RAF in the Burma theater

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by ivanotter, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. ivanotter

    ivanotter Member

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    Dear all,

    I am reading some books on the Burma theater.

    There is next to nothing on the RAF role and the a/c types used.

    I have only found pieces of info here and there, but nothing really substantial.

    Even some of the RAF websites are not much better.

    Does anyone know of books/sites on this sub-topic?

    It does come across as a theater where RAF used what was available rather than what was needed (although it could overlap, admitted).

    I know the Mosquito was used but also the concerns with regards to a wooden frame in Asia.

    However, I have failed to find any real accoutn of how it was used and how effective it was (or became rather).

    The beufighter must have had a story as well, considering it was named "whispering death".

    Early model Spitfires? Typhoon?

    The ground organisation must have been a story all by itself, as (I presume) some airfields must have been rugged. The task of maintaining complex a/c, designed for a European infra-structure, must have been huge.

    It is obviously also involving the first traces of the Indian AF on which I have tried to read up. Very impressive btw.

    Can anyone help out with soem info, please.

    Yours,
     
  2. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Read "Bloody Shambles" by Shores and another of his books the name of which eludes me.
     
  3. ivanotter

    ivanotter Member

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    Thanks,

    Exactly the stuff I was looking for.

    Yours,
     
  4. VERSUCH

    VERSUCH Member

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    The Air War over Burma, The Air Battle for Imphal and
    Glory in Chaos (RAAF) ,are worth a read.
    Regards Mike
     
  5. VERSUCH

    VERSUCH Member

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    Regarding the Mosquito,..Mosquito Mongraph by David Vincent
    ,who has written many very informative books,deals with the Mosquito
    in RAAF use in Asia.
    Mike
     
  6. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    In Burma specifically, with the RAF, from 1942, aircraft used were the Hurricane MkIIA, MkIIB and MkIIC, and the Spitfire MkVc, and MkVIII. The Beaufighter was also present in the CBI, although not specifically Burma, plus the Mosquito, although the construction of the latter was not suited to the climatic conditions. Other major aircraft were the all-important Dakota, re-supplying 14th Army, and the Vultee Vengeance, among others. Types such as the P47 came much later.
    A few books to look at, concerning mainly the fighter war, are 'Hurricanes over the Arakan', 'Spitfires over the Arakan', and 'The Air Battle for Imphal', all by Norman Franks, with the story of 136 Squadron being covered by 'The Woodpecker Story', by V.K. Jacobs.
    Additionally, as a way of introduction, and including further references in the bibliography, if you have a look at my opening post in the 'Group Builds' section of the Modelling section, under the '136 Sqn Spitfire' thread, you'll find a PDF with the condensed history of 136 Sqn, the highest scoring sqn in SEAC, and Bob Cross, the highest scoring RAF pilot in SEAC.
    I hope this might help a little.
    Cheers,
    Terry.
     
  7. ivanotter

    ivanotter Member

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    It does,

    Thanks a ton for all this info.

    I will start reading up on it. The Burma theater was (to me) a bit overlooked. It is easy to find info on the US in the pacific and the European war, but the Burma war is a bit different.

    Probably also because the number of combatants was so much smaller.

    What has always fascinated me is the re-alignment of Australia, starting to becoming aligned with the greater Asia and US. I think it can be seen today, despite Common Wealth, the Queen, cricket against us in SA, etc, etc. Some may deny this, however.

    Telling is also the split in forces in terms of Burma (British) and Pacific (US).

    But that is another discussion altogether.

    Yours,
     
  8. ivanotter

    ivanotter Member

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    Airframes: I take it you are also a member of the ARC forum?

    Aircraft Resource Center

    My current project is a 1/72 F-22 Raptor where the colour (the sheen) will drive me up the wall as everyone else having built an F-22.
     
  9. ivanotter

    ivanotter Member

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    Versuch/ Mike:

    Thanks.

    The RAAF contribution is a bit hazy to me so thanks for the info. Interesting that all of it is focused on the 'chaos'/calamity, etc. even up to the last months.

    The air supply and air drop strategy must have been a gamble (by Slim, Wedemeyer, etc) insofar as Stalingrad proved how difficult it could be.

    I know the situation was different,etc etc, but the concept of supplying a couple of divisions must have had the same basis: # of available aircraft, turn-around, loading schemes, stores, air bases, maintenance, etc etc).

    Slim must have known about Stalingrad at that time, so what made him think that he would be successful? Did he read up on Stalingrad?

    Side tracking i know.

    Yours,
     
  10. rednev

    rednev New Member

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    hurricanes over burma
    includes the memoirs of wing commander "bunny" stone,dfc as well as the author squadron leader m c "bush" cotton dfc ,personal account.
    isbn 1 86333 125 5
     
  11. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    RAAF squadrons didn't paticipate in the Burma campaign, however many RAAF aircrew did. The book mentioned I believe deals with Singapore and Malaya. The RAAF's priority at this time was in the NEI and the SWPA.

    Nothing to deny Ivan. In 1942 when Australia had it's back to the wall and was facing possible invasion, it was the American's who came to our aid. The Aussies and Yanks formed a close fighting relationship which lasts to this day.

    BTW, welcome aboard. Another book to get is "Beaufighters over Burma" by David Innes who was a former RAAF pilot who flew with 27 sqn.
     
  12. ivanotter

    ivanotter Member

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    Thanks,

    Yes I have also found the 27 Sq, although not a lot of info on the 'net.

    The other two I have some structured info on are 681 and 684 Sq.

    I also sense the re-alignment of Australia in today's world. Especially insofar as Australia's forces were commanded by McArthur (some of them at least).

    It looks to me as though the theater got the left-overs from Europe without any plan to it.

    Even up to the crossing of the Irriwady I can't quite see any consistent air plan, but maybe just because I dont have enough info.

    One area I shall be diving into will also be the Indian AF in the Burma theater, but that will probably be a chapter all by itself.

    Thanks again,
     
  13. Rick65

    Rick65 Member

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    I found Defeat into Victory by Sir William Slim fascinating, though the use of air power is only an aspect of the book. It certainly touches on his concerns with the use of air supply.
     
  14. ivanotter

    ivanotter Member

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    Yes, Slim's book is one of the key sources as well. Correct that the air war is only touched on.

    Another book I have is the "Burma" by Louis Allen.

    Very authoritative, but again, the air war is only touched on. This one is different insofar as the Japanese side is very well described and explained with a lot of details pertaining to the Japanese commanders.

    I have some other references to the whole Wingate saga and its dependency on air support.

    Apparantly, Slim's backing of Wingate got downplayed in his book, as it was "edited" by MoD and MoD was not in favour of Wingate.

    Withouot claiming to know too much, it could have been interesting if Slim had used "white City" or "Broadway" as a forward figther/bomber base. Would it have been possible to maintain an air presence from the White City air strip?

    After all, White City had 7 batallions, all air supplied.

    This is where I find it hard to dig out info. What was the Japanese opposition in the air at the time of 2nd Wingate? those things.

    Obviously, Wingate would not have been in a position to assist Stillwell, but maybe that would have been just as well in the light of things.

    Galahad and Blackpool would have been off.

    Now, with all the leads i now have, I think I shall be doing some reading first before I venture into theories again.

    Thanks again to all.

    Yours,

    Ivan
     
  15. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    A book which is an eye opener about WW2 in Burma is "Spearhead" by E.T. Hopkins. The author, a doctor was on the missions and, IMO, is a bit myopic but tells the story from one point of view.
     
  16. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    Mohawks over Burma by Garry Beauchamp cover P 36 ops
     
  17. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    i dont have any books but in the course of my research have come across a couple websites witg stories and links.

    World War II Burma Diaries

    davies

    Indian Air Force :: Second World War

    there was a page of nothing but raf and commonwealth pilot stories but i cant find it at the moment. i have things spread over a couple different computers...i will see if i can dig it out.
     
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  18. zajuts149

    zajuts149 New Member

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    I'm currently reading up on the CBI theatre and have some links. I'm reading Slim's book, Defeat into Victory now and I have Burma, The longest war for later.

    The official(?) RAF history: HyperWar: Royal Air Force 1939-1945: Volume III: The Fight is Won [Chapter 15]

    Org chart for the Air Command South-East Asia: HyperWar: Royal Air Force 1939-1945: Volume III: The Fight is Won [Appendix XII]

    South African Military History Journal article on the RAF in Burma: South African Military History Society - Journal - AIRBORNE LIFELINE<br> the Royal Air Force in Action over Burma, 1942-45

    Otherwise, don't forget to search wikipedia! There are good articles on SEAC, 3rd TAF and some of the Groups(221s squadrons and equipment at Imphal for instance.)
     
  19. maxs75

    maxs75 Member

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    #19 maxs75, Mar 14, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011
    I am amazed how poor were RAF defences in Burma and India in dec. 1941 and early 1942.

    On 1 jan 1942:
    India/Burma
    0 Dinjan 146 RAF -- --
    0 Dum Dum 5 RAF -- --
    0 Lahore 31 RAF -- --
    0 Kohat 28 RAF -- --
    0 Magwe 17 RAF -- --
    0 Mingaladon 60 RAF -- --
    0 Mingaladon 67 RAF -- --
    0 Secunderabad/ Begumpet 20 RAF -- --
    plus No 2 and No 3 Indian AF squadrons equipped with Audax, No 1 and No 2 with Lysanders.


    Malaya and N.E.I.
    0 Batavia 205 RAF -- --
    0 Kallang 243 RAF -- --
    0 Kallang 488 RNZAF -- --
    0 Kallang 27 RAF -- --
    0 Kuala Lumpur 453 RAAF -- --
    0 moving to Far East 232 RAF -- --
    0 Seletar 36 RAF -- --
    0 Seletar 100 RAF -- --
    0 Tengah 34 RAF -- --
    0 Tengah 62 RAF -- --
    plus 1 and 8 RAAF with Hudsons

    If you look at the types, not many modern planes were there.
    No 5 and 146 with Audax, No 5 was receiving Mohawk IV
    No 31 DC-2
    No 20 and No 28 Lysander II
    No 17 Hurricane IIA
    No 60 and 67 Blenheim and Buffalo.

    Max
     
  20. muscogeemike

    muscogeemike Member

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    Google the Indian Air Force, there are some good sites with infor on the Indians flying for the RAF.
     
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