In the previous post dealing with this game, Adlertag had just finished and the RAF was licking its wounds. Our two pilots, F/Lt. Stone and Pilot Sgt. Drake had met two very different fates. Stone had been in battle with a German raid in the morning and was shaken so badly that he was unable to fly the rest of the day. Drake heroically prevented another German raid from bombing a radar station but his Hawker Hurricane was turned into swiss cheese by three German fighters. Though he bailed out near the coast, Drake drowned in the sea.
On August 14th, F/Lt Holmwood, a reserve pilot was called up to replace the loss of Drake. Holmwood, a Hawker Hurricane pilot, gets ready for the day ahead. Stone is still somewhat shaken from the events of yesterday. The damage to the squadron’s sector has been surprisingly light, with an airfield at Marston and West Malling bombed and taken out of the action until repairs are made.
Nothing much happens on August 14th. Routine patrols in the morning fatigue the pilots but there are no raids in the area. At 5 p.m., a large raid comes in over the coast. Licking our wounds from yesterday’s heavy losses, the squadron commander plays it safe and waits to see where the raid is heading. The Germans hit an emergency airfield at Detling. It’s not good but the airfield is certainly not worth the loss of two pilots. Manston Airfield is repaired overnight and is operational again the next day.
|The emergency airfields at Detling and West Malling are hurting.|
August 15th: The squadron commander shifts tactics a bit. Holmwood and Stone are sent down south. Stone is based at RAF Maston on the coast and Holmwood patrols near Dover. Hopefully this will help with faster interception of raids and we can better choose where we fight our battles. A flight of four Germans raids the coast and does light damage to the convoy near Dover. The pilots need rest and are brought back to base. As they are resting, a raid comes in. The pilots try to scramble for it but they are too slow and their home base of Rochford gets hit by some light bomb damage.
Finally at 5 p.m., a huge raid of 6 aircraft is reported near the coast. The men get their act together and scramble on time. The raid heads closer to them as they increase altitude. Stone and Holmswood come at the raid from up high. Unfortunately, 4 German fighters (a pair of 109s and a 110) are flying top cover. The RAF pilots decide to perform a quick hit and run on the bombers (an He 111 and a Stuka) and get out of there as quickly as possible.
Stone picks apart the He 111, which crashes on its way home while Holmswood destroys the Stuka. The Germans have their revenge, however, as a 109 finds its way on the tail of Holmswood, destroying his plane. Holmswood bails out and is successfully rescued near the coast but his wounds are too serious and he later dies of them on the operating table. Another terrible loss for the squadron.
For the rest of the RAF, things went a little better. August 15th became known as “Black Thursday” as the Luftwaffe suffered shocking losses after launching massive raids across a 500 mile front. Approximately 1/8th of the Luftwaffe’s bomber force was lost in a single day while about 20 per cent of its long range fighters were destroyed.