So it Began.....Their Finest Hour

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Gage, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Tuesday 30 July 1940 | The Battle of Britain Historical Timeline
    TUESDAY 30 JULY 1940
    Raids on convoys off Orfordness, Clacton and Harwich.
    Night: South Wales and midlands.

    Weather: Unsettled, with drizzle and low cloud.

    Main Activity:

    At 1212 hours, three Spitfires from No. 603 Squadron shot down an He 111 of 8./KG 26 south-west of Montrose. Two of the Spitfires were damaged by return fire but were able to get back to Montrose safely.

    At 1532 hours, three Hurricanes from No. 85 Squadron intercepted and shot down a Bf 110 fighter-bomber of 1./ErprGr. 210 attempting to bomb a convoy off Harwich.

    German Losses
    Airmen: 21 | Aircraft: 9

    British Losses
    Airmen: 0 | Aircraft: 1
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery
    WEDNESDAY 31 JULY 1940
    Widespread attacks on shipping in south, south-east and south-west coastal waters. Dover balloon barrage.
    Night: South Wales and Thames raided.

    Weather: Fair all over the country with temperatures slightly above average. Channel and Straits hazy.

    Main Activity:

    Shortly before 0730 hours, three Hurricanes from No. 111 Squadron intercepted and damaged a Ju 88 from III/KG 76, 15 miles south of Dungeness.

    At 1600 hours, twelve Spitfires of No. 74 Squadron engaged Bf 109s of II/JG 2 attacking the Dover balloon barrage. One flight of Spitfires was bounced by Bf 109s from 4./JG 51 and lost two aircraft. One Bf 109 was damaged and crash-landed at Fécamp.

    German Losses
    Airmen: 6 | Aircraft: 7

    British Losses
    Airmen: 5 | Aircraft: 7

    Spitfire P9398, No. 74 Squadron. Aircraft lost.
    Sgt F.W. Eley. Killed. Shot down off Folkestone by Bf 109.
    Battle of Britain London Monument - Sgt. F W Eley

    Spitfire P9379, No. 74 Squadron. Aircraft lost.
    P/O H.R. Gunn. Killed. Shot down off Folkestone by Bf 109.
    Battle of Britain London Monument - P/O H R Gunn
  3. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Thursday 1 August 1940 | The Battle of Britain Historical Timeline

    East and south coast shipping attacked.
    Night: South Wales and midlands targets. Minelaying in Thames Estuary and north-east coast Scottish coast.

    Weather: Fair in most districts with Straits and Channel overcast. Low cloud dispersing during the day. Warmer.

    On this day, Hitler issued Directive No. 17 ordering the Luftwaffe ‘to overpower the English Air Force with all the forces at its command, in the shortest time possible.’

    Main Activity:

    At about 1300 hours, Hurricanes from No. 607 Squadron and Spitfires from No. 616 Squadron were scrambled to intercept enemy bombers attacking shipping off the Yorkshire coast. A Do 17 was claimed damaged and a Ju 88 was claimed destroyed. One Spitfire was damaged by return fire but landed safely back at base.

    At 1450 hours, a section of Hurricanes from No. 145 Squadron intercepted and damaged a Ju 88 in the Beachy Head area, while another section engaged and shot down an Hs 126 reconnaissance aircraft from 4.(H)/31, ten miles south of Hastings. One Hurricane was hit by return fire and crashed into the sea.

    At 1512 hours, a lone Ju 88 attacked the Boulton Paul Aircraft factory at Norwich. Both the factory and nearby Thorpe railway yard were damaged. Fifteen civilians were killed and almost sixty injured during the raid.

    At 1855 hours, Hurricanes of No. 242 Squadron intercepted a formation of Ju 88s from III/KG 4 attacking the convoy codenamed PILOT off the Norfolk coast. One bomber was shot down.

    German Losses
    Airmen: 19 | Aircraft: 13

    British Losses
    Airmen: 5 | Aircraft: 1

    Hurricane P3155, No. 145 Squadron. Lost at sea.
    Sub/Lt I.H. Kestin. Missing. Shot down by gunfire from Hs 126 and crashed into Channel.

    Blenheim IV N3601, No. 236 Squadron. Aircraft destroyed.
    S/L P.E. Drew and F/O B.Nokes-Cooper. Both killed. Shot down on bomber escort by ground fire.

    Blenheim IV R2774, No. 236 Squadron. Aircraft destroyed.
    P/O B.M. McDonough and Sgt F.A.P.Head. Both killed. Shot down on bomber escort by ground fire.
  4. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    No.236 Squadron was transferred from Fighter Command to Coastal Command on 4th July and moved to RAF Thorney Island.

    The crews appear on the BoB monument due to clasp qualifying service as part of Fighter Command not due to this operation but given that the start date of clasp was 10 July and 236 was Coastal by then is a curious inclusion.

    They were escort to No.59 Sqn (which also transferred from Fighter Command) but the confused selective nature of the site quoted by Clive omits the loss of L8792 from that squadron.

    59 Squadron Blenheim IV L8792 TR-A Wg/Cmdr. Morgan-Weld-Smith

    Selective cricket league style reporting of battleofbritain1940 site really irks me - but that is a hobby horse of mine as I think that sites should report historical accuracy rather than what suits the cut and paste nature of their fact gathering without checking.

    Last edited: Aug 1, 2022
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  5. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Friday 2 August 1940 | The Battle of Britain Historical Timeline
    FRIDAY 2 AUGUST 1940
    Shipping attacked in Channel and east coast.
    Night: South Wales and the Midlands.

    Weather: Mainly fine in the north but cloudy in the east. Channel cloudy. Drizzle in Dover Straits.

    Main Activity:

    Around 0000 hours, a convoy was attacked by two He 115 seaplanes south of Aberdeen. One of the aircraft struck the lifeboat davit on the SS Highlander and crashed onto the deck of the vessel killing the crew of three. The second aircraft was shot down into the sea by anti-aircraft fire, again, with the loss of the crew. Later, the ship sailed into Leith harbour with its ‘prize’ on the deck.

    During the morning, the armed trawler Cape Finisterre was attacked and sunk by Bf 110 fighter-bombers from ErprGr 210 off Harwich.

    German Losses
    Airmen: 16 | Aircraft: 7

    British Losses
    Airmen: 1 | Aircraft: 3

    Spitfire R6799, No. 65 Squadron. Burnt out.
    S/L H.C. Sawyer. Killed. Crashed on take off on night patrol and exploded in flames.
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  6. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Battle Of The Nations | Britain History | RAF Museum

    Battle of the Nations
    “Had it not been for the magnificent material contributed by the Polish squadrons and their unsurpassed gallantry, I hesitate to say that the outcome of the battle would have been the same.”

    Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding

    During the Battle of Britain one fifth of Fighter Command’s aircrew came from overseas and 16 nations were represented in its squadrons. [​IMG]A total of 126 New Zealanders, 98 Canadians, 33 Australians and 25 South Africans participated. They were joined by three Rhodesians, a Jamaican, a Barbadian and a Newfoundlander. The Commonwealth countries produced some of the best fighter pilots, including the Australian Flying Officer Paterson Hughes and Flight Lieutenant Adolph ‘Sailor’ Malan from South Africa.
    After the fall of France, the RAF welcomed into its ranks exiles from German-occupied Europe. In all, 145 Poles, 88 Czechoslovaks, 29 Belgians, 13 Frenchmen and an Austrian flew in the Battle and many of these proved to be excellent pilots. Though only operational for six weeks, the Polish No. 303 Squadron claimed 126 victories to become the top scoring RAF unit. The most successful RAF pilot, with 17 kills, was Sergeant Josef Frantisek, a Czech national who also flew with ‘303’.

    Though their countries were neutral, 10 Irish and 11 United States citizens fought in the Battle of Britain. Pilot Officer William ‘Billy’ Fiske was the first American airman to be killed and a plaque was later unveiled to his memory in St Paul’s Cathedral which read:

    “An American citizen who died so that England might live.”
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  7. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Saturday 3 August 1940 | The Battle of Britain Historical Timeline
    Mainly shipping reconnaissance in Channel.
    Night: South Wales, with some raids continuing to Liverpool, Crewe and Bradford areas.

    Weather: Mainly dull with bright patches. Cloud base 4,000ft. Visibility two to five miles.

    Main Activity:

    No major Luftwaffe operations due to dull weather.

    German Losses
    Airmen: 11 | Aircraft: 6

    British Losses
    Airmen: 0 | Aircraft: 0
  8. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Millions of ordinary men and women across the UK played vital roles, including Air Raid Wardens, firefighters and members of the Home Guard. Thousands across the UK worked in aircraft factories, building the aircraft that would defend the country. Between June and October 1940, around 2,000 Hurricanes and Spitfires were built
  9. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery
    SUNDAY 4 AUGUST 1940
    Reconnaissance along the south coast and Bristol Channel.
    Night: Little activity.

    Weather: Fair to fine early. Cloudy with bright intervals at midday, clearing in the evening.

    Main Activity:

    No major Luftwaffe operations due to cloudy weather.

    German Losses
    Airmen: 2 | Aircraft: 2

    British Losses
    Airmen: 1 | Aircraft: 1

    Spitfire N3271, No. 616 Squadron. Aircraft destroyed.
    Sgt J.P. Walsh. Killed. Spun out of control from 5,000 ft during combat practice.
  10. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    SUNDAY AUGUST 4th 1940
    Even though the weather was fine early and the could was higher with sunny breaks, there were no recorded incidents. It was a very quiet day for both sides.

    Time N/A.
    Kirton-on-Lindsay. Spitfire N3271. 616 Squadron Leconfield. (Aircraft destroyed)
    Sgt J.P. Walsh. Killed. (Spun out of control from 5,000ft during combat practice)
  11. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Monday 5 August 1940 | The Battle of Britain Historical Timeline
    MONDAY 5 AUGUST 1940
    Shipping in Straits attacked.
    Night: Minelaying between the Wash and the Tay.

    Weather: Temperatures high. Fine weather with slight haze in the Channel.

    Main Activity:

    At 0800 hours, a formation of Ju 88 bombers was despatched to attack a convoy sailing between Hastings and the North Foreland. Four RAF squadrons were scrambled to intercept including Spitfires of No. 65 Squadron, which engaged five Bf 109s of I/JG 54 north of Calais. In the ensuing dogfight, two Bf 109s and a Spitfire were damaged.

    At 0830 hours, Spitfires of No. 64 Squadron were bounced by Bf 109s of JG 54 over the Kent coastline. One Spitfire was shot down and another force-landed at Hawkinge. One Bf 109 was also shot down and another returned to France damaged.

    Around 1400 hours, Hurricanes of No. 151 Squadron along with Spitfires of No. 41 Squadron encountered a formation of Ju 88 bombers, escorted by Bf 109s of JG 51, over the Channel, off Cap Gris Nez. One Bf 109 was shot down in the resulting action.

    German Losses
    Airmen: 17 | Aircraft: 8

    British Losses
    Airmen: 1 | Aircraft: 2

    Spitfire L1029, No. 64 Squadron. Aircraft lost.
    Sgt L.R. Isaac. Missing. Presumed shot down by Bf 109 over Channel. Failed to return to base.
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  12. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    MONDAY AUGUST 5th 1940
    WEATHER: Fine, with light high cloud and much warmer.


    Quite a number of enemy aircraft were patrolling the Channel in search of British shipping. 65 Squadron Hornchurch (Spitfires) engaged five Bf109's over the Channel off Dover during the early morning, as did 64 Squadron Kenley (Spitfires) who were pounced upon by Bf109's over the Channel off the French coast, while in the afternoon, 41 Squadron Hornchurch (Spitfires) and 151 Squadron North Weald (Hurricanes) engaged 30+ enemy aircraft over the Channel looking for any shipping that may become targets of oppertunity. There were a few combat missions where both sides lost one aircraft each.
    0850 hrs. Folkestone. Spitfire L1029. 64 Squadron Kenley. (Aircraft lost)
    Sgt L.R. Isaac. Missing. (Presumed shot down by Bf109 over Channel. Failed to return to base)
    The Battle of Britain - 1940 / August 1st - August 10th 1940
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  13. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    The Battle of Britain - 1940 / August 1st - August 10th 1940

    TUESDAY AUGUST 6th 1940
    Still reasonably quiet. This day was almost a repeat performance of the previous day. The weather was of strong winds, and fairly heavy low cloud that even the Luftwaffe decided to stay at home.

    1015hrs. Debden. Hurricane N2456. 17 Squadron Debden. (Aircraft destroyed)
    P/O H.W.A Britton. Killed. (Crashed after taking off from Debden and burnt out)
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  14. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Wednesday 7 August 1940 | The Battle of Britain Historical Timeline
    Convoy reconnaissances. Convoy off Cromer attacked.
    Night: Widespread raids from Thames Estuary to Aberdeen and from Poole, Dorset, to Land’s End and Liverpool.

    Weather: Mainly fair with cloud and thunderstorms in eastern districts. South-eastern districts cloudy. Winds variable.

    Main Activity:

    At 0635 hours, a convoy off Cromer was attacked. Hurricanes of No. 46 Squadron observed bombs bursting around the ships but were unable to intercept the enemy raiders due to thick cloud from 5,000 to 10,000 feet.

    German Losses
    Airmen: 5 | Aircraft: 3

    British Losses
    Airmen: 0 | Aircraft: 4

    More German patrols in the Channel, Hornchurch engaged a Heinkel formation attacking a convoys off the east coast. It is reported that four Heinkel 115s were shot down.

    Leconfield. Spitfire R6696. 616 Squadron Leconfield. (Aircraft destroyed)
    P/O D.S. Smith Killed. (Crashed and exploded during night flying exercise) SHOULD RA SMITH
    The Battle of Britain - 1940 / August 1st - August 10th 1940
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  15. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

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  16. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Thursday 8 August 1940 | The Battle of Britain Historical Timeline
    Three major attacks on a Channel convoy.
    Night: Small raids and minelaying.

    Weather: Showers and bright intervals. Channel cloudy.

    Main Activity:

    At 0840 hours, Ju 87 Stuka dive-bombers of II and III/StG 1, escorted by Bf 109s of I/JG 27, attacked the convoy codenamed PEEWIT off St Catherine’s Point, sinking the SS Coquetdale and the Dutch vessel SS Ajax. Hurricanes of No. 145 Squadron from Westhampnett intercepted the enemy aircraft, shooting down two Stukas and damaging two others before engaging the Messerschmitt escort. In the ensuing dogfight, three Bf 109s were shot down for the loss of two Hurricanes.

    At about 1145 hours, Bf 109s of III/JG 26 and II & III/JG 51 swept the Dover area in advance of the next attack and engaged Spitfires from Nos. 41, 64, and 65 Squadrons. Five British aircraft were lost including a Blenheim of No. 600 Squadron on a training flight. One Bf 109 was shot down and three others made emergency landings at St Omer due to combat damage.

    At 1205 hours, a second wave of almost sixty Ju 87 Stukas from StG 2, StG 3, and StG 77, escorted by Bf 110s from V/LG 1 with top cover provided by about thirty Bf 109s from II and III/JG 27, attacked PEEWIT south of the Isle of Wight. Four ships were sunk and seven damaged. The raid was intercepted by Hurricanes of Nos. 145, 257, and 238 Squadrons along with Spitfires of No. 609 Squadron. Seven German aircraft were destroyed for the loss of five Hurricanes.

    At about 1615 hours, eighty-two Ju 87 Stukas of StG 1 and StG 77, escorted by sixty-eight Bf 109s of II/JG 27 and some Bf 110s from LG 1, launched a final attack against PEEWIT off Bournemouth. Hurricanes of Nos. 43 and 145 Squadrons intercepted, shooting down six German aircraft and damaging several others. Another six Hurricanes were also lost. Meanwhile, Spitfires of No. 152 Squadron engaged Bf 109s from JG 53 south of Swanage. Two Spitfires were damaged and force-landed.

    Out of the original twenty ships in the convoy, only four arrived at their intended destination of Swanage.

    German Losses
    Airmen: 30 | Aircraft: 24

    British Losses
    Airmen: 20 | Aircraft: 21

    Hurricane P2955, No. 145 Squadron. Crashed in Channel.
    P/O L.A. Sears. Missing. Last seen in combat with Bf 109s, failed to return to base.

    Hurricane P3381, No. 145 Squadron. Crashed in Channel.
    Sgt E.D. Baker. Missing. Last seen in combat with Bf 109s, failed to return to base.

    Spitfire K9911, No. 65 Squadron. Aircraft destroyed.
    Sgt D.I. Kirton. Killed. Hit by gunfire from Bf 109 and crashed in flames near airfield.

    Spitfire K9905, No. 65 Squadron. Aircraft destroyed.
    F/Sgt N.T. Phillips. Killed. Shot down by Bf 109 and crashed in flames.

    Blenheim L8665, No. 600 Squadron. Went down in flames off beach.
    F/O D.N. Grice, Sgt F.D. Keast, and AC1 J.B.W. Warren. All killed after pilot avoided town and crashed into sea.

    Spitfire L1039, No. 64 Squadron. Aircraft destroyed.
    P/O P.F. Kennard-Davies. Died of Injuries. Hit by enemy gunfire, baled out but sustained serious burns.

    Hurricane R4094, No. 257 Squadron. Presumed crashed into Channel.
    Sgt K.B. Smith. Missing. Failed to return to base after action over Channel protecting convoy PEEWIT.

    Hurricane P2981, No. 257 Squadron. Crashed into Channel.
    F/Lt N.M. Hall. Killed. Hit by gunfire from Bf 109, crashed into sea.

    Hurricane P3058, No. 257 Squadron. Presumed crashed into Channel.
    F/O B.W.J D’Arcy-Irvine. Missing. Last seen in combat with Bf 109s over Channel, failed to return.

    Hurricane P3823, No. 238 Squadron. Crashed in Channel.
    F/L D.E Turner. Missing. Shot down while engaging enemy over convoy PEEWIT, failed to return to base.

    Hurricane P3617, No. 238 Squadron. Crashed into Channel.
    F/O D.C. MacCaw. Killed. Shot down while engaging enemy over convoy PEEWIT, crashed into sea.

    Hurricane P2957**, No. 145 Squadron. Crashed in Channel.
    P/O E.C.J. Wakeham. Missing. Last seen in combat with Ju 87s and Bf110s, failed to return to base.

    Hurricane P3163, No. 145 Squadron. Crashed into Channel.
    F/O Lord R.U.P Kay-Shuttleworth. Missing. Failed to return after combat over convoy PEEWIT.

    Hurricane P3545, No. 145 Squadron. Crashed into Channel.
    S/Lt F.A. Smith. Missing. Shot down attacking Ju 87s but possibly hit by gunfire from Bf 109.

    Hurricane P3781, No. 43 Squadron. Crashed into Channel.
    P/O J. Cruttenden. Missing. Hit by enemy gunfire and crashed into the sea.

    Hurricane P3468, No. 43 Squadron. Crashed into Channel.
    P/O J.R.S. Oelofse. Killed. Hit by enemy gunfire and crashed into the sea.
  17. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    The Battle of Britain - 1940 / August 1st - August 10th 1940

    THURSDAY AUGUST 8th 1940
    ORDER OF BATTLE - AUGUST 8th 1940 [ Document-28 ]

    It was back on August 1st that Hitler had issued his Directive No.17 stating that the Luftwaffe shall use all its forces to destroy the British air force, the exact date being left to the Luftwaffe who shall take preparations and the weather into consideration. The word that was given to the operation of destroying the Royal Air Force was Adlerangriff meaning "Attack of the Eagles" and the day that the operation would commence was to be known as Adler Tag meaning "Eagle Day."

    As soon as Goering received word that he had been placed in charge of Adlerangriff all the necessary arrangements were made at once, meetings were called to plan operations, and more and more Bf 109's were moved closer to the Calais region. The final meeting of the Generals took place on August 6th where they were informed of Goering's plans, and it was on this day, August 8th 1940 that he issued the official order that the first phase of the invasion of Britain was about to begin. All our Gruppes are ready, all our attacking and defence forces are in place, "The Day of the Eagle" has come. The following order was issued to all commanders and officers.

    With most of the German messages and directives being intercepted with the use of 'enigma' it was not very long before the staff in the filter room at Fighter Command HQ were busy decoding the scrambled assortment of letters. Within the hour it was on Hugh Dowding's desk at Bletchley Park, at the offices of the Air Ministry and in the hands of Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the War Cabinet Rooms in Whitehall. The only question now was, how long was this short period to be.

    When Reichmarschall Goering delivered his message, the date of August 10th was in his mind. But for the following few days the natural enemy of both sides, the weather, was to delay any major assault on Britain until August 13th, but even then, no commencement could be made until midday when the weather cleared enough. It was not until August 15th that any major attack could be made, and Goering send across the Channel the concentrated numbers of bombers and fighters that he wanted to open what was to be known as "Adler Tag" Eagle Day.
    Cloudy in the morning with the possibility of showers in the south-east. Cloudy inland but remaining dry. Cloud cover should break up during the afternoon. Visibility good with cloudy periods with bright intervals in the west.

    The quiet of the last few days helped both Dowding and Keith Park as well as the pilots, it enabled the necessary repairs to be made to the many damaged aircraft sustained during the months of June and July. The aircrew enjoyed a more relaxed and enjoyable period of peace and tranquility, no doubt either in the mess or down at the 'local'. Park told Dowding "'s too quiet, but at least I've managed to re-establish my airfields, but the blighters are up to something". A saying that Park often used.

    Across the Channel, the story was very much the same, as the German pilots rested and relished the quiet, almost balmy situation that precede the orders that were soon to come through from Luftwaffe HQ. Close to the Normandy coast, the Luftwaffe No.2 Wing of the 27th Fighter Group that was based at Crepon were soon to receive news that the tranquility of the last few days were over and that the next day, August 8th the Wing was given orders that they would be placed on 24 hour standby.
    "For some reason, all of us had a gut feeling that something was now about to break. During the previous month we had all been engaged in heavy combat, but by the end of the month all operational missions became few and far between, many squadrons were only going out on spasmodic attacks. We enjoyed the comfort and relaxation of that first week of August, we almost behaved as if there was no war on, although many were asking the question....why.
    Word had got around that the Fuhrer had endorsed a plan of invasion of England and we all believed that this to be somewhere on or about the 10th or 12th of August and I think that this period of quiet that we were experiencing was to get all our aircraft in 100% operational condition. Many trucks were seen arriving at the base and we could only assume that they were bringing in fresh supplies of fuel and ammunition, everyone seemed to know that the planned invasion of England was near. When we were given orders to stand down for 24 hours, we then knew that it must be the next day that the invasion was to start"

    Hans Joachim Jabs No.2 Wing 27th Fighter Group

    Everyone, from Hitler down to the Luftwaffe aircrew had their own opinion as to how long it would take to knock out the British and how soon it would be before we could see contingents of German personnel walking the country lanes of the English countryside. Germany had a swift and easy victory in France and it was felt that they would have a similar ambition and success in Britain.

    • "For the first time in modern history the people of England are now to feel the full and direct impact of war on their own soil. Their morale is expected to deteriorate in consequence"
      Reich Marshal Herman Goering
    Goering spoke with his Chief of Air Staff Hans Jeschonnek, a forty-two years old who had a sarcastic and facetious attitude that infuriated Generals and officers alike in the Luftwaffe. Jeschonnek was confident of a victory against England and Goering asked him if in his opinion that all out attacks on Britain would be successful and how long he thought it would take to achieve victory. Jeschonnek replied that with the Luftwaffe proven air superiority, the immense strength of the German Panzer Divisions and the combined strength of the German armies that the he though that the air attacks would be successful and that it would only be a matter of about six or seven weeks to complete the invasion.

    Goering knew and understood the British, he knew of their courage and determination and he knew only too well that their strategy must not be underestimated. He replied to Jeschonnek that he very much doubted that they would be walking on English soil with six weeks.
    "You must understand, a German will fight on even if Berlin was totally destroyed, and an Englishman is not to be any easier than a German. No......he will fight on, even if London is destroyed, the British were not like the French who, when we marched into Paris and occupied their capital, simply gave up the struggle to fight for their country. An Englishman is like a wounded bull, he is most dangerous when he is injured"
    Reich Marshal Herman Goering to Luftwaffe Chief of Staff Hans Jeschonnek
    Had Adolph Hitler devoted more time and interest into the intended invasion of Britain, it outcome may have had different consequences. Instead Hitler seemed more intent on what was going on in Eastern Europe. Other than his maniacal ideas on driving out all Jews from the face of the earth, he was afraid that communism would take over and destroy him and his power. In reality it was left to Herman Goering and other Luftwaffe Generals to figure out a way in which Britain could be invaded. But Goering was not a strategic genius, he had ideas, he laid down plans, and even his major plans was discarded as being strategically impossible by Hitler. When Hitler finally issued his Directive No.16, if we look closely at it, the directive had many similarities to the original plan of invasion as set down by Goering.

    The problem was the Channel, a large expanse of water that separated the French coast from England. It was at its narrowest at the Straights of Dover, just 21 miles across, but as one went westwards the Channel got wider and wider. The task was easier on the European mainland when Germany could use the might of their Panzer Divisions backed up by Luftwaffe aerial attacks and the hundreds of German Infantry Divisions that could march into such countries as Poland, Belgium and France. This method of invasion could not be used against Britain. The idea of using thousands of landing craft with Luftwaffe protection could also not be used as Britain had a powerful navy and as up till now the Germans had realized the RAF were not to be taken lightly. The possibility of using paratroopers although it had merit because one of the plans was a mass paratroop landing all across southern England and into the midlands, but the large aircraft needed to take the paratroopers across would have been slow and cumbersome and the fighters of Fighter Command would be able to pick them off like flies, Germany could ill afford to do that as each German troop carrier shot down would have cost at least a hundred military personnel that would have been on board.

    Germany, must, before any thought be given to any planned invasion of England get control of the skies, they must reduce the RAF to shreds. They had tried it up until the July of 1940 but had not succeeded, now after a few weeks of only spasmodic attacks with the Luftwaffe almost in relaxed holiday mood, Germany had managed to rest and refresh its aircrew and at the same time build up its strength of airpower. In the late spring of 1940 the Luftwaffe had lost some 2,600 planes, and the British almost as many, but what Germany underestimated was that Britain was by now manufacturing far more planes than they were. Germany's intention now was to repeat the combat missions as they had done previously, but this time they would do it with advanced numbers and attack much harder than before.
    "Our method of attack would this time be in far greater numbers than before. We still did not want to engage in aerial combat over English soil because that would mean a shorter stay in actual combat, and we had to make sure that we had enough fuel to get back to our bases. By engaging combat in mid channel it meant that we could dogfight for more than twice the time and not only was it only a short distance back to base, but if we ditched, our rescue would be guaranteed.
    If we attacked in large numbers, then we know that the RAF would detect this and we would draw greater numbers of fighters from their bases, then we would bring in a second wave that would give us an absolute advantage.
    Adolph Galland speaking on the onslaught of the August attacks.

    So, was Keith Park correct when he said "...the blighters are up to something". Little did he know that this time he was to be proved correct. The lull of the last few days was not to happen for a long while to come, but like the Luftwaffe the pilots and aircrew had been rested and aircraft production had been increased and Park had now many planes at his disposal. Soon, on this day August 8th, the first day of the second phase of the battle, seven squadrons from 11 Group and two from 10 Group would be engaged in fierce combat that would prove costly to the RAF, said by many as the first day of the 'real Battle of Britain'.

    On August 7th Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring had earlier called a top level meeting at his headquarters. "Things are from now on going to very different" he said obviously quite excited after returning from an all important Karinhall conference, "we are now going to attack their airfields". But any plans for an attack on British airfields on August 8th were thrown out of the window.

    One of the reasons for a period of lull in the last few weeks was because of the lack of British shipping in the Channel. But the 8th of August saw a huge British shipping convoy of about 25 merchant ships with armed Royal Navy escort being detected coming through the Straits of Dover and heading westwards towards the Atlantic Ocean. This was to be the first time for two weeks that a merchant convoy was going to attempt passage through the English Channel. The convoy had assembled at Southend the previous evening ready to pass through the Dover Straits during the hours of darkness en route for Swanage in Dorset. But the German radar Freya had picked them up, and it was a gift that was not to be missed. German torpedo boats attacked first in the half light of dawn, then out went the order to the 8th Flying Corps at Abbeville to send out all available Ju87 Stuka dive-bombers and the fighters based at the Luftwaffe 27 Group at Carquebut and Crepon and all aircraft to set course for the British convoy CW9 codenamed "Peewit" by the RAF. In all, some 300 Ju87's and 150 Bf109s took to the air and planned to attack the convoy during the early morning.
    The British sailors who died this day were the victims of two aspects of stupidity. Firstly, the coastal convoys, carrying domestic cargoes, were still being sent through the dangerous waters of the Channel (instead of the goods going by railway, as they did later). Secondly, the Admiralty, in spite of endless evidence, refused to allow for the fact that the Germans might have excellent radar.
    Len Deighton Fighter 1977 Pluriform Publishing p147

    Fighter Command of the RAF could see what was happening through the 'eyes of the defence system' the radar. On the large table that lay before them, Dowding and Park could see that something was 'brewing', the number that the girl in WAAF uniform placed a large number next to the position in the channel off the French coast. It was a larger number than usual, "I wonder what the bastards are up to" came the remark, "Alert Kenley and Biggin" said Park with enthusiastic authority "we need at least four or five squadrons at least". So the nerve centre at Fighter Command became the height of activity and under the circumstances we shall disturb them no further.

    41 Squadron down in the south from Catterick (Spitfires), 64 Squadron Kenley (Spitfires), 65 Squadron Hornchurch (Spitfires) and 610 Squadron Biggin Hill (Spitfires) scrambled immediately and headed for the Channel to intercept the German formation. The torpedo boats had sank three ships and damaged another three before full light of the morning. The RAF managed to meet the Luftwaffe onslaught before they reached the convoy, and the ensuing dogfight cost the RAF four Spitfires with all pilots killed except one who managed to bale out, two others were damaged and were forced to return to base while another is reported to have crash landed on the Kent coast. The German losses were only one Bf109 shot down and its pilot failing to bail out, four others tried to make it back to base but crash landed in Northern France while another did manage to get back to its base but with considerable damage. Only one ship received damage by one of the Ju87 Stukas that managed to get through, but with the onset of low cloud and the defences of the Royal Navy and the Spitfires that circled above the 70,000 ton convoy "Peewit" continued its journey.

    Further down the coast, the convoy ran into better weather, the low cloud had dispersed and the waters of the Channel were bathed in brilliant sunshine. Sperle had ordered Stuka and Bf109 Squadrons from his Luftwaffe 3 bases to attack and destroy "Peewit" just off the Isle of Wight. The order went out to attack, and the Ju87's caused severe damage to the large convoy. Fighter Command picked up the action and immediately sent 145 Squadron Westhampnett/Tangmere (Hurricanes), 257 Squadron Northolt (Hurricanes), 609 Squadron Middle Wallop (Spitfires) and 238 Squadron Middle Wallop (Hurricanes) to meet the Luftwaffe who were already engaged with the convoy. By the time that the RAF fighters arrived, the Stukas were low on fuel and ammunition and had to return to their bases, but in the ensuing dogfight that followed between the Bf109's and the Spitfires and Hurricanes of the RAF was intense.

    We climbed to 16,000 feet, and looking down, saw a large formation of Ju 87s approaching from the South with Me 109S stepped up behind to 20,000 feet. We approached unobserved out of the sun and went in to attack the rear Ju 87s before the enemy fighters could interfere. I gave a five-second burst to one bomber and broke off to engage two Me 109s. There was a dog-fight. The enemy fighters, which were painted silver, were half rolling, diving and zooming in climbing turns. I fired two five-second bursts at one and saw it dive into the sea. Then I followed another up in a zoom and got him as he stalled.
    S/Ldr J.R.A Peel 145 Squadron Westhampnett describing the action off the Isle of Wight

    Many of the pilots that took to the skies that day could only be classed as 'green', once upon a time it took at least six months to train a fighter pilot, in these hard fought days when Dowding needed every pilot and aircraft that he could lay his hands on, a pilot training period was just four weeks. Many missed out on essential training in navigation, hence after many a dogfight they became so disorientated that they didn't know which way was the way home. Others had no proper training as to take off's and landings and were ridiculed by the more experienced pilots. This was typical of 238 Squadron based at Middle Wallop who were scrambled to intercept the "Peewit" mission, the Squadron was formed so quickly and with much haste that the pilots had never even flown a training flight together and this was to be their inauguration into fighter combat, that's being thrown in at the deep end for sure. What happened was that as soon as the German formation was spotted over the Channel, they immediately opened fire and dashed in guns blazing, yet the enemy was still three quarters of a mile away.
    "I was hit in the instrument panel and in the engine, thick white steam and plumes of black oil rushed past the canopy of my aircraft and much of it managed to enter the cockpit, maybe my controls had been shattered also as I had no control over the now fast descending aircraft. The waters of the Channel were fast coming towards me, I knew that the situation was hopeless. I managed to throw back the cockpit hood and took all the necessary precautions for a crash landing in the water. It was my good fortune that I was approaching the water at an angle so as to make a belly landing, had I been diving straight down, it would have not been possible to survive. I prepared myself for the impact, then suddenly I was pushed forwards and my arms cushioned the impact as a wall of white water engulfed my 109 and the icy waters seemed to cut me in half. I jumped from the aircraft almost before it had come to a standstill, and within one minute the tail of the aircraft rose dramatically and the Bf109 slid head first to the bottom.
    By the time I was hit, I estimated my position at about thirty miles to the north west of Cherbourg, so I fumbled for the fluorescine marker dye that would disperse a yellow green dye around me making it easy to see for our rescue craft.
    Hauptmann Werner Andres No.2 Wing 27 Fighter Group

    Many of the Bf109's started to return to base, low fuel and ammunition being a prime consideration, we must remember that both Stukas and the fighter cover had earlier attacked the convoy off Weymouth. But by this time at about 1630hrs, more than 89 Ju87 Stukas had arrived on the scene that were escorted by 70 Bf109's and Me110's to destroy "Peewit". Goering was now true to his word, he would be sending aircraft in vast numbers to attack, and to draw out the RAF. With some aircraft of 145 Squadron returning to base to refuel and rearm, they were again scrambled along with 43 squadron Tangmere (Hurricanes) and headed to the south of the Isle of Wight to engage the reassembled Stukas and fighters.

    Although the RAF had sent out more aircraft than usual, they had not put into the air the amount of aircraft that Goering had expected, in fact for every two German planes, there was only one RAF fighter. For the Merchant Navy, it was a disastrous result, as the Spitfires and Hurricanes were forced to dogfight with the Bf109's, only the occasional one managing to make an attack on a Stuka. Therefore, the Ju87's constantly bombarded the convoy almost at will. Debris from the convoy scattered the Channel for miles, burnt out hulks of the merchantmen bellowing palls of thick black smoke that could be seen for miles. Further explosions came from the ships as they were left to die where they were, life jackets bobbed up and down in the chilly waters and many men, clinging to pieces of debris, life jackets and life rafts tried desperately to avoid the many slicks of burning oil that lay on the surface.

    The RAF had lost 13 Hurricanes in defending "Peewit", five others suffered damage including one that was to make a forced landing. Only one Spitfire was destroyed while two others sustained damage. But the action saw 13 RAF pilots killed with three sustaining severe injuries. It was 145 Squadron from Westhampnett in the Tangmere Sector that suffered the worst for the day, five pilots were killed and their aircraft destroyed.
    The Luftwaffe fared no better, they too had a high attrition rate. They lost a total of 8 Bf109's, one Bf110, and 7 Ju87 Stukas although two 109s, five 110s, and eleven Ju87's sustained damage many of them being past repair and they became spare parts for the Luftwaffe. But it was the convoy Peewit that had suffered most. Of the 23 ships that had commenced the journey the previous night, only four had managed to limp into either Poole and Portsmouth harbours without damage.

    It was a costly business for both sides in the "Peewit" battle, especially as it was an unplanned battle, it was really just that "Peewit" was a target of opportunity that the Luftwaffe could not resist and that Fighter Command were obligated to respond.

    0905hrs. Sth of Isle of Wight. Hurricane P2955. 145 Squadron Westhampnett. (Crashed in Channel)
    P/O L.A. Sears Missing. (Last seen in combat with Bf109's, failed to return to base)
    0915hrs. Sth of Isle of Wight. Hurricane P3381. 145 Squadron Westhampnett. (Crashed in Channel)
    Sgt E.D. Baker Missing. (Last seen in combat with Ju87's and Me110's, failed to return to base)
    1140hrs. Manston. Spitfire K9911. 65 Squadron Hornchurch. (Aircraft destroyed)
    Sgt D.I. Kirton Killed. (Hit by gunfire from Bf109 and crashed in flames near airfield)
    1145hrs. Manston. Spitfire K9905. 65 Squadron Hornchurch. (Aircraft destroyed)
    F/Sgt N.T. Phillips Killed. (Shot down by Bf109 and crashed in flames)
    1155hrs. Ramsgate. Blenheim L8665. 600 Squadron Manston. (Went down in flames off beach)
    F/O D.N. Grice, Sgt F.D.Keast, AC1 J.B.W.Warren. All killed after pilot avoided town and crashed into sea)
    1200hrs. St Catherines Point. Hurricane R4094. 257 Squadron Northolt. (Presumed crashed into Channel)
    Sgt K.B. Smith. Missing. (Failed to return to base after action over Channel protecting convoy CW9)
    1200hrs. St Catherines Point. Hurricane P2981. 257 Squadron Northolt. (Crashed into Channel)
    F/Lt N.M. Hall Killed. (Hit by gunfire from Bf109, crashed into sea)
    1205hrs. Dover. Spitfire L1039. 64 Squadron Kenley. (Aircraft destroyed)
    P/O P.F. Kennard-Davies Died of Injuries. (Hit by enemy gunfire, baled out but sustained serious burns)
    1205hrs. St Catherines Point. Hurricane P3058. 257 Squadron Northolt. (Presumed crashed into Channel)
    F/O B.W.J D'Arcy-Irvine Missing. (Last seen in combat with Bf109's over Channel, failed to return)
    1245hrs. Sth of Isle of Wight. Hurricane P3823. 238 Squadron Middle Wallop. (Crashed in Channel)
    F/L D.E Turner Missing. (Shot down while engaging enemy over convoy CW9, failed to return to base)
    1250hrs. Off Isle of Wight. Hurricane P3617. 238 Squadron Middle Wallop. (Crashed into Channel)
    F/O D.C. MacCaw Killed. (Shot down while engaging enemy over convoy CW9, crashed into sea)
    1640hrs. Off Isle of Wight. Hurricane P2957**. 145 Squadron Westhampnett. (Crashed in Channel)
    P/O E.C.J. Wakeham Missing. (Last seen in combat with Ju87's and Me110's, failed to return to base)
    1640hrs. Sth of Isle of Wight. Hurricane P3163. 145 Squadron Westhampnett. (Crashed into Channel)
    F/O Lord R.U.P Kay-Shuttleworth Missing. (Failed to return after combat over convoy CW9)
    1645hrs. Sth of Isle of Wight. Hurricane P3545. 145 Squadron Westhampnett. (Crashed into Channel)
    S/Lt F.A. Smith Missing. (Shot down in attacking Ju87's but possibly hit by gunfire from by Bf109)
    1645hrs. Sth of Isle of Wight. Hurricane P3781. 43 Squadron Tangmere. (Crashed into Channel)
    P/O J. Cruttenden Missing. (Hit by enemy gunfire and crashed into the sea)
    1645hrs. Sth of Isle of Wight. Hurricane P3468. 43 Squadron Tangmere. (Crashed into Channel)
    P/O J.R.S. Oelofse Killed. (Hit by enemy gunfire and crashed into the sea)
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  18. Juha

    Juha Junior Member

    Len Deighton is wrong at least in the respect that in reality the CW convoys were vital to the British economy and they continued at a steady pace until May 1944, in all approx. 270 convoys. The capacity of the British railways would not have been sufficient to replace them with rail transport. See Arnold Hague convoy database - CW convoys (
  19. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    FRIDAY 9 AUGUST 1940
    Quiet with isolated raids on east coast shipping.
    Night: Minelaying and attacks off east coast.

    Weather: Cloudy with showers, some bright intervals. Channel still cloudy.

    Main Activity:

    At 1140 hours, a lone He 111 of 7./KG 26 attacked the Sunderland shipyard, killing four civilians and injuring seventy-eight. The bomber was intercepted and shot down by Hurricanes of No. 79 Squadron.

    At about 1430 hours, Hurricanes from Nos. 234 and 601 Squadrons intercepted and shot down a Ju 88 of 5.(K)/LG 1 over Falmouth.

    At 1650 hours, Bf 109s of JG 51 approached Dover and attempted to shoot down barrage balloons without success. They were seen off by Spitfires of No. 64 Squadron.

    German Losses
    Airmen: 13 | Aircraft: 6

    British Losses
    Airmen: 1 | Aircraft: 3

    Hurricane L2103, No. 605 Squadron. Crashed into sea.
    Sgt R.D. Ritchie. Killed. Crashed into sea after aircraft had glycol leak. Rescued by boat, pilot dead.
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  20. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery
    Shipping and overland reconnaissance.
    Night: Minelaying.

    Weather: Squally and thundery, some bright intervals. Channel cloudy.

    Note: This was the date set by Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring for the commencement of Adlertag (Eagle Day) but poor weather forced a postponement.

    Main Activity:

    At 0730 hours, a lone Do 17 crossed the coast at Pevensey and attacked the aerodrome at West Malling, injuring ten civilians. Hurricanes of No. 501 Squadron attempted to intercept but lost the bomber in the bad weather.

    German Losses
    Airmen: 1 | Aircraft: 1

    British Losses
    Airmen: 0 | Aircraft: 0
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