Swordfish aircraft used during 'Operation Torch' were assigned to provide anti-submarine patrols to protect the invasion force from enemy attack, with patrol operations commencing on 30th October whilst the task force was on approach to Gibraltar.
An extremely busy period then followed for Swordfish crews, however, not everything went to plan during this time, with HMS Biter losing three of its Swordfish to landing accidents in just a few days, whilst aircraft were attempting to recover onto the carrier in rough seas.
Indeed, two of these aircraft were so badly damaged that they were unceremoniously pushed over the side of the vessel into the angry seas which had caused their demise. On 7th November 1942, the Swordfish of both A and B flights of No 833 Squadron FAA put ashore at Gibraltar and commenced anti-submarine patrol operations from the island, as the work to finalise the huge assault groups began in earnest.
HMS Biter was assigned to the Central Naval Task Force aimed at Oran, and whilst her Swordfish continued to protect force vessels from U-boat attack, her complement of Sea Hurricanes would be required to provide fighter top cover for other fighter attack aircraft tasked with taking out Axis airfields following the commencement of operations.
Although enemy submarine activity posed a very real threat to the sizeable Allied assault force, the Swordfish screen helped deter any futile attacks by enemy units.
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