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Raid on Pangkalan Brandan?

June 9 2008 at 9:04 PM

Response to Re: Thanks Jon!


From October to December the Air Groups carried out training in Ceylon working up with the new Avenger Squadrons in readiness for the move into the Pacific theatre alongside the Americans. The first task for the newly constituted British Pacific Fleet was a series of raids on sources of enemy oil - the Sumatran oilfields provided 75% of Japan's aviation fuel from an annual production of three million tons of crude oil. The first blow on 20 December against the refinery at Pangkalan Brandan was not a success due to bad weather. The next strike against the same target was mounted on 4 January 1945 and this was supervised for the first time by the BPF's newly appointed Air Co-ordinator. Ronnie Hay was appointed to this "star" post in December 1944 and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel for the job. He led a special flight of Corsairs from Victorious and his R/T call sign was "Father". The second attack on Pangkalan Brandan was made by aircraft from the Indomitable, Victorious and Indefatigable, 1770 Firefly Squadron from Indefatigable being led by Major V. B. G. Cheesman with Hay as overall Co-ordinator. Operation "Lentil" as this was called, was carried out by "Force 65" under Admiral Vian and was much more successful than the earlier raid. A total of 92 aircraft took part and only two of these were lost, the crews being rescued. Heavy damage was inflicted on the refinery whilst about twelve enemy aircraft were shot down and about another twenty were destroyed on the ground in strafing attacks on the airfields.

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