Second ‘Eagle Squadron’ formed

The Spitfire VBs of No 92 Squadron in May 1941, based at Biggin Hill, one of the front line stations in the south. The Mk V Spitfire now usually had the B armament - two 20mm cannons and four machine guns - after reliability problems with the cannons had been resolved. Had cannons been available during the previous summer Fighter Command's success rate would have been even better.

RAF fighter command remained busy, flying 3,808 sorties during this week. Even if the pressure on the southern counties fighter squadrons was much less than the previous summer, there was constant probing by the Luftwaffe and there were still attacks being made on airfields:

By day, the usual enemy reconnaissances were flown, and defensive fighter patrols were maintained over the Dover Straits and over coastal areas. A number of small-scale offensive daylight sweeps covered Kent and South and South-West Coastal regions; our fighters destroyed eighteen Me. 109’s, and probably destroyed six others. We lost six aircraft, but four of the pilots were saved. Ten Me. 109’s dived from 29,000 feet to 100 feet to attack Rochford aerodrome, and destroyed the control office.

From the Air Situation Report for the week, TNA CAB 66/16/25.

It was on the 14th May that the second ‘Eagle Squadron’, No 121 Squadron was formed from United States volunteers in the Royal Air Force. No. 71 Squadron had been operational since February 1941 – they would suffer their first fatal casualty on 17th May – P/O S Mike Kolendorski . Before 1941 American airmen had flown as individuals in different RAF squadrons. No. 121 Squadron was initially equipped with Hurricanes but converted to Spitfires in November.

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