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View Full Version : How our World War aces changed aviation history


Grantlee Kieza
5th Nov 2018, 06:34
https://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/qweekend/the-queenslad-air-aces-who-flew-in-world-war-i-and-lived-returned-home-and-changed-the-future-of-aviation-in-australia/news-story/e3b8b01d2984415f450cb6c7fbc1fb15?fbclid=IwAR3agpT5Sa5_No6-U1XB9TbiwXOhQQvqguTCgvnUcPXfCa0E63_Ej1qTAa4

BERT Hinkler pushed his khaki-coloured Sopwith Camel fighter through the cold mountain air over the Italian Alps, the flimsy wood and fabric biplane *rocking as if shivering against the onset of a Euro*pean winter.

MrWooby
5th Nov 2018, 07:07
Although a kiwi I found the wikipedia article about Sir Keith Park an amazing read.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Park

zanthrus
5th Nov 2018, 07:55
Waste of time posting the story in Post #1. Can't read it unless you subscribe to the couriermail.

Wizofoz
5th Nov 2018, 15:54
Amazing how almost any story of a heroic military man in service to the crown includes evidence of British arrogance and incompetence. The treatment of Keith Park and Hugh Downing after the Battle of Britain was shameful.

Pinky the pilot
6th Nov 2018, 09:40
The treatment of Keith Park and Hugh Downing after the Battle of Britain was shameful.

Indeed. And whilst this has been mentioned many times by various writers/historians over the years, AFAIK no action has ever been taken to acknowledge this injustice.

LeadSled
6th Nov 2018, 11:33
Amazing how almost any story of a heroic military man in service to the crown includes evidence of British arrogance and incompetence. The treatment of Keith Park and Hugh Downing after the Battle of Britain was shameful.

Folks,
It most certainly was. I never cease to be amazed at how personal ambition and prejudice is, if anything, amplified in wartime. In my opinion (I haven't read the article) the efforts of Leigh-Mallory are a case in point.
Tootle pip!!

MrWooby
7th Nov 2018, 00:21
My understanding of Leigh Mallorys “big wing” came from the movie “The Battle of Britain” although I haven’t seen it in a while, the big wing was portrayed as the saviour of the day. Whereas the more you read about it, it had a very questionable effect. Very slow to form up such a big formation, slow to react etc.

Wizofoz
7th Nov 2018, 01:32
My understanding of Leigh Mallorys “big wing” came from the movie “The Battle of Britain” although I haven’t seen it in a while, the big wing was portrayed as the saviour of the day. Whereas the more you read about it, it had a very questionable effect. Very slow to form up such a big formation, slow to react etc.




It was somewhat successful at scoring reasonably big numbers of Luftwaffe aircraft destroyed.

Point was, at that point, the number of Germans shot down was largely irrelevant- Goring's brief was to cripple the RAF so it could not impede an invasion force in particular the ability of the Stukas to support an invasion by disabling the RN. Dowding was simply trying to survive- to keep aircraft, pilots and airfields in operation until the weather turned and made an invasion impossible.To this end 12 Groups main task was to protect 11 Groups airfields- a task they largely neglected.

In any case, even were the "big wing" considered a reasonable strategy, it was only possible because of the geographical location of 12 groups squadrons further North, where they had time and space to form up. 11 group squadrons only just had time to launch in small formations when the RD chains detected raids- it was an entirely appropriate tactic.

Interesting that Bader was mentioned- one of the most shameful episodes was the Air Ministry calling Bader- then a wing-commander- to testify into an enquiry ostensibly bout the battle, but in fact as an excuse to criticize Dowding and by association Park. His testimony was unsurprisingly simply a positive view of the tactics that he took part in and that made him famous, but was used as evidence he the Battle tactics of Dowding and Park were flawed.

Chris2303
7th Nov 2018, 01:55
"Downing" = Dowding

Bull at a Gate
7th Nov 2018, 02:58
Pinky - there is a statue of Dowding outside St Clement Danes, where it has been since 1988.

V-Jet
7th Nov 2018, 06:51
Thanks Chris - 'Downing' was disturbing my fragile little mind:)

'Big Wings' were a very reasonable strategy - as the US 8th Airforce later proved. The problem in 1940 was, Dowding was on an island with basically zero (but possibly growing) support, a finite supply of aircraft and even more importantly and more finite numbers of pilots. Taking Bader's side for a moment, I can WELL understand pilots getting extremely upset at taking off with token handfuls of Spits and Hurricanes with eight puny 303's against canon armed 109's and massed formations of bombers. It must have been bloody terrifying, aside from seeming just silly. But Dowding only had limited supplies and needed to use them extremely sparingly. Radar allowed him to do this and he used that to its fullest extent - it also allowed the German pilots to be constantly surprised, especially with 109's limited to 15 minutes flight time over the UK.

An interesting side point I heard second hand from Georing (through the incredible Eric Brown) who was asked who he thought 'won' the Battle of Britain. Goering replied 'It was a draw!' When questioned further, he said the RAF were losing less aircraft than the Luftwaffe, right up until the last 'official' week of the Battle. In other words, the Luftwaffe had turned the tide. This is factual and not fantasy. Once the tide had turned, Goering said, Hitler 'felt' the Battle was won (or could be) and decided to withdraw large sections of the Luftwaffe to start preparations for Barbarossa - the invasion of Russia. And on that score as well, few know that advance German shock troops actually got inside the Kremlin before the main advance halted as it's supply lines became overly extended.

Dowding, at the time, was completely correct I would suggest.

Pinky the pilot
7th Nov 2018, 07:08
Pinky - there is a statue of Dowding outside St Clement Danes, where it has been since 1988.

I was aware of that, Bull at a Gate, however I must admit that it had slipped my mind when I posted my comment. However, I still feel that it is somewhat shameful that apparently there has been no official admission of the injustices served upon Dowding and Park.

As for the 'Big wing' theory; Has that not been somewhat discredited re claims of enemy a/c destroyed when official Luftwaffe losses were finally known? I seem to remember recently reading what I considered to be a reasonably argued critique which found against the big wing theory. Possibly in a book titled Battle of Britain by Patrick Bishop?? Unsure now.

LostProperty
8th Nov 2018, 00:24
Waste of time posting the story in Post #1. Can't read it unless you subscribe to the couriermail.

That's pretty much true of any newspaper article these days because they're all behind paywalls. However, if you have a sub to any one of the News Corp tabloid dailies you can usually access all the others but not the Australian.

Wizofoz
8th Nov 2018, 02:04
"Downing" = Dowding

Friggin' Auto correct.....

KRUSTY 34
14th Nov 2018, 07:03
IMHO,

Sir Hugh Dowding, and his actions before and during the battle, was the single most important factor in saving the World from Fascism.