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trekaddict

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First, click this, and replay it until finished.


Chapter 149







7th March 1941


Kampfgeschwader 26, somewhere near Calais

“Meine Herren, Adlertag. The total destruction of the Royal Air Force on the ground and in the air. Today we will hit major airfields, beginning with Manston, Biggin Hill, Dover and Kenley. Our goal is the total destruction of the British Fighter capability, in order to open the country up for a sustained air Campaign against military and industrial infrastructure...”


Jagdgeschwader 52, South of Abbeville

“But there won't be much left for us then!” a young pilot exclaimed laughingly. “No worries, Bruno, our tin can drivers won't destroy them all. So Gentlemen, into your aircraft and always have an eye for the petrol gauge. We have at best twenty minutes battle time over there.” The young pilots rushed to their aircraft and strapped themselves in while the ground crews prepared themselves to start the engines. One by one the big Daimler-Benz engines roared into life and the Fighters thundered down the grass runway. They soared into the air and raced northwards, like so many other German, Soviet and Czech aircraft on that day. The air over northern France was almost black with Axis aircraft as the massive armada slowly turned north.

RAF Bentley Priory

“Sorry to interrupt you Sir, but something's building.” The aide was stammering in the presence of Air Marshal Sholto Douglas, AOCinC Fighter Command, and Marshal of the RAF Sir Hugh Dowding, Chief of the Air Staff. At his words though the two men jumped from their chairs and ran towards the plotting centre leaving the startled Airman behind. Down in the main plotting room the WRAFs were already busy plotting an ever growing number of Aircraft reported by the Chain Home stations. Others were already plotting the RAF Squadrons rising in the defence of the realm against the massive onslaught that was slowly lumbering northwards. “This is it I believe.” Douglas said quietly. Dowding just nodded and looked down to the plotting table. Spitfires and Typhoons scrambled by the dozen, clawing their propellers into the air in a battle against time and altitude, small, Squadron-sized packages moving towards the enemy at the best speed they could muster. The two most senior Officers of the Royal Air Force watched silently as the two blobs on the plotting table moved towards each other, ready for the greatest clash in the air that the world would ever see. The Battle of Britain was joined and promised to be a hot one. All over the United Kingdom Air Defence assets went to combat readiness, from Anti-Aircraft Guns belonging to the Royal Artillery through the Observer Corps. And while the situation was building, No.222 Squadron out of Dover under Squadron Leader Canfield was already up at Angel 15 and waiting for their orders to come through from Sector HQ. The four sections hummed in the usual wide formation in order to cover the biggest area possible when their orders came through from the Sector station. The Spitfires one by one banked left and turned onto a course that carried them over the city they were protecting. Constant contact with Sector HQ was maintained and soon enough slightly below them a large formation of fifty German He-111s. “Green and Yellow Sections, watch out for the Fighters, Red and Blue Sections, follow me. Tally Ho, Tally Ho!” The eight Spitfires of the two sections dipped over their starboard wings and dove onto the German Bombers. Canfield selected the 20mm cannons and centred the lead bomber in his gunsight. When the bi-motor aircraft filled out the circle of the reflex sight, Canfield pressed the firing button and felt the hammering as the two cannons spat out their shells. Soon he had zoomed past the bomber. He had shot well, as the bomber's port engine was on fire and bits and pieces began to fall out of the fuselage as the bomber began to loose speed and height. Meanwhile the eight British Fighters soared back up having shot down seven German plans and making a wide circle around the German formation that defiantly fired at the far away British. The Spitfires were undisturbed by that fire though as they were far out of range. The two sections separated and attacked the Germans from two sides, forcing them to divide the defensive fire. Once more they raced through the slowly scattering formation, downing five more bombers in the process. Then a call came in from the other two sections. They had spotted enemy fighters, in this case German Bf-109s. The Bombers were their priority, but Canfield knew that two of his sections could not hope to hold off an enemy Fighter Force of that size for long. He selected the Machine Guns and the two sections joined their comrades in the massive dogfight that ensued. The furbal where the two groups of fighters fought with each other was the scene of heroism on both sides. When Canfield entered it, he was immediately confronted by a German coming right at him.

Both fighters raced at each other, oblivious to the massive battle around them. Both pilots refused to budge. But as they got closer and closer, the German dipped downwards in order to evade the Spitfire. At that moment Canfield pressed the trigger and the .303 machine guns in his wings spat out bullets that slammed into the cockpit of the enemy aircraft. Suddenly robbed of his opponent, Canfield made some wild manoeuvres with his Spitfire and looked around. Around him British and German aircraft alike were going down. Ignoring the hopeful possibility that the Germans might run out of petrol soon, he dove back into the middle of it and soon settled behind a German who was obviously fresh and green, because he kept flying straight and level. Canfield was about to teach him the price. Once more he waited until he had a perfect position and pressed the trigger. The bullets slammed into the rear fuselage of the fighter, cutting the wires between the pilot's stick and the rear rudder. The bullets also penetrated the rear fuel tank and caused the aircraft to leak a white stream of petrol into the air even as the pilot struggled to regain control when the plane began to spiral towards the ground. He was however the last one to die in that battle as the Germans were already breaking off the action, leaving five of their own behind. The British had suffered too, three Spitfires had been shot down and two more would be write-offs after landing at the aerodrome.

In the meantime the Battle raged all over southern England. Airfields all along the coast were hammered by the enemy armada. The Axis planners had hoped for tactical, if not strategic surprise, but all they had had to go on in terms of intelligence on British Air Defences were faulty pre-war German reports, which led to them underestimating the importance of the Chain-Home RDF system. The British might have been outnumbered, but they had not been surprised. Wherever the Axis bombers tried to go, they ran into small, hard-hitting packets of British Fighters that sometimes made only one or two passes, downing several Bombers before disappearing again. Different Axis nations suffered differently. The Germans suffered the least, their fighter sweeps sometimes managed to intercept the British before they could reach the bombers or managed to drive them off, the Soviets suffered the most, because when their bombers were escorted, the escort consisted of Yakolev Yak-2 that had been hastily retrofitted to provide fighter escort, as their Interceptors had proven to be unable to perform any sort of air Combat at their service ceiling that only just reached the height the bombers operated on. The Spitfires and Typhoons of No.13 Group tore through the Soviets attacking Western England like a blowtorch through butter and some Soviet Squadrons lost as much as ten to fifteen percent of their strength on the first day. The Czechs were the only other Axis nation that had sent Aircraft, being 'asked' to do so by Berlin a few weeks before and were less than motivated. At the first sign of opposition most Czech pilots dropped their bombs where they were and decided to leg it back to France. The fight was not over. On the ground the Anti-Aircraft Command, nominally belonging to the Royal Artillery but under the operational direction of the RAF in it's respective sectors, took over then the Fighters were down to re-fuel and rearm. Over the most important targets the Axis bombers ran into a storm of Ack-Ack that seemed to make any battle of Warsaw, Paris and anywhere look like a picknick. The British Anti-Aircraft batteries were usually equipped with the QF 3.7 inch AA gun, the British counterpart to the famed German 88. The Batteries were still tied into the sector networks of the RAF and knew when something was coming their way. Two versions existed, one was the Mk.I that fired a 28-lb shell to a ceiling of 32,000 feet, and the improved Mk.II, a combination of the original shell and re-lined Naval QF 4.5 inch gun that manly came from ships retrofitted to take the newer 5 inch DP guns. The latter had a maximum ceiling of 45,000 feet. The Mk.II guns also came with an autoloader system. This system speeded up the rate of fire considerably by eliminating the varied performance of loading crews and allowed the gun to follow the fire predictor more closely, also increasing accuracy considerably, paired with a new firing speed of 20 rounds per minute when compared to 10 rounds beforehand. The few batteries that were already re-equipped with the Mk. II in March 1941 were placed around targets like Aircraft factories and some of the bigger harbours on the southern coast, but unfortunately the pressure of the battle prevented their more widespread introduction until after the Battle of Britain had ended. The Axis pilots did not care much. In 1941 most bombers were comparatively lightly armoured and the splinters that were produced. AA fire had, even in perfect conditions little chance of actually scoring a direct hit on an aircraft until the advent of RDF guided guns later in the war, but on that day they managed to scare the hell out of the enemy. British 'Flak' fast gained the reputation of being dense and deadly if somewhat inaccurate.

Another set of targets that received special attention on that day were the Chain Home stations themselves. Even though the enemy never fully recognized the importance of these stations, they were attacked, mainly by German dive-bombers. The Ju-87s were in for a rude surprise. Not only did the towers themselves prove hard to destroy, and where the British Typhoons that defended these stations did not rip the formations to shreds they ran into massive barrages by AA guns. Against dive-bombers the British used a simple system of layered fire at certain heights. So as soon as the diving Germans had passed one such layer a new one was before them, that, if it not destroyed them outright, often threw off their aim.

On the whole both sides did not get off light on that day. British losses were heavy. Out of 1015 fighter aircraft operational on that day, thirty-seven had been destroyed outright with twenty more needing either long maintenance or being written off after landing, though strangely enough only twelve pilots were killed. However, if Fighter Command had suffered, the Axis Air Forces had bled. Although the 137 Aircraft claimed by British pilots would prove to be exaggerated after the war, the German, Soviet and Czech Air Forces had between them lost sixty-two bombers and fighters, with all of these crews killed or captured. Thirty more ditched on the way home or were destroyed upon landing. Replacement of lost Aircraft was easy to come by. The shadow factory system in Britain spewed out so many aircraft that it allowed Fighter Command to build up a small but significant stock of reserve aircraft. Replacing lost pilots and aircrew was harder, but with stepped up Imperial recruitment and training in three new Fighter Schools that had been opened since 1939 even though this caused the same ethnic problems the Army had. Still, over the next few days it became clear that Fighter Command was loosing them faster than they could be replaced.

During the night the Battle slowed down but did not stop entirely. Fresh German and Soviet Bomber squadrons where thrown into the fray, bombing military and Industrial targets throughout the south-east, against much lighter opposition. Now the Anti-Air guns could not rely on their predictors and had try and lay a blanket of exploding shells at the estimated height of the enemy attack. They had next to no chance of actually hitting something and mainly set their guns to maximum elevation of the barrel and fired as fast as their guns could, giving the civilians on the ground courage and the feel that they were fighting back. This nightly campaign continued throughout the Battle and was soon dubbed “The Blitz” by the press and the popular mind after one reporter had likened an aircraft crashing at night with a bolt of Lightning. The defence against Night attacks was not always as passive. Fighter Command had several dedicated night-fighter Squadrons that flew obsolescent Boulton-Paul Defiants virtually blind. In the beginning the night defence was not really effective, on that first day only one enemy bomber was shot down, but it allowed the RAF to say that something was being done.

On the next morning, even as the guns began hammering again in the distance and a Squadron of Spitfires roared overhead, Dowding, who had taken up permanent residence in Bentley Priory until the new Ministry of Defence Buildings in Aldershot were finished, if they ever were at this rate. The report in his hands was the first report about the fighting of the day before, and he did not like these numbers at all. He placed it down onto the table and walked over to the window just as another Squadron, this time Typhoons raced by overhead, their Napier-Sabre engines making a different sound from that of the Merlin-engined Spitfires. Down south somewhere they would engage the enemy in a desperate battle.





[Notes: * hums Battle of Britain theme * God the film will be awesome in the AAO-verse....]
 
Last edited:

canonized

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haha your anglophilia really shone in this one XD
 

ColossusCrusher

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Because it must be said:

GO AXIS!

:D
 

Griffin.Gen

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TALLY HO!!!
Epic Air action ftw.
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Boy 1:"Messerschmitts!"
Boy 2:"'Einkels!"
Boy 1:"Messerschmitts!"
Boy 2:"No they ain't, they're 'Einkels!"

:D

Don't worry, Brits. Squadron Leader Canfield is here!
 

trekaddict

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canonized The Battle of Britain movie is what turned me into an anglophile. :D

ColossusCrusher Booooh! Prepare for a visit from MI5.

Griffin.Gen Thank you, thank you!

Kurt_Steiner :D Indeed. Canfield will give Douglas Bader a run for his money.
 

El Pip

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Spiffing update, though I hope Canfield isn't too Bader like and doesn't get involved with Big Wing, pointless fighter sweeps, being captured or losing his legs! :eek:
 

trekaddict

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The Big Wing thing depends on the Gerries and Ivans, really, and the rest will definitely not happen. By the time the fighter sweeps would be possible Fighter Command will be engaged elsewhere.
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Now I think, I was wondering why the heck some cinema producer doesn't "revisit" the Battle of Britain.

Although, bearing "Pearl Harbour" in mind... well... you know... erm... I mean...

I said nothing...

Spiffing update, though I hope Canfield isn't too Bader like and doesn't get involved with Big Wing, pointless fighter sweeps, being captured or losing his legs! :eek:
Good God, no!
 

trekaddict

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Now I think, I was wondering why the heck some cinema producer doesn't "revisit" the Battle of Britain.

Although, bearing "Pearl Harbour" in mind... well... you know... erm... I mean...

I said nothing...
If that ever happens, I will gladly accept the chair for what I'd do. But then again, Her Majesties Government might give me some sort of medal and have MI6 bust me out.
 

unmerged(85800)

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If that ever happens, I will gladly accept the chair for what I'd do. But then again, Her Majesties Government might give me some sort of medal and have MI6 bust me out.
i'd help you.
 

Thomas Kenobi

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Great update! Now I'm suddenly in the mood to fire up IL-2: 1946, jump into my trusty Spitfire and bag some Jerries! :D

BoB with SpitVs and Typhoons... Go Hispano 20mm!
 
Aug 15, 2008
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trekaddict

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Thomas Kenobi By all means good Sir!


Thomas Kenobi&gaiasabre11 Well yes, and Swedish guns on RN ships. Anyhoo, it's a fine piece of machinery.
 

Le Jones

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Nothing like climbing into one's kite, bagging a brace of bandits with rabbit leader, then punching out when it all gets a bit sticky and that nasty Jerry on one's six gets you.
 

trekaddict

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Nothing like climbing into one's kite, bagging a brace of bandits with rabbit leader, then punching out when it all gets a bit sticky and that nasty Jerry on one's six gets you.
Indeed! Go RAF!
 

Thomas Kenobi

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Nothing like climbing into one's kite, bagging a brace of bandits with rabbit leader, then punching out when it all gets a bit sticky and that nasty Jerry on one's six gets you.
Beware the Hun in the sun! :D
 

trekaddict

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Beware the Hun in the sun! :D
Even more so the one behind this keyboard.


Also, a slight retcon. I decided to have the British 'Minsitry of Defence' at aldershot... :D
 

robw963

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Also, a slight retcon. I decided to have the British 'Minsitry of Defence' at aldershot... :D
Wait...is that a sneaky vague reference to Adlertag? Or am i looking too hard here?