Reduced scale activity BoB July 1940

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by RAFCommands, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    Clive has been posting daily activity snapshots of events during the Battle of Britain but I wanted to break this discussion out from the main thread.

    July 1940 has been put forward as the quiet before the storm with each side building up strength after the fall of France and the tentative testing of Dowding's Command and Control network.

    I thought it may be interesting to use the daily document from a contemporary RAF source as a comparison with the daily document from HQ Fighter Command to view a reduced scale day.

    This is what MOD of today has summarised the activity on 17 July 1940
    Form 540 - Form Y for Fighter Command HQ (AIR24/526) is the daily equivalent.

    The individual Form 540 have been split into periods eg
    18.00 to 09.00 hrs 16/17th
    09.00 to 18.00 hrs 17th
    18.00 to 09.00 hrs 17/18th

    So to get the full picture from 00:00hrs 23:59hs we need to look at the night activity reports either side of the 17th

    The activity includes squadron movements, all patrols to plots, both enemy and friendly, casualties, narrative and AA guns activity.

    Of note also is the number of night interception sorties that Fighter Command were doing in July 1940.

    Puts a reduced scale activity day into context (at 500+ sorties the plotters were handling the equivalent of 50% of Heathrows daily aircraft movements)

    Later I'll post the controllers daily hand written diary to complete the picture from this source.


    Up to 09:00 hrs 17th
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    Up to 18:00 hrs 17th
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    Up to 09:00 18th
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    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
  2. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    To complete the package of records for the 17th July 1940 from HQ RAF Fighter Command.

    The handwritten watch log from the duty controllers.

    Reading this will give a flavour of the educated guess work that went into raid intentions and the initial height and range that plots appeared on the table in front of the controller.

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  3. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    266 RAF fighters fly 70 patrols
  4. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    To continue the theme on the effects of reducing a days action to one paragraph for a tweet.

    Lets help stamp out internet false news stories.

    This gives the false impression of no RAF or Luftwaffe action on this day with "the channel almost free of all shipping".

    Did nothing really happen on this day?

    On this day the RAF flew over 200 sorties to raid plots needing in excess of 500 individual Fighter Command aircraft. Convoys Booty, Pilot, Arena and Totem all traversed the Channel and Thames Estuary with Fighter Command standing patrols over them.

    up to 09:00 hrs 23rd July
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    Again extensive night sorties to intercept raiders.

    Up to 18:00 hrs 23rd July
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    Note the five raids to convoy Totem in the Channel and four to the Harwich/Thames Estuary convoys.

    72 patrols by 274 fighters were mounted between 09.00 and 18.00 hrs.

    Up to 09.00 hrs 24th July
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    A "little research" is a dangerous thing when it's hosted as an definative source for events.

    Much better to look for yourself and form your own opinion from numerous sources.

    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
  5. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    To continue the theme - I'm not cherry picking from - just taking the last daily text posted when I have weekend time to pull the primary documents.

    Ok - from HQ Fighter Command relating to Ops 09:00 to 18:00 hrs

    Convoy Bacon had the following standing patrols:
    Middle Wallop 1 patrol 2 A/C 238 Squdn 0744-0910 Patrol Bacon
    Middle Wallop 1 patrol 3 A/C 238 Squdn 0834-1030 Patrol Bacon
    Middle Wallop 1 patrol 3 A/C 238 Squdn 0953-1130 Patrol Bacon
    Middle Wallop 1 patrol 6 A/C 238 Squdn 1006-1130 Patrol Bacon

    Casualties to fighter on operational patrols
    D1 Middle Wallop 609 Squdn 0947-1045 Raid 27, one spitfire, and pilot P/O Buchanan missing.

    Casualties to enemy aircraft
    D2 ...
    Tangmere 145 Squdn 0925-1055 Raid 27, 39 and 32, 1 ME 109 confirmed 20 miles S.E. of the Needles.
    Middle Wallop 238 Squdn, 0834-1030 patrolling convoy "Bacon" between Swanage and Portland 1 JU 87 confirmed.

    Now to the detail according to primary source rather than

    Portland Area
    Raid 27, 1 A/C was plotted from the direction of the Bail-de-la Seine and crossed coast at Swanage 0935 hrs turned west, then south over convoy "Bacon" at 0940 hrs. At 0937 hrs raid 32, 20+ aircraft left Cap-de-la-Hague plotted flying at 15000 ft in two layers, made straight for the convoy "Bacon". Information about the convoy had probably been received from raid 27. This raid was intercepted by 238 Squadron from Middle Wallop, 1 JU 87 was shot down confirmed, and 1 Spitfire and one pilot are missing.

    Looking specifically at units tasked to intercept Raid 27 who spotted the convoy and Raid 32 that carried out the attack (in addition to 238 Squdn standing patrol):

    1 Patrol 3 A/C 145 Squdn 0925-1055 Raids 27, 39 and 32
    1 Patrol 9 A/C 145 Squdn 0945-1055 Raids 27, 39 and 32
    1 Patrol 12 A/C 609 Squdn 0947-1045 Raid 27 & patrol "Bacon"

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