Battle of Britain 25 July 1940-2018
Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:40

On this day in the Battle of Britain- JULY 25th 1940
The weather had improved enough during the early morning for German Stuka and E-boat attacks on a convoy working its way through the Dover Straits. It was a disaster for the convoy as they were pounded by heavy guns from the French mainland as well. Eleven merchant coal ships of convoy CW8 out of twenty-one were sunk in the Straits as well as two Royal Navy destroyers. A new tactic was used by the Luftwaffe, the escorting Bf109's came in at sea level to be met by the Spitfires of 65 Squadron (Hornchurch) while the Ju87 Stuka's came out of the sky the dive bomb the convoy. 32 Squadron Biggin Hill (Hurricanes) and 615 Squadron Kenley (Hurricanes) came in to assist the sea level dogfight with fifty Bf109's. 54 Squadron Rochford (Spitfires) answered the call for assistance from the escorting naval vessels and engaged Bf109's that had arrived to assist the Ju87's. Like the previous day, 54 Squadron was to suffer badly, but with one Spitfire to every five Bf109's, they were lucky not to lose more than three aircraft.
1430hrs, The convoy only just past Folkestone, and the Luftwaffe sent another forty Ju88's with an escort of over fifty Bf109's to make a final attack on the convoy. Although the British pilots pressed for more fighters in combat areas, their request was dismissed as command stated that "....if we try to meet them on a one to one basis, then Fighter Command would have no fighters left after a couple of weeks." Only eight Spitfires of 64 Squadron (Kenley) were scrambled to meet the ninety German fighters and bombers, twelve Spitfires of 54 Squadron (Hornchurch) and a flight of Hurricanes from 111 Squadron (Croydon). THe Hurricanes and Spitfires were vastly outnumbered by five to one, almost impossible odds, but the RAF pilots were equal to the task.
The 109s coming at us from above as we still struggled for height Way* being hit and falling away out of sight [he was dead]. I remember the 109 attacking me from the port side, my trying to turn in towards him, the loud bangs of his cannon-shells striking my Spitfire as he hit me from an almost full deflection angle; and even through the pounding fear that I felt, admiring his marksmanship. A few seconds later, with my aeroplane miraculously still answering apparently normally to the controls, finding myself behind two Me 109s, aligning my sight on one, pressing the gun button and the guns failing to fire; then diving out of the fight to return to base.
*F/L B.H.(Wonky) Way 54 Squadron Hornchurch
Pilot Officer D.R.Turley-George 54 Squadron RAF [1]
After this days fighting, 54 Squadron Hornchurch was north for a brief rest. They had been constantly in action for the past three weeks, had flown in excess of 800 flying hours, had 506 operational sorties to their credit, had lost five experienced pilots and had twelve of their aircraft destroyed.
The tactic here was to meet the bombers head on at full throttle then as they dispersed they pulled upwards to meet the oncoming Bf109's. The tactic worked, and both fighters and bombers withdrew. With 64 Squadron and 111 Squadron returning to refuel, the German formation, strengthened by another staffel circled and returned to the convoy. Here they sank a further five merchantmen and seriously damaged four others. (Only 2 out of 21 were to reach their destination of Portland.)

AVM Keith Park was all in favour of attacking the bombers "head on". He maintained that they were very vulnerable from the front, very poorly armed, had very little armour protection and often flew in tight formations which meant that they had very little chance of maneuvering for fear of hitting another bomber. "Attack the ones in front" he urged, "If you shoot them down, the formation will break up in confusion, then you can take your pick."
But such tactics could be dangerous. It called for accurate shooting and one must pull away sharply to avoid collision. ACM Hugh Dowding would not approve such tactics, it was too dangerous for our young pilots to adopt, but many brave and skillful pilots responded to Keith Parks instruction. [2]
I will say, the old Hun certainly tried hard, but they did not like that head-on business. One could see the leader carrying on straight, but the followers wavering, drawing out sideways to the flanks, and in some cases just plain leaving the formation.
F/L R.M.B.D.Duke-Wooley 253 & 23 Squadrons RAF.
1455hrs: Dover. Spitfire P9451. 64 Squadron Kenley. (Lost at sea)
F/O A.J.O. Jeffrey. Killed. (Was last seen crashing into the Channel) (Body washed up on Dutch coast)
1500hrs: Off Dover. Spitfire R6707. 54 Squadron Rochford. (Lost at sea)
F/Lt B.H. "Wonky" Way. Presumed drowned. (Shot down by Bf109 and crashed into Channel)
1540hrs: Hawkinge Airfield. Spitfire R6693. 610 Squadron Biggin Hill. (Aircraft destroyed)
S/L A.T. Smith. Killed. (Crashed and burnt out after stalling on landing. Previously in combat with Bf109)
1745hrs: Off Folkestone Kent. Spitfire L1035. 64 Squadron Kenley. (Lost at sea)
Sub/Lt F.D. Paul. Died of Injuries. (Shot down by Bf109, captured by Germans but died 30.7.40
1810hrs: Dover. Spitfire R6816. 54 Squadron Rochford. (Aircraft destroyed)
P/O A. Finnie. Killed. (Hit by gunfire from Bf109 and crashed at Kingsdown, nr Dover)
2345hrs: Porthtowan Cornwall. Spitfire P9493. 234 Squadron St Eval. (Aircraft destroyed)
P/O G.K. Gout. Killed. (Crashed just outside town. Circumstances not known) Thanks to:

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