Seelöwe: German Air Operations and anti-ship Capabilities

Discussions on WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic.
RichTO90
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Re: Reply to LWD - Effectiveness of RAF during Sealion

Post by RichTO90 » 15 Jun 2007 02:35

taylorjohn wrote:When I said air superiority over the invasion area I meant that German planes could fly over the English Channel without being challenged by the RAF before they reached the coastline of southern England - I believe this was the case by the beginning of September.
Er, no, I'm afraid that wasn't exactly the case, nor is that actually a definition of "air superiority". Typically the RAF 'challenged' the Luftwaffe inland for a number of reasons, not least being it was to their advantage to do so, but that was not always the case and many engagements occurred over the Channel or progressed over the Channel. In some cases British pursuit of German aircraft led them all the way to the French coast (and in one case it appears the confused British pilot decided to land at the German airfield, where he became a prisoner :D ).

But because there was good reasons for the British to choose not to intercept the Germans over the Channel is not the same thing as they being unable to intercept them over the Channel. And of course in the case of a German invasion there would be every reason for the British to choose to intercept over the Channel.

Furthermore, you may well have it backwards, since the Luftwaffe would to a large extent be forced to maintain standing patrols over the Channel and coast to protect the invasion fleet and the landing itself, that means they would be forced to 'challenge' the RAF response.
As I said in my last post I'm very doubtful about how effective the RAF would have been in disrupting the German invasion - one interesting thing to note here though - if the Germans get ashore then the RAF will find it more difficult to recover those pilots who are shot down over the German invasion area - likewise the Luftwaffe will be able to retrieve many of its pilots who have to bail out over southern England.

Contrast this to the real Battle of Battle where most RAF pilots who were shot down over southern England were able to return to their units whereas the loss of German planes over the UK also meant the loss of their crews as well.

John
But the RAF doesn't need to 'disrupt' the invasion, they need to be capable of supporting the Royal Navy and the Army, who would be the actual instruments of disruption. And it also isn't true that they wouldn't be effective - they at least had a functional aerial torpedo and the means to deliver them....day and night, unlike the Luftwaffe. What they did not have was an effective dive bomber force, although they did posess a reasonable light bomber force that would have had some effect against the beachhead (if such developed) even if it was only in forcing the Jagdwaffe to counter them, further dispersing their effort. Again, the Luftwaffe did not have air superiority and did not have the means to achieve air superiority being forced to provide standing patrols means that their capability to escort their own level and dive bomber forces would be even more reduced than it already was.

And the bit about pilots may possibly be overstated, it was a small advantage to the British, but moving the prinicipal air arena a few miles to sea would not appreciably change it either way. And given that many pilots bailing out were wounded or injured (or occasionally pitchforked by irate citizens, a definite hazard for Polish, Czech, Dutch, and Canadian :D pilots landing in Blighty by parachute) in the process, it wasn't usually much of a short-term advantage anyway (with a few very noteworthy exceptions - my favorite is the RAF pilot shot down at Dunkirk, blown-up while attempting to take off, shot down by another pilot he was teaching air combat - he landed in a cesspool that time - shot down at least twice more that I found, and of course he finally died in bed at the ripe old age of 80-something :lol: ).

schjertzer
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Post by schjertzer » 15 Jun 2007 07:55

Rich!

I never intended my information to be something like a "ranking system"!!

I had the information about how much TIME (not sorties!) was available over the Channel Coast/Dunkirk, i.e. the window in which the Germans had operational conditions over that area. How many sorties they are able to fit into this window is a question of serviceable aircraft, organisation, target priorities........ This information I do not have. This has been provided by you and Leandros - that is how we share info on this Forum, I guess! :D So, unless you completely disregards my sources as flawed, it means that other (organisational and others) factors than good weather condition have an important influence on the concentration of air activity over a priority taget!! Nevertheless, it also says that you are restricted to as many sorties as you can (organisational, etc, etc.) cram into a window of 2.5 days!

That the night of 2/3 June should be the last, by the way, I just checked up, is just not true!
4 June (this should be the night 3/4 June), 25,553 were evacuated from the mole! (source: Patrick Wilson: "Dunkirk, from Disaster to Deliverance). Admitted that the vast majority of these were French troops, but still, it was still within British planning - Admiral Ramsay hoping to evacuate 14,000 between 22.30 (3 June) and 02.30 (4 June). Ramsay sending a telegram to the Admiralty saying:
"After nine days of operation of a nature unprecedented in naval warfare, which followed on two weeks of intense strain, commanding officers, officers, and ships' companies are at the end of their tether... If, therefore, evacuation has to be continued after tonight (3/4 June, Red.), I would emphasize in the strongest possible manner that fresh forces should be used for these operations, and any consequent delay in their execution should be accepted" (Walter Lord: "The Miracle of Dunkirk").

Among RN vessels operating the last night: Destroyers: Malcolm, Whitsted, Express - and Shikari (the last ship to depart Dunkirk!). Minesweepers, trawlers, and the 2 War Department Boats Pigeon and Swallow. (Walter Lord)!

I am posting in all threads where there might be a sub-topic of interest - even if the main topic has no interest! 8O

RichTO90
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Post by RichTO90 » 15 Jun 2007 14:00

schjertzer wrote:Rich!

I never intended my information to be something like a "ranking system"!!

I had the information about how much TIME (not sorties!) was available over the Channel Coast/Dunkirk, i.e. the window in which the Germans had operational conditions over that area. How many sorties they are able to fit into this window is a question of serviceable aircraft, organisation, target priorities........ This information I do not have. This has been provided by you and Leandros - that is how we share info on this Forum, I guess! :D So, unless you completely disregards my sources as flawed, it means that other (organisational and others) factors than good weather condition have an important influence on the concentration of air activity over a priority taget!! Nevertheless, it also says that you are restricted to as many sorties as you can (organisational, etc, etc.) cram into a window of 2.5 days!
Okay, I understand, but utilizing assumptions about weather to determine the effectiveness of air operations can be problematic unless you have nothing else to go by. But in this case we do have the sortie strengths by day, which is the commonly accepted metric for strength of air operations.
That the night of 2/3 June should be the last, by the way, I just checked up, is just not true! (snip)
My bad! You are quite correct, the last RN evacuations were mostly done by destroyers operating as pairs and with various French vessels, during the night of 2/3 and the evening of 3 June and ending around 0340 hours 4 June when Pacifico was sunk in the channel blocking the harbor.
I am posting in all threads where there might be a sub-topic of interest - even if the main topic has no interest! 8O
:lol: :lol: :lol: Careful though, a moderator might split out your sub-topic into a new thread and we might lose you! :lol: :lol: :lol:

taylorjohn
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Response to LWD - Effectiveness of RAF during Sealion

Post by taylorjohn » 16 Jun 2007 22:12

RichTO90 wrote: Er, no, I'm afraid that wasn't exactly the case, nor is that actually a definition of "air superiority". Typically the RAF 'challenged' the Luftwaffe inland for a number of reasons, not least being it was to their advantage to do so, but that was not always the case and many engagements occurred over the Channel or progressed over the Channel. In some cases British pursuit of German aircraft led them all the way to the French coast (and in one case it appears the confused British pilot decided to land at the German airfield, where he became a prisoner :D ).

But because there was good reasons for the British to choose not to intercept the Germans over the Channel is not the same thing as they being unable to intercept them over the Channel. And of course in the case of a German invasion there would be every reason for the British to choose to intercept over the Channel.

Furthermore, you may well have it backwards, since the Luftwaffe would to a large extent be forced to maintain standing patrols over the Channel and coast to protect the invasion fleet and the landing itself, that means they would be forced to 'challenge' the RAF response.
I don't think you are correct about the RAF choosing not to intercept the Luftwaffe over the Channel - by the beginning of September 1940 there were only two RAF squadrons still stationed south of London near to the landing area for Sealion- one was in Beachy Head and the other was in Cantebury - the Germans planned to take both of these towns during the initial stages of the invasion. Another point to bear in mind is that after the Germans get ashore the RAF's radar stations which were located near to the coastline would be put out of action thus neutralizing the RAF's early warning system.
RichTO90 wrote:But the RAF doesn't need to 'disrupt' the invasion, they need to be capable of supporting the Royal Navy and the Army, who would be the actual instruments of disruption. And it also isn't true that they wouldn't be effective - they at least had a functional aerial torpedo and the means to deliver them....day and night, unlike the Luftwaffe. What they did not have was an effective dive bomber force, although they did posess a reasonable light bomber force that would have had some effect against the beachhead (if such developed) even if it was only in forcing the Jagdwaffe to counter them, further dispersing their effort. Again, the Luftwaffe did not have air superiority and did not have the means to achieve air superiority being forced to provide standing patrols means that their capability to escort their own level and dive bomber forces would be even more reduced than it already was.
Re RAF attacks on the beachhead the Germans planned to bring across flak batteries in the first wave to deal with this eventuality - more were to be transported in subsequent waves.

RichTO90
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Re: Response to LWD - Effectiveness of RAF during Sealion

Post by RichTO90 » 17 Jun 2007 04:05

taylorjohn wrote:[I don't think you are correct about the RAF choosing not to intercept the Luftwaffe over the Channel - by the beginning of September 1940 there were only two RAF squadrons still stationed south of London near to the landing area for Sealion- one was in Beachy Head and the other was in Cantebury - the Germans planned to take both of these towns during the initial stages of the invasion. Another point to bear in mind is that after the Germans get ashore the RAF's radar stations which were located near to the coastline would be put out of action thus neutralizing the RAF's early warning system.
Sorry, but I think you need to reconsider a number of items.

First, there was no Fighter Command station at Beachy Head, I can only think you may be confused with Lympne or Hawkinge. Of those two, Lympne was not permanently manned, but then most of the forward satellite stations were not manned full-time, that wasn't there purpose. And Hawkinge was the the forward station for 79 Squadron (based at Biggin Hill until 8 September, when it moved to Pembrey).
Second, there was also no Fighter Command station at Canterbury. I suppose you may mean Manston (forward station for 600 Squadron) or possibly Eastchurch (forward station for 266 Squadron)?
Third, I am unclear what you think you mean when you state there were only "two RAF squadrons still stationed south of London near to the landing area"? What qualifies as "near to the landing area" and why is that important? Do Biggin Hill, Debden, and Tangmere, not qualify? What qualifies as "stationed" and why is that important? None of the sector stations or fighter airfields in 11 Group were closed, all were operating squadrons, so where do you get this idea that only two squadrons could respond.
Fourth, Canterbury is at least 40 kilometers from the German landing areas, I seriously doubt it was an initial objective of the Germans.
Fifth, the idea that a German landing would "knock out" the British radar system is fantasy and was already addressed in an earlier post. The British system was redundant, the only possible threat to the Chain Home stations was Rye and Pevensey, coverage would have been maintained by Ventnor and Dunkirk, the system was fairly redundant. Losing the Chain Home Low station at Fairlight was also a possibility and could have created more problems in the short run, but of course that is assuming uniform success by the Germans.
Re RAF attacks on the beachhead the Germans planned to bring across flak batteries in the first wave to deal with this eventuality - more were to be transported in subsequent waves.
Again, addressed in an earlier post. Each division was to land with a single Batterie with 12 2cm Flak, otherwise the follow-up waves were to land one Flak Abteilung per corps, with another 12 8.8cm and 24 2cm....a grand total of 12 heavy and 48 light flak for frontages of about 40 kilometers or more. That is not exactly awe inspiring.

taylorjohn
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Re: Response to LWD - Effectiveness of RAF during Sealion

Post by taylorjohn » 17 Jun 2007 10:27

RichTO90 wrote: Sorry, but I think you need to reconsider a number of items.
First, there was no Fighter Command station at Beachy Head, I can only think you may be confused with Lympne or Hawkinge. Of those two, Lympne was not permanently manned, but then most of the forward satellite stations were not manned full-time, that wasn't there purpose. And Hawkinge was the the forward station for 79 Squadron (based at Biggin Hill until 8 September, when it moved to Pembrey).
Second, there was also no Fighter Command station at Canterbury. I suppose you may mean Manston (forward station for 600 Squadron) or possibly Eastchurch (forward station for 266 Squadron)?
Third, I am unclear what you think you mean when you state there were only "two RAF squadrons still stationed south of London near to the landing area"? What qualifies as "near to the landing area" and why is that important? Do Biggin Hill, Debden, and Tangmere, not qualify? What qualifies as "stationed" and why is that important? None of the sector stations or fighter airfields in 11 Group were closed, all were operating squadrons, so where do you get this idea that only two squadrons could respond.
Fourth, Canterbury is at least 40 kilometers from the German landing areas, I seriously doubt it was an initial objective of the Germans.
I am going by Map 22 pp236-37 in Basil Collier's book - The Defense of United Kingdom. It shows the disposition of the RAF fighters airborne on 7th September 1940 as follows.

Beach Head - 43th Squadron 3/4 strength
Canterbury - 504th Squadron Full Strength
Maidstone - 209th Squadron Full Strength
111th Squadron 3/4 strength

Yes, I didn't read the map properly - even so this amounts to 3 1/2 squadrons near the landing area.

Most of the RAF's other squadrons airborne at this time were located North or East of London. 3 of them were located on the southern outskirts of London (Kenley, Biggen Hill and Croydon). The point I was trying to make was that (I believe) that at this time the RAF fighers would only have time to intercept the German planes once they've crossed the English Channel.

By the way, Canterbury is under 20 kilometers away from the proposed German landing area just West of Folkestone.
RichTO90 wrote:
Fifth, the idea that a German landing would "knock out" the British radar system is fantasy and was already addressed in an earlier post. The British system was redundant, the only possible threat to the Chain Home stations was Rye and Pevensey, coverage would have been maintained by Ventnor and Dunkirk, the system was fairly redundant. Losing the Chain Home Low station at Fairlight was also a possibility and could have created more problems in the short run, but of course that is assuming uniform success by the Germans.
In addition, there were the Chain Home Low stations at Beachy Head, Dover and Truleigh very near to the German landing areas. The loss of these would have caused the RAF considerable problems.

Andreas
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Re: Response to LWD - Effectiveness of RAF during Sealion

Post by Andreas » 17 Jun 2007 10:56

taylorjohn wrote:Beach Head - 43th Squadron 3/4 strength
Canterbury - 504th Squadron Full Strength
Maidstone - 209th Squadron Full Strength
111th Squadron 3/4 strength
There was no station at Beachy (sic) Head (neither at Canterbury, or Maidstone for that matter), and if you have ever been there, you know why. You may mean Lympne, Hawkinge, and Manston - if you mean others, please feel free to point out which ones using their names:

Use this site to do so, not some books that maybe outdated or not provide full relevant info: http://www.raf.mod.uk/bob1940/11group.html
RAF Lympne.
Lympne was one of the 11 Group satellite airfields used by units on a day-to-day basis as required, often flights or squadrons would detach to such an airfield in the morning and return to their main operating and maintenance base in the evening. Due to the extreme forward position of this site it was under constant threat of attack and was not permanently manned during the Battle by any one Squadron.
I make that zero squadrons at Lympne.

The other two stations you refer to are probably Hawkinge and Manston. Maidstone is 32 Miles from the nearest landing (Folkestone) and has some prime defensive terrain between it and the coast, the South Downs. It would have been impossible for the Germans to reach it shortly after a landing.
RAF Hawkinge.
RAF Hawkinge was home to the following Squadrons during the Battle:

No 79 Squadron from 2 July 1940
However:
Battle of Britain history of No. 79 Squadron.

Aircraft: Hurricane Mk.1
Motto: Nil nobis obstare potest - 'Nothing can stand without us'
Badge: A salamander salient. The salamander is always ready to face any danger.


No 79 Squadron was formed at Gosport on 1 august 1917 and moved to France as a fighter unit in December. Until the end of the war it carries out fighter patrols and ground attack missions with Dolphins and after the Armistice moved to Germany as part of the occupation forces, disbanding there on 15 July 1919.

On 22 March 1937, B Flight of No 32 Squadron at Biggin Hill became No 79 Squadron and flew Gauntlets until the arrival of Hurricanes at the end of 1938. After the outbreak of war, it flew defensive patrols and in May 1940 was sent to France for ten days when the German offensive opened. After taking part in the Battle of Britain the squadron moved to South Wales.

Stations
Biggin Hill 5 June 1940
Hawkinge 2 July 1940
Sealand 11 July 1940
Acklington 13 July 1940
Biggin Hill 27 August 1940
Pembrey 8 September 1940
http://www.raf.mod.uk/bob1940/73to87.html

As you can see No 79 Squadron left Hawkinge in July. That makes zero squadrons at Hawkinge in September.
RAF Manston.
RAF Manston was home to the following Squadrons during the Battle:

No 604 Squadron from 15 May 1940
No 600 Squadron from 20 June 1940
I make that a total of zero squadrons at Manston, since No. 600 left the station on 22 August, and No 604 left it on 3 July. It appears there were no further squadrons based at Manston after that.

http://www.raf.mod.uk/bob1940/11group.html

No 600 and 604 were night defense squadrons however, equipped with Blenheims. So their impact on the day battle would have been nil. They was also converting type in September.
Battle of Britain history of No. 600 Squadron.

Aircraft: Blenheim Mk 1F
Motto: Praeter sescentos - 'More than six hundred'
Badge: In front of an increscent, a sword in bend. The crescent moon represents the squadron's night-fighter activities whilst the sword commemorates the connection with the City of London.

No 600 Squadron was formed at Northolt on 14 October 1925 as a unit of the Auxiliary Air Force. Equipped with DH9As and Avro 504Ns, it was a day bomber squadron until 1934, having received Wapitis in August 1929. These were replaced by Harts in January 1935 pending the arrival of Demon fighters, No 600 having been designated a fighter squadron in July 1934. In April 1937 conversion to Demons was complete and January 1939 they were replaced by Blenheims. On the outbreak of war day and night patrols were flown, experiments with airborne radar beginning in December 1939. When the Germans invaded Holland, the squadron flew patrols over the Low Countries but in view of the inadequacy of Blenheims for daylight operations, No 600 was allocated to night defence only a few days later and in September 1940 the first Beaufighter was received.

Stations
Manston 20 June 1940
Hornchurch 22 August 1940
Redhill 12 September 1940
Catterick 12 October 1940
Battle of Britain history of No. 604 Squadron.

Aircraft: Blenheim Mk.1f
Motto: Si vis pacem, para bellum - 'If you want peace, prepare for war'
Badge: A seax. No 604, being the County of Middlesex squadron, took part of the armorial bearings of the county, a seax, to commemorate that associaton.


No 604 Squadron was formed on 17 March 1930 at Hendon as a day bomber unit of the Auxiliary Air Force. On 2 April it received its first DH9As and flew these till the arrival of Wapitis in September 1930. On 23 July 1934, it was redesignated a fighter squadron and received Harts as an interim type, pending the delivery of Demon two-seat fighters which arrived in June 1935. Shortly before the outbreak of war, it converted to Blenheims with which it flew defensive patrols and undertook early experiments with airborne radar.

When Germany invaded the Low Countries in May 1940, No 604 flew sweeps over the battle areas, but reverted to night patrols in July and became a full-time night fighter squadron, with Beaufighters beginning to arrive in September.

Stations
Manston 15 May 1940
Gravesend 3 July 1940
Middle Wallop 26 July 1940
So we are left with zero squadrons on any of these airfields. That would lead me to conclude that the operational impact on fighter defense that would occur from removing these zero squadrons is close to, well, zero. So far I don't find this a very convincing argument.

All the best

Andreas

RichTO90
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Re: Response to LWD - Effectiveness of RAF during Sealion

Post by RichTO90 » 17 Jun 2007 14:42

taylorjohn wrote:I am going by Map 22 pp236-37 in Basil Collier's book - The Defense of United Kingdom. It shows the disposition of the RAF fighters airborne on 7th September 1940 as follows.
That may very well be what it says, but it is incorrect.
Beach Head - 43th Squadron 3/4 strength
There is no airfield at Beachy Head. As of 7 September 43 Squadron was at Tangmere and on 8 September it moved to Usworth. As of 6 September 43 Squadron had 14 Spitfires serviceable, 2 servicable within 12 hours and 2 serviceable within 2 weeks. It also had 6 Spitfires on charge, but under repair not available in less than 7 days and 6 Spitfires on charge, but under repair by units other than the squadron. So a total of 30 aircraft against an establishment of 18 (16 operational in flights and 2 in reserve). So I am unclear how it was at "3/4 strength"?
Canterbury - 504th Squadron Full Strength
Somehow you must have missed the remark that there was no airfield at Canterbury? And 504 Squadron had moved to Hendon from Catterick on 5 September in any case. In other words, it was a reinforcement transferred from 13 Group to 11 Group. And yes, it was "Full Strength" it had 22 Hurricanes on charge, of which 19 were operational, so was actually overstrength.
Maidstone - 209th Squadron Full Strength
111th Squadron 3/4 strength
209 Squadron was not a Fighter Command Squadron. 111 Squadron was stationed at Croydon on 7 September, although it's actual location on 6 September was given as Kenley, and it was preparing to move to Drem on 8 September. It was partly re-quipping with Hurricane Mark II, and had 9 on charge, of which 6 were operational and also had 20 Mark I, of which 13 were operational, so again was a bit more than "3/4 Strength"?
Yes, I didn't read the map properly - even so this amounts to 3 1/2 squadrons near the landing area.

Most of the RAF's other squadrons airborne at this time were located North or East of London. 3 of them were located on the southern outskirts of London (Kenley, Biggen Hill and Croydon). The point I was trying to make was that (I believe) that at this time the RAF fighers would only have time to intercept the German planes once they've crossed the English Channel.
No, you misunderstand the situation completely. The response time by Fighter Command was limited by the time it took of the Chain Home and fighter direction system to identify raids assembling over France, determine their probable target, scramble squadrons or direct patrols to the raid, and the ability of the aircraft to climb to the proper intercept altitude. For a German raid moving at speed from France, across the Channel, to an inland target, that meant that the interceptors were mostly occupied in climbing, they had little chance to intercept over the Channel unless they were already at altitude on patrol. But a German air formation escorting invasion shipping must perforce be near stationary since it is acting as cover for vessels moving less than 10 knots. That gives the RAF the luxury of the initiative....they can assemble at their chosen altitude and move to engage the German formations at will. But it is still unlikely because of the timing that they would do so over the Channel, except if acting as air support for the fleet.
By the way, Canterbury is under 20 kilometers away from the proposed German landing area just West of Folkestone.
Ooops, I misread my map scale, it is 15.4 miles quickest driving time from Lympne according to Google....but then I don't think the Germans would be motoring there?
In addition, there were the Chain Home Low stations at Beachy Head, Dover and Truleigh very near to the German landing areas. The loss of these would have caused the RAF considerable problems.
Neither Beachy Head nor Dover would likely fall in the early stages of a putative invasion - if they would ever fall at all, they are the two areas most heavily defended and most defensible sectors in the entire area. If assuming their loss one must essentially assume the total collapse of British defensive measures on the arrival of the German 'fleet' - such a fantasy needs to move to the "What If" section of this board.

Truleigh is more possible, but is covered by Poling.

BTW, source for Fighter Command strengths is Air 16/945.

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Re: Response to LWD - Effectiveness of RAF during Sealion

Post by JonS » 18 Jun 2007 00:17

RichTO90 wrote:source for Fighter Command strengths is Air 16/945.
As an aside, I would think that 'strength' would be more profitably measured as the lower of either servicable a/c OR operational pilots.

RichTO90
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Re: Response to LWD - Effectiveness of RAF during Sealion

Post by RichTO90 » 18 Jun 2007 03:05

JonS wrote:
RichTO90 wrote:source for Fighter Command strengths is Air 16/945.
As an aside, I would think that 'strength' would be more profitably measured as the lower of either servicable a/c OR operational pilots.
Oh I agree. But in none of the examples given does the actual serviceable aircraft strength appear to match a supposed "3/4 strength" figure? 14 of 16 required for flight operations at full strength is not "3/4" it is"7/8". :D And 19 serviceable to a requirement of 16 is overstrength. Mind you, there were units understrength in aircraft by greater margins....but not these. And what I am really arguing against is the rather facile conclusion being implied that because some squadrons were understrength and because forward airfields that were never manned round-the-clock weren't manned round-the-clock, meant that Fighter Command was incapble of contesting a German invasion. :roll:

And I'll work on trying to find the information on pilot strengths on hand in squadrons....I thought it was somewhere here in the pile? :D

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Post by JonS » 18 Jun 2007 04:15

Yup. Not disputing any of that :)

As a made-up example, is a sqn with 8/16 servicable a/c and 18/24 operational pilots at 1/2 strength, or 3/4 strength? What about a sqn with 12/16 a/c and 12/24 pilots?

It's always useful to confirm that we're all talking about the same thing :)

RichTO90
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Post by RichTO90 » 18 Jun 2007 20:41

Back to the subject of German Antiship capabilities, I've completed my review of the losses at Dunkirk. Frankly, it looks like the stories of "200 sunk and as many damaged" at 'Dunkirk' are either just that - stories without any basis in reality - or they reflect all Allied losses in all operations during the period, including Norway. Note in the following the loss and damage accounts took notice of military vessels as small as LCA and civilian vessels as small as 9 GRT fishing boats.

27 May – 3 lost (all to bombing), 1 damaged (to shore guns)
Sunk:
French steamer ADEN (8033grt) was sunk by German bombing at Dunkirk.
French auxiliary minesweeper LA MAJO (47grt) was sunk by German bombing at Dunkirk.
British steamer WORTHTOWN (868grt) was sunk by German bombing at Dunkirk.
Damaged:
British steamer BIARRITZ (2388grt) was damaged by German shore guns near Dunkirk.

28 May – 7 lost (1 one to S-Boote, 4 to bombing, 2 to collision), 4 damaged (all to bombs, none put out of service)
Sunk:
British steamer ABUKIR (694grt) departed Ostend at 2300/27th and was sunk at 51 29N, 02 16E by S-34 at 0130.
British personnel ship QUEEN OF THE CHANNEL (1162grt) was sunk by German bombers at 0425 at 51-15N, 2-40E after she had embarked 920 men at Dunkirk. There were no casualties and all personnel were taken off safely.
British drifters BOY ROY (95grt) and PAXTON (92grt) were damaged by German bombing and were run aground and abandoned at Dunkirk.
Drifter OCEAN REWARD (93 grt) sunk in collision off Dover.
French auxiliary minesweeper MARGUERITE ROSE (409grt) was sunk by German bombing at Dunkirk.
British drifter GIRL PAMELA (93grt) was sunk at 2330 in an accidental collision passing the entrance to Dunkirk harbor on her way to the beaches.
Damaged:
Destroyer WINDSOR was near missed by German bombing at South Goodwin Light. The destroyer had one boiler room damaged and there were twenty to thirty casualties. Destroyer WINDSOR returned to Dover with several hundred troops on board. She spent no time out of service.
Destroyers ANTHONY, CODRINGTON, JAVELIN, were damaged by German bombing at Dunkirk. The destroyers spent no time out of action.

29 May – 27 lost (1 to S-Boote, 1 to U-Boote, 20 to bombing, 3 to collision, 1 to mines, 2 to unknown causes) 14 damaged (11 to bombing, 2 to fouling, 1 to collision)
Sunk:
Destroyer WAKEFUL, with 600 troops on board, was torpedoed and sunk at 0136 by S-30 close to North Kwinte Buoy at 51-20N, 2-45E. Destroyer WAKEFUL's twenty five crew and one soldier which survived were picked up by destroyer GRAFTON, minesweeper GOSSAMER, drifters NAUTILUS (64grt) and COMFORT (60grt). While halted at 0420 destroyer GRAFTON was torpedoed and badly damaged by U-62 at 51 22N, 02 45E. She was later scuttled.
Destroyer GRENADE was sunk at 1602 by German bombing along the east mole at Dunkirk.
Auxiliary minesweeper GRACIE FIELDS (393grt) was sunk by German bombing at Dunkirk, three miles west of Middelkerk Buoy.
Auxiliary minesweeper WAVERLEY (537grt) was sunk at 1800 by German bombing at Dunkirk.
Auxiliary antiaircraft ship CRESTED EAGLE (1110grt) was sunk by German bombing at 1850 at Dunkirk.
Minesweeping trawler POLLY JOHNSON (290grt) was badly damaged by German bombing off Dunkirk and later scuttled.
Minesweeping trawler CALVI (363grt) was sunk by German bombing in Dunkirk Harbor.
French steamers MONIQUE SCHIAFFFINO (3236grt) and MARS (721grt) were sunk by German bombing at Dunkirk.
French steamer SAINT OCTAVE (5099grt) was damaged by unknown cause and scuttled at Dunkirk.
French auxiliary minesweeper JOSEPH MARIE (41grt) was sunk by German bombing at Dunkirk.
Belgian tugs VULCAIN (200grt), MAX (177grt) and THAMES (144grt) were sunk by German bombing at Dunkirk.
French steamer DOUAISIEN (2954grt) was bombed and badly damaged by German bombing off Dunkirk and was sunk in further attacks on 1 June.
British steamer CLAN MACALISTER (6787grt) was set on fire by German bombing at Dunkirk, off No. 6 Buoy, Dunkirk East Buoy. The steamer was abandoned.
British steamer MONA'S QUEEN (2756grt) was sunk by a mine off Dunkirk, one half mile east of Dunkirk Pier Head.
British steamer LORINA (1578grt) was sunk by German bombing in Dunkirk Roads.
British steamer FENELLA (2376grt) was sunk by German bombing off Dunkirk.
French steamer MARS (721grt) was sunk by German bombing at Dunkirk.
British drifter NAUTILUS (64grt) was lost at Dunkirk to unknown causes.
British drifters COMFORT (60grt), rammed and sunk by accident off Dover.
British drifter GIRI PAMELA (93grt) sunk in collision off Dunkirk.
British LCA No. 4, 16, and 18 sunk by German bombing.
Damaged:
Destroyer WOLSEY damaged her propellers on debris at Dunkirk.
Destroyer WOLFHOUND damaged her propellers on debris at Dunkirk and required docking.
Sloop BIDEFORD went over to Dunkirk where she was struck by a German bomb on her quarter deck and had forty feet of her stern blown off. She was towed to England and returned to service 15 April 1941.
At 1129 destroyer GALLANT was near missed and damaged by German bombers near Gravelines. She returned to service by 7 June.
Destroyer MISTRAL was bombed and badly damaged along the east mole at Dunkirk.
Destroyer JAGUAR, alongside GRENADE outboard, was badly damaged at 1600 by German bombing. She returned to service by 16 June.
Destroyer INTREPID was badly damaged at 1830 by German bombing off La Panne. She returned to service by 14 June.
Destroyer GREYHOUND was badly damaged at 1628 by a near miss off La Panne. She returned to service 20 June.
Destroyers SALADIN, MALCOLM, WOLFHOUND were all moderately damaged by German bombing at Dunkirk. All three were returned to service after minor repairs at Chatham. Destroyer SALADIN was damaged by a near miss and was under repair for eleven days and was completed on 9 June. Destroyer WOLFHOUND was under repair for this damage and her propeller damage for ten days.
Destroyer VERITY was damaged in a collision with a sunken drifter off Dunkirk. She returned to service on 15 June.
Destroyer ICARUS was damaged by near misses but was not put out of service.
Minesweeper PANGBOURNE was damaged by German bombing at Dunkirk. She was repaired by the end of June.

30 May – 5 lost (1 to mines, 2 to bombing, 2 abandoned), 8 damaged (4 to bombing, 3 to collision, 1 to shore guns)
Sunk:
French destroyer BOURRASQUE, with 880 men on board, struck a mine and then was sunk by German artillery within sight of Ostend.
Armed boarding vessel KING ORRY (1877grt) was damaged by German bombing near misses. The ship cleared the harbor and foundered at 0300 one-half mile north of Dunkirk.
British steamer NORMANNIA (1567grt) was badly damaged by German bombing four miles 271° from the Dunkirk breakwater; was beached and abandoned.
British motor canal boats AMBLEVE and YSER run aground and abandoned at Dunkirk.
Damaged:
French torpedo boat BRANLEBAS was damaged in a collision while embarking troops.
Destroyers ANTHONY and SABRE were damaged at 1800 by German bombing at Dunkirk. ANTHONY required two weeks repair, while SABRE was not put out of service.
Destroyer WOLSEY was in a collision off Dunkirk with British steamer ROEBUCK (776grt).
Minesweeper KELLET was damaged by the near miss of German bombing at Dunkirk. She returned to service 28 June.
Minesweeper SHARPSHOOTER was damaged in a collision with British personnel ship ST HELIER (1952grt) off Dunkirk.
British steamer PRINCESS MAUD (2883grt) was slightly damaged by German guns near Gravelines.
British steamer ST JULIEN (1952grt) was slightly damaged by German bombing midday at Dunkirk.

31 May – 10 lost (7 to bombing, 1 to mine, 2 to unknown causes), 16 damaged (5 to bombing, 1 to S-Boote, 5 to fouling, 4 to collision, 1 to shore guns)
Sunk:
Between 0000 and 0200, French destroyer SIROCCO was torpedoed and badly damaged by S-23 and S-26 near West Hinder, in 51-18N, 2-15E. Attempting to effect emergency repairs, she was sunk by German bombing.
Auxiliary minesweeper DEVONIA (622grt) was beached and abandoned after damage from German bombing near La Panne at Dunkirk.
Antisubmarine trawler ST ACHILLEUS (484grt) was sunk on a mine off Dunkirk.
French steamers AIN EL TURK (2008grt) and COTE D'AZUR (3047grt) and trawlers PUISSANT (200grt), COSTAUD (140grt), ADJADER (414grt) were sunk by German bombing at Dunkirk.
British LCA No. 8 and 15 lost to unknown causes at Dunkirk.
Damaged:
Destroyer BASILISK damaged her propellers on debris in Dunkirk Harbor and was lost before any repairs were made (loss counted on 1 June).
Destroyer VIVACIOUS was damaged by German shore guns off Bray at Dunkirk.
Destroyer EXPRESS was damaged by the near miss of a German air bomb at Dunkirk. She was repaired within a week.
Destroyer IMPULSIVE damaged both propellers on debris at 1554 at Dunkirk. She was repaired by 4 July.
Destroyers ICARUS and SCIMITAR collided at 1147 off Dunkirk. ICARUS was slightly damaged while SCIMITAR was considerably damaged and arrived at Sheerness on 2 June for repairs.
Destroyers ICARUS, KEITH, WINCHELSEA were damaged at Dunkirk by German bombing attack. ICARUS was repaired at Portsmouth completing on 13 June, WINCHELSEA was returned to service after repairs at Dover. Destroyer KEITH was able to continue off Dunkirk and was lost the next day.
Destroyer MALCOLM sustained damage to her bow when she collided with the pier at Dunkirk.
Destroyer WHITEHALL damaged her propellers on debris and had one engine out of service.
Destroyer WORCESTER damaged her propellers when she grounded in Dunkirk Roads.
Destroyer VANQUISHER sustained propeller damage when she struck debris at Dunkirk.
French large destroyer LEOPARD was damaged by German bombing off Dunkirk.
French destroyer CYCLONE was torpedoed and badly damaged when her bow was blown off by S-24 off Dunkirk.
Minesweeper LEDA was slightly damaged in a collision at Dunkirk.

1 June – 31 lost (14 to bombing, 2 to shore guns, 2 to S-Boote, 4 to mines, 2 to collision, 5 abandoned, 2 to unknown causes), 17 damaged (14 to bombing, 1 to mines, 2 to collision)
Sunk:
Destroyer KEITH (already damaged the previous day) was damaged by the near miss of an air bomb at Dunkirk. Later, before leaving Dunkirk, she was bombed again by German aircraft at 0915 and sunk
Tugs ST ABBS (550grt), with destroyer KEITH survivors aboard, and ST FAGAN (550grt) were sunk by German bombing at Dunkirk.
Destroyer HAVANT was badly damaged at 0905 in German bombing off Dunkirk and sank under tow five miles from West Buoy.
Destroyer BASILISK was immobilized by near misses from German bombing at 0800, was badly damaged again by German bombing at Dunkirk at 1258 and was later scuttled.
Minesweeper SKIPJACK was sunk by five direct hits from German bombing at Dunkirk.
French destroyer FOUDROYANT was sunk in German air bombing off Dunkirk.
Gunboat MOSQUITO was damaged at 1030 by German bombing off Dunkirk and was scuttled 3 June.
Auxiliary minesweeper BRIGHTON QUEEN was sunk by German shore guns at Dunkirk.
French auxiliary minesweepers DENIS PAPIN (309grt), LA MOUSSAILLON (38grt), VENUS (264grt) were sunk by German bombing at Dunkirk.
British steamer SCOTIA (3454grt) was sunk at 1300 by German bombing off Dunkirk in 51 07N, 02 10E.
Belgian tug ELBE (150grt) was sunk by German bombing at Dunkirk.
Antisubmarine trawlers ARGYLLSHIRE and STELLA DORADO (550grt) were sunk by S-34 near Dunkirk in the North Sea at 0245 and 0430.
Yacht AMULREE (89grt) was sunk at 0200 in a collision with destroyer VIMY in the Dover Strait.
Yacht GRIVE (687grt) was sunk in German bombing at Dunkirk Roads at 2355.
Drifter FAIR BREEZE (92grt) was sunk after a collision with a wreck in Dunkirk harbor.
Drifter LORD CAVAN (96grt) was sunk by German shore guns at Dunkirk.
British sail barges DUCHESS (72grt) and LADY ROSEBERRY (109grt) were lost three miles east of Dunkirk when the tug they were alongside was blown up on a mine.
British sailing barges LARK (67grt) and ROYALTY (101grt) were beached and abandoned at Dunkirk and Malo les Bains, respectively.
British sailing barge DORIS (83grt) was sunk on mines three miles east of Dunkirk.
British sailing barges BARBARA JEAN (144grt) and ETHEL EVERAND (190grt) were blown up and abandoned at Dunkirk. Sailing barge AIDIE was blown up and abandoned between Dunkirk and La Panne.
British fishing vessel RENOWN (9grt) was sunk on a mine near Sandettie Light Vessel.
British motor canal boats ESCAUT and SEMOIS lost to unknown causes (date approximate).
Damaged:
Destroyer VIMY was put out of action due to the collision with AMULREE.
Destroyer IVANHOE was badly damaged at 0805 by German bombing at Dunkirk. She was repaired by 24 August.
Destroyer WHITEHALL was damaged by near misses while scuttling BASILISK. She was repaired by 26 August.
Minesweeper HEBE was damaged by near misses of German bombs at Dunkirk, but was not put out of action.
Minesweeper HALCYON was machine gunned by a German aircraft at Dunkirk, but was not put out of action
Patrol sloop KINGFISHER was damaged by the near miss of German air bombs at Dunkirk.
Destroyer WORCESTER was badly damaged by German bombing at Dunkirk and collided with British steamer MAID OF ORLEANS (2386grt), which was also badly damaged, en route to Dover. WORCESTER was repaired by 11 July.
Destroyer HARVESTER was damaged by near misses of air bombs.
Destroyers VENOMOUS (she also collided with the harbor wall in the process), VIMY, VIVACIOUS and minesweeper SALAMANDER were damaged were damaged by German bombing at Dunkirk. VENOMOUS was repaired by 13 June, VIMY by 7 June, and VIVACIOUS by 11 June after temporary repairs allowed her to participate in the port blocking operations of 2/3 June at Dunkirk.
Destroyer SHIKARI was damaged by German bombing at Dunkirk. She was repaired by 18 June.
MTB.100 was damaged by the near miss of air bombs at Dunkirk.
Hospital ship ST DAVID, at anchor off Dover, was damaged at 0845 by a mine.
British steamer PRAGUE (4,220grt) was damaged at 0927 by German bombing 13 miles 115° from North Foreland.

2 June – 9 lost (1 to bombing, 1 to mine/torpedo, 1 to shore guns, 3 abandoned, 3 to unknown causes), 8 damaged (6 to bombing, 2 to collision)
Blockships EDV. NISSEN (2062grt), WESTCOVE (2735grt), HOLLAND (1251grt) were sunk at 0300/3 June at Dunkirk, but the channel was not completely blocked.
Sunk:
Tug FOSSA (105grt) was stranded and abandoned at Bruyne Sands at Dunkirk.
Belgian fishing vessels ONZE LIEVE VROUW VAN VLAANDEREN (39grt), GETUIGT VOR CHRISTUS (39grt), ANNA LEOPOLD (52grt) were lost at Dunkirk.
Hospital ship PARIS (1790grt), on passage to Dunkirk, was badly damaged at 1915 by German bombing near Dunkirk in 51 11N, 02 07, sinking on 3 June.
British trawler Westella (550 grt) mined or torpedoed off Dunkirk.
Drifter LORD CAVAN (96grt) sunk by shore gunfire off Dunkirk.
British LCM No. 12 and 22 abandoned at Dunkirk.
Damaged:
At 0400, destroyer ICARUS was in a collision with a trawler or a drifter at Dunkirk. The destroyer was damaged, but was not put out of service.
Between X and Y buoy, off Bray, anti-aircraft cruiser CALCUTTA fought off three different air attacks. She was slightly damaged by near misses.
Destroyer MALCOLM at 1651 damaged her bow and propellers in a collision at Dunkirk.
Antisubmarine trawler SPURS (399grt) was badly damaged in German bombing off Dunkirk.
Antisubmarine trawlers AMETHYST and KINGSTON PERIDOT were damaged by German bombing at Dunkirk and put out of action.
British steamer MONA'S ISLE was damaged by the near miss of German bombing at Dunkirk.
Hospital ship WORTHING (2294grt) was damaged by German bombing at 1442 at Dunkirk.

3 June – 1 lost (abandoned), 5 damaged (2 to bombing, 3 to collision)
Sunk:
British LCM No. 17 abandoned at Dunkirk.
Damaged:
Destroyer ESK was damaged by the near miss of a German air bomb at Dunkirk. She was repaired by 11 June.
Destroyer SABRE ran aground leaving Dunkirk and lost her asdic dome.
Minesweeper KELLET ran aground at the western breakwater and was too damaged to embark more than thirty troops.
British steamer ROYAL DIAFFODIL (2060grt) was damaged by German bombing at 0131 off Dunkirk in 51 13N, 02 00E and was further damaged in a collision at 0600 with British steamer BEN MY CHREE, which was also damaged.

4 June – 1 lost (mine), 4 damaged (4 to collision)
Blockship PACIFICO was sunk in place at 0340/4 June and the port of Dunkirk was blocked. En route, blockship GOURKO was sunk in a collision with a French personnel ship off Dunkirk
Sunk:
At 0615, French auxiliary minesweeper EMIL DESCHAMPS (348grt) was sunk on a mine five miles east, northeast of Foreness, three miles 336°from Elbow Buoy in 51-24N, 1-1-29E. She is considered the last vessel lost in DYNAMO.
Damaged
Patrol sloop KINGFISHER was damaged in a collision with a French fishing vessel at 0014/4 June and then with British steamer KING GEORGE V (801grt) at Margate. She was repaired by 8 July.
French trawler MARECHAL FOCH (103grt) was sunk in a collision with minesweeper LEDA off Dunkirk at 0429/4 June. LEDA sustained damage to her stem. LEDA was involved in another collision at 0454 one mile from North Goodwin Buoy with a skoot. She was repaired at Sheerness by 12 June
French motor torpedo boat VTB.25 damaged her propellers rescuing MARECHAL FOCH's survivors and was towed to Dover by destroyer MALCOLM.

Total was 94 lost or sunk and 77 damaged.

Of those lost:
51 were primarily due to bombing/air attack;
11 were abandoned;
9 were to unknown causes
8 were to mines;
7 were to collisions;
4 were to S-Boote;
3 were to shore guns;
1 was to U-Boote; and 1 was to mine or torpedo.

michammer
Member
Posts: 12
Joined: 24 Feb 2007 23:35
Location: Michigan

Re: Response to LWD - Effectiveness of RAF during Sealion

Post by michammer » 20 Jun 2007 05:25

taylorjohn wrote:I am going by Map 22 pp236-37 in Basil Collier's book - The Defense of United Kingdom. It shows the disposition of the RAF fighters airborne on 7th September 1940 as follows.

Beach Head - 43th Squadron 3/4 strength
Canterbury - 504th Squadron Full Strength
Maidstone - 209th Squadron Full Strength
111th Squadron 3/4 strength

Yes, I didn't read the map properly - even so this amounts to 3 1/2 squadrons near the landing area.

Most of the RAF's other squadrons airborne at this time were located North or East of London. 3 of them were located on the southern outskirts of London (Kenley, Biggen Hill and Croydon). The point I was trying to make was that (I believe) that at this time the RAF fighers would only have time to intercept the German planes once they've crossed the English Channel.

By the way, Canterbury is under 20 kilometers away from the proposed German landing area just West of Folkestone.
The airborne dispositions of aircraft on September 7th is no way to determine the RAF's ability to intervene during an invasion. When scrambling fighters, the controllers would send them to where they thought they could best intercept the LW. On September 7th, the fighters were scrambled to protect the airfields, not to counter an invasion.

RichTO90
Member
Posts: 4238
Joined: 22 Dec 2003 18:03

Re: Response to LWD - Effectiveness of RAF during Sealion

Post by RichTO90 » 20 Jun 2007 14:27

michammer wrote:The airborne dispositions of aircraft on September 7th is no way to determine the RAF's ability to intervene during an invasion. When scrambling fighters, the controllers would send them to where they thought they could best intercept the LW. On September 7th, the fighters were scrambled to protect the airfields, not to counter an invasion.
Edited for strengths and to correct a few squadron designations.
Quite so. I just ran into some interesting information in AIR 41/16 (the unpublished RAF BoB history) regarding the disposition of Fighter Command as of 30 September, which is more relevent to our putative timeframe. Strengths as of 1800 29 September 1940 from AIR 16/945 (Serviceable/Serviceable in under 12 hours/Serviceable in under 7 Days).

Debden:
No. 17 (Hurricane) - Debden 15/0/3
No. 73 (H) - Castle Camps 13/4/0
No 257 (H) - Castle Camps 16/1/2
North Weald:
No. 249 (H) - North Weald 10/4/1
No. 46 (H) - Stapleford 13/0/6
No. 25 (Bleinheim) - North Weald 5/0/1
No. 25 (Bleinheim) – Martlesham 5/1/1 (flight preparing for conversion to Beaufighter)
No. 25 (converted to Beaufighter); Northolt 0/1/0; Redhill 2/0/0; North Weald 0/0/1
Hornchurch:
No. 41 (Spitfire) - Hornchurch 17/0/0; Catterick 0/0/1
No. 603 (S) - Hornchurch 13/2/3
No. 222 (S) - Rochford 15/3/0
Biggin Hill:
No. 72 (S) - Biggin Hill 13/3/3
No. 92 (S) - Biggin Hill 18/0/0
No. 66 (S) - Gravesend 15/0/0
Kenley:
No. 253 (H) - Kenley 11/2/3
No. 501 (H) - Kenley 11/4/2
No. 605 (H) - Croydon 16/1/1
Northolt:
No. 1 (RCAF) (H) - Northolt 15/2/1
No. 303 (Polish) (H) - Northolt 14/2/0
No. 229 (H) - Heathrow 15/0/3
No. 264 (Defiant) - Luton (A Flight only) 7/0/0
No. 141 (D) - Gatwick (B Flight only) 5/0/1
Tangmere:
No. 607 (H) - Tangmere 14/2/0
No. 213 (H) - Tangmere 15/2/1
No. 602 (S) - Westhampnett 14/2/2
No. 23 (B) - Ford (1 flight at Middle Wallop) 4/0/0/3

So 178 Hurricanes, 105 Spitfires, 12 Defiant, and 9 Bleinheim (not counting units converting).

Walter_Warlimont
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Posts: 114
Joined: 24 May 2007 01:59
Location: Germany

Post by Walter_Warlimont » 31 Jul 2007 22:22

phylo_roadking wrote:I didn't say YOU said it, i believe. Nor do I believe they achieved air superiority, though for a three-day period were VERY close to it over Kent, forcing very serious consideration of withdrawal north of the Thames (supremacy would of course be the RAF unable to come South to operate again at all...); what I meant was there was a blind spot in German thinking at the very top that supremacy was necessary, whereas all that would be needed was that it be contested - it doesn't matter if the RAF are beaten before an invasion - it matters that they at the very least be kept busy...
And if the majority of the Luftwaffe planes are kept nearer to their bases in France because they are providing cover for the Invasion Forces in the channel, attacking the Royal Navy in the Channel & approaches to the Channel & covering the forces landing on the beaches in England, then the RAF is forced to travel farther than they normally would, because normally the Luftwaffe is battling the RAF in Southern England.

I know it's a hard thing to believe, but based on that assumption, the Luftwaffe then has more fuel to conserve for what they are doing & where thay are doing it, while the RAF has less fuel to use as they are having to fly farther to engage the Luftwaffe in combat than they normally would.

(Where can I go to read about the details of this "Operation Banquet" that you guys keep talking about?)

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