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1941 In Aviation

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Title: 1941 In Aviation  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Aviation/Anniversaries/January 10, Aviation/Anniversaries/December 21, Aviation/Anniversaries/December 7, Aviation/Anniversaries/May 26, Messerschmitt
Collection: 1941 in Aviation, Years in Aviation
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1941 In Aviation

Years in aviation: 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944
Centuries: 19th century · 20th century · 21st century
Decades: 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s
Years: 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944

This is a list of aviation-related events from 1941:

Contents

  • Events 1
    • January 1.1
    • February 1.2
    • March 1.3
    • April 1.4
    • May 1.5
    • June 1.6
    • July 1.7
    • August 1.8
    • September 1.9
    • October 1.10
    • November 1.11
    • December 1.12
  • First flights 2
    • January 2.1
    • February 2.2
    • March 2.3
    • April 2.4
    • May 2.5
    • July 2.6
    • August 2.7
    • September 2.8
    • December 2.9
  • Entered service 3
    • February 3.1
    • April 3.2
    • May 3.3
    • July 3.4
    • September 3.5
    • November 3.6
    • December 3.7
  • Retirements 4
  • References 5

Events

January

February

March

April

  • The last aircraft of the Corpo Aereo Italiano (Italian Air Corps) return to Italy from Belgium, ending the participation of the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Royal Air Force) in attacks on England.[4]
  • The United States Department of War orders the U.S. Army‍ '​s First, Second, Third, and Fourth Air Forces each to set up a separate bomber and interceptor command.[23]
  • The United States Navy makes its first attempts to interest commercial aviators in reporting submarine sightings.[24]
  • April 3 – The British aircraft carrier HMS Argus flies off 12 Royal Air Force Hawker Hurricanes to Malta from a point south of Sardinia.[25]
  • April 6 – Germany invades Yugoslavia and Greece.
  • April 6–10 – In Operation Punishment, German Luftwaffe aircraft bomb Belgrade, Yugoslavia,[26] killing 4,000 people. The Germans shoot down 20 Yugoslav Air Force fighters attempting to defend the city, while over the first two days the Germans lose at least 32 aircraft over Belgrade.
  • April 9 – The United States Army redesignates the Northeast Air District as the First Air Force. It is responsible for the northeastern United States.
  • April 15
    • The Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company (CAMCO) signs an agreement with the Chinese government to equip and administer the American Volunteer Group in China.
    • A German reconnaissance aircraft with a camera and exposed film of Soviet installations crashes near Rovno in the Soviet Union, but no Soviet attention to preparations for a possible German attack results.[15]
    • Charles de Gaulle, the leader of the Free French forces, issues a formal declaration, requesting that French nationals serving the Royal Air Force apply to be incorporated into the Free French Air Force by 25 April. Their service in a foreign country's armed forces violated French civil law, but de Gaulle's declaration promises that they will face no charges of wrongdoing if they meet the 25 April deadline.
  • April 16 – London comes under intense bomber attack, with nearly 900 tonnes (992 short tons) of high explosive dropped on the city.
  • April 17 – Eighteen surviving Yugoslav Air Force aircraft flee Yugoslavia, bringing Yugoslav aerial resistance to the German invasion to an end. In its 11 days of combat, the Yugoslav Air Force attacked targets in Italy, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, and Greece and attacked German, Italian, and Hungarian troops.
  • April 20 – South African Squadron Leader Marmaduke "Pat" Pattle is shot down and killed in a Hawker Hurricane over the Saronic Gulf off Piraeus, Greece, during a German bombing raid on the city. German and Italian records later confirm 27 aerial victories for him, although unofficial sources credit him with 44 and 50 victories, and as the leading Gloster Gladiator (15 kills) and Hawker Hurricane (35 kills) ace. Based on the unofficial totals, he is considered by some to be the Royal Air Force‍ '​s World War II ace of aces.[27]
  • April 21–22 – Operating unopposed, German aircraft sink 23 ships in Greek waters, including a Greek destroyer and two hospital ships.[28]
  • April 23 – German Junkers Ju 87 dive bombers sink the Greek battleships Kilkis and Lemnos off Salamis Island, Greece, during the German invasion of Greece.[29][30]
  • April 27
    • HMS Argus flies off 23 RAF Hurricanes to Malta.[25]
    • Evacuating British troops from Greece, the Dutch troopship Slamat is sunk by German Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers. The British destroyers HMS Diamond and HMS Wryneck rescue 700 survivors before themselves being sunk by the Stukas. Only 50 men ultimately survive from the three ships.[31]

May

  • Royal Navy Fairey Swordfish aircraft attack Vichy French shipping and shore targets in Syria.[32]
  • Royal Navy Swordfish of No. 814 Squadron from HMS Hermes assist in quelling a rebellion in Iraq, bombing the barracks at Samawa and Nasiriyah.[32]
  • Antishipping strikes by Malta-based Royal Air Force Bristol Blenheims and Fleet Air Arm Swordfish against Axis convoys in the Mediterranean in May and June will leave German and Italian forces in North Africa too short of ammunition to conduct a counteroffensive after defeating the British Operation Battleaxe in June.[33]
  • May 2 – The Anglo-Iraqi War between British forces and a pro-Axis Iraqi government begins with 41 Royal Air Force Station Habbaniya- and Shaibah-based Royal Air Force planes launching a surprise attack against Iraqi forces surrounding Habbaniya and Iraqi airfields. Royal Iraqi Air Force aircraft respond. By the end of the day, the British have destroyed 22 Iraqi aircraft on the ground, losing five of their own.
  • May 3–6 – RAF aircraft continue to attack Iraqi positions surrounding RAF Habbinya and Iraqi airfields, eventually forcing Iraq forces to withdraw on May 6.
  • May 6 – Igor Sikorsky sets a world endurance record for helicopter flight of 1 hour 32 minutes, in a Sikorsky VS-300.
  • May 6–7 (overnight) through 11-12 (overnight) – Royal Air Force Bomber Command mounts four major raids on Hamburg, Germany, over the course of six nights, averaging 128 bombers per raid. The second, third, and fourth raids combined kill 233, injure 713, and leave 2,195 homeless.[34]
  • May 7 – 40 RAF aircraft attack Iraqi reinforcements headed for Habbaniya, inflicting about 1,000 casualties and paralyzing the Iraqi column. Over the next few days, British aircraft destroy the remainder of the Royal Iraqi Air Force.
  • May 10
    • Flying via Vichy French-controlled Syria, aircraft of the German Luftwaffe begin to arrive at Mosul, Iraq, to support Iraqi forces against the British under the command of Fliegerführer Irak.
    • Rudolf Hess parachutes into Scotland to try to negotiate an alliance with Britain against the Soviet Union.
    • 550 German bombers drop more than 700 tons (711 tonnes, 635,036 kg) of bombs on London, killing 1,500 people and seriously injuring 1,800.[35]
  • May 14
    • German aircraft begin daily bombing of Crete to soften it up for the upcoming German airborne assault on the island.[36]
    • The RAF receives authorization to attack German aircraft on Vichy French airfields in Syria. British fighters disable two Heinkel He 111s on the ground at Palmyra, Syria.
  • May 15–16 – Iraqi and German aircraft attack a British column moving into Iraq from Palestine.
  • May 15 – First British jet aircraft, the Gloster E.28/39 "Pioneer", is flown[37] at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire by Gloster's chief test pilot, Flight lieutenant Gerry Sayer.
  • May 18 – RAF aircraft bomb Iraqi positions around Fallujah and along the road from Fallujah to Baghdad.
  • May 19 – 57 British aircraft attack Iraqi positions around Falljuah. dropped 10 tons (9,072 kg) of bombs as well as leaflets in 134 sorties. German aircraft attack RAF Habbaniya.
  • May 20
  • May 21
  • May 22 – German dive bombers attack a British naval task force as it retires westward after raiding caiques carrying German troops north of Crete. They sink the light cruisers HMS Fiji and HMS Gloucester and the destroyer HMS Greyhound and damage the battleship HMS Warspite and the light cruisers HMS Carlisle and HMS Naiad.[40]
  • May 23
    • 24 German dive bombers attack the British destroyers HMS Kelly and HMS Kashmir as they attempt to retire after a patrol north of Crete the previous night, sinking both. Among the survivors is Captain Lord Louis Mountbatten.[41]
    • German aircraft attack British positions around Fallujah for the first time, with little effect.
  • May 24 – Nine Swordfish torpedo bombers from the British aircraft carrier HMS Victorious score a torpedo hit on the German battleship Bismarck in the North Atlantic Ocean, aggravating damage she had sustained early in the day in the Battle of Denmark Strait.[42]
  • May 26
    • 15 Swordfish from the British aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal attack Bismarck, scoring two torpedo hits. One hit damages Bismarck‍ '​s port rudder so badly that she becomes unmaneuverable, allowing British surface ships to catch and sink her the following morning.[43]
    • German dive bombers set the British infantry landing ship HMS Glenroy on fire, preventing her from bringing reinforcements to Crete.[44]
    • Eight aircraft from the British aircraft carrier HMS Formidable raid the Axis airfield at Scarpanto. Retaliating German dive bombers badly damage Formidable and a destroyer; the following day they also damage the battleship HMS Barham.[44]
  • May 27 – Twelve Italian Fiat CR.42 bombers arrive at Mosul to support Iraqi forces against the British under the command of the German Fliegerführer Irak.
  • May 29
    • Surviving elements of Fliegerführer Irak depart Iraq.
    • German dive bombers attack a British naval task force as it retires from Crete with evacuated British troops aboard. They fatally damage the destroyer HMS Imperial, sink the destroyer HMS Hereward, and damage the light cruisers HMS Ajax, HMS Dido, and HMS Orion. A single bomb that strikes Orion kills 260 and wounds 280.[45]
    • The United States Army Air Corps forms Ferrying Command to fly newly manufactured aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean to the United Kingdom.
  • May 30 – German bombers damage the Australian light cruiser HMAS Perth as she retires after evacuating troops from Crete. Two more British destroyers also will be damaged before the evacuation is complete.[46]
  • May 31 – The Anglo-Iraq War ends with the collapse of Iraqi resistance.

June

  • The destruction of bridges along the Burma Road by Imperial Japanese Navy bombers based at Hanoi in French Indochina forces the road to close.[2]
  • The Japan Air Industries Company Ltd. and the International Aircraft Company Ltd. merge to form Nippon Kokusai Koku Kogyo K.K. (the Japan International Air Industries Company Ltd)., best known as Kokusai.[47]
  • June 1
    • German Junkers Ju 88 bombers sink the British light cruiser HMS Calcutta 100 nautical miles (185 km) north of Alexandria, Egypt, as she retires after evacuating troops from Crete.[48]
    • Germany completes the conquest of Crete. German airborne forces have suffered such heavy losses – probably 6,000 to 7,000 casualties and 284 aircraft lost – in the eleven days of fighting that Germany never again attempts a large airborne operation.
  • June 2 – The United States Navy commissions USS Long Island (AVG-1), its first escort aircraft carrier - at the time designated an "aircraft escort vessel" (AVG) - at Norfolk Navy Yard in Portsmouth, Virginia.[49]
  • June 8-July 8 – The British invade Syria, and aerial combat between British and Vichy French aircraft ensues.
  • June 16 – National Airport (today Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport) opens[50] on land along the western shore of the Potomac River that technically belongs to Washington, D.C. In 1945, the United States Congress will redefine the land the airport occupies as being in Arlington, Virginia, to end confusion and disputes over local jurisdiction.
  • June 17 – The Royal Navy commissions its first escort aircraft carrier, HMS Empire Audacity. She later will be renamed HMS Audacity and become the world‍ '​s first escort carrier to deploy in combat.
  • June 20 – The United States Army Air Corps (its logistics and training element).[51]
  • June 22
    • Germany invades the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa). At sunrise, a Luftwaffe force of 500 bombers, 270 dive bombers, and 480 fighters make a surprise attack on 66 forward Soviet airbases, destroying over 100 Soviet Air Force aircraft on the ground at one base alone. By 13:30 hours, the Germans have destroyed 800 Soviet aircraft in exchange for ten of their own. By the end of the day, the Germans have destroyed 1,811 Soviet aircraft – 1,489 on the ground and 322 in the air.[52]
    • Soviet Tupolev SB-2 and Ilyushin DB-3 bombers suffer heavy losses in attacks on German airfields near Warsaw; German fighters shoot down 20 out of 25 Soviet bombers on one raid.[53]
    • During the first hour of Operation Barbarossa, Soviet pilot Lieutenant I. I. Ivanov of the 46th Fighter Air Regiment rams a Heinkel He 111, the first of 10 Soviet taran attacks against Luftwaffe combat aircraft that day and more than 200 during the war; Ivanov is killed in the ramming.[54]
  • June 23 – During the second day of Operation Barbaross, the Soviets lose another 1,000 aircraft.[55]
  • June 28
    • In the early morning hours, 35 British bombers attempting an attack on Bremen stray so far off course that they mistakenly bomb Hamburg – 110 km (68 mi) northeast of Bremen – instead, losing five of their number to German night fighters over the city while killing seven people, injuring 39, and leaving 280 homeless.[34]
    • At the end of the first week of Operation Barbarossa, the Luftwaffe has destroyed 4,017 Soviet aircraft in exchange for 150 of its own.[55]
  • June 30

July

August

September

October

  • Aircraft from the British aircraft carrier HMS Victorious strike Glomfjord, Norway, sinking two merchant ships for the loss of two Fairey Albacores.[78]
  • October 1 – Inter-Island Airways is renamed Hawaiian Airlines.
  • October 2 – Heini Dittmar sets a new airspeed record of 1,004 km/h (624 mph) in a Messerschmitt Me 163A. The record is unofficial because the flight (and the Me 163 programme) is kept secret, and remains "unbroken" until officially exceeded by the American Douglas Skystreak in August 1947.
  • October 6 – During the first week of Operation Typhoon, the Soviet Air Force has flown 700 sorties against German forces driving toward Moscow.[79]
  • October 9 – Since October 1, German aircraft supporting Operation Typhoon have flown more than 4,000 sorties against the Soviet Western Front alone.[79]
  • October 11–18 – Soviet Air Force aircraft strike Luftwaffe staging airfields along the northwestern, western, and southwestern approaches to Moscow.[80]
  • October 11–12 – After Soviet intelligence detects Luftwaffe plans for a major air attack on October 12 targeting industrial complexes, airfields, railroad terminals, and logistical facilities in the Soviet Western Front area, Soviet Air Force aircraft mount a major preemptive strike against German airfields at Vitebsk, Smolensk, Orel, Orsha, Siversk, and elsewhere overnight on October 11–12, followed by another large raid on the morning of October 12. The Soviets claim 500 German aircraft destroyed, although German sources do not confirm that number.[80]
  • October 18 – The German drive on Moscow stalls because of mud, and will make little progress until the ground freezes in mid-November. During this period, the Soviet Air Force flies 26,000 sorties in support of forces defending Moscow.[81]
  • October 27 – Victor Talalikhin, the Soviet Union‍ '​s first major air hero of World War II, is killed in action during a dogfight with German aircraft.
  • October 28 – General Yakov Smushkevich, commander of the Soviet Air Force from 1939 to 1940 who had overseen its poor performance during the Winter War with Finland, is executed.[82]

November

  • Italy begins the conversion of the passenger liner SS Roma into the first Italian aircraft carrier, later named Aquila ("Eagle"). The conversion will halt in an incomplete state when Italy surrenders to the Allies in September 1943 and will never be finished.[83]
  • November 7–8 (overnight) – 392 British bombers attack Berlin, Cologne, and Mannheim, losing 36 of their number – a heavy 9.2 percent loss rate.[84]
  • November 12 – The British aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal is sunk in the Mediterranean east of Gibraltar by the German submarine German submarine German submarine (U-81).
  • November 15-December 5 – The Luftwaffe carries out 41 raids on Moscow. Soviet air defenses claim an average of 30 to 40 German aircraft shot down per day during the attacks.[79] During the same period, the Soviet Air Force, better prepared for cold-weather operations than the Luftwaffe, reportedly flies 15,840 sorties while Luftwaffe aircraft supporting Operation Typhoon manage only 3,500. Soviet sources claim that the Luftwaffe loses 1,400 aircraft during this time.[85]
  • November 17 – Ernst Udet, the Luftwaffe‍ '​s Director-General of Equipment and the second-highest German ace of World War I (62 victories), commits suicide.
  • November 22
    • The German fighter ace Werner Mölders dies in the crash of a Heinkel He 111 bomber at Breslau while riding as a passenger on his way to Ernst Udet‍ '​s funeral. His official kill total stands at 115 at the time of his death, although he is believed to have shot down another 30 Soviet aircraft for which he received no credit while making unauthorized combat flights during the last months of his career.
    • Malta-based British aircraft attack an Axis convoy bound from Naples to North Africa, damaging the Italian light cruiser Duca degli Abruzzi.[86]
  • November 30
  • November 30-December 4 – U.S. Navy patrol aircraft based in the Philippine Islands monitor Japanese naval and shipping activity at Camranh Bay in French Indochina.[88]

December

First flights

January

February

March

April

May

July

August

September

December

Entered service

February

April

May

July

September

November

December

Retirements

References

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