No. 272 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.272 Squadron was formed as a home-based shipping escort squadron during 1940, but spent most of the war serving as a long range fighter squadron in the Mediterranean theatre.

The squadron was reformed on 19 November 1940 around one flight from No.235 Squadron and one flight from No.236 Squadron. The newly formed squadron was thus able to go into action on the very next day, and it used its Blenheim fighters to provide shipping escort patrols over the winter of 1940-41.

In April 1941 the squadron was withdrawn to convert to the Bristol Beaufighter, in preparation for a move to Egypt. The first aircraft flew from the UK to Egypt on 24-28 May, and on 29 May it was rushed north to help cover the evacuation of Crete. Each new aircraft was thrown into this battle as it arrived.

The squadron was complete by 1 June 1940, and was the first properly equipped long range fighter squadron to reach the Mediterranean theatre. It was thus used for a wide range of missions, with convoy escort and intruder missions most important. The squadron took part in Operation Crusader in November 1941, and continued to carry out ground attack missions against German and Italian targets in North Africa between the major battles.

In November 1942 the squadron moved to Malta, from where it continued to carry out ground attack missions, this time against targets on Sicily. In September 1943 the squadron moved onto Sicily to extend the range of its operations over Italy, and in February 1944 it moved to Sardinia, from where it could reach targets in the north of Italy and the south of France. Many squadrons that moved to Sardinia later moved to the south of France before being disbanded early, but No.272 was not amongst them. In September 1944 it moved to the Italian mainland, and carried out attacks on targets around the Adriatic.

The squadron flew its last operation on 18 April 1945, and was disbanded two weeks later, on 30 April 1945. 

Aircraft
November 1940-April 1941: Bristol Blenheim IVF
April 1941-June 1942: Bristol Beaufighter I
November 1942-February 1944: Bristol Beaufighter VI
September 1943-August 1944: Bristol Beaufighter XI
February 1944-April 1945: Bristol Beaufighter X

Location
November 1940-April 1941: Aldergrove
April-May 1941: Chivenor

May-June 1941: Abu Sueir
June 1941-January 1942: Idku
January-March 1942: LG.10
March-November 1942: Idku
November 1942-June 1943: Takali
June-July 1943: Luqa
July 1943: Gardabia West
July-September 1943: Luqa
September-October 1943: Borizzo
October 1943-February 1944: Catania
February-September 1944: Alghero
September 1944-March 1945: Foggia
March-April 1945: Falconara

Squadron Codes: XK

Duty
1940-1941: Shipping escort, home based
1941-1942: Long range fighter escort, ground attack and intruder, Egypt and Libya
1942-1943: Long range fighter escort, ground attack and intruder from Malta
1943-1944: As above from Sicily
1944: As above from Sardinia
1944-1945: As above from Italy

Part of
11 November 1941: AHQ Western Desert (detachment); RAF Middle East
27 October 1942: No.201 Group; RAF Middle East
10 July 1943: No.248 Wing; AHQ Malta; Mediterranean Air Command

Books

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (16 August 2011), No. 272 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/272_wwII.html

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