I am honoured to report that Luftflotte maintenance staff were able to bring to readiness significantly larger numbers of aircraft this afternoon than initially expected. As a result, three major raids were mounted, each comprising 3 gruppen (100+) bombers with matching escort.
In total today the Luftwaffe flew more than 1000 sorties!
Targets this afternoon were Croydon, Kenley and the Hawker factory in SW London.
Operations began at 1300 when our C7 Zerstorers flew preparatory attacks on Chain Home RDF at Foreness, Dover and Rye to try to hinder the enemy in picking up our formations building up over France. A gruppe of unescorted Ju 87s was also sent at low level against Pevensey RDF, but this raid was met mid Channel and turned away without reaching target.
These raids resulted in further damage to the British RDF stations.
Though they were not knocked out completely the damage to RDF stations was sufficient to ensure our main raids were able to penetrate well inland over England before they were intercepted. All three raids were directed in over Dover and split for their individual targets west of Canterbury, timed to hit Croydon, Kenley and the Hawker factory simultaneously.
They were met in strength by the RAF. At least three wings of RAF fighters met the raids directed at Kenley and Croydon. We estimate that this response comprises the main bulk of the RAF’s remaining fighter strength.KENLEY
Combat reports show 2 wings of RAF intercepted the Kenley raid. This raid was able to penetrate a significant distance inland before being intercepted.
Our pilots have claimed 61 aircraft destroyed or damaged for the loss of 33 of our own! This will of course be verified. The attack on Kenley is assessed to have caused significant damage to infrastructure and grounded aircraft.
We regret to report however, that the performance of II/JG52 (the ‘Wild Boars’) was unacceptable, with the loss of many aircraft and pilots over England. Debriefings have revealed that the escorts of JG52 were caught low and out of position in relation to the bombers when the RAF attacked.
They were unable to prevent the RAF reaching the bombers before they could get into position to defend them.
When engaged by the RAF, the JG52 pilots were outclassed, and outflown, by the inferior RAF pilots and machines.
12 109s were destroyed and 2 were damaged. JG52 claimed to have sighted at least 2 squadrons of Spitfires and 60 Hurricanes, destroying 9 and damaging 50+ - clearly an exaggeration intended to mask their losses.
The gruppe kommandeur, Major Heinrich Schuck, has been stood down pending further inquiries.CROYDON
This attack was met with 2 squadrons of RAF aircraft. We are pleased to report that bomb damage assessment indicates the Croydon airfield was put out of action. 16 Raf aircraft were claimed as damaged or destroyed, while our own losses were 9.
III/JG54 was the most heavily engaged fighter unit, and while it claimed 9 enemy aircraft destroyed and 11 damaged, 9 of our own fighters were lost and 8 damaged for the loss of 7 pilots, and the unit has now been stood down to repair and rebuild.
Our agents indicated that this factory had been producing Hurricane airframes at a rate of 40 per week. 10 RAF aircraft were claimed destroyed or damaged, for the loss of 11 of our own. Importantly however, our bomber crews report that the factory was totally destroyed. This will be confirmed in early morning reconnaissance, but if true, will have a significant impact on Hurricane production. CONCLUSION
In yesterday’s fighting more than 136 RAF fighters were claimed destroyed, for the loss of 129 (fighters plus bombers) of our own.
In total 273 RAF fighters have now been destroyed
, for the loss of 130 Bf109s and Bf110s, and a total including bombers of 307 aircraft. Our fighters are therefore destroying the RAF fighters at a ratio of greater than 2:1!
The RAF fighter command airfields
of Manston, Hawkinge, Tangmere, Biggin Hill, Croydon and Kenley have now been sufficiently destroyed or degraded that the RAF is forced to operate out of bases in the north or West of England, meaning our raids can penetrate far inland before being intercepted.
We note however that early morning recon indicates that several airfields have been repaired sufficiently to potentially stage aircraft from them, namely Hawkinge and Tangmere. RDF is also, as expected, transmitting from stations hit in the last few days, confirming that attacks on these stations can only impact temporarily on communications capacity.RAF fighter production
has been significantly impacted. The raid on the Hawker factory has been confirmed to have put that facility out of action.
The intelligence directorate estimates that Spitfire production is now down to 8 pw, while Hurricane production has fallen from 60 to less than 20 pw – both of which are insufficient for the RAF to replace losses at the current rate.Several of our own fighter units have however suffered significant losses
, with II/JG27 fighter gruppen and III/JG54 grounded due to loss of aircraft and poor morale, and as reported, II/JG52 at near critical readiness level, though their morale is ironically high due to their undoubtedly exaggerated kill/damage claims.
OPERATIONS FOR 16 AUGUST
We will continue to follow the Reichmarschall’s Directive of August 15, and target RAF airfields and aircraft industry targets. Twin engine fighters will be confined to smaller scale hit and run raids (C7s) or return/rescue escort duties (C4s) only.Does the General staff
wish to continue the policy of larger (200+), heavily escorted raids on a few key fighter command targets, supplemented by Bf110 and Stuka raids on lesser targets? If so, we would propose that today’s raids focus on: RAF Hornchurch, Rochford, North Weald and Northolt (the key remaining fighter stations around London).
These larger raids have been shown to inflict heavy losses on the RAF, but also with potentially significant cost in aircraft and pilots to ourselves, particularly bombers. Or, does the General staff prefer
that we try to minimise Lufwaffe losses at this point, and target a greater number of RAF airfields (eg including West Malling, West Hampnett, Exeter) with smaller raids (50+) throughout the day, to cause broadest possible damage to RAF ability to respond to raids in coming days.