Operation Haddock (i)

'Haddock' (i) was a British bomber offensive against Italy using the Vickers Wellington medium bombers of No. 99 Squadron of Air Marshal Sir Charles Portal’s RAF Bomber Command, based at Salon de Provence in the southern French departement of Provence (June 1940).

On 3 June the headquarters of No. 71 Wing, Advanced Air Striking Force, had moved to the area of Marseille in southern France to prepare two airfields for use by RAF Bomber Command aircraft for attacks on Italian targets should Italy enter the war on the side of Germany. In 'Haddock' (i), a detachment of No. 99 Squadron flew in to the French airfield at Salon near Marseille to start this small-scale bombing campaign against Italy. The 'Haddock' (i) detachment tried to mount its first operation on the night of 11/12 June, but disagreements between the British and French high commands about the policy of attacking Italy, which the French believed would result in Italian reprisal raids, led to the runway being blocked by French lorries.

On 11 June 36 Armstrong Whitworth Whitley aircraft of Nos 10, 51, 77 and 102 Squadrons made the first attack on Italy. As a result of the disputes with the French, the aircraft operated from British soil, refuelling in the Channel Islands. Following the events of 11/12 June, British bombers in France flew their first operation against an Italian target on 15/16 June. Vickers Wellington bombers of Nos 99 and 149 Squadrons took off from Salon en route to Genoa, but there were violent thunderstorms and only one of the eight aircraft attacked the target. The final attack by the 'Haddock' (i) force was flown on the following night, when 22 Wellington aircraft were despatched and 14 bombed Milan, two aircraft failing to return.