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RAF IRBM Hemswell

Last modified: 28 Jul 2019, submitted by: Joker
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Country: United Kingdom    Region: Lincolnshire

Latitude: 53° 24' 11" N     Longitude: -1° 25' 14" E

Area use / Military Branches: Closed

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RAF (WW2) Hemswell was a bomberbase and became home of II (Thor) Strategic Missile Group and 97 SMS (1958-1963). Base closure was in 1974.
Construction of Thor msl facilities started 1957 in the E part of the UK due to the availability of many former WW2 airfields which might be used.A total of 60 Thor IRBMs was operated by RAF Bomber Command personnel; control of the nuclear warheads remained with USAF detached at each base. The Thor IRBM force consisted of 4 main bases (I IV Strategic Msl Grps) hosting the SMG Hq and sometimes also an operational missile squadron. Each SMG controlled 4 to 5 Strategic Missile Squadrons at dispersed locations to counter elimination in case of a surprise attack. Each SMS was individually equipped with 3 missile launchers.

Ops peacetime status of the force was guaranteed by a rotating readyness schedule used by all SMGs; this implied that each SMG always maintained 2 SMS at 15 min. alert status so that RAF Bomber Command always had 24 missiles at its disposal. The only time that all SMS were brought at maximum alert was during the Cuban Crisis (Oct 20 Nov 15 1962) .
The other II SMG squadrons were: 97 SMS Hemswell; 104 SMS Ludford Magna; 106 SMS Bardney; 142 SMS Coleby Grange and 269 SMS Caistor.

Thor missiles http://www.harringtonmuseum.org.uk/ThorUK.htm
Base layout http://imagery.vnfawing.com/archive/Weapons/Thor/Thor_base.jpg

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