By Christopher Shores, Chris Thomas
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Additional resources for 2nd Tactical Air Force, Vol. 1: Spartan to Normandy, June 1943 to June 1944
At the end of the operation little success had been gained against the Luftwaffe, despite the huge effort - 11 Group squadrons flew more than 2,000 sorties on 9 September alone. Only a dozen German aircraft were claimed destroyed. II _. n units involved claimed two probables and a damaged for the loss of one Spitfire and its pilot, and one Typhoon was damaged. So where was the Luftwaffe? During all the air activity it had remained virtually dormant, the only raids which it intercepted being Eighth Air Force attacks in the Beauvais and Paris areas.
The Typhoons departed from their home airfields between 1220 and 1240 on 25 October, and headed across the Channel. Visibility was poor however, and 174 Squadron's pilots were unable to identify the marshalling yards through cloud, forcing I them to bomb alternative targets on the coast, while the other units carried out their diversionary roles. The 181 Squadron Typhoons, 'right on the deck' in two 'vics' of three, thundered down the railway line towards the power station. Jensen later recalled: "Just before the target was a line of poplars which marked the point where it was necessary to pull up into the rocket-launching position.
2nd Tactical Air Force was to be commanded by Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham, who had commanded the Western Desert Air Force during 1942. O. Brown, and 2 Group by AVM Basil Embry, who had by now been awarded no fewer than four DSOs, and who was to complete a total of 19 operational sorties as an AVM. The other two Group commanders had served in North Africa and the Middle East, where Broadhurst had commanded WDAF, having taken over from Coningham at the end of 1942 following the latter's promotion.