Does the RAF regiment have a future?

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I don’t see one dais in all of those, not one. Not even a slightly raised platform.

Take your flat, same level salutes in fancy dress and bugger off.
 
" An acceptable level of violence" was the weasel phrase.
Much akin to current problems with Islamists.
Low ranking soldier's and police officers and the odd member of the public are acceptable? All this talk about hate speech, wait until a few Marxists, Momentum followers, Corbynites and Animal Rights get lifted for on line abuse and on line threats.
 

Joker62

ADC
Book Reviewer
Low ranking soldier's and police officers and the odd member of the public are acceptable? All this talk about hate speech, wait until a few Marxists, Momentum followers, Corbynites and Animal Rights get lifted for on line abuse and on line threats.
What planet do you live on?
 
How much int was unintentionally leaked by the army? Sixth Sense or Union Jack, Corps magazines etc announcing that x regt were going to Belfast/ Derry/ wherever?
Yes and copies of the Army, RAF and RN/RM list can be purchased from HMSO unclassified. Files maintained by Soviet and WP Int on UK and NATO personnel we thought to contain mostly material from open sources like local boy/girl makes good in Army type article from local press together with items you mention. Read the 'One That Got Away' when Lt von Werra was being interrogated he was shocked to know how much RAF Int knew about him - it all came from a pre war German magazine -
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Slime

LE

Kefi

War Hero
So, SAS, rather than RAF Regiment.
“Greece

The RAF component of the British forces tasked to liberate Greece from German occupation was Force 276, commanded by Air Commodore Harcourt-Smith, in which the RAF Regiment component consisted of 1321 Wing HQ with two field and two LAA squadrons under command.

In September 1944 a composite force drawn from Land Forces Adriatic and the Balkan Air Force was assembled with the aim of seizing the airfield at Araxos in the Peleponnese to enable air support to be provided for future operations in Salonika. This was code-named “Bucketforce” and comprised elements of the Special Boat Squadron and the Long Range Desert Group, a troop of Royal Marine Commandos, a company of Highland Light Infantry – and 2908 Squadron RAF Regiment – totalling some 450 all ranks, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel the Lord Jellicoe.

Following a parachute drop on Araxos airfield, the main force landed at Katakolon on the west coast of the Peloponnese. The RAF Regiment component included a specially-trained mine clearance party of two officers and 39 airmen drawn from various Regiment squadrons other than 2908. One of the many unusual features of this force was that 2908 Squadron had its own chaplain – The Reverend (Squadron Leader) GH Church – who made an outstanding contribution in the many and varied situations which the squadron encountered during its service in Greece.

Greece – 1944/45

From Katakolon Jellicoe’s force advanced northwards to seize Patras, the third largest port in the country and the principal harbour of the Peleponnese. Here they found the German rearguard preparing demolitions before withdrawing to the mainland and a brisk fire fight – in which the six-pounder anti-tank guns of 2908’s support flight played a notable part, including the sinking of a German E boat – ensued and the Germans left hurriedly before they could cause much damage. Continuing the advance eastwards to the Corinth Canal, 2908 Squadron crossed into mainland Greece and reached Megara on 10th October, and after an engagement at Megalo Pekvo, entered Athens four days later. From there the squadron divided into two groups – one returned to the Peloponnese to pacify Sparta and the other went north as part of another composite force to harass the Germans as they retreated towards Yugoslavia.

In an attack on the German rearguard at Kozani, just inside Yugoslavia, “Pompforce” – consisting of two companies of 4th Battalion Parachute Regiment, a detachment of the SBS and the 2908 Squadron detachment – scaled an almost perpendicular rock face in order to attack the enemy position from the rear. On the road below, an enemy anti-tank gun scored a hit on an armoured car of 2908 Squadron, mortally wounding the flight commander. The driver, Corporal GH Wingate, although wounded himself, brought the vehicle back to safety – and was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry under fire.

In October 1944 Land Forces Adriatic launched an attack to seize the port of Sarande – on the Albanian mainland opposite Corfu – to deprive the German forces retreating northwards from Greece of an evacuation port. It was decided to reinforce the formation (“Houndforce”) tasked for this operation with a mountain warfare/paratroop company in order to seize the high ground which overlooked, and dominated, the harbour.

1 (Parachute) Company of the RAF Levies Iraq duly went ashore and stormed up Hill 246 with such speed that the enemy garrison was taken by surprise and 96 German soldiers were captured, without any casualties being incurred by the Levies. The company commander, Major Guy Hudson, then sent one of his Levy officers – Ram Khamshi (Second Lieutenant) Shliman Bukho – to inform the brigadier that the objective had been taken by his men. Unfortunately, as Bukho approached the Commandos holding the beach head, they failed to recognise him as one of the British force and opened fire, wounding him. Despite his cries – albeit in broken English – that he was British, the firing continued and he was unable to deliver his message.

Believing that Hill 246 was still in German hands, Royal Navy warships shelled the position and RAF Spitfires joined in the attack. The twenty or so Levy casualties (including British officers) caused by this friendly fire did not inhibit the Levy sense of humour when they later claimed that being attacked by all three British Services in the course of a single day qualified them as experts in combined operations.[10]

The liberation of Greece produced a struggle for power between the two largest political factions – the Greek government in exile, which returned with units of the Greek regular army which had been fighting with the Allied forces, and the communist party which had been organising the resistance within occupied Greece. The military wing (ELAS) of the communist party (EAM) began to seize key points and attack police and military units loyal to the government with the aim of taking control of the country. EAM regarded this as a civil war and avoided any confrontation with the British forces until the British government, alarmed at the prospect of yet another communist state in the eastern Mediterranean, ordered British troops to intervene on the side of the Greek government by disarming the ELAS forces. The result was to produce confrontation – which led to open warfare – between the British Army and RAF on one side and EAM and ELAS on the other.

Air Headquarters Greece, commanded by Air Commodore GW Tuttle,[11] established its headquarters near an airstrip in the town of Kifissia, fifteen miles north-east of Athens, where sufficient accommodation of the right quality was available and where communications with its subordinate units could be easily maintained. No prior thought had been given to the security of the AHQ site as at that stage no one had foreseen that fighting would break out between the British forces and left-wing Greek partisans.

The RAF Regiment squadrons in Greece were deployed on various routine tasks, either with Army units or securing airfields in Salonika for occupation by RAF aircraft – as 2924 Squadron was doing at Sedes, where they had been sent by sea from Piraeus. The LAA squadrons were at Hassani airfield, four miles south-east of Athens, and when the internal situation began to deteriorate in mid-November 1321 Wing HQ, (Wing Commander J Simpson) with 2923 LAA Squadron under command, was moved to Kifissia to provide defence for the AHQ complex. On 5th December 1944 the British began to engage ELAS forces and although the Regiment commander at Kifissia recommended that AHQ be moved to a more defensible location, his advice was not taken. Instead, a hastily-assembled group of surplus RAF personnel was sent from the Middle East to increase the number of combatants at Kifissia.[12]

Hassani airfield, now held only by 2926 LAA Squadron, was reinforced by 1 (Parachute) Company of the RAF Levies Iraq, fresh from their action at Sarande. When Hassani was attacked by ELAS forces, 2908 Field squadron was made available as a further reinforcement for the airfield, which was successfully defended. Later, in Athens 2902 Field Squadron used six-pounder guns to provide close support for its field flights and the infantry operating alongside them, while the Iraq Levies parachute company operated with other Airborne forces, in the street fighting which finally cleared the ELAS partisans from the city.

Meanwhile, at Kifissia Wing Commander Simpson was doing what he could, with the 183 Regiment officers and airmen under his command, to put the sprawling AHQ complex in an adequate state of defence. Unfortunately, the various buildings occupied by the RAF were scattered in the built-up area of the town and the perimeter was too great for the total complement of 589 officers and airmen to defend effectively. This resulted in the nine 40mm guns available having to be deployed singly on the streets leading to the AHQ area while the four 20mm guns were used to strengthen the defences of the Hotel Cecil – which was the AHQ building used as the command post.

ELAS road blocks, effectively isolating Kifissia from Athens, had been in place since 10th December. In the early hours of 18th December over 1,000 ELAS partisans – supported by mortars and artillery – began their attack on the AHQ. Fighting continued throughout the night and into the following day, when the attackers used mortars and artillery against the defending force which had to rely on small arms once the 2923 Squadron Bofors and Hispano guns, sited in the ground-to-ground role and without mutual support, had been put out of action and casualties inflicted on their detachments by small arms fire. Expectations of prolonging the resistance faded when a parachute drop of ammunition and food by a Wellington aircraft drifted outside the defence perimeter and fell in the enemy lines. Under cover of darkness the partisans began to make inroads into the defended area by dynamiting buildings and infiltrating through the shattered walls.[13]

The urgency of the situation at Kifissia was not appreciated by the Army HQ in Athens and the joint Army/RAF Regiment relief force which had been assembled postponed its departure for 24 hours in the expectation that it would not be required. On the 19th December, however, led by two troops of 46th Royal Tank Regiment and the armoured car flights of 2771 and 2908 Field Squadrons, the column began a circuitous advance from Glifadha, south of Hassani, to Kifissia – only to be delayed by destroyed bridges and mines along the road. Progress was painfully slow and when the column reached Kifissia later the same day, it was to find that the defenders, having exhausted their ammunition, had surrendered about four hours earlier before being promptly spirited away into the hills by their captors. Only the dead, wounded and a few survivors, who had successfully evaded the attackers, were found in the wrecked headquarters by the relief column. The RAF prisoners of the victorious ELAS force were to experience hardship, abuse and ill-treatment at the hands of their captors[14] before they were released at the end of January 1945,[15] when the civil war in Greece finally ended.

Once the situation in Greece had stabilised, most of the RAF Regiment units there were withdrawn in March 1945. 2771 and 2788 Field and 2914 and 2926 LAA Squadrons returned to Italy, and 1 (Parachute) Company went home to Iraq.

The Regiment units which were lost at Kifissia were speedily reformed: 1321 Wing in Greece, under Wing Commander WH Chapman, in January 1945 and 2923 Squadron in Italy, as a rifle squadron, in February 1945. 2908 Field Squadron remained in Athens – with detachments elsewhere in Greece and in Crete – until October 1945 when it joined 1328 Wing in Austria.


The RAF Regiment – and Army – units ordered, in May 1945, to what was to become the British Zone of Occupation in Austria were initially delayed at the Austrian frontier by the Soviet Army, but once they reached their assigned locations[16] they were able to balance their air disarmament tasks with excellent recreational facilities. Celyforce organised a Regiment ski-ing centre, a sailing club was established on the Worthersee and there were ample facilities for riding and game shooting. The Army had already established strings of captured racehorses, and opened three race courses (including one in Vienna), when the Chief of the Air Division of the Control Commission in Austria[17] ordered 2932 Squadron – based at Graz – to find sufficient racehorses to run RAF race meetings. This order was promptly carried out by the Regiment, which added yet another unestablished task to its record of successes.[18] More important, perhaps – particularly for those who had been away from the UK for three or more years – was the introduction of home leave, made possible by the Medloc military train services which ran from Trieste, through Austria and Germany, to the Channel ports on the French coast.

1321 Wing, with two field squadrons – 2902 and 2924 – was redeployed to Palestine in March 1945, as did 1319 Wing with 2721 and 2788 Field and 2864, 2923 and 2969 Rifle Squadrons from Italy. In March 1946, 1320 Wing HQ, with 2771 Field and 2908 Rifle Squadrons, left Austria for Palestine, where they were joined by 2742 Armoured Car Squadron from the United Kingdom.”


[10] Gp Capt JT O’Sullivan – letter 26 Mar 96

[11] Later Air Marshal Sir Geoffrey Tuttle KBE CB DFC FRAeS (1906-1989). Deputy Chief of Air Staff 1956-59

[12] Mr HF Williams – letter of 26 Oct 95

[13] Flt Lt R Hart (2923 Sqn) – report dated 5 Nov 47

[14] Mr HF Williams – letter of 26 Oct 95

[15] Flt Lt R Hart (2923 Sqn) – report dated 5 Nov 47

[16] 1320 Wing (Nos.2744, 2825, 2866 & 2926 Squadrons) to Klagenfurt
1328 Wing (Nos.2771, 2914 & 2932 Squadrons) to Vienna, Bruck and Graz

[17] Air Vice-Marshal R Foster – later Air Chief Marshal Sir Robert Foster KCB CBE DFC (1898-1973) C-in-C 2 ATAF 1951-53

[18] Air Vice-Marshal DA Pocock CBE (Commandant-General RAF Regiment 1973-75) – letter 18 Mar 96
 
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