Hitler's Terror from the Sky: The Battle Against the Flying Bombs

Hitler's Terror from the Sky: The Battle Against the Flying Bombs

by Graham A. Thomas




Located in an Observer Corps post on the top of a Martello tower on the seafront at Dymchurch in Kent, Mr E.E. Woodland and Mr A.M. Wraight were on duty on the morning of 13 June 1944. Shortly after 04.00 hours they spotted the approach of an object spurting red flames from its rear end and making a noise like ‘a Model-T-Ford going up a hill’. What they were watching was the first V1 flying bomb heading towards the South Coast. A new battle of Britain was about to begin.

The flying bomb that the two men had observed crossed the shoreline and continued northwards. Some ten minutes later it fell to earth with a loud explosion at Swanscombe, near Gravesend. It was the first of more than 10,000 flying bombs launched against Britain that summer, most of which were targeted at London. At its peak, Hitler’s flying bomb campaign saw more than 100 V1s a day being fired.

Much of the UK suddenly found itself back in the frontline of the war. In the weeks and months that followed, thousands of people were killed, many more injured. In this book the author takes the reader through the day by day battle. Accounts from some of those who survived the buzz bomb attacks bring the story to life as people tell about their fears and experiences.

To combat the threat, RAF fighter pilots flew round the clock patrols, desperately trying to shoot the robot rockets down and stop them from reaching their targets, whilst anti-aircraft gunners played their part on the ground. So successful was this joint effort that by the end of March 1945, the combined British defenses were accounting for 72.8% of all the reported V1s that were directed at the United Kingdom. This is the story of how that success was achieved.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781526766779
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Publication date: 06/24/2020
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Graham A Thomas is an author and a historian.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vii

Foreword: The Airborne Terrorist Attacks Craig Cabell viii

Author's Note xi

Introduction: The Battle Begins 1

Chapter 1 Preparing for the Storm 9

Chapter 2 Engagement 20

Chapter 3 Fighter Command (17 July to 1 September) 31

Chapter 4 Overview from SHAEF 34

Chapter 5 The Tempest Wing 37

Chapter 6 Tempests to the Rescue: 501 Squadron 47

Chapter 7 A New Enemy: No. 3 Tempest Squadron 60

Chapter 8 Grinding it Out: 486 Tempest Squadron 101

Chapter 9 Spitfires Engage: No. 1 Squadron 127

Chapter 10 The Germans Air-launch the Flying Bomb 137

Chapter 11 Mosquitoes into the Fray 152

Chapter 12 Night Fighters: No. 96 Squadron 160

Chapter 13 Anti-Aircraft Command 186

Chapter 14 Last Gasp 194

Appendix 1 The State of Fighter Command 196

Appendix 2 Performance of Various Fighter Aircraft at 2,000 Feet 200

Appendix 3 Spitfire Power at 1,000 Feet 201

Appendix 4 Recollections 202

Appendix 5 The Aircraft 208

Appendix 6 Directive for Air Defence of Great Britain 215

Appendix 7 Minutes of a Meeting Held at Headquarters ADGB at 1730 hrs, 13 July 1944 216

Appendix 8 An Eight Year Old Boy Designs a Defence Against the Flying Bomb 218

Appendix 9 Number of Flying Bombs Destroyed 220

Appendix 10 List of Fighter Units Used Against Flying Bombs with Successes Claimed 1944-5 222

Appendix 11 No. 486 Squadron Pilots and Their Scores 224

Bibliography 226

Notes 227

Index 231

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