54 Squadron Intelligence report includes formation of He 113s

12 a/c 54 Squadron engaging the enemy over Kent 12:40 - 13:43 hours.

54 Squadron, operating from Manston, was ordered to investigate several enemy raids of unknown dimension and at great height over Kent. Subsequently the whole of Kent was covered with enemy raids. 54 Squadron operated in sections and engaged a number of single fighters and bombers.

Several large formations were sighted at 20,000 feet coming in from the coast towards Biggin Hill. One of these consisted of at least 80 bombers in waves of three - line abreast. Two of our pilots below said this looked like a huge oblong which was supported by many fighters circling above and in front. Unfortunately our fighters were not able to get at this formation owing to height and distance away from them.

54 Squadron must have met a number of individual machines on their return because a series of dog fights ensued.

The following points of interest emerge from the combat:

  1. It was emphasised once again that the Me 109 has difficulty in pulling out of a dive at low altitude. A Me 109 following on the tail of a Spitfire crashed through this failure.
  2. A formation of 12 He 113s were split up by one pilot who managed to damage one.
  3. The main formation could not be approached.
  4. Camouflage was standard in each type, plus the yellow wing tips on the fighters.

No Me110s were encountered. This is perhaps explained by the fact that only Me110s were encountered in a later raid during the day. In this later raid no Me109s were met by our fighters.

Signed; Patrick Shallard F/O. Intelligence Officer, R.A.F. Hornchurch.

Quoted without archive reference in Battle of Britain Combat Archive volume 5.


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