No. 18 (Netherlands East Indies) Squadron RAAF

No. 18 (Netherlands East Indies) Squadron RAAF

No. 18 (Netherlands East Indies) Squadron RAAF

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No. 18 (Netherlands East Indies) Squadron was a joint Dutch and Australian bomber squadron of World War II.


No. 18 (NEI) Squadron was formed at Canberra on 4 April 1942. Like the other two joint Australian-Dutch squadrons the Dutch authorities provided No. 18 Squadron's pilots and aircraft (obtained via Lend Lease). The majority of the aircrew were Dutch while most the groundcrew were Australian. Unlike the other two squadrons, however, the RAAF also provided many aircrew to the squadron.

No. 18 (NEI) Squadron received its first five B-25 Mitchell medium bombers in April 1942. These aircraft were used for both training and anti-submarine patrols. While the Squadron briefly operated 10 A-20 Havoc light bombers in early 1942, it was fully equipped with 18 B-25s by 21 September 1942.

On 5 December 1942 No. 18 (NEI) Squadron deployed to a partially constructed airfield at MacDonald in the Northern Territory of Australia to operate in the North Western Area. The Squadron began flying operational missions in early January 1943 and was primarily tasked with reconnaissance flights and raids on Japanese ships and bases in the occupied Netherlands East Indies. While the squadron suffered considerable casualties in these raids, it did not receive any replacement crews until September 1943. No. 18 (NEI) Squadron relocated from MacDonald to Batchelor in the Northern Territory in May 1943.

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