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Thread: ORB of 801 Sqn for 1-3 October 1940

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    Default ORB of 801 Sqn for 1-3 October 1940

    Hello,

    I would like to read the ORB of 801 Sqn for the first days of October 1940. I am especially interested in knowing what is written about the loss of the Skua L2929 during a raid on Norway and if it was lost to Flak or enemy fighters.

    Thanks in advance

    Laurent

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    Laurent,

    I guess that you are not aware that 801 Squadron was a Fleet Air Arm unit. 'Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939-1945' records that L2929 was shot down by Bf109 at Bjorne Fjord during a raid on enemy shipping 2/10/1940. Sub Lt A Hartoch and Naval Airman Adlam were both killed.
    regards
    DaveW

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    Thanks Dave

    Actually I knew that 801 Squadron was a FAA unit, but I guess something is wrong with my query. Do FAA units not have ORB, but another form of war diary ?

    And I would really like to have the book 'Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939-1945' but have never seen one being sold.

    What I am missing now is when the mission was flown. There is no German claim for the 2nd of October, but one at the right location on the 3rd at 1750 hrs. I suspect that the date of the german claim is wrong.

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    Laurent,

    there is a copy of FAA aircraft 1939-1945 here http://www.air-britain.com/secondhandbooks.pdf, but take a deep breath before you look at the price!.

    Re ORB's, the late Ray Sturtivant told me that the navy was only interested in things that floated , consequently little of their official aviation documentation has survived. He compiled his many books about the FAA 'from other sources'. He explains as much in his opening paragraph of the preface to the above book, although he does there specify 'individual aircraft histories' have not survived.

    Whether the information you seek is to be found in ship's logs I must leave to others to advise you.

    regards
    DaveW

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    Laurent,
    801 Sqn was operating from HMS Furious which was deployed with the Home Fleet units on anti shipping duties off Norway during October 1940. Only Alan Hartoch's body was found after L2929 was shot down, Eric J Adlam is still listed as missing.

    Alan.

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    "Re ORB's, the late Ray Sturtivant told me that the navy was only interested in things that floated , consequently little of their official aviation documentation has survived."

    In that case the work tha Ray (and others) did was amazing. No other military unit worldwide with aircraft on strength has had its aircraft documented with so much detail from the beginnings of their use

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    Well mistery deepens then...

    Jochen Prien wrote this on TOCH forum:
    "The date of this incident according to first hand German sources was October 3rd, 1940. The very detailed combat report of Lt. Arnoldy, who led the German Kette formation of 4./JG 77, the Lagebericht West Nr. 463 and the OKW Bericht of October 4th all give the 3rd as the date."

    So it seems that for once, we have more German original documents for a battle than English ones.

    Alan, 801 Sqn was mainly based aboard HMS Furious (for example for the raid of 22 September) but this carrier launched no attack between 22 September and 16 October on Norway, and the attack of 2 or 3 October was launched from Hatston airfield according to one source. Maybe the air station had a war diary that will still exist.

    Dave, 150 pounds for this book is a bit over what I will want to spend. It remembered me of Eric Hammel "Pacific Air War Chronology", that some years ago could be found on the Net for 3000-5000 $. It was reissued in electronic form at the price of around 20$ since and I am glad of it.

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    I searched the National Archives database and there is effectively no war diary for 801 Sqn for 1940. And I could find no war diary for Hatston airfield or for HMS Sparrowhawk, his Royal Navy name.

    But maybe the following file will contain data about this raid:
    _ ADM 199/450:
    Operations against enemy-occupied Norway: order and reports.
    125 photographs from this piece have been extracted to CN 1/38. Includes 115 photographs depicting: [CN 1/38] Aerial photographs of targets and strikes made by Skuas of 801 Squadron in enemy occupied Norway. Dated 1940-1941.

    Sadly it is not digitized.

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    I had another idea and searched a trace of this action in the newspapers of the time.

    Found this in the edition of 5 October 1940 of The Straits Times, Singapore:

    "London, Oct. 4
    Aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm have inflicted further damage on enemy shipping along the coast of Norway.
    The Admiralty communique states that Skuas (dive-bombers) attacked an enemy supply ship of 4,000 to 5,000 tons lying alongside a jetty at Hallgesund.
    Hits were obtained with bombs and the ships was left heavily on fire both in the fore and after holds.
    In Bjiorne fjord, Skuas attacked and hit an enemy supply ship of about 2,000 tons which is believed to have been sunk.
    R.A.F. aircraft were subsequently attacked by a superior force of enemy fighters and one Skua is missing.
    Reuter"

    Sadly no date given, and it seemed to me that the attacks on "Hallgesund", that is probably a miswritten Haugesund, and "Bjiorne fjord" (Bjornefjord), were not on the same date. As Haugesund was attacked several times by Skuas in September.

    By the way no German or German-controlled ship was sunk on 2 or 3 October 1940.

    Roughly the same text was found in an Australian newspapers for 7 October 1940, but with Haugesund correctly written.

    But then I searched for an attack on Haugesund by Skuas in October 1940 and found this:
    http://ukwarcabinet.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/cab-66-12-43-0001.pdf

    This is the "Weekly Resume (no 58) of the naval, military and air situation from 12 noon October 3rd to 12 noon October 10th, 1940". It was written on October 11th, 1940.

    Included in the document is the following:
    "Norway
    4. On the 3rd October Skuas from the Fleet Air Arm attacked and hit a 5,000-ton Merchant vessel at Haugesung and a 2,000-ton ship at Bjiorne Fiord."

    So that is the first British document I know agreeing with the Germans ones on the date of the 3rd. Even if there is no mention of German fighters or Skua being lost, it is obviously refering to the same action as the communique above.

    Edited: with some difficulty I found the weekly resume for the week before (ending on October 3rd noon) and there is nothing about an air raid against shipping in Norway on the 2nd.
    Last edited by Laurent Rizzotti; 3rd October 2012 at 16:14.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Laurent Rizzotti View Post
    I searched the National Archives database and there is effectively no war diary for 801 Sqn for 1940. And I could find no war diary for Hatston airfield or for HMS Sparrowhawk, his Royal Navy name.

    But maybe the following file will contain data about this raid:
    _ ADM 199/450:
    Operations against enemy-occupied Norway: order and reports.
    125 photographs from this piece have been extracted to CN 1/38. Includes 115 photographs depicting: [CN 1/38] Aerial photographs of targets and strikes made by Skuas of 801 Squadron in enemy occupied Norway. Dated 1940-1941.

    Sadly it is not digitized.
    Hi Laurent.

    I think I've got the ADM 199/450 file as a pdf on my computer back home. I'll check it up when back home from work today.

    Bengt

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