AHC: Peerless Air Ministry

For the MB4 I an going for initial production with a Malcolm Hood borrowed from a spitfire and then a s simple logic line that have the production aircraft adapt a low back and teardrop canopy. All will be explained in the relatively near future. More posts by the week end I hope.
Dear Erokwi (post 1356),
I am familiar with many of the warbirds model fed with extra seats post World War 2.
Back during the early 1990s, I packed parachutes for Butler Parachute Systems and we specialized on custom-fit pilot emergency parachutes for million-dollar Mustangs. Warbird Pilots primarily wore PEPs while flying in formation (US Federal Air Regulations). They also wore PEPs in case their ancient airplanes caught fire. Finally, a few warbird pilots do mild aerobatics in their elderly steeds. I even packed parachutes for Oshkosh Grand Champion Warbird 1993! That Mustang had been rebuilt multiple times and ended up as almost a stock TP-51 with two identical seats. The back-seater had fewer instruments.
The L-shaped fuel tank - behind the pilot’s seat - disappeared decades ago to make space for the second seat.
Even production NAA T-28s have at least three different seat configurations.
I am still curious about “mechanics’ season s added to Corsairs and He’ll ate. Nothing has been published on this subject. We have only seen a cutaway done by “Motocar” that depicts a Grumman Wildcat - owned by an Argentinian civilian - that had a three-seater couch installed below and behind the pilot’s seat.
We are seeing more and more two-seater conversions of warbirds. For example, only a handful of two-seater Spitfires were built, but a British company is doing a booming business converting stock Spitfires and giving rides in return for thousand dollar “donations.” Some one has to pay to keep warbirds flying.
These days, a million dollars might buy the rusted out hulk of a Mustang that crashed in flames 75 years ago!
OTL During WW2, Martin-Baker was too busy sub-contracting parts for major factories and conversions.
MB 3 lacked a full bubble canopy because it was built at the same time that British factories (e.g. Malcolm) has just perfected tooling for blowing Malcolm hoods and were then learning how to build larger, full-blown bubble canopies.
Many American-made fighters (P-51, Corsair, Thunderbolt, etc). Were retrofitted with Malcolm hoods when they arrived in Britain (1943 to 1945).
It was British companies (e.g. Malcolm) that taught Americans how to build full-blown bubble canopies .
In the PAM. Martin Baker are not being used for emergency conversions etc. That work is being given to other companies who's pet design projects failed to Make the Grade. I will try to cover that in a later update but at the moment please take as Authors fiat.
10.33 Poor Flying Weather reduces the sortie tempo for a time
10.33 Poor flying weather reduces the sortie tempo or a Time.

September 12th

Day, Only small raids in south. Reconnaissance.

Night. Reduced effort. Main force London. Single aircraft over wide area.

Weather. Unsettled, rain in most districts. Channel cloudy. (1)

As now usual the morning was relatively quite except for the continual reconnaissance flights. Interceptions were made more difficult by the weather with the clouds providing plenty of hiding places for the enemy aircraft to dodge into. Around noon three small raids were plotted by RDF, In fact the RDF station at Fairlight was the target but the bombs did no damage to the station. One of the raiders hounded by fighters finally crashed into the base of the Cliffs at Cape Gris ness right in front of a group of senior Luftwaffe officers who had gathered at their favourite viewing point. The afternoons activity consisted of raids by single aircraft. Despite being hampered by the weather Fighter Command flew just over two hundred and fifty sorties, accounting for a half dozen enemy aircraft destroyed and twice that number damaged. This was achieved without loss to the RAF. The night activity was similarly curtailed by the weather with the main raid on London consisting of only around fifty bombers. There were single bomber incursions over the Kent, Surrey, Essex, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, the Midlands and Merseyside. Aircraft were shot down as far apart as Newport in Monmouthshire, Felixstowe and the Wash.

It was on this night that a ‘Herman’ (1000kg) bomb with a delayed action bomb landed by the North wall of Saint Paul’s Cathedral coming to rest against the foundations some twenty seven feet below ground level. Digging down to this bomb, rendering it safe and removing it was an operation that took three days and saw Lieutenant R. Davies and his assistant Sapper Wylie becoming the first persons to be awarded the newly instigated George Medal.

(1) Daily summary quoted verbatim from the The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster

September 13th.

Day, Small raids mainly directed at London. Hitler in conference, discussing air offensive and invasion.

Night, Renewed effort against London.

Weather, Unsettled. Bright intervals and showers. Rain in Channel. Straits Cloudy. (1)

As usual the mornings activities commenced with Luftwaffe aircraft carrying out reconnaissance and weather fights. Despite tracking these aircraft Fighter Command was unable to intercept any of these high altitude intruders. Through analysing the tracks of these fights the RAF intelligence branch tried to deduce the Luftwaffe’s intentions for the day, this mainly meant comparing todays flights with previous days flights and targets and trying to find probable matches. All in all little better than guess work. Meanwhile the Y service monitored all transmittions from the German aircraft and transcripts of these enciphered messages were passed up the intelligence chain. At round eight Am a lone Focke Wulf 200 from I/KG40 attacked the SS. Longfort as she sailed close to the Copeland Light Off Belfast. Local RDF stations at Bishops Road and Ballinderry had been tracking the intruder for some time and even as the bombe aimer lined up the steamer in his sites there was the fearful cry of “Achtung Spitfire” and his world disintegrated in a hail of twenty millimetre vengeance.

The next event for that morning was that for two hours, individual aircraft departed the French coast at Dieppe and headed for Hastings before attacking targets to the south of London. During these attacks the RDF stations at Rye, Dover and Canewdon reported various levels of jamming. The OR boffins at Stanmore considered that these two events were linked and the Luftwaffe were actually using aircraft as live bait to test the effectiveness of their jamming efforts. At noon the Y service got a gem of information when any enemy bomber flying over Kent began transmitting in the clear a message that read ‘Cloud is /10th at 15,00 meters and the attack is possible between 1,500 and 2,500 meters altitude’ Stanmore immediately alerted 11 Group and ‘Low and Behold’ and hour and a half later a number of raids flying between the specified altitudes crossed the south coast to attack airfields in Kent and Biggin Hill a little further west. One of these raids even included some Ju87’s, Eleven Group forewarned, had fighters at the correct altitude and despite plenty of cloud for the enemy to hide in many of the intruders were attacked. The Ju87’s from Luftflotte 3 were attacked as soon as they dropped out of the cloud cover, several were shot up before the rest turned for France and used the clouds for cover.

Targets in central London hit by the single aircraft raids in the morning included Downing Street, Whitehall and Buckingham Palace. Due to the very difficult interception conditions the results for the day were in RAF terms disappointing with only eight enemy aircraft definitely destroyed for the loss of two fighters, though both pilots were saved though one was badly burnt and would be out of action for many months. Despite the armour plate and self sealing tanks now fitted to all British fighters the placement of a fuel tank in front of the cockpit in both the Spitfire and the Hurricane was unfortunate for even a single hit from a twenty mm cannon could defeat the self sealing system, rupturing the tank and turning it into a high octane blowtorch aimed directly at the pilot in his cockpit, it did not matter how quickly he bailed out in most such cases the result was major burns to the pilots face and hands, resulting in a long stay in East Grinstead and automatic membership of the ‘Guinea Pig Club’.

Continued sightings of barges under tow and enemy shipping off Cape Gris Ness and nearby French ports only served to heighten the expectation of an imminent invasion.

The night brought continued attacks principally on London where over one hundred attackers were recorded. The night-fighters had a busy night but in difficult cloud conditions only destroyed four of the bombers.

(1) Daily summary quoted verbatim from the The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster

September 14th.

Day. Hitler postpones Seelowe until September 17th. Succession of afternoon raids aimed at London, but mainly consisting of fighters.

Night. Reduced activity Main force over London.

Weather. Showers and local thunder. Cloud in Straits, Channel and Estuary. (1)

The previous days schedule seemed deemed to be repeated when a similar pattern of reconnaissance flights was detected and plotted. This was backed up by more RDF jamming principally of the CH stations at Great Bromley and Poling. There were several forays by enemy bombers towards coast targets and one raider was shot down over Selsey Bill having dropped bombs on Eastbourne, elsewhere RAF fighters and single Luftwaffe aircraft played cat and mouse with the clouds with most Luftwaffe aircraft managing to avoid combat. Everything changed at around three in the afternoon when formations were detected forming up over France before heading towards London in three waves. These attacks used the two by now familiar attack routes, one directly across Kent and the other via the Thames estuary. To counter these attacks Eleven Group fielded no less than twenty two squadrons. Twelve Group also put up five squadrons, one to chase a diversionary raid off Lowestoft where one enemy bomber was successfully shot down and the other four squadrons to provide cover for the northern bases of eleven group. Ten Group Likewise provided cover for aircraft production sites and airfields to the west. Where successful interceptions were achieved large dogfights took place but clouds especially in the Thames estuary provide the German bombers with ready cover. Even as the final squadron to land rearmed and refuelled the next assault was assembling over France and Belgium. This raid was presaged by a feint from Cherbourg towards Bournemouth, the Isle of Wight and Southampton, However this raid turned back too France before the scrambled fighters from Ten and Eleven Group could intercept and engage. As soon as the controllers were convinced that this formation was retreating they had so to speak ‘called off the hounds’, even as the squadron leader of one of defending squadron had called the ‘Tallyho’! apparently he had some choice words with the controller once he was back at base but orders were orders and that was that. Unbeknown to the Twelve Group Squadron Leader at the very time he was about to pursue a fleeing formation towards Cherbourg another major attack was brewing toward the central southern and eastern areas of Eleven Groups territory. This succession of raids number between ten or twelve aircraft and up to as many as fifty continued in quick succession to cross the coast and head for London at altitudes between seventeen and twenty thousand feet, A lot of these raids turned back upon finding opposition waiting for them and others consisting mainly of Fighters were deliberately not engaged. As these attacks petered out single aircraft continued nuisance raids through until nine o’clock that night. When Luftflotte Three began their now customary nightshift, though it was noted that the intensity of the activity was much reduced compared to earlier nights and many of the RAF night fighters spent a frustrating time orbiting GCI stations and never being given any trade. Over all the day was fairly even with the RAF loosing a dozen aircraft with seven of the pilots surviving. All told for the twenty four hours Luftwaffe losses totalled some twenty two aircraft and the majority of their crews.

Perhaps the most important event of the day was the conclusions drawn by the Luftwaffe intelligence service and the High Command regarding the state of the RAF and Britain’s air Defences. Their appraisal was that the defence was becoming less co-ordinated and that fewer interceptions were being pressed home into attacks. In fact the Luftwaffe intelligence appraisal was that Fighter Command was entering a state of collapse and that another major attack would finally wrest control of the skies over southern England and the Channel from the RAF.

Fighter command meanwhile assumed from the relatively lower intensity of the days attacks that the Luftwaffe were preparing for a major assault on the morrow.

(1) Daily summary quoted verbatim from the The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster
In fact the Luftwaffe intelligence appraisal was that Fighter Command was entering a state of collapse and that another major attack would finally wrest control of the skies over southern England and the Channel from the RAF.
One last push. That's a mentality that suffused a lot of military thinking back then.

which will lead to

The Germans are taking a breather, gathering their strength for what they think will be the last push, but the reduced operations tempo gives the RAF time to draw breath too, and as we know whilst the RAF's knees are a bit wobbly and his nose is certinally bloodied, he's still in there against an equally exhausted opponent.


For the pilots and controllers, the dip in activity probably seems marginal. For the mechanics and armorers, maybe a little time to catch up, just a bit. For the leaders, just enough time to share out recent lessons-learned?
Not sure it's always quite that hard to improve a cockpit to give a pilot visibility
later in OTL WW2, early model US built F-4U Corsairs with a "cage" hood and "low" pilot seat
View attachment 517756
were much improved in British service by simply adding a bulged cockpit (similar to a malcolm hood)
and a raised seat position (with extra armour to the seat back)
So improved that the USN overcame it's usual "not invented here" and insisted that the changes were built into production models.
View attachment 517757
culminating in a "fully blown" perspex hood (though AFAIK never a full "bubble" design)
Hi, care to add a source that notes that British were 1st to improve Corsair's canopy?
Hi, care to add a source that notes that British were 1st to improve Corsair's canopy?

for Corsair Wiki is the easiest to find (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vought_F4U_Corsair#Enhancement_for_carrier_suitability)

The Royal Navy developed a number of modifications to the Corsair that made carrier landings more practical. Among these were a bulged canopy (similar to the Malcolm Hood), raising the pilot's seat 7 in (180 mm), and wiring shut the cowl flaps across the top of the engine compartment, diverting oil and hydraulic fluid spray around the sides of the fuselage.

and again

The Royal Navy initially received 95 "birdcage" F4U-1s from Vought which were designated Corsair Mk I in Fleet Air Arm service. Next from Vought came 510 "blown-canopy" F4U-1A/-1Ds, which were designated Corsair Mk II

BTW similar story for Mustang (http://www.aerofiles.com/malcolm-hood.html). Relevant text is

When the Mustang III was delivered to England, the RAF decided that the hinged cockpit canopy offered too poor a view for European operations. A fairly major modification was made in which the original framed hinged hood was replaced by a bulged Perspex frameless canopy that slid to the rear on rails. This canopy gave the pilot much more room and the huge goldfish bowl afforded a good view almost straight down or directly to the rear. It was manufactured and fitted by the British corporation R Malcolm & Co, and became familiar as the Malcolm Hood. The hood was fitted to most RAF Mustang IIIs, and many USAAF Eighth and Ninth Air Force P-51B/C fighters received the modification as well.

and further

In search of a more lasting solution to the problem cockpit visibility from the P-51B/C, a P-51B was modified with a teardrop-shaped all-round cockpit canopy and redesignated XP-51D. Having proved that the concept was valid, two P-51B-10-NAs were completed on the production line with Plexiglas bubble canopies and redesignated P-51Ds. Those became the prototypes for the famed P-51D series of Mustangs.

(Note: that many Pilots considered the modified B/C aircraft flew better than the D ... less weight etc ... but lacked armament)

Aside: there is also some material discussing as to whether R Malcolm & Co in the UK actually built the "bubble canopies" as a subcontractor for the Americans or simply provide expertise in setting up the production lines.


Apologies for multiple edits in this post. Hand/eye coordination shot again :-(
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The early D models had reduced lateral stability vs the B/C due to the loss hull behind the canopy. Later D models had a narrow fillet forward of the tails returning some of the stability. I believe the P-47 had the same problem and solution.
The early D models had reduced lateral stability vs the B/C due to the loss hull behind the canopy. Later D models had a narrow fillet forward of the tails returning some of the stability. I believe the P-47 had the same problem and solution.
AIUI the P-51 B/C already had some issues in that line anyway and that a fillet was added to some of these models.


C with fillet .. over China as late as 1945

Also the increased instability of the first Ds was as much due to a new fuel tank in the fuselage as to the changed aerodynamics from the hood/rear profile.

Of course, where the D scored was with 6 x.50" vs 4 plus better mounting in the wing that reduced jamming.
(I think the ammo load was also better, at least for some guns)

Also, an improved set of bomb racks and rocket rails made the later D a much better jabo
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10.34 Just who is on the Ropes and is the opponent on wobbly legs
10.34, Just who is on the Ropes and is the opponent on wobbly legs.

September 15th.

Day, Heavy attacks on London, broken up by Fighter Command. Highest German Losses since August 18th. Serious rethinking by German High Command.

Night. Main Target London. Heavy Damage.

Weather, Fair but cloud patches. Fine evening (1).

As usual the morning started with a series of reconnaissance flights normally at high altitude. This morning at least one of the Reapers sent in pursuit was successful and shot down an He 111 in the vicinity of Start Point. By eleven in the morning the CH stations were detecting the reflections from large formations over Calais and Boulogne. Eleven Group scrambled fifteen squadrons in response whilst as usual Twelve group sent three squadrons to patrol over Duxford and Debden airfields, whilst Ten group sent a couple to protect the cluster of aircraft factories to the south and west of London. This time there were no deceptions or other shenanigans as the entire huge formation of Luftwaffe aircraft made a be-line for London. Due to the time it took for such a large formation to get organised and sorted out at altitudes between sixteen thousand and twenty six thousand feet, Parks and the controllers at Uxbridge were able to marshal their squadrons and mount their defence. The confrontation commenced over mid Kent with two squadrons of spitfires attacking the high altitude escort of Me 109’s. then as they approached the River Medway three more squadrons of spitfires dove onto the remaining escorting fighters. As the formation approached the southern suburbs of London four squadrons of Hurricanes and one of Defiants confronted the bomber formation in a concerted attack, In all no less than twenty two squadron fighters engaged the German attack, the coup de grace as far as the cohesion of the bomber formations was the arrival of all four Polish squadrons as one single mass diving attack. The bombers jettisoned their loads willy-nilly over London and the southern counties as they turned and fled for the coast. There was a short respite for a couple of hours before the cathode ray tubes one again betrayed the activity over France that presaged another assault. The first reports came into Fighter Commands HQ about one o’clock but it took fully an hour before the attacking force flying in three waves started its foray across the Channel, Eleven Groups response was very much a repeat of the mornings operations. The German formation was attacked as soon as it crossed the coast and Parks fed more and more squadrons into the fray as the formation approached central London. Once again the four spitfire Squadrons from the PAC were held back and given time to get to altitude up sun so as to be decisive in their plunging attack. At some time every squadron in Eleven group was engaged as were two squadrons from Twelve Group and three from Ten Group. To complicate the picture further a formation of Heinkel 111’s from KG55 based in the region of Vilacoubly attacked Portland in Ten Group’s Bailiwick, with squadrons committed to the east in Eleven Group’s manor the controllers in the Middle Wallop sector were struggling to intercept this raid. A squadron flying from Filton did get there but only as the bombs were falling. A second squadron from Exeter was sent up the Channel in an attempt to intercept the returning bombers but only caught a single already damaged straggler sending it plunging into the sea. The daylight raids were not yet over as flying in low a formation of some twenty bomb laden Me 110’s from Gr.210 based at Denain in France made an attack on the Supermarine factory on the banks of the Itchen River at Woolston. No less than five squadrons of fighters were scrambled to intercept this raid before it hit such a vital target, a combination of the AA guns at Southampton and the Intervention of the first squadron of fighters prevent any bombs from hitting the intended target though the local area suffered greatly. There then issued a general chase as the fighters hotly pursued the now lighter Me 110’s as they fled for their home base, again only a solitary straggler was dispatched though several RAF pilots claimed probable’s and damaged targets.

Of all the mornings that Churchill could choose to visit Keith Park’s Eleven Group HQ at Uxbridge he had to chose today. Sitting on the glass fronted operation room balcony beside Parks, with a brandy glass in one hand and a cigar in the other Churchill was a keen observer of the mornings events. When in the midst of the first major attack of the day Churchill observed that all the lights were on, on the tote board he enquired of Parks where the reserves were, Churchill apparently was only momentarily taken aback by Parks terse response that there were none, (2) everything he had was up and fighting. Knowing the situation Churchill was impressed with the calmness of everybody in the command centre as they quietly got on with the task in hand, slowly the tote lights came back on as the squadrons refuelled and rearmed ready to scramble again. Here was shown to Churchill again another facet of the many who worked hard to keep the few in the fight and to make possible the countries very survival. After the wars end Churchill would write at length about this visit as an illustration of why the battle was won. Long after Churchill departed that day and through the night the work of Fighter Command continued unabated. London was again the focus of the main nights effort with over one hundred and eighty bombers being sent there in a continual stream through the dark hours. Night fighters were fed into this stream as frequently as the GCI/PPI stations could cope with. Elsewhere smaller raids on Liverpool, Manchester, Cardiff and Bristol kept the rest of the RDF stations and night fighter squadrons busy.

Even before nightfall the evening papers, especially those in London where trumpeting the success of the RAF that day, claiming no less than two hundred and one enemy aircraft destroyed that day. Sir Phillip was well aware how inflated these figures were and divided them by three to get the expected number of confirmed downed aircraft and by half if being optimistic. Whichever way you cut it, to Sir Phillip losses of around seventy at the low estimate and one hundred at the optimistic end would to Sir Phillip seem unsupportable even by the Luftwaffe. The figures of the losses to Fighter Command where in Sir Phillips opinion a far more important measure of how the day went. Here they were quite encouraging, Twenty aircraft had been lost with twelve pilots saved. The savagery of the days fighting was encapsulated in the returns from one of the PAC squadrons at Duxford, at nightfall on the fifteenth of September they had only four operational spitfires, by dawn, with herculean efforts by the ground crews and fitters no less than a dozen aircraft were ready on the flight line. Such mini—miracles were being repeated in hangers all over Fighter Command and with those aircraft coming from the factories and repair shops the numbers were being maintained. Here the ATS was doing sterling work and due to the sheer pressure of numbers female pilots were now delivering frontline fighters to squadrons within the combat zone. The coolness, composure and complete professionalism of these women pilots was being noted by many including the Ministry of Information who were quick to grab the opportunity of some uplifting propaganda for the consumption of the general public.

(1) Daily summary quoted verbatim from the The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster
(2)This is as OTL

September 16th.

Day, Goering confers on losses of the 15th. Policy changes. Park Changes tactics. Only slight air activity.

Night. Continuous attacks on London. Smaller raids Merseyside and midlands.

Weather. General rain and cloud. (1)

The Luftwaffe high command had had high expectations of successfully breaking the defence of fighter command on the fifteenth as a result of the intelligence analysis of their perceived success on the twelfth. Instead of delivering the expected ‘Coup de Grace’ the Luftwaffe had suffered the highest losses since the 11th of August. No less than sixty four aircraft had failed to return to their bases and another dozen had been either wrecked or written off upon landing. As to the number damaged that was still being assessed, as aircraft were brought into the hangers and stripped down to reveal the true extent of the damage incurred. Having been led to believe that the RAF was almost bereft of fighters the anger of the surviving bombers crews was barely hidden as they described to the intelligence officers the appearance of multiple supposedly non existent fighter squadrons to sew death and mayhem within the ordered formations stacked up and flying blithely across the English skies. Some German pilots pointedly suggested to their intelligence officers if they truly believed that the RAF Squadrons they claim had been destroyed no longer existed then perhaps they would like to come along on the next mission and experience the effect of these supposable non existent fighters for themselves.

Goering addressed the gathering of Luftflotten and Fliegerkorps commanders he had called together. Berating the assembled men for the failure of their forces to destroy what he called the final reserves of the RAF. Goering reiterated the belief that Fighter Command was feeding new pilots and aircraft into the battle, Whilst in actuality they were facing the same force but using changing tactics under Park’s direction. Goering ordered that smaller bomber formations with even heavier fighter escorts and these escorting fighters primary task was not to defend the bombers but to destroy the last reserves of the British fighter force. Goering told the assembled officers that in four or five more days the RAF would be a beaten and spent force. Goering continued by instructing that only when perfect weather conditions existed were mass formations to be used. Attacks on the British aircraft production factories were also to be intensified. He finished his tirade by stating that if his orders were followed then operation ‘Seelowe’ would be rendered unnecessary as the British would seek an armistice. Finally acknowledging how tired the aircrews were he reiterated that the exhaustion of the British pilots must be worse.

The result of this was that the Luftwaffe high command ordered the fighters to fly even closer escort on the bombers. This would of course curtail the initiative of the fighter pilots to manoeuvre for advantage before engaging attacking fighters.

It was not just Goering who was making use of the bad weather to take stock. Park took this opportunity to issue another fighting instruction to his controllers, this was no 11 so far in the series. Despite the success on the 15th Parks was still concerned that two many interceptions were not being made. So at the start of the instruction he listed a series of faults that hindered successful interception.

  • Individual Squadrons Failing to rendezvous.
  • Single squadrons being detailed to large raids.
  • Paired squadrons being rendezvoused to far forward and too low.
  • High flying massed formations of German fighters attracting most of the Group whilst bombers got through.
  • Delays in vectoring of paired squadrons on to raids by Group controllers
  • Errors in sector reports on pilot and aircraft effective strengths. (1)
  • Failure by Group and Sector controllers to pass control of squadrons to GCI/PPI stations for direct vector instructions.
  • Having set out the problems Park then laid out a series of measure in the form of instructions intended to solve these problems. The first of these instructions was that the squadrons based at Hornchurch and Biggin Hill would fight in pairs and their principle target would be the high escort. In low cloud or overcast conditions the rendezvous of squadrons into pairs should take place at altitude and well in front of the enemy formation. If the skies were relatively clear then the squadrons would come together below cloud base and climb together as required.
  • Secondly if for any reason the raid track was uncertain the squadrons were to be assigned short patrol lines, if possible with two squadrons very high and another pair at between 15,000 and 20,000 feet.
  • The third instruction was regarding how to counter High-flying German fighter diversions, Park instructed that several pairs of squadrons would be vectored towards the fighters, at the same time ample Defiant and Hurricane squadrons would be paired up and instructed to orbit sector airfields ready for vectoring onto any bomber formations that followed the fighters.
  • The Fourth instruction was for the squadrons at Tangmere and Northolt were to form three squadron strength wings and to be principally vectored onto the second and third waves of any attack which tended to contain the bulk of the enemy bomber force. When time permitted Parks would by this means give his controllers a big wing to attack mass enemy formations when they were detected. (2)
  • Due to the inclement weather on the 16th of September there was by recent standard little air activity and many RAF squadrons were able to stand down, Those squadrons that were scrambled to intercept the few bombing raids that headed for east London were relatively successful. Ten Luftwaffe aircraft were destroyed for the loss of two aircraft and one pilot.
  • London was once more the principle target for the night time bombers with some one hundred and seventy five sorties made on the capitol. It was not only the RAF night fighters who took their toll, tonight the Balloon barrage had a rare success and the AA guns around London also added to their tally. Other targets attacked to included Liverpool again and Bristol.
  • With the invasion expected any day Sir Phillip was growing more and more convinced that Portal was too busy playing politics with Bomber Command. Whilst Maritime Command were hitting the concentration of barges in the channel ports almost every night the bulk of Bomber Command were still being directed at strategic targets such as Berlin and Ruhr. Whilst bombing Berlin made for good headlines in the British press and proved popular with the public who wanted the Germans to get some of their own treatment, it would have very little effect on the immediate prosecution of the war. Whereas hitting the barges in the channel ports actually had a double impact upon the German war making capability. Not only did the loss of the barges effect the Germans ability to stage an invasion but also according to the ‘Department of Economic Warfare’ the need to replace those lost barges with more taken from the waterways of Germany and the occupied countries was and would have an increasing effect on the German war economy and it’s transport of essential food and fuels. In fact the effect on German production of the loss of barges was much greater than that currently being caused by a few bombs being scattered virtually at random across the Reich. A recent deciphered signal had indicated the scale of the problem facing the Nazis when the German Naval High Command had complained that the loss of no less than eighty barges on the night of the 14th of September was serious and that their replacement was vital for the invasion sea lift capacity, yet the powers that be in Berlin were resisting the release of any more barges. (1) Daily summary quoted verbatim from the The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster. (2) Keith Park’s Instruction adapted form OTL as quoted in The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster
Excellent stuff, and one hell of a slugfest, With 76 craft effectively lost and god knows how many needing repairs (and thanks to 20mm cannons those repairs are going to probably be a bit more than a patch job) thats major losses of craft and aircrews, i'd assume the majority of the losses were bombers, which of course means more dead/captured crews as well as any wounded on landing planes which then have to be replaced etc etc.

As for Portal, he was a proponent of the bomber dream, not quite the fanatic on the scales of Trenchard or Harris but he loved his bombers, also this is before the Butt report told the truth of how grossly ineffective the RAF was at bombing targets in Germany, or bombing in general. He survived the Butt report, he'll probably survive this.
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It all depends on post BoB politics, Dowding as far as I know wasn't too interested in the political aspect of high command and paid dearly for it.
He survived the Butt report, he'll probably survive this.
iOTL at the time of Butts analysis, the general consensus was that there was little alternative use for Bomber Command than trying night bombing.
The Report therefore could be spun as a step towards improving the performance of an agreed method
(and hopefully reducing British cost and losses in the process)

iTTL and at the TL date there is an alternate use ... against a clear and present danger... that BC could help allay but which Portal is ignoring

A rather different situation.

IMHO it was perfectly possible that Portal might have been ordered to change targetting earlier
In fact, it's possible he might still be now and disobeying that could see him dismissed.

Ironically, a swift ... and visible ... cancellation of Seelowe might be his best hope of avoiding that dilemma
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