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The Challenge-and the reply........
Sun Feb 27, 2011 5:27pm

German Plan of Attack on London
General Officer Commanding I Air Corps Grauert

The following is the plan of attack that the German Luftwaffe has been ordered to make on the destruction of London, and will be carried as out follows:

1. Bomber operations:

On the evening of 7.9.1940 Luftflotte 2 will conduct a major strike against the target Loge*
To this end, the following units will operate in succession:
For the initial attack: at 1800 one KG of II Air Corps.
For the main attack: at 1840 II Air Corps, at 1845 I Air Corps to be reinforced by KG 30.

2. Disposition of I Air Corps Units:

KG 30 (plus II KG/ 76) on the right.
KG I central.
KG 76 (less II / KG76) on the left.
For targets see General Appendix

3. Fighter Cover:

a). Purpose of intial attack is to force English fighters into the air so that they will have reached end of endurance at time of main attack.
b). Fighter escort will be provided by Jafu 2 in the proportion of one fighter Geschwader for each bomber Geschwader.

c). ZG 76 (for this operation under I Air Corps Command) will, from 1840, clear the air of enemy fighters over I Air Corps targets, thereby covering attack and retreat of bomber formations.

d). Jafu 2 guarantees two fighter Geschwader to cover I and II Air Corps.

4. Execution:

a). Rendezvous: To be made with fighter escort before crossing coast. Bombers will fly direct.
b). Courses: KG 30, St Omer - just south of Cape Griz Nez - railway fork north of 'Seveneae' - to the target.
KG I, St Pol - mouth of la Slack - Riverhead - to the target.
KG 76, Hesdin - north perimeter Boulogne - Westerham - to target.

c). Fighter escort:
JG 26 for KG 30.
JG 54 for KG I.
JG 27 for KG 26.
Inview of the fact that the fighters will be operating at the limit of their endurance, it is essential that direct courses be flown and the attack completed in minimum time.

d). Flying altitudes after rendezvous with fighters:
KG 30 = 5,000 - 5,500 metres (16,400 - 18,000 feet).
KG I = 6,000 - 6.500 metres (19,700 - 21,300 feet).
KG 76 = 5,000 - 5,500 metres (16,400 - 18,000 feet).
To stagger heights as above will provide maximum concentration of attacking force. On return flight some loss of altitude is permissible, in order to cross the English coast at approximately 4,000 metres (13,000 feet).

e). The intention is to complete the operation in a single attack. In the event of units failing to arrive directly over target, other suitable objectives in Loge* may be bombed from altitude of approach.

f). Return flight: After releasing bombs, formations will turn to starboard, KG 27 will do so with care after first establishing that starboard units have already attacked.
Return course will then be: Maidstone - Dymchurch - escort fighter bases.

g). Bomb loads: He III and Ju 88 no 50kg bombs, 20% incendiaries, 30% delayed-action 2-4 hour and 10-14 hour (the latter without concussion fuses).
Do 17 to carry 25% disintegrating containers with B1, EL and no SD 50.
Load only to be limited by security of aircraft against enemy flak.
Fuel sufficient for completion of operation to be carried only.

5. To achieve the necessary maximum effect it is essential that units fly as highly concentrated forces during approach, attack and especially on return. The main objective of the operation is to prove that the Luftwaffe can achieve this.

Our Reply;

This came from men like these, fighting for London, and Britain.....and Freedom.

The Few in Their Finest Hour;

In the summer of 1940, twenty-one-year-old Pilot Officer John Beard was a member of 249 squadron with Hurricanes based near London. Waiting on the airfield while his plane is rearmed and refueled, Beard receives word of a large German attack force making its way up the Thames River towards London. The afternoon sun illuminates a cloudless blue sky as Beard and his fellow pilots lift their planes off the grass airstrip and climb to meet the enemy. The defenders level off at 15,000 feet and wait for the attackers to appear:

"Minutes went by. Green fields and roads were now beneath us. I scanned the sky and the horizon for the first glimpse of the Germans. A new vector came through on the R.T. [radio telephone] and we swung round with the sun behind us. Swift on the heels of this I heard Yellow flight leader call through the earphones. I looked quickly toward Yellow's position, and there they were!

It was really a terrific sight and quite beautiful. First they seemed just a cloud of light as the sun caught the many glistening chromium parts of their engines, their windshields, and the spin of their airscrew discs. Then, as our squadron hurtled nearer, the details stood out. I could see the bright-yellow noses of Messerschmitt fighters sandwiching the bombers, and could even pick out some of the types. The sky seemed full of them, packed in layers thousands of feet deep. They came on steadily, wavering up and down along the horizon. 'Oh, golly,' I thought, 'golly, golly . . .'

And then any tension I had felt on the way suddenly left me. I was elated but very calm. I leaned over and switched on my reflector sight, flicked the catch on the gun button from 'Safe' to 'Fire,' and lowered my seat till the circle and dot on the reflector sight shone darkly red in front of my eyes.

The squadron leader's voice came through the earphones, giving tactical orders. We swung round in a great circle to attack on their beam-into the thick of them. Then, on the order, down we went. I took my hand from the throttle lever so as to get both hands on the stick, and my thumb played neatly across the gun button. You have to steady a fighter just as you have to steady a rifle before you fire it.

My Merlin [the airplane's engine] screamed as I went down in a steeply banked dive on to the tail of a forward line of Heinkels. I knew the air was full of aircraft flinging themselves about in all directions, but, hunched and snuggled down behind my sight, I was conscious only of the Heinkel I had picked out. As the angle of my dive increased, the enemy machine loomed larger in the sight field, heaved toward the red dot, and then he was there!

I had an instant's flash of amazement at the Heinkel proceeding so regularly on its way with a fighter on its tail. 'Why doesn't the fool move?' I thought, and actually caught myself flexing my muscles into the action I would have taken had I been he.

When he was square across the sight I pressed the button. There was a smooth trembling of my
The Heinkel 111
mainstay bomber of the German attack
Hurricane as the eight-gun squirt shot out. I gave him a two-second burst and then another. Cordite fumes blew back into the cockpit, making an acrid mixture with the smell of hot oil and the air-compressors.

I saw my first burst go in and, just as I was on top of him and turning away, I noticed a red glow inside the bomber. I turned tightly into position again and now saw several short tongues of flame lick out along the fuselage. Then he went down in a spin, blanketed with smoke and with pieces flying off.

I left him plummeting down and, horsing back on my stick, climbed up again for more. The sky was clearing, but ahead toward London I saw a small, tight formation of bombers completely encircled by a ring of Messerschmitts. They were still heading north. As I raced forward, three flights of Spitfires came zooming up from beneath them in a sort of Prince-of-Wales's-feathers maneuver. They burst through upward and outward, their guns going all the time. They must have each got one, for an instant later I saw the most extraordinary sight of eight German bombers and fighters diving earthward together in flames.

I turned away again and streaked after some distant specks ahead. Diving down, I noticed that the running progress of the battle had brought me over London again. I could see the network of streets with the green space of Kensington Gardens, and I had an instant's glimpse of the Round Pond, where
A Londoner's view of the air war.
The vapor trails mark the
twisting turns of the combatants
I sailed boats when I was a child. In that moment, and as I was rapidly overhauling the Germans ahead, a Dornier 17 sped right across my line of flight, closely pursued by a Hurricane. And behind the Hurricane came two Messerschmitts. He was too intent to have seen them and they had not seen me! They were coming slightly toward me. It was perfect. A kick at the rudder and I swung in toward them, thumbed the gun button, and let them have it. The first burst was placed just the right distance ahead of the leading Messerschmitt. He ran slap into it and he simply came to pieces in the air. His companion, with one of the speediest and most brilliant 'get-outs' I have ever seen, went right away in a half Immelmann turn. I missed him completely. He must almost have been hit by the pieces of the leader but he got away. I hand it to him.

At that moment some instinct made me glance up at my rear-view mirror and spot two Messerschmitts closing in on my tail. Instantly I hauled back on the stick and streaked upward. And just in time. For as I flicked into the climb, I saw, the tracer streaks pass beneath me. As I turned I had a quick look round the "office" [cockpit]. My fuel reserve was running out and I had only about a second's supply of ammunition left. I was certainly in no condition to take on two Messerschrnitts. But they seemed no more eager than I was. Perhaps they were in the same position, for they turned away for home. I put my nose down and did likewise."

This eyewitness account was originally published in: Michie, Allan A. and Walter Graebner, Their Finest Hour (1941)and subsequently reprinted in Commager, Henry Steele, The Story of the Second World War (1945); Deighton, Lee, Fighter: The True Story of the Battle of Britain (1977).

Best wishes to all members of the forum and the Society.

Paul Davies

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