Header Battle of Britain

Sunday September 15th 1940

Details of the mornings action

The "hour of destiny" was September 15th, a date thereafter commemorated as "Battle of Britain Day". The title has been disputed; Alfred Price, for one, says that September 15th "has singularly little to commend it.....the day when the British victory claim was furthest from the truth....." Yet, forgetting the "numbers game", it is hard to dispute Churchill's verdict that it was, in fact, "the crux of the Battle of Britain". He made that judgment in the light of his knowledge of what happened to Operation SEALION - which was, of course, from beginning to end, what the Battle of Britain was really about. The Official History sums up with clarity: "If 15th August showed the German High Command that air supremacy was not to be won within a brief space, 15th September went far to convince them that it would not be won at all." John Terraine The Right of the Line Hodder & Stoughton 1985 pp210-211

Sunday September 15th 1940, was not only the turning point of the Battle of Britain, it was the turning point of the whole war. Every Fighter Command aerodrome in 11 Group was in some way involved, every squadron within 11 Group participated as well as the Duxford Wing from 12 Group and a number of squadrons in 10 Group were called upon to protect areas in the south west. Ground crews at all 11 Group airfields had to make efficiency a top priority in getting aircraft refueled and rearmed in between sorties, while at 11 Group Headquarters Air Vice Marshal Keith Park busily controlled the situation drawing on all his experience and expertise under the watchful eye of visiting Winston Churchill who saw first hand the development of activities on this important day. Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding remained at Fighter Command Headquarters keeping silent vigil over the large map below indicating to him the events and the unfolding battle that was taking place over the south-east of England.

For Adolf Hitler and the German commanders, time was now running out. If an invasion was to take place on September 17th as planned, the lead-up would have to commence no later than today.....September 15th. The weather had shown, just how quickly it can turn at this time of year, and with winter not too far away, the German forces would have to take advantage of the better conditions that now seemed to prevail. Göring had sent out the instructions the day previous to all bomber and fighter bases that preparations for an all out assault on England was to be made on this day September 15th, bomber units were given times and flight paths of their attack. Over the last few weeks, the Luftwaffe had experimented with different flying formations, needless to say, none had really been successful, losses had still been high, but they had discovered that on the occasions that they had kept at high altitudes, they had on a number of occasions surprised Fighter Command.

This was mainly due to the fact that the British radar was ineffective above 20,000 feet, and by flying at a height above this level they could cross the Channel undetected, but, the Germans did not know this. All that they were aware of, was the fact that those formations that flew at higher altitudes were not intercepted until they were usually well over the English coast. The most logical reason for this, thought the Germans was due to the fact that it took the British fighters much longer to gain the required height to intercept.

The sending of advance Ju87 and Bf110 units to bomb the radar stations along the southern coastline was, in the opinion of the Luftwaffe, a waste of time. As fast as they seemed to be destroyed, they were back in operational use again, and mobile units too were brought in to replace any radar station damaged. Over the last few days, the Germans had practiced at electronic jamming, this, they believed was successful and plans were made to intensify the jamming procedure in an effort to further reduce detection.

The spirit of the German aircrew, was still far from high. Time and time again, they had been told that the 'Glorious Luftwaffe' is ready to strike the final blow. But they had been told that in July, and again in August when Adlerangriff had been announced, and it was to be repeated yet again this September 15th. Early in the Battle of Britain, the Luftwaffe aircrews were told that the Royal Air Force would be wiped out in two or three weeks, now, whenever they fly over the British countryside they are still met with masses of British fighters in the hands of pilots that were gaining in skill and techniques. Many firmly believed that they were no nearer victory than they were two months previous.

Failure to achieve any notable success, constantly changing orders betraying lack of purpose and obvious misjudgment of the situation by the Command, and unjustified accusation had a most demoralising effect on us fighter pilots, who were already overtaxed by physical and mental strain.

Adolph Galland Commander

In Britain, things were slightly different. Most of the pilots were relatively fresh unlike their German counterparts. Combat action had been very infrequent, with only one really heavy day. As mentioned previously, Fighter Command was now stronger than it had been for weeks, aerodromes repaired, planes and personnel had replaced many that had been shot down and the radar stations were all functioning at 100%.

Park meanwhile, was prepared. He had learnt just a few days previous that there was to be a large scale attack prior to the impending invasion, only that he was unsure as to the exact date or time. Whatever attack that the Germans planned, he was sure, that 11 Group was ready even though the Luftwaffe commanders could not agree as to the actual strength of Fighter Command at the time.

I think one of the problems with German intelligence was, was that it simply did not help the Germans to fight the battle, partly because of the problems we've mentioned with their inability to tell the truth even when they knew it, but the results of this can be seen only in September when there is a conference for senior German commanders attended by Göring himself, and Bepo Schmidt. And you have the commander of one Luftwaffe unit giving his opinion that there are at least one thousand RAF fighters left in Fighter Command, and the commander of another Luftwaffe unit giving his opinion that Fighter Command is beaten.

So the degree of confusion in the German High Command as to what was actually happening is quite obvious whereas the British, at least they knew what they were trying to achieve. The British had a slightly simpler problem. Their main objective was survival. Both intelligence organizations seriously overestimated the number of enemy aircraft they shot down, the Germans by a factor of between three and four. The British right towards the end of the battle did get slightly puzzled by the fact that they could only find the wreckage of some eight hundred aircraft whereas the numbers claimed were far in excess of that. Instead of drawing the correct conclusion which was that the fighter pilots for quite understandable reasons were over claiming the number of enemy aircraft lost.

They tried to work out where the missing, in inverted commas, aircraft might be, and that is to why did they crash in France or in the English channel or wherever. They didn't correctly identify the problem which was that a German aircraft shot down was often claimed by more than one pilot in the confusion of the air fighting.

Sebastian Cox Air Historical Branch regarding the Battle of Britain

To survive any intense attack that may be instigated by the Luftwaffe, Keith Park had, in the last few days rearranged some of his squadrons, carefully placing them in the best strategic position to provide the best defence of London that he possibly could. Of course, we must remember, that the pilots of Fighter Command had no idea of any large scale attack being made by the Luftwaffe. This information was only known by a selected few in radio interception (the "Y" Force) and the Air Ministry and of course, Dowding and Park himself. To the pilots, any change they thought was the usual relieving of tired squadrons.

September 15th Order of Battle

It was not long after breakfast that Keith Park new that today was to different from all others, for the first time in a week, he had been notified that there was a build up of German formations along the enemy coast. 'This, I think is what we have been waiting for' he said, ' I think that it is about to happen.'

WEATHER:

Heavy cloud and rain periods overnight was expected to clear and the forecast for the day was fine in most areas with patchy cloud. No rain was forecast but some areas could expect an odd shower to develop. The cloud was expected to clear during the afternoon giving way to a fine and clear evening.

OPERATIONS IN DETAIL:

0900hrs: Unaware of what was about to unfold within Fighter Command, the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his wife decided that he would call upon Air Vice Marshal Keith Park at 11 Group Headquarters at Uxbridge.

During the morning of 15 September Park received a visit from Churchill, accompanied by his wife and one of his private secretaries. He had no wish to disturb anyone, he said, but as he happened to be passing, he thought he would call in to see if anything was up. If not, 'I'll just sit in the car and do my homework.' Naturally, Park welcomed the Prime Minister and his companions and escorted them down to the bomb-proof operations room, fifty feet below ground level. Churchill sensed that something important might happen that day. (Park's wife had the same sense: when he apologized at breakfast for forgetting that 15 September was her birthday, she replied that a good bag of German aircraft would be an excellent present.)

Once they were in the operations room, Park tactfully explained to Churchill — not for the first time — that the air conditioning could not cope with cigar smoke. As the day's dramatic events unfolded, the Prime Minister was therefore obliged to observe them with no better consolation than a dead cigar between his teeth. He had met Park several times and regarded him highly, recognizing (as he wrote after the war) that his was the group: on which our fate largely depended. From the beginning of Dunkirk all the daylight actions in the South of England had already been conducted by him, and all his arrangements and apparatus had been brought to the highest perfection.

Vincent Orange Sir Keith Park Methuen 1984 pp109-110

Keith Park took his visitors to the operations room, and as he began to explain some of the complexities of the operations, a radar report had come through that a number of enemy aircraft had been detected building up in the vicinity of Dieppe, another smaller formation had been detected over the the Channel off the coast near Dover. Park told the Prime Minister that he was lucky because it looked like that he could witness the activities of operations because a couple of German formations had been spotted. Winston Churchill replied that he would let the C-in-C carry on with his job and that he would just sit and watch.

The C-in-C called up some of his station commanders, mainly at Biggin Hill, Kenley and Hornchurch and ordered that they each place a couple of squadrons on 'Stand By' *. All eyes were concentrated on the large map table below. The smaller formation seemed content on staying out of reach in the centre of the Channel and made no move towards the English coastline. "Feelers," said Keith Park, "no doubt trying to entice our squadrons into the air." He knew that there was something strange about this morning. A small formation, possibly Bf109s flying parallel to the coast while a larger formation was gathering behind them. These tactics had not been employed since they used to make attacks on his airfields.

The markers indicating the position of the enemy force near Dieppe on the map table were now pushed into a position near the centre of the Channel, their strength was forty plus, and he now noticed that another marker had been placed slightly behind and to the left of the first marker. This also read forty plus but for both markers, there was no height reading. Another call to his station commanders, and more squadrons were to be placed on 'Stand By' * while others were placed at 'Readiness' ** Should the detected formation decide to abort or pose no further threat the order of "Stand Down" *** would be given to any, or all squadrons. [1]

  • * "Standby" (pilots strapped into their aircraft with all connections intact ready for immediate take off.)
  • ** "Readiness" (pilots should be prepared to take off with five minutes.)
  • *** "Stand Down" (pilots to ignore previous order and await further orders)

0930hrs: The two formations had spread themselves out and were detected near the coasts off Dover, Harwich and in the Thames Estuary. Squadrons were dispatched from Hornchurch, Gravesend and Croydon. But most of the German formations were ordered to turn back. The Fighter Command squadrons were recalled. The only other activity was just off the Devon coast were a lone reconnaissance aircraft was detected and a flight from 87 Squadron Exeter (Hurricanes) was "Scrambled". It turned out to be a He111 on weather reconnaissance and was shot down by P/O D.T.Jay.

1030hrs: New formations were detected positioned between the towns of Calais and Boulogne. The markers on the map table at 11 Group HQ indicated that the enemy strength was 100 plus, but within moments, another marker was placed just behind the first and indicated 150 plus. It appeared that the German formations were in no great hurry and were forming up very slowly, this worked to the advantage of Keith Park as it gave him the chance to organize his defence forces. "This, Mr. Prime Minister looks like the big one." said Park, eyes glued to the map. The C-in-C gave a few orders then asked for someone to get Observer Corps HQ on the telephone, then he ordered his assistants with him to get the various sector station controllers "on the blower" with the order for all squadrons to, "Stand By". During a lull in Parks orders, Winston Churchill, standing beside him said quietly, "There appear to be many aircraft coming in." Keith Park answered in the same low tone "And we are ready for them.......there'll be someone there to meet them."

1100hrs: The picture now of this morning attack was clearer. There was at least 200 plus bombers and an unknown number of Bf109 and Bf110 escorts just off the coast near Calais. They were flying in a nor' nor' west direction and in a straight line this would allow them to cross the English coast in the vicinity of Dungeness. The expected time over the English coast would be between 1145 and 1200hrs if they were carrying heavy bomb loads, which it was expected they were.

Park was expecting a heavy engagement, but the map showed no other detection of enemy aircraft, just this one coming towards Dungeness, and this was big enough. He asked his assistants to get the sector controllers on the phone again and in the next thirty minutes, the following squadrons were scrambled:

Time RAF Squadron Location Aircraft sent up
1105hrs 72 Squadron Biggin Hill Spitfires
1105hrs 92 Squadron Biggin Hill Spitfires
1115hrs 229 Squadron Northolt Hurricanes
1115hrs 303 Squadron Northolt Hurricanes
1115hrs 253 Squadron Kenley Hurricanes
1115hrs 501 Squadron Kenley Hurricanes
1115hrs 17 Squadron Debden Hurricanes
1115hrs 73 Squadron Debden Hurricanes
1120hrs 504 Squadron Hendon Hurricanes
1120hrs 257 Squadron Martlesham Hurricanes
1120hrs 603 Squadron Hornchurch Spitfires
1120hrs 609 Squadron Warmwell Spitfires

1130hrs: Just as the first Fighter Command squadrons approached the southern coast of Kent, the leaders of the German formation still had a few miles to go before they crossed the tall cliffs of the British coastline. The enemy bombers consisted of practically the whole of 1/KG76 flying Dornier Do17s, these had met up with the Do17s of 111/KG76 and KG3 behind Calais and now the combined force, escorted by Bf109 escorts formed a vast armada almost two miles wide crossing the coast. All the enemy aircraft were thought to have departed from bases in the Brussels and Antwerp areas. The heights of the enemy formations were between 15,000 and 26,000 feet and the Observer Corps reported that they were crossing the coast just north of Dungeness, to the south of Dover and at Ramsgate.

The bombers came across the coastline in a number of vic formations, some of these consisted of three aircraft, some in five while others were in vics of seven, but as they crossed the tall cliffs they looked something like a giant herringbone. The bombers, which consisted of Dorniers, Heinkels and Junkers were escorted by Bf110 aircraft flying in close support while the Bf109s flew top cover high above the bombers.

Keith Park reckoned that the advance squadrons should make the initial interception and slow the advancing formation down. He knew that it would be asking too much to turn such a large force around and it would be obvious that these squadrons would have to be replaced as fuel and ammunition became low. The relieving squadrons then would leave London defenseless so Park decided to bring in the 'Duxford Wing' from 12 Group and wanted to vector them to be over London just prior to the estimated ETA of the enemy formation should they manage to get through.

In the next fifteen minutes, the following squadrons were scrambled:

Time RAF Squadron Location Aircraft sent up
1140hrs 41 Squadron Hornchurch Spitfires
1135hrs 242 Squadron Duxford Hurricanes
1135hrs 302 Squadron Duxford Hurricanes
1135hrs 310 Squadron Duxford Hurricanes
1135hrs 19 Squadron Duxford Spitfires
1135hrs 611 Squadron Digby Spitfires
1135hrs 249 Squadron North Weald Hurricanes
1135hrs 46 Squadron Stapleford Hurricanes
1140hrs 1(RCAF) Squadron Northolt Hurricanes
1140hrs 605 Squadron Croydon Hurricanes
1142hrs 66 Squadron Gravesend Spitfires

1200hrs: The German formation was making slow progress and 72 Squadron Biggin Hill (Spitfires) and 92 Squadron Biggin Hill (Spitfires) were vectored to intercept the enemy between Maidstone and Ashford. Some of the other squadrons that had been vectored further south were now re-vectored. These included the Hurricanes of 253 Squadron Kenley and 501 Squadron Kenley, with the Spitfires of 66 Squadron Gravesend, 603 Squadron Hornchurch and 609 Squadron Warmwell and within minutes reinforced 72 and 92 Squadrons. Soon after the initial interception, 229 Squadron Northolt (Hurricanes) and 303 Squadron Northolt (Hurricanes) met the raiders between Rochester and South London while 17 Squadron Debden and 73 Squadron Debden (Hurricanes) met the bombers over Maidstone. Fighter Command had eleven squadrons engaging the German armada. The heavy bomber formation was still stepped between 15,000 and 25,000 feet with a massive Bf109 fighter escort above and slightly to the rear of the main formation.

The combat action was exceptionally heavy, and most of the defending British fighters managed to keep the Messerschmitt escorts from providing the cover for the bombers. The using of paired squadrons as requested by Keith Park was working. The Spitfires harassed the Bf109s, criss-crossing them at every opportunity, and one by one they were sent spiraling towards earth trailing plumes of smoke. The Bf109s tried to continue to escort the bombers who now were being attacked by the Hurricane squadrons. The British fighter pilots were slowly breaking up the formation with a steady application of force causing the bombers to straggle out of formation. [2]

From the time that we had been over Maidstone until reaching the outskirts of London, we had been under extreme pressure. The British fighters had been with us since we had first crossed the English coast and had gathered in intensity all the time. Our escort had been doing a grand job with the Spitfires at keeping them away from us, and we thought that should things remain like this, then this bombing run would be made easy.

We saw the Hurricanes coming towards us and it seemed that the whole of the RAF was there, we had never seen so many British fighters coming at us at once. I saw a couple of our comrades go down, and we got hit once but it did no great damage. All around us were dogfights as the fighters went after each other, then as we were getting ready for our approach to the target, we saw what must have been a hundred RAF fighters coming at us. We thought that this must have been all the RAF planes were up at once, but where were they coming from, as we had been told that the RAF fighters were very close to extinction. We could not keep our present course, we turned to starboard and done all that we could to avoid the fighters and after a while I am sure we had lost our bearings, so we just dropped our bombs and made our retreat.

Luftwaffe Do 17 Front Gunner Hans Zonderlind

The hundreds of Bf109s covered a wide area and they too were having their successes. Two Hurricanes of 229 Squadron were shot down over the Sevenoaks area, with P/O G.Doutrepont aircraft being shot up badly and he was killed as the Hurricane went down and crashed on Staplehurst Railway Station. Another member of the squadron, P/O R.Smith managed to bale out of his bullet riddled aircraft also over Sevenoaks and he suffered severe leg injuries. Over Tunbridge Wells, F/O A.D.Nesbitt of 1 (RCAF) Squadron was swooped on by Bf109s and he baled out as his aircraft spiraled to earth. F/O R.Smither was not so lucky, as he went down with his aircraft also over Tunbridge Wells.

The combat area now covered a wide area, and as the minutes ticked by, the intensity of the battle increased as more fighters of Fighter Command arrived on the scene. 501 Squadron Kenley (Hurricanes) was one of them. They intercepted the enemy over northern Kent and mixed it with both bombers and fighter escort.

'The bombers were coming in towards London from the south-east and at first we could not tell how many there were. We opened our throttles and started to climb up towards them, aiming for a point well ahead, where we expected to contact them at their own height. As we converged, I saw that there were about twenty of them, and it looked as though it was going to be a nice party, for the other squadrons of Hurricanes and Spitfires also turned to join in. By the time we reached a position near the bombers, we were over London — central London, I should say. We had gained a little height on them, too, so when I gave the order to attack we were able to dive on them from their right.

'Each of us selected his own target. Our first attack broke them up pretty nicely. The Dornier I attacked with a burst lasting several seconds began to turn to the left away from his friends. I gave him five seconds, and he went away with white smoke streaming behind him. As I broke away and started to make a steep climbing turn, I looked over the side. I recognised the river immediately below me through a hole in the clouds. I saw the bends and the bridges and idly wondered where I was. Then I saw Kennington Oval, and I thought to myself, "That is where they play cricket".

Squadron Leader John Sample 501 Squadron September 15th 1940

Squadron Leader John Sample went on to say, that soon after this, he came across another Do17 that had been hit by a Spitfire and a Hurricane who were following closely and was trailing white smoke. Not that one could really get bored up there, but he had nothing else to attack, so he climbed up above the Dornier and then made a diving attack. As the distance between himself and the bomber narrowed, he noticed a red light in the rear-gunners cockpit, but as he got even closer, he saw that he was looking through the whole length of the inside of the Dornier to the pilot and observers cockpit. The red light that he saw, was in fact the red glow of fire. He gave another short burst, and as he turned and went past the aircraft, the inside was nothing but a red hot furnace inside. He then saw it go into a spin after the tail section broke away, followed by the wing sections beyond the engines. The narrow fuselage with short stubbs of wing roots fell though the cloud to oblivion, John never saw it crash.

Another pilot of 504 Squadron, Sergeant R.T.Holmes, decided that he would take on no less than three Dorniers at the same time. The first, after a short burst bellowed smoke, but as he flew past he got a spray of black oil on his windscreen. But that did not deter him from going in on a second Dornier ahead. Another short burst as the Do17 was lined up in his sights, and smoke and flames came from the stricken bomber and it dived away. He then took on a third, but soon afterwards, his Hurricane banked sharply and he lost all control, he started to go into a wild spin. It is not known as to whether he collided with the third Dornier, or was hit by enemy gunfire but he found it difficult to extract himself from the doomed fighter. Suddenly, he managed to free himself and jumped, the parachute breaking his fall just twenty feet or so above the rooftops of some houses in fashionable Chelsea. His backside hit the sloping roof of one of the houses, and he began to slide down the roofless, fall off over the guttering and straight down into the garden below, and into a garbage bin. The Dornier came down about a mile away crashing into the forecourt of Victoria Station, practically demolishing a small tobacconist's shop. [3]

1215hrs: The Bf109s were being held over the northern area of Kent with only a few managing to escape the onslaught by the Spitfires. The bombers which consisted of He111, Do17s and Do215s were being harassed by the Hurricanes, and one by one they began to turn away smoke trailing from engines and desperately trying to evade any further attack by the British fighters. Others dropped their bombs at random. Some of the more courageous tried in vain to make it to their target, riddled with bullets, crewmen either dead or injured at their posts. But more was in store for them as they approached London. Keith Parks timing of requesting the Duxford Wing to cover the airfields of Hornchurch and North Weald was to perfection, as was everything else that was taking place. It seemed that Fighter Command could do no wrong.

As the German bomber formation, with about only one third of its Bf109 escorts, approached the outskirts of London the enemy was in disarray. The Bf109s peeled away one by one, some had sustained damage but most were now low on fuel. With the city now in their sights, they were confronted by the most awesome sight of the four squadrons of the Duxford Wing. Three squadrons of Hurricanes with the two Spitfire squadrons about 5,000 feet higher. As the Duxford Wing closed in, they were joined by 41 Squadron Hornchurch (Spitfires), 46 Squadron North Weald (Hurricanes), 504 Squadron Hendon (Hurricanes) and 609 Squadron Warmwell (Spitfires). The Bombers were confronted by British fighters on all sides, and one of the biggest combat actions ever seen over London developed. Sergeant D. Cox of 19 Squadron wrote in his combat report:

I was Green 3, when we dived to attack some Me109s, which had dived down on us. I did not get my sights on any enemy aircraft. I pulled out and climbing, flew south. After a few minutes I saw six Me109s flying in line astern just above me. They saw me and attacked. I got on the tail of one of the enemy aircraft, but he half rolled away. Four of the enemy aircraft then flew off to the south. I turned to find the other enemy aircraft attacking me head-on. As he passed above me and climbed, I turned, and climbing steeply, came up underneath him and gave him a couple of bursts, stalling as I did so. Next, I saw him in a flat glide, which gradually steepened as he went through some cloud. When I came through the cloud I noticed a fire just beginning below, which I found to be his wreckage. He crashed about five miles east of Crowborough.

Sergeant D.G.S.R.Cox 19 Squadron 1215-30hrs September 15th 1940

Hurricanes came in to deal with the bombers. They did this in an unusual way, head-on in a shallow climb, claiming three of them, and later two 109s.

Others joined in, and in such numbers and with such aggression that it was like gulls mobbing an albatross. Seven more Dorniers were claimed as destroyed before the Duxford Wing, in all its multiple glory, hurling itself into the whirling mêlée. The raid had now entirely broke up over south London, and any idea the bomb-aimers identifying let alone attacking their assigned target had disappeared, like so many of their own kind.

Hough & Richards The Battle of Britain - A Jubilee History Hodder & Stoughton 1989 p276

We turned and crossed beneath them but the squadron got split up. I followed three of our Hurricanes climbing up on the left of the bombers for a head-on attack, lost patience and turned to do a beam attack on the leader......I opened fire with more than full deflection and let the Dornier fly into the bullets like a partridge. I came back and did a short quarter attack. The Do215 then broke away from the formation and I saw the engines were just idling as it glided down. Then about eight of our fighters set on the lame duck at about 3,000 feet below me. On landing I claimed this as a "probably destroyed".

P/O R.G.A (George) Barclay 249 Squadron North Weald on September 15th 1940

Where everything was running in favour of 11 Group, for once, Douglas Bader's 'Duxford Wing' also ran to perfection and in unison. Bader stated later, that being called up with time to spare made all the difference. His squadrons were able to take off as ordered, and the formation collected perfectly over Duxford and 56 fighter aircraft made the steady climb towards their vectored area, and had time to position themselves at the correct height and head towards Gravesend. As they approached the Thames, the Hurricanes stepped between 25,000 and 26,000 feet with 19 and 611 Squadron Spitfires at the rear climbing to 27,000 feet, they could see the little black specks, like a small formation of little ants in the sky. Douglas Bader led his 'wing' in a partial semi-circle allowing them to arrive at Gravesend with the morning sun behind them, and the Germans in front. But it was not until reaching the western boroughs of London did the 'Duxford Wing' manage to engage the enemy.

Perfectly positioned, with the bombers 3,000 feet below them they were about to make their attack, when a formation of Bf109s came out of the sun. Bader immediately ordered the Spitfires of 19 and 611 Squadrons to take on the German fighters, which they did so effectively, scattering them by a surprise attack that they left the bomber formation and flew off to the south-east. While the 'Duxford Wing' were holding, the Hurricanes of 257 Squadron Martlesham and 504 Squadron Hendon (Hurricanes) attacked the German bombers. Bader waited for them to complete their sweep, then instructed his three Hurricane squadrons to fall into line astern and prepare to attack. Bader selected the most westerly of the three enemy formations, while 302 Squadron took on the middle formation while the remaining formation was left to 310 Squadron. [4]

Coming in from astern of the westerly formation in an almost vertical dive, Bader's leading Red Section went for the last section of three bombers, Neil Campbell for the left-hand bomber, Douglas Bader for the centre one and Dicky Cork for the right-hand machine. The three bombers had lost cohesion when they had turned. Now, the three fighters dived steeply on them. Bader's first burst caused his targets wing to burst into flame. He flashed past, pulled up and attacked a Dornier ahead, but a Spitfire was in his way and he broke off. Bader fired at a few Dorniers in the mêlée but was not sure if he hit any of them as be had constantly to watch out for other fighters; in front of him, a Spitfire smashed into a Dornier and the pair fell earthwards. There were many Spitfires and Hurricanes and many bombers in the same airspace, trying to get in their own attacks — there was no co-ordination, no sequence, fighters jostling to be first. Either the Germans were outnumbered or the British had committed too many fighters: it depends upon how the 'Big Wing' is viewed.

Michael G.Burns Bader-The Man and his Men Arms & Armour 1990 p91

There was not much for the bombers to do, the pressure on them was intense. They would be attacked by a couple of squadrons of RAF fighters, then as soon as they broke off the engagement, another couple of squadrons were ready to pounce at an already decimated enemy force. The bombers began to drop their bomb loads at random hoping that this would lighten their load and they could make as hasty retreat as possible without any further damage to their aircraft. South London was the worst affected, with Lewisham, Lambeth, Camberwell and a couple of the bridges across the River Thames all recording bomb damage. One high explosive bomb fell in the grounds of Buckingham Palace causing slight structural damage to the building but a bigger hole in the lawns at the rear as it failed to explode. A power station in Beckenham was also hit.

The German formations headed out towards the west, turning south near Weybridge. 609 Squadron Warmwell (Spitfires) chased them as they headed for the coast and took on 15 Dornier Do17s, a formation of Bf109s saw the desperate situation that their bombers were in and joined in as did a few Bf110s. Over Ewhurst in Surrey, 605 Squadron Croydon (Hurricanes) came in to assist and as the mêllée continued fierce action over the town of Billingshurst just west of Horsham they were joined by 1(RCAF) Squadron Northolt (Hurricanes) who took on the troublesome Bf109s. In the other direction, some eighty German bombers were trying to make good their escape towards the Thames Estuary. Fighter Command attacked in large numbers with squadrons attacking any of the escorts while others took on the merciless bombers. The first, and the morning battle had been a disaster for the Luftwaffe, many cashed, others blew up in mid-air, while the remainder struggled for the safety of the French coast. [5]

For the Germans, after about ten minutes over London, there was now no such thing as the formation. German bombers were at all levels of altitude and most were scattered over an area fifteen miles wide. To give an example of the intensity of this morning battle, the combat area was approximately 80 miles long by 38 miles wide, and up to six miles high. Total combat actions numbered as many as 200, one third of these were settled within the combat area with one of the aircraft submitting either by being destroyed by his enemy or a disabled aircraft managing to break away and head for safer pastures. The other third was with German aircraft being chased away from the combat area by British fighters and often crashing on English soil or going down into the watery graveyard of the English Channel.

Because of the intensity and aggression shown by the pilots of Fighter Command, the bombers dropped most of their bombs randomly over a wide area. Damage was done, but not as much as was intended by the Luftwaffe commanders. For the Luftwaffe, the raid was doomed to failure the moment that the first formations had crossed the Channel. This time, everything had gone right for Fighter Command and 11 Group. Timing, position and height was all on the side of the RAF. Keith Park and his pilots had won the first round of the day.

1230hrs: As the clocks in Britain showed 12.30pm, the first battle of the day had finished. Most of the German bombers who had intentions of again dropping hundreds of tons of bombs on the city had been fought off by Fighter Command. In scattered areas of Kent and Sussex the odd skirmish still took place as patrolling squadrons observed a few Dorniers and Heinkels desperately trying to make their way back to their bases in northern France and Belgium. The pilots of the Hurricanes and Spitfires showed no mercy. It made no difference whether the bombers were crippled or not, some, which it was obvious that they would never make it back, were shot down, the broken hulks of German aircraft could be seen from the outskirts of London to the Channel coast.

To many Londoners, many were out and about on this fine day in September, and went about their business as usual, the dog- fighting high above being little more than entertainment value.

A partial List of some downed Luftwaffe aircraft by Unit

  1. 15/09/1940 Bf 109E1 Luftflotte 2 I./JG3 WNr 1563 shot down Channel pilot rescued
  2. 15/09/1940 Bf 109E4 Luftflotte 2 1./JG3 WNr 2685 Unknown Unknown
  3. 15/09/1940 Bf 109E4 Luftflotte 2 1./JG3 WNr 945 Channel Unknown
  4. 15/09/1940 Bf 109E4 Luftflotte 2 2./JG3 WNr 1606 Unknown Unknown
  5. 15/09/1940 Bf 109E1 Luftflotte 2 2./JG27 WNr 6147 Unknown Unknown
  6. 15/09/1940 Bf 109E4 Luftflotte 2 Stab I./JG52 WNr 3182 shot down Margate
  7. 15/09/1940 Bf 109E4 Luftflotte 2 1./JG53 White 12 WNr 5197 flown by Herbert Tzschoppe POW
  8. 15/09/1940 Bf 109E4 Luftflotte 2 1./JG53 WNr 1345 Unknown Unknown
  9. 15/09/1940 Bf 109E1 Luftflotte 2 3./JG53 Yellow 2 WNr 3619 flown byKarl Heinz Feldmann POW
  10. 15/09/1940 Bf 109E4 Luftflotte 2 3./JG53 WNr 1590 flown by Julius Haase KIA
  11. 15/09/1940 Bf 109E4 Luftflotte 2 1./JG53 White 6 WNr 5251 flown by Alfred Müller ditched due to lack of fuel pilot was rescued POW
  12. 15/09/1940 Bf 109E4 Luftflotte 2 3./JG77 WNr 4802 shot down Dungeness
  13. 15/09/1940 Bf 109E7 Luftflotte 2 3./(J)LG2 (Brown 2+) August Klick WNr 2058 crash landed Sheerness Kent
  14. 15/09/1940 Bf 109E4 Luftflotte 2 2./JG53 WNr 6160 flown by Hans Schersand KIA
  15. 15/09/1940 Do 17Z3 Luftflotte 2 5./KG2 WNr 2304 U5+KN shot down Channel
  16. 15/09/1940 Do 17Z3 Luftflotte 2 5./KG2 WNr 2678 U5+CN shot down Channel
  17. 15/09/1940 Do 17Z Luftflotte 2 8./KG2 WNr 3440 U5+PS shot down Channel
  18. 15/09/1940 Do 17Z Luftflotte 2 8./KG2 WNr 3401 U5+DS shot down Channel most of the crew rescued by maritime rescue service
  19. 15/09/1940 Do 17Z Luftflotte 2 8./KG2 WNr 4245 shot down Channel pilot rescued
  20. 15/09/1940 Do 17Z Luftflotte 2 8./KG2 WNr 2549 U5+FS shot down Channel
  21. 15/09/1940 Do 17Z Luftflotte 2 9./KG2 WNr 3405 U5+FT? shot down Channel
  22. 15/09/1940 Do 17Z Luftflotte 2 9./KG2 WNr 3230 U5+FT? shot down Channel
  23. 15/09/1940 He 111H4 Luftflotte 2 I./KG26 WNr 6985 1H+JH Unknown Unknown
  24. 15/09/1940 Ju 88A1 Luftflotte 3 I./KG51 WNr 3071 9K+AH Unknown Unknown
  25. 15/09/1940 Ju 88A1 Luftflotte 3 II./KG51 9K+KM Unknown Unknown
  26. 15/09/1940 Ju 88A1 Luftflotte 3 II./KG54 WNr 0226 B3+CP Unknown Unknown
  27. 15/09/1940 He 111P2 Luftflotte 3 III./KG55 WNr 1586 ditched after air battle
  28. 15/09/1940 Do 17Z Luftflotte 2 3./KG76 WNr 2651 F1+FL shot down over Sturry Kent Fw Karl Niebler (pilot – killed); Oblt Karl-Ernst Wilke (observer - PoW), Fw Karl-Heinz Wissmann (gunner – killed), a ground crewman, Uffz Johann-Friedrich Schatz (gunner – killed) and Uffz Hans Zenner (radio operator – PoW)
  29. 15/09/1940 Do 17Z Luftflotte 2 8./KG76 WNr 2578 F1+BS Unknown Unknown
  30. 15/09/1940 Do 17Z Luftflotte 2 8./KG76 WNr 2555 F1+FS Heitsch crew made a forced landing near Castle Farm, Shoreham, England [note 1]
  31. 15/09/1940 Do 17Z Luftflotte 2 9./KG76 WNr 3322 F1+DT Unknown Unknown

[note 1] Heitsch's Dornier was attacked by Flight Lieutenant Dundas and Pilot Officer Tobin of 609 Squadron. After a low-level chase, Heitsch was forced to bring his machine down in a field at Castle Farm, Shoreham, narrowly missing the high tension cables that ran over the field. The Dornier's crew were taken prisoner by the local Home Guard. Heitsch and Feldwebel Pfeiffer, the observer, were uninjured. Feldwebel Sauter, the gunner, had been wounded in the ankle and was taken to Maidstone Hospital. Feldwebel Stephan Schmidt, the wireless operator, died of a chest wound before reaching hospital.

A partial List of some known damaged and lucky aircraft to escape back to France

Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3 9./JG3 (Yellow 6+I) WNr 746 force landed on a French beach 15th Sep 1940


Dornier Do 217

175 RAIDERS DOWN[6]

ONE IN TWO DESTROYED RAF LOSE 30

R.A.F. fighter planes and anti-aircraft guns delivered a smashing blow to the German air offensive against London. Of 350 to 400 enemy planes, launched in two waves against the capital and south-east England 175, or nearly 50 per cent, were shot down according to returns up to early this morning. We lost 30 fighters, but 10 of their pilots were safe.

The Germans loss yesterday, was the highest since August 15th when 180 of their planes were shot down. On August 18th, they lost 153. In personnel, their loss yesterday was over 500 airmen against 20 R.A.F pilots.

During the first raid for which the warning period lasted from 11.51 to 12.56, Buckingham Palace was bombed for the third time, crowds watched the attacking plane shot to pieces in the air by Spitfires.

*While the figures from both the British media and the German propaganda machine grossly overestimated the casualties, it done wonders for the morale of the people.

DEFYING THE NAZIS Sunday September 15th 1940

Here is a story of courage and devotion to duty in a branch of the merchant navy too seldom heard of. The seventy-year-old skipper of a tiny collier started out from a certain port. When near the Thames Estuary—these small craft never see the wide oceans—he was attacked by Nazi ‘planes. One bomb fell in a hold and went through the bottom of the vessel, but the veteran skipper refused to take to his single boat.

He and his loyal crew beached the craft at the risk of their lives just as the propeller came out of the water and the collier was on the point of sinking. Between the tides temporary repairs were made on the beach. The crew took the collier off again and discharged the cargo in London port according to orders. Additional repairs were effected at once, and then, without an hours leave, skipper and crew left for a northern port for another of the vital jobs of coal-carrying which they have carried out without break for nearly twelve months.

The old skipper was urged by the crew and the owners to rest for a while at the end of his trip to the north, but he insisted on carrying on. Crews of these small craft, whose only armament is usually a machine-gun, have to fight their ships almost single-handed. They treat a scrap with enemy aircraft or a U-boat as a mere incident in the daily routine.

ST PAUL'S SAVED: TON BOMB DUG UP Monday September 16th 1940

St Paul's Cathedral has been saved by the magnificent courage of a handful of men. The high explosive bomb which had menaced it since last Wednesday was safely removed last evening by a bomb disposal section under Lt R.Davies after three days of unremitting struggle. The missile proved to be a ton in weight and looked like a vast hog about 8 feet long. It was fitted with fuses which made it extremely dangerous to touch or move. The bomb fell in Deans Yard, close to the west end of the cathedral. It entered the roadway at the end of the pavement.

LAMBETH GRIM AND GAY Friday September 20th 1940

The Daily Telegraph’s Special Correspondent visited Lambeth to see how they were taking it.‘Give us a couple of days, mate, and you’ll ‘ardly know anyfin’s ‘appened to Lambiff.’ The speaker was Mrs. Smithers, and I was asking her how Lambeth in general, and herself in particular, was bearing up after the ordeal two nights ago.

“At least, let us agree to call her Mrs. Smithers. I am sure she would not like me to divulge her real name, for she maintained throughout our conversation an air of half-humorous suspicion which was as Cockney as Lambeth itself. 'If yer a newspaper fella,’ she said when I introduced myself, ‘ ‘ave to see yer credentials before I’ll tell yer anyfin. Then I’ll tell yer anyfin yer wants t'know—exceptin 'ow many casualties there is.’ I showed her the ‘credentials’, and she carefully compared me with the photograph on my green identity card. But even then she had very little to say about her own experiences.

'It were a bit ‘ot at the time,’ she admitted, referring to a bomb that had demolished a house five doors away. ‘But yer knows ‘ow it is—in the morning, with the sun shining and the children playing in the streets as usual, it all seems quite different.’ On the subject of her neighbours, however, she was more eloquent, and she enforced her eloquence frequently with several Lambeth adjectives which I may not print.

‘I tell yer, mister—and I’m not juss kidding yer because yerz a newspaper bloke—the peoples round ‘ere is A1, and no mistake. Not a blank moan outa one of ‘em. ‘Ther'z was one chap—very badly ‘urt ‘e was—and all ‘e wanted was to know if ‘is wife was O.K.' ‘And there was the old lady at No. 51—the ‘ouse came down on ‘er and they dragged ‘er outa the basement and sent ‘er to ‘ospital. She didn’t want to go. Would ‘ave it she was quite all right. Not so blank bad for over seventy.’”

CASUALTIES SO FAR Friday September 20th 1940

Released today were the casualty reports for the first two week period of September.

The reports state that for the first half of September about 2,000 civilians had been killed and about 8,000 had been injured - three quarter of these had been in London during air raids on Britain.


Fighter Command Order of Battle

September 15th 1940

11 Group / Air Vice Marshal Keith Park / Uxbridge Middlesex

SECTOR SQN AIRCRAFT BASE COMMANDER
Biggin Hill 72 Spitfire Biggin Hill S/L A.R.Collins
. 92 Spitfire Biggin Hill S/L F.J.Sanders
. 66 Spitfire Gravesend S/L R.H.A.Leigh
. 141 Defiant Biggin Hill S/L W.A.Richardson
North Weald 249 Hurricane North Weald S/L J.Grandy
. 46 Hurricane Stapleford S/L J.R.MacLachlan
. 23 Blenheim North Weald S/L G.F.W.Heycock
. 23 half Beaufighter North Weald S/L G.F.W.Heycock
Kenley 253 Hurricane Kenley S/L E.R.Bitmead
. 501 Hurricane Kenley S/L H.A.V.Hogan
. 605 Hurricane Croydon S/L W.M.Churchill
Hornchurch 603 Spitfire Hornchurch S/L G.L.Denholm
. 41 Spitfire Hornchurch S/L R.C.Lister
. 222 Spitfire Hornchurch S/L L.H.Hill
. 600 Blenheim/Beaufighter Hornchurch S/L H.L.Maxwell
Tangmere 213 Hurricane Tangmere S/L D.S.Wilson-McDonald
. 607 Hurricane Tangmere S/L J.A.Vick
. 602 Spitfire Westhampnett S/L A.V.R.Johnstone
. 23 half Blenhein/Beaufighter Ford S/L G.F.W.Heycock
Debden 17 Hurricane Debden S/L A.G.Miller
. 73 Hurricane Debden S/L M.L.Beytagh
  257 Hurricane Martlesham S/L R.Stanford-Tuck
  25 half Blenheim Martlesham S/L W.W.Loxton
Northolt 1 RCAF Hurricane Northolt S/L E.A.McNab
. 229 Hurricane Northolt S/L H.J.Maguire
. 303* Hurricane Northolt S/L R.Kellett
  264 Defiant Northolt S/L G.D.Garvin
  504 Hurricane Hendon S/L J.Sample

* 303 Squadron was the famous and very successful Polish squadron

10 Group / Air Vice Marshal Sir Christopher Brand / Box, Wiltshire

SECTOR SQN AIRCRAFT BASE COMMANDER
Filton 79 Hurricane Pembury S/L J.H.Heyworth
Middle Wallop 238 Hurricane Middle Wallop S/L H.Fenton
. 609 Spitfire Warmwell S/L H.Darley
. 604 Blenheim/Beaufighter Middle Wallop S/L M.Anderson
. 152 Spitfire Warmwell S/L P.Devitt
  56 Hurricane Boscome Down S/L H.M.Pinfold
  23 half Blenheim Middle Wallop S/L G.F.W.Heycock
St Eval 234 Spitfire St Eval S/L M.V.Blake
. 247 Gladiator Roborough F/L H.A.Chater
Exeter 87 Hurricane Exeter/Bilbury S/L R.S.Mills
  601 Hurricane Filton S/L Sir Archibald Hope

12 Group / Air Vice Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory / Watnall, Nottinghamshire

SECTOR SQN AIRCRAFT BASE COMMANDER
Duxford 242 Hurricane Duxford S/L D.Bader
. 302 Hurricane Duxford S/L W.A.J.Satchell-S/L M.Mumler
. 310 Hurricane Duxford S/L G.D.M.Blackwood-S/L A.Hess
  19 Spitfire Fowlmere S/L B.J.E Lane
Coltishall 74 Spifire Wittering S/L A.G (Sailor) Malan
Kirton-in-Lindsay 616 Spitfire Kirton S/L W.Burton
. 264 half Defiant Kirton S/L G.D.Garvin
Digby 151 Hurricane Digby Not known at this stage
. 611 Spitfire Digby S/L J.McCoomb
. 29 Blenheim/Beaufighter Digby S/L S.Widdows
Wittering 1 Hurricane Wittering S/L D.A.Pemberton
. 266 Spitfire Wittering None. S/L P.Jamison 17-9-40
Church Fenton 85 Hurricane Church Fenton S/L P.W.Townsend
. 306* Hurricane Church Fenton Not known at this stage
. 64 Spitfire Leconfield S/L D.McDonnell

* 306 Squadron flew only one squadron that was operational.

13 Group / Air Vice Marshal Richard Saul / Newcastle, Northumberland

SECTOR SQN AIRCRAFT BASE COMMANDER
Catterick 54 Spitfire Catterick F/L F.P.L.Dunworth
. 219 half Blenheim/Beaufighter Catterick S/L J.H.Little
Usworth 43 Hurricane Usworth None. S/L T.Dalton from 16-9-40
. 32 Hurricane Acklington S/L M.N.Crossley
. 610 Spitfire Acklington S/L J.Ellis
  219 half Blenheim Acklington S/L J.H.Little
Turnhouse 3 Hurricane Turnhouse S/L S.F.Godden
. 65 Spitfire Turnhouse S/L A.L.Holland
. 141 Defiant Turnhouse S/L W.A.Richardson
  111 Hurricane Drem S/L J.M.Thompson
  263 Hurricane/Whirlwind Drem S/L T.P.Pugh
Dyce 145 Hurricane Dyce/Montrose S/L J.R.A.Peel
Wick 232 Hurricane Sumburgh F/L M.M.Stephens
Aldergrove 245 Hurricane Aldergrove S/L E.W.Whitley

*This squadron later converted over to Whirlwind aircraft.

The Luftwaffe Order of Battle at 7th September 1940

LUFTFLOTTE 2 based in France, North of the Seine, Belgium and Holland

Messerschmitt Bf 109 single engined fighter

GRUPPE AIRCRAFT AVAILABLE BASE
1/JG 3 Bf 109E 14 Pas de Calais
11/JG 3 Bf 109E 21 Pas de Calais
111/JG 3 Bf 109E 23 Pas de Calais
1/JG 26 Bf 109E 20 Pas de Calais
Stab JG 1 Bf 109E 3 Pas de Calais
Stab JG 3 Bf 109E 3 Pas de Calais
Stab JG 26 Bf 109E 3 Pas de Calais
11/JG 26 Bf 109E 28 Northern France
111/JG 26 Bf 109E 26 Northern France
Stab JG 27 Bf 109E 4 Etaples
1/JG 27 Bf 109E 27 Etaples
11/JG 27 Bf 109E 33 Montreuil
111/JG 27 Bf 109E 27 Sempy
Stab JG 51 Bf 109E 4 St Omer
1/JG 51 Bf 109E 33 St Omer
11/JG 51 Bf 109E 13 St Omer
111/JG 51 Bf 109E 31 Pas de Calais
1/JG 52 Bf 109E 17 Laon/Couvron
Stab JG 52 Bf 109E 1 Laon/Couvron
11/JG 52 Bf 109E 23 Pas de Calais
111/JG 52 Bf 109E 16 Pas de Calais
Stab JG 54 Bf 109E 2 Northern France
1/JG 54 Bf 109E 23 Southern Holland
11/JG 54 Bf 109E 27 Southern Holland
111/JG 54 Bf 109E 23 Southern Holland
1/JG 77 Bf 109E 40 Northern France

Messerschmitt Bf 110 twin engined fighters

GRUPPE AIRCRAFT AVAILABLE BASE
Stab ZG 2 Bf 110 N/A Not Known
1/ZG 2 Bf 110 10 Amiens and Caen
11/ZG 2 Bf 110 10 Guyancourt/Caudran
Stab ZG 26 Bf 110 3 Not Known
1/ZG 26 Bf 110 14 Abbeville
11/ZG 26 Bf 110 17 Crecy-en-Ponthieu
111/ZG 26 Bf 110 17 Barley and Arques
V(Z)LG 1 Bf 110 19 Ligescourt
Erprobungsgruppe 210 Bf 110
Bf 109E
17 Denain

Long Range Reconnaissance Aircraft

GRUPPE AIRCRAFT AVAILABLE BASE
1(F)/ 22 Do 17 and Bf 110 9 Lille
1(F)/ 122 Ju 88 3 Holland
2(F)/ 122 Ju 88 and He 111 9 Brussels/Melsbruek
3(F)/ 122 Ju 88 and He 111 10 Einhoven
4(F)/ 122 Ju 88
He 111
Bf 110
9 Brussels
5(F)/ 122 Ju 88 and He 111 11 Haute-Fontaine

Luftwaffe Bomber Units

GRUPPE/AIRCRAFT BASE
I/KG 1 He111 Montdidier
II/KG 1 He 111 Montdidier
III/KG 1 He 111 Rosieres-en-Santerre
I/KG 2 Do 17 Epinoy
II/KG 2 Do 17 Arras
III/KG 2 Do 17 Cambrai
I/KG 3 Do 17 Le Culot
II/KG 3 Do 17 Antwerp/Deurne
III/KG 3 Do 17 St Truiden
I/KG 4 He 111 Soesterberg
II/KG 4 He 111 Eindhoven
III/KG 4 Ju 88 Amsterdam/Schipol
I/KG 53 He 111 Lille
II/KG 53 He 111 Lille
III/KG 53 He111 Lille
I/KG 76 Do 17 Beauvais
II/KG 76 Ju 88 Creil
III/KG 76 Cormeilles-en-Vexin

Luftwaffe over Claims almost twice as many claimed as in reality

Date Pilot Name Unit Enemy A/C Type Height Time Location
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Adolf Galland Stab JG26 Hurricane   15:30 Thames Estuary
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Detlev Rohwer Stab I./JG3 Hurricane     North of London
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Detlev Rohwer Stab I./JG3 Hurricane     Raum London
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Eberhard Bauer 5./JG2 Spitfire   15:15  
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Erich Meyer 2./JG51 Spitfire      
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Erich Schmidt 9./JG53 Spitfire   12:44  
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Erich Schmidt 9./JG53 Spitfire 4000m 13:08 10km South of London
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Erich Schmidt 9./JG53 Spitfire   15:36  
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Erich Woitke 6./JG3 Spitfire 4500m 13:05 South of London
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Erwin Neuerburg 7./JG3 Abschuß** 6000-400m - -
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Franz Gotz 9./JG53 Hurricane   15:40 Battle of Britain
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Franz Hahn 2./JG77 Spitfire   15:35  
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Franz Luders 6./JG26 Spitfire   16:00 Kanal
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Franz Luders 6./JG26 Spitfire 1600m 18:00 Kanal
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Fritz Losigkeit 2./JG26 Spitfire   15:40 SE London
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Fritz Stendel 8./JG51 Spitfire   15:36  
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Fritz Stendel 8./JG51 Hurricane   15:28  
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Georg Claus Stab JG51 Spitfire      
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Gunther Busgen 1./JG52 Hurricane 4000m 15:32 -
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Gunther Lutzow StabJG3 Hurricane 4500m - -
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Gustav Kull 8./JG51 Hurricane 800m 15:35 -
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Hans 'Assi' Hahn 4./JG2 Spitfire   15:35 Thorney Island
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Hans Stechmann 9./JG3 Spitfire   13:10  
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Hans Swietlik 13.(Z)/LG1 Spitfire   15:10  
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Hans von Hahn Stab I./JG3 Spitfire     North of London
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Hans Witzel 6./JG27 Spitfire     SE London
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Hans-Karl Keitel 1./JG77 Spitfire   15:40  
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Hans-Karl Mayer Stab I./JG53 Spitfire 2500m 13:10 Maidstone
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Hans-Karl Mayer Stab I./JG53 Spitfire 5500m 12:45 10km S London
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Heinrich Kopperschlager 1./JG53 Spitfire 7500m 15:50 NW London
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Heinrich Ruhl 1./JG53 Spitfire 6000m 15:58 South of London
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Heinrich Sannemann Stab II./JG3 Spitfire 6300m 15:40 South of London
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Heinz Bar 1./JG51 Spitfire     Battle of Britain
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Heinz Fleischhacker 3./JG77 Spitfire   13:10  
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Heinz Welz 13.(Z)/LG1 Spitfire   15:25  
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Heinz-Gunter Fleischhacker 3./JG77 Spitfire 2500m 13:10 -
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Helmut Bennemann 2./JG52 Hurricane 6000m 15:30 Sudrand London
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Helmut Bennemann 2./JG52 Hurricane 6000m 15:30 Thames Estuary
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Helmut Bennemann 2./JG52 Hurricane 6000m 15:40 Thames Estuary
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Herbert Ihlefeld 2.(J)/LG2 Spitfire   15:30 South of London
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Herbert Schramm 7./JG53 Spitfire   12:50  
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Hermann Guhl 1.(J)LG2 Spitfire *   - -
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Hermann Neuhoff 7./JG53 Blenheim 500m 19:00 20km NE Etaples
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Hermann Staiger 7./JG51 Hurricane     Tonbridge
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Hermann-Friedrich Joppien 1./JG51 Spitfire   12:40 Battle of Britain
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Hermann-Friedrich Joppien 1./JG51 Spitfire      
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Ignaz Prestele 2./JG53 Spitfire 5500m 15:55 10km S London
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Jakob Stoll 9./JG53 Spitfire   15:33  
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Jakob Stoll 9./JG53 Spitfire   13:03  
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Jakob Stoll 9./JG53 Spitfire   12:45  
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Karl Gotze 13.(Z)/LG1 Spitfire   15:26 Raum London
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Karl Hannes 5./JG2 Spitfire   15:20  
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Karl Langenberg 5./ZG76 Spitfire   15:25  
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Karl Willius 8./JG51 Spitfire   15:36  
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Karl-Heinz Leesmann 2./JG52 Hurricane 4000m 15:40 Thames Estuary
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Karl-Heinz Leesmann 2./JG52 Hurricane 5000m 15:25 Thames Estuary
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Leonhard Birk 7./JG51 Spitfire      
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Lothar Keller 1./JG3 Spitfire     Raum London
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Oskar Strack 1./JG52 Hurricane   15:35  
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Robert Gobel 2./JG52 Hurricane 4000m 15:35 Thames Estuary
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Rudolf Saborowski 8./JG3 Hurricane   12:50  
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Siegfried Fischer 3./JG53 Spitfire 5500m 12:45 10km S London
Sunday, September 15, 1940 unknown I.(J)/LG2 Spitfire      
Sunday, September 15, 1940 unknown I.(J)/LG2 Spitfire      
Sunday, September 15, 1940 unknown I.(J)LG2 Spitfire   - -
Sunday, September 15, 1940 unknown I.(J)/LG2 Spitfire      
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Walter Horten Stab JG26 Hurricane   15:30 Thames Estuary
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Walter Meyer 5./JG26 Spitfire   15:35 South of London
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Walter Oesau Stab III./JG51 Spitfire      
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Walter Scholz 3./JG53 Spitfire 5500m 15:50 10km S London
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Werner Pistor Stab II./ZG76 Spitfire 5500m 15:45 10km SE London
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Willi Ghesla 1./JG53 Spitfire 6000m 13:00 SE London
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Willy Stange 8./JG3 Spitfire 6500m 12:50 Maidstone
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Wolf-Dietrich Wilcke Stab III./JG53 Spitfire   13:00  
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Wolf-Dietrich Wilcke Stab III./JG53 Spitfire   15:15  
Sunday, September 15, 1940 Wolfgang Tonne 3./JG53 Spitfire 5500m 15:55 10km S London

Some of the most widely used Book References:

  1. Vincent Orange Sir Keith Park Methuen 1984 pp109-110
  2. Michael G.Burns Bader- A Man and his Men Arms and Armour 1990 p89
  3. John Frayn Turner Battle of Britain Airlife 1998 p128
  4. Michael G.Burns Bader- A Man and his Men Arms and Armour 1990 p90
  5. John Foreman Fighter Command War Diaries Air Research Publications 1998 pp25-26
  6. The Daily Telegraph reports

Some of the most widely used Web References:

  • Battle of Britain Historical Society 2007 - Battle of Britain 1940 net (English) - http://www.battleofbritain1940.net/
  • The Battle Of Britain Weather Diary (English) - http://forum.netweather.tv/topic/63129-the-battle-of-britain-weather-diary/page-7

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