Radar plots appear

As the dawn mist burns off, radar picks up aircraft over Cap Griz Nez. (6+ over Cap Griz Nez and 3+ in the Straights.)

54 Sqn (Spitfires) are scrambled from Manston to deal with fighters and 610 Sqn (Spitfires) are scrambled from Hawkinge to deal with bombers.

The 6+ raid are Do 17 from KG 2 targeting Lympne.

Manston attacked

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.

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.

Manston strafed by He 113s

OPERATIONS RECORD BOOK of (Unit or Formation) R.A.F. Station MANSTON

Place Date Time Summary of Events References to Appendices
MANSTON. 18.8.40 1530. Another attacked made on the aerodrome by twelve H.E.113's with cannon and machine gun fire. Two Spitfries were destroyed on the ground.
1 Airman killed and 15 injured, mostly on the Servicing Flight.

A Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft photographs Thanet

Luftwaffe reconnaissance photos of Thanet 1940-09-23
RAF Manston [outlined in green] can be seen covered in white chalk bomb craters from the previous month's bombing.

Rumfields Nursery [outlined in red] is my Grandfather's market garden where he is growing fruit and vegetables in glass houses. This is on the northern perimeter of Ramsgate civil airfield.

Source: NCAP

Damaged Bf 109 lands at Manston

OPERATIONS RECORD BOOK of (Unit or Formation) R.A.F. Station MANSTON

Place Date Time Summary of Events References to Appendices
MANSTON. 17.10.40 1545. An enemy M.E.109 landed on the aerodrome after disablement in combat. The pilot was unhurt and was taken into custody.