Description

Title: Battle-Axe Blenheims – No 105 Squadron RAF at War 1940-1

Author: Scott, Stuart

Condition: Very Good

Edition: 1st Edition

Publication Date: 1996

ISBN: 184015005X

Cover: Hard Cover with Dust Jacket – 235 pages

Comments: Detailed history of the No 105 RAF Squadron during World War 2.

No. 105 Squadron was a flying unit of the Royal Air Force, active for three periods between 1917 and 1969. It was originally established during World War I and disbanded again after the war. Reactivated shortly before World War II, it was inactive again after the conflict. During its second existence it was a bomber unit and had the distinction to be the first to operate the famous “Wooden Wonder”, the de Havilland Mosquito.

The squadron was formed again on 12 April 1937 at RAF Harwell from B Flight of 18 Squadron as a day bomber squadron. Its first equipment was the biplane Hawker Audax while it awaited delivery of the more modern monoplane Fairey Battle. The Battles arrived in August 1937 and 105 Sqn was one of the first to be operational on the type.

At the start of World War II in September 1939 the squadron moved to France, initially on reconnaissance missions along the Franco-German border. The Germans invaded France in May 1940 and the squadron was soon busy attacking the advancing German troops. One of the most important targets was the bombing of the bridges over the River Meuse in attempt to slow down the German advance. It suffered heavily from the attention of German fighters and the squadron had to retire back to England in June 1940. At RAF Honington the squadron was re-equipped with the Bristol Blenheim to join 2 Group’s offensive against the invasion ports and German shipping. The squadron had many losses particularly from the German Flak ships. In October 1940 part of the squadron was detached to Malta to carry out attacks on axis shipping in the Mediterranean Sea. It moved to RAF Swanton Morley in Norfolk. After losing its commanding officer in a raid near Stavanger in 1941, it gained a new CO, Wing Commander H.I. Edwards. For his part in planning and leading a low level daylight attack on the port of Bremen he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

In October 1941 the Malta detachment returned to England and the squadron began to operate at a reduced level. The reason for the reduction in sorties was the squadron had been chosen to be the first to use the Mosquito Mk.IV and was concentrating on training. In December the squadron moved to RAF Horsham St Faith near Norwich.

The first Mosquito operation was a high-level attack on Cologne as a follow-on to a thousand-bomber raid on the city. It was not the best use of the new aircraft and the squadron soon moved to low-level precision attacks where the aircraft had an outstanding performance. The first precision attack was against the Gestapo Headquarters in Oslo on 25 September 1942. The squadron was the first to do a daylight raid on Berlin on the 30 January 1943. By June 1943 the squadron joined 8 Group (the Pathfinders) and upgraded to Oboe-equipped Mosquito Mk.IXs. It performed precision target-marking for Bomber Command until the end of the war. The squadron was disbanded at RAF Upwood on 1 February 1946.