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Subject: Today (Sept 15) let us remember 'The Few' rss

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Jonathan "Spartan Spawn, Sworn, Raised for Warring!"
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Today is September 15th, this day was dubbed 'The hardest day' by those who participated in it. This was the day that determined the fate of Great Britain and The Few who stood against many. The margin was slim but it enabled the greater victory further down the road.

Let us also not forget the 8 American pilots who volunteered to fight during the Battle of Britain knowing full well their citizenship would be revoked if they were caught due to our countries strict neutrality laws. These men volunteered and all but one died defending a country that was not their own.

Art Donahue, 64 Squadron, KIA September 11, 1942

John Haviland, 151 Squadron

Vernon Keough, 609 Squadron, KIA February 15, 1941

Phillip Leckrone, 616 Squadron, KIA January 5, 1941

William Fisk, 601 Squadron KIA August 17, 1940

Andrew Mamedoff, 609 Squadron KIA October 8, 1941

Hugh Reilley 66 Squadron KIA October 17, 1940

Eugen Tobin, 609 Squadron, KIA September 7, 1941

Let us remember today these men and their foes who danced the dance of death repeatedly until their number was up or by some coincidence survived to grow old.


From William Fiskes Grave (the first American to die in the Battle of Britain): 'An American citizen who died that England might live.'
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Bill Eldard
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Re: Tomorrow let us remember 'The Few'
Luftwaffe Flak wrote:
. . . This was the day that determined the fate of Great Britain and The Few who stood against many. . . .


While the performance of the RAF was certainly heroic, it appears in hindsight that Britain was never in any danger of a serious invasion threat. As Derek Robinson points out, not only did the Germans lack a coordinated plan, an amphibious doctrine, and adequate lift capacity, the Royal Navy would've devastated the invasion force in a single night.

That having been said, Churchill didn't want to risk a seaborne German invasion and relied on the RAF to seize and maintain air superiority over the Channel. Courage, endurance, skill, and (as with most battles) more than a little luck were the ingredients of the RAF victory.
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Robert Wesley
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Re: Tomorrow let us remember 'The Few'
When, precisely, were the END for any "Screaming Eagles of Adler Tag"? surprise
There ought to be of the MANY others denoted here as well, be they from Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, Be-Ne-Lux, France, Canada, ANZAC etc.
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Jonathan "Spartan Spawn, Sworn, Raised for Warring!"
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Re: Tomorrow let us remember 'The Few'
Grog you of course are correct, I cannot mention them all. I did feel though the American 8 have a special place in terms of their mortality rate, and in terms of them being from a country that had not yet felt the effects of WWII. The 8 were truly a special case if you will.

It seems they are often overlooked in the history books even more than the French, Czech, Polish, Australian, etc etc pilots who served faithfully with the RAF after their country had been ravaged by the expansion of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. As I said the Americans had not felt the blow of Pearl Harbor yet, they chose not to stand idly by on their own will.

And Bill hindsight is always perfect, but this does not cheapen the great sacrifices made by the British people and the RAF pilots.

But again as my OP conveys, the remembrance goes out to The Few which was coined by Churchill as any pilot that participated in the Battle of Britain (all the pilots regardless of national origin).

And again you are right Grog, that is why I also made mention of their foes, the Germans of Eagle Day and throughout the war who had no respite and no rest until the war ended or they became another number on a casualty list.
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Todd Pytel
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Re: Tomorrow let us remember 'The Few'
Eldard wrote:
Derek Robinson points out, not only did the Germans lack a coordinated plan...

In part because the OKW was always waiting on Goering to fulfill his promise of neutralizing the RAF. The hard choices in plans like that tend to get put off as long as the start date is still nebulous. The D-Day planners at least knew they'd have air superiority whenever they were ready to go in.

Quote:
...an amphibious doctrine...

Perhaps, but new doctrine was being established constantly in WWII. The Germans figured out how to use paratroopers effectively in the Netherlands and at Crete. What's to say that couldn't figure out how to land some guys off of boats? With London so close to the potential landing sites, horrendous casualties could be justified. It's not like when the Allies came back into Normandy and had to trek all the way back across Europe.

Quote:
...and adequate lift capacity...

Don't know much about that point.

Quote:
the Royal Navy would've devastated the invasion force in a single night.

Perhaps. Though again, the prize wasn't far from the coast. Surely the Royal Navy wouldn't have stopped an invasion cold. With air support, a few might have been enough.

None of this is to dispute the overall conclusion that a Sea Lion wasn't really feasible. But at the time, the threat was more than credible. The Battle of Britain, more than most areas of the war, was very much a question of intelligence. Neither side had a clear picture of the others' operations, production capacity, timetable, or in fact any idea of just what an air war was supposed to look like. Both sides just figured it out as they went.
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Christopher
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Re: Tomorrow let us remember 'The Few'
GROGnads wrote:
When, precisely, were the END for any "Screaming Eagles of Adler Tag"? surprise
There ought to be of the MANY others denoted here as well, be they from Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, Be-Ne-Lux, France, Canada, ANZAC etc.


There is a wikipedia article about those people: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-British_personnel_in_the_RA...



I like to mention the 28 Belgian pilots.

They were part of several 1000 of Belgian soldiers who escaped to England after the Nazi invasion of Belgium. Some interesting facts about those Belgian RAF pilots in the Battle of Britain:
- there were 28 of them
- of those, 4 were MIA and 13 were KIA
- they shot 21 enemy fighters and bombers down during the Battle of London
- the first non-British pilot to become squadron leader in the RAF was
Le Roy du Vivier, who led the 43 Squadron
- the first Belgian pilot to receive a British decoration (Distinguished Flying Cross, DFC) was Cpt Offenberg, who led the 609 Squadron, in which several other Belgian pilots served.

*** detailed information found on a very good Belgian aeronautics website: aeropedia.be


Here is a nice text I read once, I think on a WWII pilots memorial somewhere in Flanders or Holland, but I don't remember where:
Quote:
Op vleugels van Vrijheid vochten en vielen zij.
In de harten van de mensen nu en morgen leven zij voort.


translation:
Quote:
They fought and fell on wings of freedom.
They live in the hearts of the people of today and tomorrow.


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David G. Cox Esq.
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While moving away from the thrust of the original thread, I was reading a book that put forward the proposition that the Battle of Britain was actually won in 1935.

It was then that the Spitfire was commissioned, the RAF realizing that they needed a high-speed interceptor.

At the same time the first stages of the Radar network were being established. In the five years between 1935 and the Battle of Britain, the RAF established their procedures for usefully taking the information from the radar stations and conveying it into useful orders that would allow the RAF fighters to do their job.

The groundwork that led to victory in 1940 was begun five years earlier.

This in no way diminishes the sacrifices made by American airmen during the early stages of World War Two.
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Jonathan "Spartan Spawn, Sworn, Raised for Warring!"
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The Spitfire was a beautiful plane no doubt but having 1 without the other would have spelled disaster. The Spitfire needed the Hurricane and the Hurricane needed the Spitfire.

Its been said thousands of times before but the Spit always gets the limelight due to her beauty (and that she is, very beautiful plane), but the workhorse Hurri was fielded more in the defense of the island than the Spit, which due to the greater numbers lead to the higher kill ratio and of course they going after the bombers.

I like them both, but then again I always like the underdog and the Hurri fits that bill just nicely.

But I do agree with you David, this victory was done by good planning, both sides participated in that just the Brits had a slightly better and of course the Germans switched theirs in the middle.

I wonder though if they had kept up on the airfields if it would have knocked Fighter Command out, they had the planes, but were running out of pilots. I have also read though that the Germans overestimated how many airfields they had knocked out but again was it a question of actually knocking the airfields out or just wounding/killing enough RAF pilots.

P.S. (I know derailing my own thread LOL I dont mind) Does anyone know why the gun placements in the Hurricane and the Spitfire are different? Ive always wondered why the Spit Mk I had the long stepped gun placement and the Hurricane had the close 4 and 4. The close gun placement seemed to be the future as the P-51, Wild/Hell Cat, P-47, etc etc had the same arrangement.
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Graham Lockwood
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Indeed, as an Englishman living in Australia, I'll be remembering my father as one of the few. His score was 18 killed. Mind you he was in the army catering corps.
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