Operation Chocolate

This was a British small-scale air campaign against Axis positions, installations and, most especially, lines of communication in and around Tobruk by warplanes operating from a temporary base established specifically for this purpose in the North African desert (12/16 November 1942).

The object was the harassment of the Axis forces, which were retreating before the 'Guillotine' (ii) advance of General Sir Bernard Montgomery’s British 8th Army after the 2nd Battle of El Alamein, by strafing missions deep behind the Axis lines to impede their lines of communication.

The undertaking was allocated to Nos 213 and 238 Squadrons of Wing Commander J. Darwen’s No. 243 Wing, which flew their 36 Hawker Hurricane fighter-bombers from airfields in the Mersa Matruh area to an abandoned airstrip, named LG125, about 150 miles (240 km) to the east of Agedabia and the same distance to the south of Derna, where fuel, ammunition, supplies and about 100 ground crew had been delivered during the previous day by Bristol Bombay and Lockheed Hudson transport aircraft of Nos 117, 216 and 267 Squadrons.

Over a three-day period the squadrons’ aircraft flew a succession of sorties to strafe the Axis ground forces, and the two squadrons pulled out of the airstrip just ahead of the arrival of an Axis column sent to destroy them. The operation was very successful, and one Fieseler Fi 156 Storch observation and liaison aeroplane was also shot down.