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alephh
10-11-2005, 06:05 PM
Just read Bismarck by Tamelander - and it is mentioned that american pilots flew in british planes before war was declared between Germany and US - and only couple of people in US knew about it - unless I have misunderstood something?

Any information about this - how many men, when did this start?

DerMann
10-11-2005, 09:32 PM
I don't know how accurate the information is, but in the movie Pearl Harbor one of the two friends goes to England to fight in the Battle of Britain and flies either a Spitfire or a Hawker.

10-12-2005, 12:33 AM
Are you thinking of the EAGLE SQUADRON?

For more info: http://www.fourthfightergroup.com/eagles/es.html

pdf27
10-12-2005, 04:22 AM
Just read Bismarck by Tamelander - and it is mentioned that american pilots flew in british planes before war was declared between Germany and US - and only couple of people in US knew about it - unless I have misunderstood something?

Any information about this - how many men, when did this start?
The Catalina which relocated the Bismarck was IIRC flown by an Ensign in the US Navy, although again IIRC the crew was partially British and he was technically flying in his capacity as a private citizen rather than an officer in the USN. At least, that's what the story would have been if he was caught.
It's worth pointing out that by this stage of the war the USN was regularly engaging U-boats in the western half of the Atlantic as part of the "neutrality patrol" or whatever the name of it was. Basically it was a convenient legal fiction to allow Roosevelt to fight a war without a declaration of war from Congress.

BDL
10-12-2005, 07:06 AM
IIRC, 6 Americans qualified for the the RAF's Battle of Britain medal.

alephh
10-12-2005, 09:27 AM
But didn't the american pilots started to arrive (to eagle squadron) later?

Bismarck was sunk 1941-05-27.

Cuts
10-12-2005, 12:05 PM
But didn't the american pilots started to arrive (to eagle squadron) later?

Bismarck was sunk 1941-05-27.


Are you thinking of the EAGLE SQUADRON?

For more info: http://www.fourthfightergroup.com/eagles/es.html


Of the thousands that volunteered, 244 American pilots were to fly for the Eagle Squadrons; Number 71, 121, and 133 Squadrons of the Royal Air Force Fighter Command. It was the RAF's policy to pick Englishmen as squadron and flight commanders and 16 of these British pilots served with the Eagle Squadrons. From the time the first Eagle Squadron was formed in September 1940 until all three squadrons were disbanded and incorporated into the USAAF in September 1942, they destroyed 73 1/2 German planes while 77 American and 5 British members were killed.

alephh
10-14-2005, 06:50 PM
Ah, now I'm starting to get something:

"However, in May 1941, the first Americans in uniform came to Northern Ireland - three young navy flyers."

One of these was active in Bismarck related flight.


And Eagle Squadron had nothing to do with it.

"Eagle Squadron, came to Northern Ireland in October 1941 "

4-5 months later.


Source:
http://www.irelandseye.com/aarticles/history/events/worldwar/secret.shtm


I also had false memory that Eagles become operational May 1941, but actually they become operational Feb 1941. Yes they were formed earlier but formation date sometimes means nothing.

Sorry for badly shaped question :-)

1000ydstare
10-15-2005, 10:28 AM
Dennis Briggs was not at the controls of Catalina Z/209 at the time. The man who actually sighted the Bismarck was the American US Navy Ensign Leonard “Tuck” Smith. The British only credited Briggs because he was the aircraft commander and didn’t want it known that Americans were involved since they were still considered neutrals.

From http://www.kbismarck.com/operheini.html

and


But this was 26 May 1941, six months before the US officially entered the war. The young US Navy ensign had taken off from the RAF flying boat base in Castle Archdale on Lough Erne at 3.30 am. He was acting as co-pilot to Flying Officer Dennis Briggs of the Royal Air Force. Smith was on loan to the British by the US Navy in order to check out the pilots who would fly the Catalina flying boats given by the United States to the RAF, under the Lease-Lend programme. The big seaplanes could fly for ten to twelve hours, and so were particularly suited to the Atlantic coastal patrols so essential to the protection of the North American merchantships

My red.

from http://www.irelandseye.com/aarticles/history/events/worldwar/secret.shtm

alephh
10-15-2005, 12:59 PM
Thanks. :-)

I think that entry in the book is a bit vague - or badly translated - or I am vague :-D

Considering all branches, mechanics and related personnel there must have been a lot of americans in Europe before "official war". Would be interesting to see some sort of summing up - what sort of figures we are talking about. Too often supply, administration and such organizations are ignored and only panzerkampfwagens and Wittmanns mentioned ;-)

Always felt sorry for pioneers - making miracles under heavy enemy fire while it's freezing - and then some guy in tank drives over the bridge and takes all the credit.

Twitch1
10-17-2005, 01:27 PM
If the original querry about the "1st Americans active in the RAF" is valid then yes, there were quite a few in the RAF early on. F/O Cyril D. Palmer of Cleveland Ohio was with Squadron No. 1 in France in 1939 and was the 1st American ace of the war.

There were many Americans in the Battle of Britain as well.

The No. 71 Eagle Squadron was formed in September 1940 and became part of the USAF in September 1942.

The highest scoring yank in the RAF was W/C Lance Wade,"The Arizona Wildcat," DSO, DFC 2 bars. He served with Sqdns. 33 and 145 in No. Africa, Sicily and Italy and tallied 25 aerial victories. There were 20 American aces in the RAF plus the many more who didn't get 5 kills.
http://www.animationlibrary.com/Animation11/Transportation/Planes/spitfire.gif