Battle of Britain diary

Laurie

SMF Supporter
Joined
Sep 8, 2016
Messages
471
Points
93
First Name
Laurie
Just to show things at that time were normal for some young fellow. Who could that be.

Great old bike.

The chicken coop was to the right with 12 chickens laying some lovely eggs.

Look close & you will see the chicken wire to form an enclosure for the chickens to free roam in the garden.

1600033750854.jpeg
 

adt70hk

I know its a bit sad but I like quickbuild kits!!!
SMF Supporter
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
1,106
Points
113
First Name
Andrew
Great picture Laurie. Whilst my my mum was only born in 1944 and so doesn't remember the war she does remember the post war rationing. The look on my kids faces when she explained that meant a limited supply of sweets was a picture.

ATB

Andrew
 

stona

SMF Supporter
Joined
Jul 22, 2008
Messages
8,756
Points
113
First Name
Steve
Saturday 14 September

Showers, some thunder and dense cloud over much of the country.

Once again, the weather gods seemed to be favouring the defence. Since the launch of the Luftwaffe’s assault on London, on 7 September, only one day, the 8th had had anything like good flying weather. Most days had either bad or marginal weather.

In the morning, despite the weather, the Luftwaffe attacked targets on the south coast. KG 1 attacked south coast RDF stations, causing enough disruption that two small groups of bombers appeared over Brighton and Eastbourne unopposed, their bombs killing or injuring 60 people on the ground.

In the afternoon, the Luftwaffe decided that though marginal, the weather over its airfields was good enough to mount significant raids.

At 16.30 the bomb carrying Bf 109s of II.(S)/LG 2, escorted by about 150 Bf 109s from JG 26, JG 27, JG 51, JG 54 and JG 77 headed for London. The large number of aircraft, and British experience from a few days before, provoked a significant response, Twenty two squadrons from 11 Group and another five from 12 Group were scrambled, more than 320 British fighters. Most blundered about in the clouds and failed to locate the enemy formations. The cloud hampered the Germans too, accurate bombing was impossible, and bombs were scattered over the suburbs, killing 49 people in the Richmond and Wimbledon areas of S W London.

Shortly after 18.00 the Luftwaffe tried again. This time seven formations each comprising twenty to thirty aircraft, again almost entirely fighters, crossed the coast between Dover and Lympne, headed it seemed for London, or possibly the 11 Group airfields which had been spared in recent days. Ten of 11 Groups squadrons were sent to head off the raids and enough made contact this time to turn them back, though the air fighting was intense, given the conditions.

At the end of the day the British had lost 11 aircraft in combat with 9 more damaged (2 by ‘friendly’ fire, both Hurricanes attacked by Spitfires). The Luftwaffe had lost just 8 aircraft with a further 7 returning damaged.

Tonight, the Luftwaffe operations were certainly curtailed by the inclement weather. London was bombed again, and bombs fell on Leicester too.

Today Goering had been in Berlin for a conference with Hitler and the OKW. This may have contributed to his decision to order today’s operations, despite the weather. Though Hitler was careful to commend Goering’s efforts it was clear that daylight air superiority had not been achieved. The decision, supposed to be taken today, for the implementation of Operation Sealion was delayed, until the 17 September. The Germans misinterpreted the fragmented response of Fighter Command today for weakness, when in fact it was due to the poor weather. They could not be aware of the 300 British fighters which had failed to intercept their raid(s) in the murky conditions. Hitler, echoing Goering on ‘Adlertag’, reckoned that five days good weather would be enough to finish off the RAF. The Germans had always had time constraints and now time was running out.

No 19 Squadrons Operations Record Book commented on the lack of action, observing that the enemy must be “Saving up for ‘Der Tag’”. This was prophetic, as tomorrow would show.
 

Laurie

SMF Supporter
Joined
Sep 8, 2016
Messages
471
Points
93
First Name
Laurie
Great picture Laurie. Whilst my my mum was only born in 1944 and so doesn't remember the war she does remember the post war rationing. The look on my kids faces when she explained that meant a limited supply of sweets was a picture.

ATB

Andrew
Thanks Andrew. I posted it in as it shows that while all goes on in the sky life in England did carry on. My sister was only a baby. Yet family life continued.

Actually it was not until after the war & probably 18 months before sweets appeared. Pear drop things. Amazing cough sweets appeared at the end of the war. People were buying them up like crazy. Yucky things. Then liquorice sticks appeared & then catherine wheel black liquorice. On a limited pocket money they went down well as they were cheap.

1600075989155.png
 
Last edited:

stona

SMF Supporter
Joined
Jul 22, 2008
Messages
8,756
Points
113
First Name
Steve
Sunday 15 September

Fine with some cloud patches.

Today, like 7 September, I have divided the events into several parts. So much happened today, more than 550 RAF fighters engaged the enemy, that it has been impossible to include all the detail of every operation. As before, the best I can hope for is that a good overall impression of what was to be another of the critical days of the Battle can be given.

BATTLE OF BRITAIN DAY, PART ONE
So here we are, one of the most important days in British history. The weather has finally cleared and a decisive battle will be fought in the skies of England today.

This morning, by coincidence, Park received a visit from Churchill, accompanied by his wife and a private secretary, at his Uxbridge control room. Churchill made it clear he did not want to disturb anyone but had called to see if ‘anything was up’. If it was not the Prime Minister said, ‘I’ll just sit in the car and do my homework.’ Park invited the ministerial party down to the Operations Room, fifty feet below street level. Churchill wrote later, with the benefit of hindsight, that he sensed something important might happen today.

Across the Channel the Luftwaffe was in confident mood. Orders were issued for another all out assault on London. Today the Luftwaffe planned two heavy raids on London, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The Fighter Command response, particularly yesterday, had convinced the Germans that Fighter Command was on its last breath, the reality was rather different.

Nos 11 and 12 Groups, with their Class A squadrons were effectively at the same strength as they had been when the Luftwaffe had begun operations in July. The adjacent 10 Group did comprise more Class B and a few Class C squadrons but was still in a position to furnish fully operational squadrons on 11 Group’s western flank. Only No 13 Group was significantly under strength. Many of its squadrons, safe in the north of England since Luftflotte 5’s ill advised excursion on ‘Black Thursday’, were really non-operational training units.

THE SCENE IS SET.
Due to the weather forecast, Park had one full squadron at each Sector Station at readiness (ready to be airborne in five minutes) from first light. Small patrols, usually a section of three aircraft in strength, were mounted along the south and east coasts, chasing off or shooting down some Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft. No 87 Squadron was one that claimed an He 111.

10.30 saw unequivocal evidence of a large build-up of enemy aircraft over the Pas de Calais. The raid comprised about 30 bombers from KG 76, 22 fighter bombers from II.(S)/LG 2, at least 120 Bf 109s from JG 3, JG 27, JG 52 and JG 53 and all available Bf 110s, bringing the total escort force to a strength of about 200 fighters. Park, watching the build-up, ruled out any possibility that this was a feint and correctly guessed that the intended target was London. Unlike 7 September, Fighter Command would be in the right place at the right time. Park’s plan was always to engage the raiders early, forcing the escorts into fuel sapping combat, rendering the bombers more and more vulnerable as they approached the target. It required careful timing and, frankly, an element of luck. Today Park had both.

10.55 and all of 11 Group’s squadrons were at readiness. Nos 10 and 12 Groups had been notified of developments and have been asked to be ready to provide reinforcements. Aircraft on patrol were ordered to land and refuel.

11.00 and the van of the German formation approached the coast near Folkestone. The leading British squadrons were the Spitfires of Nos 92 and 72, up from Biggin Hill. Park waited for ten minutes before sending off his second wave of squadrons from bases around London. Nos 229 and 303 from Northolt, 253 and 501 from Kenley, 17 and 73 from Debden, 504 from Hendon, 257 from Martlesham and 603 from Hornchurch, nine more squadrons, all took off to join the fray. Five minutes later No 609 took off from Warmwell, tasked with protecting the southwestern approaches to the city and the entire Duxford Wing, now five squadrons, also left the ground. Ten minutes later another ten squadrons were scrambled to defensive positions above London, including Nos 1(RCAF), 66, 605, 46, 249, 222, 249 and 45. Park now had 27 squadrons airborne, more than 250 fighters. This total was far more than the Luftwaffe believed still existed in the entire metropolitan RAF.
 

stona

SMF Supporter
Joined
Jul 22, 2008
Messages
8,756
Points
113
First Name
Steve
BATTLE OF BRITAIN DAY PART TWO

LET BATTLE COMMENCE.

THE MORNING RAID.


At about 11.30 the Spitfires of Nos 72 and 92 Squadrons swung into the Luftwaffe formation over Maidstone, dragging some of the escort to engage with them. Within seconds No 603 also arrived, shooting down two Bf 109s. As more and more of the escorts were dragged into dogfights the Do 17s flew on, straight into Nos 501 and 253 Squadrons, which shot down two of the bombers. As the bombers flew on they were harried by a succession of Spitfire and Hurricane squadrons, this was not at all what the Luftwaffe airmen were expecting. Nos 303 (Polish) and 229 Squadrons, followed by three more Spitfire squadrons intercepted over the Medway. Another four Hurricane squadrons followed. As the bombers approached London, they found another six of Park’s 11 Group’s squadrons waiting for them. The Duxford Wing was also on its way, hoping not to be late to the party…again.

Over South London, No 504 Squadron saw enemy aircraft. S/Ldr John Sample remembered,

“The bombers were coming in towards London from the southeast and at first we could not tell how many were there. We opened our throttles and started to climb up towards them, aiming for a point well ahead, where we expected to contact them at their own height. As we converged, I saw that there were about twenty of them, and it looked as though it was going to be a nice party, for the other squadrons of Hurricanes and Spitfires also turned to join in. By the time we reached a position near the bombers, we were over London – Central London, I should say. We had gained a little height on them, too, so when I gave the order to attack we were able to dive on them from their right.”

Sgt Ray Holmes, who would famously collide with one of the Dorniers, remembered,

“The Dorniers didn’t fly particularly tight which was to their disadvantage. If they had done they’d have had better firepower to beat off the fighters. But our CO went at them in a quarter attack and more or less went through them and spread them out a bit.”

Bader and the Duxford Wing now arrived, too late to prevent the bombing, but in a perfect position, 3,000 feet above the bombers. The wing smashed into the flank of the formation just as it released its bombs and turned for home. Bombs were scattered in all directions, falling widely over south and central London.

For the Luftwaffe airmen these events had come as a nasty surprise, expecting little resistance they had been mauled all the way to the target.

Unteroffizier Hans Zonderlind, flying one of the Do 17s from III./KG 76 recalled,

“From the time that we came in over Maidstone until we reached the outskirts of London, we had been under extreme pressure. The British fighters had been with us since we had first crossed the English coast and their attacks grew in intensity all the time. Our escort had been doing a grand job with the Spitfires at keeping them away from us, and we thought that would things remain like this, then this bombing run would be an easy one.”

His optimism was misplaced, as more and more of the escorts were stripped away or forced to turn for home, low on fuel, more British fighters appeared.

“We saw the Hurricanes coming towards us and it seemed that the whole of the RAF was there, we had never seen so many British fighters coming at us at once. I saw a couple of our comrades go down, and we got hit once but it did no great damage. All around us were dogfights as the fighters went after each other, then as we were getting ready for our approach to the target, we saw what must have been a hundred RAF fighters coming at us. We thought that this must have been all the RAF planes up at once, but where were they coming from, as we had been told that the RAF fighters were very close to extinction.”

And now the bombers had to run another gauntlet of British fighters as they withdrew. Those withdrawing to the west were caught over Weybridge and then again further south. Those heading for the Thames Estuary fell foul of four Hurricane squadrons. The British had only shot down six German bombers and seven fighters in exchange for twelve of their fighters, but many of the Luftwaffe bombers had been badly shot up, returning damaged and with dead and wounded airmen onboard. The fighter units were also surprised by the ferocity of the British resistance. Hermann Neuhoff of III./JG 53 noted,

“The men and the NCOs were very critical when we returned to base. Had this been “the last fifty Spitfires” that our commanders had been talking about?”

As the bombers headed for home the British fighters returned to their bases to refuel and rearm. As they did so another force was assembling over northern France.
 

stona

SMF Supporter
Joined
Jul 22, 2008
Messages
8,756
Points
113
First Name
Steve
BATTLE OF BRITAIN DAY PART THREE

THE AFTERNOON RAID.


Goering’s plan hoped that the rapid arrival of a second raid would catch Fighter Command on the ground. Sadly for him, the work of Fighter Command’s often ignored and unsung heroes, the armourers, riggers, mechanics and others who made up its ground force ensured that every single squadron involved in the morning fighting was at readiness when the second assault began.

At 13.30 RDF plots again showed a large raid forming up over France and at 14.00 Park reacted by sending off eight squadrons to patrol in pairs over Sheerness, Chelmsford, Kenley and Hornchurch. Five minutes later he sent off four more squadrons, followed by another eight. Reinforcements were called in from 12 Group.

This time the German raid comprised 114 bombers, Do 17s from II. and III./KG 2 in the lead, followed by, in turn, 24 He 111s from I. and II./KG 53, 19 Do 17s from II./KG 3 and finally 28 He 111s from I. and II./KG 26, escorted by 360 fighters. Galland’s JG 26 and Molders’ JG 51 went out first making a fighter sweep between Dover and London. Major Günther Lutzow led his entire JG 3 on the top cover mission, to which also II./JG 2, I./JG 52, III./JG 53 and I.(J)/LG 2 were assigned. Major Trautloft led his Stabsstaffel and I./JG 54 on the close escort mission, which was shared with 20 Bf 110s from II./ZG 76 ‘Haifischgruppe’ and V.(Z)/LG 1.

At 14.15 the first German aircraft crossed the English coast near Dungeness. Over Romney Marsh Nos 41 and 603 Squadrons made the first attacks, shooting down two bombers before the escorting fighters could intervene. Just south of Maidstone (again!) No 73 Squadron met a formation of bombers whose escort had been pulled away and shot down three of them. Over Dartford Nos 66 and 72 Squadrons became involved in a fierce fight with a large formation of bombers and their escort and were shortly joined by four more squadrons. This formation was the first to waver. Some of the bombers turned to avoid the attacks, some turned for home. This is another incident shown slightly out of context in that film. No 303 (Polish) Squadron, with just nine Hurricanes, was the next to engage a formation over Gravesend, claiming two Bf 110s and several bombers for the loss of two of its own. Further west another of the German formations, about eighty strong was attacked by the Hurricanes of Nos 213 and 607 Squadrons from Tangmere, which claimed several of the bombers. Over Kent 170 British fighters had made contact with the German formations, turning back fifty of the bombers, but the escorts and remaining bombers forced their way on. Having run the gauntlet of London’s anti aircraft batteries and preparing to bomb they were confronted by another fifteen fighter squadrons, ten from 11 Group and the five from 12 Group’s Duxford Wing. Bader gave a characteristically exaggerated account of events,

“This time, for a change, we outnumbered the Hun, and believe me, no more than eight got home from that party. At one time you could see planes going down on fire all over the place, and the sky seemed full of parachutes. It was sudden death that day, for our fighters shot them to blazes.”

The German bombers did drop some bombs, but unlike 7 September, when they caused such destruction along the Thames, they were scattered over a wide area. Incidents were reported as far west as Hammersmith, at Islington and Kilburn in the north and Croydon and Mitcham south of the river. Subsequently the bombers were once again harassed on their withdrawal.

Horst Zander, observer aboard a Dornier 17 from II./KG 3, recalled,

‘Our Gruppe had scattered. Each crew sought its own safety in a powered gliding race down over the sea and for home… Suddenly our Dornier was struck hard. The cabin was full of blood. Our pilot was hit. In the intercom I heard him say feebly: “Heinz [Laube], you have to fly us home!”’

No 249 Squadron’s P/O Thomas Neil was one of those chasing the bombers home.

“Then I saw another Dornier flying across my bows, about a mile away, which I immediately followed. It was going down the estuary, by this time we’d got up roughly over Gravesend. It took some time for me to catch it up because it was going in a slight dive. Eventually I caught it up and I suddenly found that a Spitfire was to my left. And thereafter it was fairly straightforward, a single aeroplane, on its own, two of us, we took it in turns to fire, it went down and down and down, out to sea, across a convoy of ships…I thought, ‘Oh God, we’re going to lose this one, he’s going to get home.’ The Spitfire and I had run out of ammunition but we flew alongside it. I could read all the letters on the cockpit, and I could see the damage that had been done. And then it got slower and slower and slower and the nose came up and up and up, suddenly it splashed down. I felt satisfaction, total satisfaction.”

In the aftermath twenty-seven He 111s of KG 55 slipped in to bomb Portsmouth harbour losing one of its aircraft to No 152 Squadron which managed to intercept. Epgr 210 attacked the Supermarine works at Southampton. 10 Group managed to react to this raid with seven squadrons, but no interceptions were made because they were sent far too high. Despite a clear run Epgr 210 missed the target, though they caused considerable damage elsewhere, killing 9 and wounding 42 on the ground. I have seen it written that this raid was broken up by anti-aircraft fire over the Solent and aborted, but the reports from Southampton’s Civil Defence Organisation clearly refute this.

“The damage to property was tremendous. It was confined almost entirely to small shops and small houses…No damage to any military objective, though the windows in the Supermarine works were broken…34 properties were destroyed, 81 others so badly damaged that they had to be demolished…”
 
Last edited:

stona

SMF Supporter
Joined
Jul 22, 2008
Messages
8,756
Points
113
First Name
Steve
BATTLE OF BRITAIN DAY PART FOUR

THE BALANCE SHEETS.


Today Dowding’s system had worked almost perfectly. That, and Park’s handling of his resources, had meant that all but one of his squadrons had made interceptions in the morning and all 28 had succeeded in the afternoon. The 100% ‘hit’ rate of the afternoon was the best achieved by Fighter Command in the Battle of Britain. Today had not seen the biggest effort by Fighter Command, though most had been concentrated in just two operations. The total of 709 sorties flown on 15 September had been surpassed several times, most recently the day before with 860. Since the 8 August, Fighter Command had made numerically larger daily efforts no less than fourteen times, including twice, 15 and 30 August, with more than a thousand sorties a day. The difference today was that almost 80% of British fighters had not only seen the enemy but engaged him, an unprecedented result. 550 pilots made contact with the enemy today, beating Fighter Command’s previous record by a wide margin. The previous best figures were 396 on 15 August, 390 on 31 August and 333 on 18 August. All other days the Germans had encountered fewer than 300 RAF fighter planes in combat.

The Air Ministry would claim 183 German aircraft shot down, the reality was 56. Fighter Command had lost 26 of its aircraft, with 13 pilots killed. The Germans claimed that 79 British aircraft had been shot down, whilst acknowledging a rather economic loss of just 43 of their own. Their claims at 2:1 were more accurate than those of the British at more than 3:1.

Today did not see the highest daily loss that the Luftwaffe suffered during the Battle of Britain. More were lost on 15 August and the ‘Hardest Day’, 18 August. But the loss ratio, that is losses in relation to the number of participating aircraft, reached a very serious level on 15 September, seven per cent of the attacking aircraft were lost, a figure unsustainable for any air force.

South East England was littered with Luftwaffe wrecks. 15 bombers had returned to their home bases damaged in combat, so to had 4 Bf 109s.

For the airmen of the Luftwaffe, particularly the bomber units, the scale of losses became apparent that evening. KG 3 had lost six of the nineteen aircraft which had taken off this afternoon. Some men did the maths. Horst Schulz wrote that,

“We came to realise that if there were any missions like that, our chances of survival were nil.”

KG 2 had lost eight aircraft and crews and every single one of the five that had returned damaged carried wounded casualties. Stories of ramming attacks by British fighters circulated the bomber units. There had certainly been collisions, but little evidence that British pilots were deliberately ramming bombers, but that is not how it looked to a demoralised bomber crew. The overwhelming impression of the German airmen was that an enemy that was supposed to have been defeated was as strong as ever.

If things had gone right for Fighter Command, then the Luftwaffe’s performance had been poor and its tactics unimaginative. The first offensive had been slow and predictable, the British had correctly guessed the target and the approach along a narrow corridor had made the interceptions easier. If you draw a line from the French coast, past Folkestone, over Maidstone and on to London, you have drawn the route of the morning attacks. The second attack came too late to catch Fighter Command on the ground and its predictability, following a very similar course to the morning attacks, just crossing the coast slightly to the west over Dungeness, meant that it too was roughly handled. The Bf 109’s debilitating lack of endurance had been revealed and exploited, much of the combat was initiated where Park wanted it, at the limits of the Bf 109’s range. Nonetheless, Park was far from satisfied. He knew that if his men had shot down 183 German aircraft no bombs would have fallen on London. He knew that Leigh-Mallory’s claim that the five squadrons of the Duxford Wing had “definitely” shot down 105 German aircraft and probably another 40, with another 18 damaged was fantastic. In Park’s professional analysis,

“There are too many inexperienced leaders in the squadrons, interceptions were being missed and the pilots spent too much time on stragglers and lame ducks which were no military threat”

This is supported by the events surrounding Sgt Ray Holmes’ famous collision with the Do17 that came down on Victoria Station. This one bomber, a lame duck, eventually flying on autopilot after its crew abandoned it, was claimed by no fewer than nine RAF pilots! But importantly, for the first time those pilots began to feel that they were not just surviving but winning and it was their German adversaries who were coming to unpalatable conclusions about their chances of survival. Sgt Eric Bann of No 238 Squadron wrote to his parents on the 16th.

“What about the RAF yesterday? My gosh, for every bomb dropped upon the King and Queen old 238 gave them hell. We got 12 Huns in one scrap. We just went in as one man and held our fire until very close range and then blew them right out of their cockpits.”

It would be wrong to treat the results of today’s bitter fighting simply as a numbers game, as the numbers I have posted above should show. If 7 September was the day that the Luftwaffe threw away any chance of beating Fighter Command, then today was the day when it should have dawned on the Germans that everything they had done in the last six weeks had achieved absolutely nothing in terms of preparing the conditions for an invasion of Britain. This was a step too far for the senior commanders. An official report on the action was given by General Spiedel to Hitler and the OKW on 23 September, it put the best light possible on events, but by then it was already too late. Goering, at a conference at Boulogne on the 16th still maintained that another few days good flying weather would be enough to finish off Fighter Command, but not all those listening were so sure. Nobody could have known it at the time, and much since has been written with hindsight, but today the RAF had won the Battle of Britain.

Tonight Luftflotte 3 was back, single aircraft bombing widely over the UK. London was again attacked, raids continuing well into the early hours of the 16th.

The British too were bombing. 155 aircraft attacked various targets, but the largest effort was against German invasion preparations in the Channel ports. Historian Alastair Revie notes that the bomber pilots had a sense of ‘being with Drake against the Armada or with Nelson against Napoleon’s forces at Boulogne’. No aircraft were lost. Sgt John Hannah, the eighteen year old wireless operator in an 83 Squadron Hampden would win a Victoria Cross tonight, putting out a fire in his burning aircraft, saving both it and its crew.
 

Laurie

SMF Supporter
Joined
Sep 8, 2016
Messages
471
Points
93
First Name
Laurie
The Battle of Britian film had that great sequence of aircraft whizzing about the sky. Mesmerizing. Watched it many times.

What is not well known is about the music & the controversy.

William Walton composed the score for the wholes of the Battle of Britain film.

The producer directors asked for copies & decided in their regrettable wisdom that it was not what was wanted.

They asked somebody else, cannot remember the name, to compose a new score but he turned it down. Eventually they got Ron Goodwin to do the honours.

However Sir Laurence Olivier was furious & said he wanted his name taken off the credits. Wow such are the intricacies of life in what goes on.
Compromise . Thank goodness that great battle sequence music was restored to the William Walton piece of music.

And what a piece it is with the superbly edited visual sequence. What you do not hear is anything but the music. Erie no sounds of aircraft explosions. Just the music it made it magical.

William Walton's score for the whole film is available. In my opinion quite exceptional compared to the Ron Goodwin score which was indeed still very good.
 

Laurie

SMF Supporter
Joined
Sep 8, 2016
Messages
471
Points
93
First Name
Laurie
William Arnold.. His score for the film ditched except the last piece.
https:tongue-out3:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikjgdhy-gaI
Just listened to that great sequence. Just incredible.

Ron Goodwin Score.

Which ever you like & both are just good English Composers.
 

Tim Marlow

SMF Supporter
Joined
Apr 27, 2018
Messages
3,187
Points
113
Location
Somerset
First Name
Tim
Walton also wrote the music for “the first of the few“ which was then extrapolated to be the core of ”The spitfire prelude” from 1942. Writing film scores was what made his name as a composer. Agree that the 15th September piece from “That film” is superb though. Also agree that Steve is doing a superb job of this. It’s my most anticipated post of the day!
 

stona

SMF Supporter
Joined
Jul 22, 2008
Messages
8,756
Points
113
First Name
Steve
Thanks Tim! Luckily, things calmed down a bit after today. The Germans were scrabbling for a Plan C as neither Plans A or B had worked :smiling3:
 

adt70hk

I know its a bit sad but I like quickbuild kits!!!
SMF Supporter
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
1,106
Points
113
First Name
Andrew
Hi Steve

I can wholeheartedly agree with Tim on the effort - and quality - you're putting in on this. I don't know what you're job is but if it's not a military history storyteller/summariser or closely related, I think you've missed out on your real vocation.

Keep up the good work.

All the best.

Andrew
 

stona

SMF Supporter
Joined
Jul 22, 2008
Messages
8,756
Points
113
First Name
Steve
Thanks Andrew. I am enjoying doing it!

My normal job involves live entertainment and large crowds, the bigger the better, so as you can imagine there is nothing doing. I have plenty of time on my hands to collate the information from a substantial book collection collected over the last thirty years. I'm certainly not a historian but I have had a passion for WW2 aviation and everything that comes with it since I can remember, probably since I took that first blue plastic Airfix Spitfire out of its bag. More seriously, these were momentous events, a story often told, but one which should never be forgotten.

There is a large pile of books in the front room which has attracted the attention of the Fuhrerin who has already enquired why they are not on the bookshelves. The fact that I am using them everyday seemed an unconvincing excuse, at least to her. :smiling3:
 

stona

SMF Supporter
Joined
Jul 22, 2008
Messages
8,756
Points
113
First Name
Steve
Monday 16th September

Cloud and rain blanketing the UK and Channel area.

In the early hours of the morning, before first light, as Fighter Command’s pilots dragged themselves out of their beds and prepared for the next phase of the Battle they were greeted by what, for them, was the most perfect weather. It was obvious that for the time being any flying would be limited.

This was not what the Germans wanted to see. Ulrich Steinhilper wrote to his mother,

“This morning we wanted to go to London again but there was so much cloud and a high risk of icing, so no chance. Now we hope for good weather; about another eight days would finish things. Let’s hope for an improvement.”

This young fighter pilot was clearly still more confident than some of his more senior colleagues.

Goering convened a conference with his commanders in Boulogne. He made some valid tactical points. Yesterday, the fighter commanders had failed to get the second wave of fighters in place at the right time; they should have been able to shoot down more British aircraft. The objection from one of his commanders that the British surprised the Germans by sending in their fighters ‘en masse’ did not impress the Reichsmarschal. ‘If they attack en masse, we should also be able to shoot them down in large numbers!’ It is a fair point that underlay the entire Luftwaffe strategy. He also acknowledged that his men were becoming exhausted before once more making several points that would later appear in Spiedel’s report to the OKW. The British had used the breathing space to strengthen their fighter force with pilots from flight schools and new aircraft from their factories, including aircraft that have not yet even been painted; the British engaged the German bomber units with less well trained fighter squadrons, with several cases of deliberate ramming taking place as a last resort; German fighters came under attack from better trained British fighter pilots; the weak resistance that the two attacks against Portsmouth and Southampton had met on the afternoon on 15 September proved that the British had concentrated their remaining fighters to defend London.

None of this was true. It is impossible to overstate just how bad the German Intelligence assessments of Fighter Command strength and capabilities were, throughout this entire period.

Goering concluded that a few more days were all that were required to finish “British fighter aviation”

There would be a change in tactics. The Luftwaffe had found a way to make the British fight, raids on London would continue. The British aviation industry would be targeted in an attempt to deny the British the ability to replace their losses. On the other hand, the Luftwaffe’s losses of the 15th were not sustainable either. Large bomber formations would no longer be used, unless circumstances were exceptional. Instead, small formations of bombers with large fighter support and escort would be used. Fighter sweeps would attempt to lure the British fighters into combat.

This evening Goering boarded his special train and headed back to Germany.

From a British perspective, Park felt that more of the German aircraft should have been shot down, but he acknowledged that his system had worked well. The high interception rates were particularly pleasing and would be unmatched for the rest of the Battle.

The Luftwaffe made sporadic raids usually with single aircraft, using the cloud as protection. Most were unmolested as interceptions were almost impossible. A Section of No 616 Squadron intercepted and shot down a Ju 88 of the east coast. The drama was increased when one of the three aircraft, flown by Sgt Iveson, ran out of petrol and ditched in the sea twenty miles off Cromer. He was fortunate to be rescued by an RAF launch.

An He 115 was shot down by anti-aircraft fire attacking shipping. It was towed, upside down, into Eyemouth harbour Northumberland. Here the inverted aircraft has clearly become a major attraction for the locals.

IMG_2336.JPG

Another He 115 ran out of fuel and came down at New Aberdour, about 12 miles from Frazeburgh in the Scottish Highlands. A Ju 88 of 1./KG 54 crashed near Coventry after hitting a balloon cable.

Today the Luftwaffe had lost just 4 aircraft on operations against Britain, with another 2 damaged. Fighter Command had lost just 1, Iveson’s Spitfire (L1023), with another, a 605 Squadron Hurricane, damaged.

The Luftwaffe would make a major effort tonight. 170 aircraft dropped 200 tons of bombs, London again being the principal target.

Bomber Command bombed barges in the Channel ports again. The bombing of the ports was having a possibly unintended effect on the Luftwaffe personnel based at the nearby airfields. Today JG 54’s Hannes Trautloft wrote in his diary,

“The nightly anti-aircraft gunfire disrupts the pilots’ important sleep. Explore the possibilities to accommodate pilots further inland. Possibly it must be done even at the cost of longer routes to the airfields!”
 

adt70hk

I know its a bit sad but I like quickbuild kits!!!
SMF Supporter
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
1,106
Points
113
First Name
Andrew
Thanks Steve, yet again!
 

Laurie

SMF Supporter
Joined
Sep 8, 2016
Messages
471
Points
93
First Name
Laurie
One side of the RAF is forgotten in this Battle of Britain. Bomber Command.

They were beavering away at the German supply chains armoury factories. They, the Germans, were short of all these commodities

They also attacked the installation in harbours the merchant men, trawlers & landing craft. Calais Dunkirk Rotterdaam. Just cannot find about these shipping raids. I read about them some years ago but I can not find them. I know they destroyed enough to make it virtually impossible to mount an invasion attack.

An interesting article about the above.

 
Top