Battle of Britain - Day 2

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Battle of Britain - Day 2

Mensagem por Winston Churchill em Qui Jul 11, 2013 9:39 am

Day 2 – July 11th 1940
July 11, 2010 in 242 Squadron, 54 Squadron, July 1940
Weather: cloudy, visibility fair.

The day started with radar picking up evidence of three groups of Luftwaffe aircraft flying northwards over Cherbourg. These Luftflotte 3 aircraft were soon flying on a course that would take them to the Dorset coast where a large convoy was heading westwards. To protect the convoy, half a dozen Spitfires plus another half a dozen Hurricanes had been scrambled from Warmwell, the forward airstrip close to the Dorset coast. The Hurricanes encountered a group of Ju87 Stuka dive bombers but the latter were covered by a number of Me109 fighters. These German fighters were successful in shooting down 2 of the Spitfires and a Hurricane. However, none of the convoy ships were sunk.

Skirmishes in the air were fought in many places along the South coast. In particular, 54 Squadron, flying from Manston in Kent was operating continuous sorties in an effort to cover convoys threading their way through the Straits of Dover. It was in these sorties that Alan Deere, the young New Zealand fighter pilot who was to survive an amazing number of hair raising incidents in the Battle, experienced one of them. In a dogfight, he was in a mid-air collision with an Me109. As a result, the propeller of the Spitfire was bent completely backwards while the engine of the aircraft was put out of action. Deere tried to leave the aircraft pulling at the cockpit canopy. But it would not budge. Deere did the only thing he could do which was to try and glide the doomed aircraft towards the coast several miles away. He just succeeded in reaching the English coast. He then managed to put his powerless aircraft down on the first field he came across. After a number of heavy bumps the aircraft eventually came to a standstill. Now his frantic efforts to pull the canopy back met with success. He wrenched it free running for his life in case the aircraft blew up. The Germans would have counted his crash as being a British aircraft downed. But as with many cases later on in the fighting, the RAF pilot survived to fight another day.

The action that day then switched back to the west of England. Radar had picked up the approach of a force of 15 Ju87 Stukas with a covering force of some 30 Me110 aircraft which appeared to be heading towards Portland. 6 Hurricanes, which had taken off from Tangmere, had been vectored to intercept. Furthermore, reinforcements from nearby airfields were immediately scrambled. The result was that 2 of the Stukas were shot down before the Me110s could interfere. A major dogfight then ensued.

The next contribution from Luftflotte 3 picked up by radar was noted as heading for Portsmouth. 601 Squadron was sent forward. They intercepted 12 He111s escorted by a similar number of Me110s. That day the RAF flew 432 sorties shooting down 16 Luftwaffe aircraft for a cost of 6 British fighters.

54 Squadron Operational Record Book, 11 July 13:18 hours
Memories of the distant past were awakened this afternoon when 8 a/c were ordered on a convoy patrol. There is one big difference however, between the present and past, the excitement was the exception, now it is common place. Unfortunately our aircraft were unable to discover any enemy aircraft.

242 Squadron Operational Record Book, 11 July
Dornier shot down by Sqdn Ldr Bader over sea on dawn patrol. PO Grassick crashed Hurricane – uninjured.

_________________
"Truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it; ignorance may deride it; malice may distort it; but in the end, there it is."

"Arm yourselves, and be ye men of valour, and be in readiness for the conflict; for it is better for us to perish in battle than to look upon the outrage of our nation and our altar. As the will of God is in Heaven, even so let it be."

"I will begin by saying what everybody would like to ignore or forget but which must nevertheless be stated, namely that we have sustained a total and unmitigated defeat, and France has suffered even more than we have....the German dictator, instead of snatching the victuals from the table, has been content to have them served to him course by course."
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Winston Churchill

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