Battle of Britain diary

colin m

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9th July 1940.

It's the eve of the accepted start date, of the Battle of Britain. That's not to say thing were quiet. Kanalkampf - the channel battles had been under way since early July, with the first major attack taking place 4th July. Of course, tomorrow would be very different.


What I would like to see in this thread is, if, during your research for your BoB build, you come across a notable event, please post what you have found, on that actual day, in this thread. Just actual Battle of Britain events please, not details of your build.

If you are not taking part in the Battle of Britain group build, but still have an entry you would like to make, please do so. All are welcome.
 
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AlanG

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For my build i chose an aircraft that was shot down on the 30th September. Nearly the very end of the battle. I tried to do a little research into that day and this is what i found.

In the afternoon of the 30th the Germans sent across two waves of bombers and their escorts. This consisted of about 200 aircraft in each wave. The weather wasn't the past glorious sunshine filled days that they had fought under for the last few weeks and months. It was a cloudy day which in those days meant that bombing wasn't very accurate. The Germans had a radio beacon device they used for bombing in unfavourable weather. But through the mis-use of it by the flight commander the Germans missed their intended target, London, and bombed open ground. All the way there and back they were attacked by constant waves of Allied fighters. With the fighters being ordered to stay with the bombers (as mentioned in the film), the constant attacks using up precious fuel, and the extended flying time due to the bombing 'cock-up' and a navigational error by the bomber commander. Many of the escort 109s were very low on fuel for the return flight 'home'. Many of the 109s were forced to ditch.

That day 238 Sqn had a new Flight Commander, Bob Doe DFC. He had just transferred in from 234 Sqn two days previous. This was his first combat in a Hurricane. His first kill in the Hurricane was a He111 from KG55 on this very day.

The day ended up very badly for the Germans. The Luftwaffe lost 43 aircraft in total. Fourteen bombers, one Bf110 and twenty-eight Bf109s. This was the heaviest days loss of single seat fighters throughout the whole battle thus far.
Unteroffizier Ernst Poschenrieder's Bf109 E4/B was one of the four aircraft lost by JG53 that day

Fighter Command lost nineteen aircraft

On this day. His majesty the King, named Hugh Caswall Tremenheere Dowding as Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Bath.
 

colin m

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For my build i chose an aircraft that was shot down on the 30th September. Nearly the very end of the battle. I tried to do a little research into that day and this is what i found.

In the afternoon of the 30th the Germans sent across two waves of bombers and their escorts. This consisted of about 200 aircraft in each wave. The weather wasn't the past glorious sunshine filled days that they had fought under for the last few weeks and months. It was a cloudy day which in those days meant that bombing wasn't very accurate. The Germans had a radio beacon device they used for bombing in unfavourable weather. But through the mis-use of it by the flight commander the Germans missed their intended target, London, and bombed open ground. All the way there and back they were attacked by constant waves of Allied fighters. With the fighters being ordered to stay with the bombers (as mentioned in the film), the constant attacks using up precious fuel, and the extended flying time due to the bombing 'cock-up' and a navigational error by the bomber commander. Many of the escort 109s were very low on fuel for the return flight 'home'. Many of the 109s were forced to ditch.

That day 238 Sqn had a new Flight Commander, Bob Doe DFC. He had just transferred in from 234 Sqn two days previous. This was his first combat in a Hurricane. His first kill in the Hurricane was a He111 from KG55 on this very day.

The day ended up very badly for the Germans. The Luftwaffe lost 43 aircraft in total. Fourteen bombers, one Bf110 and twenty-eight Bf109s. This was the heaviest days loss of single seat fighters throughout the whole battle thus far.
Fighter Command lost nineteen aircraft

On this day. His majesty the King, named Hugh Caswall Tremenheere Dowding as Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Bath.
That is absolutely perfect Alan, but for one small detail. It should be posted on the 30th September, just like, in a diary.
 

AlanG

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A minor technicality and i'm dyslexic. So it all counts :smiling3: lol
 

colin m

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A minor technicality and i'm dyslexic. So it all counts :smiling3: lol
Very good. But what you have there is perfect, just the sort of information/detail we don't often get to see. That is the sort of post we need. But I do realise (for anyone else reading) it's unlikely, detail of this level can be posted every day. But then again...…………..
 

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9th July 1940

Spitfires of No. 54 Squadron forced down a He 59 which alighted on the sea as soon as they attacked. One of its crew, Gunther Maywald, was wounded. The Heinkel was taken under tow and beached near Walmer lifeboat station.

This event was contentious as the He 29 was painted white all over, bore prominent red crosses, was unarmed and clearly an air sea rescue aircraft. The British contended that these aircraft were acting as reconnaissance aircraft, reporting the position of British shipping. This the Germans would vigorously deny, and there is little evidence to support the accusation. This particular aircraft was searching for the pilot of a Bf 109 reported to have gone down in the Channel earlier in the day.

He 59, D-ASUO, beached on the shore of Kent.

IMG_2222.JPG

I won't necessarily find something for every day, but I'll try to find something a little unusual or unexpected when I can.

Cheers

Steve
 

stona

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July 10 1940

The first combat of the official Battle of Britain takes place off Southampton when three Hurricanes of No. 145 Squadron intercept a Do17 P reconnaissance aircraft of 2(F)/11 at 05.10 a.m.
'Red 1', Squadron Leader Dutton, would claim the Dornier destroyed (shared with 'Red 2', Pilot Officer Yule) but in fact it returned to Cherbourg where it was noted as 30% damaged. This was a problem that would dog the intelligence officers of all air forces throughout the war. Dutton was convinced he had shot down the Dornier, but he had not.

The last 'combat' of the Battle's first day took place at 18.20 when one of three Hurricanes of No.111 Squadron, which had been tasked to investigate unidentified aircraft, was attacked by one of those aircraft, which were identified as Spitfires. P3676, flown by P/O Fisher was damaged by 'friendly fire'. According to 111's ORB bullets passed through both wings and petrol tanks and ripped the tailplane. 'Friendly fire' was another problem that would dog all air forces throughout the war.

The first RAF casualty of the Battle was 22 year old Sergeant Ian Clenshaw. Flying a 'dawn patrol' on the morning of the 10th, he lost control of his Hurricane in bad weather, crashing fatally near Irby on the Humber.
23 year old Flying Officer Thomas Higgs, mentioned in Alan's excellent post, and who bailed out of his Hurricane (P3671) off Dungeness, was the first RAF pilot of the Battle to die in action. Higgs was a Lancashire lad, born in Oldham.
 
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AlanG

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July 10 1940

Convoy codenamed 'Bread'was passing through the Straits of Dover when it was spotted. A force of Do17s from KG2 was sent out to attack it. Given an escort of Bf110 from III./ZG26 with free ranging Bf109s from JG51.
A flight 32 Sqn from Biggen Hill was given the task to protect the convoy. When the German attackers were spotted by radar, 56, 111 and 74 Sqns were scrambled to meet the Germans. 64 Sqn would later join in to help finish the attackng on the raid.

111 Sqn went into the battle line abreast. Flying Officer Higgs was flying one of the Hurricanes. His Hurricane hit one of the Do17s with it's wing. Higgs bailed out as his Hurricane crashed into the sea. Sadly his body was recovered at Noordwijk on the Dutch coast in August over 4 weeks later.
The Do17 that he hit was commanded by Staffelkapitan of 3./KG2, Hauptmann Kriegar. It crashed near to the Dungeness Bouy. Kriegar and another crew member survived. The other two were killed.

The raid finished with German losses of: KG2 losing three Do17s, ZG26 losing three Bf110s and JG51 losing one Bf109. The Allies lost one fighter, F/O Higgs.
 

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July 10 1940

A little story of British pomp and bluster.

After a raid on Falmouth and Swansea by Ju88s from III./LG1, they sent across a lone Ju88 on a post-raid assessment. The royal Observer Corps spotted the Ju88 and reported it to the training airfield, Stormy Down.
Stormy Down was under the command of Wing commander Ira 'Taffy' Jones, an RFC veteran who had claimed forty kills when flying with 74 Sqn in WWI. Jones saw the 'blighter' and took off in an unarmed Hawker Henley which was used for target towing. He positioned himself up-sun and dived on the Ju88 from 15,000ft. Jones knowing he was unarmed grabbed the only 'weapon' he had. A Very pistol. He fired it at the German aircraft, watching the flares fall down in front of the Ju88. It worked and the German dived and headed for home. Jones followed it until the German rear gunner obviously stopping laughing, opened fire on him. Jones saw common sense and broke off his 'attack' and headed home too.
 

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Thursday 11 July

Drizzle and mist over SE England and East Anglia with a cloud base of 5,000 feet. Worse over the Norfolk coast with cloud down to 600 feet and visibility of 200 yards. Sounds like a nice July day!

Two pilots who would become household names got into the action, with rather different results.

Squadron Leader Bader was ordered off to intercept a raid and at 06.00 found a Do 17, half a mile of the coast from Cromer. He attacked head on and then made a second attack from astern. He claimed to have hit the enemy aircraft but did not see the results of his attack due to poor visibility. The Do 17 from Werkusta 26, which was on a weather reconnaissance mission, was confirmed to have crashed into the sea off Cromer by the Observer Corps.

Squadron Leader Townsend was ordered off at 05.30 to investigate a raid, but drew a blank. He continued patrolling a line between Martlesham and Felixstowe and, at 06.30 spotted a Do 17 ahead and above him. Townsend found he could not overtake the Dornier and attacked from behind. He claimed the Dornier damaged, but was himself shot down by return fire from the rear gunner. Townsend abandoned his Hurricane and parachuted into the sea, three miles off Felixstowe. He was picked up by RN trawler ‘Cap Finisterre’ and taken to Yarmouth. The Do 17, U5+GM of 4./KG2, returned to base with 50% damage and three wounded crew.

Also today a Bf 100 C of 9./ZG 76 dived vertically into a cliff near Portland, Dorset, killing the crew of Uffz. Albert Zimmerman and Obltn Hans-Joachim Goering. The latter was the youngest nephew of Herman Goering. This aircraft was probably a victim of one of the three Hurricanes of Blue Flight, No.87 Squadron, which was part of the RAF response to a raid on the RN base at Portland carried out by 15 Ju 87s escorted by 40 Bf 110s.

An unarmed He 59 of Seenotflugdo 1, painted white and clearly marked with red crosses in accordance with international law, was shot down into the Channel while on an air sea rescue mission. The crew of four took to a dinghy and were picked up on the following day near the Channel Islands.
 
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AlanG

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Thursday 11 July

Squadron Leader Townsend was ordered off at 05.30 to investigate a raid, but drew a blank. He continued patrolling a line between Martlesham and Felixstowe and, at 06.30 spotted a Do 17 ahead and above him. Townsend found he could not overtake the Dornier and attacked from behind. He claimed the Dornier damaged, but was himself shot down by return fire from the rear gunner. Townsend abandoned his Hurricane and parachuted into the sea, three miles off Felixstowe. He was picked up by RN trawler ‘Cap Finisterre’ and taken to Yarmouth. The Do 17, U5+GM of 4./KG2, returned to base with 50% damage and three wounded crew.
Peter Townsend recounts this action in his book - Duel of Eagles page 263 onwards (a great read btw). Do17m Y 5 GM "Gustav Marie" was crewed by Oberleutnant Genzow, Leutnant Bernschein, Feldwebel Lohrer and Werner Borner. Peter's Hurricane was lettered VY-K and had been his Hurricane since he had arrived on 85 Sqn.
Whilst fleeing after the action with Townsend. The crew of Gustav Marie tried to jettison the remaining 10 bombs that had 'hung up' due to damage from the attack. These bombs probably saved the crews lives as they had deflected alot of the rounds hitting the aircraft, saving the crrew compartment.
Unable to jettison the bombs and unable to lower the undercarriage, Gustav Marie had to belly-land with the bombs still on board. It was later discovered that the Do17 "Gustav Marie" had over 220 bullet hits in the engines, fuels tanks and other vital parts.
 

AlanG

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July 11 1940

A Do17 of Fliegerkorps VIII spotted five steamers and a warship 15km SW of Portland. Forty-four Ju87 Stukas were sent from I. and III./StG2 to attack them. These were escorted by eight Bf109s from III./JG27.
Three Hurricanes from 501 Sqn were on patrol over the ships and were bounced by the 109s. One Hurricane was shot down. Six Spitfires from 609 Sqn arrived to help out their comrades but by the time they had arrived the 109s had again gained height and bounced them. This time they shot down two Spitfires.
No Stukas were hit and they suceeded in sinking the armed yacht HMS Warrior.
 

AlanG

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July 11 1940

Stukas from StG2 obviously happy after their previous mission in the morning launched another attack on the ships. This time their protection was entrusted to Bf110s from III./ZG76.
Six Hurricanes from 601 Sqn at Tangmere came up to meet them and once it was determined the extent of the raid, 87 and 238 Sqns were scrambled.
The Hurricanes caught the Ju87s at sea level whilst their escorts were far above them. Before the Bf110s could react the Hurricanes shot down one Ju87. The Bf110s joined the fight and a dogfight ensued.

In the action that followed III./ZG76 lost four Bf110s. One of them was of special significance. One of them was flown by Oberleutnant Hans-Joachim Goring, the Reichsmarschall's nephew. His Bf110 crashed on Verne Heights overlooking Portland Harbour.
 

AlanG

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July 11 1940

Flight Lieutenant Al Deere was leading six Spitfires of B Flight 54 Sqn over the coast of Deal. He spotted a He 59 being 'escorted' by twelve Bf109s from II./JG51. Deere's Red Section dove down to attack the Bf109s whilst Allen's Yellow Section dealt with the He 59. The He59 was shot down by P/O Johnny Allen. Then Al Deere 'ran' into trouble himself. Deere found himself heading straight towards a Bf109. They both opened fire but Deere could not evade the Bf109 heading at him. Within seconds they collided, with the Bf109 heading just over Deere's cockpit. The contact bent the propellers backwards and smashed his vertical stabiliser and rudder. This forced Deere to crash land in a field near to Manston.
The Intelligence Officer back at base put down in the report that Deere had rammed the Bf109 due to lack of ammunition. Deere observed that he "Might be mad. But he's not that mad"

(Extracts from Nine Lives - Alan C Deere and The Most Dangerous Enemy - Stephen Bungay)
 

colin m

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@AlanG @stona Brilliant input people. This is better than anything I was hoping for. I can only find basic on line information. Please do keep up the good work.
 

AlanG

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Colin

I have quite a few books on the BoB but unfortunetly quite a few don't mention dates. they just recall certain battles. I'm sure i'll miss quite a few dates but that's not to say anything wasn't happening.
 

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@AlanG @stona Brilliant input people. This is better than anything I was hoping for. I can only find basic on line information. Please do keep up the good work.
I've got quite a lot of stuff on the Battle. At the moment I'm mainly using the day by day, combat by combat accounts in Simon Parry's series 'Battle of Britain Combat Archive' and also Nigel Parker's series 'Luftwaffe Crash Archive'. 'The Battle of Britain Then and Now' is also a good source, along with various other accounts like Patrick Bishop's 'Battle of Britain - a day by day chronicle'. Dilip Sarkar's 'The Few' contains a lot of pilot accounts, as, obviously do various pilot memoirs.

The problem is picking a few tasty titbits from the banquet of information!

Hopefully the ones I stick in here will be of a general, if passing interest :smiling3:

Cheers

Steve
 

AlanG

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A few books i don't have there Steve. Best i start looking on Amazon :smiling3:
 
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