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Battle of Britain preliminaries

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"[80 years ago today a]  Heinkel-59 air-sea rescue plane is shot down by Spitfires off Sunderland. This is possibly the first British violation of a white painted, red cross marked aircraft which was on a genuine search and rescue mission. The aircraft’s markings are clearly visible and were seen by the RAF pilots concerned, who also commented on the fact that no return fire or armament were discernible. After this attack, the Germans camouflage and re-arm their rescue planes again."

 

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"• Generalfeldmarschall Göring’s strategy at this point is “Kanalkampf”, luring British fighters over the water while simultaneously attacking convoys to shut off Britain’s supply lines. The British have to maintain coverage throughout the day while the Germans can choose when and where to attack with superior numbers. Downed Luftwaffe pilots that survive are being picked up from the water by heavily escorted rescue seaplanes. Some recoveries are even taking place in the Thames estuary.

 

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- Convoy ChannelWest-5 consists of eleven coasters, the largest displacing 1,100 tons. CW-5 departs Southend and comes under German air attack off Dover. Two squadrons of Hurricanes and one of Spitfires are providing cover. Three Hurricanes and one Spitfire are downed for the loss of only one Dornier-17. Escorting destroyer HMS Vanessa is disabled from a series of near misses. She is towed to port by HMS Griffin and will be under repair through November."

 

 

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"[80 years ago today c]onvoy CW-5 again comes under air attack and is again supported by two squadrons of Hurricanes and one of Spitfires which rotate flights of three over the convoy. The Germans manage to sink the British 800 ton steamer Island Queen and damage two other vessels. One is the 1,100 ton Balder which is set on fire by two bombers and abandoned. The crew is picked up by a Norwegian MTB and the steamer towed to port where she is repaired. "

 

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"Channel convoy under attack. Not in the convoy, a Belgian fishing trawler is bombed and sunk with the loss of the entire crew, and the Turkish minelaying sloop Yazbasi Hakki is damaged with the British delivery crew still on board. One rating is killed and the captain wounded. Nine of the eleven ships in CW-5 will arrive safely in Falmouth."

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Posted (edited)

" The Regia Aeronautica bombs port facilities at Haifa, Palestine using the new Savoia-Marchetti SM-82 which has just entered service. Designed as a transport, the trimotor can also be used as bomber with exceptional range. Over the next months they will make multiple raids on Gibraltar, Alexandria, Cyprus, and the Suez Canal. Flying from Rhodes, four will even bomb oil facilities in Bahrain and land in Eritrea. At 2,600 miles and 15 hours aloft, it is longest ranged bombing raid to date. Although they don’t do significant damage, the raids force the British to upgrade defenses in peripheral areas."

"844952407_Savoia-MarchettiSM-82inLibya.jpg.e5dee8f61e3d2ed05f50419558f3e441.jpg

 

 

 

 

Edited by cardboard_killer
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Posted (edited)

"Eighteen Blenheims escorted by two dozen Hurricanes attack barges being collected at Boulogne for a cross-channel attack. Three Blenheims are downed. "

 

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"The Vichy government orders a bombing raid against Gibraltar in retaliation for the attacks on French naval assets. No damage is done, in part as a number of the French pilots apparently deliberately drop their bombs into the sea well offshore. "

Edited by cardboard_killer
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"[80 years ago today s]ix Boulton Paul Defiants of No. 141 squadron are shot down by Bf-109s, while another is damaged and written off while covering a convoy off Folkestone. Two Messerschmitts are downed. The turret fighters will soon be removed from front line fighter status and achieve some success as night fighters before being relegated to other tasks including training and service as target tugs. "

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"Women’s Auxiliary Air Force Corporal Daphne Pearson becomes the first woman awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal. An Avro Anson had crashed on returning to base in Kent and caught fire with at least one bomb exploding. Two crewmen escape on their own. Corporal Pearson entered the burning plane, roused the wounded pilot, and helped him escape. They were 30 yards away when more bombs went off and she threw herself over the pilot to shield him. Once a stretcher party reached her she returned to the still burning wreck for more crew but found no more survivors. "

 

Daphne_Pearson_GC.jpg

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Posted (edited)

"Channel convoy CW-7 is attacked by German aircraft off Dover. Destroyer Brazen and a steamer are sunk and HMS Acheron is damaged.

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HMS Brazen sinking with her back broken. Two Ju-87s along with a Bf-109 flown by Helmut Riegel, commander of Jagdgeschwader 27, are downed by Hurricanes of No 501 Squadron. Three Hurricanes are also lost.

 

 

[80 years ago today a] Bf-110 fighter downs an RAF Whitley in the first confirmed specialized night fighter kill of the war. "

 

 

Edited by cardboard_killer
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"German FW-200s continue minelaying along the British coasts as well as the Tyne and Forth estuaries. After one mission that results in the sinking of the 4,000 ton steamer Troutpool off Belfast, a Condor of Kampfgeschwader 40 lays another line of mines, but one fails to leave the rack. The pilot dives and pulls up sharply to try and free the mine, but when he does the port engines lose power and he is forced to ditch within sight of the shore battery at Belfast Lough. Three crew survive and are picked up by the ASW trawler HMS Paynter."

 

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" Luftwaffe Do-17s with a large escort bomb ships forming up in the Thames estuary. Two squadrons of Spitfires respond with two Bf-109s and three Spitfires shot down. The Dorniers take no losses, maintaining tight formations (and shooting down two of the Spitfires). They sink a minesweeping trawler while damaging a freighter. "

 

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Luftwaffe aircraft attack the Rolls Royce factory at Glasgow, Scotland, but hit a nearby printing establishment instead.

 

• Italian SM-82s bomb an airfield at Jerusalem, Palestine.

• Elderly aircraft carrier HMS Argus departs Portsmouth to ferry twelve Hurricanes of No 261 Squadron to Malta. She will be covered by Force H."

 

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"• Convoy CW-8 from Southend in the Thames Estuary to Falmouth, Cornwall, consists of 25 steamers. It comes under air attack during the day in the Dover Strait and by motor torpedo boats of 1. Schnellboot-Flotille during the evening. Destroyers of the 1st Flotilla with support from British and Norwegian MTBs repel the German motor torpedo boats, but Luftflotte 3 carefully times strikes on the convoy to run defending air patrol fighters low on fuel with fighter sweeps in an attempt to allow follow-on strikes of bombers without interference. The British skillfully rotate squadron elements while radar and sound detection arrays try to give warning of the low flying intruders. Over a two day period the Germans claim sinking five merchant vessels. In fact, none are sunk though four coasters and two destroyers (Boreas and Brilliant) are damaged by air attack and put into Dover. Six British fighters lost while the RAF claim 25 Germans downed. The Luftwaffe actually loses three confirmed aircraft with one Hurricane pilot reporting being twice attacked in error by Spitfires. "
 

 

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"• Destroyer HMS Codrington is docked for boiler cleaning at Dover when Luftwaffe bombs break her back. She is declared a total loss. Destroyer Walpole and depot ship Sandhurst are damaged. Fearing public reaction, the British withhold news of these losses. The Admiralty ceases use of Dover as a base for destroyers, and the loss of HMS Codrington won’t be admitted until 1945.

- In these actions, two German fighters and one bomber are shot down, while British losses are one Hurricane and one Spitfire.

 

"• The first of 81 Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat fighters ordered by the French in 1939 for the new Joffre class carriers are delivered to the British as the Martlet Mark-I. No Wildcats are yet in service with the USN."

 

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"• British destroyers are covering minesweeping trawler operations off Aldeburgh when attacked by Ju-87s. HMS Wren is sunk and Montrose loses her bow, being towed to Harwich. "

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"• In anticipation of another heavy raid on Dover, Air Marshal Dowding places eight squadrons in readiness. The German bombers abort resulting in a furious fighter melee. German ace Werner Mölders is shot up and wounded (possibly by South African pilot Adolph “Sailor” Malan) but manages a belly landing in France. German air-sea rescue planes arrive to pick up downed pilots but are attacked with two shot down and one damaged after being strafed on the water. While claims are nearly five times as great, German losses total thirteen planes with the British losing four Spitfires and one Hurricane.

- Germany protests the attacks on air-sea rescue planes, calling it a war crime. Britain will respond by noting that the planes are armed, camouflaged, and escorted by German fighters. No comment is made that this is a German reaction to the British shooting down properly marked and unarmed He-59s earlier.

 

- Churchill will later write, "We did not recognize this means of rescuing enemy pilots who had been shot down in action, in order that they might come and bomb our civil population again." "

 

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"• Malta is being bombed nearly every day by Italian aircraft. Its only fighter defenses consist of the "Hal Far Flight". Although myth contends that there were only three Gloster Sea Gladiators, named 'Faith', 'Hope', and 'Charity', there were actually six from HMS Glorious' No 802 Squadron plus four Hawker Hurricanes. [80 years ago t]oday 'Charity' is shot down by Italian fighters. "

 

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Also 80 years ago:

 

"• An economic board is set up in Germany to coordinate the looting of British industry and resources following conquest. "

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80 Years Ago Today

 

"• Hitler directs Göring to have the Luftwaffe on 12 hour notice to start the great air battle against Britain.

• Joseph Goebbels broadcasts "Britain is already weakening, it cannot muster the number of planes required to conquer our glorious Luftwaffe, they are losing a battle that they are intent on prolonging." "

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Posted (edited)

80 Years Ago Today

 

"• British factory output of fighters for July is 50% above projections. Lord Beaverbrook, Minister of Aircraft Production, will be brought into the inner circle of Churchill’s cabinet.

 

• Bf-110 fighters begin shooting down Dover’s barrage balloons. When Spitfires respond they are bounced by Bf-109s flying cover. One Bf-109 and two Spitfires are downed. The balloon attacks will continue.

 

• Australian Flight Lieutenant William Garing of No 10 Squadron with his Short Sunderland engages three waves of German reconnaissance bombers attacking the armed merchant cruiser Mooltan in the Western Approaches. The engagement lasts twelve hours during which Garing co-ordinates his crew of gunners to prevent damage to the Mooltan. German pilots refer to the Sunderland, bristling with .303 guns, as the “Flying Porcupine”. Garing will be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for “coolness and courage under fire”

. 1689247680_ShortSunderlandMark-I.jpg.11043b1aeac072c86bb40f695688e303.jpg

 

 

Edited by cardboard_killer
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"• No 7 becomes the first RAF Squadron to operate four engine heavy bombers as it begins re-equipping from Hampdens to Short Stirlings. The immediate focus will be on training crews and working out the characteristics of the aircraft.

 

 

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Stirlings Mark-I of No 7 Squadron. Despite "disappointing performance" at maximum altitude with its Bristol Hercules XI engines, Stirling pilots are delighted to discover that, due to the thick wing, they can out-turn the Ju-88 and Bf-110 nightfighters they face. Based on its flight characteristics, Flight Lieutenant Murray Peden (RCAF, author of “A Thousand Shall Fall”) will describe the Stirling as "one of the finest aircraft ever built".

- Nearly 2,400 Stirlings will be built, and they are the largest British bombers of the war. Ultimately, decreased performance at altitude and lower range will result in replacement with the smaller Lancaster and Halifax.

 

• During this month, twelve Hawker Hurricanes ordered by the Irish Army Air Corps are impounded by the British and delivered to the RAF.

 

• Twenty-three Blenheims attack a Luftwaffe airfield on the Cotentin peninsula. Three are shot down. Thirty He-111s bomb the Boulton-Paul aircraft factory in Norwich, unopposed. "

 

 

 

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"SW trawler Cape Finisterre is sunk by air attack off Harwich.

• While Ark Royal conducts a diversionary raid on Cagliari, Sardinia, losing one Swordfish to bad weather and a second to Italian fighters, aircraft carrier Argus flies off twelve Hurricanes of No. 261 Squadron to reinforce Malta.

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Hurricanes aboard Argus. Guided by two Skuas, they complete the 400 mile flight. One Hurricane and one Skua crash land as they arrive in bad weather but all aircrew survive. Ground crew and spare parts are being delivered by two submarines.

 

- These ferry missions to Malta by aircraft carriers will become known as "Club Runs". Twenty-four more (plus two that abort) will be conducted through October, 1942, flying off 342 Hurricanes and 374 Spitfires plus a handful of Skuas, Fulmars, Swordfish, and Albacores.

 

• A He-115C of Küstenfliegergruppe 506 attacks the British 1,200 ton Highlander with machine gun fire off the east coast of Scotland. On its second pass it flies so low, slow, and close that a wing catches a lifeboat davit, causing the float plane to spin around and crash onto the stern deck, wounding two of the ship’s crew. The coaster sails into Edinburgh with the aircraft draped over the stern.

 

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"• Göring meets with his senior officers to conduct final planning for the Battle of Britain. Additional Luftwaffe units are moved from Germany, Holland, and Belgium to forward airfields in northern France.

 

• The first contingent of airmen from Southern Rhodesia arrives in Britain to add its strength to the increasingly international air force which is waging war on Germany. They join airmen from Poland, France, Canada, South Africa, Palestine, Australia and New Zealand, as well as volunteers from Ireland and the United States. Throughout the Empire, towns, islands, colonies and even tribes are donating money for individual planes to the mother country.

 

• Submarine HMS Pandora arrives at Malta with a cargo of parts and ground equipment for the Hurricanes delivered by HMS Argus.

• American and Vichy Naval officials reach an agreement concerning French naval units in the West Indies. Light cruisers Émile Bertin and Jeanne d’Arc as well as carrier Béarn are to remain in-port, and the US will assist with provisions and non-armament supplies to keep the units in bare operating condition. The French and Belgian aircraft Béarn was transporting will be landed ashore. A US Navy patrol plane will be allowed to visit Fort-de-France once per day to facilitate communications and observe the situation.

 

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1897059653_BarnaircraftashoreonMartinique.jpg.54df092bce3bd00cd0ba239c77213c57.jpg

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"

• RAF Bomber Command attacks JG 54's base at Haamstede, damaging several Bf-109s on the ground but killing no Luftwaffe pilots. All of the fighters will be repaired.

• Fleet Air Arm Skuas attack oil storage tanks and a fueling pier at Dolvik, near Bergen, Norway. They are being used to refuel U-boats."
 
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"• An Italian air raid on Berbera, Somaliland, inflicts light damage on Australian light cruiser Hobart. Her Captain donates his ship’s QF 3 pounder (47mm) gun, normally used only for saluting, to the troops defending the port.


• German merchant raider Widder stops the Dutch 5,500 ton Oostplein in the Central Atlantic south of the Azores, takes the crew aboard, and sinks the freighter by gunfire and torpedo.

• U-37 torpedoes the British 9,100 ton motor vessel Upwey Grange west of Ireland. She was inbound from Brazil with passengers and 5,400 tons of meat. One lifeboat with 36 aboard is lost in heavy seas and the other with fifty is picked up by a British fishing trawler.

• Seven steamers proceeding independently in the channel are damaged by air attack, one of them later sinking in harbor. These are sometimes erroneously described as being in convoy CW-9 (see below).

• Convoy CW-9 from Southend is bound for Yarmouth when four boats of 1. Schnellbootflottille sweep through the convoy at night. S-27 torpedoes and sinks the British 1,200 ton Holm Force. Norwegian 950 ton Tres spots the fast boat wakes and cuts engines, avoiding detection. British 370 ton Fife Coast increases speed, is spotted, and sunk. 380 ton Polly M is targeted but the torpedo detonates in the wreckage of Fife Coast. The Germans damage two other ships with machine gun and 2cm cannon fire. The escorts, destroyer HMS Bulldog plus one anti-submarine yacht and several trawlers, have trouble seeing the motor torpedo boats and rarely fire, fearful of hitting a friendly.
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- The German S-boats claim sinking six ships for 17,000 tons but actually sank two for 1,570 tons.

- In the morning the 1,045 ton Empire Crusader is lost to air attack. 1,000 ton steamer Ouse is sunk when it collides with 1,048 ton steamer Rye while avoiding a torpedo. In aerial battles the RAF claims downing 26 Bf-109s, 9 Bf-110s, and 17 Stukas. Actual losses are three Ju-87, one Bf-110 and three Hurricanes.

 

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"• Overclaims of kills from Luftwaffe pilots convinces Göring that the RAF is almost beaten. In reality Fighter Command’s strength is higher than it was a month earlier. The Reichsmarschall orders new tactics to destroy RAF’s fighting capacity by attacking airfields, control centers and radar." [Date of the actual decision was 6-Aug-40 according to most histories. This is the last of what I titled "preliminaries" which probably went longer than they should have in my posts.--CK]

 

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Superb stuff - just the right blend of narrative and pictures. Thank you. I very much hope you intend to continue....

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8 minutes ago, unreasonable said:

Superb stuff - just the right blend of narrative and pictures. Thank you. I very much hope you intend to continue....

+1.  Enjoying this thread very much👍

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I do enjoy this thread since day one.

I wish to make one comment. Lest keep this thread "comnets free" so we can read it as a news feed, and Lets show our apreciation through upvotes and likes

 

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21 minutes ago, =FEW=fernando11 said:

I do enjoy this thread since day one.

I wish to make one comment. Lest keep this thread "comnets free" so we can read it as a news feed, and Lets show our apreciation through upvotes and likes

 

 

Reading the thread "63100-battle-of-britain-preliminaries" is an excellent idea.   "This is the last of what I titled "preliminaries" which probably went longer than they should have in my posts.--CK]"

 

It has obviously run it's course, we hope to be followed by a new BoB thread.  Nothing wrong with comments at the end of a performance. 

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4 hours ago, unreasonable said:

I very much hope you intend to continue....

 

Will do.

 

To be sure every understands I am reposting these from another site with the permission of the author, Stephen Jackson, who has a lot more information about the war, mostly naval info, which is his area of study (specifically sub ops).

 

Edit: No disrepect to Stephen intended, but I want to be clear that many things may slip by him and me; my main contribution is to parse the info and sometimes track down a relevant photo for here. What I parse is mostly political things (for example the Vichy government did some pretty wretched stuff after the armistice that I cut out) and land and sea ops, especially sea ops as Stephen will document almost every ship sank by sub ops during the war! He's a silent war type of guy :)

Edited by cardboard_killer
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