No. 177 Squadron (RAF) Strike - South East Asia Command (SEAC)

About This Unit

177 Squadron RAF was one of many RAF squadrons to which RAAF personnel were posted during WW II.

A Squadron history entitled "Silently into the Midst of Things", derived from the Squadron's Latin motto, has been published and is illustrated in the main image.

No.177 Squadron was formed on the 28 November 1942, but at the time of formation the personnel of the squadron were still at sea en route from the UK. On 11 January 1943, it began to assemble at Amarda Road and moved to Allahabad in mid-March to join No.308 MU. Until aircraft were received, the aircrews were detached to No.27 squadron.

In May 1943, Beaufighters began to arrive and the first ground attack mission was flown on 10 September 1943. Attacks on enemy shipping, railways and ports continued until May 1944, when the squadron was withdrawn to India. In August it returned to operations over Burma, having added rockets to its armament, and in May 1945 it supported the landings at Rangoon before being withdrawn from operations and disbanded on 5 July 1945.

(ex RAF Mod UK website

177 Squadron was equipped with the twin engined heavy fighter, the Bristol Beaufighter.  Initially introduced as a night fighter during the 'Blitz' over London, it went on to carve a niche as a ground attack and anti-shipping platform par excellence serving in every theatre in which the RAF served as well as in the SW Pacific with the RAAF.

It was one of the most heavily armed offensive aircraft used by the RAF and RAAF.  Derived from the earlier and heavier Bristol Beaufort light bomber, the "Beaufort Fighter" from which its name evolved, was armed with 4  x 20mm cannon concentrated in the nose, and six wing mounted .303 machine guns as well as rockets or bombs, the Beaufighter was a lethal interdiction aircraft in both Europe and the Far East and Pacific. 

The Beaufighter was nicknamed "Whispering Death" by the Japanese in the Far East and Pacific, who feared its relatively quiet, unheralded approach and devastating firepower.

 Both the Beafort and the Beaufighter were manufactured in Australia as well as the UK.  The RAAF used both types with particular effect in the SW Pacific, notably in the Battle of the Bismark Sea in 1942 when thety were instrumental in the destruction of a Japanese convoy seeking to reinforce their operations in  New Guinea.

The RAAF operated Mk 21 locally built variants that uniquely had four .50 cal machine guns in place of the six .303 guns.

See the link for a documentary of RAAF Beaufighter operations in the Pacific.