I am going to post about the experience of No. 2 Squadron SAAF during the Battle for the Mareth Line in late March 1942. I am doing this by using their Operations Record Book. The ORB is effectively a daily record of events with a squadrons. It is the RAF’s version of a Regimental War Diary or a Ships Log. They tend to be variable in quality. However, for some inexplicable reasons No. 2 Squadron appear to have had an administrative officer who revelled in detail. As such the ORB give a very good outline of air operations in and around Marethduring the period of the battle. The post will start on 20 March as this was the day that the main attacks by XXX Corps went in against the Mareth Line. Aerial operations had actually begun almost a week earlier and some ground operation had taken place in the few day before the main attack with the intention of clearing the outpost of the Mareth Line. However, we are dealing with the two main operations of the battle, Operations PUGILIST and SUPERCHARGE II.
This series of posts has come our of a paper I delivered last year at a conference on Allied military effectiveness during the war in the Mediterranean. My paper dealt with the Army-Air Force Cooperation during the Battle of the Mareth Line. I am in the process of writing the paper up for publication, which is due out in 2010. However, the detail from the ORB would never make it into the paper in full, hence, why it is going on here.