Weather: some bright intervals but flying conditions remained difficult

Fighter Command Serviceable Aircraft as at 0900 hours:

  • Blenheim – 46
  • Spitfire – 217
  • Hurricane – 404
  • Defiant – 17
  • Gladiator – 8
  • Total – 692

There was little combat this day. However, Kenley was attacked in the late afternoon. The RAF lost 3 aircraft and the Luftwaffe lost 5.

That night bombs fell on London, Birmingham and Liverpool. The Vickers Armstrong factory was seriously damaged. Park issued another stream of instructions designed to improve the rate of interceptions particularly of high flying intruders.

74 Squadron – Combat Report – 17 October
Squadron was ordered on patrol and 11 aircraft took off from Biggin Hill at 15:10 hrs on 17 October 1940. Later the squadron was ordered to intercept enemy fighters approaching London from the south. S/L Malan attacked from the sun and picked out 1 Me109. He delivered a 2 second burst with a quarter deflection from 200 yds closing to 150yds when he delivered another 2 second burst. This he followed with a 4 second burst from 100 yds which appeared to damage the elevator control of the enemy aircraft, which was seen in a vertical dive, during which time a final 4 second burst was delivered and the enemy aircraft emitted black smoke. S/L Malan could not follow the enemy aircraft as he himself ‘blacked out’ for 2 seconds.

Reported Casualties (RAF Campaign Diary 17th October 1940):

*  Enemy: 4 confirmed, 6 probable, 5 damaged
*  Own: 3 aircraft and 3 pilots killed or missing.

Today’s theme:  The Planes They Flew – Bristol Beaufighter