Bouwer, Dr. Stefaan. & Thompson, Dr. Gerald.


S A Airforce Association, Umhlanga Rocks, 1st ed., 2009. Iv + 263 pp., numerous photo-ills., + some maps, plans + some cold., ills., + a cold., photo-ill. D.j., 30 x 21cm. FINE. 15 Squadron, S.A.A.F., was among the most decorated South African squadrons in World War II. The wartime history of the Squadron began in 1939 in the southern Atlantic, then advanced to the Abyssinian campaign in 1941 and to North Africa in February 1942. During the Battle of El Alamein in October of that year, they were involved in a mission critical to the success of the Desert campaign ' the destruction of the Proserpina, "Rommel's Last Tanker," which was due to supply vital fuel for Rommel's army. The Squadrons' duties in the Western Desert included long range offensive reconnaissance missions as far as the eastern Aegean, as well as bombing missions, convoy escorts and occasional searches for submarines. After an offensive reconnaissance in February 1944, in which two of the Squadron's Baltimores successfully fought off ten enemy aircraft, the Squadron was commended by Winston Churchill and the Air Officer Commanding Eastern Mediterranean, Sir Keith Park. In August 1944 the Squadron flew to northern Italy where they spent the remainder of the war doing close support for the Eighth Army on the Gothic Line. In their missions to disrupt the Germans' supply and communication lines and their retreat routes to the north, the Squadron earned a reputation for precision bombing and came to be regarded as the best light bomber squadron in the world at that time. Initially equipped with only three aircraft ' Junkers Ju 86s which had been transferred from South African Airways at the outbreak of the war, the Squadron went on to fly antiquated Fairey Battle aircraft, then Blenheims and subsequently Bisleys, both of which were vintage aircraft which were involved in many accidents on takeoff and landing, and finally Baltimores. This authoritative narrative is accompanied by numerous photographs and some coloured drawings. With only 500 Copies printed, this is a SCARCE publication.

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