Second Tactical Air Force

A Note About Tactical Air Forces

The experience of the Allied forces in North Africa in 1942 and 1943 convinced the planners of "Overlord" that two tactical air forces -- one to support the British/Canadian ground forces, and one to support the US ground forces -- were essential to successfully invade Europe. Each Tactical Air Force would have its own fighters, fighter-bombers, medium bombers, reconnaissance aircraft and night fighters. Because of their short range, fighter units and fighter-bomber units would have to move to quickly-prepared bases close to the front as soon as the Allied ground forces advanced. The bases were called "Advanced Landing Grounds" or "ALGs". In 1943 many ALGs were built throughout southern England, and fighter wings practised the technique of packing up and moving to them and back in late summer and early fall.

An excellent assessment of the success of the Second Tactical Air Force may be found at the Wikipedia site.

Order of Battle -- June 1944

In the lists below, the order is as follows: the squadron, the commanding officer, aircraft flown, base on D-Day, ALG base in France, date moved to ALG, and call letters. In some cases the squadron moved more than once; only locations during the Battle of Normandy are shown. The information contained in the lists comes from a wide variety of sources -- often contradictory. If you have any information that is more accurate, please e-mail me .

SECOND TACTICAL AIR FORCE(AVM Arthur Coningham)

No. 83 (Composite) Group (AVM Harry Broadhurst)

  • No. 15 Sector
    • 122 Wing
      • 19 Squadron, Mustang III (Funtington, B.7 25Jun, B.12 15Jul) QV
      • 65 Squadron (S/L Westersra) Mustang III (Funtington, B.7 25Jun, B.12 15Jul) YT
      • 122 Squadron, Mustang III (Funtington, B.7 25Jun, B.12 16Jul) MT
    • 125 Wing
      • 132 Squadron, Spitfire IX (Ford, B.11 25Jun, B.19 13Aug) FF
      • 453 (Australian) Squadron, Spitfire IX (Ford, B.11 25Jun, B.19 13Aug) FU
      • 602 Squadron, Spitfire IX (Ford, B.11 25Jun, B.19 13Aug) LO
    • 129 Wing
      • 184 Squadron, Typhoon Ib (Holmsley, B.10 27Jun, B.5 16Jul) BR
  • No. 17 (Canadian) Sector (G/C Bill MacBrien)
    • 126 (Canadian) Wing (W/C George Keefer)
      • 401 (Canadian) Squadron (S/L Lorne Cameron) Spitfire IX (Tangmere, B.4 18Jun, B.18 8Aug) YO
      • 411 (Canadian) Squadron (S/L Graham Robertson) Spitfire IX (Tangmere, B.4 18Jun, B.18 8Aug) DB
      • 412 (Canadian) Squadron (S/L Shepherd) Spitfire IX (Tangmere, B.4 18Jun, B.18 8Aug) VZ
    • 127 (Canadian) Wing (W/C Lloyd Chadburn)
      • 403 (Canadian) Squadron (S/L Bob Buckham) Spitfire IX (Tangmere, B.2 16Jun) KH
      • 416 (Canadian) Squadron (S/L Fred Green) Spitfire IX (Tangmere, B.2 16Jun) DN
      • 421 (Canadian) Squadron (S/L Wally Conrad) Spitfire IX (Tangmere, B.2 16Jun) AU
    • 144 (Canadian) Wing (W/C Johnny Johnson)
      • 441 (Canadian) Squadron (S/L Danny Browne) Spitfire IX (Ford, B.3 15Jun, B.11 15Jul) 9G
      • 442 (Canadian) Squadron (S/L Dal Russel) Spitfire IX (Ford, B.3 15Jun, B.4 15Jul) Y2
      • 443 (Canadian) Squadron (S/L Wally McLeod) Spitfire IX (Ford, B.3 15Jun, B.2 15Jul)) 2I
  • No. 22 Sector (G/C Paul Davoud)
    • 121 Wing (W/C Bob Davidson)
      • 174 Squadron, Typhoon Ib (Holmsley, B.5 17Jun, B.2 19Jun, B.5 24Jun) XP
      • 175 Squadron, Typhoon Ib (Holmsley, B.3 20Jun, B.5 24Jun) HH
      • 245 Squadron, Typhoon Ib (Holmsley, B.5 27Jun) MR
    • 124 Wing (W/C Basil Carroll)
      • 181 Squadron (S/L Frank Jensen) Typhoon Ib (Hurn, B.6 20 June) EL
      • 182 Squadron (S/L Pugh) Typhoon Ib (Hurn, B.6 20Jun, Holmesley 22Jun, B.6 3Jul) XM
      • 247 Squadron, Typhoon Ib (Hurn, B.6 20Jun, Hurn 23Jun, B.6 27Jun) ZY
    • 143 (RCAF) Wing (W/C M T Judd)
      • 438 (Canadian) Squadron (S/L Fred Grant) Typhoon Ib (Hurn, B.9 27Jun) F3
      • 439 (Canadian) Squadron (S/L Hugh Norsworthy) Typhoon Ib (Hurn, B.9 27Jun) 5V
      • 440 (Canadian) Squadron (S/L W Pentland) Typhoon Ib (Hurn, B.9 27Jun) I8
  • 39 Recce Wing (W/C Bunt Waddell)
      • 168 Squadron, Spitfire XIV (Odiham, B.8 1Jul)
      • 400 (Canadian) Squadron, Mosquito XVII (Odiham, B.8 1Jul, B.21 15Jul) SP
      • 414 (Canadian) Squadron (S/L Smoky Stover) Spitfire XIV (Odiham, B.21 15Jul) RU
      • 430 (Canadian) Squadron (S/L F Chester) Spitfire XIV (Odiham) G9
  • Spotting Wing
      • 652 Squadron, Auster
      • 653 Squadron, Auster
      • 658 Squadron, Auster
      • 659 Squadron, Auster (East Grinstead)
      • 662 Squadron (Maj Alec Hill) Auster
  • 83 Group Reserve Squadrons in ADGB
      • 64 Squadron, Spitfire V SH
      • 234 Squadron, Spitfire V AZ
      • 303 (Polish) Squadron, Spitfire V RF
      • 345 (French) Squadron, Spitfire Vb (Shoreham) 2Y
      • 350 (Belgian) Squadron, Spitfire Vb (Selsey) MN
      • 402 (Canadian) Squadron(S/L Jeff Northcott) Spitfire V (Digby) AE
      • 501 Squadron, Spitfire V SD
      • 611 Squadron, Spitfire V FY

No. 84 Group (AVM L Brown)

  • No.18 Sector
    • 131 (Polish) Wing
      • 302 (Polish) Squadron, Spitfire IX (Apuldram, B.10 4Aug) WX
      • 308 (Polish) Squadron (Maj W Retinger) Spitfire IX (Apuldram, B.10 4Aug) ZF
      • 317 (Polish) Squadron, Spitfire IX (Apuldram, B.10 4Aug) JH
    • 132 (Norwegian) Wing (W/C Rolf Berg)
      • 127 Squadron (S/L Bradley) Spitfire IX (Ford, B.16 22Aug) 9N
      • 66 Squadron, Spitfire IX (Ford, B.16 20Aug) LZ
      • 331 (Norwegian) Squadron, Spitfire IX (Ford, b.16 30Aug) FN
      • 332 (Norwegian) Squadron, Spitfire IX (Ford, B.16 20Aug) AH
    • 134 (Czech) Wing (W/C Tomas Vybiril)
      • 310 (Czech) Squadron (S/L Hrbacec) Spitfire Vc (Apuldram, B.10 28Jun) NN
      • 312 (Czech) Squadron (S/L Liscutin) Spitfire IX (Apuldram, B.10 28Jun) DU
    • No.19 Sector
      • 222 Squadron, Spitfire IX (Coolham, B.5 26Jul) ZD
      • 349 (Belgian) Squadron, Spitfire IX (Coolham, B.17 26Aug) GE
      • 485 (New Zealand) Squadron, Spitfire IX (Coolham, B.17 31Aug) OU
    • 145 (French) Wing
      • 340 (French) Squadron, Spitfire IX (Merston, B.8 19Aug) GW
      • 341 (French) Squadron, Spitfire IX (Merston, B.8 19Aug) NL
    • 133 (Polish) Wing
      • 129 Squadron, Mustang III (Coolham ) DV
      • 306 (Polish) Squadron, Mustang III (Coolham, ) UZ
      • 315 (Polish) Squadron (S/L Harbaczewski) Mustang III (Coolham) PK
  • No.20 Sector
    • 123 Wing (W/C Desmond Scott)
      • 198 Squadron, Typhoon Ib (Hurn, B.5 8Jul, B.10 11Jul, B.7 19Jul) TP
      • 609 Squadron, Typhoon Ib (Thorney Island, B.10 1Jul, B.5 9Jul, B.7 19Jul) PR
    • 136 Wing (W/C Ed Reyno)
      • 164 Squadron (S/L Ian Waddy) Typhoon Ib (Thorney, Funtington 18Jun, Hurn 21Jun, B.8 17Jul, B.7 20Jul) FJ
      • 183 Squadron, Typhoon Ib (Thorney, Funtington, 18Jun, Hurn 23Jun, Eastchurch 15Jul, B.7 25Jul) HF
      • 263 Squadron, Typhoon Ib (Hurn, Eastchurch 23Jul, B.3 6Aug) HE
    • 146 Wing
      • 193 Squadron, Typhoon Ib (Hurn, B.3 20Jul) DP
      • 197 Squadron, Typhoon Ib (Hurn, B.3 17Jul) OV
      • 257 Squadron (S/L Walter Ahrens) Typhoon Ib (Hurn, B.3 15Jul) FM
      • 266 Squadron, Typhoon Ib (Hurn, B.3 17Jul) ZH
  • 35 Recce Wing
      • 2 Squadron, Mustang I (?, B.10 29Jul, B.4 19Aug) O1
      • 4 Squadron, Spitfire IX (?, B.10 29Jul, B.4 19Aug) TV
      • 268 Squadron, Mustang I (?, B.10 27Jul, B.4 13Aug)
  • 84 Group Reserve Squadrons in ADGB
      • 149 Wing
        • 33 Squadron, Spitfire IX (North Weald) 5R
        • 74 Squadron, Spitfire IX (North Weald) 4D
      • 233 Wing
        • 80 Squadron, Spitfire IX (Hornchurch) W2
        • 229 Squadron, Spitfire IX (Hornchurch) 9R
        • 274 Squadron (S/L Stocky Edwards) Spitfire IX (Hornchurch) JJ

No. 85 Group (night fighter and misc.) (AVM C Hamilton)

    • 141 Wing
      • 264 Squadron, Mosquito XIII (A.8 ?, B.6 11Aug) PS
      • 322 (Dutch) Squadron (S/L K Kuhlmann) Spitfire IX (Selsey) 3W
      • 410 (Canadian) Squadron, Mosquito VI RA
    • 142 Wing
      • 124 Squadron, Spitfire V ON
    • 147 Wing
      • 488 (New Zealand) Squadron, Mosquito VI ME
      • 604 Squadron(W/C Desmond Hughes) Mosquito XIII (A.15 24Jul, A.8 6Aug) NG
    • 148 Wing
      • 29 Squadron, Mosquito VI RO
      • 91 Squadron, Spitfire V DL
      • 409 (Canadian) Squadron (S/L Wendy Reid) Mosquito XIII (B.17 25Aug) KP
    • 150 Wing
      • 3 Squadron, Tempest V (Newchurch) ) JF
      • 56 Squadron, Spitfire IX (Newchurch) US
      • 486 (New Zealand) Squadron (S/L Iremonger) Tempest V (Newchurch) SA
  • Reserves from ADGB
      • 406 (Canadian) Squadron, Beaufighter (Winkleigh, Colerne) HU
      • 418 (Canadian) Squadron (S/L Russ Bannock) MosquitoXIII (Hurn) TH

No. 2 Group from Bomber Command (AVM B Embry)

    • 137 Wing
      • 88 Squadron (S/L Lyle) Boston III RH
      • 226 Squadron (S/L Betts) Mitchell II MQ
      • 342 (Lorraine) Squadron (S/L Campbell) Boston III OA
    • 138 Wing
      • 107 Squadron, Mosquito VI OM
      • 305 (Polish) Squadron, Mosquito VI SM
      • 613 Squadron, Mosquito VI SY
    • 139 Wing
      • 98 Squadron, Mitchell II VO
      • 180 Squadron, Mitchell II EV
      • 320 (Dutch) Squadron (S/L H Burgerhout) Mitchell II NO
    • 140 Wing
      • 21 Squadron, Mosquito VI YH
      • 464 (Australian) Squadron, Mosquito VI UP
      • 487 (New Zealand) Squadron, Mosquito VI SB

Headquarters Group

    • 34 Wing
      • 16 Squadron, Spitfire IX PR (A.12 4Aug) EG
      • 69 Squadron, Wellington XIII WI
      • 140 Squadron, Mosquito ZW
    • 3 Naval Wing
      • 808 Squadron, Seafire III
      • 885 Squadron, Seafire III
      • 886 Squadron, Seafire III
      • 897 Squadron, Seafire III
    • Aerial Spotters
      • 26 Squadron, Spitfire V XC
      • 63 SQuadron, Spitfire V NE

In addition to the squadrons listed above, there were 51 squadrons of Sunderlands and Catalinas from Coastal Command (including 7 Canadian squadrons), the whole of Bomber Command's Lancasters and Halifaxes (including 15 Canadian squadrons), and the whole of Transport Command's Dakotas (including 6 Canadian squadrons).


Home Page | Ninth Tactical Air Force | The Normandy Campaign | ALGs in Normandy
last updated 24 July 2009 in sunny Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.