No. 316 Squadron (RAF): Second World War

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No.316 'Warszawski' Squadron was a Polish fighter squadron that spent most of the war flying offensive sweeps, before moving to escort duties in 1944. The squadron was formed on 15 February 1941 as a Hurricane-equipped fighter squadron, and was used to provide defensive cover for the south-west.

In August 1941 the squadron converted to the Hurricane II and began its first period of offensive sweeps, operating over northern France. This period lasted until July 1942, and saw the squadron convert to the Spitfire.

In July 1942 the squadron moved to Yorkshire, where it remained until March 1943. It then returned south and resumed offensive sweeps, this time until September. Another period of defensive duties followed, before in April 1944 the squadron converted to the Mustang. The new aircraft were taken to East Anglia, where the squadron flew a mix of fighter-bomber sorties and bomber escort missions.

In the summer of 1944 a flight of Mustang IIIs from the squadron were transferred to the fight against the V-1 flying bomb. They were so successful that in July the entire squadron moved to the south coast to join the battle, as was a full wing of three squadrons of Mustangs from 2nd Tactical Air Force.

In October the squadron returned to its bomber escort duties, now providing cover for Bomber Command's renewed daylight bombing campaign. The squadron performed this role for the rest of the war. It survived for most of 1946, before being disbanded on 11 December.

Aircraft
February-August 1941: Hawker Hurricane I
August-October 1941: Hawker Hurricane IIA and IIB
October 1941-March 1943: Supermarine Spitfire VB and VC
March-September 1943: Supermarine Spitfire IX
September 1943-APril 1944: Supermarine Spitfire VB and VC
April 1944-November 1946: North American Mustang III

Location
February-June 1941: Pembrey
June-August 1941: Colerne
August-December 1941: Churchstanton
December 1941-April 1942: Northolt
April-June 1942: Heston
July 1942-March 1943: Hutton Cranswick
March-September 1943: Northolt
September 1943-February 1945: Acklington
February-April 1944: Woodvale
April-July 1944: Coltishall
July 1944: West Malling
July-August 1944: Friston
August-October 1944: Coltishall
October 1944-May 1945: Andrews Field
May-August 1945: Coltishall
August-September 1945: Andrews Field
September-October 1945: Fairwood Common
October-November 1945: Andrews Field
November 1945-March 1946: Wick
March-December 1946: Hethel

Squadron Codes: SZ

Duty
February 1941-August 1941: Defensive fighter duties
August 1941-July 1942: Offensive sweeps over northern France
July 1942-March 1943: Defensive duties, Yorkshire
March-September 1943: Offensive sweeps
September 1943-April 1944: Defensive duties
April-July 1944: Fighter-bomber/ escort duties, East Anglia
July-October 1944: Anti V-1 campaign
October 1944 onwards: Escort duties

Books

 

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (4 November 2011), No. 316 Squadron (RAF): Second World War, http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/316_wwII.html

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