20th March 1945

174 Squadron’s 121 Wing is informed that they will be the first 2TAF unit to be based in Germany, but there is no respite. Along with 184 Squadron, 174 Squadron put up six Typhoons with RB396 and Frank john flying as Yellow 1 on the Armed Reconnaissance to the Ahus-Munster area. When the two squadrons arrive over the recce area they are met with intense flak. Flying through the flak, they could not find any road or rail movement, so both squadrons looked for a railway to cut, but a number of 184 Squadron aircraft were running low on fuel and the decision was made to return to B.80 at Volkel.

A dual-barrel German Flak 43 Zwilling of the type the Typhoon force would regularly encounter. Image: Bundesachiv

Flak was the Typhoons main foe in the skies above Occupied-Europe claiming 37% of all Typhoon losses. The Flak 43 Zwilling, a 37mm anti-aircraft cannon, was typical of the medium flak that the Typhoon encountered. Deployed as a single or dual barrel weapon, the Flak 43 could fire at up to 250 rounds a minute. Along with the lighter quad-barrelled Flak 38 Flakvierling, these weapons could be mounted on trains and on Panzer IV chassis to create deadly flak traps for any low flying aircraft, the Typhoon in particular.

RB396 and Frank Johnson would take advantage in the lull before the move to Germany to spend the afternoon on the rocket range, getting some target practice in.


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