AHC: Peerless Air Ministry

In the PAM, Sir Arthur Dowding is the Admiral responsible for FAA aircraft as posted upthread. ITTL the FAA has a very different mix of aircraft than OTL, there was no Sea Gladiator, the FAA went strait for the Folland Frigate fighter, The Skua remains as a DB but gained the Pelides Engine, The Swordfish, is doing what Stringbags do, The OTL Albacore was still born, instead the FAA got a torpedo carrying version of the OTL Fulmar/Battle and finally the Fairey Barracuda is about to enter service sport the 2,200hp Fairey Monarch engine. So ITTL the Barracuda will not be an underpowered liability but a pretty 'kickass' TBR that will set the standard in 1941. However all of that is for a different time line!!!!
 
In the PAM, Sir Arthur Dowding is the Admiral responsible for FAA aircraft as posted upthread. ITTL the FAA has a very different mix of aircraft than OTL, there was no Sea Gladiator, the FAA went strait for the Folland Frigate fighter, The Skua remains as a DB but gained the Pelides Engine, The Swordfish, is doing what Stringbags do, The OTL Albacore was still born, instead the FAA got a torpedo carrying version of the OTL Fulmar/Battle and finally the Fairey Barracuda is about to enter service sport the 2,200hp Fairey Monarch engine. So ITTL the Barracuda will not be an underpowered liability but a pretty 'kickass' TBR that will set the standard in 1941. However all of that is for a different time line!!!!
You tease us good Sir!
 
In the PAM, Sir Arthur Dowding is the Admiral responsible for FAA aircraft as posted upthread. ITTL the FAA has a very different mix of aircraft than OTL, there was no Sea Gladiator, the FAA went strait for the Folland Frigate fighter, The Skua remains as a DB but gained the Pelides Engine, The Swordfish, is doing what Stringbags do, The OTL Albacore was still born, instead the FAA got a torpedo carrying version of the OTL Fulmar/Battle and finally the Fairey Barracuda is about to enter service sport the 2,200hp Fairey Monarch engine. So ITTL the Barracuda will not be an underpowered liability but a pretty 'kickass' TBR that will set the standard in 1941. However all of that is for a different time line!!!!
Welp assuming the RN doesn't lose many(or any) fleet carriers before 1942 the Indian Ocean Raid will be far more interesting in this timeline and Force Z will probably live to fight another day
 
In OTL Follond left Gloster Aircraft in the new year of 1937, in the PAM Sir Arthur Dowding grabs the chance and the FAA get a purpose designed naval single seat fighter based on Follond's F5,34 design done for Gloster aircraft. from the start this design used the 1,000 Hp Alvis Pelides engine with folding wings and full FAA kit. It also uses Orlikon cannons!
With stories like TWHW already done I am reluctant to follow in such well trodden and esteemed footsteps.
 
11.7 The Germans Keep Coming by day and by night
10.53 The Germans keep coming by and by night.

October 19th


Day, Isolated patrols and reconnaissance.

Night. London, Liverpool, midlands and Bristol main targets.

Weather. Cloudy in Channel, mist in Northern France clearing later. (1)

After another quite morning due to the weather but with conditions improving a large formation of Me 109’s gathered over the Pas de Calais before heading for Kent. In the prevailing conditions interceptions were difficult and most were fairly inconclusive as the German fighters dove for the cloud cover when intercepted. By the end of the day the RAF claimed seven fighters for the loss of two of their own fighters.

The night fighters also faced trying conditions in their efforts to intercept the enemy bombers but success were recorded.

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


October 20th

Day, Fighter-bomber raids on south-east and London.

Night, Heavy attacks on London and industrial centre in the midlands.

Weather. Mainly cloudy in most districts. Channel and Straits cloudy, Hazy.

Due to the weather the first of five waves of fighter bombers did not appear on the RDF screens till almost ten Am. In what was now becoming a well rehearsed and choreographed aerial ballet RAF squadrons rose into the sky to oppose the intruders. A total of almost five hundred sorties were flown, resulting in sixteen enemy aircraft destroyed for the lost of four RSF fighters.

Whereas the day had been relatively quite the night time sky was in real terms as busy as ever. Three hundred bombers attacked London over night once again doing serious damage to the cities railway system. Further afield Coventry was bombed with Armstrong-Siddley being amongst the factories damaged. Whilst bombers were destroyed by both night fighters and guns the numbers were not sufficient to deter the Luftwaffe. However the attrition was steady and as more night fighter squadrons became operational the losses would mount.

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


October 21st

Day, Sporadic raids on capitol. Liverpool and West Country.

Night, London, Wolverhampton, Coventry, Birmingham and Liverpool main targets.

Weather. Mainly cloudy with fog and intermittent rai. Visibility poor.

Making the best of the poor weather to day the Luftwaffe despatched multiple single raiders across the country, Whilst most attack were on London Me 110’s carrying bombs were used to attack targets in the West country and as far north as Liverpool. Large formations pf defensive fighters were not practical in the prevailing conditions so most interception were carried out by flights of four fighters under GCI control. For no loss to themselves the RAF fighters manged to shoot down ten of the daylight raiders.

Night time targets were Liverpool, the midlands and London. Flying conditions again were not conducive to successful night time interceptions and the London gun zone was again given permission to fire at unseen targets by RDF prediction. If nothing else the sound of the guns gave Londoners some sense that they were being defended.

  • Daily summary quoted verbatim from the The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster


October 22nd

Day. Quiet morning and afternoon.

Nigh, London, Coventry and Liverpool main targets.

Weather. Widespread fog in the south, clearing to rain later. Visibility poor. (1)



Poor weather curtailed almost all operations in the south-east of England. In Eleven Group only the stations in the west at Tangmere, Kenley and Biggin Hill were able to launch aircraft. As the fog cleared in the early afternoon to be replaced by drizzle and rain, some activity was recorded by the RDF stations of a raid building over France. The plots firmed up into three raids of thirty aircraft each and raids on Kent and London were expected, in line with the latest instructions of the AOC Eleven Group the controllers at Uxbridge brought squadrons forward and ready squadrons scrambled for height on designated patrol limes. There were no raids towards London instead the there formations headed for a convoy in the Dover straits and a departing east coast convoy in the Thames Estuary. The standing Patrol got to the convoy in the straits just in time to disrupt the attack and a readiness squadron from Hornchurch got to the Thames Estuary and by attacking without the advantage of hight managed to break up that attack as well.

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


October 23rd.

Day. Mainly reconnaissance.

Night. London and Glasgow raided. Minelayer off Yorkshire coast.

Weather. Low cloud and drizzle. Visibility poor. (1)



The day was the quietest so far during the campaign with only ninety sorties flown in daylight hours.

Most of the RAF’s six losses in the day were due to landing and take off accidents in the poor conditions. No pilots were killed but one was seriously injured. For the Luftwaffe it was a little worse they lost one aircraft in combat, two more crashed on landing due to battle damage and a further four aircraft were written of in various accidental ways.

The night attacks were concentrated on London and the free fire policy for the anti-aircraft within the London gun areas. Though some kills were claimed by both guns and the few night fighters that did sortie in the conditions, none were confirmed by wrecks or other evidence. Further north in Scotland an attack was mounted from Luftwaffe bases near Stavanger on the port of Glasgow. With better flying conditions the night fighters managed to score two confirmed kills and in a rare success one bomber was brought down by barrage baloon.

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


October 24th

Day, Very quite.

Night. London and Birmingham main targets.

Weather. Overcast and hazy in Channel, clearing to starlit sky at night. (1)

Another day of low activity due to the inclement weather. Enemy probing reconnaissance patrols kept the standby squadrons busy as due to the conditions standing patrols were not practical. Today also illustrated how far the GCI system had come and how the daylight fighter squadrons were getting proficient in making intercepts under their control. In this case an intruder was detected by the CH RDF station at Holy Cross in East Anglia, this contact was passed to the GCI station at Neatishead, The sector controller at Coltishall had scrambled a fight of fighters to intercept and handed them of to the controller at Neatishead GCI to make the interception. As the intruder headed for the Midlands, control was passed to Langtoft GCI and then onto Boarsecrofte GCI near Bedford as the raider turned south and was finally shot down hear St Neots in Huntingdonshire. In the afternoon there were series of nuisance raids which kept the eastern squadrons busy with a total of almost five hundred sorties flown. In total the Luftwaffe lost eight aircraft through the day without loss to the RAF.

Through the night London was attacked by fifty bombers whilst another seventy attacked other cities, principally Birmingham. A number of the attackers were intercepted and shot down by the night fighters. One enemy bomber was seen to crash in flames into the of Beachy Head.

  • Daily summary quoted verbatim from the The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster


October 25th.

Day. Fighter-bomber raids on Kent and London.

Night, Italian Air Force raids Harwich.

Weather, Fair but overcast. (1)

Early attacks this morning by formations of Do 17’s were met and repulsed by squadron strength formations of fighters. The only result of these raids for the Luftwaffe was to once again indicreminetly spray their bomb loads over the countryside, villages and occasionally the towns of Kent. These sparodic raids continued through the daylight hours and Fighter Command flew over nine hundred sorties, shooting down twenty five enemy aircraft for the loss of ten. Five pilots from the downed RAF fighters were safely recovered.

One notable occurrence on this day was the first raid on the UK by the Itallian airforce. Sixteen BR.20S took off as night fell. Their target was the harbour at Harwich. As an entry into the conflict this was not an auspicious one, as one bomber crashed on take off and another two ditched due to running out of fuel!

(1) Daily summary quoted verbatim from the The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster
 
The Blitz OTL went on until May 41, but I doubt the Germans will be able to keep up the losses they're suffering without compromising future plans, IE trips abroad to Greece, North Africa or Russia.
And as always, superb stuff!
 
You see here is a conundrum, in the PAM the RAF nightfighters and their radar are a full year ahead of OTL because of several Butterflies. However centromeric radar will only be months ahead of OTL because I could find no plausible reason to Butterfly the development of the Magnetron earlier. This balanced slightly by better valve technology and amuch more developed 1/4 meter waveband radar series. Now if the Germans and Luftwaffe do their military intelligence thingy correctly and ask the question "why are we losing so many bombers at night?" they might just work out how the PPI/GCI Radar system works. If they then replicate that system themselves this could be bad news for bomber command. I call this "Newtons First Law of ATL Dynamics" in that each action will spawn an equal and opposite reaction!!!
 
Didn't the Germans develop something similar to the PPI/GCI boxes? the Khambaur line or something, and it was overcome by Window which forced the Germans to change tactics (wild/zamesau). IIRC they never got close to a centemetric radar system which is good because IIRC that wasn't able to be jammed with the tech of the time.
 
IIRC the German system had fighters tied to a Radar unit in a defined box of airspace that they could not leave. This meant that once a bomber crossed a fighters box it had to be required by another fighter controller and a complete new interception started. The British system permitted night fighters to be passed from one GCI to another so a chase could be continuous. OTL the Germ inability to comprehend the basic methodology by Fighter Command and it's Radar based defense system has always amazed me. If the Luftwaffe Intelligence service had been just that and actually worked out the CH system and had then directed the attack accordingly, then there would have been a very different battle of Britain. The attacks on Ventnor and Poling CH stations showed that they could be disrupted for days and a concerted effort may well have blinded the defense. Couple that with attacking the Sector Station systematically and Eleven Group could well have been compromised. now perhaps that is a TL I should write! though i would hate it.
 
I'm sure a certain Werhaboo on this board would love to write another Axis but he's gone silent after his last one which was a blantant love letter/slashfic to an idealised version of hitler. So don't worry there's always someone to pick up the baton in that regard. :D

But moving away from that sweaty, panting mess...I had a look at the Wiki and yep ya right, the German boxes were islands unto themselves but they layered the boxes and it allowed for a steady rate of attrition, This was helped by the early bomber command 'tactics' of basically sending bombers out with the 'brilliant' idea of telling them where to bomb, but not how to get there etc and each bomber would make its own way to a target, allowing the German interception boxes to have time to move, engage, redeploy, engage and so on. The bomber stream helped with this but it was Window which shattered the German box defences.
 
11.8 Enemies - Domestic and Foreign
10.54, Enemies Domestic and Foreign

October 26th.


Day, Fighter-bomber raids on London and Kent.

Night. Targets in London, the midlands, Manchester and Liverpool.

Weather. Cloudy with local showers chiefly in the north and east. Bright intervals in the west. Channel hazy. Cool. (1).



No Large daylight attacks today just a continuous stream of incursions by fighter bombers with escorts. By ten in the morning the raids were almost continuous in an obvious attempt to overwhelm the defensive formations. The dispositions by Park and the co-operation of both Ten and Twelve group managed to prevent any gaps in the fighter cover and no intrusion went un-opposed. This was however very hard on the RAF pilots and their aircraft as the duty squadrons were often only on the ground long enough to refuel and if they needed to rearm before once more taking off for their next interception. Once again bombs did fall on London and its suburbs with the counties of Surry, Sussex and Kent suffering their now normal crop of scattered bomb fall. In the shortening day light hours Fighter Command again flew over eight hundred sorties, inflicting a dozen losses on the Luftwaffe for the loss of two fighters and a single pilot.

As night fell the night fighter crews girded their loins for a long night chasing maggots. Though the numbers were small each night, now the night fighter defense was exacting a steady toll from the Luftwaffe bombers. In Fighter Command no one was sure exactly how much damage they were inflicting on the German bomber force or what rate of casualties that force could sustain. Whilst German propaganda was making much of the damage and destruction they were inflicting, particularly on London the very influential paper, The New York Herald Tribune, ventured the following opinion about the effectiveness of the German night attacks:

‘ What appears to be happening ,’ it said, ‘is that the Germans have found the defenses too strong for their daylight attack, permitting accurate fire, and so are putting their effort into night attack. . . But against a people with courage it is unlikely to prove fruitful . . . and the is no doubt of British courage.’ (2)

Both Sir Hugh and Sir Peter read copies of this commentary with interest and discussed whether the American reporter was mistaking stoicism with courage! Sir Hugh added that such traits were not unique to the British people and that indiscriminate bombing of German cities just for the sake of hitting back would have little or no impact on the Nazis ability to wage war. Sir Hugh ventured the opinion that for Bomber Command to have any real impact on the conflict it had to have the capability to attack important targets and destroy them. Whilst attending a meeting with the Prime Minister over the effectiveness of the German night attacks Sir Hugh took the opportunity to make the observation that half a dozen German bombs hitting the Power Station's a Bank, Battersea and Chelsea had caused far more disruption to war production and commerce than thousands of bombs falling on the terraced slums of the East End of London and it’s docks. Factories with their roof’s blown off and wall blackened by fire were up and running again in a matter of days or relocated to improvised premises. Sir Hugh had concluded that one of his most important tasks on taking up the post of CAS was to ensure that Bomber Command was capable of actually doing real damage to the German war machine. Churchill’s some what gruff response had been basically a suggestion that he “bloody well got on with it then.” So it was formally decided that whatever the state of Luftwaffe bombing activity Sir Hugh would step aside as AOC Fighter Command and that that the date of November the first was set for Sir Hugh Casswell Tremenheere Dowding to assume control of his beloved RAF.



October 27th.
Day, Mainly fighter and fighter-bomber sweeps.

Night, Widespread raids with London the principle target.

Weather cloudy all day except for a fair period in late morning. (1)



With the weather forecast to deteriorate as the day went on the Luftwaffe were quick off the mark this morning with fighter sweeps and fighter-bomber attacks commencing before eight o’clock. This was another major effort by the fighter forces of the two Luftflotten who’s fighters had the range to reach targets in the southern counties with formations of up to fifty aircraft making coordinated attacks. By nine in the morning bombs had fallen on the docks and eastern London suburb but only in isolated and small numbers. These attacks continued throughout the day with Eleven group as usual bearing the brunt of the action. Once again the flexibility of the ‘Dowding system’ came to the fore and Eleven group were never over pressed as the neighboring Groups responded to the threat. Late in the afternoon this system of mutual support was reciprocated when fighter bomber raids attacked East Anglia and Southampton simultaneously . Twelve group countered the attack east Anglia and number ten group defended Southampton. The attack on London intended to keep Eleven Group Occupied was easily contained by aircraft from Biggin Hill and Kenley, This allowed the Eleven Group controls to use the Tangmere wing to reinforce Ten Groups defense of Southampton and the PAC from Duxford and Debden were vectored to block the retreat of the formations attacking targets in East Anglia.

In todays daylight confrontation Fighter Command once more flew more than one thousand sorties. Despite the elusive nature of the Luftwaffe attacks the RAF destroyed twenty enemy intruders for the loss of ten of their own aircraft. Importantly only three RAF pilots were killed and of the seven others no less than five were ready to fly again in the morning.

The night saw the continuation of the attacks on London but also saw attacks on Liverpool and Bristol. These attacks required the Luftwaffe Bombers to fly further through defended skies than the attacks on London and this gave the night fighters more time to intercept and engage the enemy. This was being observed in the statistical analysis of night fighter actions. Also these longer raids gave Eighty Group more opportunity to gather intelligence on the electronic navigation, communication and targeting system being used by the Luftwaffe. Every night aircraft from Eighty group as well as ground stations were listening and recoding the details of the electromagnetic signatures of the Luftwaffe. All this data was being used by the RAF and the scientists to design equipment and formulate stratagems to counter them.

The reasons for there being a Ministry of Aircraft production was to a large extent a matter of public perception. The MAP was supposedly a separate entity from the AM and the RAF which was therefore meant to be able to organize aircraft and aero engine production without bias. The fear in government had been that if the aircraft production industry remained the fiefdom of the AM/RAF then supporters of the Navy and the FAA would always accuse the government that the Navy had been given second rate aircraft and had to fight for everyone they got. To some degree the high level of cooperation between the AM and the Admiralty on all things aviation laid the lies to any such accusations, whatever the perceived rivalries between RAF and the FAA. This arrangement meant that much depended on the relationship between the two Ministers, Sir Archibald Sinclair of the Liberal party was a political weather vane who tended to listen to the loudest voice in his ear. Sir Phillip made very sure that it was his voice in Sir Archibald’s ear that was heard more than any other.

Ensuring that the MAP were making the aircraft that the FAA and the RAF needed was a joint endeavor and here the RAF’s Director General for Research in the Air Ministry and latterly head of the MAP Sir Wilfred Freeman had up until June 1939 been a pivotal figure. Persuading Sir Wilfred to stay on as Sir Archibald’s deputy and advisor at the Air Member for development and Production had been a priority for Sir Phillip. Here Sir Phillip counted his blessings that Wilfred Freeman was a most capable officer and a real asset in his dealings with the aircraft manufacturing companies and their relationship with the MAP as he understood their strengths and weaknesses as well as personally having got to know all the principal personalities since 1936. With Archibald Sinclair acting as the political figurehead of the MAP, Sir Phillip saw Sir Wilfred Freeman as a vital link and his liaison with industry which had become even more important with the establishment of the MAP. As the year wore on Sir Phillip was becoming more confident that between them, he and Sir Wilfred now had the measure of Sir Archibald Sinclair as Minister for Aircraft Production and that the political interference in the wartime aircraft production could be contained. As for the Ministry of supply that was another matter entirely and Sir Phillip found it a continuous struggle in his dealings with the various department within this most Byzantine of Ministries.

Building a new working relationship between Dowding as the new CAS and the Ministry of Supply was going to be a task that would tax even Sir Philips diplomatic skills. Sir Hugh’s criticism of the Ministry of Supply regarding the delays and deficiencies in getting the all weather concrete runways for Fighter Commands airfields were legendry within the AM. As for the building of the underground control room at Bentley Priory the less said about the Ministry of Supply within earshot of Sir Hugh the better. Sir Phillip himself had had issue with the MoS, particularly over Iceland however he was very careful hold his temper and use ‘Whitehall diplomacy’ whenever necessary. There were plenty of other place keepers in white hall to keep Sir Phillip busy smoothing the road for the AM so to speak and rather to many of these obstructionist were actually still working in building as Sir Phillip.







The committee the scientific survey of air offence had sent a request to the AM for access to all the records and analysis of the RDF night defense system since large scale attacks on British targets had commenced. Though some civil servants had queried the need for this as Fighter Command were already analyzing and studying the nightly results in all its minutia in attempts to improve the effectiveness of the night fighter defense system. One Whitehall Warrior who flew nothing more than a ‘mahogany bomber’ actually sent a memo back saying that this information had nothing to do with Bomber Command and anyway was restricted. Unbelievably to some it took the raising of this matter by Tizard at one of his regular briefings with Sir Phillip to get the information released. The C.S.S.O.A.O wanted to analyze the data themselves to see what lessons could be learnt as to when RDF was as it’s most ineffective as this would help to inform Bomber Command tactics when they eventually faced an organized RDF defense by the Luftwaffe. Another sub committee of the CSSOAO, was busy studying the effect of Luftwaffe bombing on the UK. This examination was looking at what damage was caused, what sizes and type of weapon caused the damage. How disruptive to war production was the damage? How easily was it repaired? By examining and understanding these criteria the committee were hoping to come up with bomb load and targeting proposals that would maximize the effectiveness of attacks by Bomber Command on German targets. Even though the night raids had only been going on for a relatively short time the committee were convinced that they had already found out some important factors regarding the effectiveness of night bombing and had started to analyze this against the data accrued over the summer regarding the daylight raids carried out by the Luftwaffe.



(1) Daily summary quoted verbatim from the The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster
(2) Quoted verbatim from the The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster and other sources.
 
So bomber command is going to be moving away from area attacks, they'll need to up their accuracy as at the moment all they can really do is area attacks. But any move away from area attacks as the be all and end all is a GOOD thing.

Excellent stuff as always!
 

perfectgeneral

Donor
Monthly Donor
November promises a Hughj departure from OTL.

Some clever use of data and diplomacy to maximise effect. I wonder what extra MoS can bring to bear?
 
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