No. 135 Expeditionary Air Wing

(Redirected from No. 135 Wing RAF)

No. 135 Expeditionary Air Wing previously No. 135 Wing is a wing of the Royal Air Force. It was stationed at RAF Leeming, controlling the deployable subunits of the base (but not the flying squadrons). It was activated on 1 April 2006 as part of a modernisation package to make the RAF more deployable on an expeditionary basis.

No.135 Expeditionary Air Wing
No. 135 Expeditionary Air Wing (Fighter) RAF
No. 135 (Fighter) Wing RAF
No. 135 Airfield RAF
ActiveNovember 1943 - May 1944
May 1944 - December 1947
April 1953 - January 1960
April 2006 - present [citation needed]
CountryUnited Kingdom
BranchRoyal Air Force
Part ofPart of RAF Air Command
Home stationRAF Leeming
Aircraft flown
FighterSupermarine Spitfire
Hawker Tempest
Canadair Sabre
Hawker Hunter

Second World War edit

No. 135 Airfield RAF

No. 135 Airfield Headquarters was formed at RAF Hornchurch within No. 20 Wing RAF on 15 November 1943 and included No. 66 Squadron RAF, No. 129 Squadron RAF and No. 350 Squadron RAF flying Supermarine Spitfires. The unit moved to RAF Matching Green during February 1944 and joined No. 23 Wing RAF during March 1944, moving to RAF Hornchurch shortly afterwards. The unit moved to RAF Selsey on 11 April 1944 and was transferred to No. 19 Wing RAF, then it was moved to RAF Chailey on 1 May 1944 and was renamed to No. 135 (Fighter) Wing RAF on 12 May 1944.[1]

No. 135 (Fighter) Wing RAF

The wing was formed at RAF Selsey on 12 May 1944 within No. 18 Sector RAF, No. 84 Group RAF, 2nd TAF with 222, 349 (Belgian) and 485 (NZ) Squadrons with the Spitfire IX moving to RAF Coolham on 30 June 1944 then to RAF Funtington on 4 July 1944. The wing moved to Selsey on 6 August, before moving to RAF Tangmere on 19 August and to France on 23 August 1944.[2][3] The wing was part of No. 18 Fighter Sector of three wings with its headquarters in turn at RAF Chailey nearby.[4][5] From September 1944 until May 1945, still with 84 Group, moving forward in North West Europe, it included 33, 222, 274 (Typhoon) and 349 (Belgian) Squadrons with Spitfires.[6]

The wing was equipped with Hawker Tempests by the time the Allied forces were reaching the German borders in 1945. Tempests scored several kills against the new German jets, including the Messerschmitt Me 262. Hubert Lange, a Me 262 pilot, said: "the Messerschmitt Me 262's most dangerous opponent was the British Hawker Tempest—extremely fast at low altitudes, highly manoeuvrable and heavily armed."[7] Some were destroyed with a tactic known to the Tempest-equipped No. 135 Wing as the "Rat Scramble":[8]

Tempests on immediate alert took off when an Me 262 was reported airborne. They did not intercept the jet, but instead flew towards the Me 262 and Arado Ar 234 base at Hopsten air base.[9] (which also hosted Bf 109 and Fw 190-day fighters and Messerschmitt Bf 110 and Heinkel He 219 night fighters). The aim was to attack jets on their landing approach, when they were at their most vulnerable, travelling slowly, with flaps down and incapable of rapid acceleration. The German response was the construction of a "flak lane" of over 150 emplacements of the 20 mm Flakvierling quadruple autocannon batteries at Rheine-Hopsten to protect the approaches.[10] As well as the anti-aircraft guns, several piston-engine fighter units based in the area were tasked to cover the jets as they landed. After seven Tempests were lost to flak at Hopsten in a week, the "Rat Scramble" was discontinued.[11]

After the war the wing also existed from 1 April 1953 to 1 January 1960 as a fighter wing[12] based at RAF Bruggen still as part of the 2nd TAF. It consisted on No. 67 Squadron RAF, No. 71 Squadron RAF, No. 112 Squadron RAF & No. 130 Squadron RAF operating Canadair Sabre F.4's and Hawker Hunters before disbanding on 1 January 1960.[13]

Twenty-first century edit

The wing was reformed at RAF Leeming in 2006, and has carried out several operational activities since:

References edit

  1. ^ Sturtivant & Hamlin 2007, p. 46.
  2. ^ Sturtivant & Hamlin 2007, p. 295.
  3. ^ "No. 18 (Fighter) Sector, RAF, 06.06.1944".
  4. ^ Ken Delve, D-Day: The Air Battle, London: Arms & Armour Press, 1994, ISBN 1-85409-227-8.
  5. ^ Ellis, Normandy, Appendix VI: 'Allied Air Forces'.
  6. ^ Ellis, Germany, 'Appendix V: The Allied Air Forces'.
  7. ^ "Hawker Tempest." Retrieved: 1 January 2012.
  8. ^ Clostermann 1953, p. 181.
  9. ^ "Die Geschichte des Fliegerhorstes" Retrieved: 7 July 2016
  10. ^ "The "Westfalen-Wing" in Rheine-Hopsten Air Base." Archived 15 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved: 1 January 2012.
  11. ^ Thomas and Shores 1988, p. 129.
  12. ^ "Wing Nos 111 - 192". Air of Authority; A history of the RAF. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  13. ^ Sturtivant & Hamlin 2007, p. 296.
  14. ^ "Core Business for 135 Expeditionary Air Wing". Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  15. ^ "Practise makes perfect during Exercise Agile Eagle 16-4". RAF. Retrieved 16 March 2024.
  16. ^ "Royal Air Force – News by Date". Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  17. ^ "RAF Typhoons hand over NATO Romania duties to Canada". Royal Air Force. 29 August 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  18. ^ "British Typhoon jets arrive in Romania for NATO enhanced Air Policing". NATO Allied Air Command. 25 April 2017. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  19. ^ "RAF Typhoon scramble intercepts Russian aircraft over the Romanian Black Sea | Royal Air Force". Retrieved 28 July 2018.
  20. ^ "RAF Typhoons return to Romania to resume NATO Black Sea Mission". Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  21. ^ "Members of Parliament visit RAF personnel on Enhanced Air Policing mission, Operation Biloxi". Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  22. ^ "RAF Typhoons scramble over the Black Sea | Royal Air Force". Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  23. ^ "Royal Air Force". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  24. ^ "The Royal Air Force Complete This Years NATO Air Policing Mission". RAF. Retrieved 16 March 2024.
  • Sturtivant, R.; Hamlin, J. (2007). Royal Air Force flying training and support units since 1912. UK: Air-Britain (Historians). ISBN 978-0851-3036-59.