Skip to comments.BRITISH SHIPS ATTACK DAKAR IN FRENCH AFRICA; DEGAULLE AND TROOPS PREPARE TO SEIZE CITY (9/24/40)
Posted on 09/24/2010 4:54:01 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
Plus a special guest map from Michael Kordas, With Wings Like Eagles, showing the air defenses of England and Wales, August 1940.
Vichy planes strike Gibraltar
Tuesday, September 24, 1940 www.onwar.com
In the Mediterranean... As a retaliation for the events at Dakar, Vichy air forces attempt to raid Gibraltar. Little damage is done.
In French West Africa... The British battleship Resolution is hit by shellfire in the ongoing battle.
September 24th, 1940
RAF Fighter Command: By day attacks take place on Tilbury Docks, and the Supermarine Spitfire factory at Woolston, Southampton, by fighter-bombers. At night London and Merseyside are raided.
Two groups of bombers operated today over the Medway area - one entering over Dover and the other by way of the River Crouch. They were challenged by 18 fighter squadrons. Soon after 13:00 from the Cherbourg direction came 18 Bf110s of Erpro 210 with ZG 76 providing top cover and making direct for Supermarine’s Woolston works, upon which each dived delivering a 250-kg bomb. Five scored hits on the factory area without causing serious damage. One bomb, however, killed and wounded skilled and senior staff in a shelter, and for the loss south of the Isle of Wight of only one bomber. Higher level raiders also tried unsuccessfully for Woolston.
London was under Red Alert from 20:10 to 05:30. Some raiders over the IAZ trying to fire the colours of the day. That did not discourage the gunners from firing another 5,480 rounds. Very heavy bombing commenced at midnight causing incidents at Camberwell, Chelsea, Islington, Kensington, St. Mary’s Hospital, Chancery Lane, Queen’s Hall, University College, Lambeth, Marylebone Road, St. Pancras, Waterloo Station, Wormwood Scrubs, Earl’s Court Station, Kew Bridge and The Times building in Queen Victoria Street.
Losses: Luftwaffe, 11; RAF, 4.
GERMANY: The Luftwaffe ace Adolf Galland receives the Oak Leaves to his Knight’s Cross; Hitler agrees with his admiration for the RAF.
RAF Bomber Command: 4 Group. 10 Sqn. Whitley P5055 Damaged by Flak, Plt Off Steyn and crew unhurt. 10 Sqn. T4130 force landed out of fuel. Damaged attempting to take-off after refuelling. Sgt V. Snell and crew unhurt. 58 Sqn. N1470 crashed on take-off. Sgt H. Cornish, Plt Off A.I. Waterson and Sgt L.H.Taylor killed, Sgts Fowlie and Chamberlain injured. aircraft burnt.
Bombing - industrial targets at Berlin and Finkenheerd.
10 Sqn. Twelve aircraft to Finkenheerd. Primary obscured, alternatives bombed. Two aircraft damaged.
58 Sqn. Seven aircraft to Berlin. One crashed on take-off with three killed. Primary obscured, alternatives bombed.
77 Sqn. Two aircraft to Berlin. Both bombed with good results.
After dark Berlin was bombed and a Wellington delivered 91,500 propaganda leaflets to residents there and at Hanover and Hamburg.
U-508 laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
FRENCH WEST AFRICA: Dakar: Dakar is bombarded by the RN warships of “Force M”, and ‘Richilieu’ is attacked by HMS Ark Royal’s aircraft. Vichy submarine Ajax is sunk by destroyer HMS Fortune. Battleship HMS BARHAM is hit by the coast batteries but suffers little damage. (Jack McKillop)
GIBRALTAR: The Rock of Gibraltar has been hit by bombs for the first time in the war - dropped by a former ally. It was inevitable, after the British operation in Dakar, that the Vichy government would have to make some reprisal. Six bomber groups of the former Armee de l’Air and 4 escadrilles of the French naval air arm took part. The bombers were all stationed at the bases of Oran and Tafaroui in Algeria and Merknes, Mediouna and Port Lyautey in Morocco. The operation was approved by the German and Italian cease-fire commissions, and directed by Air Force Brigadier General Tarnier, commander of the French Air Force in Morocco. Just after 12:20 pm the first LeO 45 bomber groups (I/23 and II/23) took off from Merknes airfield and headed for Gibraltar. They reached their target at 1:00pm and bombed from 19,500 feet. No RAF fighter cover was detected. Between 1:30 and 2:15 pm a number of French fighter planes were deployed over Gibraltar to provide protection for the bombers. They included 12 Dewoitine 520s of GC II/3 based on Mediouna, 12 Curtiss Hawks of GC II/5 based on Casablanca and 12 Hawks of GC I/5 based on Rabat. Two escadrilles (2B and 3B) of Glenn Martin bombers from Port Lyautey concluded operations at 4:15 pm. The 64-bomber raid should have wrecked the port, 41 metric tons of bombs being dropped, but a large number of the French pilots appear to have deliberately dropped their loads into the sea, and a larger number of the fuses of the bombs that did land had apparently been tampered with so that they would not explode. The authorities are now strenuously applying themselves to retrieving the unexploded bombs, but these are the least of their problems. It is the diplomatic efforts of Hitler to bring Spain into the Axis, and of President Roosevelt to browbeat Spain back into neutrality, that are most concentrating their minds. If Spain does come in then Gibraltar’s anti-aircraft gun toll of three planes last night is not a good sign. Gibraltar remains Britain’s most vital strategic outpost; a key base for convoy escorts. Now, with Mussolini’s fleet menacing the Mediterranean, any threat to the Rock must be viewed seriously.
CANADA: The third group of 6 overageUSNdestroyers exchanged for bases in the Western Hemisphere are turned over to the RCN at Halifax, Nova Scotia. (Jack McKillop)
USS Bancroft (DD-256), commissioned as HMCS St Francis (I-93) USS McCook (DD-252), commissioned as HMCS St Croix (I-81), and USS Haraden (DD-183), commissioned as HMCS Columbia (I-49), part of the destroyers-for-bases deal. (Ron Babuka)
Minelayer HMCS Sankaty commissioned Halifax, Nova Scotia. Built Quincy Massachusetts, 459/11, 195x38x9.75ft, 8kts, crew 3/39, 1-.303mg. ex-Staford, Oyster Bay Massachusetts, Staten Island ferry, employed minelaying, loop laying, maintenance vessel. Pendant’s (FY61)>(Z29)>(M01) Post WW.II, sold 1947, renamed Charles A Dunning, Prince Edward Island ferry.
Destroyers HMCS St Francis, St Croix, Niagara, Columbia, St Clair and Annapolis commissioned at Halifax. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: C-46A-5-CU, AAF s/n 41-12302, msn 26429 ordered on Contract AC-15999. First C46 to be ordered by the USAAF. (Jack McKillop)
Day 390 September 24, 1940
Battle of Britain Day 77. The ability of German fighter-only raids to down substantial number of RAF fighters prompts Luftwaffe to try another new tactic, sending raids with 2 fighter escorts for each bomber. Towns and airfields in Kent are attacked twice y raids of about 200 aircraft at 8.30 and 11.15 AM. At 1.20 and 4.10 PM, raids of about 50 aircraft bomb naval facilities at Portsmouth & Southampton and the nearby Spitfire factory at Woolston. Dusk is at 7.30 and the bombers start rolling in from France (to bomb London) and from Holland (targeting towns in East Anglia). London is bombed intermittently until 5.30 the next morning. Liverpool, towns in the Midlands and Dundee, Scotland, are also bombed.
British submarines are busy in the Bay of Biscay. HMS Cachalot attacks a German submarine without success. HMS Tuna sinks German catapult ship Ostmark, 35 miles West of St. Nazaire, France. http://www.steelnavy.com/1250DLHships.htm
German motor torpedo boat S-30 sinks British steamer Continental Coaster in the North Sea, 10 miles off Great Yarmouth (4 crew lost).
Operation Menace. Overnight, Governor of French West Africa, Pierre Boisson, rejects demands for the surrender of Dakar. At 7 AM, British destroyer HMS Fortune detects Vichy French submarine Ajax. Ajax is brought to the surface with depth charges and then sunk with gunfire, after all 61 hands are taken off. British battleships HMS Barham and Resolution engage the partly finished French battleship Richelieu in Dakar harbour, as Richelieus 8 380-mm guns present a considerable danger to the Allied ships. Richelieu is damaged by 2 15-inch shells from HMS Barham and by a misfire of one of her own shells (which explodes disabling 2 of her 380-mm guns). French shore batteries return fire and the British flotilla retires at 10 AM. They try again in the afternoon, but Barham is hit by 4 shells from the coastal batteries and they withdraw again. In retaliation, 64 Vichy French bombers from bases in Algeria and Morocco attack Gibraltar. Most bombs are dropped at sea but the South Mole is hit damaging a large ship in the harbour.
Date: 24th September 1940
Enemy action by day
During the morning, the enemy made two major attacks over Kent and the Thames Estuary.
In the afternoon, two smaller attacks were carried out against objectives in the Southampton district.
During the day, our fighters destroyed seven enemy aircraft (plus eight probable and thirteen damaged), while our losses were five aircraft of which two pilots are killed or missing.
First Major Attack
At 0830 hours, the leading formations of nine raids totalling about 200 aircraft, crossed the coast between Dover and Dungeness. The main body flew across Kent to attack objectives at Tilbury and Gravesend, while a diversion of fighters crossed East Kent to the Isle of Sheppey.
Fifteen Squadrons were sent up in connection with this attack and one enemy aircraft was destroyed (plus five probable and seven damaged). Weather conditions were very hazy. The proportion of enemy fighters to bombers was approximately two to one.
Second Major Attack
At 1115 hours, a primary wave of about one hundred enemy aircraft flew in over the Dover Area. A secondary wave of eighty aircraft came in over the Estuary and turned South into Kent. Objectives were towns on the South East Coast and in the middle of Kent.
Eighteen Squadrons were sent up but interceptions were few, probably due to weather conditions. Again there were approximately two enemy fighters to each bomber.
First Southampton Attack
At 1320 hours, fifty enemy aircraft of which about half were bombers, approached the Isle of Wight and attacked Woolston in the Southampton area.
Six Squadrons were despatched but failed to effect any conclusive interceptions.
Second Southampton Attack
At 1610 hours fifty enemy aircraft (half of which were again bombers) flew in over the Isle of Wight and penetrated inland to the borders of Oxfordshire.
Seven Squadrons were sent up and four enemy aircraft were destroyed (plus two damaged).
During the day, hostile reconnaissances were plotted over East Anglia (four), Kent, Biggin Hill, and the RAF Station at Rye and along the coast from Beachy Head to Shoreham.
In the West of Scotland, a target at Oban was attacked.
Three Squadrons were detailed to escort one Squadron of Blenheims which attacked enemy shipping in the Channel. In an attack by enemy fighters, two Spitfires were lost.
Night Operations - 24th/25th September 1940
At 1930 hours, raids started coming out of Le Havre making for Shoreham and London. These were followed by a sequence of other raids on the same course which were not, however, as numerous as usual. At about the same time, raids from the direction of Holland crossed the North Norfolk coast and for the most part remained in East Anglia except for two which penetrated more deeply Westwards. None of these raids appeared to proceed to the London area.
At about 2230 hours, there was a temporary lull and after 2300 hours owing to returning friendly bombers, it became difficult to distinguish hostile tracks. However, enemy activity in the London area continued and appeared to increase after 0300 hours. The approach was mainly from the South Coast but a few raids flew in from East Anglia.
Early in the evening, several raids proceeded up the Irish Sea in the direction of Liverpool but turned away South East across Wales. One raid remained in the Anglesey area for a considerable time.
Later in the night, Liverpool was visited by several raids and there was also some activity in the Dundee area, the Midlands and South Midlands.
In the London area, activity further increased after 0400 hours and only at 0538 hours had the last raid recrossed the coast.
Fighter Command Serviceable Aircraft as at 0900 hours, 24th September 1940
|2 Me109||6 Me109||5 Me109|
|1 Me110||1 Me110|
|1 Ju88||1 Ju88||1 Ju88|
|2 Do17||5 Do17|
|1 He111||1 He111|
Attacks on Aerodromes:
Home Security Reports
I give it 3.5 stars:
This review is from: The Report: A Novel (Paperback) During the Blitz in London in 1943, an extraordinary event took place in Bethnal Green. On March 3, 1943, when the air raid warning sirens went off, thousands of people headed, as usual, toward the nearest bomb shelter, the local Tube station, a one-entrance location which could accommodate up to ten thousand people within a few minutes of their arrival. Some had come here many times and knew that they could reserve cots and places to sleep for the night. Others just took their chances, hoping that the emergency would not last long and that they would be able to return home soon afterward. On this night, something unique happened. One hundred seventy-three people died of asphyxia within a minute of their arrival, all suffocated in the crush on the first twenty stairs of the entrance. Ironically, "not a single bomb had fallen in the city that night."
Author Jessica Francis Kane, who studied the original government inquiry into the reasons for this catastrophe, draws on the facts of the real Bethnal Green case to create a fictionalized version of what went wrong. The actual facts, gathered and put into a report by Sir Laurence Dunne within three weeks of the events, had been hushed up by the government so as not to alarm the people or create questions about the government's ability to handle crises. Wanting to avoid placing blame on people who might become scapegoats, he had written his report with a concern for human feelings and for what humans need in order to deal with disasters during fraught times such as war. "Perhaps," he suggests, "we should only sometimes be held accountable for the unintended consequences of our actions."
A cast of repeating characters becomes more and more developed as the action proceeds. The attitudes toward refugees, especially Jews, affect the perceptions of some of the witnesses, while others, actively involved in the protection of lives during the Blitz, assume blame which was really not theirs to assume. Kane carefully reveals the facts of the case, but she does so within the context of the lives of her characters, always showing how and why these people say and do what they do. The characters elicit sympathy, and when all the details are known, the reader feels the same sorts of conflicts that Sir Laurence Dunne felt when he wrote his report.
Kane does a remarkable job of revealing the feelings of these characters for others who have been involved, and their feelings for the more general needs of the community, regardless of the strict definitions of right and wrong. She writes clearly and succinctly and avoids flights of sentimentality, always showing the big picture, the big moral issues, and the big questions of responsibility. A fine novel, The Report offers a different way of looking at historical events--rationally, but with a kindness toward the participants which protects their integrity and their future lives. "Speculative journalism" and the rush to blame are not yet a way of life at this time. Mary Whipple
Looks interesting. Thanks Tank.