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 (1939-1945) WWII Battles
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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6632
http:// 82.44.47.99
The MONAB Scheme of WW2
Posted on: 12/10/2017 7:18:28 AM

The story of the Mobile Naval Air Bases of the Royal Navy. How they came into being and the experiences and achievements of these unique naval units, both during World War Two and in the post war years.

The story is far from complete, the information contained within these pages is compiled from official records, published accounts and personal reminiscences of those who served in the various units.

Nine Mobile Naval Air Bases and one Transportable Aircraft Maintenance Yard operated during the last years of WW2. Without the contribution made by these units and the men who served in them, the British forces could not have participated in the final stages of the conflict in the Pacific.

NB .My father served in a section of a MONAB termed Mobile Air Torpedo Maintenance Unit No.4- late 1942 to war's end.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6632
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: The MONAB Scheme of WW2
Posted on: 12/10/2017 9:28:54 AM
Devised to speed up the time it took to provide shore based aviation support for the Royal Navy, the mobile air bases were delayed by operations draining required resources.

By the time such resources became available the situation in the various theatres of WW2 have changed significantly and the role foreseen for these units was reappraised on several occasions. This is their story; is far from complete, the information contained within these pages is compiled from official records, published accounts and personal reminiscences of those who served in the various units.

Nine Mobile Naval Air Bases and one Transportable Aircraft Maintenance Yard operated during the last years of World War 2. Without the contributions of these units and the men who served in them, British forces could not have participated in the final stages of the conflict in the Pacific.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6632
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: The MONAB Scheme of WW2
Posted on: 12/10/2017 10:07:13 AM
My father#s unit 3 MATMU was sent the derelict Ex RAF establishment now Fearn Airfield in the far north of Scotland on the Firth of Cromatry which was was variously known as RAF Fearn, RNAS Fearn and HMS Owl. RAF Fearn was originally built by the RAF as a satellite airfield to RAF Tain.

It was taken over by the Royal Navy in August 1942 and became HMS Owl. It was used as a torpedo training school and was home to squadrons of Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Barracuda aircraft during World War Two. The airfield had two control towers, the original single storey RAF building and a three storey Royal Navy building. There were two camps close by providing accommodation, a hospital and a gas decontamination block.

At its peak there were around 3000 men and women stationed there. The airfield closed in July 1946 and, in most cases, only the skeletons of the buildings remain.

Regards

Jim.
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 4135

Re: The MONAB Scheme of WW2
Posted on: 12/11/2017 1:12:35 AM
Jim,

 So what were these "mobile bases" -- a pool of trained personnel and a core of basic equipment that could be transported to an airstrip and turn it into a functioning air base?

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6632
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: The MONAB Scheme of WW2
Posted on: 12/11/2017 4:01:10 AM
Hi Bill-the theory behind these early beginnings was to train torpedo carrying aircraft crews to to fly off, drop their torpedoes and land back via arrester wires on a land based airstrip-which they would have to do on a MONAB overseas.Capt de Courcy Ireland's HMS Owl trained 15 FAA Swordfih Squadrons.My father's unit had only a bit part in the whole-they only worked with torpedoes.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6632
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: The MONAB Scheme of WW2
Posted on: 12/11/2017 4:01:13 AM
Hi Bill-the theory behind these early beginnings was to train torpedo carrying aircraft crews to to fly off, drop their torpedoes and land back via arrester wires on a land based airstrip-which they would have to do on a MONAB overseas.Capt de Courcy Ireland's HMS Owl trained 15 FAA Swordfih Squadrons.My father's unit had only a bit part in the whole-they only worked with torpedoes.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6632
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: The MONAB Scheme of WW2
Posted on: 12/11/2017 5:51:15 AM
My father joined a subsidiary unit of a MONAB in Sept 1942-strictly speaking BEFORE Monabs were created as a complete unit .Father volunteered into a combined service unit called a Mobile Air Torpedo Maintenance unit,which was half RN and half RM. All RN ratings had take a Torpedoman's course at Chatham and this included L/Smn,PO's and CPO's.The Royal Marine Contingent were armed guards and Vehicle drivers.The Unit training took five months including an inyroduction into jungle warfare.

Thereafter 4MATMU served on a number of FAA shore bases throughout England and Scotland-wherever FAA torpedo bomber squadrons were working up before embarking on aircraft carriers.The work entailed in some cases runway repair and setting up take off and landing arrangements as per a carrier vessel,Maintenance and recovery of practice drop torpedoes.

In 1944 they were shipped out to Colombo (Ceylon) where they were stationed at HMS Bambara and Ukussa.Here they became "a maid of all work"servicing the ordnance of the British Eastern Fleet's carrier aircraft.

This Unit was never linked up with a MONAB, bases of which were established in Australia- but they were on passage there when the war ended.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 4135

Re: The MONAB Scheme of WW2
Posted on: 12/11/2017 1:29:28 PM

Quote:
Hi Bill-the theory behind these early beginnings was to train torpedo carrying aircraft crews to to fly off, drop their torpedoes and land back via arrester wires on a land based airstrip-which they would have to do on a MONAB overseas.Capt de Courcy Ireland's HMS Owl trained 15 FAA Swordfih Squadrons.My father's unit had only a bit part in the whole-they only worked with torpedoes.

Regards

Jim
--anemone


 So part of it was training aircrew how to land using the cable they would encounter on an aircraft carrier? Were there more functions to these units than training? Sorry if I seem dense with the questions, but the unit's purpose is unclear to me.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 7192

Re: The MONAB Scheme of WW2
Posted on: 12/11/2017 2:41:29 PM
Hello BW,

I was trying to understand the rationale as well.

I did find this site that researches the MONAB.

Click on the section title: Organization, and the genesis and reason for unit comes reasonably clear.


Quote:
The navy found that it must provide whatever airfields were necessary to feed carriers with trained crews and serviceable aircraft, and secondly, to supply aircraft to meet the fleet's requirements. Before the war the navy had a few airfields in this country but relied entirely on lodger facilities at RAF stations when operating overseas. During the early days of the war the navy took steps to obtain its own airfields near to strategic bases abroad; some were to be built and others taken over from the RAF.


Here is the site. I hope that I am not repeating something that Jim has already sent.

[Read More]

Cheers,

George

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 4135

Re: The MONAB Scheme of WW2
Posted on: 12/11/2017 2:59:29 PM
Thanks George, I'll check that out.

Cheers,

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6632
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: The MONAB Scheme of WW2
Posted on: 12/12/2017 3:58:08 AM
Life on a MONAB in 1944/45 by Reg.Vardey

On the 9th of December 1944: having been seconded to the Royal Air Force for nine months, I received a draft to return to H.M.S. Gosling in Warrington. This Fleet Air Arm camp was where I had received my basic training in March 1943 and I associated it with square bashing and disciplinary training that I and other raw recruits had been put through. What was the reason for my return? During the customary F.F.I, and general joining routine, I met a few other bods who were wondering the same thing. All was revealed in a pep talk on how we were going to win the war and how we were to be trained in the art of self-defence, jungle fighting and survival. On the matter of survival, the only thing I knew was that you should never eat yellow snow.
Three months of intensive Commando training followed, in the middle of winter - how we ever survived the ordeal, I’ll never know. I was supposed to be a Leading Air Fitter and so what the hell was I doing, fighting fit and dressed in Khaki battle dress? At last! Order of the day: 14 days leave, and then report back to Gosling.
7th of March 1945: marching orders, destination Liverpool Docks. As part of a unit known as M.S.R.6, we piled into the usual mode of transport, the faithful old Bedfords.Source--The Peoples War

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 4135

Re: The MONAB Scheme of WW2
Posted on: 12/12/2017 4:29:14 AM

Quote:
Hello BW,

I was trying to understand the rationale as well.

I did find this site that researches the MONAB.

Click on the section title: Organization, and the genesis and reason for unit comes reasonably clear.


Quote:
The navy found that it must provide whatever airfields were necessary to feed carriers with trained crews and serviceable aircraft, and secondly, to supply aircraft to meet the fleet's requirements. Before the war the navy had a few airfields in this country but relied entirely on lodger facilities at RAF stations when operating overseas. During the early days of the war the navy took steps to obtain its own airfields near to strategic bases abroad; some were to be built and others taken over from the RAF.


Here is the site. I hope that I am not repeating something that Jim has already sent.

[Read More]

Cheers,

George
--George



Quote:
At the meeting it was decided that the principle to adopt was that there should be a construction unit and an operational unit. Construction units should to be non-Fleet Air Arm, should be based on the American "Lions and cobs", and should not form part of any other naval construction schemes . The operational unit was to be essentially Fleet Air Arm and should provide equipment and trained personnel for the purpose of equipping an aerodrome and not any other purpose. This is what became, eventually, a MONAB. (from URL provided by George)


 I understand now. My guess as to what the MONABs were, was fairly close.

Cheers,

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6632
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: The MONAB Scheme of WW2
Posted on: 12/12/2017 5:24:21 AM
Mobile Operational Naval Air Bases (MONABs) were a series of mobile units first formed in 1944 to provide logistical support to the Fleet Air Arm aircraft of the Royal Navy's British Pacific Fleet towards the end of World War II.

Each unit was self-contained and designed to service and repair aircraft and engines. Each were initially assembled at the MONAB Headquarters at HMS Flycatcher (first at Ludham then Middle Wallop in the UK).

When the naval threat in the Atlantic was clearly vanishing, with the decline of Nazi Germany, proposals were made to involve the Royal Navy in the Pacific War. The United States Navy's Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Ernest King, did not welcome this, however. A well-known anglophobe, King preferred to exclude the British and, in addition, he laid down operating requirements that could not be met at the time.

One of these was that the Royal Navy should be self-sustaining and independent of United States Navy (USN) logistical resources for extended periods of active service.

King was effectively overruled, however, and the Royal Navy set about establishing an adequate logistical infrastructure which included MONABs. However only one saw active service ob Manus; but was quickly outstripped by the speed of advance up the Pacific from Australia.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

George
Centre Hastings, ON, Canada
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 7192

Re: The MONAB Scheme of WW2
Posted on: 12/12/2017 6:39:24 AM
So what is the American, "Lions and cobs" scheme?

Cheers,

George


EDIT: must be a typo.

An article on "lions and cubs"

[Read More]

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