RNoAF Catalina Mk.IIIA


TYPE: Long-range amphibious flying boat

2x 7.69mm Browning machineguns
2x 12.7mm Browning machineguns
8x 225 kg bombs
8x 130kg Depth charges

Wingspan: 31.7m
Lenght: 19.5m
Eigne: 2x 1.200 Hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92
Top speed: 280 km/h
Cruise speed: 185 km/h
Range: 4.000 Km

SERIAL NUMBERS - times in service and fates

Already early in the autumn of 1941, the Air Force’s joint command raised the question of having No 330 squadron transferred to Great Britain and converted to land aircraft. Coastal Command supported this and planned deployment with Lockheed Hudson in Scotland. In the meantime, there was a great shortage of long-range reconnaissance aircraft for convoy protection, and the British asked the United States for help. From before, Great Britain had purchased Consolidated Catalina aircraft from the United States which were used by Coastal Command, but they were far too few. To alleviate the situation somewhat, 18 Catalina PBY-5A amphibious aircraft were allocated to the British on a Lend-Lease basis. Six aircraft were used by a British training unit in the USA, while twelve were sent to Great Britain. The problem with these aircraft was that they were different from those that the RAF used before. The new planes had undercarriage, American radio and other equipment that was not standard with the British, so that they could not easily replace the old machines. It was therefore decided that the aircraft should be assigned to No 330 squadron in Iceland, where an American unit used the same type of aircraft. In addition, there was a taxiway connection between the seaplane harbor in Reykjavik and the seaplane crews, and the wish to convert the department to landplanes was therefore refused. The plan was for No 330 squadron to be split in two, six Northrop N-3PB with six crews of 2-3 men and nine Catalina Mk.IIIA with eight crews, each of 7-9 men. In practice, it turned out that the highest number of contemporary Catalinas was six aircraft, but the average was lower. More Northrops therefore had to be kept in readiness, so the setups eventually became four Northrops at each of the three stations and a Catalina flight in Reykjavik with Akureyri as the advanced base. In addition, the support apparatus came, so No 330 squadron had to be supplied with a significant number of crews during this period

The first operational sortie was flown on 4 July 1942, and on 30 July a German submarine was damaged. There were many and long trips for the Catalina crews, often in very difficult weather conditions. On 21 September, a Catalina was so damaged in a fight with a submarine that it had to land close to the convoy it was protecting and the crew taken aboard. One man was slightly injured. On November 5, another Catalina disappeared during a search operation northeast of Iceland. no one heard or saw anything more of this plane or crew.

By the end of November, there was only a single operational Catalina left at No 330 squadron. This was the Z/FP526. The maintenance situation had gradually become untenable. There was a lack of spare parts for even the simplest repairs. and planes were left on the ground for a disproportionately long time. On 5 November, Coastal Command therefore decided that No 330 squadron should be converted to Short Sunderland flying boats

A Catalina on display at the Norwegian Aviation Museum in Bodø has been painted as the plane that disappeared on 5 November near Iceland. This is actually a PBY-6A, which was civilly registered in Canada as C-FIZO, but the rudder has been rebuilt to PBT-5A type. The aircraft was purchased in 1990 and was restored at Gardermoen in 1994





Catalina Mk.IIIA — ImgBB (pictrues)



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