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Thread: Balkans Air Terminal Service (BATS)

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    Default Balkans Air Terminal Service (BATS)

    Would anyone have information on the Balkans Air Terminal Service (BATS), 1944-1945?

    I would be particularly interested to know of any nominal rolls. To cut a long story short, I am looking for info on a gent by the name of "Norman" who was a parachute qualified wireless operator, who likely served with BATS, during 1944+.

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    Hello,

    Re The Balkan Air Terminal Service:

    Work on tthe construction of the Glamoc airstrip began at the end of October 1943 under the direction of Capt Knight of the Maclean mission, assisted by Maj Whetherley and Col Deakin of the 'Typical' mission. It was the key to the planned evacuation of the Yugoslav delegation to Allied HQ, German control of the intervening country through to the coast having made sea evacuation impossible. To select and control these airstrips, trained parties of RAF personnel - consisting of an officer and six men - were formed. Each was equipped with two gooseneck flares, Very pistol, fuel, a wireless set, Aldis lamp, S-phone, Eureka beacon, T-strip and a jeep and trailer. The teams were organized to move at a short notice, if the situation demanded, particularly under enemy pressure. Given the title of Balkan Air Terminal Service (BATS), nine parties were formed from personnel with the necessary specialized knowledge; their task was to ensure rapid unloading and loading of aircraft and to organize local Partisan formations into handling groups. A great advantage of this type of operation was, that apart from relieving the Partisan formations of their wounded, the drain on parachutes and containers eased. Although these strips were completely surrounded by enemy forces, cutting the Partisans off from other sources of supply, the use of fighter escorts and the protecting ring of Partisans made the tasks fairly safe and straightforward. However aircraft and crews could still be lost to enemy action. The field themselves sometimes came under attack and BATS parties shared the Partisan existence with all its inherent dangers and moves.

    Only five of the BATS parties actually became operational in enemy territory. S/l Bell's No.1 BATS was flown into Medeno Polje on 14 May, arriving in the early hours of the morning. The first few days were spent checking equipment; most was found to be unserviceable but the Eureka beacon was in excellent order and proved invaluable. Relations with the Partisans and local inhabitants was very friendly and good co-operation ensued. Unfortunately this was not always to be the case for other BATS parties. The wireless mechanic did everything possible to get the wireless equipment working again but this was impossible without further spare part.; this was to have serious repercussions as no ETAs foe aircraft could be received. This left operations dependent on telephone messages from Drava, or more inconvenient casual arrivals by aircraft over the field. To add to the difficulties the enemy soon made it obvious that he was aware of the activities; reconnaissance aircraft maintained a steady flow of patrols over Petrovac and surrounding area, Worse was to come.

    See:
    Flights Of The Forgotten Special Duties Operations in World War Two.
    Merrick,Kenneth.
    London:Arms & Armour,1989.
    pp.188-9.

    No mention of your "Norman" in the book.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 30th October 2019 at 03:55.

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    BabaAndrew (30th October 2019)

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