Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 3 – Battle of Britain

This was settling down into what was becoming apparent as "phase one" – clearing the Channel of shipping, the so-called Kanalkampf. The British were not to know that that was the plan, although this was now very evident on the third day of sustained attacks.

Formations of early-morning fog in the Channel hampered the Germans and until 8.50 am activity was slight. Several radar plots were then picked up, heading for convoys "Agent" off North Foreland and "Booty", twelve miles north-east of Orfordness. The heavier attack was aimed at “Booty". Sections from six squadrons were scrambled.

Action was seen in Scotland later that morning, with an He 111 being shot down off Aberdeen. Several more German aircraft were shot down during the day – one off the Isle of Wight. Poor visibility throughout the day, though, made interceptions difficult.

By midnight, the Germans had suffered only eight losses, against six from the RAF, in the course of 670 sorties. Already, some squadrons were running short of pilots, an issue which was to dominate the battle. But, while this first phase was the Stuka war, these vulnerable aircraft were soon to be withdrawn from the English campaign. This was the beginning of the Spitfire legend.

Battle of Britain thread