Post by flyboy on Jan 11, 2016 22:07:46 GMT
226 SQUADRON + 'C' FLIGHT.
The squadron arrived on 13 February 1944 from RAF Swanton Morley with a new type of aircraft to be seen at the airfield, this was the Mitchell bomber carrying code letters 'MQ'. The RAF received nearly 900 Mitchells with early models entering service in late January 1943. They were used to bomb strategic targets in Europe and also to support allied troops during their advance following the D Day landings. 3500lb (1587 Kg) of bombs could be carried although the heavier the bomb load the less range the aircraft had. The normal bomb load carried was usually 3200lb(1451 Kg). Power was from 2x Wright R-2600-13 engines of 1700hp (1268kw) each giving a maximum speed of 284mph (247Kts) at 15000'(4572 m). The aircraft had a ceiling of 21200' (6462 m) with a range of just over 1500 miles (2414 Km).
Also operating from the airfield was the top secret 'C' Flight which arrived later in April 1944. They were used mainly for night time flights over enemy controlled Europe making contact with British agents operating on the ground. These aircraft carried multi-lingual operators who would make contact with the agents on the ground by radio and receive their vitally important information. This information was often of national importance to the war effort and protection of the agents was paramount. It was very risky for the agents on the ground as their signals could be intercepted by enemy troops who by cross bearings could locate their position.
Flight routes were therefore employed to provide maximum security for them. Often a triangular course would be taken which passed over the agent at a previously arranged spot. As the aircraft didn't deviate from the straight line as it passed overhead and a very narrow band width was used on the agents radio precise flying was required by the crew to ensure the agents message could be received. The aircraft were modified with special equipment to facilitate this special task and carried no markings but had various non-standard aerials attached to the airframe. The aircraft would also fly at a greater height than the bomber version could achieve.