Operation “BAYTOWN”

Assault Landings at Reggio di Calabria, Italy,
D-Day, 3rd September 1943

© IWM (CNA 1335)
“THE R.A.F. CROSSES INTO ITALY: An R.A.F. despatch rider carrying a steel helmet on the handlebars of his motor cycle with R.A.F. airmen who were among the first to land on the Italian mainland”. © IWM (CNA 1335)

Balloon Units so far identified as taking part in Operation “BAYTOWN” are:

K Balloon Unit (Beach) – Landing in the1st Canadian Division sector, with 34 Beach Brick (FOX beaches)

4 Beach Balloon Detachment – Landing in the 5th Division, 17th Brigade sector, with 33 Beach Brick (HOW beaches)

After Operation “BAYTOWN”, Rear Headquarters, Desert Air Force issued instructions that beach and port balloon units were to be disbanded and absorbed into balloon squadrons in Sicily as follows:

To – No. 972 Squadron
– No. 2 Port Balloon Detachment
– No. 2 Beach Balloon Detachment
– No. 4 Beach Balloon Detachment
– K Balloon Unit (Beach)
972 Squadron would have its Headquarters in Messina, and operate 10 balloons in Messina and 10 balloons in Reggio, also covering San Giovanni as required, and with one Beach Party and one Port Detachment in reserve.

To – No. 975 Squadron
– L Balloon Unit (Beach)
– No. 1 Port Balloon Detachment
975 Squadron would have its Headquarters in Syracuse, and operate 10 balloons in Syracuse, 30 balloons in Augusta and 15 balloons in Catania.

The policy for the future was that when requirements for beach parties or port detachments arose, they would be formed from the two Squadrons.