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Battle of Britain Campaign - Scenario 15
August 16th 1940 – The Few

On August 16th Winston Churchill, together with Major General "Pug" Ismay spent the day at 11 Group’s headquarters at Uxbridge watching Air Vice Marshal Keith Park and his team handling one of the busiest days of the Battle. The Luftwaffe continued to pound the airfields of Southern England.

Afterwards, in the car, Winston said “Don’t speak to me, I have never been so moved”. After several minutes of silence he said “Never in the history of mankind have so many owed so much to so few”. Ismay then asked “What about Jesus and his disciples?” “Good old Pug,” said Winston, who immediately changed the wording to “Never in the field of human conflict ....” The sentence would form the basis of his speech to the House of Commons on August 20 which will forever be associated with the Battle of Britain.

‘The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the World War by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.’

Some airfields were protected by PAC (Parachute and Cable) launchers which were a highly unusual anti-aircraft weapon that made its combat debut in the battle. It was used to protect airfields against low-flying aircraft where barrage balloons would not be appropriate. PAC consisted of nine small rockets trailing a steel cable, which shot vertically 300-400ft into the air and then descended on parachute, creating a web of steel cables across the path of a low-flying aircraft, causing it to catch the wires and stall to the ground. PAC launchers are known to have downed a Do 17 at RAF Kenley and a He 111 at RAF Watton.

The Action

The fitters had been working all night. They were rather pleased with what Cholmondeley Featherstonehaugh had brought on his Queen Mary. There it stood Cholmondeley's shiny new Spitfire Mk II onto which the fitters had bolted the tatty pair of wings that Cholmondeley had brought with him on the trailer.

"There's this place near Cholmondeley that makes wings, and I got them to fix up this old pair by replacing half the machine-guns with two Swiss 20mm cannons. I thought if they can make cuckoo clocks, cannons must be easy!", said Cholmondeley.

"I'm going to call it the Mk II B", he explained, "B because it's so much better than your planes!".
"And we'll call yours the Mk II A", he continued, "A because they're so very awful!".