AHC: Peerless Air Ministry

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?
I think we already have seen these switches of strategy/operations.
 
Let's put it this way, Goering is as delusional as he was OTL. Yes the Luftwaffe is adjusting it's tactics to try and minimize losses, whilst the RAF are adjusting tactics as well.
 
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?
Given we are already in October, its de facto cancelled as far as the KM is concerned ( and everyone else who understands sailing ) so I'd say its just waiting for someone to tell Hitler the truth. I'd expect the RN to tell the cabinet that the crisis is over as the channel is impassable due to weather to all bar raiders and to start planning a possible round 2 for Spring if the Germans are really stupid ( Army would be rebuilt , fortifications complete etc ).

Move to night bombing would be on the cards just due to the weather and general exhaustion, 109's and muddy fields mean a lot of wrecked planes whilst fighter pilots burn out quicker due to higher workload.
 
So are we going to see a cancellation of Sealion and a move to a full-on night bombing offensive earlier than OTL?
Given that the in TL Date is October 3 1940 and that iOTL Hitler "postponed" SeaLion on 18 September I'd say that ship has sailed
(or not as the case may be x'D)

And BTW that is not' just wait for a few days so we can win the battle'
On the same day, the Fuhrer ordered the invasion fleet to disperse to reduce the losses to the essential commercial transports that had been coopted
but that the military forces should remain in place to keep the pressure on Britain

However, by 12 October military forces were also being released for other tasks
and on 18 December, Order 21 making preparation for Barbarossa became the ultimate priority

AIUI SeeLowe was never officially cancelled iOTL ... just lapsed

I'd expect the same iTTL
 
One important thing to remember is that the British are not yet reading Adolf's mail. so they are not yet convinced that the sea mammal has gone at least into hibernation for the winter.
 
Excellent stuff as always, i'm surprised the Germans are willing to keep going with these losses, they must be hemmoraging aircraft and experienced air crews, and with Adolf's eastern soiraree still planned..they can't really stand to gut the Luftwaffe.
 
Sorry, I don't want to be 'that asshole' but I think this one needs proofread, there's some odd grammar, random capitalisations, stilted language, misspellings and a few things that could do with being tidied up. I normally have no complaints about your writing.

one Pm and three Pm this afternoon there was
Up until now you've tended to use 00:00 format.

Were, not was.

Me 19’s
Bf109s

Gris.

cities’ south
city's south.

For.

Was however
Odd beginning to a sentence, would also use were instead of was.

4omm Bofors gun from AA Command a 303 machinegun
40mm, .303 and machine-gun.

were.

nine in the morning
Again up till now you've used 00:00 format.

is wrecked spitfire
his wrecked Spitfire.

Hight of Fighter Patrols
Height.

With the t prevailing
Superfluous t?
 
Sorry about the poor editing, I have been having problems with my computer at the moment and due to the lockdown here I cannot get it fixed, so I am having to check each document after I reopen it as what I saved is not always what reopens!!!
 
Sorry about the poor editing, I have been having problems with my computer at the moment and due to the lockdown here I cannot get it fixed, so I am having to check each document after I reopen it as what I saved is not always what reopens!!!
Such things happen of course the timing for it could be better, and I'm sure I'm speaking for all of us when I say that we don't care about suxh minor errors when compared to getting to read such an excellent timeline
 
Sorry about the poor editing, I have been having problems with my computer at the moment and due to the lockdown here I cannot get it fixed, so I am having to check each document after I reopen it as what I saved is not always what reopens!!!
I’ve got more time on my hands now so happy to proofread for you again?
 
11.2 October 5th
October 5th.

Day, Targets in Kent and Southampton attacked.

Night, London and East Anglian airdromes raided.

Weather, Local showers in most districts, Bright periods. Winds light and variable.

The morning started with a lot of activity on the RDF screens with some thirty individual aircraft being tracked at hights between ten and fifteen thousand feet being plotted before nine am. By ten am another raid was being observed building over Calais. By ten thirty, the GCI stations at both Wiliesborough and Watling, as well as the observer corps. were tracking two raids of fifteen and twenty aircraft heading towards the airfields at Detling and West Malling. As these raids were still being tracked inland by eleven o’clock another raid was crossing Kent where multiple formations, varying in size from a dozen up to forty aircraft, had crossed the coast on mass before splitting up to attack targets across southern England. An additional assault by two waves comprising an advanced sweep by thirty ME 109’s was followed closely by a further one hundred aircraft of which a third were carrying bombs. From this raid some fifty aircraft managed to penetrate as far as central London. Whilst the attention of Twelve Group was concentrating on the threat to London yet another attack was approaching the south coast. This, the fourth raid of the day comprising two formations of thirty and fifty aircraft, departed the French coast at Cherbourg and headed for the Solent and Southampton.

Without the need to attack large bomber formations, the Hurricane and Defiant squadrons were now able to take on the ME109’s and 110’s in more even combat. Upon being intercepted those Luftwaffe fighters carrying bombs tended to dump their loads and turn on their attackers whilst the Spitfire squadrons having gained more altitude attempted to keep the escorting German fighters engaged and not able to intervene in the dog fights below. So the clear late autumn skies were now being painted with swirling white contrails as the high altitude conflict twisted and turned in the skies above the southern English countryside. Far below on the ground two official war artists were going about their business and both were struck by the surreal beauty of the deadly conflict taking place high above them.

On an airfield in northern Kent where he had gone to sketch pilots and ground crew, Paul Nash had been sketching activity around the dispersal bays. As the last of the station’s aircraft took off, Paul Nash followed them with is eyes. Later as he stood outside the dispersal hut, he saw high above him the contrails of fighters as they turned, dived and climbed in combat, sometimes the white streaks were joined by descending stains of black smoke that marked the final decent of a dying aircraft. On the ground Paul Nash could not tell who was friend or foe as he sketched the scene high above him but he knew that in his final depiction of the scene he would create an allegory for the whole Battle of Britain. To do that he would need a way to portray the evil power and threat of the Luftwaffe’s assault and the valiant pilots of the RAF defending their green and pleasant land. As he sat and observed, the germ of the format for his final painting was forming. He would have the viewers perspective, as that of an RAF Pilot following his colleagues towards the distant air battle. Their fighters, small and vulnerable, would be visible in the foreground. Also, in the fore ground would be some barrage balloons to balance the composition and to show the involvement of the ground defences. The lower middle ground would depict the tranquillity of southern England with the distant menace of a darker continent under gathering storm clouds behind. The upper half of the painting would be dominated by the air battle itself with the swirl of contrails and the smoke of falling aircraft. To emphasise the menace of Teutonic military might, the artist would place a large, ordered and ominous formation of enemy bombers proceeding implacably towards England to rain down their deadly loads of destruction. Unbeknown to the artist at the time, when the painting was first displayed to the public in 1941, it would not only become an iconic portrayal of the Battle of Britain, being reproduced in countless books and articles, it would also draw criticism from some circles as being little more than overt propaganda masquerading as art.

Further to the north in the London suburbs, another war artist was also looking skywards at the swirling white stripes in the sky and being inspired to capture the surreal nature of the conflict taking place above, virtually unheard and unseen by the populous below. When finished, Francis Dodd’s picture would be a far more subtle comment on the nature of the air battle taking place. At first perusal, Dodd’s painting could be a landscape painting from any time in the late 19th or early 20th century and from any European country, it’s air of domestic normality is evidenced by the neat trellised fence and the sitting black cat. The middle ground was a scene of arboviral perfection and tranquillity. It is only when one studies the surreal swirls of cloud, that give an abstract aspect to the picture, that the artist gives the viewer cues that this is not a picture of pure tranquillity. For with careful observation the viewer will discern the ominous shapes of distant barrage balloons floating above the trees hinting at the maelstrom of fighting taking place above. Later critics would compare this subtly of treatment of warfare with that of Nash’s portrayal and debate which was the more valid depiction of the reality of the Battle of Britain.

Sir Philip as AM was in communication with the War Artists Advisor committee and sometimes was asked to either intervene in order to gain access for an artist or to adjudicate upon a decision by the RAF regarding subject matter. When possible, Sir Phillip liked to attend private viewings of the artist’s work as well as receive reports on how that work was received by the general public. The War Artists work like that of the official photographers covered both historical recording and public information. Pure propaganda was something that Sir Phillip was not interested in whereas how the RAF was portrayed in the historical record was.

Painting by Paul Nash, Imperial War museum collection.

1585486193690.png


Painting by Francis Dobbs, Imperial War museum collection.

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(1)Daily summary quoted verbatim from the The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster
 
Have not the slightest clue about art, but the former feels like it should have been drawn on a larger canvas. The latter works fine even on a small one.
 
It is a very long time since I saw these two pictures exhibited but the Nash is about six foot long and three foot high and the Dobbs is a fraction of the size being round two feet high and eighteen inches wide. So yes, the Nash is quite a monumental picture and is very striking and commands your attention when viewed from across a room. The Dobbs on the other hand is more intermit and draws you to with quite reflection. I am no art critic but I know which of the two I would wish to hang in my own abode.
Slightly Ninjaed, by AlanJWhite!!
 
11.3 Everything Changes but stays the same (Plus Ca Changes..)
10.49 Everything Changes but stays the same.

October 6th.


Day, Single raiders or small formations attacked London and East Anglia.

Night, Very quite.

Weather, Dull with continuous rain all day. (1)

Todays air activity would be dominated by the weather, the low cloud and almost constant rain would make air operations difficult, their were a few hit and run attacks by single German aircraft in the morning with one successful low level raid damaging building at BiggIn Hill. Later raids attacked airfields at Northolt, Middle wallop and Uxbridge, however the raids had almost ceased by early afternoon and eavesdropping by the Y service confirmed that messages calling a halt to Luftwaffe operations for the day had been transmitted. Despite the sharply reduced tempo of operation through the day light hours the RAF still destroyed eight enemy aircraft in reply to a single loss. The night was the quietest for several weeks with only a half dozen or sp raiders plotted attacking London, on of which was downed when hit by RDF directed AA fire as it flew above the cloud base searching for it’s target.

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


October 7th.

Day, Mixed force of bombers and fighters attacked Yeovil.

Night, main targets London and Merseyside, otherwise raids scattered from Harwich to Newcastle and the Firth of Forth.

Weather, Occasional showers. Visibility fair. Variable cloud. (1)



The first assault of the day saw Eleven Group send up eighteen full squadrons to oppose a force of almost one hundred and thirty fighters and fighter bombers over Kent and Sussex. The large formation split and there were dog fights and melees spread all over the two counties as the opposing aircraft sought an advantage. The majority of the encounters proved inconclusive as the forces were evenly matched. At Half past twelve Luftflotte 2 attacked again with around one hundred and fifty Me 109’s Crossed the channel from Calais. With a large proportion of his fighters committed Keith Park requested that 12 Group come to readiness to send help whilst Ten Group prepared to Guard Eleven Groups western flank as the Tangemere wing were sent east. After this there was a third attack at mid afternoon when around three thirty some fifty Me109’s crossed the coast near Dymchurch o attack targets od opportunity including railways and RAF stations. Having hopefully drawn Fighter Command to the east with this third attack the Luftwaffe launched an attack comprising of a mixed force of over one hundred Me 110’s Ju 88‘s and Me 109’s from Cherbourg to attack the Westland aircraft Factory at Yeovil, Ten Group were alert to the threat and the raid was intercept by fighters from Exeter, Middle Wallop and Filton. No damage was done to the Westland Factory and several of the German aircraft were shot down, The days battle was brought to a close by another raid a five pm targeting the dover area again.

As night fell there was no let up in the operational tempo with formation of German bombers heading for targets as far afield as Swansea in the west and Harwich in the east, Aircraft based in Holland headed for Newcastle whilst those based in Denmark attacked the Firth of Forth. Despite these far flung efforts still the greatest weight of bombs fell on London and Merseyside. At one moment every GCI station in Wales, Scotland and England was actively controlling an interception. Not all were successful but enough were to cause some satisfaction at Fighter Command HQ. Using there RDF 1.5 sets Night fighters from Drem pursued bombers that had attacked the Firth of Forth on their long fight back to Denmark. This enabled the night fighters to continue beyond the range of the GCI stations. The tactic was to use the reflected CH signal received by the RDF 1.5 set to close within range of the RDF Mk IV set for the final interception. This was a very difficult technique to master as the returns on the RED 1.5 sets could be very inconsistent and the target could be lost completely at any moment . However tonight the fighters from Drem claimed one kill and a probable whilst their comrades further south from Acklington, chasing the raiders from Newcastle back towards Holland were only able to claim a probable. None of these claims could be confirmed at the time.

In the last twenty four hours the RAF fighter force had lost seventeen aircraft whilst flying just under one thousand sorties day and night, These losses included one night fighter that simply vanished off the RDF screens off the east coast. In return the Luftwaffe twenty six. Among these were no less than nine Me 109’s from LG2, interrogation of the surviving pilots revealed that they had each carried single 250kg bomb on the centerline under the fuselage. Most of those shot down had been bounced whilst still carrying their bomb. The pilots also confirmed that they were flying between two and three sorties an day and were getting exhausted by the need to keep up such an operational tempo.


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


October 8th.

Day, London.

Night, Widespread raids on London and the suburbs.

Weather, Cloudy in the south-east but fair. Winds high. (1)

If the early morning activity was anything to go by the controllers at Uxbridge and at Bentley prior speculated that it would be a very busy day with plenty of “trade” crossing the channel.

They were soon proved correct, by eight thirty two large formations of enemy aircraft the first of some fifty aircraft and the second almost double that, As usual they crossed the coast near Dymchurch before heading towards London. The controllers directed squadrons from Kenley and Biggin. Despite being engaged some aircraft from both formations managed to reach central London and scatter bombs across the city. Among the many buildings hit was Adastral house the Home of the Air Ministry. Emerging from the basement shelter Sir Phillip appraised the damage and counted him and his staff lucky that the Luftwaffe fighter-bombers could only carry relatively small bombs.

By ten thirty another thirty fighter bombers crossed the channel heading for London just as the RAF fighters were being refuelled and rearmed. Fighters from bases to the east and west of the tract had already been scrambled and vectored onto Patrol lines to protect Biggin Hill and Kenley as their squadrons landed. These Squadrons were ready just in time to gain hight and intercept the days third attack as thirty enemy aircraft again crossed the coast near Dymchurch at eleven thirty. The final enemy effort of the day came at twelve thirty when a further two formations crossed the coast, these two formations were somewhat smaller than the previous ones at only twelve aircraft each. When faced with Wing strength formations of RAF Fighters these aircraft dropped their bombs willy nilly and fled for France.

Despite it being a very rough night weather wise the Luftwaffe were out in force with well over one hundred individual raids being plotted. The majority of these were single aircraft coming in streams with the occasional larger formation. Up until four am bomber streams were recorded departing from Holland in the East, through the Pas De Calais to as far west as Cherbourg. Once more the main target was London and again General Pyle after discussions with Sir Hugh Dowding authorised AA guns in the inner gun zone to engage unseen aircraft using RDF Direction and Ranging. The resulting barrage was most impressive and reassuring to the populace of London. Many would later argue how effective this AA fire was, General Pyle when asked stated that it forced the enemy bombers higher and prevented them from saturating a single target. Also the bombers were taking losses to the guns and however many were destroyed they were a fraction of those damaged.

In the daylight engagements Fighter Command flew some six hundred and fifty sorties losing only four aircraft. The Luftwaffe however lost sixteen in day light and a further eight to the guns and fighters overnight.

During the day Keith Park issued another order to all his units, clearly setting out what he was expecting his controllers and squadrons to do under the current situation.

‘When a Spitfire squadron is ordered to readiness patrol on the Maidstone line its function is to cover the area Biggin Hill-Maidstone-Gravesend, while the other squadrons are gaining their height, and protect them from the enemy fighter screen. The form of attack which should be adopted on the high enemy fighters is to dive repeatedly on them and climb up again each time to regain height.

The squadron is not be ordered to intercept a raid during the early stages of the engagement, but the sector controller or when control has been handed over the GCI Controller must keep the squadron commander informed as to the hight and direction of the approaching raids.

The object of ordering the squadron to patrol at 15,000 feet while waiting on the patrol line for raids to come inland is to conserve oxygen and to keep the pilots at a comfortable height. Pilots must watch this point most carefully so that they have ample in hand when they are subsequently ordered to 30,000feet which is to be done immediately enemy raids appear to be about to cross our coast.

When other squadrons have gained their hight and the course of the engagement is clear, the group controller will via the sector and GCI controllers take a suitable opportunity to put this Spitfire squadron on to enemy raids where its height can be used to advantage.’ (2)

In later years some historians would cite these orders and instruction coming from Keith Parks as being signs of micromanagement and his becoming too involved in the operational minutiae of his command. Others would take a contrary view stating that Keith Park’s very hand’s on command style, where he frequently flew his own Hurricane to visit his squadrons and bases, showed that he was responding to the needs of his command, by issue clear, timely and unequivocal instructions. In modern parlance Keith Park was ensuring that his entire command was ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’. Certainly Sir Hugh Dowding thought these instruction important and relevant as he had them forwarded to all the other Group Commanders for their information. Though Sir Hugh has himself faced criticism for his lack of visibility during the battle, for unlike Park, Sir Hugh seldom visited operational stations and when he did so it was purely as part of a formal occasion, such as and investiture of Inspection. This gave a clear illustration of the different command styles of these two wartime leaders with some comparing the stiff upper lip of ‘stuffy’ Dowding with the more open and ‘Colonial’ and iformal style adopted by the New Zealander Park. Whatever their differences Sir Phillip as AM thought that the two men, though differing in command style perfectly complemented each other’s skill set and made a better Command team for it.


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

(2) Adapt from Sir Keith Park’s OTL instruction of 8th October as recorded in the RAF archives and various publications, including ‘The Narrow Margin.’
 
Excellent stuff and yeah the Germans must be getting exhausted and whilst they can afford the higher casualties, this has still got be gobbling up more aircraft than OTL and the Luftwaffe's going to be suffering for aircraft and experienced crews. And this will hurt them for any Meditteranian excursions or the trip to the Soviet Winter Wonderland. Very good breakdown of Park and Dowding, really its a case of Dowding being the 'big picture' guy and Park looking at things at a more micro scale but by doing so, as you said, he's making sure everyone's on the same song sheet and holding tempo together. The RAF under these two has a system that is working, and working well, so making sure everyone's following The Plan is the absolute right thing to do!
 

Driftless

Donor
I believe well up-stream in this thread, there was mention(s) of an enhanced pilot and ground crew training scheme. If so, has that progressed enough, where some of the dire fighter pilot shortages of OTL are being mitigated? Or, is that impact still to come?
 
So far in the PAM, Pilot losses in Fighter Command are less than OTL for various reasons as shown up thread, these include: Self sealing tanks and armour on all fighters, Better air sea rescues services. Better tactics and training.
Yes more pilots are coming through thhe system but as in OTL the Fairey Battle squadrons in Bomber Command have bee culled for suitable pilots.
Also the first of the Empire Taining Scheme Cadres will be arriving in Britain any day, once that tap hsa opened the flow will only get stronger.
 
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