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Thread: 260 Sqn Kittyhawks - II & III

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    Default 260 Sqn Kittyhawks - II & III

    Morning,

    The 260 used the Kittyhawk II between October and December 1942, then switched to the III and then switched back to the II at the end of January 1943. Is there any logical explanation for this change which was done in a couple of weeks?

    Thanks

    Phil

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    Hello Phil,

    Two published sources list the use of Kittyhawks with 260 sqdn as Mark IIA from June 1942 till May 1943, Mark IIIs were received December 1942 and used till March 1944 thence (April) Mustangs. Looks like they used a mixture of Mk IIA and III until sufficient available to fully equip with Mk III from May 1943.

    Ian

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    Thanks Ian,
    That's correct even in reading the ORB, we can also add that the 260 flew in operations only on Mk. IIIs between mid-December 42 and end January 1943, then on mixed fleet until end of February, then back to Mk. II only until May or June 1943. These changes of mark (so of engines) let me think that the RAF was of short supply for the III, but I'd like to find a confirmation of what I guess. Indeed losses of Mk. IIIs from end 42 to end of the campaign of Tunisia were heavy.
    Phil

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    Default 260 Sqn Kittyhawks - II & III

    Phil

    There were only 127 Kittyhawk II's in theatre, and they were supposed to re-equip 2 Squadron's. Due to the slow delivery (127 aircraft over a 5 month period (Aug-Dec 42 docs dated 24/7 show 109 F models and 119K models ready to ship), however due to the Port destination, lack of shipping, the sailing route and the USAAF trying to swap P-40F's from RAF orders for P-40K's all caused additional delay to shipment). Add to this the numbers both damaged and lost there was never enough aircraft to fully kit both units as well as have attrition replacements and the aircraft used for conversion training (3RAAF had taken on charge 39 different air frames by the end of Dec, 260SQN approx 30). This lead to 3RAAF actually swapping 4 Mk III's for 4 MK II's from 260SQN mid Dec 1942, just to keep one unit fully on one type (as 260SQN at this time had some experience with Kittyhawk III's (only for about 1 week) where as 3RAAF had not).

    On the Mark III there were greater numbers to go around, as by Dec 1942 there were approximately 200 in theatre, with a further 107 on their way, as well as a number that had been liberated by the RAF from US/Russian Supplies (and given Mitchell serial numbers.......one fact not in the books), with only 3 Units equipped with the type by Dec 1942 (losses to this date had not been that heavy), there were enough airframes to equip 260SQN with additional MK III's to suppliment their MK II's. As more MK II's were repaired and delivered 260SQN went back to MK II's until two of the three other units within the Wing got MK III's in May 1943, then 260SQN went back to the MK III's (I can only assume for commonality of parts with the other two units, and meant that only 53 RSU needed to keep spares for the type plus losses had reach over 50 airframes with another 30 odd in for repairs).

    Why 3RAAF was chosen to continue on Mk II's and 260 not is a different kettle of fish that I have yet to unravel fully.

    Hope that adds a little

    Buz
    Last edited by Buz; 5th May 2016 at 14:16.

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    Thanks Buz, that brings new light to me.

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