12 October 1940

12 October 1940

Southern Front

On the night of 12 to 13 October, the SAAF organized a combined bombardment of No.11 and No.12 (SAAF) Squadron on the Italian airfield of Yabelo between 22h00 and 01h30.

The attack began with the arrival of a first formation of four Junkers Ju.86 [1] who, thanks to the light of the full moon, performs a semi-dive bombing from an altitude of about 1 500 meters.

They are followed by three Fairey Battle: No. 907 (Captain Piet J. Robbertse, Air Sergeant H.V. Barfield), No. 909 (Lieutenant Brian L. Hutchinson, Air Sergeant S.H. Hipkin) and No. 906 (Lieutenant Bernard S.M. Hamilton; Sergeant I.S. Thorburn) who drop their bombs in low flying, while several anti-Italian leaflets are dropped in the vicinity. Note that the bombing is done individually by each aircraft, with an alternation of thirty minutes.

In all, 6 300-pound bomb load is dropped on the airfield, along with 5 000 leaflets. The result appears, however, very limited with the destruction of one AA, and unknown damage to the hangars.

The presence of Italian planes is difficult to determine and reports from No.11 (SAAF) Squadron report a possible bomber destroyed on the ground, while those of No.12 (SAAF) Squadron regret the lack of any aircrafts.[2]

[1] Unfortunately, the mission order in the squadron’s ORB is difficult to read and does not make it possible to determine the names of the crews and serials of aircrafts involved.

[2] « 12 october 1940 », October – Narrative Norther Operations SAAF. Kew : TNA, AIR/54/8 ; « 12 october 1940 », No.11 (SAAF) Squadron : War Diary. Kew : TNA, AIR/54/3 ; « 12 october 1940 », No.12 (SAAF) Squadron : War Diary. Kew : TNA, AIR/54/4.

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