AHC: Peerless Air Ministry

Didn't the drag from the target really overwork the engines of the tugs? Could some of the early model Blenheims (or similar twin engine plane)be tasked for the job?
Yup , Henley was useless as a target tug, it was more a cooling system problem causing the engine to overheat ( the system was designed to cool high engine revs at high speed but as used had high revs but low speed so not enough airflow )
 
Yup,
In the PAM, Defiants are being built as four cannon fighters, so the Battle has been coopted as a target tug as it is replaced by better bombers, there was almost a strait swap in roles, Henleys took over light bomber duties in the BEFAC and the Battles they replaced became target tugs. At the start of the BoB Henley building was curtailed to increase Hurricane production at Glosters. Now that the Battle of Britain is winding down the PAM will need to decide what continues to be built and what gets cancelled.
 
10. 44 Accolades and Brickbats
10. 44 Accolades and Brickbats.

September 28th.

Day, London and Solent area attacked.

Night, target London.

Weather. Fair to fine generally. Straits of Dover and Thames Estuary cloudy. Winds moderate. (1)

Sir Phillip sat at his desk in the Air Ministry early in the morning and read the message that he had just received from the PM.


‘Pray congratulate the Fighter Command on the results of yesterday. The scale and intensity of the fighting and the heavy losses to the enemy make the 27th of September rank with the 15th of September and 15th August, as the third great and victorious day of Fighter Command during the course of the Battle of Britain.’ (2)

A quick call to No 10, confirmed from the PM’s Private Sectary that this message had not been passed directly to Bentley Priory, Sir Philip in the politest political terms suggest this was a grave omission as such a message coming directly from the Prime Minister rather than being passed on second hand by the Air Ministry would have far greater weight and meaning within the entire RAF. An hour later Sir Hugh Dowding called Sir Phillip on his private line and informed him that he had just had a congratulatory message from the Prime Minister and sought the AM’s clearance to send it to all Fighter Command units via the telex system, Sir Philip concurred with this as long as it did not interfere with normal defensive operational communications.

The morning started slowly with no major build up of enemy aircraft being detected, however just after noon several large formations were detected over the Pas de Calais. These approached the English coast between Dungeness and Deal and it was only when the intercepting fighters approached that it was confirmed that the attacking force was some thirty Ju’88’s escort by a large number of Me109’s stacked up to high altitude. This led to the first intercepting squadrons doing so at a distinct disadvantage. Though the enemy aircraft were turned back before they could reach central London it had resulted in the scrambling of every squadron in Eleven group with an additional two squadrons from Twelve Group being called in as a back stop over the city.

To the west at two thirty in the afternoon Ten Group intercepted a large formation of over fifty ME 110’s as they attempted to attack Portsmouth. What was significant here was that Portsmouth is in the Tangmere sector of Number Eleven group and due to the commitment of that sectors squadrons aircraft to the defense of London from the still ongoing threat of the large attack that had crossed the coast earlier to the east their squadrons were out of position. Number Ten Group managed to successfully turn this attack back with the help of five Eleven Group squadrons diverted from the earlier raid. Once again this demonstrated the team work and flexibility of the Groups within Fighter Command.

After this there was little hostile activity other than reconnaissance until after nine in the evening, when the night bombers began their nocturnal activities. Tonight this was mainly restricted to London and followed the familiar pattern of night fighters trying to latch onto an attacking bomber before it entered the gun zone or attempting to catch and destroy the bomber on it’s return journey before it reached the permitted limit of engagement for the night fighter which was basically the occupied coastline.

Despite these constraints the night fighter force was achieving a measure of success that was slowly taking a toll of the attacking force. success was not just measured in the number of bombers shot down but also in those that had to abort their missions.


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








September 29th.

Day. Reduced activity in southeast and East Anglia.

Night, London and Merseyside attacked.

Weather, Fine and fair early. Fair late. Cloudy for the rest of the day. (1)


Again a relatively quiet start in the morning with some attacks on coast convoys by fighter bombers. Later on, targets in the Home Counties were attacked by high flying formations. Attacks were not pressed home and most enemy aircraft jettisoned their bomb loads and fled for home when confronted with RAF fighters. The losses on both sides were much lower than on the previous day with an even dozen enemy aircraft downed for the loss of five RAF fighters with two pilots killed.


Night time again brought continuous attacks on London and one sizeable attack on Liverpool and Merseyside. Tonight the guns had some success both on Merseyside where one bomber was shot down and in London and the Home counties, where guns based on Clapham Common and Weybridge respectively both claimed bombers.





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


The evening session on the 29th of September in the House of Commons had descended into an uproar when questions had been asked in the house regarding the failure of the RAF to stop the Blitz on London and other cities. The questions had come from two MPs from Merseyside and Liverpool who used parliamentary privilege to accuse the government of putting the defence of London above that of any other city and in particular Liverpool. The question as phrased was an inquiry of the Minister of defence (the prime Minister) as to why the fighter group defending London had 20 squadrons of fighters and Nine Group which defended Liverpool and Merseyside did not have a single squadron assigned to it. The supplementary question asked was as to when the Air Ministry was going to move Spitfires, Hurricanes and Defiants to Nine group to provide an adequate defence against the Luftwaffe night time attacks on Liverpool and Mersey side.

Even before the Member for Liverpool Everton, the Honourable Bertie Kirby completed his question, Sir Phillip sitting on the Front Bench alongside Winston Churchill, glanced to his left to see the colour rising in the Prime Ministers face to the extent that Sir Phillip feared Winston wold have a stroke on the spot. As the Honourable member finished hid question and sat down to cries of support from the other five members who had constituencies in Liverpool and Birkenhead. Sir Phillip leant over, whispered “my Bird, I think” in Winston’s ear and stood up. Once acknowledged by the Speaker of the House, Sir Phillip addressed the commons as they fell silent.

“If the Honourable Member for Liverpool Everton, thinks for one minute that I am as Air Minister going to traitorously reveal the details of our air defence dispositions in an openly reported session of this house with the strangers gallery full of who knows whom he is sadly mistaken.

However under the provisions of the Official Secrets act as passed by this house, As Air Minister, I do provide the Full Cabinet of this Government of National Unity regular and full briefings not only on the strengths and dispositions of our forces but also on the action planned and being taken to strengthen those defences.

As to Liverpool and Mersey side being left undefended there, again the Honourable member is inadvertently misleading this house. Any enemy aircraft attempting to bomb Liverpool or Merseyside has to fly either the full width of the country from the east coast or the even greater distance from the Channel coast. This means that those attacking bombers have to pass through a continuous system of night defences including night fighters and gun zones that stretch from the coast all the way to their target cities.

As to Liverpool and Merseyside being defended by a Fighter Group without any aircraft, I am afraid the Honourable member has been listening to scurrilous defeatist claptrap. The Group the honourable Member described as being bereft in fighters, is in fact at this time in the process of being formed, once it’s command structure and support facilities are fully ready the and only then will it assume control of the squadrons within it’s area from the existing groups. This shows that far from neglecting. the defences of the North west they are being strengthened even as we speak.

I suggest that the Honourable Members for Liverpool and Merseyside would better serve their constituents by offering practical support for this government rather than wasting the time of this House”

Sir Phillip sat down to shouts of “Here, Here” and loud applause as the Speaker of the House attempted to restore calm by his customary call of “Order, Order”. Once calm had descended on the chamber the Speaker introduced the next Item on the sessions agenda.
 
A great update, with Churchill's support there's probably less chance of a whispering campaign replacing the people who won the BoB at this point and it was good to see Sir Phillip slapping that Honourable Member around, in the politest possible way of course!
 
Well as Sir Hugh Dowding be the next CAS and has only not yet been yet appointed due to the need for as little disruption in Fighter Command's command structure whilst the Battle of Britain is still on going. Sir Phillip at this time is awaiting the right moment to install Sir Hugh in the top job and Sir Hugh Dowding will then appoint his successor at Fighter Command and move senior offers to new posts in consultation with Sir Phillip and the Prime Minister.
 

Driftless

Donor
Well as Sir Hugh Dowding be the next CAS and has only not yet been yet appointed due to the need for as little disruption in Fighter Command's command structure whilst the Battle of Britain is still on going. Sir Phillip at this time is awaiting the right moment to install Sir Hugh in the top job and Sir Hugh Dowding will then appoint his successor at Fighter Command and move senior offers to new posts in consultation with Sir Phillip and the Prime Minister.
October or November, when the Channel becomes untenable for invasion? I believe you've already mentioned that many of the surviving barges are being returned to their original purpose.
 
Is suggesting that an Honourable Member might be treasonous a little beyond the bounds of Parliamentary language, or is it just me?
Neither listening to defeatist claptrap nor wasting the time of the House of Commons are judicially treasonable acts, so Sir Philip has done nothing of the sort. Delivered a searing rebuke yes, insinuated that they might be a traitor no.
 
Is suggesting that an Honourable Member might be treasonous a little beyond the bounds of Parliamentary language, or is it just me?
If calling members liars and not retracting the allegation gets you thrown out of the chamber until you apologise, I hate to think what the punishment fall calling a member a traitor is.
 
If calling members liars and not retracting the allegation gets you thrown out of the chamber until you apologise, I hate to think what the punishment fall calling a member a traitor is.
Sir Phillip did not call any Honourable Member traitorous. What he did was say was that he would not say something that is traitorous. The accusation is implied but not explicit so not actionable by the Speaker. Even the accusation of misleading the House is described as 'inadvertent'.
 
As Yulzari rightly said , Sir Phillip did not accuse the honorable member of being Treasonous but of asking a question which to anwser as asked would require Sir Phillip to break the official secrets act, which he had signed, to do so would be Treasonous and hence Sir Phillip could demure from answering the question as asked. The Rebuke was for asking a question that he knew could not be legally answered in open session and thereby try to embarrass the sectary of the Air and his ministry. Using the phrase "inadvertently misleading the house" is about as close as one can get within the house of commons of accusing another member of either lying or uttering a false statement through their own ignorance.
Yes I enjoyed writing that piece and I had good reason to do so, as last year, a supposedly reputable Historian from Liverpool in a documentary about the 'Little Blitz' in 1941 when Liverpool was again badly bombed actually accused the wartime government of deliberately leaving Liverpool without adequate fighter defence. This was because the bulk of the Spitfire and Hurricane squadrons were based in the south east of England around London. That accusation was wrong in many ways, for a starter, Spitfires and Hurricanes are not night fighters and the attacks in question took place at night!
 
10.45 The Bombers do not always get through
10.45, The Bombers do not always get through.


September 30th.

Day. Fighter sweeps towards London but few bombs dropped.

Night. London attacked.

Weather. Generally fair but cloudy. Winds light. (1)


The first two attacks in the morning came an hour apart, the first at 9 AM consisted of thirty bombers with an escort in excess of one hundred fighters. The second raid was a formation of a further sixty aircraft. Both these formations crossed the coast as Dungeness and were intercepted by multiple RAF fighter squadrons who attacked and harassed them as they continued towards their targets in London. Neither of these attacks actual managed to reach their intended targets in central London and ended up scattering their bomb loads over the southern suburbs.

A follow up attack at eleven o’clock was detected over Cherbourg, This raid consisting of bomb carrying Me110’s escorted by Me 109’s was intercepted well off-shore by Ten Group squadrons from Exeter, Warmwell and Middle Wallop. So effective was the defence that the attackers were driven off before a single German aircraft managed to cross the coast. As per their standing orders none of the Ten Group squadrons crossed the channel in pursuit, though some aircraft from Exeter were stated to have taken the southern route home.

These attack merely presaged the main assault that occurred shortly after lunch and lasted the entirety of the afternoon. It started with a large fighter sweep by Me109’s over Kent. The Uxbridge controllers read this as an attempt to clear away the fighters for a following bomber attack, so the minimum number of Eleven Group fighters were scrambled to intercept. Mid afternoon, a series of small formations of bombers duly followed but these too drew only the smallest viable response as they were also considered diversionary in nature. Their intuition was correct as even before these formations made landfall the RDF stations were recording further activity over France. This resolved itself into a one hundred plus aircraft raid that headed strait for London. Around a third of the bombers managed to reach the city and bomb scattered targets. Within the hour a further larger attack of one hundred and eighty bombers and fighters was tracked as it crossed the coast and headed towards the concentration of aircraft factories at Kingston, Weybridge and Langley. As the Eleven Group controllers gathered their squadrons to oppose this assault, Number ten Group had their own assault to deal with as nearly one hundred miles to the west a formation of forty Heinkel 111 twin engine bombers with an escort of Me110’s and Me109’s was approaching the coast heading north. Ten Group scrambled squadrons to cover the aircraft factories at both Bristol and Yeovil. As the course from their point of landfall to reach the Bristol works at Filton was taking them virtually right over Yeovil, the controllers took the decision to concentrate the squadrons there. Yeovil was hidden under a blanket of cloud as the bombers approached. Four squadrons from Ten Group had been attacking them since they crossed the coast so the bomber dropped their loads blindly into the cloud ( hitting the town of Sherborne, some ten miles from Yeovil) before turning south for safety. The sanctuary offered by the far side of the channel must have seemed a very distant refuge to the Luftwaffe crews as a further full wing of four squadrons of Fighters from Ten Group arrived at altitude to dive into enemy formation. Ten group lost four Hurricanes and a Defiant in this protracted encounter, Three pilots bailed out successful but the Defiant flown by Wing Commander Constable-Maxwell was struck by a single bullet from the rear gunner of a Heinkel 111 even as it was explosively dismantled by the Defiants four Hispano cannons. That one bullet struck a vital oil line on the Defiant’s merlin engine that very quickly began to overheat. Loathing to abandon a virtually undamaged aircraft Constable-Maxwell turned the nose of his stricken aircraft back towards the coast of Dorset. Attempting to glide into RAF Christchurch he realized he was not going to reach the grass landing field and elected to put the aircraft down on the beach at Southbourne, which at low tide forms a broad hard packed stand onto which Constable-Maxwell glided his crippled aircraft and made a successful forced landing. Now there was a race to move the heavy aircraft up the beach above the high watermark of the incoming tide from where an RAF recovery unit could dismantle it and take to a repair depot.

Dusk heralded the end of that day’s actions. Once again the Luftwaffe had taken heavy losses with a total loss for the twenty four hours fifty one Luftwaffe aircraft were shot down but at the cost of eighteen RAF fighters and six pilots killed.

As the darkness deepened two hundred and fifty bombers from Luftflotte 2 were warming up and preparing for the nights operations. Their targets were spread from Liverpool in the north west to Norwich in the east, Bristol in the west to London in the south east. Their route to these targets brought them over the coast between the Isle of Wight and Beachy Head, this brought them within range of three GCI/PPI stations but to get to London an attacking aircraft only has to pass through the airspace controlled by a single GCI/PPI station. Flying to Liverpool a Luftwaffe bomber had to pass through four GCI/PPI station controlled zones, attacking Norwich also meant flying through at least four zones. Depending on the route taken. Bristol could be reached via two zones but more often three would actually be traversed. Therefore it was plain to see that in many ways London was an easier target with less chance of interception than many others. One thing the Luftwaffe night bomber crews were becoming very aware of, was that they had to be internally vigilant and instantly ready for action. For many bomber crews the first and last thing they saw of their attacker was the flash from the cannon muzzles as they spat destruction at them. The empty places at breakfast in the messes stood silent witness to the growing effectiveness of the British night fighters.

In contrast in Britain it was announced that the King had raised Dowding to Knight Grand Commander of the Bath.

  • Daily summary quoted verbatim from the The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster
 
Yes I enjoyed writing that piece and I had good reason to do so, as last year, a supposedly reputable Historian from Liverpool in a documentary about the 'Little Blitz' in 1941 when Liverpool was again badly bombed actually accused the wartime government of deliberately leaving Liverpool without adequate fighter defence. This was because the bulk of the Spitfire and Hurricane squadrons were based in the south east of England around London. That accusation was wrong in many ways, for a starter, Spitfires and Hurricanes are not night fighters and the attacks in question took place at night!
Has he ever looked at a map?
GC Route Calais-Liverpool.jpg
 

edgeworthy

Kicked
Honestly what is he complaining about? If you were to draw a line from Calais to Dover to London do you want to guess who's immediate ancestors are under it.
 
Chapter 11 New Month New Tactics
10.46. New Month New Tactics.



October 1st

Day, London raids, Southampton and Portsmouth also targets.

Night, London, Liverpool, Manchester main targets.

Weather, Mainly fair but generally cloudy (1)

Luftwaffe tactics had definitely evolved and this morning was an example of how they were changing. The morning started with several coat trailing flights by formations of German fighters attempting to lure Fighter command to respond at a disadvantage. This was followed in mid morning by a one hundred plus raid departing the French coast at Caen heading for Southampton. Both Eleven and Ten Group responded with multiple Squadrons who forced the German formation to turn back. It was again noted by the intelligence officers when debriefing the RAF fighter pilots that the enemy formations that they were now facing in daylight were composed entirely of Me 109 and Me 110 fighters with up to a third of them carrying bombs. By flying at hight these fighter based formations were intended to wear down the last remaining fighters in Fighter Command. This might have seemed a sound tactical change as it would force the RAF fighters to climb to hight as the fighters approached and then identify which enemy aircraft were carrying bombs, without RDF this tactic might have been successful but once the enemy formation was detected by the CH stations as they climbed for altitude over France then the GCI stations would confirm the altitude of the formation as it came within their range. This enabled the controllers at Group Head Quarters to assign Fighter Squadrons to oppose each attacking formation. Without the aid of the GCI stations and the Anti Aircraft hight finding/range setting RDF units the Fighters would have spent many more fruitless hours chasing the enemy formations as they attempted to climb to the correct interception hight.

Between one Pm and three Pm this afternoon there was a series of incursions by Luftwaffe formations between Selsey Bill and Deal. Before two Pm three waves of aircraft had crossed the coast consisting of some fifty Me 19’s which were intercepted over Maidstone. Within the hour a further seventy five aircraft crossed the channel from Calais and attempted to reach central London. Successfully intercepted before reaching the cities centre bombs were scattered over the southern suburbs as the enemy aircraft retreated via Maidstone. The next attack a short time later was not pressed home at all and turned back for France before it could be intercepted. Not all the activity was confined to the Southern Groups, in Scotland and the north small formations and single aircraft were plotted and engaged where possible, an enemy aircraft was brought down into the Moray Firth. Another fell at Aberdeen. One High altitude intruder was tracked all the way back to Britany via Wales and Devon, despite attempts to intercept. The day ended for the day fighters with two attacks in the early evening, the first crossed the French coast at twenty thousand feet and consisted of some fifty fighter aircraft as soon as the RAF fighters had been committed to counter this first wave a masse of aircraft from Luftflotte 2 consisting of a further fifty Me 109’s and Me 110’s attempting to exploit any gaps in the defences. Both attacks were intercepted and disrupted.

Even as the last of the day attacks was fading from the RDF screens the first blips denoting the night bombers recorded the aircraft climbing and forming up into their formations, Over night one hundred and seventy five enemy aircraft crossed across English coast between the Isle of Wight and Beachy Head before heading for targets in London and cities as far north as Liverpool and Manchester. RAF nightfighters flew multiple sorties with mixed success.


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


October 2nd

Day, High Flying and fighter sweeps on south-east London and Biggin Hill.

Night, London Main Target. Manchester, Usworth and Aberdeen also attacked.



Weather, Brilliant blue skies during the day, turning to cloudy later.

The morning dawned bright and clear with nary a cloud in the sky. Despite this no activity on the enemies behalf was observed until RDF returns started to be detected from aircraft over Cape Geis Nez at around eight thirty. These were seen by the GCI stations at Willesborough and Wartling to climb to altitudes between twenty and thirty thousand feet before attempting to cross the channel towards London and the Eleven Group stations to the cities’ south. Up until lunch time no less than seventeen separate attacks were made varying from up to fifty aircraft down to a single fighter. Primary targets were Biggin Hill and the aircraft factories in south and south east of London. These attacks were repeated but in smaller numbers throughout the afternoon.

By night fall Fighter Command had flown one hundred and fifty four patrols varying in size from a single flight up to an entire wing. Foe the loss of only two aircraft and one pilot the RAF shot down eighteen of the daylight fighter/fighter bomber intruders.

The night battle lasted for eleven hours from shortly after seven in the evening until just before dawn the following morning. Of the one hundred and eighty bombers dispatched by the Luftwaffe overnight, one hundred attacked targets in the London area and the defending airfields. Further afield bombers attacked as far north as Aberdeen as well as targets in Manchester and Unsworth. Currently Aberdeen was outside the coverage of the most northern GCI station and despite a night fighter being sent from Drem no contact was made. Despite the Pennine gap in GCI coverage the Manchester raid was countered by fighters from High Ercall, Wrexham and Squires Gate all scoring victories. One Night fighter from RAF Valley chased a fleeing bomber from off the Wirral all the way down to the Cornish coast where the chase had to be abandoned due to lack of fuel, the fighter refuelled at RAF Predannack before returning to it’s home base in daylight once the crew had rested. Tonight the RAF claimed six bombers shot down and a further two damaged (plus one more claimed as ‘Scared Shitless’ by the attacking pilot).

(1) Daily summary quoted verbatim from the The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster
 
11.1 October 3rd
October 3rd

Day, Scattered raids on East Anglian and southern England targets.

Night, London and Suburbs attacked.

Weather, Rain and drizzle in the Channel. Visibility in England Reduce to 500 yards. (1)

With such poor conditions over the channel and southern England many Eleven Group pilots woke up hoping if not expect a more restful day that the recent ones. However their hopes were short lived as Reconnaissance flights off the east coast announced that the days activity would commence to the north. By mid morning raids were coming in north of the Thames estuary from bases in Holland and Belguim. These raids were principally a single or a pair of aircraft and once making landfall would diverge to attack widely scattered targets. In the prevailing conditions the GCI/PPI network was fully engaged directing fighters to intercept these raiders. Whilst GCI could vector the Fighter Command aircraft to the track and position of the intruders in real time with only the delay of transmittion time in the prevailing conditions it was still very difficult for the defending fighters to actually spot, identify and engage the enemy aircraft. A JU 88 that made a successful attack on the De Havilland plant at Hatfield in Hertfordshire at very low level. Was however hit by the local air defence guns and brought down, crashing near Hertingfordbury. Later examination of the wreck showed that hits had been made by at least one 4omm Bofors gun from AA Command a 303 machinegun from an RAF defence attachment and finally there was evidence of hits from an old 8mm Hotchkiss machine gun manned by the local Home Guard. As to who had delivered the mortal blow to the enemy aircraft remained a hotly contested honour.

Despite the problems of low cloud through the night some Sixty Lufwaffe bombers managed to attack London mainly flying singly. The RDF controlled guns in the inner artillery zone were however able to engage the enemy aircraft at an altitude of around ten thousand feet and claimed several successes.

Overall the day’s count of only one hundred and seventy three daylight fighter sorties by the RAF was one of the lowest for several weeks. Not a single RAF fighter or Pilot was lost to enemy action on this day though two pilots ere lost in operational accidents and a further three fighters damaged. The Luftwaffe lost a total of eleven aircraft to enemy action through the day and night operations with several more damaged.


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


October 4th.

Day, Single raiders in stream to London and south-east.

Night, London again main target, with Liverpool a subsidiary target.

Weather, Mist, rain and poor visibility throughout the day.

Fog at night.

Todays opening gambit was an attack on two channel convoys commencing at nine in the morning. This was followed by around seventy fighters and fighter bombers heading singularly in a continuous stream. Despite fighter commands best efforts around one in the afternoon a round dozen of these intruders managed to reach central London and drop a number of bombs. Other scattered targets in the home counties were also struck. The most successful interception of the afternoon saw two JU 88’s being shot down with several more claimed as probable’s or damaged. In total for the daylight battle fourteen enemy aircraft were shot down for the loss of three RAF fighters from which one pilot survived virtually unscathed whilst unfortunately one of his comrades was badly injured and the third was mortally wounded and died as he was pulled from is wrecked spitfire.

Due to the fog there was very little overnight hostile activity.

Despite the days success the change in the Luftwaffe tactics was vexing Keith Park at Uxbridge and so today he issued another of his now famous (at least among eleven Group squadrons) fighting instructions. This one bore the title:- Hight of Fighter Patrols (2).



(1) With the t prevailing cloudy skies despite the hight information gained from RDF on incoming enemy raids it is difficult for controllers to place defending fighters into advantageous intercepting position with respect to the cloud cover concealing the enemy. A special flight of fighters has been formed to forward intercept enemy formations and to shadow them and report to the controllers accurate hight of local cloud cover.

(2) Due to the cloud conditions squadrons of fighters instructed to form up into pairs or wings have been taking to long so that they have been unable to climb to altitude ordered by the controller before making their interception.

(3) Tip-and-run raids across Kent by 110’s carrying bombs or small formations of long-range bombers escorted by fighters give such short notice that the group controller is some times compelled to detail even single fighter squadrons that happen to be in the air to intercept the enemy bombers before they attack factories, sector aerodromes or vital points such as docks, Woolwich, etc. Normally, however, group controller has sufficient time to detail from one to three pairs (two to six squadrons) to intercept with the aid of the GCI controllers, raids heading for bombing targets in the vicinity of London.

(4) Whenever time permits I wish group controllers to get the readiness squadrons in company over sector aerodromes, Spitfires at 25,000ft, Hurricanes and Defiants 20,000ft, and wait until they report they are in good position before sending them to patrol lines or to intercept raids having a good track established by a GCI RDF station.

(5) This does not mean that the controller is to allow raids reported as bombers to approach our sector aerodromes or other bombing targets unengaged because pairs or wings of squadrons have not reported they have reached the height ordered in the sector aerodromes or other rendezvous.

(6) I am sending a copy of this instruction to all sector commanders and controllers also squadron commanders in order that they may understand why their squadrons have sometimes to be sent off to intercept approaching bombers before they have reached the height originally ordered or perhaps have joined up with another squadron or pair of squadrons of a wing. Our constant aim is to detail one or more pairs of squadrons against incoming bomb raids, but the warning received at group is sometimes not sufficient and our first and primary task is to intercept and break up bombers before they can deliver a bombing attack against aircraft factories, sector aerodromes, docks, etc.

(7) Circumstances beyond the control of group or sector controllers sometimes demand that the squadrons engage enemy bombers before they gained height advantage and got comfortably set with the other squadrons detailed by group.

(8) I wish the squadron commanders and sector controllers to know everything humanly possible is being done by group to increase the warning received of incoming enemy raids. Meanwhile squadrons can help by shortening the time of take-off, assembly and rendezvous with other squadrons to which they are detailed as pairs of wings.

After the clashes on daylight the night time assault was taken up principally by the aircraft of Luftflotte 2. The initial assault comprised someone hundred aircraft departed the French coast between Le Havre and Deippe on a heading for London. The prevalent fog and rain made RDF night interception difficult as it was virtually impossible to identify the target aircraft visually before opening fire. The RDF controlled anti aircraft guns were given permission to engage unseen targets within the gun zones. An additional two hundred bombers later crossed the coast heading for London, Liverpool and other targets.


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

(2) Adapted from the text of the OTL instructions as issued by Keith Parks on the 4th October 1940 as published in multiple sources and archives.
 
Do we have an insight into what the Luftwaffe are thinking?
The switch to fighter-bomber sweeps and intruder raids suggest they know that they aren't gaining air superiority (they have to know that their losses ratios have been awful, even taking into account the normal overclaiming). So are we going to see a cancellation of Sealion and a move to a full-on night bombing offensive earlier than OTL?
 
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