Author Topic: song of the beauforts  (Read 1236 times)

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Offline Destraex

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song of the beauforts
« on: January 01, 2019, 01:57:20 AM »
Got me a nice book from the fighterworld museum at Williamtown. I donít know much about beauforts, but love the beaufighter. Looking forward to learning about the no 100 squadron raaf Australian built ones. I think we ended up with 10 or so squadrons of these beasties. A medium bomber that could dive bomb, torpedo, depth charge, recon camera and level bomb. They seem very capable of shooting down zeros and were the fastest medium bomber in the world when we started building them. Tougher than the much newer faster American mitchel and marauder bombers as well supposedly. I would be interested to fly these in a proper war study sim like dcs. But that ainít gonna happen.

I am tellin ya, this book has some awesome moments in it. Moments that because they are real. No work of fiction can match. I was just reading the about the defence of Rabaul early in the war. We had 8 Wirraway trainers and 4 Hudsons. Most get lost pretty quick against the hundreds the Japanese are sending. The CO is planning to evacuate, when he gets a signal from the air board telling him to remain and keep the airfield open. Next thing he gets an order for all remaining aircraft to attack a convoy heading for Rabaul. He has 2 wirraways and 1 hudson left. His reply to the air board reads "Morituri Salutamus" or we who are about to die salute you. Apparently this confused headquarters for a bit until they looked up the latin translation, which they found was the Roman Gladiators salute to Caesar. lol. I was pissing myself. What a shit hot Aussie commander.
Now understand that his Wirraways had no bomb racks and his remaining hudson did take off to find the Japanese convoy but found nothing.

This Bloke Lerew is shit hot. Also refused to leave on the last plane as ordered and instead got all but 3 of his men out by various means before being captured. Shame he was not at the fall of singapore with the Australians there who were ordered to surrender where another Australian commander Lieutenant-General Gordon Bennett, escaped by boat.
"They only asked the Light Brigade to do it once"

Offline bobarossa

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Re: song of the beauforts
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2019, 01:23:47 PM »
I highly recommend the book Darkest Hour by Bruce Gamble if you want to read about defence of Rabaul.  I just reread a little bit of it about Lerew (using the index). It doesn't mention his fate but apparently ends his story with many of the escapees he was shepherding being rescued by two Empire flying boats.  Also this book says the Caesar quote actually occurred after HQ requested he keep his remaining planes in combat readiness following the Hudson's return from missing the IJN fleet.

"Glad to have the Hudson back, Lerew sent a message to Port Moresby stating that he intended to use the bomber to evacuate his wounded men.  HQ had other ideas, and their next message instructed him to keep the squadron in a combat ready status.  Exasperated, Lerew turned to his intelligence officer, Flight Lieutenant Geoffrey Lempriere, for help in drafting a suitably sardonic response.  The two men decided that a particular Latin phrase seemed appropriate, especially in light of their current situation.  Lerew encrypted just three words: MORITURI VOS SALUTAMUS.  "

From what I recall, the action of civilian authorities (and some military brass?) was very disgusting during the retreat through the jungle.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: song of the beauforts
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2019, 02:23:51 PM »
I highly recommend the book Darkest Hour by Bruce Gamble if you want to read about defence of Rabaul.

This was republished in 2014 as "Invasion Rabaul: the Epic Story of Lark Force", part of Gamble's Rabaul Trilogy -- though in practice it's more of a prequel to his duology perhaps. ;) It's an expansion of material covered in "Fortress Rabaul", focusing on July '42 instead of January through April 43 in the latter title.
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