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Thread: Where is based the OTU 70 in early 1941 ?

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    Default Where is based the OTU 70 in early 1941 ?

    Hi,

    The sum-up of AIR 29/685/4 gives that 70 Operational Training Unit (OTU) was based at Nakuru (Kenya) from March 1940 and moved to Ismailia (Egypt) in April 1941

    I wonder whether there is "another 70 OTU" when you read the log book of FF pilot Littolf

    http://www.jean-maridor.org/Bertrand..._LB_RAF_06.jpg

    you note that the names at the 70 OTU sound Middle East rather than Kenya. Idea ?

    Bertrand

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    Hello,

    No.70 (Middle East) Operational Training Unit.

    Formed 10.12.40 at ISMAILIA from the Training Unit & Reserve Pool to train pilots in the conditions to be encountered in the Middle East, 'A' Flight initially with 5 Blenheims, 'B' Flight single-seat fighters (initially 3 Gladiators) and 'C' Flight communications and support aircraft (initially 3 Wellesleys, 4 Magisters & 1 Hardy) (satt for night flying at 'X' LG, nr Abu Sueir 6.1.41 - 7.41) (dett at Nakuru 30.3.41-28.7.41); 25.4.41 gave up fighter training task, to concentrate on light and medium bomber training for pilots, observers, air gunners, and also AI operators; 5-28.7.41 to NAKURU, Kenya, the aircraft flying south in small groups, to operate directly under Training Command, Middle East; 29.7.41 commenced a short conversion course from Oxfords to Blenheims for 53 SAAF pilots; 6.42 Baltimores began to arrive; 28.6.42 absorbed the Beam Approach Training Unit at Nanyuki and the Lodestars of the Transport Training Flight; 15.5.43 training at Nakuru ceased; 21.5.43 first elements arrived Shandur, 7.8.43 move to SHANDUR completed, to operate under No.203 Group. Marauders replacing the Blenheims, many Turkish crews being among those which passed through the system; Disbanded 16.7.45.

    Aircraft (Representative): Gladiator II; Hurricane I,II (N2552); Lysander I,II; Blenheim I,IV, V (Z6152 '47'); Gauntlet II; Oxford I ((P1946); Baltimore I,II,IV,V (AG999); Hudson III; Lodestar I EW981); Anson I (LT140); Marauder II,III (HD493 '3');. Support Aircraft: Hart; Hardy (K4050); Magister I; Hind (K6797); Wellesley I (L8523); Puss Moth; Maryland (AH232);Argus II (FZ761). Codes: Individual numbers only.

    See: FT&SU since 1912/Sturtivant & Hamlin/A-B/2007/pp.204-5.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 5th August 2018 at 08:43.

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    The page of the logbook shown is covering a transfer from Chad to Egypt via the Sudan, followed by a short dual, presumably a check flight or perhaps a local familiarisation. Only the last will have been under 70 OTU, at least as far as authorisation and approval of the logbook is concerned.

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    Graham, Hi,
    I would be most interested in the airfields that were used in Chad!
    Many years ago (late 50’s/early 60’s), it was proposed that an RAF team would attempt the first ever direct land crossing of Africa from Dakar to Port Sudan. Maj Bagnold and Flt Lt Zeleney are two names that come back from ‘ the mists of time’. I was involved in some of the planning, in view of my Desert Rescue experience at El Adem while a NSA a few years earlier. I couldn’t, at the time, afford the contributions required to participate in the expedition itself. But, in any case, after the preparations had got to an advanced stage, it had to be cancelled due to the usual ‘political uncertainties/unrest’ along the proposed route (particularly the middle bits – Chad, Niger and Mali!!!).
    You will see, if you look at the route on GE, it goes across N Chad (Tibesti region). Some of the planning involved the identification of existing/possible airstrips for re-supply and/or emergency Medevac. I have completely forgotten any locations we identified.
    The WW2 “Southern Airframe Re-Supply Route” (from W Africa to Egypt via Sudan) ran a long way south of the Tibesti! The Tibesti area is largely extremely inhospitable!!! The ‘Met Team’ did quite a lot of work on the ‘Southern Route’ as we had two casualties on our RoH.
    TIA
    Peter Davies
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    Hello,

    It is important to note 70 OTU's predecessor, Training Unit and Reserve Pool:

    Formed 21.9.40 ex Pilots Reinforcement and Reserve Pool at ISMAILIA; redesignated No.70 OTU 10.12.40. Aircraft: Blenheim I (L1480); Gauntlet II (K5318); Wellesley I (L2660); Hurricane I (N2626); Magister I (P2398); Hardy (K4050); Hind (K5552).

    Same A-B ref, p.281.

    And from, A History of the Mediterranean Air War 1940-1945 - Volume One (pp.13 &.81):

    The increasing supply of pilots from this source and other training bases being set up around the world, would lead to the formation of the Middle East's own operational training unit (OTU), 70 (ME) OTU, at Ismailia on 10 December 1940. The unit was formed from a nucleus created by the incorporation of the Training and Reserve Pool (of which more later). At the same time as the new OTU was coming into operation, a Middle East Pool was also formed at Ismailia to hold fully-trained pilots arriving from the UK until they were allocated to squadrons. (p.13)

    Other changes were also in hand as the new offensive approached. On 1 December (1940), Air Headquarters, Egypt, was formed by 202 Group in Cairo. The Reinforcement and Reserve Pool at Ismailia had become the Training Unit and Reserve Pool on 21 September, while on 19 December this unit would metamorphose into 70 Operational Training Unit. Initially a general OTU for the Middle East, the unit swiftly set up a fighter flight with Gladiators and Hurricanes to prepare pilots due to join the fighter and army co-operation units. (p.81)

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 5th August 2018 at 12:24.

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    I must admit jumping to the assumption above, knowing that the Free French were operating in Chad and that this would have been the starting point for any pilot transferring to operate with the RAF in the Western Desert or indeed elsewhere. But Google confirms that Fort Lamy is indeed in Chad, so I can breathe a sigh of relief. I suggest that the other airfields used on the Potez flights as listed in the logbook will also be in Chad, or its immediate neighbours.

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    Graham,
    Tks yrs. What I was trying to clear up was were the movements part of the airframe re-supply route, or part of the military/political operations in that part of the world? It would seem the latter is the case.
    LRP (subsequently LRDG) were operating in the area. Indeed, their HQ was – at one stage – in the oasis of Kufra, only 100 miles inside Libya (then enemy territory!) from Chad. Chad, and a number of (at that time) less well defined areas which had been under French influence opted to declare for De Gaulle/Free French. Thus, there was a considerable amount of comings/goings of SAS, various ‘agents’, and other ‘spooks’!!
    Mr Wiki tells us that the LRP even had an ‘Air Section’, using a Waco ZGC-7, and a Waco YKC! Is this (a) correct?, and if so (b) where did they come from, and (c) where did they go?
    Incidentally, I would advise against contemplating a holiday in Kufra. When I was there (admittedly in the early 50’s, and well before “oil”), the ‘facilities’ were not of a very high order!!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
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    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Thank you Graham, Col. and Peter for sharing the information I did not know about this OTU 70.

    If the MAgister actually flew within the OTU 70 in Ismailia we can add this serial to the list that has been published and nicely copied from Air Britain magazine by Col.

    Bertrand

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