Free shipping option in continental USA
30-Day money back guarantee
United States flag USD

Shopping Cart


Your shopping bag is empty

Go to the shop
One Complete Spitfire IX Squadron is Lost

The results of an air engagement depend on several factors. Pilot quality, aircraft performance, tactics, and the tactical situation all play a part.

On 26 Sep 42, three experienced Spitfire IX Sqdns (133 ‘Eagle’, 401 RCAF, and 64) flew escort to 97th BG B-17s ordered to destroy an aircraft repair facility at Morlaix, Brittany. The first two squadrons drew close escort & the last top cover.
The tactical situation played the most important role in this battle. The Spitfire IX was a close match to the Fw 190A (3/4) used by the Jagdwaffe on the Channel Front and both sides had highly skilled crews.

The Spitfires took off from Salcombe, UK in a southerly direction to Morlaix, only 182 km away with orders to fly at 25,000 ft plus. There was a thick layer of cloud over France preventing the pilots from obtaining ground fixes (at a time when they were required to navigate during daylight). Unbeknownst to the pilots there was a 100-mph tailwind which meant that by the time they thought they were over target, they were far to the South of it.

When they turned back, they faced a 100-mph headwind. After two hours of flight time, they should have been over their bases in England, but they were unsure. 133 Squadron’s twelve Spits (with American pilots) detected a gap in the clouds and dived in preparation for landing. Two Spitfires attempted to land in a German airfield at 6:46PM, one was destroyed by the Flak (pilot KIA) and the other escaped only to crash in Britain without fuel (pilot severely wounded).

Simultaneously, Obltn. Bruno Stolle, led 8./JG 2 (see photo of his 190) in a savage attack, shooting down one Spitfire immediately (his 22nd victory). His pilots shot down another 6 in the following 14 minutes while the Flak destroyed the last 3. The complete squadron failed to return. Only one 190 was missing. Within 3 days the 133 Sqdn was incorporated into the 4th FG of the AAF. Three Spits from the other two squadrons crash-landed in Britain for lack of fuel (one repairable).

Sqdn Ldr. T. Gaze (Australian) who led the wing was held responsible. He was demoted to Flt Lt and returned to 616 Sqn as a flight commander but later achieved success.

Leave A Comments

Related post