... the invasion continues...Sept 26, morning, Stag +4: Forza Italia!
At the Fuhrer Conference at 0500 this morning, Admiral Raeder reported that the Kriegsmarine no longer has sufficient warships available to secure both the French and Norwegian coasts, and escort supply shipping across the Channel. During the night capital ships of the British Home fleet attacked German shipping in the Channel and at Folkestone. U-boat U-47 claimed to have torpedoed and sunk the Battlecruiser HMS Nelson off the Thames Estuary at 0300 hours. But only two Kriegsmarine destroyers and a handful of minelayers and motor torpedo boats have survived the previous two days engagements with the Royal Navy. 30,000 German troops belonging to the XXXXI army corps, 10th Panzer and Leibstandarte SS have been encircled and beseiged at Denton. The Swedish ambassador to London is reported to have claimed that Churchill's war cabinet is strongly divided, with Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax proposing a settlement with Germany, which the British Prime Minister was reported to have rejected in the strongest terms. At 0700 this morning the Prime Minister stated on the BBC, "At no time in the last war were we in greater peril than we are now, but this is not a time to waver, to debate and enter discourse, but a time for us to stand firm, to hold fast where we must and attack the enemy wherever he is found
." On the background of this dissent Hitler ordered the 9th and 16th Armies to resume their push on Canterbury in the belief that if that city could be captured, there was a possibility Britain could sue for peace. The Lufwaffe was to do all in its power to support the drive on Canterbury. Mussolini's Corpo Aero Italiano was ordered into battle, for an attack on Dover. Capturing Dover intact was no longer an objective, as no more reinforcement of troops in England was possible.Letter from 64 Squadron leader Aeneas Ranald Donald MacDonnel, Sept 24 1940
My dear Marsali,
Forgive me for being so long in replying to your letter and in thanking you for your very sweet thought in suggesting me as the recipient of these very excellent socks. I wear them to the exclusion of all others because I like their colour and my toes dont go through them. We have been rather busy here, as I am sure you might imagine.
I have been commanding 64 Squadron for a fortnight, and up to the present we have had no time for reflexion. Everything that happens these days seems to involve our Squadron. For sheer sensationalism our life cannot be bettered by even the most exaggerated films. It is all rather unusual and insane. I have a magnificent squadron, all the members are really first class, work well together and never complain of lack of sleep and disturbed lives. We are right on top of everything, and I have the fullest confidence of victory in the near future. My love to you and your mother.
Keep well Marsali
At RAF Manston
A counter attack by the 2nd London infanty overnight saw enemy troops driven back from Manston. The survivors surrendered at dawn. 64 Squadron has once again moved up to Manston, and received 4 replacement Spitfires taking its strength to six machines.
In the lead element, Squadron leader MacDonnel and his wingman have flown in to supervise preparations, when they are ordered to patrol Dover. They take off amid the carnage and shellholes of the previous days' fighting.10 miles east Denton pocket
The German troops beseiged at Denton have been pounded mercilessly overnight by Bomber Command and artillery and British troops are within two miles of the hill where they are holding fast. Blenheims of Bomber Command head in to deliver another salvo.
While at Hawkinge, where heavy AAA has worked tirelessly to keep the skies over the airfield clear so that precious fuel and ammunition can be landed, LG2 takes to the skies again.
Over the Channel Corpo Aero Italiano Br20s with G50s in escort, close on Dover, where a panicked merchant navy prepares the last remaining ships for a dash around Margate to the relative safety of the Thames Estuary.
Among the Italian pilots, is the young Sottotenente Ugo Drago. This is his 20th mission, but his first mission since fighting ceased in France.
The Corpo has been kept out of the fighting over Britain until now, to his great frustration, because though he has flown 20 sorties, he is yet to bag his first kill.At Hythe
On the Western front, the 7th Flieger Division can no longer maintain its westward momentum against strong counter attacks by the NZ Division. In a fighting retreat, they abandon their positions in the township, and pull back toward Folkestone.Inside the Denton pocket
The enclave is a hive of activity as fuel is siphoned from damaged and immobile vehicles, and heavy tanks and mounted anti tank guns are readied for a desperate breakout. German troops do not even look up, as yet again the thrum of bomber engines approaches their positions.
This time though, the bombs fall wide, the Blenheims apparently targetting troops dug in on the front line across the valley
In the lead Blenheim though, the bomb aimer looks down in horror as he records where his bombs have fallen! In the dust and smoke of the front line he has released on a British position, not a German one, and a front line field hospital at that!
Above Denton, the pilots of 111 Squadron watch the bombs fall uselessly. "No business here at the moment Sector," the Flight Lieutenant advises over the R/T. "We are beginning a strafing run."
The Hurricanes drop down through the screen of flak and let fly with their Brownings
"Be advised, Sector control," the Flt Lt calls as he pulls away, "I count at least twenty Panzers on the move down there, Jerry is up to something!"Over Dover
Sqn Ldr MacDonnel is finally given a vector, "Rabbit flight, this is Biggin Hill, proceed immediately to sector A20, angels 2, heavy raid moving toward Dover."
He banks toward the port
And almost immediately sees the specks of heavy aircraft. But he doesn't recognise them...what the devil are they? They have twin tail planes, like RAF Hampdens! It wouldn't be the first time the sector controllers have caused a cock up. He decides to close to visual range.
Then opens his eyes wide in shock as he sees the insignia of Italian aircraft, and immediately in front of him, a 109E swooping down on him!
He manages to get off a single burst at one of the BR20s before he flashes past, then pulls up and over as the Italians rain bombs on the port below
He closes on the BR20 again, notices tracer flashing over his wing, but it isn't the heavy fire of a Bf109, so he assumes it is the other BR20s behind him. He ignores it
But it isn't erratic fire from a nose gunner. It is from the twin Bredas on Ugo Drago's G50, and he focuses his fire on the Spitfire once more...
MG shells walk down the length of the Spitfire's fuselage, and punch through the plexi glass above MacDonnel's head, killing him instantly
His wingman sees his Spitfire roll onto its back and spiral in, a sure sign he has been hit. Angrily, he flings his machine toward the Italian, and from too far away, opens fire...
While from altitude, a 109 of LG2 descends on him, MG and cannons firing and Daimler Benz screaming
He has misjudged his dive, and with a scream of horror, he flings his arms over his face as his machine's wing collides with the Spitfire's engine and it explodes in a cloud of fire
Ugo Drago flies on, oblivious to the carnage behind him, smiling to himself...
His first kill!
At last, something to write home about...