September 15th, 1940UNITED KINGDOM:
RAF Bomber Command:
4 Group. 77 Sqn. Whitley P4917 crashed landing at Tholthorpe on night operations. Sgt E.E. Fenning and crew safe.
Bombing - invasion fleet at Ostend and Dunkirk - Hamburg docks - industrial targets at Berlin.
58 Sqn. Three aircraft to Berlin. All bombed alternatives. Three aircraft to Hamburg. All bombed alternatives. Three aircraft to Ostend. All bombed.
77 Sqn. Bombing - eight aircraft to Dunkirk and Ostend. One bombed and strafed Ostend docks. Two aircraft to Berlin, both bombed.
Over Belgium Sgt John Hannah (1921-47), a wireless operator and air gunner in Hampden P 1355 of No. 83 Squadron, was terribly burnt putting out a fire aboard his flak-ridden bomber, which returned to base safely after attacking Antwerp. (Victoria Cross)
RAF Fighter Command:
Largest ever German formations over London and south-east, in two big raids, but mainly broken up by 24 Fighter Command squadrons operating on this day, since known as Battle of Britain Day. An undisputed victory.
Attacks also on Portland and Southampton.
At night London and the Midlands are raided.
11 Group had by now been invigorated by rested and fresh Squadrons such as 46 and 229 which in 12 Group had not experienced much fighting but were well staffed. They were worked up in the pause granted by the switch in enemy tactics to the bombing of cities.
Shortly after 11:00 radar stations in Kent reported enemy forces assembling inland of
Boulogne. Fighter Command ordered Park to prepare his squadrons for action and also warned
10 and 12 Groups. Soom after 72 and 92 Squadrons from Biggin Hill were scrambled.
On its way was much of KG3 and other bomber formations which met a huge fighter cover over France and headed for Dungeness, where around 11:30 20 Spitfires presented an unwelcome greeting. As the raiders headed for London they were harried by ever more fighters and shortly before reaching London four Hurricane Squadrons launched head-on assaults followed by Douglas Baders 'Big Wing' (2 Spitfire and 3 Hurricane Squadrons) broke through the flanking escort and reached the Dorniers. Over 150 fighters were soon running amok among the bombers. The raid was deflected and KG 3 did not make its objective.
Next came another wave of 150 Do 17s of KG 2 and KG 76 with the He-111s of KG 26 and KG 53 , along with Me 109s of JG 26 and JG 54 for protection. By 14:00 they were crossing into Kent on a broad front and in response the RAF managed to put up most Squadrons at full strength and 170 British fighters met them. When the Germans managed to get to London they encountered Duxford's 12 Group 'Big Wing' along with six 11 Group Squadrons and two reinforcing Squadrons from 10 Group. The raid was aborted and the bombers forced to jettison their loads.
Smaller diversionary raids were attempted on Portland and the Supermarine Spitfire works at Woolston, Southampton, but both were thwarted.
Losses: Luftwaffe, 60; RAF, 26.
London: A survey shows that two-thirds of the capital's population are getting under four
FRANCE: The Pas-de-Calais and surrounding region are put under the control of German military command in Belgium.
GERMANY: U-111 launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.S.R.: Conscription laws are changed and the
call-up of 19-20 year olds will begin.
CANADA: Single men aged between 21 and 24 are called up.
Corvette HMCS Orillia launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-48 attacks convoy SC3 northwest of Ireland and sinks SS Alexandros, SS Empire Volunteer and sloop HMS Dundee at 56 45N, 14 14W. Both she and Penzance, lost in August, were long endurance ships used as A/S ocean escorts for the slow and vulnerable SCs.
U-65 sank SS
Hird in Convoy SC-3.
The Canadian Paterson Steamships line merchantman Kenordoc (1,780 GRT) was sunk in the North Atlantic in position 57.42N, 015.02W, by torpedoes and shellfire from U-48, KptLt. Heinrich Bleichrodt, Knight's Cross, Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, CO. Kenordoc has been recorded as being a member of convoy SC-2. However, sources indicate that SC-2 arrived in Liverpool on 10 Sep 40 having lost two of its 53 ships, but not including Kenordoc. This probably indicates that she was a ‘straggler’. British records do not indicate convoy losses for ships that were not part of the main body of ships. There were seven casualties from her crew of 20 men. (Some sources also claim Kenordoc was a straggler from convoy SC-3 and that she was sunk by U-99, KptLt. Otto Kretschmer, CO.) (Dave Shirlaw)
When the ship City of Benares was sunk with over 100 children
on board, Destroyer HMS Hurricane was the first rescue ship on the scene,
arriving 18 hours to pick up survivors after the Benares had sunk. (Dave
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