Squadron became the part of the Biggin Hill Wing. In September the No.
133 Squadron was re-equipped with
Spitfires F Mk.IX as the only Eagle
squadron. On September 26, 1942,
however, the squadron suffered a
loss of 12 aircraft and 11 pilots during the escort of 19 B-17Fs from 97th
Bombing Group on their raid to Morlaix. No. 133, 401 and 64 Squadrons
participated in this operation as
the fighter cover. Due to the strong
wind reaching 40 knots and overcast
skies, the fighter escort, which did
not even meet the bombers, drifted
too far south beyond Brest. Upon return, No. 133 Squadron led by F/Lt
Brettel tried to land at the German
airport in Brest by mistake. Eleven
Spitfires fell victims to Flak fire and
scrambled Fw 190As from JG 2. The
twelfth Spitfire made the emergency
landing on the British coast. The No.
64 Squadron commander Tony Gaze
who led the escort was relieved of
his command due to this incident. He
was accused of the insufficient preparations of the operation and misNo. 121 (Eagle) Squadron personnel is looking on as three Spitfires Mk.Vb are landing after a fi- takes committed during its executighter sweep over northern France. Some of the houses used for the Squadron acommodation are on. F/Lt Brettel became POW and in
visible in the background, as well as several civilian houses (Photo: IWM).
1944 was one of the victims of the
famous Great Escape. This event is
unit scored its first victory. Between August and September it was
surrounded by some curious and strange circumstances. One of the
re-equipped with Spitfires Mk.II and in November received new
interesting facts is that 13 Spitfires of No. 133 Squadron took off for
Mk.Vs. In December it replaced No. 71 (Eagle) Squadron at RAF air- the mission actually. Thirteenth Spitfire, the only one that survived
base North Weald and joined the RAF offensive against the targets
Morlaix disaster unscathed, turned back to the base before the
in occupied Western Europe.
formation reached the French coast. The reason for this was that
this aircraft was designated as “a spare” in case one of the aircraft
committed to the operation had to return, for instance due to the
No. 133 (Eagle) Squadron
mechanical trouble. Then “the spare” would assume its position in
the formation. If nothing occurred and all designated aircraft norThe last of the Eagle Squadrons was formed at RAF airbase Colmally continued on their path, the spare returned to the airbase,
tishall in July 1941, equipped with Hurricanes Mk.IIb. In August
typically from the line of enemy coast. That day a spare was flown
it was declared operational at RAF airbase Duxford. In January
by Dominic Gentile.
1942 it was re-equipped with Spitfires Mk.V. In May 1942 No. 133
In June 1942 Supermarine Spifire Mk. Vb EN951 built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory was assigned to No. 133 ´Eagle´ Squadron,
coded “MD-U” and flown by Lt. Don Blakeslee. In April 1942 she was transferred to No. 303 (Polish) Squadron RAF and assigned to the
legendary ace Jan Zumbach (Photo: IWM).
INFO Eduard - August 2021