How did Allied air forces travel between England and North Africa in World War 2?

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,373
Portugal
#11
Some interesting posts here. Some things that I didn’t knew, others that I didn’t recall, anyway it is good to see a discussion about WWII along these topics, without falling into the usual pop history. Thank you all.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,807
#12
Found better site to work out sailing Times UK to Suez (the long way around africa)

The Quicker Convoys could do it in around 6 weeks, some 2 months , some 3 months depending on various factors and delays with organization and congestion at ports.

WS Convoys

really are some good convoy sites out there.
 
Jan 2019
4
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
#13
In 1941-1942 three main ways:

1. Long rang Bomber aircraft could be flown from England direct to Gibraltar, then across the Med to Malta and Egypt
In the specific instance that I am researching, the plane would have been a B-17 stationed in Polebrook, England but relocated to outside Algiers, Algeria in late 1942. It sounds like it would fall under the scenario you described here.

That said, a B-17's maximum flight range is 3,200km and the distance between Polebrook and Algiers is 1700km. It is 1855km between Polebrook and Gibraltar and then 755km between Gibraltar and Algiers, which suggests that even if a B-17 only used Gibraltar as a waypoint, there is at least the possibility a B-17 could cover that distance without landing.

Would it have been possible / plausible that a B-17 would fly directly between the UK and Algeria?
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,816
Dispargum
#14
In the specific instance that I am researching, the plane would have been a B-17 stationed in Polebrook, England but relocated to outside Algiers, Algeria in late 1942. It sounds like it would fall under the scenario you described here.

That said, a B-17's maximum flight range is 3,200km and the distance between Polebrook and Algiers is 1700km. It is 1855km between Polebrook and Gibraltar and then 755km between Gibraltar and Algiers, which suggests that even if a B-17 only used Gibraltar as a waypoint, there is at least the possibility a B-17 could cover that distance without landing.

Would it have been possible / plausible that a B-17 would fly directly between the UK and Algeria?
Realize that the plane would not fly a straight line. It would have to fly around Spain. If Algeria is the destination then Gibraltar is not the only possible refueling point. It could also land anywhere in Morocco which came under Allied control at the same time as Algeria.
 
Jan 2019
4
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
#15
Realize that the plane would not fly a straight line. It would have to fly around Spain. If Algeria is the destination then Gibraltar is not the only possible refueling point. It could also land anywhere in Morocco which came under Allied control at the same time as Algeria.
I totally understand they would have to fly around Spain. Departing out of Polebrook, circumnavigating mainland Europe, and flying over the Strait of Gibraltar straight to Algiers is roughly 3,000km which is still within the 3,200km range. It would only be 2,600km if the B-17 landed in Cornwall before heading out over the Atlantic.

It seems plausible it could have be done if absolutely necessary. But considering loss of range due to headwinds and course adjustments, it does seem more likely they'd land somewhere rather than using a flight path that leaves them running on fumes.

I simply need to know precisely where they most likely would have landed to refuel.
 
Jan 2015
3,249
Front Lines of the Pig War
#16
In the specific instance that I am researching, the plane would have been a B-17 stationed in Polebrook, England but relocated to outside Algiers, Algeria in late 1942. It sounds like it would fall under the scenario you described here.

That said, a B-17's maximum flight range is 3,200km and the distance between Polebrook and Algiers is 1700km. It is 1855km between Polebrook and Gibraltar and then 755km between Gibraltar and Algiers, which suggests that even if a B-17 only used Gibraltar as a waypoint, there is at least the possibility a B-17 could cover that distance without landing.

Would it have been possible / plausible that a B-17 would fly directly between the UK and Algeria?
Yes, and in fact it's unlikely that it would stop at. Gibraltar, as the base is tiny and already jammed with RAF aircraft.
As Chlodio mentioned, if a stopover was needed it would likely be in Morocco, although Algiers would be well within range for a direct flight.
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,816
Dispargum
#17
Moroccan Airfields operational in 1942 and used by USAAF after Torch:
Anfa Airfield in Casablanca
Berguent near the Algerian border
Guercif, a little west of Berguent
Louis Gentil, aprx 100 miles southwest of Casablanca
Mediouna, also in Casablanca
Mehdiya-Port Lyautey 75 miles NE of Casablanca

All of these are military or civilian airfields built before the war.
Category:World War II airfields in Morocco - Wikipedia
 
Jan 2019
4
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
#18
Moroccan Airfields operational in 1942 and used by USAAF after Torch...
All of these are military or civilian airfields built before the war.
Category:World War II airfields in Morocco - Wikipedia
I appreciate the information. I’ve researched possible places that they could land but that’s not the problem.

I only need confirmation of what was the most likely approach travelling between the two locations.
 
Jan 2015
3,249
Front Lines of the Pig War
#19
I appreciate the information. I’ve researched possible places that they could land but that’s not the problem.

I only need confirmation of what was the most likely approach travelling between the two locations.
Honestly either could be likely, it could fly direct to Algiers, or it could stop in Morocco, if not to fuel up, perhaps to pick up a passenger or important mail etc.
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,816
Dispargum
#20
I know the B-29s had a removeable fuel tank they could put in the bomb bay for long ferry flights. Does anyone know if the B-17s had a similar device?