's second expedition – Air support and supply – Casualty evacuation – The Japanese attack in Manipur – Decisive air intervention – Supply and support at Imphal – Harassing the enemy retreat – New Zealanders in transport, fighter, bomber and reconnaissance operations. 324
16 BACK TO RANGOON – THE LAST PHASE Air support for the Allied offensive – New Zealand air leaders – The pattern of the land advance – Support for Fourteenth Army – The capture of Rangoon – The Sittang battle – Operation zipper – Final missions. 355
I Chronology – Middle East 375
II Chronology – South-east Asia 381
III Principal Operational Aircraft of Royal Air Force in Middle East and South-east Asia 385
IV Principal Operational Aircraft of German Air Force in Middle East 388
V Principal Operational Aircraft of Italian Air Force 390
VI Principal Operational Aircraft of Japanese Air Force 391
Glossary 393
Bibliography 395
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