28 August 1940

28 August 1940

Northern Front

Three Vickers Wellesley of No.223 (RAF) Squadron are sent bombing the airfield of Barentu between 05h00 and 09h00. The attack seems a success with several direct hits on hangars. However, Italian air defense is relatively effective as two aircraft (K8526 and K8528) return damaged to Summit and are returned to the rear for repair, reducing the Squadron to only five aircraft [1].

Between 05h30 and 10h30, the French take off for a reconnaissance over Somaliland with the Glenn Marin 167-F No. 102 (Flight Lieutnant Jacques Dodelier, Warrant Officer Yves Trecan, Flying Officer Pierre Fenot de Maismont, Flight Sergeant Emile Lobato de Faria ). During the flight, a Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 was sighted on the Berbera airfield [2].

Southern Front

The day is especially marked by the great success of No.11 (SAAF) Squadron. Indeed, ten Fairey Battle, divided into three formations, are sent to Mogadishu. Once again, the IMAM Ro37bis of the 110 Squadriglia RT try to intervene, but the speed of the Fairey Battle allows them to escape without major damage. A large concentration of vehicles is attacked. If the crews report several shots, the reconnaissance photograph confirms the success of the bombing and at least 800 vehicles appear destroyed. Congratulatory telegrams from London and Pretoria are raining down immediately, and committed crews are getting a weekend of permission in Nairobi. The truth will, however, be discovered when capturing the city. According to Major Robert H. Preller:

« The big joke was the collection of vehicules which we had once bombed so splendidly in Squadron formation (…) we had been told to bomb it [in die lug te laat spring !]. Now we saw that it was a collection of ancient derelict vehicles abandoned since the Abyssinian war »[3].

After a long series of monotonous missions, the No.237 (Rhodesia) Squadron knows some excitement when the Hardy K4319 (Flying Officer Stan E. Flett Corporal John Gray) crosses three Caproni Ca.133 during a reconnaissance above of the Tana River. The crew decides to hunt the bombers, but the Italians are lost sight, when approaching Garissa. These attack shortly after Buna aerodrome, with no results around 18:00 [4].

Finally, four Junkers Ju.86 of No.12 (SAAF) Squadron bomb the airfield at Jimma, but poor weather conditions, as well as inaccurate maps, prevent crews from finding the target [5].

[1] « 28 august 1940 » 223 Squadron RAF : Operations Record Book (Form 540 and Form 541), op. cit.

[2] « 28 august 1940 » 8 Squadron RAF : Operations Record Book (Form 540 and Form 541), op. cit.

[3] « 28 august 1940 » 11 Bomber Squadron SAAF, War Dirary, op. cit.; « 28 august 1940 » Narrative northern operations SAAF, August 1940, op. cit.; J.-A. Brown, A gathering of eagles, the campaigns of the South African Air Force in Italian East Afica (1940 – 1941), op. cit.; Ibid., p. 60 à 61; C. Shores et C. Ricci, Dust Clouds in the Middle East, op. cit., p. 57; J. Sutherland et D. Canwell, Air War East Africa, the RAF versus the Italian Air Force, op. cit., p. 65.

[4] « 28 august 1940 » 237 Squadron RAF : Operations Record Book (Form 540 and Form 541), op. cit.

[5] « 28 august 1940 » 12 Bomber Squadron SAAF, War Dirary, Kew – TNA, AIR 54 / 4.

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