16 aircraft, comprised of Bf 110C-6/D-0 and Bf 109E-4/B Jabos, take off to try and disable the British radar network with precision strikes.
As these are Bf 110s and Bf 109s they are assessed as a fighter sweep by controllers and consequently no squadrons are scrambled to intercept.
Visibility is perfect with Dungeness being visible from Dover.
The Bf 110s of EprGr 210 lead by Swiss born Hptm Rübensdörffer come in at low level to attack the radar network. Lacking azimuth tracking and confusing range information by passing abeam the radar sites, the Filter Room at Fighter Command assigns the plot an 'X' code (doubtful origin).
Oberleutnant Otto Hintze leads 3 Staffel's eight Bf 109E-1/B Jabos - carrying one SC250 bomb each - attacking Dover. They approach the Dover radar at right angles to make them harder to detect but are picked up by the Rye Radar. The towers are slightly damaged and huts are smashed. Hintze reports seeing the towers clearly swaying.
Two minutes later Lieutenant Rössinger leads 2 Staffel's Bf 110s attacking Rye. Almost every building is hit, except the transmitting and receiving block. The Filter Room repeatedly tries to contact them eventually being told by a WAFF that "Your X raid is bombing us."
Hauptman Rübensdörffer leads the attack on Dunkirk. One 500kg bomb moves the concrete transmitter building several inches.
The final element of 1 Staffel's Bf 110s hit Pevensy with eight 500kg bombs, one of which cuts the power line taking the station off line.
A breach of 160 km has been opened in the radar coverage.
Escorted by 120 Bf 110s of III/ZG 76 and 25 Bf 109s of JG 53 as top cover are picked up by Polling radar at noon: a large formation approaching Brighton from due south before crossing the coast they turn west. As they cross in front of Polling and behind Ventor they are tracked by the ROC, splitting as they come to Spithead.
15 specially selected crews (II/KG 51) dive bomb droping 500kg bombs on Ventnor radar station taking it out of action for three days. 15 of the 74 bombs land in the complex.
A second formation of 70(68?) Ju 88s attacks Portsmouth harbour with horizontal and diving bomb runs in the face of 50 barrage balloons and intensive AA fire from guns on shore and ships. The bombers take advantage of the corridor through the barrage balloons at the harbour entrance.
The Hurricanes and Spitfires of 10 Group (152 , 213 & 609 Sqns) scrambled to intercept are vectored in by controllers in small groups and focus on the bombers whilst their escort, circling at 3,000m, wait for a large fighter group to arrive. As more and more bombers are shot down the escort realise that no large formation is going to present itself as a target and engages in the combat.
In the ensuing melee - that involved nearly 300 fighters in total - 13 RAF fighters are shot down and four are damaged, and five Bf 110s and two Bf 109s are lost.
More Bf 109s - the escort for the return leg - are seen heading west but Fighter Command vectors 615 Sqn's Hurricanes between them and the battle over the Isle of Wight.
12(9?) Do 17s were lost including that of the Geschwaderkommodore Oberst Dr Johnan-Volkmar Fisser who lead the attack on Ventnor.
Later German reconnaissance of Ventnor reports craters in the vicinity of the masts and station quarters on fire.
20 Bf 110s and Bf 109s of EprGr bomb and strafe then, 20 minutes later, 18 I/KG 2 Do 17s come in at low level and drop 150 250kg and fragmentation bombs cratering the airfield, destroying the workshops and damaging two hangers.
Crews involved from KG2 state that considerable damage has been inflicted on the target.
54 Sqn had tried to intercept the bombers but hadn't been able to get past the Bf 109 escorts.
65 Sqn (Spitfires) were taxiing out for take off when the bombs started falling. Most managed to get airborne and joined 54 Sqn's melee with the escort fighters.
With the escort tied up the bombers were unprotected as they returned and faced determined attack from 56 Sqn's Hurricanes.
A thin layer of chalk dust lies across the airfield which is declared out of action for more than a day.
OPERATIONS RECORD BOOK of (Unit or Formation) R.A.F. Station MANSTON
|Place||Date||Time||Summary of Events||References to Appendices|
|MANSTON.||12.8.40||1250.||The aerodrome was heavily attacked by approximately 15 M.E.110's and some HEINKELS and bombed at low altitude. Some 150 H.E. bombs were dropped. The aerodrome was pitted with approximately 100 craters, and rendered temporarily unserviceable.|
Two handers were damaged, and Workshops were destroyed. In the latter building a civilian clerk was killed, this being the only fatal casualty.
The raid lasted approximately five minutes.
The order to delay operations having failed to reach them, 74 Do 17s lead by Kanalkampfführer Oberst Johannes Fink rendezvous with 60 Bf 110 escorts from ZG 26 - who have received the delay order. Unable to communicate with the bombers by radio the fighters try to warn them by diving down in front of them. Fink doesn't understand and continues on even when his escort turn back.
Radar picks up a formation approaching the coast between Hastings and Bognor. 11 Group scrambles four squadrons with 43 Sqn making first contact with a fighter sweep of Bf 109s and Bf 110s of JG 2. As the fight moves westward more Bf 109s join and RAF fighters return to base with their ammunition expended. 238 Sqn (10 Group, Hurricanes) climb to meet the incoming fighters.
KG 54's Ju 88s are behind the fighter sweep aiming for Odiham and RAE Farnborough and they are spotted by 601 Sqn's A flight, who were climbing to meet the fighter sweep. 43 Sqn, 601 Sqn and 64 Sqn all join the attack. Unable to navigate due to the cloud cover and attacked by fighters they turn back 10 miles after crossing the coast.
100 aircraft depart from bases in Norway.
- 65 He 111
- 35 Bf 100
This is the one major battle over northern Britain.