18 October 1940

18 October 1940

Northern Front

After the events of 16 October, No.1 (SAAF) Squadron is instructed to attack Barentu Airfield in response. Captain Brian J.L. Boyle (N5830), Lieutenant Andrew Duncan and Robin Pare take off for this purpose. As the Italians, the South African pilots appear on the target at ground level and are able to take the opponent by surprise. Three Fiat CR.42, rolling to line up on the runway, are immediately destroyed, while six bombers (one Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 and five Caproni Ca.133) are damaged. If the destruction of the fighters seems confirmed by the Italian documentation, that of the bombers is more doubtful or at least the damage would have been limited. The success of this operation shows, once again, the total absence of efficient detection means on both sides.[1]

Captain Brian J.L. Boyle in front of his Gloster Gladiator N5824 of No.1 (SAAF) Squadron at Atbara or Port Sudan (September 1940). Collection : Brendan Boyle via Tinus le Roux.


[1] CANWELL, Diane ; SUTHERLAND, Jon. Air War East Africa (1940 – 1941). The RAF versus the Italian Air Force. Barnsley : Pen and Sword Aviation, 2009. p.69 ; GUSTAVSSON, Håkan ; SLONGO, Ludovico. Gladiator vs. CR.42 Falco (1940 – 1941). Oxford : Osprey, 2012. p.57 ; SCHOEMAN, Michael. Springbok Fighter Victory : East Africa (1940 – 1941). Nelspruit : Freeworld. p.43 et 136 ; 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.68.

Leave a Reply