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|08-11-2012, 12:51 PM||#1971|
Join Date: Jun 2011
Thanked 13,479 Times in 1,816 Posts
August 11, 1940
Battle of Britain There are German air raids on Weymouth and Portland. The RAF loses 32 planes, the Luftwaffe 38. For the first time, the balance actually favors the Germans.
East Africa In British Somaliland, the Italians advance to the main British position on the Hargeisa-Berbera road at Tug Argan Pass. General Godwin-Austin has arrived to command the small British force.
August 11, 1941
Eastern Front The Finnish attacks south of Lake Ladoga reach Vuosalmi.
August 11, 1942
Mediterranean A large convoy of 14 merchant ships en route to Malta is sighted by Axis aircraft. The importance of Operation Pedestal is shown by the massive escort provided for such a comparatively small convoy. Admiral Syfret leads two battleships, four carriers, seven cruisers, 32 destroyers, and other smaller craft. As well as supplies from the convoy, more aircraft are flown in from the Furious, which then returns to Gibraltar. The old carrier Eagle is sunk by U-73 but an air attack on the convoy in the evening is unsuccessful.
France, Politics In a public speech, Laval declares, “The hour of liberation for France is the hour when Germany wins the war.”
Eastern Front The Soviet position at Kalach on the Don finally falls to the Germans after heavy fighting. Slavyanskaya on the Caucasus coast falls to Rumanian troops.
New Guinea The Australians are pushed out of Deniki on the Kokoda Trail and retreat five miles toward Templeton’s Crossing near the summit of the trail in the Owen Stanley Mountains.
India Unrest spreads through most of India, affecting mostly the Hindu population. Some sabotage also occurs. Violence continues through the end of the month.
United States, Home Front The War Production Board orders the entire crop of California wine grapes converted to raisins for the armed forces.
A patent is issued to actress Hedy Lamarr and avant-garde composer George Anthiel for a system to make radio-guided torpedoes harder to jam.
August 11, 1943
Eastern Front The Soviets manage to cut the Poltava-Kharkov railroad about 30 miles west of Kharkov. Manstein opposes the attacks with considerable skill but this is not enough against troops who are numerous, well armed and now convinced of their ability to win.
Solomons Halsey orders US troops to be landed on Vella Lavella to seize the airfields there. This will bypass and neutralize the large Japanese garrison on Kolombangara. This is the first application of the “island-hopping” strategy which the Americans use for the rest of the Pacific war. In this strategy, vital air bases are controlled to create an area of US sea control, leaving isolated Japanese garrisons to “wither on the vine”.
Long-range guns are sighted along the north coast of New Georgia to shell Kolombangara.
August 11, 1944
Western Front Kluge wishes to withdraw from Mortain due to the threatened encirclement south of Normandy but Hitler will only allow a partial retreat. US forces cross the Loire.
Eastern Front Soviet troops attack south of Lake Peipus. The German line is ruptured and advances of up to 15 miles are made. The Warsaw rebels are forced from the Ochota district after several days of fighting.
August 11, 1945
Diplomatic Relations The Allies respond to the Japanese message of the previous day, saying that the Imperial authority would be subject to the decisions of the Supreme Commander of Allied Powers in the occupation forces. The Japanese are not yet ready to accept this demand, which still seems very close to unconditional surrender. There are indeed many in the Western nations who wish to see the Emperor hanged as a war criminal.
Manchuria The Amur Flotilla leads a rapid Soviet move which takes Fushin before the Japanese defenses in the area have a chance to crystallize. Attacks begin on the Hailar fortifications. Trans-Baikal Front begins crossing the difficult Khingan Mountains. The Manchurians initially welcome the Soviets as liberators, but atrocities such as occurred in Germany soon disillusion them.
Sakhalin Soviet land and naval forces begin operations for the occupation of the southern half of the island. The frontier is well fortified and forested, making the advance slow and costly.
The Philippines Mopping-up operations on Mindanao are completed.
August 11, 1947
United States, Home Front Work begins on the first civilian nuclear reactor at Brookhaven, New York.
|08-12-2012, 12:40 PM||#1972|
Join Date: Jun 2011
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August 12, 1939
Diplomatic Relations An Anglo-French military mission begins talks in Moscow. They continue until August 19, but no agreement is reached because of the dispute over stationing Soviet troops in Poland.
August 12, 1940
Battle of Britain There are German raids on Portsmouth and the British airfields in Kent at Manston, Lympne, and Hawkinge. The radar station at Ventnor on the Isle of Wight is put out of action for two weeks. This leaves a significant gap in the British radar coverage. The Germans fully understand the technical capabilities of radar, but they do not envisage that its contribution to fighter defense can be as great as is in fact the case. The Germans have no precise equivalent of the British operations direction rooms in the sector stations which are essential to the proper interpretation and dissemination of radar information, backed by standard human observers, and which enables senior ground officers to manage their squadrons efficiently. The Germans believe too that the radar masts are more difficult to destroy than they really are. Losses for the day are 22 British and 31 German.
Russia, Politics The power of the commissars in the Red Army is reduced. Formal military ranks are restored and military commanders are made solely responsible for operational decisions.
East Africa A British mission is sent into Ethiopia from the Sudan to organize resistance, especially in the Gojjam district, and to prepare for the return of the emperor to the country.
German Planning Annoyed at the Swiss refusal to follow a pro-German line and break relations with Allied nations, Hitler orders a plan for the invasion of Switzerland. Although produced, the increasing focus on Russia will result in the plan’s scrapping.
August 12, 1941
Eastern Front Hitler issues Directive 34. Army Group North is ordered to continue its efforts against Leningrad. Army Group South is to begin attacks on the Crimea, Kharkov, and the Donets basin. Army Group Center is to assist the other formations.
France, Politics In a broadcast, Marshal Petain says that Germany is fighting “in defense of civilization” in the war against the Soviet Union. He announces new measures for the suppression of political parties and the creation of a stronger police force and special courts. Admiral Darlan is appointed to the Ministry of Defense.
United States, Politics Extension of the Selective Service Act is approved in the House by one vote, 203-202. Roosevelt signs the extension law on the 18th. This is unpopular among those already conscripted, many of whom threaten to desert once their twelve months are up. Many paint OHIO (Over the Hill in October) on the walls of their barracks. Actual desertions, however, are not as great as feared and unrest dies away after Pearl Harbor.
August 12-18, 1941
North Africa The Australian government has been pressing for their troops in Tobruk to be relieved and so in various night operations 6000 fresh troops from the Polish Carpathian Brigade are sent in and some 5000 Australians brought out.
August 12, 1942
Mediterranean The convoy and covering forces of Operation Pedestal are attacked constantly throughout the day. One merchantman is sunk in the morning, and in the evening, the carrier Indomitable is damaged and a destroyer sunk. The main covering force then withdraws on schedule. Later, two freighters are sunk, and two more cruisers, a transport, and a vital tanker are damaged.
Eastern Front Soviet counterattacks in the Rzhev area bring no result despite heavy fighting.
New Hebrides The Americans land reinforcements on Espiritu Santo to build a base to support the Guadalcanal campaign.
Allied Diplomacy Churchill arrives in Moscow for talks, essentially to apologize to Stalin for failing to create a Second Front in 1942.
August 12, 1943
Eastern Front In the Kharkov sector Chuguyev falls to the Soviets. The threat to Poltava, however, is more serious for if it is taken not only will the garrison of Kharkov almost certainly be cut off, but the German forces further south will also be in grave danger. The III Panzer Corps is therefore brought back north from the Taganrog area.
Solomons US advance guards land on Vella Lavella to prepare the way for the main body. There are only a few Japanese, but one company lands on the islet of Baanga and is driven back into the sea with heavy loss.
August 12, 1944
Western Front US XV Corps takes Alencon and reaches the outskirts of Argentan where 116th Panzer Division is in position. German units leave the Mortain area to try an attack against the flank of the advancing XV Corps.
The first PLUTO (Pipeline Under The Ocean) is completed carrying fuel from the Isle of Wight to Cherbourg.
Europe, Air Operations Joseph Kennedy, Jr., the ambassador’s eldest son, is killed when his PB4Y bombers explodes over the Channel while operating against V-Weapon sites.
Italy The South Africans complete the liberation of Florence. In response to partisan activity, the SS burns the village of Santa Anna di Stazzema, near Lucca, killing 560.
Allied Diplomacy Churchill meets in Naples with Tito. The royal government is not invited.
Eastern Front A counterattack by the AK in the Old Town manages to make some temporary gains.
August 12-30, 1944
Yugoslavia The Germans attack a large partisan concentration in Montenegro. The partisans are driven over the Lima River but lack of fuel and paratroops prevents a major success. The partisans move to threaten the communications lines south of Belgrade. In addition, the worsening situation concerning the Rumanians and Bulgarians causes the Germans to withdraw troops from Yugoslavia.
August 12, 1945
Korea The first Soviet forces enter northern Korea and take Najin by amphibious attack.
Manchuria Muchang and Kunchung fall to the Soviets. Spearheads of 1st Far Eastern Front reach Mutanchiang. Some overambitious spearheads suffer from local counterattacks. Japanese suicide tactics are also new to the Russians.
Ryukyu Islands The battleship Pennsylvania is damaged by air attack.
August 12, 1946
Diplomatic Relations The USSR demands joint control of military bases along the Dardanelles and proposes to Turkey that only Black Sea countries share in the administration of the Straits. Turkey rejects the Soviet demands on October 18.
|08-13-2012, 12:44 PM||#1973|
Join Date: Jun 2011
Thanked 13,479 Times in 1,816 Posts
August 13, 1922
India The Royal Indian Military College opens at Dera Dun, beginning British moves toward the “Indianization” of the Indian Army.
August 13, 1923
PolandThe first seagoing cargo ship docks in the newly-constructed port of Gdynia, near Danzig.
August 13, 1940
Battle of Britain This is Adlertag (Eagle Day), marking the beginning of the all-out German offensive against Fighter Command. The RAF is to be crippled and driven out of the sky over southern England within four days and to be out of the fight completely in four weeks.
At this stage, the RAF has something over 600 modern fighters with trained crews, half deployed in southern England. There are adequate numbers of new planes in reserve stocks but trained pilots are in far shorter supply. A limited number can be borrowed from the navy and bomber crewmen can be employed if absolutely necessary, but these expedients cannot make much difference. The Luftwaffe has between 600 and 700 operational Bf109’s, just over 1000 twin-engined bombers, and 350 each of Stukas and Bf110’s. This preponderance in numbers is somewhat illusory since the number of attacking bombers usually has to be limited to the strength of the available fighter escort for which it will emerge that the Bf109 is the only suitable aircraft. The Bf110’s can usually manage to look after themselves by defensive tactics if they do nothing else. The bombers are all weakly armed and the slow, clumsy Stukas are especially vulnerable without escorts. Neither side has a very accurate appreciation of the other’s strength. This, and the inflated claims of kills from excited pilots, is a less serious problem for the RAF, since it must merely keep on defending against whatever attacks are made, while the Luftwaffe must judge from intelligence appreciations which forces to send and which targets to attack, and, most importantly, how much progress is being made. They will require consistently high kill rates and constant, tiring sorties. They also need to preserve strength to support the ensuing invasion. Finally, they have only a few weeks in which to accomplish this, before fall weather makes a Channel crossing unlikely.
Until now, the fighting has generally gone in the RAF’s favor. They have lost 150 fighters for 228 German planes shot down since July 12. These figures are not entirely conclusive since German fighter losses are only about half their total and, if these roughly equal fighter losses continue, the process of attrition will leave Fighter Command crippled and the Germans with fighters and bombers to spare. Although claims of German aircraft shot down are greatly, if honestly, exaggerated (the claims of German propaganda are less honestly meant), this danger is horribly clear to the RAF. It is obvious, above all, that they must, as far as possible, avoid simple fighter versus fighter battles while inflicting maximum casualties on the bombers, keeping them from bombing with ideal accuracy. The tactics adopted by Air Marshal Dowding, leader of Fighter Command, and Air Vice-Marshal Park, who commands 11 Group in southeast England are to send relatively small formations, which can react quickly, to disrupt and harry the German bomber forces. Sir Quintin Brand, commanding 10 Group in the southwest, also employs these tactics. Air Vice-Marshal Leigh-Mallory, commanding 12 Group in the Midlands and east central England advocates that large fighter groups be assembled before attacking in order to ensure something close to parity in numbers and inflict heavier losses. These tactics are mistaken in the circumstances because forces closer to the coast have no time to assemble “big wings” at sufficient altitude and those sent from 12 Group cannot arrive before the Germans have left for home. Also, with this system it is more difficult to maintain the necessary reserves and to avoid the risk of planes being caught on the ground.
The events of Eagle Day strongly favor the RAF. The Germans fly about 1500 sorties, 1000 by fighters, and the British about 700. The Germans lose 45 planes, the British only 13 and from these six pilots are able to return to their units and new machines. This will be a factor throughout the battle. Instances will occur when RAF pilots shot down in the morning will be flying in combat once more in the afternoon. Since the German losses mostly occur over hostile territory, they have no such benefit. The number of sorties flown by the fighters on each side at this stage shows the strain which will be put on these units. If the Germans are to continue to fly twice as many fighter missions as bomber missions, then they will be compelled to keep almost all their fighters in the front line unless they are willing to reduce the strength of the bomber attacks. If they do not make such reductions, then the comparative shortage of reserve planes will tell against them since pilots of otherwise combat-ready aircraft will be grounded because of battle-damage to their planes or simply because of fatigue. Since the RAF has only about half its fighter squadrons in the front line and is miserly about the way it exposes them to losses, it will be better able to rest units and to cover up for its losses. This is a further advantage of Park’s tactics.
August 13, 1941
Eastern Front The Soviet government announces the release of all Polish prisoners of war captured in 1939.
China Much of Chungking is in ruins after a week of heavy Japanese air raids.
August 13, 1942
Eastern Front Troops of 4th Panzer Army advance southeast toward Elista.
Mediterranean Early in the morning the cruiser Manchester is sunk, as are five more freighters of the Pedestal convoy. Another two are sunk later, but four reach Malta, and a fifth, the damaged tanker Ohio is towed into Valetta on the 15th, carrying vital fuel for the island’s aircraft. Two Italian cruisers are damaged by British submarines.
North Africa Montgomery assumes command of 8th Army on a visit to the front. His first task is to remedy inadequate defenses against Axis attack.
Switzerland Police begin turning back Jewish refugees.
August 13, 1943
Eastern Front The Soviets are now very close to Kharkov, having taken Bolshaya and Danilovka. Soviet forces liberate Spas-Demensk; attacks begin toward Dukhovshchina. This drive gains only 4 miles in 5 days.
Allied Air Operations US planes bomb Wiener Neustadt; this is the first raid on an Austrian city.
Borneo US 5th Air Force sends 380 planes to raid the Balikpapan oil fields from Australia.
August 13-24, 1943
Allied Planning Roosevelt, Churchill and Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King, along with their political and military advisors, meet at Quebec to discuss future Allied strategy.
General Morgan’s plans for the invasion of Europe are accepted as the basis for more detailed work. Britain commits to producing Mulberry harbors – artificial ports which will be placed off the French beaches. Churchill accepts that the Supreme Commander for the invasion should be an American. In the Mediterranean the British are pleased that some exploitation of the defeat of Italy is provided for. The Pacific operations will continue, as agreed before, with the US in full control. There is some difficulty in devising plans for Burma, however. It is decided to prepare another Chindit operation and to continue sending aid to Chiang Kai-shek. Admiral Mountbatten is selected to head the new Southeast Asia Command (SEAC).
August 13, 1944
Western Front Argentan is largely cleared by US attacks but Bradley orders a halt here. To the south US troops are advancing toward Orleans and Chartres from the area of Le Mans.
Far East, Air Operations Chennault sends a number of reconnaissance aircraft over Manila. His action is criticized by both Stilwell and MacArthur, who insist, on political grounds, that the Philippines must not be bombed.
August 13, 1945
Germany French troops arrive in Berlin.
Manchuria The Soviets use incendiaries against the Hutou fortifications, but resistance remains fierce.
|08-13-2012, 04:03 PM||#1974|
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: The City of Good Neighbors
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|08-13-2012, 04:37 PM||#1975|
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Good question
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Regarding the Battle of Britain, I read recently i.e. sometime this year, a quote from a senior squadron pilot involved in the fighting around 11 Group which said that he could not understand why Spitfires and Hurricanes were still based at bases in the north of Scotland when they were needed down where he was, not verbatim. Perhaps a posting to places such as Peterhead, Wick, Castletown may have changed his mind. Pilots of Kg26 and Kg30 as well as various other units became very familiar with this area. If you wish to find out more the The Luftwaffe over Scotland by Les Taylor is a worthwhile read on what is generally a relatively unknown area of conflict
|08-13-2012, 05:50 PM||#1976|
Join Date: Nov 2007
Thanked 1,105 Times in 136 Posts
As well as guarding Scottish skies, a less demanding sector allowed a squadron a breathing space where it could re-equip, and give replacements more air time before moving back to 11 or 12 group.
This was in stark contrast to Goerring's policy of posting squadrons permanently to battle areas, and the pilots flew till they were killed, wounded, or promoted. Combat fatigue was inevitable.
|08-13-2012, 06:03 PM||#1977|
Join Date: Sep 2009
Thanked 72,077 Times in 7,332 Posts
|08-13-2012, 08:58 PM||#1978|
Join Date: Jan 2009
Thanked 71,096 Times in 8,120 Posts
Some fighter presence in Scotland was necessary to defend various military targets there, such as the Home Fleet bases of Scapa Flow and the Cromarty Firth, Loch Erribol etc. It was also important to defend Glasgow and Edinburgh. I remember reading one odd account of a squadron operating a specially adapted high-altitude and long range variant of the Spitfire being based somewhere in the Western Isles. They were there to shoot down Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft which tried to take photographs of the home fleet at anchor, and they did get some trade occasionally.
|08-13-2012, 10:14 PM||#1979|
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: My own little world
Thanked 19,776 Times in 2,511 Posts
The MkVI Spitfire was developed to counter the JU 86P-2 reconnaissance aircraft, and the high altitude 86P-1 bomber, so needed an improved engine, a pressurised cockpit and extended, pointed wingtips. As was so often the case, the development of the planned version was protracted, so an "interim" model was hastily put into production. The result was the MkV which was one of the classic Spitfire Marks, and which proved to be almost as capable a high-altitude interceptor as the MkVI.
At least three MkVb's used in Egypt were modified to counter the Ju86P threat. They were given four-bladed props and pointed wing-tips, and were stripped of their radios and other non-essentials so were only left with a single gun in each wing. I believe these aircraft had some success.
The MkVI appeared in early '42 and certainly was used in the defence of Scapa Flow. I know that 310 Squadron was one of those involved, and operated several MkVI's.
I can't find any records of Ju86P's being intercepted over Scapa Flow at any time during the war, but the Luftwaffe did use other reconnaissance aircraft so my new mission is to find out who shot down what, and when, over the Home Fleet!
That should shut me up for a while!
|08-14-2012, 12:22 AM||#1980|
Join Date: Jun 2011
Thanked 13,479 Times in 1,816 Posts
Curious thing about the Ju-86. Originally it was not only a bomber, but a civilian airliner and utility plane. Among its users was South Africa, which pressed them into service with the outbreak of war. It was used for maritime recon and against the Italians in East Africa. Its designers cannot have been too thrilled at this.