14 December 1940

14 Décember 1940

Northern Front

Three No.223 Vickers Wellesley (RAF) Squadron take off at 13h45 to bomb Gura Airfield. Indeed, as more troops land in Sudanese ports, British officials are worried about the transfer of a number of Italian bombers to Eritrean airfields. Arrived individually above the target, around 17h00, the British planes are engaged by the Fiat CR.42 of Tenente Mario Visintini.

Despite several attacks for ten minutes and some damage, Squadron Leader Jack F. Roulston (L2714) is able to outrun his opponent. The L2690 is also attacked, for approximately three minutes, with slight damage to the structure of the aircraft. Sergeant Ballantyne nevertheless managed to escape and return to his base.

The mission is not easy and the Vickers Wellesley L2659 (Flying Officer Shepherd) is also damaged, but this time by AA. The three British bombers are able to drop their bombs. However the planes on the ground are too dispersed to achieve a satisfactory result according to reports. Note that according to reports from the Italian command, a Vickers Wellesley is claimed destroyed and another likely.[1]

Christopher Shores notes, then, that there are no casualties to report by the RAF for the day. However, it turns out that a No.14 (RAF) Squadron plane took off for an armed reconnaissance of Zula airfield. A signal confirming the attack was received around 22h00. and then nothing. The Bristol Blenheim T2167 and its crew (Sergeant Bleddyn T. Hopkins, Jean C. Hall and Robert F. Murray) are missing without a precise explanation. It is therefore not impossible that the fall of the aircraft is seen or reported by the Italians.[2]


Southern Front

An Italian bomber is reported over the Marsabit (Kenya) airfield. Several machine gun passes were made against the Junkers Ju.86 on the ground, but only minor damage was recorded.

[1] No.223 (RAF) Squadron : Operations Record Book (Form 540 and Form 541). Kiew : TNA, AIR 27/1374 ; GUSTAVSSON, Håkan. Capitano Mario Visintini Medaglia d’oro al valor militare. Biplane Fighter Aces from the Second World Wa :  http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/italy_visintini.htm  ; EUSEBI, Eugenio, LAZZARO, Stefano et SLONGO Ludovico. Le vittorie aeree di Mario Visintini in Africa Orientale, in Storia Militare, n°246, 2014, p. 63.

[2] No.14 (RAF) Squadron : Operations Record Book (Form 540 and Form 541). Kew : TNA, AIR 27/192 ; NAPIER, Michael. Winged Crusaders : The Exploits of 14 Squadron RFC & RAF 1915 – 1945. Barnsley : Pen & Sword, 2013.

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