Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Supplying the Western Desert with Aircraft.

Discussion in 'Air War in the Mediterrean' started by 4th wilts, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2007
    Messages:
    952
    Likes Received:
    29
    Hey guys,I understand new aircraft delivered to Egypt in 1940,followed a rather arduous route from being shipped to west Africa(Freetown).?The aircraft I believe then followed a very long flight to the Cairo ,Alexandria area. Does anyone have any info,Maps,Aircraft types,aircraft numbers,Squadrons and refuelling areas etc.?Cheers,Lee.
     
  2. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Messages:
    1,381
    Likes Received:
    153
  3. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    6,749
    Likes Received:
    1,098
    HyperWar : http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/I/maps/AAF-I-11.jpg

    [​IMG]

    Ferrying operations over the South Atlantic route had begun in June 1941 when Atlantic Airways, Ltd., a Pan American Airways subsidiary corporation organized especially for the job, undertook to deliver twenty transport-type aircraft to the British in western Africa. Shortly after the passage of the Lend-Lease Act, the British government had requested, under terms of the act, a minimum of fifty transport planes for its trans-Africa operation.[SUP][SIZE=-1]27[/SIZE][/SUP] These planes were to be placed on the run between Takoradi in the Gold Coast Colony and Cairo--an airway of the highest strategic value in the line of communications between the British Isles and the Middle East. The trans-Africa route had been pioneered by the British in the immediate prewar years, and at the outbreak of the war Imperial Airways maintained a regular transport service over the run between Khartoum in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan and Lagos on the Nigerian coast. Coastal bases had been constructed at Bathurst (Gambia), Freetown (Sierra Leone), and at Takoradi and Accra in the Gold Coast Colony. Across the waist of Africa, airfields had been cut from the jungle or laid out on the desert at Kano and Maiduguri in Nigeria, at Fort Lamy in French Equatorial Africa, and at El Geneina, El Fasher, and El Obeid in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. With the loss of the French fleet in 1940 and the growing activity in the spring of 1941 of German air forces based on Sicily, the British line of air and water communications with Egypt by way of the Mediterranean was virtually closed. Fortunately, the existence of the trans-African air route enabled the British to avoid shipping aircraft by water all the way around Africa and up through the Red Sea to Egypt. A large base and an assembly plant were developed at Takoradi, and here fighter and bomber aircraft, waterborne from Britain, were assembled, tested, and then ferried across Africa to Cairo. Beginning in the fall of 1940, British ferry pilots began moving Hurricanes and Blenheims along this route. page (320)

    Be sure to check out the contents page and start at the beginning! Great stuff here.

    http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/I/AAF-I-9.html
     
  4. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2007
    Messages:
    952
    Likes Received:
    29
    Hi guys,thanks for the response.i found the different links were very helpful,not only the original question,but also the other ferry routes,which I knew little about.cheers,Lee.
     
  5. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2007
    Messages:
    952
    Likes Received:
    29
    That's fascinating,aircraft assembled and then a possible nine stops to bases in Egypt.At least the engines were well run in.Cheers,Lee.
     
  6. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Messages:
    1,381
    Likes Received:
    153
    That was one of the major issues with the route - they were run in all right....in fact, they were pretty sh@gged out by the time they arrived! :eek: After anything up to nine stops at desert strips, and several thousand miles of flying in sand-filled air, they required major maintenance/servicing on their arrival in the Delta, and their operational lives were greatly foreshortened :(

    There was also quite a high loss rate; navigation of such great distances in such an environment could be questionable in the extreme, and it didn't take much to miss a waystation....on nearly empty tanks! The mechanical failure rate enroute was also high, with aircraft en-route ferrying repair teams and mechanics up the line regularly to get grounded aircraft moving again.
     
  7. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2007
    Messages:
    952
    Likes Received:
    29
    I forgot the lol on my last sentance,cheers.Lee.
     
  8. Vanir

    Vanir Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2008
    Messages:
    186
    Likes Received:
    27
    Got a nice photo of a Hurricane with the biplane ferry wing they carried for that routé. It looks just like a Hawker Fury with a closed cockpit.
    From what I read they had to have full tear down maintenance in Egypt before being put in service, it was altogether a very slow way of getting aircraft into theatre. I suppose that was why they were willing to lose carriers getting them to Malta.
     

Share This Page