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Thread: Northern Narrative

  1. #1
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    Default Northern Narrative

    SAAF Northern Narrative

    The Suez Canal was vital to maintaining the British ability to support India and the Far East in time of conflict.

    British and French policy was to share the security of the link by holding territory at the waterway entrances to both the Mediterranean and Red Sea while Britain had armed forces stationed in Egypt to defend the Canal Zone.

    The effect of Gibraltar/France/Tunisia to the west and Aden/British Somalia/French Somalia/Sudan to the east led to a feeling in Italy of being isolated to the ocean trade routes.

    Libya in the 1920s had first provided the Italian Empire with a secure land access on the southern mediterranean and, with the rise of Mussolini, the small Italian colony of Italian Somaliland expanded into surrounding Ethiopia in 1935/36.

    This enlarged Italian colonial state of Italian East Africa encircled British and French Somalia and gave Red Sea ports along with the desired Indian Ocean access.

    Despite these gains and along with other lands claimed in the Eastern Mediterranean, Italy still did not have a secure land route to the ocean ports.

    The early success of Germany in Europe led Mussolini to enter the Second World War with a declared desire to gain land in western Yugoslavia, southern France, Corsica, Malta, Tunisia, part of Algeria, Morocco, British Somalia, French Somalia, Suez and Sudan.

    Recall of men and equipment to the UK coupled with absence of reinforcements and new equipment in early 1940 had resulted in British forces being very weak in Sudan/Egypt and non existent in Kenya.

    Italy delared war on Britain and France on 10th June 1940 and planned a three front attack on British interests in Egypt, Sudan and Kenya.

    The Union of South Africa did not hesitate and advanced equipment to cover Kenya.

    In the early hours on the day after the Italian Declaration the SAAF launched a small air attack on Italian East Africa from bases in Kenya. This reaction was so swift that it actually took place six hours before the Union had declared war on Italy in support of the UK.

    On the border between Sudan and Italian East Africa the RAF launched a bombing attack at dawn on the 11th June by eight Wellesley bombers of No.47 Squadron.

    This was the opening of a campaign in East Africa that was to last until November 1941.

    The initial months were fought using aircraft from the 1930s order of battle, biplane fighter/bombers and early monoplane light bombers.

    Support from French forces against Italian actions continued for a few days after the armistice was signed between Itay and France on 24th June but soon Italy gained French Somalia without further action.

    Recall of the bulk of British forces in the Sudan to aid Greece prolonged the conflict as was the case of the Western Desert but Italian forces were eventually defeated in Oct/Nov 1941.

    The SAAF Northern Narrative is the Air Headquarters East Africa day to day record of the campaign in the form of Daily records of operations and associated appendices of signals and reports.

    On declaration of war with Germany the SAAF inventory was declared as

    65 Hawker Hartbees
    74 Hawker Hart (23 being delivered)
    6 Hawker Fury
    23 Westland Wapiti
    37 Avro Tutor (in production)
    6 Airspeed Envoy
    3 Hawker Hurricane (4 being delivered)
    1 Bristol Blenheim MkI
    1 Fairey Battle
    1 Gloster AS31 Survey
    3 DH66 Hercules
    1 DH9J

    Many of the above aircraft were u/s because of lack of spares.

    In addition 18 Junkers Ju86 and 11 Junkers Ju52 airline aircraft of the South African Airways were also pressed into service as bombers.

    As to manpower the SAAF permanent force consisted of 160 officers, 35 cadets and 1,400 men
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  2. #2
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    Default Index to AIR 54 for Northern Narrative

    SAAF Northern Narrative

    10 June 1940 - 30 June 1940, ORB, AIR 54/8 Part 1, Page 4 to Page 23
    27 June 1940 - 27 June 1940, ORB, AIR 54/8 Part 2, Page 213 to Page 214
    1 July 1940 - 31 July 1940, ORB, AIR 54/8 Part 1, Page 65 to Page 92
    1 Aug 1940 - 30 Aug 1940, ORB, AIR 54/8 Part 1, Page 217 to Page 248
    1 Sept 1940 - 31 Sept 1940, ORB, AIR 54/8 Part 1, Page 332 to Page 386
    1 Oct 1940 - 12 Oct 1940, ORB, AIR 54/8 Part 1, Page 492 to Page 511
    11 Oct 1940 - 30 Oct 1940, ORB, AIR 54/8 Part 2, Page 2 to Page 57
    2 Nov 1940 - 30 Nov 1940, ORB, AIR 54/8 Part 2, Page 2 to Page 211
    8 Nov 1940 - 8 Nov 1940, ORB, AIR 54/8 Part 2, Page 212 to Page 212
    1 Dec 1940 - 31 Dec 1940, ORB, AIR 54/9 Part 1, Page 162 to Page 234
    1 Jan 1941 - 30 Jan 1941, ORB, AIR 54/9 Part 1, Page 329 to Page 444
    1 Feb 1941 - 1 Feb 1941, ORB, AIR 54/9 Part 1, Page 560 to Page 560
    1 Feb 1941 - 28 Feb 1941, ORB, AIR 54/9 Part 2, Page 2 to Page 175
    1 Mar 1941 - 31 Mar 1941, ORB, AIR 54/10 Part 1, Page 76 to Page 333
    1 April 1941 - 24 April 1941, ORB, AIR 54/10 Part 1, Page 464 to Page 673
    24 April 1941 - 26 April 1941, ORB, AIR 54/10 Part 2, Page 1 to Page 19
    26 April 1941 - 30 April 1941, ORB, AIR 54/11 Part 1, Page 3 to Page 68
    1 May 1941 - 10 May 1941, ORB, AIR 54/11 Part 1, Page 309 to Page 451
    10 May 1941 - 31 May 1941, ORB, AIR 54/11 Part 2, Page 2 to Page 201
    1 June 1941 - 30 June 1941, ORB, AIR 54/12 Part 1, Page 166 to Page 430
    1 July 1941 - 31 July 1941, ORB, AIR 54/13 Part 1, Page 5 to Page 143
    1 Aug 1941 - 30 Aug 1941, ORB, AIR 54/13 Part 1, Page 346 to Page 498
    1 Sept 1941 - 31 Sept 1941, ORB, AIR 54/14 Part 1, Page 5 to Page 127
    1 Oct 1941 - 30 Oct 1941, ORB, AIR 54/14 Part 1, Page 318 to Page 424
    1 Nov 1941 - 30 Nov 1941, ORB, AIR 54/15 Part 1, Page 5 to Page 182

    Appendices June 1940, AIR 54/8 Part 1, Page 24 to Page 63
    Appendices July 1940, AIR 54/8 Part 1, Page 93 to Page 215
    Appendices Aug 1940, AIR 54/8 Part 1, Page 249 to Page 330
    Appendices Sept 1940, AIR 54/8 Part 1, Page 387 to Page 490
    Appendices Oct 1940, AIR 54/8 Part 2, Page 58 to Page 149
    Appendices Nov 1940, AIR 54/9 Part 1, Page 4 to Page 141
    Appendices Dec 1940, AIR 54/9 Part 1, Page 235 to Page 327
    Appendices Jan 1941, AIR 54/9 Part 1, Page 445 to Page 558
    Appendices Feb 1941, AIR 54/10 Part 1, Page 4 to Page 74
    Appendices March 1941, AIR 54/10 Part 1, Page 334 to Page 462
    Appendices April 1941, AIR 54/11 Part 1, Page 69 to Page 308
    Appendices May 1941, AIR 54/11 Part 2, Page 202 to Page 259
    Appendices May 1941, AIR 54/12 Part 1, Page 4 to Page 164
    Appendices June 1941, AIR 54/12 Part 1, Page 431 to Page 645
    Appendices June 1941, AIR 54/12 Part 2, Page 2 to Page 6
    Appendices July 1941, AIR 54/13 Part 1, Page 144 to Page 345
    Appendices Aug 1941, AIR 54/13 Part 1, Page 499 to Page 516
    Appendices Aug 1941, AIR 54/13 Part 2, Page 2 to Page 191
    Appendices Sept 1941, AIR 54/14 Part 1, Page 128 to Page 316
    Appendices Oct 1941, AIR 54/14 Part 1, Page 425 to Page 435
    Appendices Oct 1941, AIR 54/14 Part 2, Page 2 to Page 109
    Appendices Nov 1941, AIR 54/14 Part 2, Page 110 to Page 118
    Appendices Nov 1941, AIR 54/15 Part 1, Page 183 to Page 354
    Appendices Nov 1941, AIR 54/15 Part 2, Page 2 to Page 47

    Index Jun-Dec 1940, AIR 54/9 Part 1, Page 143 to Page 161
    The Intellectual Property contained in this message has been assigned specifically to this web site.
    Copyright Ross McNeill 2015/2018 - All rights reserved.

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