15 September, Battle of Britain Day

NoStatic

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The jets on both sides were developed from the German plans. The jets were very similar and at first the MIGs were mistaken by the Americans to be Sabres.

Speaking of which, the till quite recently secret Horten GO229. Under development at the end of ww2.

Looks familiar.




 

Cookie-boy

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Also, when he bailed out, he lost his "tin legs" in the process, so he made arrangements with the British, that during their next attack on the German aerodrome in france, they would also drop a new pair of legs for him, which they did!

Coincidentally I just watched "Battle of Britain" yesterday, great movie!


"You can teach.......... monkeys to fly better than that!"

...and Susannah York was crumpet!

 

Splattle101

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MiG-15





Sabre



The design of the F-86 started before the end of WWII, but the original version had a straight wing. The swept wing was introduced into the design after the war.

The sweep on the Me 262 was actually a center-of-gravity fix, rather than a sweep for high performance flight. Even though the Germans were aware of the advantage of a swept wing as early as 1938, the 262's wing was not swept for that reason. [EDIT]In fact, the swept wing was first described by an American and I'm trying to remember his name. His invention preceded the presentation of a paper by a German aerodynamicist at a conference in the late 30s.[END EDIT]

The biggest boost to the Soviets in terms of the performance of the MiG-15 was not any German airframe knowledge but, ironically, the British gift of the Rolls Royce Nene jet engine, which at the time was far and away the best of its kind in the world. And as an aside, the Rolls Royce Avon engine which came later made for an excellent upgrade to the Australian-made F-86s. It combined the best fighter in the world with the best engine in the world. They also replaced the ridiculous 0.50 machine guns with a pair of Aden 30 mm cannon, which is more f**king like it.
 

John Vasco

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Splattle,

In response to your post #80 (I won't quote it as it is a large post). Just a couple of things.

1. Rotation between posts in Government service has always been the norm. So Dowding was due a move anyway. In fact, I believe his move was delayed, resulting in his spending more time as head of Fighter Command that would have been usual. Let me give you a personal example. When I moved down to Norwich into a junior management grade, my Manager told me that I would get 12 months to familiarise myself with the duties, another 12 months to go along really smoothly, and then he would move me. Reason? So that over time, ones gets broad experience of all the management duties within the grade. Rotation in the Armed Forces follows a similar pattern.

2. Now to the 'Big Wing' myth. Ever read Bader's biography by Laddie Lucas? Probably not, because it was not given wide publicity when it came out many years ago. In it, Bader fully explains the reasoning behind the Big Wing theory, reasoning which all who comment on it ignore completely (I'm not taking a shot at you here, Splattle, but all those commentators and authors over the years who have spouted convincingly on the subject). Bader's idea of the actual operation of the Big Wing was as follows. As soon as radar picked up the German aircraft forming up over the Pas de Calais, the Big Wing would be scrambled immediately, and ordered to head south in a climb. This would give sufficient time for them to gain sufficient altitude, and be over Kent as the German formations were proceeding inland. So the Big Wing would be first to intercept. At the same time as the Big Wing were taking off, 11 Group squadrons in Kent would also take off, but would head AWAY from the German formations initially to gain height in safety. While climbing they would gradually turn south and make contact with the German formation on equal terms, and without being at a disadvantage, which happened so many times during the Battle. The 11 Group squadrons would be the second wave of RAF fighters attacking the German formation. Examples of poor controlling of 11 Group squadrons: Al Deere's section in 54 Squadron which was blasted by bomb explosions as they were taking off - the aircraft were wrecked but the pilots were not killed; Peter Townsend's 85 Squadron taking off from Croydon on 31st August just before the bombs from the attacking German formation rained down; 303 Squadron early in October who were scrambled too late and were hit with a classic 'bounce' while on the climb. Controllers quite often got it wrong in getting the squadrons off the ground too late.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I have always been of the opinion that if Bader's view of how the Big Wing should have been operated (and remember, they were at Duxford in Cambridgeshire, so the threat of a bounce while climbing to combat height would not have been a possibility) had been put into correct practise, there would have been fewer RAF graves in the cemeteries of southern England in 1940.
 

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You're right Vasco, hindsight is always 20/20, or perhaps even 20/10! ;)
 

Splattle101

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John,

Regarding Dowding and his relief / sacking, it is true he was getting on and had deferred his retirement a couple of times previously. But he'd also been passed over for CAS in favour of Newall, so he had a political 'issue' as we would say today. Meaning he wasn't well liked in some quarters, quite possibly because of his habit of rendering frank and fearless advice in the best tradition of appointed officials in the Westminster system.

But he was treated very shabbily, and there were some highly irregular happenings where Bader - a relatively junior officer in 12 Group - was present to brief senior officers and officals on the conduct of the recent battle. Would not any number of officers of 11 Group have been better positioned to give such advice? There was more to Dowding's dismissal than his age.

Re the 'Big Wing', the problem with Bader's approach was that it committed the reserve before the main force. It was completely back arsewards. It also committed a very large force - 12 Group's Big Wing - very early, thus leaving the entire force open to German ruse. But in my view the main driver behind Bader's conception was that it would get him and his units into action as soon as possible.

On the matter of late alerts, yes there were problems of this sort. Particularly during the early parts of the battle. But by late August sector controllers were routinely adding a couple of extra thousand feet to altitude of radar plots, and the squadron leaders themselves were adding a couple of thousand for the same reason. This lead to occasions where raids were missed because the cumulative effect of these ad hoc 'corrections' placed the interceptors 5 or 6 thousand feet too high and they simply failed to make contact. Park was moved to issue an instruction in late August or early Sept forbidding the practice. This sounds to me like a system that was no longer suffering badly under the effect of late warnings, but rather the opposite. It sounds like they'd become sufficiently proficient that the squadrons now had time not only to climb to altitude, but time to climb too high.

But in the final analysis, if we view it in its most favourable light Bader's scheme was about destroying the maximum number of German aircraft. He aimed to do this by getting the maximum force into combat with the Germans. But this was not actually the strategic objective for Fighter Command in autumn 1940. The strategic objective was to stay in existence as a coherent force. That meant maintaining the aircraft, airfields - and in particular the sector stations - and the aircrew intact. Flinging the whole force into battle in a series of 'decisive' actions would not further this objective. In fact it would tend to work against it, since losses correlate very strongly to sortie rate.
 

John Vasco

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Splattle,
Yes, he was passed over for a junior officer for the post of CAS, but remember, he was beyond retirement age when we tall about his shabby treatment post-BoB.

Leigh-Mallory did pull a good one when he attended that meeting in October with Bader. But the thrust of that meeting was not totally defensive matters...

The ultimate reserve was way up North, 13 Group. 12 Group needed to be as actively engaged as 11 group, if at all possible, in my opinion. Bader's theory, as I explained in my previous post, was sound, and would have saved many lives.

And as for your last paragraph, yes getting the optimum number of aircraft to make contact and attack the enemy was the thing to do. It actually happened on 15th September when the Big Wing was scrambled in sufficient time and attacked first, followed by a second attack by 11 Group squadrons. 'Get there furstest with the mostest' is what one Confederate leader said, Nathan Bedford Forest, I believe. Very true for both sides in 1940...
 

Splattle101

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John,

Bader's theory was not sound, and the only reason it worked on 15 Sep was because:

1. the Germans were attacking a target sufficiently far from their bases to give ample warning for Bader to get his wing together; and
2. they flew up and down in full view of the CH radar while they formed up into their huge formations on the southern side of the Channel. This was in stark contrast to their normal procedure in late August.

Had Park tried to fight the battle according to Bader's dictum, he'd have been wiped out many times over as he vainly attempted to gather squadrons into one of Bader's Balbos. His airfields would've been plastered long before any interception could occur. But even more importantly from an historical point of view is the fact that Bader's impact on the battle as it was actually fought was quite pernicious. Because of Bader's attempts at junior strategy, airfields of 11 Group that should have been protected were repeatedly hit, thus costing lives in 11 Group.

So Bader's Big Wing might look nice in retrospect, or even shortly after the battle, but at the time Bader's insubordination was an active drain on Fighter Command's efforts at the very moment of its gravest crisis.
 

John Vasco

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Splattle,

You've also swallowed all the drivel written about Bader in 1940 as well, then... Do try to get hold of a copy of Laddie Lucas's book on Bader. It's an eye-opener.

And you've conveniently side-stepped the point I made about 11 Group controllers getting squadrons off very, very late, thus causing casualties that could have been avoided. The very reason Squadron leaders started putting a couple of thousand feet of what they were told was the height of the incoming force - because they were being bounced time and time again due to less-than-perfect controlling. It was the best defensive system in the world at the time, but it was by no means perfect, and 100% accurate.

Don't get me wrong, I have the fullest admiration for all of the RAF pilots in 1940, but 11 Group was not whiter-than-white in its work in the Battle.
 

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Keith Park!

Sorry, that's all I have to contribute, I'm a touch out of my depth here. :shock::D
 

Splattle101

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Splattle,

You've also swallowed all the drivel written about Bader in 1940 as well, then...
I don't follow your point here. Bader was lionised in 1940 and thereafter.

And you've conveniently side-stepped the point I made about 11 Group controllers getting squadrons off very, very late,...
No I didn't. I addressed it directly in my reply before last. The fact is that by late August the late scrambling was not the issue it had been.

But most importantly, you're misunderstanding the strategic purpose of the battle from the RAF's persepctive. It was most certainly NOT the main goal for Fighter Command to destroy the maximum number of German aircraft before the Germans launched an invasion. This is part of the myopia of the historiography around this battle, that it was all about 'the invasion' and Operation Sealion. The invasion was only one of the military options open to the Nazis, and as has been comprehensively documented, it's the option OKW, OKM and Hitler himself were least keen on. The Army command, on the other hand (OKH) seem to have blithely ignorant of the problems associated with the invasion option. Warlimont was appalled at the complete lack of preparatory planning for the op by the Army.

This has tended to reinforce the erroneous belief of the revisionists that it was all some sort of bluff and that Hitler was never serious. This is complete tosh, he was. It's just that he wasn't keen on invasion as the decider. And he had a couple of other arrows in the quivver. The first was blockade. This had the advantage that it would work if it could be effected. The problem was the the Kriegsmarine had less than 50 ocean going U-boats to do the job, and the suface forces had ceased to exist after Norway. So blockade would rely in part on air power, which in turn required air superiorty.

The other strategy open to him was an all-out bombing offensive. The Luftwaffe themselves - with the exception of Goering and perhaps 'smiling' Albert - don't seem to have had any particular belief that this would actually work, but in any case such a strategy required air superiority for it to be effected in daylight. Night bombing would not suffice.

The commn thread here is the requirement for air superiority as a prerequisite for any of the three strategies. And all three were quite suitable as the military part of a 'leveraged diplomacy' approach. And the Germans continued to pursue this approach through September, trying to undermine support for Britain in neutral countries in the hope Churchill could be replaced with somebody more 'open to reason'. In effect, the prerequisite for leveraged diplomacy was air superiority because that was the prerequisite for all three of the military options.

So the strategic objective for RAF fighter command in Autumn 1940 was actually to remain in being. It was most emphatically NOT to inflict maximum losses on the Luftwaffe. The Big Wing was a tactical doctrine that abrogated the strategy.
 

John Vasco

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Splattle,

But Bader has been continually slated in books on the Battle of Britain for a long time regarding his 'Big Wing' theory. Without any reference to what was in Laddie Lucas's book on him. And that's a fact.

By late August scrambling was not the issue? Go tell Peter Townsend that on 31st August, for example.

I don't misunderstand anything. Britain was in the dark about EXACTLY what the Germans were about to do next. The primary purpose was for Fighter Command to remain in existence in sufficient strength to be able to counter anything the Luftwaffe put across the Channel against them.

I cannot understand the logic in this sentence of yours: "...It was most certainly NOT the main goal for Fighter Command to destroy the maximum number of German aircraft before the Germans launched an invasion..." If Fighter Command was able to deploy such forces that the bomber waves could be attacked by two successive waves of attacking fighter units, then there was no reason on earth why they should not do so. As I said in an earlier post, 15th September proved the point perfectly. Fighter Command was not on its knees after the two large scale interceptions on that day. As has been covered and proved before, Fighter Command was actually stronger in the later stages than it was at the beginning. In stark terms, if you can knock down 50 of the enemy instead of 30, you do so. Doing so potentially saves future lives in the air and on the ground, and also buildings.

What has also not been said before was that up to the start of the Battle of Britain, the Luftwaffe had alwasy been involved in a 'rolling war'. Poland and the Western Campaign both had German ground forces advancing with the Luftwaffe in support (and the consequent disarray of the opposing enemy air force). The Battle of Britain was the first 'static' campaign that it encountered during the war. Those other two campaigns saw a quick wearing down of the air forces opposing the Luftwaffe, which more than offset Luftwaffe losses; the BoB saw the Luftwaffe pitched against an opposing force that in aircraft and pilot terms actually got stronger, numerically, months after the campaign started (and I take July as the starting point, not 8th or 13th August as some commentaotrs/authors do).

As for your last paragraph, I repeat, you knock down 50 if you can, not limit it to 30. The Big WIng, if operated correctly, would potentially have saved many RAF fighter pilots' lives, and with the potential for knocking down more Luftwaffe aircraft, weaken that force even more as a potential threat. Even with the Big Wing committed to combat, there would still have been sufficient reserve. Five squadrons did not constitute the whole, 100%, reserve of Fighter Command... That is clearly evidenced by the rotation of squadrons during the Battle, and the categorising of 'A', 'B' and 'C' squadrons.

Good discussion, Splattle.
 

John Vasco

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Did anyone watch The Battle of Britain, The Real Story that was on BBC2 last night. I planned on watching it ,but the Dundee utd Game ran into extra time and it was canceled up here...Did you watch it John and were you shouting/swearing at the TV again or was it really The Real story???:hmm:
Battle of Britain: The Real Story at TVGuide.co.uk UK TV Listings Guide
Fuckin' right I was shouting at the telly last night! Here's what I posted later on an aviation forum that I visit daily:
"...I've just watched Holland's one hour documentary on the Battle of Britain on BBC2. What a load of crap! First 25 minutes of the 60 didn't even touch on the Battle! After that, the new slant/revelations or whatever he claims for his documentary were all covered years ago by Stephen Bungay in his excellent 'The Most Dangerous Enemy'. This wasn't so much a documentary about the Battle of Britain, but rather one person's inflated importance of his own ego to the point that he claims to be revelatory and breaking fresh ground on a host of issues. Do me a feckin' favour! There's a whole slew of people on this board who collectively could have put together a far superior documentary on the subject..."

Here's the thread: BBC - Battle Of Britain Season - Page 3 - Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum

The TV media attempts to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle were a total shambles, in my opinion. The greatest researcher ever on the Battle of Britain period, Peter Cornwell, was not consulted at all.
 


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