Names of TAGs Involved at Taranto

Discussion in 'The Fleet Air Arm' started by scouse, Feb 21, 2009.

Welcome to the Navy Net aka Rum Ration

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial RN website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Can anyone help with the Names of the TAGs aircrewmen ??? Have found the Officers but not ratings. :oops: :oops:
  2. Re: Names of TAGs Involved at Torronto ??

    I think that perhaps no TAGS were carried on the raid, to carry extra fuel perhaps.
  3. Re: Names of TAGs Involved at Torronto ??

    :roll: Might be the answer!!!
  4. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    Re: Names of TAGs Involved at Torronto ??

    Think this is right. Neither Cunningham's 'Sailor's Odyssey' and 'Illustrious' by Kenneth Poolman state so outright but the hints are there and in particular the aircraft were carrying external overload tanks as well as bombs or torpedoes. Illustrious' flying off position was 170 miles from Taranto - somebody more knowledgable than myself can work out whether a Swordfish would then have to leave its TAG behind, but all the refs are to 'Pilots and Observers' rather than 'aircrew'. In particuklar Cunningham writes of eight pilots and observers being specially transferred from Eagle to Illustrious (Eagle having been cancelled out of the op). So I think the TAGs missed their all-expenses-paid trip to Italy for fireworks night. Not sure what they would have done on the trip anyway as they would have been in wireless silence and the air gunner bit was a daytime thing, at least in 1940. No doubt the FAA mueum would have more details.
  5. Re: Names of TAGs Involved at Torronto ??

    Bloody long way from Torronto to Taranto and a lot of fuel was needed :D
  6. Re: Names of TAGs Involved at Torronto ??

    excuse my IYTIE ??? GEOGRAPHY
  7. Re: Names of TAGs Involved at Torronto ??

    It was common practice when I was Wasping to dump the crewie so as to carry more fuel when carrying torpedoes. So the fact there was to TAG would make sense.

    Although a thought. WIth the telegraphist part gone what about comms?

    Why doesn't someone contact the ACA, (Aircrewmans association) which incorporates TAG membership. Mind you I don't know if there are any TAG's left.

    The only one I remember, Jock Donaldson, (Scouse you have to remember Jock from RAUT days), unfortunately Jock died years ago.
  8. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    Tech qn - did the observer in a Swordfish also have a morse key?
  9. Two aircraft were lost the records mention two Officers killed in one and two Officers saved from the other. Neither mention a third member of either crew.

  10. I have E mail the TAGs Association, for the info :wink: :wink: Re Crewmen airborne, and Morse??
  11. The plan specified a night attack to reduce losses among the attacking aircraft. The mission was scheduled for 21 October, 1940 but was delayed to 11 November 1940 due to other naval commitments. A few days before the operation, the carrier HMS Eagle ran into trouble with her fuel systems; several of her Swordfish were transferred to the carrier HMS Illustrious, which then sailed from Alexandria, Egypt. On the morning of 11 November 1940, five Italian battleships were in Taranto harbour, with three cruisers at dock protected by anti-submarine nets. The sixth battleship was seen to enter the harbour later that day. This represented the entire Italian Battle Fleet - two of the new Littorio class battleships and four of the recently rebuilt Cavour and Dulio class - plus five cruisers and twenty destroyers, all based at Taranto.

    By 8:00pm that evening, HMS Illustrious and her escorts were in position, about 170 miles (270 km) from the port. Of the first strike of 12 Swordfish, six carried torpedoes, four carried bombs, and two carried a combination of bombs and flares. The two flare-droppers put a line of flares over the harbour from 7,500 ft (2,300m) and then bombed an oil storage depot. The strike aircraft attacked in two groups; the Lt Cdr Williamson flight leader's plane was hit by flak and went down, but multiple hits were scored on several of the battleships. A second wave led by Lt.Cdr 'Ginger' Hale consisted of five aircraft armed with torpedoes, two armed with bombs, and two armed with flares and bombs repeated the performance of the first wave. All the aircraft, except two that had been shot down, were back on board HMS Illustrious before 3:00am that morning. Aerial reconnaissance indicated that one Cavour and one Dulio-class battleship were heavily damaged and beached; one Littorio battleship badly damaged; two cruisers and two destroyers badly damaged; and two auxiliary vessels sunk. It was a brilliant attack, inflicting massive damage on the Italian fleet with minimal losses to the British. The Italians withdrew their fleet to the north, effectively removing it from the game board. The successful raid on Taranto suggested to Japanese planners that they might be able to imitate the same tactics for their own attack on Pearl Harbor.
  12. " ( on the Taranto raid ) " no TAG's were carried, extra fuel + the night navigation skills of the Observers being considered more important". :oops:

    From ' Carrier Combat' by David Wragg ( page 34 ), Sutton Press ISBN 0-7509-1397-5.
  13. QUOTE :wink: Tag 41


    My feeling is that the Observer could send Morse. The auxiliary fuel tank went into his position, so he would move to the TAG's seat. In support of this view long range Swordfish( with Auxiliary tank) were sent to locate the Bismarck, and they signalled in Morse when they spotted her.
  14. :cry: :cry: None of the 42 Taranto aircrew on the raid are still alive - Alfie Sutton was the last remaining one and he died last November. :salute:
  15. All aircrew received signals training, so the Observer could transmit, but perhaps not as efficiently as a TAG. When a long range tank was fitted, the Observer would pysically occupy the TAG's seat so would be able to use the wireless set in the rearmost seat.
  16. Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 13, 2013
  17. wet_blobby

    wet_blobby War Hero Moderator

    To resurrect a thread after 4 years is good, to resurrect it with something central to the thread is awesome, well done Scouse.

    As someone who was taught the dark art of keying morse, were the FAA observers taught it as well? To listen out for or send some morse is actually very simple once you know the basics (Alphabet)
  18. The below mentions need to go without Tags as fuel needed.Sea Your History - Taranto

    On the morse subject , as aeronautical beacons and dme's ident in morse it might be that observers were competent. And as Wet Blobby says, once taught, I can still send and receive around 25/30wpm as I am a radio ham that slides in and out of the hobby. Like riding a bike. :)
  19. It looks like, that radio above might have been only a receiver??????? Hence the RX and not TX/ the pilot must have had TX/RX...bit confused as I thought the Tags and Tels sent morse!!!!
  20. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    Defo morse, Blobs, voice was not up to it in 1940. TAG stands for Telegraphist Air Gunner. With a fuel tank instead of the TAG it was the Observer's job to do the morse.

    In my day all seaman officers had to pass an exam in morse at 12 wpm but by flashing light, not buzzer. Oh and semaphore too.

Share This Page