History The Small Wars

Picture: Vickers Type 56 Victoria troop-carrier.

The Small almost forgotten skirmishes

This is where you will find information on all the small confrontations where the Royal Air Force has been involved.

A Z Force DH9 in air ambulance role Jan - Feb 1920- The RAF's first "little war". RAF units were involved in operations with the Camel Corps in British Somaliland (now Somalia) to overthrow Dervish leader Mohammed bin Abdullah Hassan, the "Mad Mullah". The airborne intervention was "the main instrument and decisive factor" in the success of the operation. Ten dH9s were dispatched to form "Z Force", and were used for bombing, strafing and as air ambulances.

1 Oct 1921- The RAF assumes military control of Mesopotamia (now Iraq) and Jordan. The success of the RAF's involvement against the Mad Mullah two years earlier, allow ground forces to be reduced and air-policing introduced.

DH9s of 60 Squadron March - May 1925- Outrages by Mahsud tribesmen in Waziristan, India, see the RAF involved in its first independent air action. Aircraft from Nos. 5, 27 and 60 Squadrons, commanded by Wing Commander RCM Pink, bomb and strafe mountain strongholds in a successful attempt to crush the rebellion. On 1 May, the rebel leaders seek an honourable peace, and the short campaign known as "Pink's War" came to a close. A campaign in 1919 had proved inconclusive after causing 1,329 casualties; this latest action results in the loss of just 2 men.

timeline_1930-1939_Victoria 25 Apr 1932- British and Iraqi aircraft and troops are called into action to crush an uprising led by Sheikh Ahmad. Verbal warnings in Kurdish dialect stating that villages would be bombed are issued via a loudspeaker fitted to a Victoria troop-carrier. The operation concludes successfully in June with the surrender of Sheikh Ahmad.

Jun 1948 - Operation Firedog, operations against Malayan terrorists, begins. Two Spitfires of No. 60 Sqn flew the first offensive mission on 6 July when they attacked and destroyed a terrorist camp at Perak using cannon and rockets.

26 Mar 1950 - Eight Avro Lincoln bombers, a descendant of the Lancaster, deployed at Tengah airfield, Singapore, use 1,000lb (450 kg) bombs to attack a terrorist base in Malaya.

22 Aug 1950 - RAF Sunderland flying boats begin blockade operations off the west coast of Korea.

Nicosia56 31 Oct 1956 - Operation Musketeer, the Suez Crisis, begins. After failing to stop Egyptian and Israeli fighting around the Suez Canal, RAF Canberra and Valiant bombers flying from Malta and Cyprus, in conjunction with French Air Force aircraft, attack twelve airfields in the Canal Zone. Airfield attacks continued until 4 November, by which time the Egyptian Air Force had been decimated. Key installations were captured by Anglo-French airborne troops on the 5th prior to a major seaborne offensive. The operations continued until 7 November, when a cease-fire was arranged. So deep was the crisis, that the United States Air Force was brought to a high state of readiness in case of Russian intervention.

Vulcan B2 31 Jul 1960 - Operation Firedog finally comes to an end. Aircraft involved flew a total distance of some 47,500,000 miles (76,452,599 km) in 375,849 sorties, amassing a total flying time of 361,422 flying hours.

2 Apr 1982 - The Argentinean invasion of the Falklands Islands in the South Atlantic begins.

1st May 1982 - A Vulcan flew from Ascension Island and bombed at Port Stanley. Ist of 7 Black Buck Missions.

Tornado in the Gulf 2 Aug 1990 - Iraq invaded Kuwait. On 11 August 29 Squadron Tornado F3s arrived at the Saudi Arabian Air Force Base at Dhahran and Jaguars of 6, 41 and 54 Squadrons arrived at the Omani Air Force base at Thumrait.

October 2001 United Kingdom Operations Veritas and Fingal were launched against Taliban forces in Afghanistan. This theatre remains a major element of of RAF commitment, now under the banner of Operation Herrick and via 904 Expeditionary Air Wing.

20 March to 9 April 2003 The UN declared Iraq in breach of a series of resolutions and the scene was set for what became the Second Gulf War. In what is called Operation Telic, the RAF flew 2,519 sorties, 1,353 of which were offensive strikes. Baghdad was overun and on 9 April 2003, the famous imagery of the statue of Saddam Hussein toppling was beamed across the world. Telic remains a major element of RAF commitment to this day under 903 Expeditionary Air Wing.

Tornado on Operation ELLAMY April 2011 to October 2011 Operation ELLAMY, RAF Tornado and Typhoon aircraft conduct airstrikes in support of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 over Libya.

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