Wednesday, July 27, 2011

FlyPast 2010-04

In February 1916,12 Squadron began to concentrate on direct support to the infantry in the form of contact patrols and in artillery co-operation, spotting for enemy guns. These intensified through the early summer in the build up to the offensive on the Somme that opened on July 1. Before this, it flew several bombing sorties against railways behind the Front. Later, in preparation for the Battle of Arras, the whole area was photographed to allow accurate maps of the trenches to be produced. By early 1917 the BE.2e arrived, remaining until the summer when they were replaced with Royal Aircraft Factory RE.8s. These proved a considerable improvement, the unit using them to support allied forces in the Battle of Cambrai and then at the third Battle of Ypres, which ended bogged down in the mud at Passchendaele that autumn. By then, in addition to its RFC work, the squadron also gained a pointer to its future role when it flew several night bombing missions, with some success.