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Thread: Italian Air Force Raid on Debden 1940

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    Default Italian Air Force Raid on Debden 1940

    Does anyone know when during the Battle of Britain the Italian Air Force attacked Debden.
    I believe an aircraft was shot down over the airfield and an Italian crew member was taken a POW.
    Cheers
    Motherbird

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    Hello!

    Interesting info!
    Zone of operations allocated to the CAI was bounded by the parallels 53oN and 01oE. The worthwhile targets were along the coast between the Thames and Harwich including the estuaries of the Orwell and Stour. In fact there is a single unconfirmed report of only one inland attack and that on Canterbury.

    If I look through the known losses of BR20Ms by the CAI I have:

    40/10/24 Raid on Harwich MM21895 and MM MM22624 lost over Belgium
    40/11/11 Raid on Harwich MM22267 and MM22620 ditched in North Sea, MM22621 crashed at Tangham Forest, Bromswell, near Woodbridge
    40/11/21 Night raid on unknown target MM22257 lost over the Chanel
    40/11/29 Raid on Harwich, Ipswich, Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. MM21908 crashed in Belgium while returning.

    These is as far as I know the only operational losses of Italian bombers while operating against the British Islands.

    Best wishes/Håkan
    WWII Biplane Fighter Aces
    http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se

    WWII Biplane Fighter Aces Blog
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    G'day

    Here is a short story I wrote as part of a major piece on the Battle of Britain I did as an R.C.A.F. Historian.

    Cheers...Chris

    Cowboy Antics

    When you're on the tail of an enemy aircraft in the heat of battle and you find the guns are out of ammunition, what do you do? That is the dilemma that faced Flight Lieutenant Howard Peter 'Cowboy' Blatchford of Edmonton Alberta as he lined up in his sights on an Italian Fiat CR.42 bi-plane of the Corpo Aero Italiano. The blundering and pompous Benito Mussolini, had convinced his friend the Reichsfuhrer (Herr Adolf Hitler) that the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force) could help with the final victory for fascism in Europe, this despite the express misgivings of the Luftwaffe's Commander-in-Chief Hermann Goering.

    On the 11th of November, 1940, as a retaliatory measure for the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm's attack on the Italian fleet at Taranto, the Regia Aeronautica set out to bomb the English port of Harwich. A small number of Luftwaffe Bf-109s accompanied the formation. They were intercepted by Hurricanes of No.s 17, 46 'Uganda' and 257 'China-British' (F) Squadrons. While 'Cowboy' Blatchford of No.257 'Burma' (F) Squadron was flying Hurricane s/n V6962 and upon discovering much to his shock that he was out of ammo, rammed the CR.42 with his propeller. It subsequently chewed up the enemy's top wing, sending the fabric bi-plane tumbling earthwards.

    For his daring escapades, 'Cowboy' was presented the Distinguished Flying Cross on the 6th of December 1940. Sadly, as with so many fine young men, Wing Commander H.P. 'Cowboy' Blatchford DFC MiD and only 31 years old, was killed in action. On the 3rd of May 1943, now the Coltishall Wing Leader, 'Cowboy' was taking part in a Ramrod 16, escorting Royal New Zealand Air Force. Lockheed Ventura Mk. II bombers to Ijmuiden, Netherlands. He was engaged by Luftwaffe Fw-190's of JG 1 and forced to ditch his aircraft in the North Sea. His body was never recovered. 'Cowboy's' record was six destroyed, three probables and two damaged.
    Last edited by Dakota; 24th April 2014 at 20:58.

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    This was the note in my fathers diary...
    Tues 20th May 1941
    Interesting Lecture by fighter pilot. When Italians raided Debden one of their planes was hit and it exploded, it blew up the next machine in half too and the gunner was propelled into the air and his parachute opened. He ran helter skelter as other bombers were coming down and the shelterers were amazed to see an Italian come dashing into their shelter.'
    Cheers Motherbird

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    What a nice piece of history:-) How the fortune should change in a few minutes - from a bombing to be bombed!

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Default Italian Air Force

    Hi Motherbird

    Don't have a date for you, but Wood and Dempster's "Narrow Margin" says that the Italian A/F's first action against Britain took place from bases in Belgium on 25 October 1940 when they bombed Harwich. They attacked Ramsgate on 29th, and their first losses on British soil came in November. Nothing there about any loss over Debden.

    Ian

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    Hello again,

    On my site I have a short history of the CAI where all the known raids are reported: http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/falco_bob.htm

    Best wishes/Håkan
    WWII Biplane Fighter Aces
    http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se

    WWII Biplane Fighter Aces Blog
    http://ww2biplanefighteraces.blogspot.com/

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    Hi guys

    As an aside, a now-deceased RAF veteran friend from my home town, Bury St Edmunds (Suffolk), told me that he was on leave in late 1940 when he and many others witnessed Italian bomber/s flying over or near the town. No bombs were reported to have been dropped.

    Cheers
    Brian
    Last edited by brian; 12th May 2014 at 12:37.

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    The only Italian bomber (Fiat BR 20) brought down on land in the UK in WW 2 was at Bromeswell, near Woodbridge (Suffolk) on 11 Nov 1940. Had their been any others they would surely have been examined and reported on by the RAF.

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