68 Night Fighter Squadron

Code letters

Date and place of establishment: 7th January 1941/7

Date and place of disband: 20th April 1945/20

Flight Commanders of Flight “B” (Czechoslovak from 20th January 1942)

68 Night Fighter Squadron used Blenheim, Beaufighter and Mosquito planes.
68 Night Fighter Squadron was not a Czechoslovak squadron, but Czechoslovaks formed one of its flight, and therefore it is a part of this exhibition. It was established after the Luftwaffe switched to night raids on British cities. The first two Czechoslovak crews (F/O Josef Kloboucník with Sgt Josef Klvácek and P/O Miloslav Mansfeld with Sgt Slavomil Janáce) came to the squadron in July 1941.

Twenty-three Czechoslovak pilots went through the squadron (twenty-one Czechs and two Slovaks), and sixteen radar operators (fifteen Czechs and one Slovak). Czechoslovak night fighters with the 68 Night Fighter Squadron finished the war with twenty-one verified kills, three probable, and additionally, they damaged seven enemy planes. They also shot down three V-1 flying bombs. The first shooting down of the enemy was achieved by P/O Miloslav Mansfeld and Sgt Slavomil Janácek on the night from the 12th to the 13th of October 1941. At that time they shot down 2 He?111s and damaged a third He?111. In the course of the war, the Czechoslovak airmen in this squadron made 1,905 combat sorties and flew a total of 4,095 operational hours.

Proposal for awarding of DFC for Ladislav BOBEK. Archive of Martin Vrána Map of bases of 68 sqaudron
Illustration from the chronicle of the Czechoslovak flight of 68 Night Fighter Squadron. “Yes, yes. That’s how it is when the indicator doesn’t work” describing the accident of the crew of P/O František CHÁBERA and Sgt Karel BEDNARÍK. Archive of Martin Vrána

Proposal for awarding of DFC for Ladislav BOBEK. Archive of Martin Vrána

Illustration from the chronicle of the Czechoslovak flight of 68 Night Fighter Squadron. “Yes, yes. That’s how it is when the indicator doesn’t work” describing the accident of the crew of P/O František CHÁBERA and Sgt Karel BEDNARÍK. Archive of Martin Vrána

Ladislav BOBEK (left), with five verified shoot downs, one probable and three damaged enemy planes, was the second most successful Czechoslovak night fighter who served with the 68 Night Fighter Squadron Beaufighter WM?U after crash on 30th May 1943 with the crew of F/O Josef VOPÁLECKÝ and F/S Rudolf HUSÁR. The engine failed and later its brakes during the emergency landing. “The crew escaped without injury, except for the big lump of Rudolf HUSÁR, who was trying to break the perspex dome, which, to everyone’s surprise, he managed to do...”

Ladislav BOBEK (left), with five verified shoot downs, one probable and three damaged enemy planes, was the second most successful Czechoslovak night fighter who served with the 68 Night Fighter Squadron.
Vlastimil VESELÝ (centre) shot down two enemy planes with certainty and damaged one. With the 312th (Czechoslovak) Squadron, he participated in the Battle of Britain. He was pilot of the 68 Night Fighter Squadron and commander of each of its two fights.
Miloslav MANSFELD (right) with ten and a half hits, (including two flying bombs) and one damaged enemy aircraft was certainly the most successful night fighter, who served with the 68 Night Fighter Squadron. In Great Britain he first flew with the 111 Squadron, with which he took part in the Battle of Britain.

Beaufighter WM?U after crash on 30th May 1943 with the crew of F/O Josef VOPÁLECKÝ and F/S Rudolf HUSÁR. The engine failed and later its brakes during the emergency landing. “The crew escaped without injury, except for the big lump of Rudolf HUSÁR, who was trying to break the perspex dome, which, to everyone’s surprise, he managed to do…” The flight commander made VOPÁLECKÝ an offer: “Joe, we’ve got one more piece of crap her … I want to get rid of it somehow, what do you think?” Concerning the accident, Josef VOPÁLECKÝ wrote: “if the dude wants to give put it straight into the hands of the mechanics, all that’ll be needed to clear it away will be shovels and pitchforks.” Archive of Tomáš Jambor

Vladimír Cupák with a trophy from Do?217. He served in the RAF at first as a air gunner with the 311 (Czechoslovak) Squadron. With the 68 Night Fighter Squadron, he served as an operator in a crew with Josef CAPKA. Archive of Tomáš Jambor Airmen with 68 Night Fighter Squadron, when they received emblem of the squadron.

Vladimír Cupák with a trophy from Do?217. He served in the RAF at first as a air gunner with the 311 (Czechoslovak) Squadron. With the 68 Night Fighter Squadron, he served as an operator in a crew with Josef CAPKA. Archive of Tomáš Jambor

Airmen with 68 Night Fighter Squadron, when they received emblem of the squadron.

From left/Zleva: F/O Miroslav Štandera, W/O Karel Bednarík, F/O Václav Horák, F/Sgt. Bedrich Kružík, S/Ldr. Miloslav Mansfeld DFC (commander of A Flight/velitel A flightu), F/O Slavomil Janácek DFM, F/O Vladimír Cupák a F/Lt. Josef Capka DFM. Zdenek Hurt collection. Archiv Zdenka Hurta.

Pilot room of the 68 Night Fighter Squadron and sleeping radar operator J. G. Oakley. Archive of Martin Vrána

Pilot room of the 68 Night Fighter Squadron and
sleeping radar operator J. G. Oakley. Archive of
Martin Vrána

Code letters

Date and place of establishment: 12th July 1940/12

Date and place of disband: 14th September 1945/14

The squadron even used continental airports; such as the B?10 Plumetot airfield at the time of the invasion, and later B?65 Maldegem, B?67 Ursel, B?86 Helmond, B?90 Petit Brogel.

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

The core of the 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron was formed at the camp at Innsworth Lane near Gloucester. Upon return to Czechoslovakia, it became the 1st Air Division, divided into the 10th and 12th Air Regiments based in Prague.

During the Second World War, it shot down fifty-four and a half planes and four flying bombs with certainty, shot down twenty other planes, and damaged thirty-two enemy planes. It carried out 9,027 sorties with a total time of 15,673 hours. In the course of this, it lost thirty-five airmen, of which thirty-one were killed and four were captured.

The first successful confrontation took place on 26th August 1940 in the vicinity of Clacton, when S/Ldr G. D. M. BLACKWOOD, Sgt Eduard PRCHAL and P/O Emil FECHTNER shot down 2 Do?17 and a Bf?110.

The first KIA was P/O Jaroslav ŠTERBÁCEK, who was shot down on 31st August 1940 and fell into the Thames. His body was never found. Even the last fallen Czechoslovak member of the Czechoslovak squadron belonged to the 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron. He was W/O Jindrich LANDSMANN, who died on 15th June 1945 in a crash during a air combat simulation. His body was never found.

In the Battle for Britain, the airmen of the 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron carried a total of 938 sorties with a total time of 971 operational hours. They shot down forty and one-half of a plane with certainty, eleven others probably, and damaged six enemy aircraft. Four pilots died.

The 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron also participated in supporting the Jubilee operation – landing at Dieppe, Overlord – the invasion of Normandy, Market–Garden – attempt to circumvent the Siegfried Line and Varsity – support of violent crossing of the Rhine.

Map of bases of 310 Squadron Chief of Air Ministry Sir Archibald SINCLAIR during the Battle of Britain visiting 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron. Next to him, Mjr. Alexander HESS. Military History Archive.
Chief of Air Ministry Sir Archibald SINCLAIR during the Battle of Britain visiting 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron. Next to him, Mjr. Alexander HESS. Military History Archive.
Redhill Airbase, 19th August 1942. 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron at an assembly for the support of the landing at Dieppe – operation Jubilee. From the left: W/Cdr Karel MRÁZEK, DFC, F/Lt Bohuslav KIMLICKA, S/O Dolores ŠPERKOVÁ. Military History Archive. Czechoslovak airmen improving British cuisine. September, 1943, Castletown. From the left: František VACULÍK (KIA, 20th September 1944), Alois PÁTECEK, mechanic, Josef PUTNA, mechanic. Tomáš Jambor Archive
Redhill Airbase, 19th August 1942. 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron at an assembly for the support of the landing at Dieppe – operation Jubilee. From the left: W/Cdr Karel MRÁZEK, DFC, F/Lt Bohuslav KIMLICKA, S/O Dolores ŠPERKOVÁ. Military History Archive. Czechoslovak airmen improving British cuisine. September, 1943, Castletown. From the left: František VACULÍK (KIA, 20th September 1944), Alois PÁTECEK, mechanic, Josef PUTNA, mechanic. Tomáš Jambor Archive
January 1941. His Majesty, King George VI on a visit to the 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron. (On the left) S/Ldr Alexander HESS, DFC. Military History Archive. Aircrafts of the RAF. Short Stirling of an unknown British squadron, a Spitfire of the 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron and in the foreground, the personal plane of W/Cdr Karel MRÁZEK, commander of the Exeter wing. Military History Archive.
January 1941. His Majesty, King George VI on a visit to the 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron. (On the left) S/Ldr Alexander HESS, DFC. Military History Archive. Aircrafts of the RAF. Short Stirling of an unknown British squadron, a Spitfire of the 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron and in the foreground, the personal plane of W/Cdr Karel MRÁZEK, commander of the Exeter wing. Military History Archive.
Form with information on the wages of F/Lt Otakar HRUBÝ, a pilot of the 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron for June 1944. The pay at the time was 14 Pounds and 10 Shillings. Archive of Ota Hrubý. Pilots of the 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron. Martlesham Heat airbase. (From right):  Piloti 310. cs. stíhací perute. Letište Martlesham Heat. Zprava: Jindrich SKIRKA, Miroslav JIROUDEK, Miroslav KREDBA (KIA, 14. února 1942/14th February 1942), František WEBER, Patrick B. G. DAVIES, Vladislav CHOCHOLÍN (MIA, 24. zárí 1943/24th September 1943), Bohuslav KIMLICKA, Josef HÝBLER, Stanislav ZIMPRICH (KIA, 12. dubna 1942/12th April 1942). Military History Archive. Vojenský historický archiv.
Form with information on the wages of F/Lt Otakar HRUBÝ, a pilot of the 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron for June 1944. The pay at the time was 14 Pounds and 10 Shillings. Archive of Ota Hrubý. Pilots of the 310 (Czechoslovak) Squadron. Martlesham Heat airbase. (From right):
Piloti 310. cs. stíhací perute. Letište Martlesham Heat. Zprava: Jindrich SKIRKA, Miroslav JIROUDEK, Miroslav KREDBA (KIA, 14. února 1942/14th February 1942), František WEBER, Patrick B. G. DAVIES, Vladislav CHOCHOLÍN (MIA, 24. zárí 1943/24th September 1943), Bohuslav KIMLICKA, Josef HÝBLER, Stanislav ZIMPRICH (KIA, 12. dubna 1942/12th April 1942). Military History Archive. Vojenský historický archiv.

Shot of train after a successful raid.

Shot of train after a successful raid.

Curated by Filip Procházka living history group 276th Sqdn. (reenacted) RAF