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.
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.
At Hawkinge the personnel on the base are taken by surprise as the Do 17s (KG 2 and KG 76) and Bf 110s (EprGr 210) come in over Folkestone at medium height and the AA crews aren't able to man their guns - with the exception of two Hisapnios.
Number three hanger at Hawkinge receives direct hits and the iron doors come off their runners killing one airman and two civilian employees - Brisley and McCaister. Inside the hanger two Spitfires under repair were wrecked and two others seriously damaged. Four airmen are killed and six seriously wounded.
The workshops, clothing store and two married quarters were destroyed and the main store was on fire and the ammunition there was exploding.
Luftwaffe records state that Hawkinge was attacked in two waves, with 280 110-lb bombs being dropped first, followed by 16 1100-lb and eight 551-lb bombs.
64 Sqn's Spitfres engaged the Do 17s over Hawkinge and remarked on the lack of AA fire. American PO Donahue bailed out of his burning Spitfire over Sellinge.
Hurricanes from 32 Sqn returning to the airfield to refuel have to negotiate the 28 craters on the landing field. Flt. Lt. Michael Crossley requests permission to land, the response from the controller being "Hello Jacko Red Leader. We've had a spot of bother here. Permission to pancake granted. Good Luck." Sgt. Lacey's undercarriage collapses and F/Lt Gibson's aircraft ends up on it's nose. PO Barton opts to crash-land in a nearby field. The aircraft are refuelled and returned to Biggin Hill.
Firemen from Folkestone arrive to help out at the airfield. Section Leader R. R. Fry is accompanied by his team of Bill Willis, Percy Sutton, Ted Beeching, George Rumsey and George Kelly are fighting the multiple blazes at No 3 hanger where saving the aircraft isn't possible.
49 MU lost a number of vehicels, including a Ford V8 staff car and a Commer low-loader.
Fry said of the incident:
A chaotic scene greeted our arrival. There were fires in several places. The water tower, supplying pressure for the hydrants, had been holed by splinters in may places and water cascaded from it, reducing our mains supply to a trickle as we watched.
The main priority was getting the landing field operational and soldiers, airmen and civilians worked through the night filling in craters, sustained by a mobile canteen serving tea and sandwiches.
OPERATIONS RECORD BOOK of (Unit or Formation) RAF. Station Hawkinge
|Place||Date||Time||Summary of Events||References to Appendices|
|WEATHER. fine. The I.G. of the R.A.F, Sir E.A LUDLOW-HEWITT, K.C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., M.C. inspected the Station. An Enemy Bombing attack by J.U. 88's against the Station was carried out at 17.30 hours and lasted for approximately 10 minutes. One hanger, No. 3, was almost completely wrecked whilst on other, No. 5, was partially wrecked. A number of Bombs of heavy caliber, including incendiary, were dropped. The aerodrome and buildings were machine-gunned during the attack. The main stores were partly damaged by fire, the clothing store almost completely. The fire was quickly brought under control by R.A.F. personnel aided by local A.F.S. The Station Workshops were wrecked. Two houses in the Airmen's Married Quarters , occupied by airmen, were destroyed. Twenty-eight craters were made on the aerodrome, the largest being 76' x 72' x 28' deep, and the smallest 10' x 10' x 8' deep, but the aerodrome was not rendered completely unserviceable. Repairs to the surface were immediately commenced by the R.E.s. already attached for such work. Ground Defenses were surprised and no guns, except two HISPANO were fired. The altitude of the attacking aircraft was such that it was impractical for the P.A.C.U. to be brought into action. Two civilians, MR. BRISLEY and MR. CAISTER, employed by contractors of the Works Directorate, were killed and three airmen, CORPORAL Mc. COLL attached from R.A.F. Station, YEADON, A.C.2. SYMES attached from R.A.F. Station, KENLEY, and A.C.1. LANGDON of R.A.F. Station, HAWKINGE, were killed. Six airmen received severe injuries and were admitted to the KENT and CANTERBURY HOSPITAL, CANTERBURY. TheCasulaties occurred to personnel employed in No 3 hanger. Two SPITFIRE aircraft, under repair, were seriously damaged, whilst one or two others were struck by splinters. The two non-operational aircraft on charge were damaged but repairable. P.O. N.G. DURHAM reporting on posting from R.A.F. Station, WICK for duty at A.M.E.S., DOVER. F.O. J.D. GABB and F.O. J.H. READ reported on posting for operations room duties.
AIR RAID WARNINGS.
RED 08.35, WHITE 09.25, RED 11.38, WHITE 12.37, RED 23.37, WHITE 23.59
The identification of the attackers as Ju 88s seems incorrect.