No. 268 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.268 Squadron was formed as an army co-operation squadron in 1940, but spent most of the war serving as a tactical reconnaissance unit, ending the war with 2nd Tactical Air Force.

The squadron was formed on 30 September 1940 at Bury St. Edmunds, but its aircraft and personnel didn't arrive until October, when it took over A Flight, No.2 Squadron and B Flight, No.26 Squadron. The new squadron was equipped with the Westland Lysander, designed as an army co-operation aircraft but obsolescent in the circumstance of 1940, when squadrons operating the type had suffered heavy casualties.

Despite its vulnerability, the Lysander was still a useful aircraft. No.268 Squadron used it to fly reconnaissance missions along the East Anglian coastline, looking for any signs of a surprise German landing - even after the risk of invasion had receded there was always the possibility that the Germans would carry out small raids.

The Lysanders were supplemented by Tomahawks in May 1941, and these fighters were used to fly reconnaissance missions over northern France from October 1941. The squadron converted to the Mustang between March and August 1942, and in June 1943 the squadron joined the new 2nd TAF.

The squadron was trained to act as spotters for naval bombardment, and on D-Day was used to help the big guns of the massive Allied fleet hit their targets. After that the squadron acted as a tactical reconnaissance unit, moving to Normandy in July and advancing alongside the armies, reaching the Netherlands in September.

In April 1945 the squadron converted to the Spitfire, and performed armed reconnaissance duties for the rest of the war (find it, attack it). On 19 September 1945 the wartime No.268 Squadron was renumbered as No.16 Squadron, while No.487 Squadron became the new No.268. This version of the squadron flew Mosquito fighter-bombers, before being disbanded on 31 March 1946.

Aircraft
October 1940-April 1942: Westland Lysander II and III
May 1941-August 1942: Curtiss Tomahawk I and IIA
March 1942-April 1945: North American Mustang I and IA
November 1944-August 1945: North American Mustang II
July -December 1944: Hawker Typhoon IB
April-September 1945: Supermarine Spitfire XIVB
September 1945: Supermarine Spitfire XIX
September 1945-March 1946: de Havilland Mosquito VI

Location
September 1940-April 1941: Bury St. Edmunds
April-June 1941: Snailwell
June 1941: West Raynham
June 1941: Barton Bendish
June-July 1941: Snailwell
July 1941: Weston Zoyland
July-August 1941: Snailwell
August 1941: Penshurst
August-September 1941: Snailwell
September 1941: Barton Bendish
September-October 1941: Twinwood Farm
October-November 1941: Snailwell
November-December 1941: Weston Zoyland
December 1941-May 1942: Snailwell
    December 1941-March 1942: Detachment to Ibsley
May-June 1942: Weston Zoyland
June-August 1942: Snailwell
August 1942-March 1943: Weston Zoyland
March 1943: Wing
March 1943: Bottisham
March-May 1943: Snailwell
May-September 1943: Odiham
    June-July 1943: Detachment to Tangmere
September-October 1943: Funtington
October 1943: Odiham
October-November 1943: Thruxton
November 1943-January 1944: Turnhouse
January-February 1944: North Weald
February 1944: Llanbedr
February-March 1944: North Weald
March 1944: Sawbridgeworth
March-April 1944: Dundonald
April-June 1944: Gatwick
June-August 1944: Odiham
August 1944: B.10 Plumetot
August-September 1944: B.4 Beny-sur-Mer
September 1944: B.27 Boisney
September 1944: B.31 Fresnoy Folny
September 1944: B.43 Fort Rouge
September-October 1944: B.61 St. Denis Westrem
October-November 1944: B.70 Deurne
November 1944-January 1945: B.77 Gilze-Rijen
January-February 1945: Fairwood Common
February-March 1945: B.77 Gilze-Rijen
March-April 1945: B.89 Mill
April-May 1945: B.106 Twente
May-June 1945: B.118 Celle
June-September 1945: B.150 Hustedt
September 1945: B.118 Celle
September 1945-March 1946: Cambrai-Epinoy

Squadron Codes: NM

Duty
1940-1943: Tactical Reconnaissance
1943-1945: Tactical Reconnaissance, 2nd TAF
1945: Tactical reconnaissance and ground attack

Part of
6 June 1944: No.35 (Reconnaissance) Wing; No.84 Group; Second Tactical Air Force; Allied Expeditionary Air Force

Books

 

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (12 August 2011), No. 268 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/268_wwII.html

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