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Thread: Allied Operations from the Azores (Time-Line)

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    Default Allied Operations from the Azores (Time-Line)

    Dear All,
    I am (inter alia) engaged on a history of those members of my family who were in the RAF. This thread might just, therefore, creep in under Ross’ radar.
    An aunt (Norah Emma Williams) was Commissioned (Sister, 5501) in PMRAFNS on 1 Apr 41. I don’t know what her early postings were, but at one stage she was in a Military Hospital on the Azores (dates – as yet – unknown). She then goes to Mauripur and marries an RAF Pilot. Well, they all did that sort of thing. I am still chasing the details - which will not concern Forumites!
    What has surprised me is that there was an Allied presence on the Azores. I thought Portugal was neutral. One source says that the Allies “invaded” the Azores; an act which was later regularised by a Treaty with Portugal late in 1943.
    Does anybody know when this “invasion” actually took place? Late 1943 seems to be a bit late in The Battle of the Atlantic to start thinking about using the Azores as a Forward Operating Base (FOB)????? There had been some considerable Convoy Slaughter for the 3 years prior! Why, then, were the Azores not taken “into Allied protective custody” immediately WW2 started? German U-Boats must have cast envious eyes over those islands also as a FOB.
    I’m not asking for the minute details on the Forum – just where to go to look for the details. Can anybody point me in the right direction(s)!!
    With all the snow in UK at the moment, the Azores might look like a very attractive Posting!
    Yrs Aye
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Peter

    Operation Alacrity occurred in October 1943.

    A review of a book on the "invasion" may answer some of your questions:

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa4442/is_200405/ai_n16061329/

    edit:

    and google books allows some pages of the book to be read:

    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=_jiJ_RNGhyYC&pg=PA73&dq=%22operation+ %27Alacrity%22+wiki&cd=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false

    A
    Last edited by Amrit; 12th January 2010 at 15:29.
    RAF Armoured Car Companies 1920-45 http://www.rafacciraq.com/

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    The Allies had to take North Africa out of the equation before they could move into the Azores, which they got around to planning at the Trident conference in 1943. The RAF moved in a number of B17s and Hudsons in October and by the end of the year, ferry flights were using it as a terminus.

    Here are two sources Peter:

    Herz, Norman. Operation Alacrity: The Azores and the War in the Atlantic. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2004

    and this policy paper on why the Allies hesitated to take the Azores and compromise Portugal's neutrality until 1943.

    http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA085094&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf
    Last edited by dfuller52; 12th January 2010 at 15:38.
    David

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    http://www.rafweb.org/Biographies/Bromet.htm

    and nice little summary:

    http://www.lajes.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=3999

    A
    RAF Armoured Car Companies 1920-45 http://www.rafacciraq.com/

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    From Ross's Coastal Command section here, squadrons assigned to RAF Lagens, Azores:

    79 01/11/43 Detachment. Day of month arbitary. Left 04/44.
    206 18/10/43
    220 18/10/43 Fortress III, 07/44. Liberator V, 12/44. Liberator VI, 12/44. Liberator VIII, 12/44.
    David

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    Peter,

    Try The Times digital archive for October 1943 - specifically the 13th onwards. The Azores get hardly any mention prior to this date.

    Brian

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    Many thanks to all for your replies. One of the offered references (http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA085094&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf ) was precisely what I was looking for (tks Dave). Being a committed Conspiracy Theorist it would seem to me that Salazar (in Portugal) and Franco (in Spain) were playing the 'Waiting Game' until it became obvious who was going to win WW2. Then they joined that side!! Or do I do them a disservice? - I think not!!
    Tks again.
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Franco had just taken over a Spain riven by civil war - the last thing he wanted (or could afford) was another war. Salazar was a dictator ruling a weak, poor, country (and doing his best to make sure it stayed that way) who clearly thought it best to stay quiet and hope not to be noticed.

    As for being neutral: that rather depends on which side you are neutral on, doesn't it? Witness the behaviour of the US, guaranteeing the free passage of shipping initially in US waters, but extending this halfway across the Atlantic, in the interest of US trade. US trade was open to German shipping too. Yeah. The Portugese in the Azores can be regarded as behaving in the same way: if they militarised the islands to avoid German occupation it doesn't sound like a sit-on-the-fence sort of neutrality.

    It also rather depends how much pressure was applied by the Allies, doesn't it? And what they offered.

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    Peter

    the cabinet papers have discussions about the importance of the Azores as early as 1940. Quite fascinating actually.

    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/cabinetpapers/

    just search for Azores or Portugal (Cabinet papers are free to download)

    A
    RAF Armoured Car Companies 1920-45 http://www.rafacciraq.com/

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    Amrit,
    Thanks for that tip! I've just read a few of the conclusions. Puts a lot of things into perspective which I didn't know before!!
    It would seem that the Brits were prepared to invade the Azores (and Verdes) if either the Axis showed signs of doing so, or if Salazar showed signs of coming in on the Axis side. I wonder if that had anything to do with Salazar beefing up the defence of the Azores in the early 1940's? Politics, politics!!
    Interesting, also, to see the attitudes of (a) the British Government to them, and (b) the attitudes of the three Dictators (Salazar in Portugal, Franco in Spain, and (to a certain extent) de Valera in Eire) to the Brit Govt. All three were - as neutrals - to an extent, threatened with severe punitive miltary action by the Brits if they so much as looked kindly in the Axis direction!!! Neutrality has its price!!
    I would love to read the PhD Thesis on "Compare & Contrast the Attitdues of the Leaders of Portugal, Spain, and Eire, to the outbreak of WW2." Would make fascinating reading!! Some of them had quite high cards to play in the game of international politics poker! At least one did not and, I suspect, went to bed of a night grinding his teeth in frustration at his inability to influence events - and knowing that if he put his head above the parapet he would get it chopped off. And then, what of Sweden and Switzerland?
    There is a lot more of the politics of WW2 to come out of the woodwork yet!
    HTH
    Peter Davie
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 13th January 2010 at 19:30.
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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