AHC: Peerless Air Ministry

As to the Earlier comment about whinning in the AM over the opinions and plans of Sir Hugh Dowding. He and Sir Phillip are very much on the same page and have worked closely together for half a decade now. Lower down the pecking order there will be disgruntled civil servants and serving RAF officers. I am sure that some will end up counting sheep in the Falklands or doing similarly important tasks that have no relevance to the current persecution of the war. I am always open to suggestions as to who gets posted where and why.
 

perfectgeneral

Donor
Monthly Donor
The OTL Hawker Hurricane had a really thick wing. The wing to chord ratio at the root was bigger than on the Avro bombers (18%) at a whopping 19%! More a bomber fighter than a fighter bomber. The Spitfire's was 13%. The better route to low stall speed for STO/L would be leading edge slots and Fowler flaps. Westland Whirlwind? Also 19% and a drag coefficient of over 0.3. Draggy asf aircraft could start with an RAF 34 airfoil (13% t/c, 2% camber, thickest at 33% from leading edge) and improve from that. The NACA five digit foils included some thick further back that offered plenty of volume for the 12-13% thickness. Camber offers lift, but holds you back at high speeds. Fighters should stop at 1.2% camber.
 
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I'm curious, how much influence Sir Phillip will have in Malta and Egypt then Far East?
Honestly for me I'm really interested in seeing how the RAF changes thing in Asia and their role in countering the Japanese.
 
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)
Or the opposite, an He-11 peppered with .303 AP means a lot of patches, while a few 20mm HE means that airframe and crew didn't even make it back to base, or if it does, is written off immediately
 

Driftless

Donor
Or the opposite, an He-11 peppered with .303 AP means a lot of patches, while a few 20mm HE means that airframe and crew didn't even make it back to base, or if it does, is written off immediately
On that theme, what did 20mm hits do to wing spars, or other structural members (engine mounts, landing gear struts?)
 
On that theme, what did 20mm hits do to wing spars, or other structural members (engine mounts, landing gear struts?)
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Now this Madsen 23mm had much more explosive filler than most other 20mm rounds, it was an early type of what the Germans called a Minengeschoß
a Mine Shell for the FF cannon to make them more effective. It had 17 grams of filling, vs 5 grams for standard HE

The Madsen 23mm had 17.5grams filling and a MV of 730m/s Below is the version that had less HE, but tracer and self destruct
 

Driftless

Donor
I could imagine sheet metal, including formed and riveted structural pieces being chewed up, even past the point of failure. By the text description, it sounds as though cast and forged parts can be destroyed as well.

*edit* Then the other part of the equation is how well the plane is engineered to withstand significant damage.
 
The effectiveness of the cannons on both RAF fighters ITTL is the primary reason why I have lifted the Luftwaffe losses by around 15%. That may not sound a lot but as a cumulative figure it soon adds up. Add to that the effectiveness of the night fighters, who whilst not doing great damage yet are a country mile ahead of OTL. The Luftwaffe are hurting and it is both the bomber and fighter boys. It is from this moment on the effects of these losses on the Luftwaffe start to influence their command decisions.
 
10.36 If They are coming it will be sooner rather than later.
10.36, If They are coming it will be sooner rather than later.

September the 17th.

Day, Slight activity. One Large Fighter sweep in afternoon. Seelowe postponed until further notice.

Night. Heavy attacks on London. Lighter raids on Merseyside and Glasgow.

Weather. Squally showers, local thunder, bright intervals. Channel, Straits and Estuary drizzle. (1)

As the weather was not conducive to mass raids as per Goering’s new instruction today the Luftwaffe daytime activity was limited to a number of fighter sweeps escorting just a few bombers. These were intended to draw the few remaining fighters in Fighter Command into combat at a disadvantage. Some two hundred and fifty Luftwaffe aircraft crossed the English coast around Deal in the early afternoon and Eleven Group scrambled twenty eight squadrons to oppose them. As per the recent instruction from Eleven Group HQ upon observing that the German formations consisted almost exclusively of Me 109 fighters the RAF fighters declined combat unless they could achieve a tactical advantage to stage a quick attack and withdraw. By this operational method over a dozen enemy aircraft were shot down and the bulk of the enemy fighters turned back for the loss of only three RAF fighters from which two pilots were recovered though one was seriously injured.

The night attack was on a larger scale than that of the previous night with almost three hundred aircraft heading for London whilst over formations and single aircraft attack targets as far apart as Glasgow and Merseyside.

Tonight was a full moon and perhaps in response to Sir Phillip’s ire for once the bulk of Bomber Command was committed along with Maritime Command to attacking the concentrations of barges, tugs, steamers and sundry warlike stores gathered in ports stretching from the Scheldt down to St Malo. Whilst the Luftwaffe intelligence reports make very little of these attacks, in fact labelling them as largely ineffectual the reports received from the German naval authorities at the ports told a very different story. The loss in Dunkirk harbour of twenty eight barges sunk and another fifty eight receiving various degrees of damage, plus the explosion of five hundred tons of munitions would seem hardly trivial. Add to this the damage to loading facilities at several harbours and the destruction of a major ration depot, along with the sinking of two tugs, a steamer and a torpedo boat (small destroyer) and the cumulative effect was far from small. To add to the enemies woes many of these same ports were bombarded by RN warships demonstrably showing that the Channel was far from placid river to be crossed at will.

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



September the 18th

Day, Oil targets in Thames estuary attacked.

Night, London and Merseyside raided.

Weather, Bright and squally. (1)

The action started relatively early on this bright and breezy morning as some two hundred German aircraft were recorded by the CH stations as massing in formations over Calais by 9.30 AM. This raid consisted of mainly ME 109 fighters at heights over 20,000 feet. The response from Fighter Command was robust with over seventeen RAF fighter Squadrons engaging them over Kent and the estuary. In the face of this determined defence by the supposedly now non existent Fighter Command the German fighters broke off and returned to France. The lull was short lived as by 11.3 AM. The RDF screens once again were aglow with the responses from four attacking formations that manged to penetrate as far as London and Chatham. Before the defending squadrons once again drove them back over the fields of Kent towards the channel and occupied France.

By two PM. The next thrust was crossing the Channel, again from Calais at 20,000 ft one hundred and fifty aircraft from Luftflotte 2 set course for Gravesend. Descend through Cloud these formations found themselves once more facing the massed squadron of Eleven Group. The bulk of the formations were broken up and turned back but some elements broke through and headed further inland to continually harass and eventual doggedly attacked till they departed the English coast for the safety of France.

Around five PM a further couple of formations totalling some fifty aircraft attempted to fly up the Thames from the Estuary and were ambushed by the entire PAC in a text book interception. Of the Five Polish squadrons engaged one was kept on a patrol line between the bombers and London as a back stop. Whilst a squadron of high flying Spitfire engaged the fighter escort. The remaining three squadrons then swooped onto the enemy bombers to great effect. Only a couple of vics of five bombers each penetrated far enough up the Thames to require the uninterrupted attention of the flying Backstop. In just a few minutes the late afternoon sky was streaked with smoke form falling German aircraft and the remains of the formation were beating a hasty retreat. All though some of the Polish fighters were damaged and a couple of pilots wounded not a single aircraft or pilot of the PAC was lost that day. The Poles would claim some thirty aircraft destroyed and with a further twelve hit of which eight were claimed as probable. The Intelligence officers in their subsequent analysis of the day fighting had reduced this to sixteen destroyed (this was the number of crashed aircraft found) with six probable and a further eight damaged (only post war would it be confirmed that for once the claims were closer to the actuality. German Quartermaster returns showed that this raid had lost a total of no less that twenty six aircraft, included structural write-offs that made it back to France, with no less than a further twelve aircraft having some degree of battle damage) Crew losses were equally heavy with the local hospital struggling to cope with the numbers of injured airman. All in all it was not credible to deny that today at times the defences had been formidable, so much the surviving aircrews thought for the promise that the RAF was a spent force. On the Coast however the preparations for the imminent invasion continued and were close to reaching their highwater mark in terms of number of invasion craft available.

Once again No 7 O.T.U. despite not being an operational unit had got into action and downed an enemy bomber when three of their aircraft had taken off from the schools base at Hawarden airfield in Cheshire and intercepted a pair of DO 17’s from a formation that attacked Liverpool, one was observed to crash in the sea of the Welsh coast and a second damaged one was seen trailing smoke at it flew towards the Luftwaffe bases in Britany. This was the third victory by pilots from No7 O.T.U. and put that units score above that of some operational Squadrons. Fighter Command had flown the massive total of one thousand one hundred and sixty five sorties. Losses were twelve aircraft with only three pilots killed.

The night bombing raids commenced at seven thirty PM almost as the last daylight raid had finished and the last attack of the night did not end until Five thirty AM. The primary targets were London and Liverpool but both Kent and Surrey saw scattered bombing.

Throughout the day the RAF had been flying reconnaissance flights over the continental posts to check on the German invasion preparations. The figures were very disconcerting for the defenders, the photographs taken on the 15th showed 102 barges in Boulogne by the 17th that had risen to 150 barges, on the same day Calais had 266 barges crammed into it’s basins. There were on the 18th one thousand and four invasion craft jammed into the channel ports with an additional six hundred lying up-river at Antwerp.

Finally Bomber Command were concentrating at least sixty percent of their bombloads on the invasion ports with one thousand four hundred tons of bombs being dropped on those targets. The balance being used to attack strategic targets in Germany and occupied countries that were directly related to invasion preparations’

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






September 19th

Day, Reduced activity, attacks chiefly over the Thames Estuary and east London.

Night, London and Merseyside.

Weather , Showery. (1)

The morning started as quietly as previous experience had indicated after the high sortie rate attained by the Luftwaffe the previous day. This was fortuitous because the centre of London was still a scene from Dante’s inferno, the west end of London between Park lane in the west and Tottenham court road in the east was full of the smoking shells of some of the most recognised shops in Britain, most of the main roads were blocked with rubble and debris. The massive task of clearing up was even now beginning as the last of the living casualties were delivered into the care of the Hospitals. At no time in the daylight battle had a city centre been hit as hard as this, in what was already being called the ‘ Blitz”. Liverpool was also counting the cost of yet another night full of death and destruction.

The Luftwaffe planes that did come that morning came in alone and high heading for diverse parts of the country. So instead of meeting mass formations with squadron or wing strength ripostes to day it was mainly sections or flights climbing hard to make altitude in an attempt to intercept. Here the GCI/PPI stations replicated their night time role with the direct control of these small fighter formations vectoring them towards the elusive intruders. Today those few squadrons flying the single seat variant of the Reaper came into their own, as the greater range of these twin engine fighters not only enabled them to climb to altitude and take up a patrol line but also enabled then to chase down hostile aircraft that a single ingle engine fighter would be unable to catch.

An even dozen enemy aircraft were shot down today, with several more damaged, there was also the bonus of a virtually undamaged Ju 88 landing at Oakham airfield when it’s second engine started to fail.

Cloud and rain curtailed the Luftwaffe’s night assault that night but over two hundred off shore mine laying missions gave much work to the coastal based GCI/PPI stations. By dint of hard work and technical wizardry the new Chain home extra low, with the assistance of the Coastal Defence gunlaying/ranging RDF sets the accurate tracking of these mine laying aircraft flying at less that five hundred feet was not possible, the problem was that when vectored unto such a hostile aircraft even the one point five meter wavelength RDF sets lost their targets in the ground clutter long before they were in visual range. So despite no les than thirty attempts at interception not one of the mine laying aircraft was successfully engaged but a number were force to abandon there missions as they came under accurate AAA fire or a pursuing night fighter fired a long range burst as a frightener before contact was lost in the clutter.

A quite night was not had by Merseyside and Liverpool where no less than six raids kept the sirens going through most of the night.

Unbeknown in Britain the threat of immediate invasion was receding quickly for it was on this day that Hitler officially halted the assembly of the invasion fleet and instructed the barges and ships should be returned to normal service as quickly as possible as their absence was having a very serious detrimental effect on the German war economy.

(1) Daily summary quoted verbatim from the The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster
 
And so the Battle of Britain comes to an end, and the Blitz starts. But the Germans seem to have, overall suffered higher casualties (dunno how many) because of the better organisation and systems as well as aircraft and weapons the RAF has. These one-man Reapers, I assume they're the OTL ones https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gloster_F.9/37 as I recall the Whirlwind was canceled but I think TTL's ones would have different engines right?

With better night fighter and radar systems as well as better aircraft than having to rely on Blenheims, Defiants and anything else that was available the Luftwaffe's night time losses will continue to rise as well.

Excellent writing as always : )
 
Also, because the Nightfighter force is actually effective, Dowding's enemies in the Air Ministry aren't going to be able to use it as a pretext to discredit him
 
The effectiveness of the night defence is a relative experience, if you are living in the East end of London and for the umpteenth night in a row you have had the 'bejeseus' bombed out of you, you would not call the defence effective! Yes Dowding will b e the next CAS it is a matter of when he can take over. Dowding will not leave Fighter Command ITTL until he is sure that the current campaign is over. Dowding considers it imperative that there is no disruption to The Fighter Leadership at this time and as he has designated and had excepted Park as his successor at Bentley Priory I think ITTL that is a reasonable position to take. OTL October is considered to be the fifth phase of the battle of Britten and most historian consider the end of the battle to be at the end of the month. ITTL things will be slightly different.
 
If Parks ends up leading Fighter Command, who goes to Malta in his place, although it does seem that the situation there at that time could be better than it was in the OTL.
 
If Parks ends up leading Fighter Command, who goes to Malta in his place, although it does seem that the situation there at that time could be better than it was in the OTL.
OTL Dowding and Park lost the battle with Douglas and Leigh Mallory by November 1940.
Dowding was sacked and never employed again in a command position.
Park was removed from 11 Group and posted to Training Command for over a year while Fighter Command wasted its resources over France.

Park only went to Egypt as AOC in January 1942 and on to Malta in June that Year,
In both cases, his work was important but much needed to be done before his arrival
 
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Driftless

Donor
What is the comparative attrition in pilots on both sides, compared to the same point in time - roughly? The RAF certainly seems to be in much better shape and the Germans in worse.

Part of the question goes to what's the impact for the next phase of the war?
 
Part of the question goes to what's the impact for the next phase of the war?
More pilots and more machines available. I think Fighter Command will continue facing a huge commitment, but there must be a small excess of resources that are not needed for the defence of Britain. These additional fighters would be short-legged to assist in any useful bomber raids. So, it seems that least a few squadrons will be available for service in the Mediterranean. I have expressed in previous posts the opinion that a few cannon-armed fighter squadrons this early on in Malta, Egypt and Greece will signal the death spiral of Regia Aeronautica, or at least seriously attrite its pilot pool. There is a golden opportunity in October 1940- January 1941 when the bulk of italian fighters comprised of biplanes: kill the veteran pilots.

There was a pilot pool of about 6340 pilots (excellent fighter and mediocre bomber pilots) that I think was similar to the Japanese one: good core but with lacking training schemes. Early attrition in the core of veteran fighter pilots would pay dividends in 1941 and 1942.
 

Driftless

Donor
If Malta goes better, then the RN likely has fewer losses too, and North Africa gets off to a more favorable start for the British.
 
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