Battle of Britain Campaign - Scenario 15
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 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!".
The Luftwaffe attack was spotted on radar as they gained height over the French mainland. Two Junkers Ju 87 B Stukas escorted by two Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-4 fighters. No. 369 Squadron was scrambled, Cholmondeley in his new Spitfire Mk II B and Sir Price in his Mk II A. They met the German's as they crossed the south coat of England heading for a Fleet Air Arm airfield.
Cholmondeley Featherstonehaugh shouted Tally Ho and went straight at the Germans. Sit Price was more careful and tried to get behind them to attack.
Cholmondeley ignored the defending fighter and opened fire on the Stukas with his cannon. The 109 in turn opened fire on Cholmondeley. Cholmondeley's plane caught fire, was it a lucky shot from the kraut or was there a problem with the installation of his new Swiss Hispano cannon; the fitter Walker can't be trusted to do anything right.
Sir Price was trying to get into a tailing position on the Stukas, but a Me 109 spooted him and turned to intercept.
Meanwhile Cholmondeley, ingoring the flames coming from his wings, turned onto the Stukas and gave them another blast from his new cannons.
The Stukas' rear gunners opened fire and Cholmondeley's Spitfire gave up and dived earthwards.
Both 109's now turned on the lone Sir Price.
Chased by the 109's, Sir Price headed for the Stukas!
Sir Price could feel that his plane was beginning to fly strangely, so he exchanged shots with a passing Stuka nd then dived for home.
The Stukas continued to attack the airfield and then escorted by the 109s then turned for the Pas de Calais and home.
Cholmondeley crashed his Spitfire deep into the mud of a Kent field. While any landing you can walk away from is a good one, his twisted leg would keep him out of action for a while and the Spit would never fly again.