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

Nov 2011
8,787
The Dustbin, formerly, Garden of England
#22
There were three main ferry routes across the Atlantic in WW2. The most important was the Northern Route that started off in the US North East and hopped to Newfoundland, Labrador, Greenland, Iceland, The Faroes and on to Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales or Cornwall. When the network was completed in early 1942 the longest distance between stages was 1000 miles (later 670 miles)and even the P-47 Thunderbolt had a ferry range of 1500 miles. The B-24 Liberator and B-17 Fortress could make an unladen flight from Stephemson AFB or RCAF Gander in Newfoundland direct to Britain although it was routine to stopover in Iceland.
Operation Bolero--the establishment and build up of the USAAF strategic forces moved 164 P-38's ,119 B-17's and 103 C-47's between April & August 1942.. The RAF also used the same route to take delivery of American and Canadian built aircraft.
Fighter aircraft, due to a lack of navigational gear and comms equipment flew in flights of four in formation with a bomber or transport aircraft to handle navigation with an anticipated loss of 10%--actual losses were 5.8% (aircraft, not crew) mainly due to weather.
The airfields in the networks were:-
Grenier Army Air Base New Hampshire
Presque Isle Army Airfield Maine
Dow Army Airfield Maine
Stephenville Air Base Newfoundland
RCAF Station Gander Newfoundland
RCAF Station Goose Bay Labrador
Bluie West 1 Greenland
Bluie West 8 Greenland
Bluie East 2 Greenland
Meeks Field Iceland
Patterson Field Iceland
RAF Reykjavik Iceland
RAF VĂ¡gar Faroe Islands
Prestwick Airport Scotland
RAF Valley Wales
RAF St Mawgan Cornwall

The Mid-Atlantic route was estabished from 1943 after the extension of the Anglo-American base in the Azores and ran from Florida to Bermuda to Lajes (Azores) and from there either direct to St Mawgen in Cornwall or bases in North Africa--only engine bombers and maritime aircraft with extended fuel tanks used this route.

A South Atlantic route commenced even before the US entered WW2 in 1941 and is impressive in its scope--not just linking the continental US via the British and American Caribbean, to Brazil, to Liberia and British West Africa to link with various routes across Africa to the Middle East, East Africa and all the way to India.
Story here https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmXoypizjW3Wkn...Atlantic_air_ferry_route_in_World_War_II.html
 
Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
#23
Fascinating thread. Have never thought about the logistics, and I should have;

My dad served with the Royal Australian Air Force ( reconnaissance, in Lancasters) and was based in Egypt for a while after being based in India. Plus some of dad's mates fought at Tobruk and El Alamein. From memory, I think some of those guys had been in New Guinea before North Africa. So not sure how they reached North Africa.

Unsurprisingly, dad and all of his mates had PTSD. Of course that was only diagnosed when all were well over 70.