AHC: Peerless Air Ministry

11.4 Move and counter move, parry and thrust
10.50 Move and counter move, parry and thrust.

October 9th.


Day. London and airfields attacked.

Night. Heavy raid on London.

Weather. Cloudy in Channel with rain in northern France and the straits. Winds high. Squalls. (1)



With foul weather the early morning was quite but this all changed around eleven Am. When, continuing for the next two and a half hours, a total of more than one hundred and thirty Me 19’s made attacks on targets mainly in Kent and the London suburbs. After a very short break a further two hundred fighter bombers carried out a series of continuous raids targeting the RAF airfield on the southern boundary of London. These raids inflicted the heaviest damage of these airfields since the large scale attacks of August.

Despite the difficulty of intercepting raids in the prevailing adverse weather conditions the RAF flew more than four hundred sorties and downed and even dozen German aircraft for the loss of one. However several fighters were damaged to varying degrees due to landing accidents caused by the poor conditions.



Over night even with the poor weather conditions and the unfavourable quarter moon a heavy raid was made on central London and the Docks. Again both the fighters and the guns had a measure of success despite the difficulties.

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


October 10th.

Day Hostile Operations over east Kent, London Suburbs and Weymouth.

Night. London, Liverpool, Manchester and fifteen airfields also attacked.

Weather. Showery with Bright intervals, Haze in the Thames Estuary and East Anglia. (1).





The tactical change by the Luftwaffe of not attacking in large formations but utilising a continuous stream to penetrate the defence was proving much harder to counter. In the current weather conditions the drop in the rate of loss to the enemy was worrying factor for Fighter Command. Today this was illustrated by the fact that whilst the Luftwaffe lost five aircraft so did the RAF. In total for this disappointing return, during daylight hours Fighter Command once more had exceeded seven hundred and fifty sorties. The Night Fighters faired a little better having shot down two for a loss of one, which had been damaged by return fire and crashed on landing. Though badly injured both crewmen were rescued from the wrecked aircraft.

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


October 11th.

Day, Targets in Kent, Sussex and Weymouth attacked.

Night. Main Objectives London, Liverpool, Manchester and Tyne and Tees.

Weather. Mainly fair apart from showers chiefly in coastal areas. Mist in Straits and Estuary early, clearing later. Fog developed in the night. (1).

Ten and Eleven group were busy allday countering incursions by formations of high flying Me 109’s some at altitudes in excess of thirty three thousand feet. Unless RAF squadrons were already patrolling at altitude intercepting such raids they made the short dash across the channel was virtually impossible. For an ME 109 at that altitude flying at three hundred and sixty miles an hour was covering the ground at a rate of six mile every minute. So the channel could be crossed and the enemy fighter diving onto English targets in less than four minutes of actually leaving the French coast. This need to mount standing patrols particularly of Spitfires to counter this tactic was problematic for Fighter Command as it was wearing on both pilots and machines. The first foray of one hundred aircraft was at ten Am. and concentrated on hitting targets on the south coast and southern Kent. At Eleven, in an attempt to catch the Squadrons on the ground having returned from the earlier raid, attacks were made on Biggin Hill and Kenley. Here Park’s foresight and instructions proved their worth as both airfields had a protective umbrella of fighters on patrol lines placed to counter such attacks. Here also was demonstrated why the Observer corps was so important. Whilst GCI could track those attacks that were at sufficient altitude to be detected. Lower level attacks had to be tracked and reported by the observer corps and this they had with long practice over the summer and autumn got down to a fine art. The other important task that only the Observers Corps with their ‘mark one eyeballs’ and binoculars could do was discern whether the passing formations were purely fighters or whether some were carrying bombs. Counting numbers of attacking aircraft when practical was also important information for the group controllers as this made it easier to assign appropriate numbers of squadrons to engage. With the airfields successfully defend and the last of the attackers heading back to France the third wave of the days air assault was directed at the Thames estuary. This attack by around one hundred Me109’s and 110’s only got as far as the coast around Southend before the defending fighters forced the fighter bombes to drop their bombs and defend themselves. The final daylight was also halted and turned back this time in mid Kent before the raid reached it’s intended targets in London.

The night fighting force was kept busy as targets across the country were attacked. Whilst London was still the principle target, Liverpool and Manchester was also attacked as was the area of the Tyne and the Tees. As on previous occasions the AA guns of the inner London zone were given permission to engage unseen aircraft using RDF fire control. What ever the effectiveness of this fire against the Luftwaffe bombers might be a source of conjecture the effect on the London Public was probably more important. Could their be anything more dispiriting than sitting in a shelter with bombs crashing down, as the silent guns stood mute testimony to the government’s inability to defend it’s own capitol city. Using RDF 1. The northern night fighters were again given carte Blache to chase the bombers back towards thir Bases in Denmark and Holloand. All the night fighter crews new that to cross the enemy coast with an RDF fitted aircraft was an automatic court marshal and they were well aware that IFF and RDF CH would be tracking their every move.

The current tactics used in day light by the enemy meant that today the losses of the RAF fighters was only slightly less than the losses inflicted on the enemy, in fact the enemy lost ten aircraft whilst the RAF lost nine, six pilots were save but all were wounded to a greater or lesser extent. Once again the Fighter Command had approached a thousand sorties in the day and both Dowding and Park were concerned at the strain this level of operations was placing on their pilots.

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


October 12th.

Day. London and suburbs again main target.

Night. Fairly quite but National Gallery damaged.

Weather. Widespread mist and fog during the day, clearing with light winds off the North Sea. (1)

Following the pattern of the previous few days from early in the morning there was a continuous series of fighter and fighter bomber attacks targeted at London and it’s surroundings. Eleven Group had another busy day countering these elusive attackers and had a modicum of success in that few of the fighter bombers actually reached their intended targets with the majority being forced to jettison their bombe when faced with interception by RAF fighters.

For once there was little night activity and very few night interception missions were flown

Today the fighter command again exceeded seven hundred sorties, though of course that was almost a third less than the previous day it was still a very high intensity of operations to maintain.

RAF lose for the day were nine aircraft whilst the Luftwaffe lost thirteen. Whilst still a positive ratio it was not as favourable to the RAF as those in command could wish. Dowding and Park conferred again Park set about adjusting Eleven Groups tactics one more.



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




October 13th.

Day, Targets in London and Kent attacked.

Night. London, Bristol, Wales, Liverpool, Birmingham and Birkenhead raided.

Weather. Almost cloudless but foggy early. Fine in the Morning. Fair at midday, Clouding over later. (1)



Utilising there successful tactic of gaining high altitude over France before dashing across the channel this mornings attacks were started by fighter and fighter bombers harassing a convoy in the Thames Estuary. If the Germans intention was to Draw the Defences east to defend the convoy thereby leaving the Kent and Sussex Coast clear of fighters they were mistaken. The Uxbridge controllers scrambled squadrons from the PAC at Duxford and Debden from north of the Thames to defend the convoy. Just after noon the first serious attempt at attacking London took place. This attack comprising fifty Me 109’s, many carrying a single 500lb bomb on the centre line, was duly intercepted and was forced to turn back as it reached Woolwich. Within the hour another large attack came in, this one fragmented on crossing the Kent coast with all elements attempting to reach central London by differing routes. Again the defence was, to the most part, successful in preventing the enemy from bombing their targets with very few bombs actually falling on central London. A third wave of fighter bombers headed for the capitol around four thirty and this time despite being intercepted they were able to drop bombs on central London. Though not all the attacking aircraft made it back to their bases this was definitely the most successful of the day’s raids.

Hardly had the last of the days raider faded away into the evening gloom than the first wave of the night time attack was being detected forming up over France, A hundred bombers made the short journey to London where despite the combined efforts of the AA guns and the night fighters the majority of them drooped their bombs causing considerable damage. Other raids headed further afield. The GCI stations to the mid-lands and to the north of London were kept busy with plenty of ‘magots’ to be chased. With Thirty two GCI/PPI stations now in operation and with several mobile units filling in gaps in the network as well as providing cover north of the stations at Fullarton and Dirleton in Scotland there were few places where the night intruders could avoid being tracked. Tonight proved a good night for the night fighter force as they achieved seven confirmed shot down with claims of three more probable’s. One singular success was a kill achieved by an OTU Bisley aircraft that was on exercise with a mobile GCI unit to the south of Aberdeen when they were directed onto a bomber from a raid on Dundee and shot it down. The counter point to this was during the day a Hurricane was shot down by AA guns south of London by mistake and during the night another OTU Bisley was shot down by a Beaufighter from Coleby Grange airfield. Records showed that the Bisley never radiated a ‘crown’ IFF signal and it was assumed that the IFF set had failed.

In daylight the Germans had lost eight aircraft to RAF’s three, at night the ratio was slightly better with seven aircraft downed for the loss of one.


(1) Daily summary quoted verbatim from the The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster
 
Interesting, the continuious stream basically swamps the RAF right? By just sending a huge long line of craft over, the RAF can only intercept so many without having to refuel/rearm and then claw for altitude again. But, bombing from that height won't be accurate and would be murder on the lead staffels.

Excellent stuff as always!
 
I've received an email from Son of Pegasus.

He's asked me to put a message on the thread saying that he's okay.

He went silent suddenly because his laptop had a argument with a cup of tea (my words not his) and is unable to login to the site using the Android tablet that he has been lent due to the safe containing his password not being in the building that he is locked down in.
 
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Driftless

Donor
I've received an email from Son of Pegasus.

He's asked me to put a message on the thread saying that he's okay.

He went silent suddenly because his laptop had a argument with a cup of tea (my words not his) and is unable to login to the site using the Android tablet that he has been lent due to the safe containing his password not being in the building that he is locked down in.
That's good news iin the grander scheme of the universe. Tools are replaceable at some point, our cohorts are not
 
I've received an email from Son of Pegasus.

He's asked me to put a message on the thread saying that he's okay.

He went silent suddenly because his laptop had a argument with a cup of tea (my words not his) and is unable to login to the site using the Android tablet that he has been lent due to the safe containing his password not being in the building that he is locked down in.
Good to hear he is okay. Maybe mention to him that he can request a password reset link via email if he wants to get back online before the lockdown ends where he is based?
 
Hi Everybody, Ii am back on the forum at long last.
my apologies for my sudden silence, due to an incident with my delinquent epiglottis I managed to drown by laptop,nmid post, in half a pint of very hot tea. Not good.
That was four weeks ago and only today, due to the lockdown here have I been able to have it rebuilt. unfortunately I have lost about 35,000 words of the PAM. TL. I will start rewriting and hope to post up to the end of the BoB soon.
Thanks to everyone for your patience.
Stay safe, stay well.
Sonofpegaus
 
Hey SonofPegasus, great to see you're back! You're suppose to dunk biscuits in your tea, not your computer old chap. And sorry to hear about the loss of that work but hopefully you'll get up to speed soon enough, stay safe mate!
 

Driftless

Donor
Hi Everybody, Ii am back on the forum at long last.
my apologies for my sudden silence, due to an incident with my delinquent epiglottis I managed to drown by laptop,nmid post, in half a pint of very hot tea. Not good.
That was four weeks ago and only today, due to the lockdown here have I been able to have it rebuilt. unfortunately I have lost about 35,000 words of the PAM. TL. I will start rewriting and hope to post up to the end of the BoB soon.
Thanks to everyone for your patience.
Stay safe, stay well.
Sonofpegaus
Good to hear that you are OK and that it was only the computer that got zapped. Still, that has to be frustrating to lose so much work.
 
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