Posted 27 April 2011 - 07:50 AM
I can see the logic in that but, according to the line-measurement facility in Google Earth, Bitola is about 70 miles from Guevgueli, almost due west, so some of the planes would have to add 140+ miles to their return trip. That would not only mean flying a long way, which makes their presence at the two recorded points so far apart problematic, but they'd be flying along the French part of the front line and the French were far better off for AA guns that the Brits ever were. It also doesn't fit the pattern for KG-1. In other attacks they went back by the shortest route and they could probably afford to because, although the British AA defences in XII Corps were at their maximum, the number and type of guns were inadequate. While Sections were being grouped on the Western Front into Batteries of six and eight guns, AA guns near the front lines were invariably used singly in Salonika. I don't get the impression that communications with and between the guns was very sophisticated, either. Some had telephone lines but only an odd one had a pack-wireless facility.
To clarify: eight AA guns - seven 13pdr 6cwt and one 13pdr 9cwt - were active on the XII Corps front at this time, plus a 13pdr 9cwt guarding Janes and the HQ functions in the area (several miles to the south) and the other 13pdr 6cwt was in the IOM workshops at Janes for overhaul. The active guns were spread from Snevce to Oreovica, a distance of 18 miles as the crow flies, but they were not evenly spread. The guns had a maximum range of the order of 6,500 yards and a maximum altitude of about 12,000 feet. Theoretically that would allow their areas to overlap (but not by much) and the Diaries very rarely show more than one Subsection fired at the same plane. I think I'd liken a squadron of bombers flying over Salonika as being like a shoal of fish passing a lone predator. There's a possibility of some damage to a small number of the planes but it was very unlikely for a serious impact to occur. In fact, in an earlier attack the tail was blown off one of the bombers but it still limped home! Fragile they may have been but planes of this era were resilient, that's for sure.
Thanks for the contribution.