(Setting: Jagdgeschwader 53 participates in the Luftwaffe’s Attacks of August 15, 1940)
The Intelligence Officer had said that the steady attrition in RAF Fighter Command over the last month had reduced the number of operable fighters down to less than half their Order of Battle. The remaining 300 or so fighters were naturally concentrated in the southeast, to protect the approaches to London and the narrowest parts of the Channel. Taking advantage of this fact, the Luftwaffe had designed today’s raids to exploit British weakness across the rest of the island. This was the main reason raids had been launched from Norway – to show the English people how vulnerable they were north of the Trent.
According to the Intelligence Officer, the British people had no idea that the Luftwaffe possessed bombers and fighters (this was where the Me110s were truly valuable) with the range to attack the British Isles from Norway. When Edinburgh, York and Durham went up in flames, he told his audience, they would learn. As for this particular late afternoon raid, the Intelligence Officer had explained, it might not be such a surprise to the British that Devon and Cornwall were within range of the Luftwaffe operating from Northern France, but it ought to frighten them to realise they had no defences any more.
Ernst very much hoped that Luftwaffe Intelligence was correct and there were no defences in this region. Then they would go in and out without opposition. Christian would be disappointed if that happened, of course, Ernst thought with a glance towards his leader. Christian was still itching to get a confirmed kill.
The ragged English coast lay ahead of them in the late afternoon sun. Ernst could clearly see a peninsula that hung like a hook into the Channel with a deep harbour behind it. He tried to remember the map they’d been shown, and decided it was Poole.
“Indians to the left.”
“That’s to the west. I thought they didn’t have any fighters in the west anymore?” Christian commented helpfully, and Ernst groaned inwardly. Why couldn’t he just leave it be? They could all see that Intelligence had been wrong – again.
“Shut up, Feldburg. Follow me down.” Hartman knew that Bartels had had his ears blistered for delaying his attack three days ago. He clearly wasn’t going to make the same mistake. Besides, if the RAF was decimated, one could hardly justify waiting for more targets.
Ernst registered that he was tense again – so much for routine. He felt the need to urinate the minute he realised that the English fighters sweeping towards them were Spitfires. Ernst hated Spitfires.
Click here to see a video teaser of Where Eagles Never Flew