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Thread: Unknown Halifax unit bombing in Czechoslovakia, Italy and Germany

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    Default Unknown Halifax unit bombing in Czechoslovakia, Italy and Germany

    I am trying to identity the unit of a man that after the war told that he flew 42 bombing missions from 1943 in Halifax bombing in Czechoslovakia, Italy and Germany.

    I am trying to narrow down the possible squadrons having 462 Sqn as a favourite candidate for the moment mainly based on the fact that 205 Group bombed these areas from Italy.

    Would anyone have an idea as to narrowing down a list of possible squadrons?

    Regards

    Mikkel
    Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom. Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second World War
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    Hi Mikel
    462 Sqn ,from Jefford-RAF Squadrons-, seems to have operated from Cyrenaica in Libya at about the time indicated. The only other candidate I can find(after a somewhat brief search!!) is 178 Sqn also in Cyrenaica but it had halifaxes for only a short time before switching to Liberators. There were also 4 Wellington Sqns but no sign that any of them ever had Halifaxes although they all moved into S Italy
    Hope this helps a bit,
    Regards
    Dick

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    Bombing Czechoslovakia would seem to be a long way for a Halifax with sensible bombload, but I'd have to check Bomber Command War Diaries to rule it out. Halifaxes (148 Sq) were used to drop agents into Czechoslovakia and Poland, but these would not be bombing missions nor would the aircraft be diverted for use on Main Force targets. 42 sorties suggest more than one tour, so more than one unit, so pretty well any Main Force Halifax unit is a contender.

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    In Febuary 1944 the Halifax-equipped 462 Squadron was renumbered 614 Squadron, and designated a pathfinder unit, the only one in 205 Group. The man who gave you the information about bombing targets in Czechoslovakia, Italy and Germany can only have been serving with this squadron, and perhaps did so during the transition from 462 to 614. Incidentally, the only other Halifax squadrons in the Mediterranean theatre were 148 and 624, but both were special duties squadrons, primarily engaged on supplying partisans in France (624 Squadron), Poland, the Balkans and Italy (148 Squadron).

    Tours on bomber operations with 205 Group usually involved flying between 37 and 40 ops.

    David

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    It seems to me that the best and most reliable bet is to look at the guy's Record of Service. I believe this will reduce nebulous effort.

    Is there any other evidence such as logbooks, photos with captions or aircraft with sqn codes. What about medals?

    Is there any other information which might guide you towards the unit involved eg the name of any airfield or a sortie on a given date against a specific target? What aircrew trade was this man and could he have been employed not on bombing but on special duties work with for example, 138, 161, or 624 as examples. If he was a Pole, please post his name and we can find quickly his background.

    Old Duffer

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    Gentlemen,
    Thank you. Should have checked the forum the last couple of days. Late last night, I returned from London where I had spend three days at the National Archives and at Hendon. Therefore, lost my chance of checking the ORB. I downloaded the appendices last week. He does not seem to be at the squadron, when moving in Dec 1944.

    Therefore, I research UK based Halifax squadrons but with no luck so far. I narrowed it down by squadrons participating in the April 1943 attack on Pilsen.

    Unfortunately, I have not more information on the squadron that already posted. His name is Hartvig, and he was Danish.

    Mikkel
    Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom. Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second World War
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    danishww2pilots.dk - a resource on Danish aircrew during the Second World War

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    Coming to think of it, I checked the 462 RAAF ORB via National Archives of Australia the other day. I was not able to find him here either.

    Mikkel
    Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom. Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second World War
    fb.me/britainsvictorydenmarksfreedom
    danishww2pilots.dk - a resource on Danish aircrew during the Second World War

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    Pilsen was attacked on 16/17 April according to Middlebrook, by a force of 327 aircraft - 197 Lancasters and 130 Halifaxes. Unfortunately, he does not record which Groups/Sqns provided the aircraft but he does refer to 408 Sqn.

    Did Hartvig have any early history? By this I mean is anything known about how he got to England and enlisted and are there any known friends with whom he served?

    Old Duffer

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    I cross referenced with Chorley to see which squadrons lost aircraft. That gave me some options. It has proven to early though. I have him training in England in May 1944. He volunteered in N Africa post Torch. He lived in Algiers.

    Mikkel
    Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom. Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second World War
    fb.me/britainsvictorydenmarksfreedom
    danishww2pilots.dk - a resource on Danish aircrew during the Second World War

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    Re 148(SD) Sqdn - who as has been stated didn't fly from Italy in a conventional bomber role, but did operate Halifaxes to Southern/Central Europe and the Balkans - I checked what records I have and could see no mention of a Hartvig in the Summary 1944-46, at least. I couldn't find him in any crew lists post-Jan 1944, nor on the squadron aircrew returns for end Nov 1944 or end Dec 1944.

    I appreciate this doesn't mean he definitely wasn't in 148 Sqdn: I don't have the ORBs from 1943-early 1944 but if they are similar to later ones they would have complete crew lists for each op flown, and could probably if necessary furnish a fairly definitive yea-or-nay.

    Hope this helps. Pat

    PS Just to muddy the waters, though, it now occurs to me that from early 1943 "X" Flight (the Special Liberator Flight based in Libya from which 148 squadron evolved) did I believe operate Halifaxes as well...
    Last edited by Pat; 18th May 2015 at 14:51. Reason: Just remembered X Flight!

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