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RAAF RNZAF

Royal New Zealand Air Force During the Pacific War

Rene J. Francillon, Ph.D

The Royal New Zealand Air Force During the Pacific War

Considerably smaller in size than the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force had, in December 1941, only one combat squadron—No. 488 (N.Z.) Squadron flying Buffaloes in Malaya—and a motley collection of obsolete aircraft—e.g., Vickers Vincents and Vildebeests, Blackburn Baffins, Hawker Hinds, Fairey Gordons and various types of trainers and impressed civil aircraft—to oppose the forces of the Empire of the Rising Sun.

Relying exclusively on American aircraft to equip its combat and transport squadrons the RNZAF grew into an effective fighting force which, at peak strength, consisted in thirteen Fighter Squadrons, six Bomber Reconnaissance Squadrons, two Flying Boat Squadrons and two Transport Squadrons.

Combat and transport squadrons of the RNZAF operated the following aircraft types during the Pacific War:

Brewster Buffalo: 25 aircraft

Retaining their British serial numbers twenty-five Buffalo I's were transferred by the RAF for use by No. 488 (N.Z.) Squadron in Malaya from October 1941 to February 1942.

Curtiss Kittyhawk: 293 aircraft

P-40E: NZ3001 to NZ3044, NZ3091 to NZ3098, NZ3100 to NZ3108 and NZ3271 = 62 aircraft

P-40K: NZ3045 to NZ3065, NZ3090 and NZ3099 = 23 aircraft

P-40L: NZ3074 = 1 aircraft

P-40M: NZ3066 to NZ3073, NZ3075 to NZ3089, NZ3109 to NZ3119 and NZ3180 = 35 aircraft

P-40N: NZ3120 to NZ3179, NZ3181 to N23270 and NZ3272 to NZ3293 - 172 aircraft

These aircraft served with the following squadrons:

No. 14 Fighter Squadron (1942-44)

No. 15 Fighter Squadron (1942-44)

No. 16 Fighter Squadron (1942-44)

No. 17 Fighter Squadron (1942-44)

No. 18 Fighter Squadron (1943-44)

No. 19 Fighter Squadron (1943-44)

No. 20 Fighter Squadron (1944)

Vought and Goodyear Corsair: 424 aircraft

F4U-1A: NZ5201 to NZ5397, NZ5461 to NZ5463, NZ5465, NZ5487 and NZ5501 to NZ5536 = 238 aircraft

F4U-1D: NZ5398 to NZ5460, NZ5464, NZ5466 to NZ5486, and NZ5537 to NZ5577 = 126 aircraft

FG-1D: NZ5601 to NZ5660 - 60 aircraft

These aircraft served with the following squadrons:

No. 14 Fighter Squadron (1944-47)

No. 15 Fighter Squadron (1944-45)

No. 16 Fighter Squadron (1944-45)

No. 17 Fighter Squadron (1944-45)

No. 18 Fighter Squadron (1944-45)

No. 19 Fighter Squadron (1944-45)

No. 20 Fighter Squadron (1944-45)

No. 21 Fighter Squadron (1944-45)

No. 22 Fighter Squadron (1944-45)

No. 23 Fighter Squadron (1944-45)

No. 24 Fighter Squadron (1944-45)

No. 25 Fighter Squadron (1944-45)

No. 26 Fighter Squadron (1944-45)

Douglas Dauntless: 68 aircraft

SBD-3: NZ5001 to NZ5018 = 18 aircraft (initially allocated serials NZ205 to NZ222)

SBD-4: NZ5019 to NZ5045-27 aircraft SBD-5: NZ5046 to NZ5068 = 23 aircraft

These aircraft served with No. 25 Dive Bomber Squadron between July 1943 and May 1944.

Grumman Avenger: 48 aircraft TBF-1 : NZ2501 to NZ2506 - 6 aircraft TBF-1C: NZ2507 to NZ2548 = 42 aircraft These aircraft served with the following squadrons:

No. 30 Squadron (1943-44) No. 31 Squadron (1943-44)

Lockheed Hudson: 94 aircraft

Ninety-four Hudsons (NZ2001 to NZ2094) served with the following squadrons:

No. 1 Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron (1941-43)

No. 2 Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron (1941-43)

No. 3 Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron (194244)

No. 4 Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron (1941-43)

No. 9 Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron (1942-43)

No. 40 Transport Squadron (1943-45)

No. 41 Transport Squadron (1944-45)

Lockheed Ventura: 143 aircraft

PV-1: NZ4501 to NZ4582 and NZ4606 to NZ4639- 116 aircraft B-34: NZ4583 to NZ4605 = 23 aircraft PV-2: NZ4701 to NZ4704 - 4 aircraft

These aircraft served with the following squadrons:

No. 1 Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron (1943-45)

No. 2 Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron (1943-46)

No. 3 Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron (1944-45)

No. 4 Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron (1943-45)

No. 8 Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron (1944-45)

No. 9 Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron (1943-45)

Consolidated and Boeing Catalina: 56 aircraft PBY-5: NZ4001 to NZ4022 = 22 aircraft PB2B-1: NZ4023 to IMZ4056 - 34 aircraft These aircraft served with the following squadrons:

No. 5 Flying Boat Squadron (1944-52)

No. 6 Flying Boat Squadron (1943-45)

Douglas Dakota: 49 aircraft

Forty-nine aircraft (NZ3501 to NZ3506 and NZ3516 to NZ3558) served with the following squadrons:

No. 40 Transport Squadron (1943-47)

No. 41 Transport Squadron (1944-52)

Lockheed Lodestar: 9 aircraft

Nine aircraft (NZ3507 to NZ3515) served with the following squadrons:

No. 40 Transport Squadron (1943-45)

No. 41 Transport Squadron (1944-45)

References

  • "RAAF and RNZAF in the Pacific" /Rene J. Francillon, Ph.D/

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