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"• In large scale German air raids on Weymouth and Portland, the RAF loses 32 planes (24 pilots killed) and the Luftwaffe 10 fighters and 27 bombers. HMS Skate, the sole survivor of her class and oldest destroyer in service with the Royal Navy, is damaged.

 

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• The Blackburn Botha enters service as a maritime reconnaissance aircraft with Coastal Command. Underpowered and suffering several crashes, it will soon be withdrawn. At this time nearly three quarters of Coastal Command aircraft are short ranged Avro Ansons or Lockheed Hudsons. Other than a handful of Short Sunderlands, there are no long range maritime aircraft. "

 

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• Today is considered the end of Kanalkampf and (by the Germans) the start of the Battle of Britain. Since operations against Channel convoys began in July, 35 merchant vessels, 4 escorts, and 7 fishing vessels have been sunk. The majority were not in convoy. This is approximately 0.75% of all non-German traffic in the Channel over the period. The RAF lost 115 fighters (64 Hurricanes, 45 Spitfires, and 6 Defiants) with 74 pilots killed and 19 wounded while the Luftwaffe lost 200 aircraft (53 Bf-109, 27 Bf-110, 28 Do-17, 22 Ju-87, 24 Ju-88, 10 He-59, 33 He-111, and 3 He-115) with 478 airmen killed, 75 wounded, and 16 taken prisoner.

 

 

• Among other raids today, German bombers knock out the radar installation on the Isle of Wight for two weeks.

 

• The Bristol Beaufighter enters service with Fighter Command. An adaption of the Beaufort torpedo bomber, it will be very successful, serving in the fighter, ground attack, maritime strike, torpedo bomber, and night-fighter roles. Nearly six thousand will be produced in Britain and Australia, and it will equip four squadrons of the US Army Air Force.

 

69989062_BeaufighterMk-IFinNorthAfrica.jpg.d31c0834b2f3a273df0963ab7f54d096.jpg

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"• The Luftwaffe launches Operation Adlerangriff against the RAF, though due to miscommunications and fog at some aerodromes the first attacks aren’t coordinated. Instead of a planned overwhelming attack, the disjointed raids are less effective and take heavy losses. At this point the Luftwaffe has still not replaced losses from the Battle of France – the French Armée de l’Air alone downed 778 German aircraft. The Luftwaffe has 969 level bombers, 336 Ju-87 dive bombers, 869 Bf-109 fighters and 268 Bf-110 twin engine fighters. The British are defending with 620 first line fighters, 39% of which are Spitfires and 61% Hurricanes. Losses are high on both sides, though with fighting over England itself, more British pilots are surviving to return to combat despite being shot down. German pilots shot down are either dead or captured. German bomber losses are especially high as many are hitting targets out of range of their fighter escorts.

 

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• With invasion fears high, the Admiralty orders that no ship be taken out of service for boiler cleaning or refitting without direct authorization.

 

• President Roosevelt informs Prime Minister Churchill via telegram that among other items previously sought "it may be possible to furnish to the British Government... at least 50 destroyers..." Roosevelt states, though, that such aid could only be given provided that "the American People and the Congress frankly recognized in return...the national defense and security of the United States would be enhanced." The President thus insists that (1) should British waters be rendered untenable the British Fleet would be sent to other parts of the Empire (and neither turned over to the Germans nor sunk) and (2) that the British government would grant the US authorization to use Newfoundland, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Trinidad and British Guiana as naval and air bases, and to acquire land there through 99-year leases to establish those bases.

• Nine Swordfish flying from Malta attack Augusta, Sicily. Three are shot down."

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"• After US Ambassador to Britain Joseph Kennedy reports that British surrender is inevitable, a skeptical President Roosevelt sends retired Major General William Donovan to London for an informal appraisal. After meeting with key officers, intelligence directors, and Prime Minister Churchill, “Wild Bill” Donovan will return to the US confident of Britain's chances and enamored with the possibility of founding a centralized American intelligence service modeled on that of the British.

 

• RAF Whitleys bomb St Nazaire, Bordeaux, and Milan.

Armstrong_Whitworth_Whitley_in_flight_c1

• Having finished her shakedown in the Caribbean and a quick refit at the Clyde, HMS Illustrious enters service with the Home Fleet. "

 

[Note, that the originator of these posts is focused on naval war, especial sub ops, so from a page of bullet points there's not much on the BoB. Still, trudge on we will.]

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"• Today is known as “The Hardest Day” of the Battle of Britain. A formation of more than 1,100 aircraft crosses the Channel and splits up to hit various targets. Numerous airfields suffer damage to planes, hangers and runways. Radar stations at Rye, Dover and at Foreness are also knocked out. Despite taking a heavy toll on RAF installations, the Luftwaffe loses 161 aircraft (mostly bombers) while RAF losses are 34 fighters and only 18 pilots killed.

 

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[from wikipedia] On 15 August 1940 the Luftwaffe mounted the largest number of sorties of the Battle of Britain. Luftflotte 5 attacked the north of England. Believing Fighter Command strength to be concentrated in the south, raiding forces from Denmark and Norway ran into unexpectedly strong resistance. Inadequately escorted by Bf 110s, bombers were shot down in large numbers. North East England was attacked by 65 Heinkel He 111s escorted by 34 Messerschmitt Bf 110s, and RAF Driffield was attacked at midday by 50 unescorted Junkers Ju 88s. Out of 115 bombers and 35 fighters sent, 16 bombers and 7 fighters were destroyed.[2] As a result of these casualties, Luftflotte 5 did not appear in strength again in the campaign.

East_Coast_Chain_Home_radar_station_CH15

 

"• Eleven Italian SM-79 bombers, some with torpedoes and some with bombs, attack Alexandria harbor. They sink the Moor class mooring vessel HMS Moorstone. "

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"• Believing the wildly exaggerated claims of his pilots, Göring decides that because the RAF has been so reduced in strength it is wasted effort to continue to attack radar stations. This decision will lead to increased Luftwaffe losses as the British are better able to coordinate and intercept.

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• For today’s action in his Hurricane, James Nicolson will earn the only Victoria Cross awarded during the Battle of Britain:

  • The KING has been graciously pleased to confer the Victoria Cross on the undermentioned officer in recognition of most conspicuous bravery : —
  • Flight Lieutenant James Brindley NICOLSON (39329) — No. 249 Squadron.
  • During an engagement with the enemy near Southampton on 16th August 1940, Flight Lieutenant Nicolson's aircraft was hit by four cannon shells, two of which wounded him whilst another set fire to the gravity tank. When about to abandon his aircraft owing to flames in the cockpit he sighted an enemy fighter. This he attacked and shot down, although as a result of staying in his burning aircraft he sustained serious burns to his hands, face, neck and legs. Flight Lieutenant Nicolson has always displayed great enthusiasm for air fighting and this incident shows that he possesses courage and determination of a high order. By continuing to engage the enemy after he had been wounded and his aircraft set on fire, he displayed exceptional gallantry and disregard for the safety of his own life. (Nicolson will perish in a Liberator crash in May, 1945)

• Several Ju-87s divebomb Tangmere Aerodrome, destroying several Hurricanes and Blenheims in the hangars. Ju-88 bombers attack the aerodrome at Brize Norton and destroy more than three dozen Airspeed Oxford training aircraft on the ground.

 

48117503_AirspeedOxford.jpg.06473895a07c7ccf04b61605538ce302.jpg

 

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"• Following the devastating losses of “The Hardest Day”, Göring orders the Ju-87 withdrawn from the Battle of Britain, to be reserved for tactical support during the invasion itself.

• There is a pause in the massed German air attacks even though the weather is good, as exhausted Luftwaffe personnel conduct maintenance and crew rest. Photo-reconnaissance missions are flown over several areas including London. Small raids hit Southampton and the Midlands. The Air Ministry agrees with Air Marshal Dowding’s request to strip pilots from Bomber Command and Coastal Command and transfer them to Fighter Command.

• Two-time Olympic gold medalist (bobsled) William Fiske is the only American pilot killed during the Battle of Britain. He will also become the only American buried at St. Paul's Cathedral in London. The inscription reads: “An American citizen who died that England might live.”

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Posted (edited)

"• The German-American Bund and the Ku Klux Klan hold an anti-war rally in Camp Nordland, New Jersey, which attracts the attention of protesters.

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• After observing a demonstration of the Blacker Bombard, Churchill orders it into production as an ad hoc weapon for Home Guard units, with two to equip each Company. Also known as the 29mm Spigot Mortar, it can fire a 14 lb anti-personnel bomb and a 20 lb anti-tank bomb. Large numbers of fixed concrete pedestals will be set up overlooking likely invasion beaches.

 

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• Reichsmarshal Göring rebukes his officers for their recent performance, then asks what they need to win the battle. He is enraged when fighter ace and Gruppenkommandeur of III./Jagdgeschwader 26 Adolf Galland replies, “I should like an outfit of Spitfires for my squadron.”

• The Luftwaffe makes another big effort. Their targets are still mostly airfields but not all the attacks are well organized and some of the bombers arrive without their fighter escorts. Biggin Hill escapes comparatively lightly, but Kenley is so disrupted that part of the fighter force has to be withdrawn to another airfield. The Luftwaffe loses 69 aircraft to the RAF’s 33, though another 29 British aircraft are wrecked on the ground.

 

1948621247_RAFKenlyfromGermanbomber18August1940.jpg.b80fc0c394843f790c8e4de210386359.jpg(Kanly AF)

 

Dornier-17Z-KG76-shot-down-Biggin-Hill-Aug-18-1940.jpg.773947e2dfde435a80963d3e3e88c684.jpg

 

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Edited by cardboard_killer
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Haven't seen any updates in the last few days. I sure hope you keep them coming. They give us a great number of ideas for missions. 

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Weather is bad for last three days over the channel, so no large sorties. Action in the Med, but nothing spectacular.

 

"• Bad weather precludes most bombing attacks over England. Special Channel convoy “Totem” comes under bombardment for over an hour but no ships are hit. 14” gun “Winnie” engages in counter-battery fire against the Cape Gris Nez 38cm battery. The Luftwaffe attacks the convoy but again makes no hits. One Ju-88 and one Spitfire are shot down, and one Hurricane is shot down in error by a Spitfire.

- Bomber Command will attack the Cape Gris Nez battery tomorrow without results. "

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"• Heinkel-115 torpedo floatplanes of Küstenfliegergruppe 506 attack convoy OA-203 off the Scottish coast, sinking two merchant ships and damaging a third.

• Reichsmarschall Göring issues a directive for continuous attacks on the British aircraft industry and on RAF airfields. Day and night raids are to be mounted.

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(He-111s flying low to avoid radar)
- Ju-88 bombers badly damage a Bristol Aeroplane Company factory at Filton, while other bombers damage the Fort Dunlop tyre factory at Birmingham, which produces aircraft tyres as well as other types. Both factories are significantly impacted. RAF Manston and Thorney Island bases are attacked.

• Two Hurricanes are downed by friendly AA fire, but both pilots survive.
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• Polish No 304 Squadron is declared operational, equipped with Fairey Battles. Polish No 307 Squadron is formed for night-fighting, equipped with Boulton-Paul Defiants. Polish No 303 Squadron (Hurricanes) has been operational for several weeks but not yet committed to combat as training continues. Canadian No 1 (redesignated RAF No 401) Squadron is declared operational, flying the Hawker Hurricane.

 

• US Army Air Corps Major-General Henry “Hap” Arnold unveils the YP-38 Lockheed interceptor, describing it as the fastest fighter aircraft in the world. Changes ordered for the production version and expansion of the Burbank factory will delay production until mid-1941. The British order 667 P-38s but these will be seized for American use during the West Coast invasion panic following Pearl Harbor.

 

551197400_LockheedYP-38Lightning.jpg.43e0f280e8e21a4492c74d4bd875970b.jpg

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"The USAAC signs a contract with Boeing to produce two experimental bomber prototypes, designated XB-29.

• German aircraft bomb Portsmouth, badly damaging destroyer HMS Acheron. The British destroyer Bulldog and Free French torpedo boat Flore are also damaged.

• Manston aerodrome is knocked out of operation and all surviving aircraft are withdrawn. The Germans lose 38 aircraft to the British 22.

• London is hit for the first time when ten bombers, unable to locate targets through cloud cover, jettison their bombs while over the city. At this time bombing of London is against standing orders.

- CBS correspondent Edward R Murrow hastily begins broadcasting his observations, not knowing that it isn’t an intentional raid:

 

 

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Posted (edited)

"• Luftwaffe attacks are mounted on Dover, Weymouth, Portland, Birmingham, and Warmwell. In running battles 16 British and 20 German planes are downed. Czechoslovakian pilot Count Manfred Czernin shoots down three Bf-110 fighters in one minute with his Hurricane.

• In retaliation for the bombs dropped on London, 17 Wellingtons, 12 Hampdens, and 14 Whitleys depart to bomb Berlin. Several cannot find the city but others drop over the centre or the suburbs. Berlin has not been hit since a French raid in June, and this attack causes much consternation among the Nazi leadership. Five bombers are lost."

 

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Berlin damaged. Nothing compared to what's coming, of course.

 

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Edited by cardboard_killer
Information on the Count
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Posted (edited)

"• A Supermarine Walrus conducts a surprise attack on a German seaplane base at Tromsø. One Heinkel-115 is sunk, but repaired and returned to service.

 

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• Bomber Command makes long range raids on Turin and Milan, while shorter ranged aircraft attack airfields in the Netherlands.

• German aircraft bomb a town in County Wexford, neutral Ireland, and three women are killed. After the Irish issue a diplomatic protest, Germany will apologize, citing navigational error.

• The Luftwaffe make three major raids, crossing the Channel at low level then climbing quickly.

 

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- Fighter Command is slow to respond and while No 616 Squadron is still climbing they are dived on by Bf-109s of JG 51, with seven Spitfires downed. No 264 Squadron, equipped with Defiants for night-fighting, is scrambled during the day as an emergency measure. They down six Dorniers and one Bf-109 before taking heavy losses and having to form a defensive circle as they return to their airfield. Bombers hit RAF Kenley, Debden, and Biggin Hill. Portsmouth and Southampton are also bombed. All total the RAF loses approximately 28 fighters with six pilots killed while the Luftwaffe loses 22 bombers and 24 fighters." [Note, I don't know the source of these numbers and they seem dubious to me; the margin of victory favored the Brits, but this margin seems too high--CK]

 

 

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Edited by cardboard_killer
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Posted (edited)

"• The Caproni Campini N.1 has its maiden flight. It’s considered the first successful jet powered aircraft since the flight of the Heinkel-178 in 1939 is currently a state secret.

 

 


• Bad weather limits Luftwaffe flights over England during the day. Overnight, several attacks are made on RAF airfields.

 

• RAF Coastal Command establishes an advance base at Kaldaðarnes, Iceland. Equipped originally with Fairey Battle light bombers, this base will become key to the Battle of the Atlantic. "

 

Edited by cardboard_killer
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"• For the first time, German aircraft drop acoustic mines in British waters.

• British bombers attack Berlin for the second time, damaging Görlitzer Bahnhof (a major train station). Eight people are killed on the ground. Although damage is minimal, it’s causing the government and especially Göring to lose face.

• The Luftwaffe mounts four raids of 60-100 aircraft on RAF airfields in Southern England. Most are turned back by RAF fighters and little damage is done to airfields. The British lose 20 fighters. The Germans lose 19 Bf-109 fighters, 8 bombers and a Gotha-145B mailplane which was on a Cherbourg to Strasbourg delivery flight but lands on Lewes racecourse due to the pilot being lost.

1414968054_RecoveringadownedBf-109.jpg.99cf489cc98d917701a72a13081ace63.jpg

 

 

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Edited by cardboard_killer
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"• The Luftwaffe sends large groups of fighters across the English Channel with no bombers. The RAF initially goes up to intercept but No. 11 Group commander Air Vice Marshal Keith Park sees the German ruse. He withdraws RAF planes to avoid being drawn into a battle of attrition between fighters.

• German bombers make night raids on major industrial and shipping centers (Portsmouth, Tyneside, Hartlepool, Swansea, Manchester and Liverpool). Decoy fires are lit in the countryside ('Starfish' sites), in an attempt to fool the bombers into dropping their bombs away from the cities.

 

starfish.jpg.d061d5de0a6c824997c976c5020767c1.jpg

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"• A clutch of very low flying Dorniers penetrates to Biggin Hill, delivering a third bombing raid in one day. One scores a direct hit with a 250 kg bomb on the Sector Operations Room whose reinforced concrete ceiling collapses into the building. Three WAAFs on duty there remain at their posts, continuing to relay communications. Such devotion to duty earns Sergeant Joan Mortimer, Flight Officer Elspeth Henderson, and Sergeant Helen Turner the Military Medal [left to right: Mortimer; Henderson; and Turner."

 

1468564857_LtoRMortimer-Henderson-TurneratBigginHill.jpg.c493c9e7add25b21656434fb745e692f.jpg

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"• Demonstrating that he is not holding a grudge, Hermann Göring has a captured Spitfire delivered to Adolf Galland’s JG 26 with his compliments.

 

• Police are increasingly raiding clandestine jazz and swing clubs as part of the Nazi war on “degenerate music” also called “negermusik”. One Hitler Youth report from February 1940 describes dances at these clubs as “an appalling sight. None of the couples danced normally; there was only swing of the worst sort.”

 

• The plan for Sea Lion is complete. Nine infantry divisions are to follow two airborne divisions. About 250 tanks are to accompany the assault but the vast majority must arrive at high tide, and remain aboard their grounded barges until low tide allows them to be disembarked. Four divisions of the 16th Army with airborne support are to land near Folkestone, two of the 9th Army near Eastbourne and three more of the 9th Army, also with airborne support, at Brighton. These beachheads will not be mutually supporting in the early stages.

- Sealion has no overall command structure. During a late July meeting, the Army personnel dominate the discussion and cut short all comments by navy staff, until Admiral Raeder walks out.

- The German Achilles heel is their lack of landing craft. The vast majority of the troops will have to be transported with only light equipment on river barges. 2,400 are collected from across Europe, but only 800 are self propelled. The rest will require tugs, of which only 470 are available. These will be hideously vulnerable to ships, MTBs, and aircraft, and even to moderate weather.

- Only one training exercise is conducted. Off Boulogne, in good weather and good visibility, with no navigation hazards or enemy defenses to contend with, of fifty vessels committed less than half manage to land their troops at H-Hour. One tug lost its tow. One barge overturned when too many soldiers crowded on one side. Several barges broached in the surf and landed broad side to, unable to lower their ramps.
1734830691_GermanpracticeforSeelwe.jpg.9d10b99723082b9825d82a1bbf197832.jpg
- Unless significant ports and airfields can be quickly captured, the full power of the German divisions won’t be brought to bear. Even if brought to bear, each of the divisions will require more than 100 tons of supplies per day once across the channel. Home Forces GOC Sir Alan Brooke has compiled stocks of poison gas to use on the invasion beaches and any airfields taken by paratroops. Up to 50% of the civilian population in the threatened areas have already been evacuated.
270766382_TestlaunchingofaTauchpanzer-III.jpg.68efe85d41536dd189b3f0a93e9c5e28.jpg
- The Reich Main Security Office has detailed plans for the occupation of Britain. Einsatzgruppen under Dr. Franz Six are to follow the invasion force and establish task force headquarters in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. They are provided with a list of 2,820 people to be arrested immediately, mostly politicians and prominent liberals and socialists. Since OKW expects to face armed civilian resistance, it is planned to deport all men between 17 and 45 to camps in the Reich, apart from members of vital professions.
1071567077_Invasionbarges.jpg.16853e2b7c44f68e015a7744b1b390c9.jpg
- At this time the defending British forces have only made a partial recovery from the equipment losses at Dunkirk. About 300 tanks are available, many of which are obsolete but half are the very capable Matilda-II. The first of 900 American 75mm artillery pieces with ammunition are only now arriving. Improvised weapons are common such as the Bison concrete armored lorry, planned to serve as a mobile pillbox for aerodrome defense.
229070861_BisonconcretearmouredlorryMark-II.jpg.ea3db59d0d1e5896cc04e9f61aa32e4c.jpg
- GOC Home Force Alan Brooke has every intention of spraying the landing beaches with mustard gas and Paris green (copper(II) acetoarsenite). [concrete pates installed after the war to cover up wartime implaced mines;]

Hollows dug for demo charges later filled with concrete on the Bridgwater-Taunton Canal.JPG

Edited by cardboard_killer
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"• President Roosevelt announces the "destroyers-for-bases" agreement; the U.S. will provide fifty over-age (World War I Emergency Program) Wickes, Caldwell, and Clemson class destroyers in return for 99-year leases on bases in the Bahamas, Antigua, St. Lucia, Trinidad, Jamaica, and British Guiana. The British provide bases at Newfoundland and Bermuda as outright transfers. He describes it as significantly enhancing American security while isolationists condemn it as weakening the US Navy.


- British conservatives criticise it as being too advantageous to America, weakening British sovereignty for minimal gain.

The BoB continues."

 

 

a

 

• After he openly advocates for seeking peace with the Third Reich, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands asks for the resignation of Prime Minister Dirk Jan de Geer. She asks Justice Minister Pieter Gerbrandy to succeed him. Churchill describes Wilhelmina as the only real man among the governments-in-exile.

 

 

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"• Carriers Eagle and Illustrious launch airstrikes on Italian aerodromes on Rhodes. Defending Italian fighters shoot down one Swordfish from Eagle. Italian aircraft counterattack from high altitude with sticks of bombs landing near battleship Warspite and destroyer Ilex.

• Hitler makes a speech condemning RAF bombing of Germany and threatens the destruction of British cities in retaliation. This is likely the reaction Churchill is hoping for, to draw the Luftwaffe assault away from the desperately hard pressed RAF. "

===================================================================================

 

"• Conservative aristocrat Fernand de Brinon founds the “Groupe Collaboration” to further closer cultural and economic ties with Germany. De Brinon, an enthusiastic fascist who had provided the German government with information on French ministerial deliberations during the Munich Crisis of 1938, will become Vichy Secretary of State in 1942 and Prime Minister after the fall of Pierre Laval in 1944. He will be executed for treason in 1947.

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• A Coastal Command Sunderland flying out of Gibraltar is forced down by mechanical problems more than 100 miles into the Atlantic. Destroyer HMS Forester locates it and tows the flying boat back to Gibraltar.

• German minelayers begin laying a barrage in the Dover Strait to protect the northern flank of the Sealion invasion route.

• An experimental Hawker Hurricane IIA Series 1 with two Oerlikon 20mm cannons in pods below the wings is tested. It is found to badly compromise performance. Hawker will have better luck with the Series 2 (later designated IIB) mounting four Hispano 20mm guns inside the wings replacing the eight Browning .303 machine guns. An alternate version of the IIB will mount twelve .303 machine guns in the wings.

• In the morning, the Luftwaffe attacks RAF airfields at Eastchurch, Lympne, North Weald and Biggin Hill. In the afternoon, targets are RAF airfields at Detling and Biggin Hill (again), Hawker Aircraft Ltd works at Brooklands and oil storage tanks at Thameshaven which are set ablaze. 23 German aircraft are shot down and the RAF loses 20 fighters. The RAF is close to breaking point due to loss of pilots and with airfields at Biggin Hill and Eastchurch out of action indefinitely and other airfields badly damaged. Bomber Command attacks Berlin with 85 bombers to goad Hitler into bombing of British cities instead of RAF airfields and aircraft factories.

 

683675865_DownedBf-109EinKent05September1940.jpg.34904e76f18695d240c6240af22126e6.jpg

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"• With regular bombings in the various cities, the British public appear to be taking the bombing in good heart. An increasingly fatalistic attitude towards the effect of bombing is reported, and this appears to be coupled with a high state of morale. In the East End the searchlights rather than the sirens are now taken as a sign for going to the shelters. Cooperation and friendliness in public shelters are reported to be increasing, but there are many complaints about ‘insanitary messes’ in shelters, and ‘improper behaviour’ of various varieties is causing distress among the more respectable elements of the community.

 

• Göstra Catroli, a right-wing Swedish national trained by the Abwehr, parachutes into England near Hastings. His mission is to report conditions by radio to Germany on conditions in Britain. He is injured on landing and captured by a farmer. He agrees to be “turned”, broadcasting disinformation to the Germans.
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- In a few days, Danish fascist Wulf Schmidt parachutes in and will also be caught. He is turned after being told that Catroli sold him out, and cooperates in broadcasting disinformation to Germany into 1945.

 

• With continued good flying weather, the Luftwaffe stays with the successful tactics of recent days. They send 3 raids up the Thames Estuary and across Kent at 9 AM, 1 PM and 6 PM, again splitting up to attack RAF airfields at Heston, Kenley and Biggin Hill. The Hawker Aircraft factory at Brooklands and oil storage tanks at Thameshaven are bombed for the second day in a row. The situation is becoming critical for the RAF with 295 fighters lost (171 badly damaged) and 103 pilots killed (128 wounded) since August 24.

1351120668_HeinkelandSpitfire.jpg.32977716c2a45d7d2ff959be16c42ed4.jpg


• Aircraft carrier HMS Argus flies off thirty Hurricanes to Takoradi on the Gold Coast. They will be flown 3,600 miles overland to RAF Abu Sueir in Egypt.

• British troopship Dunera arrives in Australia after a 57-day trip from Great Britain that began in early July. It carries 200 Italian prisoners of war, 251 German POWs, 55 fascist British internees, and 2,036 male German citizens caught in Great Britain at the outbreak of the war. The decision was made to deport the civilians to avert the chance of them aiding a German invasion, despite many of the civilians being anti-Nazis and Jews who had fled Germany. The British Army guards are mostly poorly trained men not considered fit for front line service. On the lengthy sea journey many had beaten and robbed their charges. On arrival, the Australian medical officer coming aboard to inspect is appalled by the overcrowded living conditions and the injuries from mistreatment by the guards.

- These war crimes will lead to a series of courts-martial and convictions.

- The civilians testify to the contrasting kindness shown by the Australians, and are sent by train to a camp in Hay, New South Wales. After Pearl Harbor, about a thousand of the German civilians will volunteer to join the Australian Army and fight the Japanese.

• Japanese junior officers, attempting to force their superiors to adopt a more aggressive policy, violate the French Indochina border and fire on the fort at Đồng Đăng. The Vichy French will cut off negotiations in response, resulting in stronger Japanese demands. The Japanese have the 21st Independent Mixed Brigade, 2nd Imperial Guards Infantry Regiment, 14th Tank Regiment, as well as anti-aircraft and signal troops already aboard ship ready to be transported to Tonkin.

• Italian submarine Guglielmotti attacks convoy BN-4 in the Red Sea, sinking the Greek 4,000 ton tanker Atlas. Several torpedo boats and the submarine Ferraris attempt to intercept but are unable to do so.
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• The Blohm und Voss BV-222 flying boat makes its maiden flight. It will be the largest seaplane to achieve operational status during the war. Thirteen are built, with production aircraft powered by Junkers Jumo 207C diesel engines.

 

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• The first Douglas SBD Dauntless scout bombers are delivered to the US Navy.

 

• The Vichy French send a trial convoy through the Strait of Gibraltar, citing freedom of passage for a neutral. The British do not interfere. By November 1942, more than five hundred Vichy convoys will have transited the Strait.

• Following an Enigma decrypt, heavy cruiser HMS Hawkins attempts to locate the German supply ship Ostmark in the South Atlantic, without success.

 

• Italian aircraft raid Haifa, Palestine.

 


• The British government issues codeword “Cromwell” to all commands, putting them on the highest state of alert for invasion. The Home Fleet is put on one hour notice to sortie, with destroyers remaining at action stations throughout the night.

- RAF bombers attack barge concentrations in the Channel ports.

• Rechsmarschall Göring, with Hitler’s concurrence, switches targets from the RAF to terror attacks on London in the start of “The Blitz”. Five hundred bombers pound the city by day and another three hundred by night plus attacks by a hundred Bf-110 fighter bombers. Göring directs the attacks personally from a clifftop in France. 2,000 Londoners are killed. Although RAF aircraft and pilots fight as hard as ever, this change gives RAF bases and ground personnel a much needed respite to recover, repair, and restock. One of the most iconic photographs of the Battle of Britain is taken today.

571876145_HeinkeloverLondon07Sept40.jpg.15d6757c2d5f4ada6062d8bbd2aba334.jpg

 

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Spitfire gun camera still taken today attacking Dorniers that are returning to base."

 

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7 September 1940

Heinkel over London 07 Sept 40.jpg

Edited by cardboard_killer
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• Air Vice Marshal Keith Park flies his Hurricane over bomb-damaged parts of London, and later in the day writes in his diary:
 

  • “It was burning all down the river. It was a horrid sight. But I looked down and said ‘Thank God for that’, because I knew that the Nazis had switched their attack from the fighter stations thinking that they were knocked out. They weren't, but they were pretty groggy”.

• American listeners, huddled around their radios, are brought closer to the war than their oceans allow, as CBS News correspondent Edward R Murrow describes the first night of the blitz:

 

- Sheean, a newspaperman through and through, describes the new medium of radio as filling him with awe:
 

  • “Ed was talking to millions of Americans at certain stated hours every day, and for many of them he was like part of the evening meal, as indispensable as a knife and fork. He used this new, strange potency with caution, as did most of his colleagues, restricting himself to an account of the latest news with little or no comment upon it. And yet, (like Bill Shirer, who did the same thing from Berlin), there was sometimes a world of significance in the turn of a phrase, the accent of the voice. He was fiercely impatient with sham, incompetence, and muddle; he liked the English people well enough to be savagely critical of their government; and yet he was capable of putting forward a calm, uncolored version of all the vast drama of the day so that it passed both the British censors and the radio regulations at home.”

In a German air attack on Methil Roads, the Dutch 8,500 ton steamer Stad Vlaardingen is damaged and drifting ashore when pulled clear by the elderly Norwegian destroyer Sleipner.

- In the same raid HMS Stork is torpedoed in the stern. The previously unarmed survey vessel had just been refitted as an ASW sloop. She will be out of service for eight months. In a year she will come under command of a passed-over officer with no patrons who had been slated for early retirement in the pre-war Royal Navy, who has been sitting on the beach for the past year: Frederic “Johnnie” Walker, the greatest submarine killer of all time.

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• The issuance of codeword “Cromwell” to the Army and Home Forces yesterday has led some to believe the invasion has started and is causing great confusion. Church bells are rung, roadblocks set up, some bridges blown and landmines sown on some roads (killing 3 Guards officers).

• 417 people are killed in air raids on London today and tonight, including 78 when their shelter takes a direct hit.

 

Dornier-17.jpg.262443d43ba4ba0d9b0de2df6ef6d091.jpg

 

 

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• Light cruiser HMS Galatea, on anti-invasion stand-by in the Thames Estuary, is damaged by an air-dropped acoustic mine.

• OKL (Oberkommando der Luftwaffe) announces that the demise of Fighter Command is near. This prediction is based on weak resistance to the raids on London, when those early raids were simply not expected and found the RAF out of position. Today, two full fighter groups intercept the daylight raid, shooting down 29 bombers and 21 fighters. Very few of the German aircraft get through to bomb London but the RAF loses 20 fighters with 6 pilots killed. London is, however, heavily bombed again during the night, as the RAF has no effective deterrent for this.

• Four German destroyers depart Wilhelmshaven and arrive safely at Cherbourg in preparation for escorting the invasion barges. The very few heavy German ships plan to sortie towards the Atlantic during the invasion to draw off the Royal Navy rather than risk themselves in the Channel.

 

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The main burden of escort and protection will fall on Kriegsmarine light forces: armed trawlers, schnellboote, and räumboote (small minesweepers). Above is R-29.

• British destroyers Viscount and Vanoc collide in Plymouth Harbour. Viscount is soon returned to duty but Vanoc will be under repair through November.


• Mussolini orders Maresciallo Rodolfo Graziani to launch Operazione E, the attack into Egypt with 10ª Armata despite Graziani’s report that he is not yet properly prepared. Mussolini believes that Sealion will result in a quick British surrender and wants to take territory before the war is over. After being threatened with replacement, Graziani begins his offensive.

• Italian bombers raid Tel Aviv, Palestine, killing 137 people. At this time the Jewish terrorist group Lehi is seeking assistance from the Axis powers for an independent Israel. Unaware of the holocaust, the group, led by fascist Zionist Avraham Stern, is counting on Germany expelling Jews from Europe which will swell the Jewish population of Palestine.


• The first T-34 tanks are produced in the Soviet Union. It is replacing production of BT-7, T-26, and T-28 tanks. The Model 1940 has numerous teething problems including an inferior 76mm gun, defective armor plates, and unreliable transmission and clutch. Some of them have gasoline engines due to a shortage of the new V-2 diesel engine. 400 will be built before production shifts to the M1941 version with most of these problems corrected including fielding a better gun. After Pearl Harbor, the Soviets will donate two T-34/M1941 to the United States to help the Americans with tank design.

 

1266479665_T-34Model1940.jpg.e215e62e862b0c39144ed2730e320176.jpg

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• Hitler postpones the decision on whether to launch Seelöwe from the 10th to the 14th. He also orders a doubling of the number of panzer divisions. Some will be created by converting infantry divisions; others by building a division around an existing panzer regiment.

• Damage to Buckingham Palace by German bombers and regular visits by the King and Queen to bomb damaged areas is doing much to dispel feelings that the Royal Family is aloof to the war, increasing patriotic fervor.

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George VI and Elizabeth in front of Buckingham Palace 10 September, 1940


• The War Cabinet instructs Bomber Command units to not return with their bombs if unable to locate their targets. They are to drop them “anywhere”. A successful raid on Eindhoven in the Netherlands wrecks eight Heinkels on the ground.

 

• Italy begins efforts to launch two major offensives at once, overstraining its logistics. The Italian Expeditionary Corps begins shipping out to Albania in preparation for an invasion of Greece, without informing Germany. 40,310 troops, 7,728 horses, 701 vehicles, and 33,535 tons of supplies will be brought from Brindisi without loss to reinforce existing garrison units.

- The quarter million strong Italian 10ª Armata begins advancing slowly from Libya into Egypt, initial objectives being Sollum and Sidi Barrani. It is supported by 110 Savoia-Marchetti SM-79 bombers, fifty Breda Ba-65 ground attack aircraft, and 170 Fiat CR-42 biplane fighters.

- General Sir Archibald Wavell has 36,000 men to oppose, supported by 96 Bristol Bombay and Blenheim bombers and 75 Gloster Gladiators.

- The bloated 10th Army is largely footbound with insufficient logistics. Maresciallo Italo Balbo had warned Mussolini in June about an attack into Egypt:
 

  • “It is not the number of men which causes me anxiety but their weapons ... equipped with limited and very old pieces of artillery, almost lacking anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons ... it is useless to send more thousands of men if we cannot supply them with the indispensable requirements to move and fight.”

- Mussolini disregarded the warning, relying on his intuition.

 

- As 10ª Armata advances with XXIII Corpo in the lead. Many of the vehicles are breaking down in desert conditions. Light screens of Allied troops slow and harass the Italian advance.

 

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"• The British Technical and Scientific Mission under Henry Tizard opens its meetings with American scientists and government officials of the National Defense Research Committee. The Mission’s intent is to convey a number of technical innovations to the U.S. in order to secure assistance in maintaining the war effort and improve the capabilities of American military production. Tizard's Mission presents to the United States:

- Aerial depth charge prototypes
- Torpex explosive (50% more powerful than TNT)
- Rolls Royce Merlin engine and plans
- 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun
- Power driven bomber turret
- Latest ASDIC (Sonar)
- Hedgehog ASW mortar plans
- Shipborne HF/DF (Huff Duff)
- British and exile work on nuclear physics
- Specifications for the chain-home radars
- Cavity magnetron for centimetre wavelength radar

These give a tremendous boost to American technology. One American scientist refers to the cavity magnetron as “the greatest treasure ever brought to American shores”.

• Blenheims and Battles attack invasion barges at Ostend, sinking several. German barge concentrations have been growing rapidly.
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• Poor visibility prevents attacks against inland English targets during the day, but Hastings, Folkestone, and Dover are attacked. London is again attacked overnight. Sappers Robert Davies and George Wylie will be awarded the George Cross for removing an unexploded 1,000 kg bomb from St. Paul’s Cathedral.

 

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2085190097_Bf-109swithChainHomeradarsinbackground.jpg.b8c93cf76aa18b90b59f3ae053a8f076.jpg

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'• After having trained on their aircraft for months, thirteen Mitsubishi A6M2 Type 0 pilots make the Reisen’s combat debut, escorting a naval bomber raid on Chungking. They engage thirty-six Chinese Nationalist Polikarpov I-15 and I-16 fighters, claiming to down twenty-seven of them for no losses.

 

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• Ten British and two Polish destroyers sweep the French coast looking for targets of opportunity. They briefly engage two German armed trawlers but break off when they come under coastal artillery fire.

Hood and Nelson join battleship Rodney at Rosyth to be closer to the Channel for anti-invasion work. HMS Revenge and light cruiser Emerald will be positioned at Plymouth tomorrow under heavy anti-aircraft protection.

• Bomber Command switches its night raids from strategic targets in Germany to the invasion assembly ports. One Whitley is shot down by AA fire.

• In recent raids, St Thomas’ hospital and St Paul’s cathedral have been damaged. Today, Buckingham Palace is hit again, with one bomb exploding 80 yards from the King and Queen, showering them with broken glass. Despite entreaties from his staff, George VI refuses to leave London.

 

 

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"• The switch in attacks from RAF facilities to cities has allowed Fighter Command to return to operational strength with newly-manufactured and repaired fighters. The RAF has also repaired airfields & radar stations and integrated newly trained pilots with rested veterans. Air Vice Marshal Park has reshuffled squadrons so that Hurricanes (to attack bombers) and Spitfires (to attack the fighter escorts) work in pairs. 150 German aircraft cross the coast to bomb London at 3.30 PM and another 100 attack London and some airfields at 6 PM. Most bombers do not get through to their targets. RAF shoots down 4 bombers and 11 fighters but loses 12 fighters with four pilots killed.

 

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• The attacks on London prompt the government to increase the evacuation of children from the city.

 

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2010456855_HurricanestakeofffromGravesend14Sept40.jpg.4611416c8aba29d32b16237f8cd56c2a.jpg

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"• Battleship Bismarck conducts trials off Hamburg, colliding with a tug and firing anti-aircraft weaponry during a British raid without effect.

• Hitler orders that no hint of a German offensive against the USSR is to be given to the Japanese.

 

• British 5,500 ton passenger-freighter Nailsea River is torpedoed and sunk by a Heinkel-115 seaplane off the Scottish coast.

 

Battle of Britain Day

 

The largest ever German formations cross the Channel in two big raids, totaling 1,120 aircraft. Luftwaffe Chief of Staff Hans Jeschonnek had recommended a massive assault on residential housing to demoralize the British, but Hitler orders the strikes to be made on military, industrial and transportation targets. The Battersea rail complex, with rail lines 12 abreast and with many rail over rail bridges, is a primary target, as are the Thames docks at East End, Surrey, and Docklands. Smaller attacks are made on RAF airfields and other targets such as naval bases and the Spitfire factory at Woolston, while high-flying Ju-88 photo-reconnaissance missions are flown to Liverpool, Manchester, and Birkenhead.
external-content.duckduckgo_com.jPG.85340f678ce6e332cbd97fc1d883a501.jPG1931267906_Do-17formation.jpg.105fabdb7887d6df57497ee58b4a7065.jpg
- Despite the large number of aircraft, many of the German squadrons are understrength due to attrition.
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- The raids are mainly broken up by 24 Fighter Command squadrons operating on this day, since known as Battle of Britain Day.

 

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- Churchill is visiting Air Vice Marshal Keith Park’s operations centre at Uxbridge. During the day-long battle, he notices that all squadron icons are sortied. He asks Park, “What reserves have we?” The response is, “We have none.”
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- One Dornier-17 of KG 76 has an experimental weapon installed – a modified infantry flamethrower that fires rearward from the tail, controlled by the radio operator. A Hurricane of No 504 Squadron piloted by Flight Sergeant Ray Holmes attacks the Dornier from behind, and a spurt of Flammöl 19 drenches the aircraft, with Holmes unable to see anything through his windscreen. Fortunately for him, the Flammöl fails to ignite, possibly as they are at 16,000 feet of altitude. He veers off as the windstream gradually clears the oil.

- The flamethrower equipped Dornier is brought down by a Spitfire of No 609 Squadron. Meanwhile, Holmes damages a second Dornier of KG 76, then attacks a third with a head-on attack, but his guns jam. He attempts to clip off the port vertical tailfin with his port wing but actually strikes the top rear fuselage of the bomber, knocking the entire tail off. His Hurricane is crippled and Holmes successfully bails out. The Dornier crashes at Victoria Station with no survivors.

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The tail-less Do-17 falling on Victoria Station. Holmes is fêted as having saved Buckingham Palace from bombing, despite KG 76’s target being the rail complex.

- Oberleutnant Hasso von Wedel is shot down and crash lands his Bf-109 near Bilsington, plowing into a farmhouse shed and killing a mother and daughter waiting to go on a Sunday drive. When a local Constable comes to arrest him, a distraught von Wedel apologizes profusely for the incident. The Constable asks him if he would like a spot of tea to calm down.

- Throughout the day hundreds of RAF fighters are mixed into the Luftwaffe formations. Cloud cover obscures some targets while also providing refuge for intercepted bombers. Most of the Germans don’t reach their objectives, retreating in defensive globes with Bf-109s covering them. Fifty-six German (the RAF claims 183) and twenty-six British (the Luftwaffe claims 79) aircraft are downed. Many bombers return to base with dead crewmen aboard as RAF fighters trail them back across the Channel. German morale suffers as they meet up to 300 RAF fighters in one raid after their leaders have told them that the RAF as a whole has less than this number.
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- Liverpool is bombed overnight.

 

Flammenwerfer equipped Do-17 that was downed today.jpg

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Due to his actions during a raid on German barge concentrations at Antwerp, 18 year old Scottish Flight Sergeant John Hannah will be awarded the Victoria Cross:
 

  • On the night of September 15/16th., Sergeant Hannah was the Wireless Operator/Air Gunner of an aircraft detailed to carry out operations on enemy barge concentrations at Antwerp. After completing a successful attack on the target, his aircraft was subjected to intense anti-aircraft fire, during the course of which the bomb compartment received a direct hit. A fire started and quickly enveloped the Wireless Operator/ Air Gunner’s and Rear Gunner’s cockpits. Both the port and starboard petrol tanks were also pierced, thus causing grave risk of fire spreading still further. Sergeant Hannah succeeded in forcing his way through the fire in order to grab two extinguishers. He then discovered that the Rear Gunner was missing. Quite undaunted he fought the fire for 10 minutes, and when the fire extinguishers were exhausted he beat the flames with his log book. During this time, ammunition from the gunner’s magazines was exploding in all directions. In spite of this and the fact that he was almost blinded by the intense heat and fumes, he succeeded in controlling and eventually putting out the fire. During the process of fighting the flames, he had turned on his oxygen to assist him in his efforts.
  • On instructions from his pilot, Sergeant Hannah then crawled forward to ascertain if the navigator was alright, only to find that he also was missing. He informed his pilot and passed up the navigator’s log and maps, stating that he was quite alright himself, in spite of burns and exhaustion from the heat and fumes.
  • An inspection of the aircraft reveals the conditions under which Sergeant Hannah was working. The sides of the fuselage were ripped away by enemy action and exploding bullets. Metal was distorted and the framework scorched by the intense heat. The two carrier pigeons were completely roasted. His own parachute was burned out.
  • During this operation, in which he received second degree burns to his face and eyes, Sergeant Hannah displayed outstanding coolness, courage and devotion to duty of the very highest order. By his action he not only saved the life of his pilot, but enabled his aircraft to be flown back safely to its base without any further damage.

 

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- Canadian Pilot Officer Clare Connor is awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for bringing the crippled Hampden home. He will be killed in November during another mission. John Hannah suffers extensive lung damage and will be discharged in 1942. Unable to work full time to support his family, he will die of complications from tuberculosis in 1947 at age 25. His wife Janet will live to the age of 83 and is now buried alongside him.

 

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Amid recriminations between fighter and bomber units among the Luftwaffe over the losses of the previous day, Göring admits that the change of strategy from RAF airfields to London was a mistake.

- A fighter sweep by Bf-109s achieves little as the RAF does not take the bait.

- Overnight, London, Liverpool, Bristol, and Manchester are bombed.


• Swordfish from carriers Illustrious and Eagle raid Benghazi, sinking the Italian destroyer Borea and two steamers by torpedo and laying mines in the harbor entrance that will damage a steamer and sink destroyer Aquilone two days from now.

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"• Off Bardia, British heavy cruiser Kent is attacked at night by two Italian SM-79 Sparvieros of 279° Squadriglia Autonoma Aerosiluranti and torpedoed in the stern with 33 crewmen killed. She is towed back to Alexandria by destroyer Nubian, escorted by light cruisers Orion and Calcutta plus five more destroyers. She will be under repair for a full year.

 

Initial reports of German air attacks on Malta are dispelled when a Stuka is shot down by a Hurricane and the pilot captured. The aircraft is identified as the Ju-87B Picchiatello (Woodpecker) of 96° Gruppo, 100 of which were ordered from Junkers by the Regia Aeronautica. They were supposed to be new aircraft but a number are actually used Luftwaffe planes. An escorting Fiat CR-42 of 23° Gruppo is also shot down, and a second Picchiatello returns damaged with the rear gunner dead in the cockpit.

 

 

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• Hitler postpones Operation Sealion until further notice. The Army Staff receive this with profound relief. Attention immediately switches to planning for an attack on the Soviet Union.

• The Luftwaffe tries sending Bf-109 fighters armed with bombs but several are shot down by Hurricanes, causing the rest to jettison their bombs over the Kentish countryside and head for home.

• Daylight bombing of London is tapering off, but night bombing intensifies. The King and Queen regularly visit stricken areas and are received with cheers from people who have raised Union Jacks over their damaged homes and signs saying “Business as usual”. Churchill visits the East End with cigar clamped in his teeth and is told repeatedly, “Give it ‘em back!”

 

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• Heavy cruiser HMS Sussex is undergoing a turbine repair at Glasgow when hit by a German 250 kg bomb that goes right through a hole where deck plates had been removed for access to the engines. Fuel tanks ignite and the aft fire pumps are put out of action. Two ratings are killed. Attempts to eject the ship’s torpedoes which are getting hot are unsuccessful so water will be played over them continuously. It takes 23 hours to extinguish the flames, and the aft section is burned out. Her machinery will have to be rebuilt and Sussex will not return to service for nearly two years.

 

HMS-Sussex-bombed-Glasgow.jpg.a332c2e5a5b59b916840bc6b3b429b82.jpg

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