18 December 1940

18 December 1940

Southern Front

Following the events at El Wak, Regia Aeronautica began to concentrate aircrafts at Bardera airfield. Two IMAM Ro.37bis of 110a Squadriglia RT take off from Mogadishu for a reconnaissance of the sector. In the afternoon, Tenente Romano Palmera saw the Hawker Hurricane of Flight Lieutenant Robert S. Blake taking off from Ndege’s Nest. Aware of the inferiority of his aircraft, the Italian pilot reacted immediately and dived on the South African fighter to take advantage of his temporary speed advantage. Flight Lieutenant Robert S. Blake has no time to defend himself and his aircraft is partially damaged. Tenente Romano Palmera takes the opportunity to escape.[1]

An additional reinforcement on the South African side with the No.34 (SAAF) Coastal Flight, under the command of Major Allan J.M. Mossop and equipped with five Avro Anson Mk I.[2] These aircraft, recovered from RAF stocks in Egypt, are reported to be relatively worn with approximately 700 flight hours already recorded. Aircrafts suffer from engine problems and only two aircraft are declared in flight condition.

[1] No.2 (SAAF) Squadron, War Diary. Kew : TNA, AIR 54/2 ; BROWN, James Ambrose. A Gathering of Eagles : The campaigns of the South African Air Force in Italian East Africa (1940 – 1941). Cape Town : Purnell and Sons, 1970. p.95 ; SCHOEMAN, Michael. Springbok Fighter Victory : East Africa (1940 – 1941). Nelspruit : Freeworld. p.75 et 137 ; SHORES, Christopher ; RICCI, Corrado. Dust Clouds in the Middle East – The Air War for East Africa, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Madagascar, 1940 – 1942. London : Grub Street, 2010 (Reprinted). p. 87 à 88 ; GUSTAVSSON, Håkan. Generale Romano Palmera. Biplane Fighter Aces from the Second World War : http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/italy_palmera.htm

[2] Christopher Shores mentions six Avro Anson’s, while the ORB lists only five. SHORES, Christopher ; RICCI, Corrado. Dust Clouds in the Middle East – The Air War for East Africa, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Madagascar, 1940 – 1942. London : Grub Street, 2010 (Reprinted). p. 88 ; No.34 (SAAF) Coastal Flight, War Diary. Kew : TNA, AIR 54 / 116.