General Halder (Chief of the General Staff) and Admial Schniewind (Chief of the Naval War Staff) meet in Berlin to discuss a landing against England. Halder is under the impression that it is feasible but this is not what Schneiwind intended. Both services then beginning the operation independently.
There is no general staff formed for this and the time taken for correspondence to travel between the OKH in Fountainbleau and the OKM in Berlin further complicates matters.
Schniewind (Naval Operations Staff): Discussion, of basis for warfare against England.
Prerequisite is air superiority. (Then perhaps we. can
dispense with land- warfare.) - Smooth sailing!
Fog after middle of October.
Line, of departure for invasion: coast from Ostend to Le Havre.
A large, number of small steamers (1,000) could be assembled. Camouflage, air- protection! 1,000,000 men in one
wave. Only small coastal craft suitable.
Arty. cover for second half of stretch across water and
on beaches must be furnished by Air Force.
Underwater threats can be neutralized by net barrages. Surface threats can be minimised by mines and submarines supplementing land-based Arty. and planes.
Cliffs are at Dover, Dungeness, Beachy Head, Rest of coast suitable for beach assault. Firm bottom.
Dr. Feder type concrete barges are now being tested. Production in sufficient numbers held possible in July. In addition to these we want railroad ferries (Todt's proposal) for transporting tanks.
Leeb (Ordnance Office): He was told all along that invasion of England was not being considered. I tell him that possibilities have to be examined for if political command demands a landing, they will want everything done at top speed.
Ordnance enumerates the following capabilities:
About 100 tanks III and 20 Tanks IV can be fitted for
As many as on 40 tanks can be carried by one railroad ferry. Unloading on special landing tracks.
Persistent smoke screens can be produced by new smoke
It is necessary to set up special experimental teams soon
in order to get Tank, Engineer, and Naval experts, together for practical tests- on a broad basis. Problem of direction of such teams and part to be played by each Branch of Armed Forces in it must be clarified soon.
Italian Ambassador to Berlin, Dino Alfieri, is recived at Tannenberg and presses Hitler with offers of troops and aircraft for use against England but gets no reply. Hitler tells Alfieri that Germany is plannig an air attack against Britain which would be "bloody" and a "horror". The Luftwaffe is refitting and building bases in France, Belgium and Holland. "These activities had begun immediatel after the conclusion of the armistice with France" and now gigantic columns were rolling westward with material "for undertaking the impending tasks."
Armed Forces High Command
WFA/Abt. L Nr. 33124/40 g.Kdos.Chefs.
2 Jul. 1940
Top Secret Re: Warfare against England
The Fuehrer and Supreme Commander has decided:
A landing in England is possible, provided that air superiority can be attained and certain other necessary conditions fulfilled. The date of commencement is therefore still undecided. All preparations are to be begun so that the operation can be carried out as soon as possible.
The High Commands of the branches of the Armed forces are to supply the following information promptly:
Estimate of the strength of the British army in view of the planned objectives. Probably losses, especially of equipment, and the expected condition of the army after partial rearmament during the next few months.
Possibilities of using artillery from the Continent for additional protection of ship concentrations and transports against British naval forces (in cooperation with the Navy).
Analysis of the landing possibilities for large numbers of Army troops (25 to 40 divisions) and antiarcraft units, with a description of the coastal topography of southern England and of the British naval and land defences.
Statement as to which routes and what equipment could be used for troops and supply transports on such a scale with adequate safety.
It should be kept in mind that a landing on a broad front will probably facilitate the further penetration of the Army.
Information as to the type and amount of shipping pace available and the time required to make it ready.
Opinion on whether and when we can reckon with achieving decisive air superiority. In this connection information of the comparative strength of the British and the German Air Forces.
Which airborne forces can be used to support the operation and in what way. Transport planes should be assembled for this purpose, regardless of all other tasks.
The High Commands should jointly examine all organisational questions pertaining to the landing troops arising from the necessity to limit and utilise the naval and air transport space in the best manner possible.
The forces to be landed should be greatly superior in numbers to the British troops, especially as regards tanks; they should also be largely motorised and protected by strong antiaircraft forces.
All preparations must bear in mind that the plan to invade England has not taken any sort of definite shape as yet, and that these are only preparations for a possible operation. As few people as possible of these plans.
The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces High Command
Need for air superiority and "similar to large-scale river crossing" are noted.
von Greiffenberg: Matters discussed:
Operational questions. Britain which must be dealt with separately, and the East are the primary problems now. The' latter must be viewed chiefly with reference to the requirements of a military intervention which will compel Russia to recognize Germany's dominant position in Europe. Special issues, such as the Baltic and Balkan countries may introduce some variants.
Organization of OKH Staff. Greiffenberg must take over OQu I.
Wolff-Metternich, art historian.
Respective jurisdictions of Civil Administration and
Military Command in France.
Paris Military Headquarters
Cuts in Staff
Build-up of supply base France. Railroad difficulties! Setting-up of separate supply base for England unnecessary; is already taken care of by base set-up for southward drive of right wing.
von der Chevallerie reports on his Div. Problems of officer and Gen, Staff training.
von Greiffenberg -. Buhle: Operations against England.
Paramount factors: Weather - Air superiority.
Method: Similar to large-scale river crossing, on line
Ostend - Le Havre.
Potential beachheads s Cliffs at Dover, Dungeness and Beachy Head. Elsewhere many good landing spots, even if beaches rise at steep angles.
First wave: six Divs. (picked units reinforced by
four Armd, Bns.)
Technical means: amphibious tanks, rafts, flamethrowing tanks, assault boats from the Rhine. - Six-barreled rocket rocket projectors not before October. - Use of chemical smoke. - Airborne landings. - Amphibious Engineers.
Special Staff Reinhard. (Must be replaced in his unit.
Joint exercises and trials at Putlos or, better, on North Sea Coast.
Selection of units; strength requirements, reinforcements for them.
Air photographs of fortifications and defense preparations (Urgent!).
In our Hq: .planning staff under. Greiffenberg, in addition Buhle and a representative of Navy; also Thoma, Jacob, Brand, Thiele, Liss, Ziehlberg, Roehricht.
Deception: Diversion by spreading of rumours. Mask actual width of jump-off frontage by propaganda and actual preparations.
Training must be geared to the special tasks ahead.
Appointed time: August. - Fog from middle of October onwards.
Draft operational plans: At the earliest.
von Greiffenberg (on conference with Loyke): Navy preparations for coastal defence: Coastal Arty. will arrive very late (takes three months). Org. Todt should be called in to do their construction work. - Liaison necessary with Admiral France (Schuster). - Plans to be drawn up will embrace coast only as far as Le Havre!; further south everything will be improvisation.
Air build-up against England: AA precautions in area of AGps. B and C are. insufficient.
Buhle: Some of the specifications of the OKW directive on demobilization are utterly impracticable. Continued availability of discharged men assured only on furlough basis, not if demobilized.
Report of British-French naval action at Oran.
Final OKW communique on campaign does not mention Gen. Staff with a single word. Significant!
Following his meeting with von Weizsäcker Halder tasks General Marks, Chief of the General Staff of the 18th Army, with putting together ideas about how the Soviet Union could be attacked.
He also hears a report on the Luftwaffe's prparations for the attack on England. The goals are to destroy the RAF, its supply system and aircraft productoin and, as a secondary goal, damadge the Royal Navy. There is a good early-warning system but the RAF are outnumbered two-to-one.
An He 111 of 8/KG 1 ditches off Lydden Spout, the crew of 5 swim ashore and are picked up by an AA gun crew. They are taken to Hawkinge and locked up in the guard room by the main gate and become objects of curiosity for people on the base.
263 Sqn. at Grangemouth receives delivery of Whirlwind P6966 flown by Sqn Ldr Harry Eels (Officer commanding) from 25 Sqn. at Martlesham Heath. L6845 and P6967 joined over the next days and three more arrived before the end of the month.
The Fuehrer began by saying that he has been considering the desirability of making another gesture of psychological and propogandist importance. He has not yet made a decision; however, he considers such a gesture useful in principle, although he is now convinced that the war against England will continue.
The Bf 109 E3 (WNr 1162) White 4 of 4./JG51 flown by 18 year old Lt. Johann Böhm which crash lands in a sheep field on Hillhouse Farm at Bladbean.
A Schwarm of Josef Fözö's 4. Staffel is headed off and chased by Spitfires of 74 Sqn. (Probably took off from Desvres, near Boulogne.) In a formation of four aircraft, flying in line astern chasing a Spitfire, this aircraft is caught from below by another Spitfire which shot into the engine. The pilot puts the aircraft into a dive to escape but is hit in the non self-sealing fuel tank and crash lands with undercarriage retracted.
The form 'F' combat report (AIR/50/32/91) from Sgt E A Mould of 74 Sqn (Hornchurch) reads:
Sector Serial No
Serial No. of order detailing patrol
Red Section 'A' Flt. No. 74 Squadron
No. of Enemy Aircraft
Type of Enemy Aircraft
Time Attack was delivered
1600 hrs. approx
Place attack was delivered
Dover and District
Height of Enemy
Our Casualties Aircraft
A.A. Guns Assistance
Fire for Fighters
(Measured or Estimated)
Range opened. 300 yds.
Length of Burst. 5 x 3 secs.
Rage Closed. 100 yds.
No. of rounds per gun
See Report appended.
Sgt. Red Leader "A" Flt.
I was Red Leader of "A" Flight No 74 Sqn, with No 2. of Blue Section also in company. The four of us were on interception patrol over Dover when I sighted four Me 109s flying in line astern on my starboard beam. I gave the order 'Line Astern' and turned to starboard climbing up under the tail of the rear Me 109. I gave him a short 30° deflection shot and he immediately half-rolled and dived to ground level followed by Red 2. In trying to follow him I blacked myself out and lost sight of him, but I saw another Me 109 also flying at low level so I dived on him from about 3,000 ft. He immediately dived to ground level and used evasive tactics by flying along the valleys behind Dover and Folkestone, which only allowed me to fire short deflection bursts at him.After two of these bursts smoke or vapour came from the radiator beneath his port wing and other bursts appeared to enter the fuselage.
He eventually landed with his wheels up as I fired my last burst at him in a field near Elham. The pilot was apparently uninjured and I circled round him until he was taken prisoner.
In the evening 81-year-old local farmer George Palmer was taken to see the aircraft, ignoring the guard and the cordons he went up to it and prodded his stick. With his curiosity satisfied he helped Walter Keeler, who farmed the land and had lost ten ewes to the plane as it skidded across the field, round up the rest of his sheep that were still wandering around.
Johan Böhm is taken to Broome Park.
The aircraft was brought through the main road in Elham the next evening.
Air Intelligence Report (9/8/1940)
The aircraft carried a 4 - in white with a Red border.
It had a Staffel sign of a Raven with Spectacles, and an Umbrella under its arm.
The aircraft was Works No. 1162 built by ERLA Maschinenwerke, fitted with a D.B.601 engine. The armament consisted of two synchronised 7.92mm M.G.s, firing through the airscrew disc, and two 20mm wing cannons.
On primary interrogation, the pilot would give away no information, but a paper in his possession shows he was at Desvres (near Boulogne) on July 5th. There was a permit, dated 29/6/40 from Luftgau Kommando VI, which also referred to II/JG51.
AI(K) Report (10/8/1940)
This aircraft was one of a formation of four, flying in line astern, chasing a Spitfire. Other Spitfires were climbing towards them from below, and as they approached the pilot turned off, and was hit by one of the Spitfires in the engine.
He went into a dive and reached a speed of of 700 kilometers per hour (435mph) but the Spitfire followed him in a dive, firing continually. He pilled out when withing 1,500 feet of the ground.
Böhm had been two years in the German Air Force.
On the outbreak of war, he was at the Jagdfliegerschule, Schiesheim, and was posted to his present Staffel (4/JG51) on December 6h. Since that time he has done some 95 War Flights, many of which, however, were ordinary patrols along the frontier.
Johan Böhm's awards: EK 2, Wound Badge, Fighter Operational Clasp
The aircraft had a complete circle of armour plate built to the shape of the fuselage just behind the pilot's seat.
ID: 65176, AW: pink, Menningen, 27/2/20. FP: L04579
Under interrogation the pilot would not give away any information. A piece of paper found on him showed he was in Desveres on 5th July 1940, also he had a permit dated 29th June 1940 from Luftgau Kommando VI which referred to II/JG51. The pilot had been in the German Air Force for two years and had carried out ninety-five War Flights. At the outbreak of war he was at the Jagdfligerschule Schliesheim and was posted to his present Staffel on 6th December 1939.
Depending on the account, this is either the first Messerchmitt, the first Bf 109 or the first fighter shot down over England or Britain. Aircraft Salvage in the Battle of Britain and the Blitz has another aircraft on the same day as this as the first Bf 109 to be shot down onto British soil but that seems to have been shot down several hours after this aircraft.
As the official start of the Battle of Britain is two days after this, references to this in the sources are limited.
In August 2018 I took a trip to Bladbean and, by referencing the photos of the crash site, found the field.
Viewed from the valley road the field is on the relatively flat crest of the west side of the Elham Valley and there's a scarp slope dropping into the valley itself.
Viewed from the south of the field there's a reasonable space to put down a fighter but with a hedged road on the left and the scarp on the right there wasn't much room for error.
The Bf 109 E-3 (WNr 2964) of 3./LG2 flown by Leutnant Albert Stribney is shot down by Spitfires over Dover and crashes at Buckland Farm between Sandwich and Eastry. Stribney bails out and is taken POW.
"In spite of our efforts to try and gain more speed, in no time they were on us and the battle was short. Whilst I was behind a Spitfire, another was behind me. I hear the sound as if one throws peas against a metal sheet and my cabin was full of dark smoke. I felt splashes of fuel on my face so I switched off the electrical system, dived back into the cloud and threw off the cabin roof. The smoke disappeared and I could breathe freely and noticed that from the wings there came white streams of glycol. Whilst diving, I tried several times to start the engine, switching on the electrical system, but in vain. When I came out of cloud, I decided to bale out and undid the clasp of my seat belt and was about to climb onto the seat and jump when I thought of the high speed of the aircraft and I was afraid to be thrown against the tailplane so I pulled back the stick and slowed the aircraft down. This took a matter of seconds; I did a half roll and fell out."
A party from 49 Maintenance Unit, RAF Faygate, recovered as much of the aircraft as they were able.
The unit emblem of Mickey Mouse carrying an umbrella can be seen.
The DB601 engine was buried too deep for 49 MU to recover and this was excavated by the Brenzett Aeronautical Museum in the late 1970s.
LG 2 were based at St. Inglevert/Pihen.
On 6/1/1942 I/LG 2 was redesignated I/JG77 and 3 staffel retained their insignia.
All preparations are to be made to provide strong frontal and flank artillery protection for the transportation and landing of troops in case of a possible crossing from the coastal strip Calais-Cap Gris Nex - Boulogne. All suitable available heavy batteries are to be employed for this purpose of the Naval High Command and are to be installed in fixed positions in conjunction with the Todt Organization.
The Commander in Chief, Air will assume responsibility for protection against air attacks upon batteries under construction or already built. He will see to it that the antiaircraft batteries assigned to this area, insofar as their position will permit, can also be employed for defence against targets at sea.
Arrangements for coordinated fire control will be in the hands of the Commander in Chief, Navy, who is to report at an early date concerning the state and probable duration of preparations.
The duties assigned to the Army High Command in Paragraph 2b of the above order are cancelled.