Battle of Britain campaign – 23rd Aug – “Go in quickly – Punch hard – Get out!” Sqn Ldr “Sailor” Malans 10th rule of air fighting

Posted: August 23, 2013 in Battle of Britain, RAF, wargames, West End Games
Tags: , , , , , ,

Aug 23 01

Boulton Paul Defiant gunner – 141 Sqn

23rd Aug AAR – Clear Skies becoming overcast toward the afternoon

As glorious weather so often brings out swarms of insect pests such as wasps and flying ants, the same can be said today regarding the Luftwaffe whose aircraft keen to deliver what they thought would be the hammer blow turned out in their droves.
The morning was a quiet one until about 1400 hrs when a force of about 100 bombers and fighter escorts were accurately detected heading towards RAF Middle Wallop. 152 Sqn, 229 Sqn, 238 Sqn & 609 Sqn scrambled to intercept.  A confused action took place with neither side able to take the initiative.  In the end 8 enemy aircraft were shot down for 6 of our own. Sgt EE Shepperd of 152 Spitfire Sqn was the pick of the bunch with 3 Me110’s to his name. At the same time Rye RDF was subjected to a heavy attack which was not detected. The station will be out of action for a number of days. 2 hours later RAF Biggin Hill received its first attack in 4 days. A mixed force of 60 Heinkel He111’s and Dornier Do17‘s with 75 Me109 escorts formed above the thickening cloud cover.  However before they could commence their bomb run, 74 Sqn, 141 Sqn, 266 Sqn and 1 RCAF Sqn launched a devastating counter-attack on the enemy formation. 22 enemy aircraft were destroyed without a single RAF fighter being shot down.  New 74 Sqn CO, Sqn Ldr Adolf “Sailor” Malan (South African) put to literal effect his “10 rules of air fighting” shooting down 2xMe109’s and 1xHe111.  His Sqn claimed 7 but 266 Sqn was the most successful picking off 10 He111’s and effectively destroying 1 entire enemy gruppe. 
Sgt EE Shepperd 152 Sqn with mascot "Snowy"

Sgt EE Shepperd 152 Sqn with mascot “Snowy”

  • 1. Wait until you see the whites of his eyes. Fire short bursts of 1 to 2 seconds only when your sights are definitely “ON”.
  • 2. Whilst shooting think of nothing else, brace the whole of your body: have both hands on the stick: concentrate on your ring sight.
  • 3. Always keep a sharp lookout. “Keep your finger out”.
  • 4. Height gives you the initiative.
  • 5. Always turn and face the attack.
  • 6. Make your decisions promptly. It is better to act quickly even though your tactics are not the best.
  • 7. Never fly straight and level for more than 30 seconds in the combat area.
  • 8. When diving to attack always leave a proportion of your formation above to act as a top guard.
  • 9. INITIATIVE, AGGRESSION, AIR DISCIPLINE, and TEAMWORK are words that MEAN something in Air Fighting.
  • 10. Go in quickly – Punch hard – Get out!
Sqn Ldr Adolf "Sailor" Malan - CO 74 Sqn - shot down 3 enemy today

Sqn Ldr Adolf “Sailor” Malan – CO 74 Sqn – shot down 3 of the enemy today

At 1815 hrs a force of 50 Ju87 Stuka‘s escorted by a large force of 150 fighters attacked RAF North Weald.  1 Sqn, 56 Sqn and 242 Sqn were detailed to intercept however, owing to conflicting instructions between 10 and 11 Group Sector Hq’s the Sqns arrived dispersed and uncoordinated. The Me109 fighters made short work of the piecemeal attacks and shot down 12 of our aircraft without loss. Sqn Ldr Douglas Bader CO of 242 Sqn was scathing in his criticism of the Sector Hq’s mishandling of his first Sqns action stating with some justification that this debacle almost cost the RAF 3 Sqns and the RAF’s total defeat.  During the night, approximately 150 Heinkels probed coastal port defences causing some damage.      

End of day losses

RAF 18, Luftwaffe 30
RAF = 14% of daily force committed (Daytime only)

LW  = 5% of daily force committed (Daytime only)

(Cumulative RAF 145, Luftwaffe 290)

Victory point score -2 (Cumulative -32)

Game NotesSo an ALL- OUT attack as expected nearly did for me. But I managed to hang on by the skin of my teeth thanks in the main to that rarity of rarities, destroying an enemy Gruppe. The missed opportunity with the fact that I could have taken out 2 gruppen didn’t escape my notice or the general feeling that I’ve been doomed from the start. Clearly too much hubris somewhere along the line but anyhow, so narked was I today with some of my dice rolls and today especially card draws that I decided to check back over the results of the campaign. For the last 3 consecutive days picking up the “German Relief” event has allowed the Luftwaffe to reinforce twice as quickly as the RAF yet I have been taking twice as many casualties in percentage terms of the forces committed during the day almost from the very start. Plus, although I picked up 8 Sqns today I lost another 6 to the rest and damage/repair boxes so the net gain of 2 hardly helps BUT tomorrow promises thunderstorms which might give me a day off to recover and bring back a few more for the following day. Down but definitely not out as we try to squeeze into a 3rd week  


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