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No. 93 Squadron (RAF) during the Second World War
Aircraft - Locations - Group and Duty - Books
No.93 Squadron went through two incarnations during the Second World War, first using the 'Pandora' aerial mine, and then as a standard fighter squadron operation in North Africa, Italy and southern France.
No.93 Squadron formed for the first time on 7 December 1940 at Middle Wallop, from No.420 Flight. The squadron was formed to use the 'Pandora' aerial mine, towing the mine below the Handley Page Harrow and Douglas Havoc I. The 'Pandora' mine was not a great success, and the squadron was disbanded on 6 December 1941, one day short of the first anniversary of its formation.
No.93 Squadron reformed six months later, on 1 June 1942, as a fighter squadron equipped with the Supermarine Spitfire. From then until September the squadron flew on convoy patrols over the Irish Sea, before in September it was moved to Gibraltar, to take part in Operation 'Torch'. After the success of the Allied landings the squadron moved to North Africa, where it provided fighter cover for the First Army in Algeria and Tunisia.
After the end of the campaign in North Africa No.93 Squadron moved to Malta, and supported the invasions of Sicily and Italy. It continued to operate over Italy until July 1944, when it moved to Corsica to help support the invasion of southern France. In August 1944 the squadron moved to the French mainland, and it continued to support the troops fighting in the south of France until September 1944, when they joined up with the main Allied armies in northern France. At this point No.93 Squadron returned to Italy, where it operated as a fighter-bomber squadron until the end of the war. At the end of the war the squadron took part in the occupation of Austria, before being disbanded in September 1945.
December 1940-June 1941: Handley Page Harrow II
December 1940-December 1941: Douglas Havoc I
March 1941-May 1942: Vickers Wellington IC
June 1942-August 1943: Supermarine Spitfire VB and VC
July 1943-September 1945: Supermarine Spitfire IX
December 1940-December 1941: Middle Wallop
June-September 1942: Andreas
September-November 1942: Kings Cliffe
November 1942: Gibraltar
November 1942: Maison Blanche
November-December 1942: Souk-el-Arba
December 1942-May 1943: Souk-el-Khemis
May 1943: La Sebala
May-June 1943: Mateur
June-July 1943: Hal Far
July 1943: Comiso
July-August 1943: Pachino
August-September 1943: Panebianco
September 1943: Cassala
September 1943: Falcone
September-October 1943: Battipaglia
October 1943-January 1944: Capodichino
January-June 1944: Lago
June 1944: Tre Cancelli
June 1944: Tarquinia
June-July 1944: Grosseto
July 1944: Piombino
July-August 1944: Calvi
August 1944: Ramatuelle
August-September 1944: Sisteron
September 1944: Lyon-Bron
September-October 1944: La Jasse
October-November 1944: Peretola
November 1944-February 1945: Rimini
February-May 1945: Ravenna
May 1945: Rivolto
May-September 1945: Klagenfurt
Squadron Codes: HN
'Pandora' Mine night 'fighters': 1940-1941
Fighter Squadron: North Africa, Italy, Southern France: 1942-1945
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Shooting down enemy FW 190 at “point blank range” – SAAF hero Albert Sachs
Here is a another fantastic colourised photograph of a South African WW2 hero with an extraordinary tale of heroism. Lieutenant Albert Sachs – a member of the South African Air Force (SAAF) who was seconded to No. 92 Squadron of the Royal Air Force. Here he is seen sitting on his Supermarine Spitfire Mark VIII at Canne in Italy.
This very heroic South African, known as ‘Bertie’ to his friends is best explained in his own Sortie Reports and Squadron Reports:
30 November 1943
‘I was flying Yellow 3. At 0935 I saw 10+ 109s and 190s which we had been warned of by Control, bombing along the secondary road parallel with the Sangro River towards the River mouth.
I dived on them and as I approached they turned and began straffing the road towards the mountains. I closed in on a 190 and fired several bursts from quarter astern and astern from 250 – 50 yds. He dived N.W. along the side of the mountain and after seeing strikes on the cockpit I saw the A/C (aircraft) half roll and it crashed in the vicinity of H.1898.
I then broke slightly up as a Warhawk was on the (Me) 190s No 2s tail. The Warhawk fired several shots none of which hit the E/A. He then broke up and I closed in on the 190 and fired a burst at quarter astern from 100 yds. getting strikes on the wing roots, as I was firing the Warhawk flew through my sights so I broke away and then lost sight of the 190. I then rejoined the Patrol.
I claim One F.W 190 destroyed. One F.W 190 damaged.’
Editors Note: the Warhawk referred to here is another Allied aircraft – the Curtiss P-40 – see below, the variants flown by the RAF and Commonwealth forces knew it as a ‘Kittyhawk’ (some variants also became knows as ‘Tomahawks’), the United States Air Force and other US armed forces called it a ‘Warhawk’ – see below.
American Curtiss P40 Warhawk
5 December 1943
On the 5th of December 1943 Lt. Albert Sachs scored the 99th and 100th victories for his Squadron when he shot down two Focke Wulf Fw 190s near Pescara, before colliding with a third Fw 190 and being forced to bale out.
The Officer Record Brief entry for 92 Squadron provides the following, detailed insight into this engagement:
‘Lt. Sachs destroyed two FW 190s and probably destroyed another. His story is an epic. He positioned himself behind the twelve-plus fighter-bombers while two others attacked the fighter cover. After destroying an FW 190 with a one-second burst, Lt. Sachs saw another on the tail of a Spitfire, so he turned into it, firing a 30-degree deflection shot, then fired again from point-blank range astern.
The aircraft blew up, and portions hit Sachs’ windscreen, smashing it, while another large piece struck his starboard wing.
FW 190s were then diving on him from both sides and one shell exploded on his tail plane, blowing off his starboard elevator. He turned toward another FW 190 which as attacking him at point-blank range on his port side, and felt a jar as he collided with it. The enemy aircraft dived away out of control minus its fin and rudder.
The attack continued and finally, after his elevator and aileron control were useless, Lt. Sachs was forced to bail out. He landed safely in his own lines within 60 yards of the wreckage of his Spitfire.’
Royal Air Force Spitfire Mk VIII
He was discovered by ‘friendly’ Italians and was able to return to his Squadron to fight another day. After a period as a flying instructor in the United Kingdom, Sachs, now a Major, returned to Italy to command No. 93 Squadron RAF from September 1944 to February 1945.
In September 1944 No.93 Squadron was moved from operations covering the D-Day (Operation Overlord) forces and moved to Italy, where it operated as a fighter-bomber squadron until the end of the war. At the end of the war the squadron took part in the occupation of Austria, before being disbanded in September 1945. Albert Sachs was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC).
Here pilots from No. 93 Squadron RAF Detachment under Albert Sachs command leave their dugout for a scramble at Nettuno, Italy. Leading the way, from left to right, are: Flying Officer E Stewart of Ipswich, Suffolk Lieutenant J Marais SAAF of Johannesburg, South Africa, and Sergeant D Karck of Cockerham, Lancashire.
Salute to ‘Bertie’ Sachs, another very notable, brave and successful South African Air Force pilot of World War 2.
Researched by Peter Dickens. Photographer: Flying Officer B. Bridge B, Royal Air Force official photographer. Image and caption courtesy of the Imperial War Museum, image and affectional caption work obtained from Colourising World War 2.
Heather Penney’s dad might have been the pilot of United Flight 93
A display at the visitor center at the Flight 93 National Memorial on September 10, 2015 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Beyond the mission at hand, there wasn’t much else on First Lieutenant Heather Penney’s mind. She had accepted the fate of Flight 93’s passengers, believing whether she succeeded or not, they were going to die. She briefly toyed with the idea of ejecting from her plane just before impact, but quickly dismissed the idea, knowing she had only one shot and didn’t want to miss. It didn’t even cross her mind that there was a possibility the pilot of United Flight 93 was her father, who often flew out of East Coast cities. As it turned out, he wasn’t.
For the next 90 minutes, Penney and Sasseville made ever-increasing sweeps of D.C. airspace, looking for the fourth airliner. "We never found anything," Penney told HISTORY. After about an hour into their mission, Penney and Sasseville heard that the Flight 93 had crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Passengers on the flight had heroically prevented the hijackers from reaching their target.
Now the mission changed from intercept to sanitizing the airspace. Not every aircraft aloft that morning was aware the FAA had ordered a national ban on takeoffs of all civilian aircraft regardless of destination. With the assistance of civilian air traffic controllers, Penney and Sasseville began to divert any aircraft away from the D.C. area and ordered them to land as soon as they could. They also identified the first-responding aircraft assisting the rescue at the Pentagon.
Penney and other pilots were instructed to guard the President of the United States as he flew home
At the time of the attacks, President George W. Bush was attending an elementary school event in Sarasota, Florida. When he was told a second plane had hit the World Trade Center and the country was under attack, he was escorted back to Air Force One and taken to the safest place at that moment, the open skies.