Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: USAAF mission to RAF, April 1941

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    948
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default USAAF mission to RAF, April 1941

    Gents
    In April 1941 twelve USAAF officers arrived to the UK to gain first hand experience of RAF operations. Following the visit, they returned to the US and were assigned to training units as instructors. Does anyone have any more details on the mission, their activities, and a list of the USAAF officers?
    TIA
    Franek
    https://www.facebook.com/Franciszek-Grabowski-241360809684411/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Cornwall
    Posts
    2,761
    Thanks
    66
    Thanked 13 Times in 12 Posts

    Default USAAF mission to RAF, April 1941

    Hello Franek,

    Thought you may have had replies by now.
    So anyway here is something to look into.

    The first Flying Fortress Mk.1's were delivered beguining May 1941.
    There we're American Airmen that came to the UK to act as advisors. So maybe they arrived in April to set things up prior to the Fortresses arrival and to advise the RAF crews ?

    Then again this may have been a separate group of Airmen to the one you seek ?

    Alex

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Posts
    3,584
    Thanks
    24
    Thanked 16 Times in 15 Posts

    Default

    Hi Franek, I am not sure if this would be of any use to you but some extracts form my past book "RCAF bylo jejich osudem":

    Memories of 240 Sq navigator John Iverach - "Chronicles of a nervous Navigator", pg 80.

    "Two pilots of US Naval Air Service, Lt. Wagner a Lt. Johnson, were attached to 240 Sq as "neutral" observers. Another American Lt. Smith to 209 Sq. They were flying with different captains for two reasons: as instructors to overhand their eperience of flying catalinas and also to lear RAF operational technique which may be useful when the USA would join the war."


    Additional info I had from a different source which unfortunately I have not recorded at the time.:

    "Officialy 17 US sailed to the UK to train British pilots to fly on catalinas. Before departure they were instucted that the USA can join the war soon so any operational experience might be very useful. Eight Americans has been attached to RAF Station Oban, nine to RAF Station Castle Archdale (240+209 Sq). Tehy acted as instructors at first and then they joined RAF crews as second pilots even if they were oficially recorded as an "observers" only."

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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Kent
    Posts
    149
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    You could try Fold3.com. I recall seeing some documents which I think related to the American Mission in London which sounds as though it may cover this. I suspect those documents are not free to view though.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Kirkeby
    Posts
    453
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    Hello Franek

    Could be wrong. I have one name, Maj. Gen. James E. Chaney. Try the search terms, “Special Observer Groups, SPOBS (Special Observers Group), Special Army Observer Group.”

    Can find few details about exchange of British and American military delegations April 1941, in the book "Carl A. Spaatz and the Air War in Europe" by Richard G. Davis. In Fold3, search for 526 - SPOBS (Special Observers Group).

    Could the arrival in U.K. be May 1941?

    https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA...istics1-1.html

    Regards

    Finn Buch
    Last edited by Argus; 26th July 2018 at 22:01.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    948
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    Hello
    Thanks for the replies. Nope it was neither aforementioned group. The men I am looking for were another group. Four of them were fighter pilots, possibly all ten or twelve. They did some training flying and spend some time with pilots dicussing tactics and performance. I have identified three of them, the fourth had too popular surname. They were there to learn and not to assist anyone. I have send a request to AFHRA, and awaiting their reply. Nonetheless I am not sure if they shall have anything.
    https://www.facebook.com/Franciszek-Grabowski-241360809684411/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Kent
    Posts
    149
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    On 26th February 1941, Colonel J S Kennedy of the USAAC arrived at Gatwick for a three day inspection of a typical Army Co-operation squadron. He left on the 28th. (Source: 239 Sqn ORB)

    Could it be that there was one big mission sent over here for a few months and they sent back monthly reports?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Posts
    1,039
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 7 Times in 7 Posts

    Default

    Although I have not read all the references, I would recommend Volume 1 ("Plans and Early Operations") of "The Army Air Forces in World War II" by W F Craven and J L Cate, published 1948, The University of Chicago Press. Don't know why nobody else has consulted this ancient but readable series of official histories, not hard to find in University libraries. Here is a taste from page 108/109 (Chapter 4, "The Air Corps prepares for War"). "The earliest and most obvious lesson which came from the air war in Europe was the need for heavier armor, greater defensive firepower, and better protection against fire hazards. Hence in February 1940 the Air Corps completed plans for the installation of leak-proof tanks , protective armor , and greater armament, even at the expense of speed and useful load. A few months later Air Corps observers were sent to France and England to study the air war at first hand, and their recommendations led to further modernization of equipment. In May 1941, the War Department established the Special Observer Group in London, and through its reports and those of occasional special missions the Air Corps was kept constantly informed of the latets material developments in England. As a result of this information, as well as the work of American scientists and engineers, there was continual improvement in armament, signal communications, safety devices and other equipment."

    In this volume there are two index headings of interest: Special Naval Observer Group (5 single-page references), and Special Observer Group, US Army (11 references, two of which cover 3 and 6 pages respectively). Worth a further look I reckon.

    Here is another interesting extract from page 123. "In September (1941) a combined Anglo-American mission, with full powers to formulate a long-term supply program departed for Moscow. The American delegates, en route, stopped over at London and there, with the British War Cabinet, and the US special observers, investigated the possibilities of the proposed combined munitions program". (Original American spellings kept intact) I don't think they list the names of the more prominent individuals, but nevertheless this should be a good primer. The volumes in this series include full references to original documents consulted (produced by a team of trained academics of course).

    David D
    Last edited by David Duxbury; 5th August 2018 at 00:01.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Stockholm
    Posts
    1,076
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 15 Times in 14 Posts

    Default

    Hi Franek,

    There's a part of "The Leadership, Direction and Legitimacy of the RAF Bomber Offensive from Inception to 1945" by Peter Gray which states:

    "One example was Colonel Carl Spaatz (later to head the USAAF bomber force in Britain) whose trip in 1940 gave him first-hand experience of the Battle of Britain and the practical difficulties of fighter escorts for bombers; he also appreciated the need for long-range heavy bombers based on RAF experience of the inadequacy on the light or medium aircraft. Similarly, General Hap Arnold (commander of the USAAF which, although not an independent service, was treated as such by Marshall) visited the UK in April 1941 to discuss issues with the supply of aircraft"

    Regards,

    Dave

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    948
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    Thanks guys. I am afraid that "The Army Air Forces in World War II" is not available here, and the search for second hand books shows that they are rather pricey, and worse, take a lot of space.
    Special Observer Group in London might be the body I am after, I think. It is suggested that amongst others, they looked for airfields that could have been used by the USAAF. It seems a later General Woody Hansell was part of the group. It is weird there is so little info about them.
    Best wishes
    https://www.facebook.com/Franciszek-Grabowski-241360809684411/

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •