You are currently browsing the daily archive for August 8, 2010.

Weather: showers and bright intervals.

Fighter Command Serviceable Aircraft as at 0900 hours:

  • Blenheim – 66
  • Spitfire – 257
  • Hurricane – 370
  • Defiant – 20
  • Total – 713

On the previous evening a substantial convoy, code named Peewit, had set out from the Thames. As it passed through the Straits of Dover it was picked up by the newly installed Freya radar on the French coast. The Germans saw that the convoy consisted of more than 20 ships. It was soon attacked by several E-boats which sank 3 ships in the convoy and damaged several others.

A second raid was then launched on this convoy by a force of Ju87 dive bombers accompanied by fighters. They attacked the ships off the Isle of Wight. They had orders to sink the whole convoy. Despite resistance from a number of squadrons of RAF fighters, further casualties were inflicted on the ships.

Nevertheless, a third attack, this time also from Cherbourg was launched. These enemy aircraft were intercepted near Swanage by seven squadrons from 10 and 11 Groups. In an intensive and prolonged series of engagements, with some squadrons flying as many as three sorties, substantial numbers of aircraft, particularly the Ju87s, were shot down. The remains of the convoy finally made Portsmouth Harbour with only 4 out of the 21 ships undamaged. It proved to be the most intensive attack on a convoy during that summer. The RAF lost 19 aircraft as against 31 German aircraft destroyed. Churchill duly sent a congratulatory note on the day’s performance to the Secretary of State for Air.

54 Squadron Operational Record Book, 8 August, Hornchurch

No enemy aircraft seen – very quiet day.

74 Squadron Operational Record Book, 8 August

Flt Lt A G Malan DFC appointed to the rank of Acting Squadron Leader and assumes command of no. 74 Squadron. Malan awarded bar to DFC.

Reported Casualties (RAF Campaign Diary 8th August 1940):

*  Enemy: 52 confirmed, 14 unconfirmed
*  Own: 13 Hurricanes, 4 Spitfires, 1 Blenheim

Todays’s theme: The Planes they Flew – the JU87 ‘Stuka



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