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BATTLE ORDERS-BALLOON BARRAGES AND SQUADRONS IN EGYPT, LIBYA AND LEVANT
The battle orders were laid down to explain that control of all Balloon Barrages in Egypt, Libya and the Levant is invested in the Air Officer Commanding, Royal Air Force, EGYPT.
Balloon Barrages in EGYPT are administered by Headquarters No. 260 (Balloon) Wing at ISMAILIA. Those located in Libya and the LEVANT are administered by Headquarters , No. 212 Group and Air Headquarters, LEVANT respectively.
Headquarters No. 260 (Balloon) Wing at ISMAILIA is responsible for the technical efficiency of Balloon Barrages in EGYPT. The technical efficiency of those located in LIBYA and the LEVANT is the direct responsibility of Command. No. 206 (Maintenance) Group is responsible for the technical maintenance of balloons and for the supply and distribution of hydrogen.
All balloon resources were allocated to Group areas in accordance with the recommendations of the MIDDLE EAST Inter-Service Air Defence Advisory Committee. The allocation to individual barrages is the responsibility of the Air Officer Commanding, Royal Air Force, EGYPT and is decided in accordance with the priorities submitted to him by the local Naval, Military and Air Force Commanders.
In Egypt, balloon barrages are deployed to defend the Naval Bases and Ports of ALEXANDRIA, PORT SAID, SUEZ, and PORT TEWFIK, the SUEZ Canal, and anchorages at FANARA BAY, SUEZ roads, and ATTAKA, the oil refineries at SUEZ, the R.A.F. Maintenance Unit at KASFAREST and the anchorages at ABU ZENIMA and RAS GHARIB in the Gulf of SUEZ.
In LIBYA the Ports of BENGHAZI, EL AALI and TOBRUK are similarly defended, and in the LEVANT, the Ports of HAIFA, BEIRUT and TRIPOLI.
Orders for the Flying of balloon barrages:
Balloon barrages were to be flown as follows: By day close hauled to 100 feet or bedded down, by night at ruling operational height (R.O.H) of 2,000 feet. If an air raid takes place the balloons are to be flown to Maximum Operational Height (M.O.H.), of 2,500 feet or 4,500 feet in the case of High Altitude Balloons. (H.A.B).
These general rules have exceptions as follows:
SUEZ CANAL: Balloon flying near the aerodrome is subject to the delegation to Officers Commanding Fighter Sectors and R.A.F. Stations concerned, of local flying operational control to permit aircraft engaged on operations to use these aerodromes if it is convenient to diverts such aircraft elsewhere. In addition balloo0ns are to be flown at 1,000 feet from ships in FANARA BAY at night.
SUEZ: To be flown at M.O.H. at night. Balloons defending the Oil Refinery may be flown at 500 feet by day.
ABU ZENIMA AND RAS GHARIB: Barrage flown up to M.O.H. by day and night.
HAIFA: Barrage flown up to M.O.H. by night.
BEIRUT AND TRIPOLI: Barrage flown up to M.O.H. by day and night.
BENGHAZI, EL AALI and TOBRUK: Barrage flown up to R.O.H. by day and night.
SHIP BORNE BALLOONS:
Convoy shuttle services comprising Defensivley Equipped Merchant Ships (D.E.M.S.) are in operation between the following Ports:
PORT SAID and ALEXANDRIA
ALEXANDRIA and BENGHAZI
SUEZ and RAS GHARIB
SUEZ and ABU ZENIMA
In addition up to five minesweepers may fly balloons up to R.O.H. when engaged on sweeping the channel leading into PORT SAID.
CHAIN OF OPERATIONAL CONTROL
No.212 Group at BENGHAZI, consisted of: No. 17 Sector,
No. 16 Sector,
No. 15 Sector, TOBRUK, 977 SQDN "C" FLIGHT.
No.21 Sector, SHANDUR 974 SQDN
No. 23 Sector,
972 Squadron was initially based at Manfredonia, Ortena, Italy.
975 Squadron was initially based at Bari Barletta and also Manfredonia, Ortena, Italy.
977 Squadron was initially based at Naples, covering Anungiata, Bagnoli, Catsellamare Baia, Vomero, Italy
981 Squadron was initially based at Ferryville (Tinja), covering Ferryville, Bone Algeria, Bizerta Tunisia.
982 Squadron was initially based at Guyotoville in Algiers and Oran, Bastia Corsica and Maddalena Sardinia.
983 Squadron was initially based at Malta, Valetta, covering Portovechio Corsica, Bastia Corsica and Maddalena Sardinia.
985 Squadron was initially based at Brindisi Italycovering Brindisi and Taranto Italy
986 Squadron was initially based at Augusta Italy.