Battle of Britain: Flypast for 75th anniversary of 'Hardest Day'

Discussion in 'The Howard Stern Show' started by XXXXX, Aug 18, 2015.

  1. XXXXX

    XXXXX Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    63,915
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2014
    Messages:
    3,860
    Likes Received:
    11,312
    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-33966632





    Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few - Winston Churchill

    Battle of Britain:
    Flypast for 75th anniversary of 'Hardest Day'

    [​IMG]
    BBC Radio 5 live presenter Lesley Ashmall took this picture and tweeted it with the caption "what a sight!"

    Aircraft including 18 Spitfires and six Hurricanes are flying over south-east England to mark 75 years since the Battle of Britain's "Hardest Day".

    The event will recall 18 August 1940, when Bromley's Biggin Hill and other South East military bases came under attack from the German Luftwaffe.

    It became known as the "hardest day" as both sides recorded their greatest loss of aircraft during the battle.

    The Battle of Britain lasted throughout the summer of 1940.

    [​IMG]
    More than a dozen aircraft line up ahead of the commemorative flypast
    [​IMG]
    Pilots make their way to their aircraft at Biggin Hill Airport
    [​IMG]
    Crowds of more than 3,000 people have flocked to the airport to see the aircraft
    It was the first major campaign fought entirely in the air.

    [​IMG]
    BBC reporter Clark Ainsworth at Biggin Hill
    What a sight. Watching those iconic World War Two aircraft take to the skies above Biggin Hill was something to behold. Spectators gasped as they then circled the airfield in formation.

    The roar of the Merlin engines and the grace with which the Hurricane and especially the Spitfires, climb, bank, dive and weave through the air is a joy to behold.

    The first few Hurricanes and Spitfires have started to land. In a few minutes time, spectators will be able to walk along the aircraft - see them up close and take pictures.

    And although they are beautiful to look at on the ground, it is in the sky where they truly shine.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Marking the 75th anniversary of the 'Hardest Day'
    Live updates

    [​IMG]
    The Luftwaffe flew 850 sorties, involving 2,200 aircrew, while the RAF resisted with 927 sorties, involving 600 aircrew. The RAF and German Air Force lost 136 aircraft in one day.

    The special commemoration, staged from the former RAF airfield at Biggin Hill, now a commercial airport, honours the pilots, engineers, armourers, operations staff and ground crews who faced attack that day.

    Battle of Britain
    July to October 1940

    1,023 aircraft lost by RAF

    1,887 aircraft lost by Luftwaffe

    • 3,000 aircrew served with RAF Fighter Command

    • 20% were from the British Dominions and occupied European or neutral countries

    • 544 RAF Fighter Command pilots were killed

    • 2,500 Luftwaffe aircrew were killed
    Source: RAF.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2015
  2. potroast

    potroast Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    53,987
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2011
    Messages:
    9,578
    Likes Received:
    9,930
    Fuckin' A
    :golfclap:
     
  3. potroast

    potroast Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    53,987
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2011
    Messages:
    9,578
    Likes Received:
    9,930
    Great movie if you haven't seen it.
    Every bit as good as Tora! Tora! Tora!

     
  4. sstressed

    sstressed enhancement toker VIP

    Reputations:
    120,673
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Messages:
    41,078
    Likes Received:
    23,429
    i like wwII movies and i don't think i've ever seen this one on tv. it looks good.
     
  5. BethSucks

    BethSucks Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Reputations:
    423,137
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Messages:
    23,920
    Likes Received:
    46,393
    Those dudes never wore "outfits" and ate beautiful soup.
     
  6. x76

    x76 Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    34,939
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Messages:
    4,219
    Likes Received:
    5,521
    ...aaand then Britain's empire and economy collapsed, leaving it in its current shitheap condition.
     
  7. XXXXX

    XXXXX Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    63,915
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2014
    Messages:
    3,860
    Likes Received:
    11,312
    Indeed...
     
  8. LaserT

    LaserT You have to have fun. Gold

    Reputations:
    348,112
    Joined:
    May 3, 2013
    Messages:
    20,087
    Likes Received:
    37,019
    Good stuff XXXXX
     
    Mulletude likes this.
  9. SouthernListen

    SouthernListen I don't follow the crowd. Sorry about that. VIP

    Reputations:
    240,304
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    38,692
    Likes Received:
    39,413
    The war bankrupted them. . But most of their economic woes in the next decades seem tied more to their adoption of socialism post-war. They tossed Churchill out of office right after the war ended. The other side was promising too many goodies.

    Power companies, oil, coal mnes, etc were nationalized and run like shit because of it. Television was government run. And if you didn't have the kind of show they approved of, it didn't get on. Unions paralyzed the economy at times. In the 70's they had "the three day week" where areas only got power for part of the week due to strikes.

    National Health was established (google complaints about that), and a welfare state was established where "going on the dole" became a way of life for many. Go watch "trainspotting" for a nice example of that mindset.

    Many people lived in government built "council homes" where you got assigned a place to rent. You know, like the USSR. Huge fail. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_house
    Paul Weller of The Jam even wrote a song about its failure. "The Planners Dream went wrong".

    They were relatively poor. But wealth disparity wasn't a big problem!



    This lasted till Thatcher reversed much of it. Hence the socialists' hatred for her.
     
  10. Elwood

    Elwood Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    12,408
    Joined:
    May 4, 2014
    Messages:
    1,810
    Likes Received:
    2,462
    The RAF not only held the German Luftwaffe at bay, they kicked their ass.
    Outnumbered 2:1, the RAF shot down twice as many planes and killed three times as many German pilots as they lost.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. XXXXX

    XXXXX Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    63,915
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2014
    Messages:
    3,860
    Likes Received:
    11,312
    Thanks LT
     
  12. SouthernListen

    SouthernListen I don't follow the crowd. Sorry about that. VIP

    Reputations:
    240,304
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    38,692
    Likes Received:
    39,413
    Reading more on this part of history lately, especially naval history in the region, I've come to the conclusion shared by many historians
    that the threat of invasion that summer was not as great as many believe.

    1. By October the weather would have been too rough in the channel to permit it, and the Germans only finished off France by the end of June. German air units took a while to be resupplied and replacements for losses distributed. They had maybe 2 months to subjugate the Royal Air Force. Not easy with fleets of twin engined light and medium bombers.

    2. It took time for Germany to assemble a ragtag fleet of craft able to land troops over beaches. They didn't have any landing craft, they were going to use barges from the Rhine. This would have meant any weather state at all would have called it off. They would have had to tow these barges accross the channel using tug boats. No ability to maneuver against attack at all.

    3. In 1940 Aircraft's ability to sink battleships in open sea was much more limited than later in the war. Germany possessed only a handful of planes trained and equipped for torpedo attack, and dive bombers did not carry bombs capable of penetrating the armored decks of battleships. They could sink lighter craft however. But the JU87 "Stuka" dive bombers were obsolescent and slow and proved extremely vulnerable to interception by modern fighters such as Hurricane and Spitfire. They were withdrawn from the Battle of Britain early on after disasterous losses becasue of this.

    4. Germany had invaded Norway in early 1940 and fought a series of naval engagements with Britain and Norwegian shore batteries in which they lost many ships sunk and most of their other ships were damaged. They began the war with only two operational battleships, plus a few pocket battleships and cruisers. They lost 11 destroyers sunk in one battle in Norway! This left them with few light warships and precious few large ships to defend transports against British naval units in the close confines of the channel. They were hoping to use mines to protect the fleet but this was at best a partial measure. The famous Bismark and Tirpitz were not comissioned yet.

    Great Britain had about half a dozen Battleships standing by to wade into an invasion fleet, plus 11 cruisers and about 75 destroyers in the area. Germany had maybe 10 destroyers available, a single heavy cruiser, and one quasi-battleship.

    5. Getting ashore is one thing. Supplying an army onshore is another. Transports would have been vulnerable to naval attack for weeks short of a successful coup de main with airborne forces dropped in strategic locations. But the battle of Crete the next year against a ragtag force of UK defenders showed that this would have been unlikely. The german paratroopers suffered massive casualties against a very weak force and Hitler vowed never to use them in that role again.

    6. The Panzer forces that swept through France would not have been landed in large numbers due to lack of suitable vessels to do so. Therefore it would have been an infantry invasion with a few tanks in support. Far less likely to succeed.

    7. Hitler no longer wanted war with Britain, had already had peace offers rejected, and had his sights set on the USSR anyway. Planning for an invasion there was already under way.

    8. Britain was already bombing and destroying the assembled German ersatz landing craft in french ports. They even sailed a battleship over to pound some of them at the docks.

    So, it looks like even had the British "lost" the air battle, there very well may not have been an invasion that would have succeeded. This was news to me but seems to be the case.
     
    hypo666 and Skipnoid like this.
  13. SouthernListen

    SouthernListen I don't follow the crowd. Sorry about that. VIP

    Reputations:
    240,304
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    38,692
    Likes Received:
    39,413
    True. But it should be noted that a significant percentage of german losses are not actual pilots but airmen who crewed the bombers (along with two pilots in each). Gunners, bombardiers, etc. The main distinction is that British pilots who bailed out were back in action. Germans were POWs if not rescued at sea. Britain had a much more acute shortage of pilots during the crisis period than airplanes.

    Also, of the German aircraft, a 1/4 of them were located in Norway, with only limited ability to impact the battle due to the long range. And of German fighters many were twin engined ME 110 unable to compete with single engine fighters effectively.

    It was a much more even contest that it looks at a glance.
     
  14. Skipnoid

    Skipnoid Lick Me!

    Reputations:
    130,457
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2014
    Messages:
    12,544
    Likes Received:
    16,657
    News to me too ... and it makes perfect sense, really.
     
  15. Elwood

    Elwood Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    12,408
    Joined:
    May 4, 2014
    Messages:
    1,810
    Likes Received:
    2,462
    If the Luftwaffe had been allowed to continue to focus on runways, factories, and the RAF, then the British would have been finished.

    With control of the skies, the Germans would have bombed Britain into oblivion. The British Navy would have fought the good fight in the Channel, but without supplies, fuel, or safe harbors they would have been forced to withdraw, with German U-boats chasing them across the Atlantic. Churchill would have rallied his citizens to resist an invasion, but without the RAF, or the Navy, or any means of resupply, they would have been slaughtered just like the Germans were in Berlin. Scary to think about.

    Instead, Hitler pursued a misguided terror campaign to break Britain's will to fight by bombing its cities. It was revenge for an attack on Berlin in late August 1940 and a complete waste of time. All it did was piss off the British and give them time to make more planes.

    This mistake gave British forces room to rest and rebuild, allowing them to continue the fight. Every German bombing mission targeted at the British civilian population was one less targeted at the RAF and the factories supplying it. It wasn't much of a break, but it was enough.
     
    XXXXX and Big Bad Booey like this.
  16. SouthernListen

    SouthernListen I don't follow the crowd. Sorry about that. VIP

    Reputations:
    240,304
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    38,692
    Likes Received:
    39,413
    It certainly would have been a better strategy than switching to bombing London. However, a few points of detail;

    1. The British Fleet heavy units were based at Scapa Flow in northern Scotland, and Rosyth. Scapa was completely out of range of airplanes, and Rosyth would be at extreme range for bombers and out of range of escorting fighters. This would have meant tiny bomb loads and a massacre of attackers by any significant number of modern fighters. Also, the only proven "ship killer", the Ju-87 dive bomber, was out of range of both, as it was a single engine aircraft with limited endurance.

    1a. German's bomber fleet was mostly twin engine medium level bombers. During ww2 they were notoriously bad at sinking warships, because by the time the bomb arrives the target has changed course. Dive bombers and Torpedo bombers kill ships.

    1b. Upon sighting of the invasion convoy, they were to sortie down and destroy it. They would be vulnerable only when at high speed and able to maneuver and German anti-shipping training was poor at this point in the war for 95% of units. Only a handful of specialty groups had training in this, and they were not even stationed in this area.

    1c. There were various obsolete ships and literally hundreds of armed small craft positioned close to invasion beaches to repel attacks. These were too numerous and too small to sink many of, and even a trawler with an artillery piece or two on it is effective against a tug boat towing a barge at 8 knots.

    2. Supplies arrived throughout the battle to the west coast of the island, and even shipping in the channel itself was never fully interdicted.

    3. U boats are far less effective against warships at this time than slow transports. Germany only had a handful of operational boats in the Atlantic most of the time. Especially this period. Far fewer than you would think. One source says TWENTY in the entire Atlantic ocean at this time. The reason why is simple. First, they don't have that many. Then, they're either on a long voyage to the operational area, on a long voyage back home to replenish, being refitted in port, or stationed elsewhere. So the number available for the battle gets paired down quickly.
    [​IMG]

    4. The British lost a total of 4 destroyers (out of about 75 in the area) during July, none in August, and this is the peak period of German attacks on shipping and ports. Destroyers are simply hard to hit with bombers. They're fast and turn fast.

    5. In September, exactly one British cruiser being refitted was damaged by heavy air attack. This is a ship sitting still in a drydock or at a berth and therefore most vulnerable and unable to be based out of range. The result was moderate damage. The British had another ten like this who were out of range ready to sweep in at 32 knots to slaughter invasion barges and transports. It would be a bitter battle, but I think they could have done it.

    6. Airplanes wear out fast in combat. As do personnel. The attrition of destroying the RAF, even if possible, would have left them greatly depleted and less able to support an invasion.

    7. The British always had the option (and almost excercised it) to simply withdraw their air units north out of range until an invasion occured. These rebuilt and refreshed units would have then redeployed south for the invasion battle itself.

    8. The typical bombload of a Ju-88 medium bomber or He-111 medium bomber when attacking England was relatively small. A ton or so at this range. Or 4 550 lb bombs. Our massive 4 engine bombers took years to destroy Germany despite having many times more bombers, heavier payloads, better defensive weapons, and better bombsights. With only 2 months before the bad weather set in the Luftwaffee was not going to destroy much in Britain other than airfields and radar stations, had they continued to target them. Defensive troops would have been in hardened coastal defenses or field works and far less vulnerable than the French were on roads during the battle of France in May/June.

    9. Which brings us to air fields. Grass field, usually. Airfields to this day are known to be notoriously easy to repair, far easier than one can imagine. In The BoB the British maintained repair units at all of the major ones. Damage to the field itself could be repaired by the next day in most cases. Destruction to repair facilities and unserviceable planes caught on the ground would be the main effect. Today airfields are attacked with special weapons that fire rockets and bury themselves deep in the ground before exploding, heaving up concrete and also spreading small mines that delay repairs. These didn't exist then. It's still known that damage to airfields is very temporary even with our better weapons today.

    10. Britain had dozens and dozens of secondary airfields for dispersal so that the Germans could never be sure where to catch them. It was simply beyond the capacity of the Luftwaffe at this time to quickly destroy the RAF, as they had done the French in May and June. Damage, sure. Destroy? No.

    The German's best hope was for incompetence on the British part, which they have throughout history known to mix in with the brilliance at times. It would have been a huge risk and perhaps worth taking, but as I've learned more about how bad airpower was against ships at this stage of the war in Europe, I"d have to say it would fail.
     
    Elwood and SalsMasterShake like this.
  17. floplop

    floplop Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    21,975
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    2,854
    Likes Received:
    5,673
    Churchill was a master of speech. At the end of this Battle he said..

    "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning"
     
    potroast, Elwood and XXXXX like this.
  18. XXXXX

    XXXXX Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    63,915
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2014
    Messages:
    3,860
    Likes Received:
    11,312
    Great story -

    In-flight film of Spitfire P9374

    Fully restored and back in the air again, Spitfire P9374 is put through her paces by pilot John Romain of the Aircraft Restoration Company in Duxford, England.

     
    HypocriteHowie likes this.
  19. kingship

    kingship Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    59,572
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2014
    Messages:
    2,457
    Likes Received:
    6,766
    I'm reading this as I sit in a city council meeting where gays are pushing a city ordinance to allow special protections for transgendered people to dress in a way that they "identify" with while at work. Something tells me that this wasn't a big deal for this generation.
     
  20. Murcielago

    Murcielago Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast

    Reputations:
    112,017
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Messages:
    10,288
    Likes Received:
    14,794
    What always gets me when reading about the WWI air campaigns are the stories about the early Zeppelin raids over Britain. Hard to imagine he terror of the average citizens seeing those monstrosities in the air dropping bombs one them with no hope of retaliation.
     
    MilkyDischarge and kingship like this.