Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lysander Special

The Lysander, designed as an army co-operation aircraft, failed in its allotted task. It was not the fault of the design; (his 'miracle of flappery and slottery' � as one pilot put it met its Air Ministry Specification for the task. The fault was rather that of the Air Staff, so imbued with strategic concepts in the use of air power that army co-operation was disregarded to such an extent that only four squadrons were allotted for the close support of the BEF in France in 1939. Yet in 1918 when the RAF had taken over the former work of the Royal Flying Corps, there had been 20 army co-op squadrons for a similar frontage. Moreover the Lysander was less able to look after itself than the biplanes of 1918 which, using the same calibre guns had a far better field of defensive (ire than the canopy of a Lysander allowed. Small wonder, therefore, that within days, not weeks, of the German attack in the west, the Lysanders were ordered home. As an army co-operation aircraft the Lysander had a brief operational career in France, the Western Desert, Greece and Burma.