Hurricane Squadrons in the Battle of France
Tue May 10, 2011 19:25
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The Battle of France began at Dawn today, 10th May, 1940, just 71 years ago, when the German Army commenced its attacks with Tanks and Army units, spearheaded by Junkers 87 Stukas and other medium bombers blasting defences, army units, bridges and Aircraft left on the ground, in a Lightning War or, as they invented a new word;Blitzkreig.

Air Component [ Top of Page ]
Air Component Headquarters
Unit Aircraft Total Avail. Base Commander
HQ Air Component - - - Air Vice-Marshall C.H.B. Blount

No 14 Group
Unit Aircraft Total Avail. Base Commander
HQ No. 14 Group - - - Group Captain P.F. Fullard
60 (Fighter) Wing
Unit Aircraft Total Avail. Base Commander
HQ 60 Wing Wing Commander J.A. Boret
85 Squadron Hurricane Mk I Lille-Seclin
87 Squadron Hurricane Mk I Senon
61 (Fighter) Wing
Unit Aircraft Total Avail. Base Commander
HQ 61 Wing Wing Commander R.Y. Eccles
607 Squadron Hurricane Mk I
Gladiator Vitry-en-Artois
615 Squadron Hurricane Mk I
Gladiator A flight : Le Touquet
B flight : Abbeville
63 (Fighter) Wing - created on 10 May 1940
Unit Aircraft Total Avail. Base Commander Notes
HQ 63 Wing ? only mentioned in source (2)
3 Squadron Hurricane Mk I Merville
79 Squadron Hurricane Mk I Merville
70 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Wing
Unit Aircraft Total Avail. Base Commander
HQ 70 Wing Wing Commander W.A. Opie
18 Squadron Blenheim Mk V
57 Squadron Blenheim Mk V
52 (Bomber) Wing
Unit Aircraft Total Avail. Base Commander Notes
HQ 52 Wing Wing Commander A.F. Hutton
53 Squadron Blenheim Mk IV
55 (?) Squadron source (2) says 59 Squadron
50 (Army Co-operation) Wing
Unit Aircraft Total Avail. Base Commander
HQ 50 Wing Group Captain A.R. Churchman
4 Squadron Lysander
13 Squadron Lysander
16 Squadron Lysander
51 (Army Co-operation) Wing
Unit Aircraft Total Avail. Base Commander Notes
HQ 51 Wing Wing Commander A.H. Flower
2 Squadron Lysander
26 Squadron Lysander
81 (C) Squadron Dragon Communications Squadron

Advanced Air Striking Force [ Top of Page ]
Advanced Air Striking Force Headquarters
Unit Aircraft Total Avail. Base Commander
HQ Air Component - - - Air Vice-Marshall P.H.L. Playfair
67 (Fighter) Wing
Unit Aircraft Total Avail. Base Commander Notes
HQ 67 Wing Wing Co. C. Walter
1 Squadron Hurricane Mk I 12 Wassincourt
73 Squadron Hurricane Mk I 12 Rouvre
212 Squadron Photographic Recce Squadron. Only mentioned in source (1)

501 Squadron Hurricane Mk I 12 Bethenville Arrived 10 May 1940. Only mentioned in source (2)
No. 71 (Bomber) Wing
Unit Aircraft Total Avail. Base Commander
HQ 71 Wing Air Commodore R.M. Field
105 Squadron Fairey Battle 16 Villeneuve
114 Squadron Blenheim Mk IV 16 Condé
139 Squadron Blenheim Mk IV 16 Plivot
150 Squadron Fairey Battle 16 Ecury
75 (Bomber) Wing
Unit Aircraft Total Avail. Base Commander Notes
HQ 75 Wing Group Captain A.H. Wann
88 Squadron Fairey Battle 16 Mourmelon
103 Squadron Fairey Battle 16 Betheniville
208 Squadron Fairey Battle 16 Auberive source (2) gives 218 Squadron instead
76 (Bomber) Wing
Unit Aircraft Total Avail. Base Commander
HQ 76 Wing Group Captain H.S. Kerby
12 Squadron Fairey Battle 16 Amifontaine
142 Squadron Fairey Battle 16 Berry-au-Bac
226 Squadron Fairey Battle 16 Reims
Unit Aircraft Total Avail. Base Commander Notes
98 Squadron Fairey Battle Nantes Acted as a reserve for Fairey Battle squadrons





Allied Casualties were for the Battle of France:

RAF losses throughout the entire campaign (10 May – 22 June) amounted to 931 aircraft and 1,526 casualties.Aerial losses are estimated at 1,274 aircraft destroyed during the campaign.



Britain-Army Losses and other units;
68,111 killed in action, wounded or captured. Some 64,000 vehicles destroyed or abandoned and 2,472 guns destroyed or abandoned. France: According to the Defence Historical Service, 85,310 killed (including 5,400 Maghrebis), 12,000 missing, 120,000 wounded and 1,540,000 captured (including 67,400 Maghrebis). Some recent French research indicates that the number of killed had been between 55,000 and 85,000. In August, 1940 1,540,000 prisoners were taken into Germany where roughly 940,000 remained until 1945 when they were liberated by advancing Allied forces. While in German captivity, 24,600 French prisoners died; 71,000 escaped; 220,000 were released by various agreements between the Vichy government and Germany; several hundred thousand were paroled because of disability and/or sickness.


Belgium: Losses in manpower were 6,093 killed and wounded. Some 2,000 prisoners of war died in captivity and[238] more than 500 were missing.[239] Those captured amounted to 200,000.[240] Belgian wounded amounted to 15,850.[240] They lost 112 aircraft destroyed.[94]




In the air the Allies were numerically inferior: the French Armee de l'Air had 1,562 aircraft, and RAF Fighter Command committed 680 machines, initially while RAF Bomber Command could contribute some 392 aircraft to operations. Most of the Allied aircraft were obsolete types, such as the Morane-Saulnier M.S.406. In the fighter force, only the British Hawker Hurricane and the French Dewoitine D.520 could contend with the German Messerschmitt Bf 109, the D.520 having better manoeuvrability although being slightly slower.[84] Unfortunately, on 10 May 1940, only 36 D.520 fighters had been dispatched, all to one squadron. In fighter aircraft, the Allies had the numerical advantage; 836 German Bf 109s against 81 Belgian, 261 British and 764 French fighters of various types. The French and British also had larger aircraft reserves. In early June 1940, the French aviation industry had reached a considerable output, with an estimated matériel reserve of nearly 2,000 aircraft.

However, a chronic lack of spare parts crippled this fleet. Only 29% (599) of the aircraft were serviceable, of which 170 were bombers. Low serviceability meant the Germans had a clear numerical superiority in medium bomber aircraft


More reading on the desperate fighting in the Battle of France from today, 10th May, 1940 onwards to the Dunkirk evacuation and the fighting that continued after that untill France completely surrendered is here in these links;

http://www.tangmerepilots.co.uk/mainpages/Battle_Of_France_Campaign.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_France

http://www.epibreren.com/ww2/raf/index.html

http://france1940.free.fr/uk/raf_may.html

Rare footage from the Battle of France;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9tp0reMR6Q





Notes on sources;
Hooton 2007, p. 47-48: Hooton uses the National Archives in London for RAF records. Including "Air 24/679 Operational Record Book: The RAF in France 1939–1940", "Air 22/32 Air Ministry Daily Strength Returns", "Air 24/21 Advanced Air Striking Force Operations Record" and "Air 24/507 Fighter Command Operations Record". For the Armee de l'Air Hooton uses "Service Historique de Armee de l'Air (SHAA), Vincennes".

  • RAF in France 1940, (Fighting against Odds)Paul Davies, Tue May 10 17:58
    In May and June 1940 the RAF tried desperately to stem the advancing German Panzer tanks and Infantry with very little help, with exceptions, by the French they were trying to protect. Britain was... more
    • Hurricane Squadrons in the Battle of France — Paul Davies, Tue May 10 19:25
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