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Thread: K C Johanson RNZAF - unit in 1942?

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    Default K C Johanson RNZAF - unit in 1942?

    Hello

    I'm wondering if anyone could tell me in which unit Flying Officer Keith Campbell JOHANSON 414634, RNZAF was serving in 1942 before he was posted to 50 Sqn. I know he was posted there from 1660 HCU in December 1942.

    The following was reported in the Newcastle Journal in early October 1942:

    TEESSIDER WINS DUEL WITH FW 190
    Twenty-eight year old Sergeant George Robinson, of 76, Severs Street, Middlesbrough, successfully fought a duel with Germany’s latest fighter, a F.W. 190, over the Bay of Biscay recently.
    Robinson, a bookmaker’s clerk before the war, joined the R.A.F. as an aircraftman in 1940, but volunteered for flying duties a few months ago. He became an air gunner, and was posted to a Coastal Command Whitley Squadron specialising in attacking U-boats.
    On his second trip into the Bay as rear gunner, he had a duel with a F.W. 190. The F.W made six attacks on the Whitley, but eventually retired with smoke pouring from its engine.
    While the Whitley was being flown towards the Bay of Biscay by Pilot Officer K. C. Johanson, Hamilton, New Zealand, in search of U-boats, Robinson saw two F.W.’s ready to pounce.
    SIX ATTACKS
    “The first fighter came as close as 150 yards and did not open fire,” he said. “The front gunner gave a few bursts, and that was enough for the German pilot. He flew off.
    “The second F.W. pilot was more determined. He climbed to a thousand feet above the Whitley, now at sea level and zig-zagging violently, and made five attacks. But his aim was bad. The bullets were flashing past me into the sea.”
    On the sixth attack Robinson fired his gun so effectively that he hit the F.W.’s engine when about 300 feet away. The F.W. flung to one side, broke off the fight, and disappeared into cloud, with grey smoke pouring from the engine.

    Robinson was still part of Johanson's crew when they were lost in Lancaster ED527 of 50 Sqn on February 5th 1943. I'd like to track down the Whitley's ID, so need the unit first.

    Regards

    Simon
    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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    Default Re: K C Johanson RNZAF - unit in 1942?

    Simon,

    From my trilogy For Your Tomorrow - A record of New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Services since 1915 (Volume Three: Biographies & Appendices):


    JOHANSON, Flying Officer Keith Campbell.
    NZ414634; b Otahuhu 11 Nov 20; Otahuhu THS; clerical cadet - NZR, Hamilton. RNZAF Levin/ITW as Airman Pilot u/t 17 Aug 41, 2EFTS 27 Sep 41, 3FTS 8 Nov 41, Pilots Badge [wef 20.12.41] & Comm 31 Jan 42, att RAF & emb for UK 20 Feb 42, 3PRC 21 Apr 42, 7PRC 10 May 42, 12(P)AFU 18 May 42 [1514BATF for 16-c.23 Jun], 19OTU (Whitley) 14 Jul 42 [att 10OTU/Det Flt at St Eval for anti-sub ops from 15 Sep (8 ops)], 1660HCU (Lancaster) 4 Nov 42, 50 Sqn (Lancaster - 13 ops) 9 Dec 42, kao 5 Feb 43. Le Petit Lac Cemetery - E.C.13, Oran, Algeria. Son of Donald Alexander & Hilda Pauline Johanson (née Gronwall), Manurewa; h of Margaret Jean Johanson (née Sutherland, later Leaf), Hamilton. [phot. TWN 17.3.43].

    Cheers,
    Errol

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    Default Re: K C Johanson RNZAF - unit in 1942?

    Brilliant, thanks Errol.

    I'd noticed from their records that two of the three RCAF airmen in the Lancaster crew, Cumming and Holness, were also both at 19 OTU and before going to 1660 HCU, but there's no mention of a detachment to 10 OTU in their files.

    Regards

    Simon
    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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    Default Re: K C Johanson RNZAF - unit in 1942?

    Hello again

    I can't find a combat report in the National Archives website, so would anyone happen to have the 10 OTU ORB for September/October 1942, and could look and see if there's anything in that?

    Thanks

    Simon
    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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    Default Re: K C Johanson RNZAF - unit in 1942?

    Hello Simon,

    I found the following information in AIR 14/1195 Final reports Bomber Command operations. Day 18th Dec.1941 – Sept.1943

    Anti-Submarine Patrols On 23rd September 2 FW190s approached a Whitley, which dived to sea level. The first FW190 passed without firing, while the second opened fire at 400 yards, and made in all, six attacks on the Whitley, which returned the fire. During the last exchange of fire a trail of grey smoke was seen coming from the engine of the enemy aircraft, which then broke of the attack and disappeared.

    Some additional information in the days Summary

    One Whitley was engaged in an inconclusive combat with a FW190, and another was shot down in the sea by a Ju.88. Both the FW190 and the Ju.88 were probably damaged.


    I am also interested to see what information can be found in the 10 OTU ORB.

    Regards,
    Peter

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    Default Re: K C Johanson RNZAF - unit in 1942?

    Many thanks for posting that Phil, and pinpointing the date of Robinson's encounter with the FW.190s.

    Regards

    Simon
    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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    Default Re: K C Johanson RNZAF - unit in 1942?

    With thanks to Malcolm and Richard.K replying to my query on this therad:

    http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/sho...mber-23rd-1942

    the St. Eval ORB has the following Combat Report:

    September 23 1942
    Air Combat – Whitley R 10 OTU
    Rear gunner sighted two FW.190’s at about 3000 feet, flying together, just breaking cloud. Pilot of R immediately dived to sea level, and E.A. dived on port quarter, first one flew past rear turret at 150 yards without firing. Second E.A. immediately opened fire at 400 yards and rear gunner replied when E.A. was at 300 yards. First E.A. appeared to alter course as he passed astern of ‘R’ and flew across from starboard quarter towards port bow. Front gunner opened fire from 150 yards as E.A. went away on port bow and disappeared. Second E.A. circled and climbed to 100’ and then again attacked from port quarter. He again circled and carried out two attacks from starboard quarter. After this he carried out one attack fine on starboard quarter, followed by a sixth, dead astern. On all attacks E.A. opened fire from 400 yards.
    On fifth attack, all four rear guns ceased firing owing to links jamming in the chute. Rear gunner only had time to clear port outer gun before sixth attack. In this attack, after firing with only one gun, rear gunner saw a trail of smoke coming from engine of E.A. who then broke off attack, and disappeared to port at 17.452 hours.
    Captain of ‘R’ took avoiding action throughout by diving to sea level, zig-zagging, and turning tail to E.A. on each attack. ‘R’ received no damage. No tracer fire was seen from E.A., guns appeared to be firing from leading edge of wing, and small and large splashes were observed on water. Rear gunner fires 2800 rounds, and front gunner fired 50-75 rounds, in two bursts only. E.A was grey black camouflage, with yellow cowling, crosses were outlined in yellow.

    It matches the report in the Newcastle Journal, as well as one in the Hartlepool Mail on the same day, which mentions three of the guns being inoperable on the fifth attack.

    Regards

    Simon
    Researching R.A.F. personnel from the North East of England

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    Default Re: K C Johanson RNZAF - unit in 1942?

    Sounds as though the enemy pilots were not really capable of carrying out their normal duties, possibly their first combats? No doubt the Whitley pilot's tactics were largely responsible for their poor showing, assisted by the gunners; the RAF crew certainly performed as advertised.
    David D

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