312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron

Code Letters: DU

Date and place of establishment: 5th September 1940/5

Date and place of disband: 22nd September 1945/22

The squadron even used airports on the continent, and at the time of the invasion, the B10 Plumetot airfield.

Squadron Commanders of 312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron

312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron used Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire planes.

312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron was formed of two transports, which arrived in Great Britain from North Africa in July and August, 1940. Its basis was formed in the Czechoslovak depot in Cosford in September 1940 of pilots with combat experience in France. After the war, in September 1945 it flew from Ruzyne in Prague to the airport in Planá u Ceských Budejovic, where it created the 2nd Air Division with air regiments 4 and 5. From 3rd March 1948 it bore the honorary title of “Airmen of Alois Vašátko”.

During World War II, it carried out 17,472 combat sorties with a total time of 10,364 operating hours. It shot down fourteen planes with certainty, nine probably, and damaged 1 enemy plane. During this time, it lost 17 pilots (of these one was a Brit) and 6 were captured.

The first enemy aircraft was shot down by the trio of Sgt Josef Stehlík, F/Lt Dennys E. Gillam, DFC and P/O Alois Vaštko 8th October 1940.
The last operational flight was protection for bombers during the raid on the coastal batteries on the island of Helgoland. This raid took place on 19th April 1945.

In the Battle of Britain, the airmen of the 312 (Czechoslovak) Fighter Squadron carried out a total of eighty–five combat sorties with a total time of fifty-eight hours.

The 312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron also participated in supporting the Jubilee operation – landing at Dieppe, Overlord - the invasion of Normandy, Market-Garden - an attempt to circumvent the Siegfried Line and Varsity - support of violent crossing of the Rhine. This squadron was to be the first to fly, under the command of S/Ldr Hugo Hrbácek, DFC, to aid the Prague Uprising, which erupted on 5th May 1945 in occupied Prague. This did not happen.

Map of bases of 312 Squadron Last page of the diary of Josef JANEBA, with a note from his friend Vojtech SMOLÍK about his tragic accident. “Pilot officer – second lieutenant, JANEBA Josef, died on 2 – V. 1942 in a plane crash. He used his parachute, but the crash happened at a very low altitude, so the parachute could not save him. He was my best friend. Honor to his memory. P/O SMOLÍK Vojtech” Archive of Ondrej Krejcar.
 
Last page of the diary of Josef JANEBA, with a note from his friend Vojtech SMOLÍK about his tragic accident. “Pilot officer – second lieutenant, JANEBA Josef, died on 2 – V. 1942 in a plane crash. He used his parachute, but the crash happened at a very low altitude, so the parachute could not save him. He was my best friend. Honor to his memory. P/O SMOLÍK Vojtech” Archive of Ondrej Krejcar.

Celebration of the establishment of Czechoslovakia. 28th October 1940, Speke airport. Archive of Ondrej Krejcar.	Spitfire 312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron in invasion colors. Archive of Tomáš Jambor

Celebration of the establishment of Czechoslovakia. 28th October 1940, Speke airport. Archive of Ondrej Krejcar.

Spitfire 312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron in invasion colors. Archive of Tomáš Jambor
Manston Airport, 1945. Spitfires ready to fly over to Czechoslovakia. Moravské zemské muzeum “312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron of the RAF, Redhill, 19th August 1942, Sgt pilot Mira LIŠKUTÍN landed safely at the base with a Spitfire damaged in combat. Clash near Paris, with the distance to the Redhill airbase, near London, a safe landing in that state was a miracle !!!” Archive of Sq/Ldr Miroslav Liškutín, DFC, AFC via Václav Tikovsky.

Manston Airport, 1945. Spitfires ready to fly over to Czechoslovakia. Moravské zemské muzeum

“312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron of the RAF, Redhill, 19th August 1942, Sgt pilot Mira LIŠKUTÍN landed safely at the base with a Spitfire damaged in combat. Clash near Paris, with the distance to the Redhill airbase, near London, a safe landing in that state was a miracle !!!” Archive of Sq/Ldr Miroslav Liškutín, DFC, AFC via Václav Tikovsky.

Vojtech SMOLÍK (left) and Josef JANEBA. Vojtech SMOLÍK, DFC took part in the Battle of Britain, via France. Josef JANEBA shared in the downing of two planes. He KIA on 2nd May 1942. A re-enacted documentary, “Osud na nebi Josefa Janeby” was made about him. Zikmund KARÁSEK, pilot with 312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron is standing above both men. Archive of Ondrej Krejcar.

Vojtech SMOLÍK (left) and Josef JANEBA. Vojtech SMOLÍK, DFC took part in the Battle of Britain, via France. Josef JANEBA shared in the downing of two planes. He KIA on 2nd May 1942. A re-enacted documentary, “Osud na nebi Josefa Janeby” was made about him. Zikmund KARÁSEK, pilot with 312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron is standing above both men. Archive of Ondrej Krejcar.

“312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron, RAF Redhill, 19th August 1942, Dornier 217 flew into the sea near the coast of France.” Archive of Sq/Ldr Miroslav Liškutín, DFC, AFC via Václav Tikovsky.
Sgt Josef STEHLÍK with a trophy from the squadron’s first success. This was a Junkers Ju?88.

Sgt Josef STEHLÍK with a trophy from the squadron’s first success. This was a Junkers Ju88.

“312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron, RAF Redhill, 19th August 1942, Dornier 217 flew into the sea near the coast of France.” Archive of Sq/Ldr Miroslav Liškutín, DFC, AFC via Václav Tikovsky.


Code Letters: RY

Date and place of establishment: 10th May 1941/10

Date of disband: 22nd September 1945/22

Squadron Commanders of 313 (Czechoslovak) Squadron

S/Ldr Josef JAŠKE, S/Ldr Gordon L. SINCLAIR, DFC (British/britský spoluvelitel), S/Ldr Karel MRÁZEK, DFC, S/Ldr Jaroslav HIMR, S/Ldr František FAJTL, DFC, S/Ldr Václav BERGMAN, DFC, S/Ldr Alois HOCHMAL, S/Ldr Karel KASAL, S/Ldr Otmar KUCERA, DFC

For some operations, the squadron even took off from airports on the continent.

313 (Czechoslovak) Squadron used Supermarine Spitfire planes.

Formed of Czechoslovaks who had up until then served in British squadrons.
The pilots were Czechoslovak, the ground personnel were British. After 1941 the number of non−Czech squadron members increased. In Czechoslovakia the 3rd Air Division was formed with its base in Brno. It was formed of Aviation Regiment 7, which on 3rd March 1948 received the honorary title "Invasive" and the 8th Aviation Regiment. The same honorary title was awarded to the 11th Fighter Squadron in Žatec after the fall of the communist regime on 8th May 1990. This squadron was disbanded on 31st December 1993.

During World War II, it made 8,944 combat sorties with a total time of 13,760 operating hours. It shot down 12 aircraft and one flying bomb with certainty, seven aircraft probably, and damaged 14 ½ aircraft. It had a total of thirty killed, missing and captured, of which four were Brits.

The first KIA was Sgt Josef Gutvald, who died on 27th May 1941 in an air accident.

The first sortie of this unit took place on 11th June 1941, where it unsuccessfully pursued the enemy. Its final operational flight was the escort of His Majesty King George VI and the Queen to the island of Guernsey, which took place on 7th June 1945. Its last success was the probable shooting down of an Fw190, achieved on 21st February 1945 by Stanley McCracken.

The 313 (Czechoslovak) Squadron also participated in the support of the Overlord operation − the landing at Normandie and Fuller - the effort to stop the German boats Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen, which were fleeing from Brest to Germany.

Map of bases of 313 Squadron Jirí REZNÍCEK, Prokop BRÁZDA (KIA 24th April 1942) and Josef GUTVALD (KIA 27th May 1941) having fun. Moravské zemské muzeum

Jirí REZNÍCEK, Prokop BRÁZDA (KIA 24th April 1942) and Josef GUTVALD (KIA 27th May 1941) having fun. Moravské zemské muzeum

 

 

Catterick, 27th May 1941/27. kvetna 1941. Left to right/Zleva: Standing/stojící: Bohumil Dubec, Karel Mrázek, sitting/sedící: Josef Gutvald (KIA two hours later/ zabil se dve hodiny po porízení fotografie), Karel Kasal. Moravské zemské muzeum Sgt Blažej KONVALINA, pilot WITH the 313 (Czechoslovak) Squadron of the RAF. He was born on 3rd January1919 in Blížkovice, county of Znojmo, South Bohemian Region. He volunteered for the air force within the scope of the “One Thousand Pilots for the Republic” campaign. After the occupation, he crossed the border into Poland. There he participated in retreat battles and made his way to Great Britain via the Soviet Union, Turkey, and South Africa. He died in a crash on 22nd January 1942, not far from the base at Hornchurch by Purfeelt Farm. Moravské zemské muzeum

Sgt Blažej KONVALINA, pilot WITH the 313 (Czechoslovak) Squadron of the RAF. He was born on 3rd January1919 in Blížkovice, county of Znojmo, South Bohemian Region. He volunteered for the air force within the scope of the “One Thousand Pilots for the Republic” campaign. After the occupation, he crossed the border into Poland. There he participated in retreat battles and made his way to Great Britain via the Soviet Union, Turkey, and South Africa. He died in a crash on 22nd January 1942, not far from the base at Hornchurch by Purfeelt Farm. Moravské zemské muzeum

Catterick, 27th May 1941/27. kvetna 1941. Left to right/Zleva: Standing/stojící: Bohumil Dubec, Karel Mrázek, sitting/sedící: Josef Gutvald (KIA two hours later/ zabil se dve hodiny po porízení fotografie), Karel Kasal. Moravské zemské muzeum


G/Cpt Karel MRÁZEK, DFC, DSO. In 1942, after the death of Alois Vašátko, he became the second commander of the Czechoslovak wing. Moravské zemské muzeum Wreckage of the Spitfire aircraft of Sgt Blažej KONVALINA after its crash. Moravské zemské muzeum

G/Cpt Karel MRÁZEK, DFC, DSO. In 1942, after the death of Alois Vašátko, he became the second commander of the Czechoslovak wing. Moravské zemské muzeum

Wreckage of the Spitfire aircraft of Sgt Blažej KONVALINA after its crash. Moravské zemské muzeum
Funeral of Sgt Blažej KONVALINA. Moravské  zemské muzeum

Funeral of Sgt Blažej KONVALINA. Moravské
zemské muzeum


Provided by Filip Procházka