The A2A Simulations Community

"Come share your passion for flight"
It is currently Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:46 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: BoB night fighting
PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:18 pm 
Offline
Master Sergeant

Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2011 8:02 pm
Posts: 1061
Hi All,

Looking for detailed information on how Dowding organized his night fighter units, aircraft types, squadron designations, AC counts, radars (ground and airborne), and control methods during the Battle of Britain (July to November 1940).

Do any of you know of such a source(s)?

Thank you,

Randy


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: BoB night fighting
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:23 am 
Offline
Senior Airman
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:32 am
Posts: 108
Location: Rayleigh, Essex, England
Hi Randy

I have checked my Battle of Britain books and blundered around the internet to try to help. I'm afraid I had no success in locating the detail you are looking for.

There is a Wikipedia page giving RAF order of battle for 15 September 1940. If you scroll down to 'Stations and Squadrons' it is possible to identify night fighting squadrons and their bases as at that date. Here's a link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Fight ... er_Command

This seems to be a neglected area in relation to histories of the battle. As you will know, Fighter Command was essentially unprepared for night fighting and in the early part of the war and attempts were made to use Spitfires and Hurricanes as an essentially improvised night fighter defence with almost total lack of success (although I believe that Sailor Malan was credited with 2 He111's destroyed in the early of hours of 19 June 1940 when flying a Spitfire. The Blenheim & Defiants became the basis of the night air defence. A small number of Blenheims were equipped with airborne interception radar but this was a device in its earliest form and the Blenheim's lack of performance led to a general lack of success. It was only when Beaufighters with updated radar appeared in 1941 that the RAF had anything resembling an effective night fighter.

However,from 1940 to 1941, the Defiant was the RAF's most successful night-fighter, its four squadrons shot down more enemy aircraft than any other type (source: Taylor, John W.R. Boulton Paul Defiant: Combat Aircraft of the World from 1909 to the present. New York: Putnam, 1969. p. 326).

According to a Wikimedia regarding the Blitz: "Between 20 June 1940, when the first German air operations began over Britain, and 31 March 1941, OKL recorded the loss of 2,265 aircraft over the British Isles, a quarter of them fighters and one third bombers. At least 3,363 Luftwaffe aircrew were killed, 2,641 missing and 2,117 wounded. Total losses could have been as high as 600 bombers, just 1.5 percent of the sorties flown. A significant number of the aircraft not shot down after the resort to night bombing were wrecked during landings or crashed in bad weather." Here is a link:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blitz#cite_note-127

Chapter 6 of John Ray's book 'The Battle of Britain' has a chapter called 'Night Air Defence.' However this is an overview in a book about Dowding and his contribution to the victory in the Battle of Britain and his subsequent removal from the post of C in C Fighter Command. It does not go into the operational detail that you are seeking.

Sorry mate, but its the best I can do. Good hunting!

Cheers

Keith

_________________
"Home and tea. For once you deserve it, well done everybody"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: BoB night fighting
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:13 am 
Offline
BDG
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 1:55 am
Posts: 747
Location: Newton Abbot, Devon UK
Quote:
Looking for detailed information on how Dowding organized his night fighter units, aircraft types, squadron designations, AC counts, radars (ground and airborne), and control methods during the Battle of Britain (July to November 1940).

Do any of you know of such a source(s)?


I'd be interested in that too.

However, as Lofty says and as far as I've read there probably wasn't much of an 'organised' night defence during the battle and Dowding didn't last much longer than the official dates.

The proper radar equipped Defiant night fighter squadrons came later in the year and up until then it looks to have been a bit of an 'Ad hoc defence.

I'm just reading Brian Lanes book Spitfire! in which he descibes his night fighter operations and it seems to have been just an extension of what they were doing during the day - same methods of the controllers putting fighters onto plots etc.

An interesting snippet came from that chapter in the book - the Spitfires undercarriage indicator was linked to the throttle so that it only lit up green when the throttle was pushed forward to take off - he describes this and the intensity of the light. I never knew that!

Cheers,

Clive

_________________
https://cfs3bob.wixsite.com/cfs3-bob


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: BoB night fighting
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:37 am 
Offline
Master Sergeant

Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2011 8:02 pm
Posts: 1061
Thank you for your replies.

From what I've found so far, this was the earliest stage of learning how to conduct air operations at night. RAF was using the chain home system of radars to get the night fighters w/in 4-5 miles of the target raid. Then two ideas were tested. A radar equipped AC would try to engage, which didn't work well. More a problem of armament I think than failure of the radar. Or, using a radar equipped AC to use a search light to illuminate a bomber for a Spit or Hurr, which was also inadequate. I imagine once the light came on every bomber that could fired on the illuminating AC.

Randy


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: BoB night fighting
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:12 pm 
Offline
BDG
User avatar

Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2004 8:21 am
Posts: 5117
Location: wet coast, Canada
Lofty Anstruther wrote:
According to a Wikimedia regarding the Blitz: "Between 20 June 1940, when the first German air operations began over Britain, and 31 March 1941, OKL recorded the loss of 2,265 aircraft over the British Isles, a quarter of them fighters and one third bombers.

I wonder what the other 42% were.

(...maybe Ju87s and Me110s were considered outside the two specific categories...)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: BoB night fighting
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:31 am 
Offline
BDG
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 6:06 pm
Posts: 1782
Not technically BoB but night fighting i really enjoyed these books

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/395 ... ht-fighter

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Rawnsley

And https://www.amazon.com/Night-Flyer-Figh ... 0907579779

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Brandon


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: BoB night fighting
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:47 am 
Offline
Senior Airman
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:50 am
Posts: 127
Location: Queensland, Australia
two27 wrote:
Looking for detailed information on how Dowding organized his night fighter units, aircraft types, squadron designations, AC counts, radars (ground and airborne), and control methods during the Battle of Britain (July to November 1940).

Do any of you know of such a source(s)?


Here is the section of Dowding's own official report on the Battle of Britain where he covers night operations:

http://spitfiresite.com/2010/04/battle-of-britain-in-the-words-of-air-chief-marshal-hugh-dowding.html/6


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: BoB night fighting
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:25 am 
Offline
Senior Airman
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:32 am
Posts: 108
Location: Rayleigh, Essex, England
Here is the section of Dowding's own official report on the Battle of Britain where he covers night operations:

http://spitfiresite.com/2010/04/battle-of-britain-in-the-words-of-air-chief-marshal-hugh-dowding.html/6[/quote]


Very interesting. Thanks for posting.

_________________
"Home and tea. For once you deserve it, well done everybody"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: BoB night fighting
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:54 am 
Offline
Senior Airman
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:50 am
Posts: 127
Location: Queensland, Australia
Lofty Anstruther wrote:
Very interesting. Thanks for posting.


A pleasure. :) It's good that poor old Dowding, after being right royally shafted by lesser men in the RAF and the Ministry, at least got his views on the record.



Image

"A Hawker Hurricane Mark I night fighter of No. 85 Squadron RAF taxiing by the light of a flare at Debden, Essex, before taking off to intercept night raiders." Imperial War Museum


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: BoB night fighting
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 8:42 am 
Offline
Senior Airman
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:32 am
Posts: 108
Location: Rayleigh, Essex, England
Indeed! And don't get me started about how Sir Keith Park was treated....... :wink:

_________________
"Home and tea. For once you deserve it, well done everybody"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: BoB night fighting
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:35 am 
Offline
Senior Airman
User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:50 am
Posts: 127
Location: Queensland, Australia
Since nightfighters are a rare subject in this forum, I thought I might as well take the chance to show some more photos of them from the period, courtesy of the IWM collection:

Image
"A Spitfire running up its engine prior to taking off on a night interception sortie, September 1940." Spitfires were tried out twice as nightfighters, first during the BoB and again a year later. But they performed poorly during both stints. For some reason what worked superbly in daylight didn't go so well in the dark. One problem was that limited ground visibility over the nose made night landings very dangerous.


Image

Image
"Blenheim Mk IFs of No. 25 Squadron at Martlesham Heath, 25 July 1940." From playing BoB2 we're used to thinking of Blenheims as just targets, but they had their turn at attacking in this nightfighter configuration. Note the added gun-pod fixed underneath. Not very manoeuvrable and probably slower than some of the bombers they were chasing, they had the virtue of being able to carry the bulky early on-board radar equipment in their noses.


Image
"A Boulton Paul Defiant Mark I night-fighter of No. 264 Squadron RAF, on the runway at Biggin Hill, Kent, preparing for a night take-off."


Image
"Boulton Paul Defiant Mark I night-fighter of No. 264 Squadron RAF, silhouetted against the clouds during a low-level pass over its base at Biggin Hill, Kent."



Image
"Flight Sergeant E R Thorn (pilot, left) and Sergeant F J Barker (air gunner) of No 264 Squadron RAF and their Teddy Bear mascot, presented to them by their ground crew, posing with their Boulton-Paul Defiant Mark I at Biggin Hill, Kent, after destroying their first Heinkel He 111, bringing their total of enemy aircraft destroyed to thirteen. These two sergeants became the most successful Defiant partnership of the war."


Image
Painting: "Stalking the Night Raider". A Defiant aircraft flying at night above a moonlit coastline. Artist: Roy Nockolds 1941


Last edited by ShadowShooter on Sun May 06, 2018 7:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: BoB night fighting
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 7:57 am 
Offline
Senior Airman
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:32 am
Posts: 108
Location: Rayleigh, Essex, England
Thanks for posting. Very interesting.

_________________
"Home and tea. For once you deserve it, well done everybody"


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group