Greek Baltimore V
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Thread: Greek Baltimore V

  1. #1

    Greek Baltimore V

    Thanks to everyone for making this great aircraft available for MAW.

    Link To SOH Download

    Link To The Reg's Hanger Original Files
    US Army, Major, Ret.

    Service To The Line,
    On The Line,
    On Time

    US Army Ordnance Corps.

  2. #2
    The 13th Hellenic Squadron was among the 3 squadrons of 201 Group with the less accidents, the other two being 252 Sqn. and 459 Sqn.
    Again on the road in August, this time for Gambut (Derna) in Libya. The operations and the training of personnel, continued all summer.
    In September, the time came for the Squadron to acquire an aircraft worth of the expectations and certainly the abilities of its airmen. After many requests of the RHAF leadership to the R.A.F for a more potent aircraft, the latter decided to replace the Bisleys of the 13th Hellenic Squadron with Martin A30 Baltimores.
    These aircraft were ordered by the R.A.F from the U.S., under the Lend-Lease agreement and were used almost exclusively in the North African and Mediterranean theatres.

    There could be no real comparison between the Baltimore and whatever aircraft type the Squadron had flown until then.
    It was much faster, heavily armed and carried a much heavier weapons load. It had a top speed of 300 mph, armament of no less than 10-12 guns and could carry almost a ton of bombs and other ordnance.
    Many of the aircraft received were brand new, and did not come from other R.A.F squadrons, as was the norm until then.

    The first aircraft to arrive were 4 Mk IVs:
    FA 439”W”
    FA 483”B”
    FA 607”Z” and
    FA 608”C”
    Three more followed the next day:
    FA 490”S”
    FA 463”Y” and
    FA 654”X”

    Intensive training started on the new type both in various OTUs and on the newly received aircraft.
    At the same time a number of British Warrant Officers and Flight Sergeants were attached to the Squadron, as air gunners and wireless operators.
    Immediately the qualities of the new aircraft were put to the test.For the first time, along with the anti-submarine patrols and convoy escorts, offensive reconnaissance and even attacks on the occupied Greek islands and other targets were undertaken.
    In one of these attacks on November 12, Baltimores of 13th Hellenic Squadron attacked the German positions in the heavily defended port of Souda, in Crete.

    These were:
    FA 512 ”F”
    Crew : Plt Off Assanakis, Fg Off Hionidis, Plt Off Maniatis and Sgt Hayball.
    FA 632 ”E”
    Crew: Plt Off Fragoyannis, Plt Off Sarantis , Sgt Delentas and Sgt Baines.
    FA 584”H”
    Crew: Plt Off Kondos, Plt Off Katsaros, Sgt Logan and Sgt Sutherns.
    FA 585 ”V”
    Crew: Fg Off Sotiriou, Plt Off Marmaras, W.O Stratidakis, and Sgt Sherwood.

    Under intensive A/A fire they successfully bombed their targets, when they were attacked by three Arado Ar 196 floatplanes! The gunner of Baltimore “E” Sgt Baines, shot one of the attackers from a distance of 400 yards and observed thick smoke coming out of its engine. The German aircraft although dangerous under certain circumstances were no match for the Baltimore. All the Squadron’s aircraft using their greater speed made it back to base safely.
    By the end of 1943, the 13th Hellenic Squadron had logged 1302 combat missions and 4550 flying hours. Certainly not a bad record.
    In the spring of 1944 the Squadron received the order to move to a new theatre of operations.
    Destination this time : Italy.
    First, the personnel and vehicles of the Squadron were moved by sea, and then the aircraft followed, after a thorough inspection in 107 MU in Ismailia.
    The new base was Biferno, near the town of Termoli.
    Here, the 13th came under the 3rd South African Wing.
    From Biferno the Squadron started to fly for the first time exclusively in bombing missions. Targets were military facilities, harbours, bridges, factories and railway junctions in German occupied Italian territory. There were many successful missions in Pedaso, Fabriano, Civittanova, Porto Recanate, etc.

    n June, the area of operations was expanded to include the whole of Yugoslavia.
    In the same month the Squadron had to move again, this time to Pescara airfield, without any interruption in operations. Here the 13th Hellenic Squadron came under 254 Wing R.A.F, as part of the “Balkan Air Force”.
    The missions over Yugoslavia were far more dangerous for the aircraft and crews, due to the heavily defended German positions.
    This became evident on July 28 1944, when six Baltimores of the Squadron took off to bomb Sarajevo.
    Over the target, one of the aircraft : FW452”D” with crew Flt Lt Angelidis, W.O Molyvadas, Plt Off Anastasiou and F.Sgt W.Aldridge, got hit by flak and caught fire.
    By coincidence this was a stand-by aircraft, replacing another Baltimore which had a malfunction and had to abort the mission. All crew bailed out and landed safely. Flt Lt Angelidis and F.Sgt Aldridge escaped capture and with the help of the Yugoslav partisans, managed to return to their unit in October.
    W.O Molyvadas and Plt Off Anastasiou were caught by the Germans and spent the rest of the war in Stalag Luft III.

    ?he missions continued daily with ”maximum effort” and no break, until the end of October.
    In November 1944, the long awaited return to the liberated Homeland became a reality after more than three years of absence.
    On the 14th of that month, 16 Baltimores landed in Hasani (today’s Ellinikon) airfield, near Athens.
    The return to Greece did not mean the end of combat for the Squadron. Although mainland Greece was liberated, Crete and other islands were still under German occupation. So, alongside the Spitfires of the other two fighter Squadrons the 335th and 336th which had also arrived in Greece, the Baltimores of the 13th Squadron started bombing the German positions. This continued until the German withdrawal, in April of 1945. Along its combat missions the Squadron undertook leaflet and supply drops and search and rescue duties.
    Operationally, all three Greek Squadrons were under 337 Wing R.A.F based in Hasani airfield.

    The political situation in Greece during this time went from bad to worse, and soon civil war broke out.
    It was obvious that the Hellenic Air Force, which started to take its first post-war steps, was going to need all the aircraft in its inventory, especially the Baltimores of the 13th Squadron.
    But, contrary to all reason, the Squadron was ordered to hand over these aircraft and exchange them with….Vickers Wellingtons!!
    This change which was opposed by the Command of the Air Force and most vigorously by the leadership of the Squadron, was imposed by the British government, from which the aircraft were acquired in the first place and was their legal owner. The consequences of his decision, will hamper the Air Force’s war effort in the following years. The Baltimore will be sorely missed, especially in the late stages of the civil war.
    Then, lacking a dedicated ground attack aircraft, the task to dislodge the communist forces from their fortified positions in the mountains of Greece, fell solely on the Spitfires, the only combat aircraft of the Hellenic Air Force at the time and only towards the end of hostilities on the hastily acquired Curtiss Helldivers.
    So, the Baltimores started to be handed over to the R.A.F in August of 1945, with the last three aircraft leaving Greece after an impressive flypast over Athens, on September 18. All aircraft were flown to Kasfareet in Egypt, where from they were either sent to other units, or scrapped.

    Martin Baltimores of 13th Hellenic Squadron

    Mk III
    AG 902"S"
    AG 939"D"

    Mk IIIA
    FA 219"E"

    Mk IV
    FA 385"H"
    FA 386"S"
    FA 400"V"
    FA 405"Z"
    FA 423
    FA 432"A"
    FA 439"W"
    FA 443"F"
    FA 471"A","W"
    FA 482
    FA 483"B"
    FA 486
    FA 490"D","S"
    FA 491"C"
    FA 512"F"
    FA 514"E"
    FA 518
    FA 529
    FA 534
    FA 542"E"
    FA 548
    FA 551"B"
    FA 552"G","H"
    FA 559
    FA 560"T"
    FA 565
    FA 584"H"
    FA 585"V"
    FA 588"U"
    FA 589
    FA 600"G"
    FA 603
    FA 607"Z"
    FA 608"C"
    FA 624
    FA 629"F"
    FA 631"W"
    FA 632"E"
    FA 633"I"
    FA 640
    FA 642"Y"
    FA 643
    FA 654"X","F","I"

    Mk V
    FW 294"R"
    FW 296"G"
    FW 316"Z"
    FW 333"B"
    FW 357"A"
    FW 388"I","P"
    FW 401"Y"*
    FW 411"R" *
    FW 418"A" *
    FW 421"T"*
    FW 429"E"*
    FW 449"C"*
    FW 451"T"
    FW 452"D"
    FW 453"F"
    FW 461"R"
    FW 464"U"
    FW 493"W"
    FW 516"H"*
    FW 538"B"
    FW 546"V"*
    FW 555"G"*
    FW 559"W"*
    FW 563"D"*
    FW 578"S"*
    FW 766"I"*
    FW 774"P"
    FW 788"F" ** The subject Aircraft for this skin **
    FW 800"A"
    FW 803"U"*
    FW 805"K"
    FW 808"P"*
    FW 814"C"
    FW 844"B"*
    FW 852"Y"

    *These aircraft were the first to arrive in Greece on the 14th of November 1944.
    US Army, Major, Ret.

    Service To The Line,
    On The Line,
    On Time

    US Army Ordnance Corps.

  3. #3
    nice one and thanks very much for the historical note, I've learned something, it's really interesting.

  4. #4

  5. #5

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