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Low_Flyer_MkII
07-09-2005, 05:43 AM
Originally posted a couple of years ago (when were still waiting for Spitfires.) The book in question is now widely available in paperback in the U.K. and is thouroughly recommended.

So with apologies to those that have read this before....are you sitting comfortably?

.................................................. ..............................................

Just been reading, thought some of you might find it interesting...
(That's a 'u' in P*ssy BTW - I appear to have been censored )
.................................................. ...............................

.................................................. ..........

AN INTERESTING POINT ABOUT MUNICH

On arrival at Tangmere I was rather surprised to hear about the flap that had swept through the fighter squadrons during the Munich crisis a few months before.

All the 1 Squadron officers had spent a hectic week in the hangers with the aircraftsmen spraying camouflage paint on the brilliant silver aircraft. The troops had belted ammunition day and night. And the CO of 1 Squadron (which was equipped with obsolete Hawker Fury biplanes carrying two slow-firing machine-guns and capable of a top speed of 220 mph) had announced to his startled pilots:
"Gentlemen, our aircraft are too slow to catch the German bombers: we must ram them."

Fortunately for the RAF, England and the world, Mr Chamberlain managed to stave off war for a year. That vital year gave the RAF time to re-equip the regular fighter squadrons with Hurricanes and Spitfires armed with eight rapid-firing machine-guns and capable of an average top speed of 320 mph.


.................................................. ...............................

.................................................. ..........

FORMATION PRACTICE

Soon we were in our cockpits, most of us in shirtsleeves in the heat. Engine after engine burst into life and was run up by its pilot. The Bull's order came clearly over thre R/T: "Come on, we're off! We're off!" He taxied past, followed by Hilly Brown and Leslie Clisby, who formed his section of three. Then came Johhny Walker,P*ssy Palmer and sergeant soper, the Red Section of "A" Flight, followed by Prosser Hanks, myself and Stratton, the Yellow Section. Next came "B" Flight - Leak Crusoe, Boy Mould, Sergeant Berry (Blue Section), and Billy Drake, Sergeant Clowes and Sergeant Albonico (Green Section).

The fifteen Hurricanes move forward together with a deep roar, slowly at first, then gathering speed. Tails come up, and controls get more feel. Bump-bump-bump. Almost off. A bit frightening, this take off. We fly! No...down we come again. Bump...Blast! Must have been a down-draught...Hold it! We're off now - straight over the cliff edge 400 feet above the sea. I see Prosser shut his eyes in mock terror. It is an odd feeling. As usual, I start to talk to myself. Wheels up. Keep in. Stick between knees. Come on, bloody wheels! Dropping behind a bit. Open your throttle! More! Wide! Ah, there are the two pretty red lights: the wheels are locked up. Now get in closer, for God's sake! The Bull's giving it too much throttle, blast him! Anyway - I'm tucked in now. That's fine."Sections astern - Sections astern - Go!" over the R/T from the bull. Back drops my section of three, a little left and underneath. Don't waffle, P*ssy, or I'll chew up your tail! Up we climb. Phew, it's hot! But I'll bet it looks nice. Hope so anyway.

Out we go over the sea. Flying south I think. Yes, there's the far side of the Seinne. "Turning right - turning right a fraction!" from the Bull. Round and out to sea again. Keep below Prosser in the turn - that's right. Hell, the sun's bloody bright! I can't see Prosser's wing when he's above me in the turn. Don't hit him! Watch his tailplane! The Bull again: "Coming out - coming out!" We straighten. Ah, that's better - I can see now. And the Bull once more: "For Number 5 Attack - Deploy - Go! Sections-line-astern - Go! Number 5 Attack - Go!"Open out a bit. There goes Johnny. Now P*ssy. Soper. Prosser next. Now me. Down I go. Watch "B" Z Flight and synchronize with them. Pull up now. Fire! Break away quickly. Roll right over and down to the right. Rejoin. Where's Prosser got to? Can't see a bloody thing. Ah, there he is, up there. Full throttle! Up - up - cut the corner. Here we come behind him. Throttle back or you'll pass him. And there we are again, back in line-astern.Prosser's waggling his wings. That means form Vic. "Re-form! - Re-form!" from the Bull. "Turning right now!" Towards Havre? Yes, there it is dead ahead. "Sections-echelon-starboard - Go!" Right goes my section. Up. Left. Keep in! There, that's nice, really nice. The whole squadron is now in Vics of three aircraft and the five Vics are echeloned to starboard. now, fingers out please 1 Squadron. Hope we don't overshoot. No, here we go. "Peel off - peel off - Go!" says the bull. His section banks left in formation beyond the vertical and disappears below. Johnny's section follows. Don't watch them - keep your eyes
glued to Prosser. Here goes my section now. Down, down we dive in tight Vic, turning slightly left. Keep in - tucked right in! Stratton is OK the other side of Prosser. Right a bit. The controls are bloody stiff - must be doing a good 400. Flattening out now. Don't waffle! There goes the harbour. Buildings flashing by. We're nice and low. Keep in! Hold It! Pulling up now - up - over the rise - over the airfield now. Down we go again - just to make the Frogs lie down. Up over the trees - just! Round and back again. Good fun, this. Bet they're enjoying the show down there. I am! Here we go again, skimming the grass and heading straight for the trees. Pull up - up come our noses and we just clear them. Prosser's waving his hand. Break away! There goes Stratton's belly - away we go, nicely timed in a Prince of Wales, and I'm in my own.
What now? God, I feel ill! Let's give the old girl a last shake-up. What about an upward roll? Good idea - but watch the others - the air's full of flying bodies! Let's climb. Down in that clear space. Need some space for this. 300-350-360. That's enough. Adjust the tailwheel. Now back with the stick. Gently Up - up - a touch harder now. Horizon gone - look out along the wing. Wait till she's vertical - now look up. Stick central, now over to the right of the cockpit. Round she goes. Stop. Back with the stick. Look back. There's the horizon, upside down - stick forward - now over to the left - and out we roll. Not bad. Oh my god, I'm going to be sick...

Better land. Throttle right back. Slow down to 160 mph. Wheels down. Now flaps. Turn in now. Open the hood. Hold speed at 90. Tailwheel right back. Over the boundary. Hold off a fraction. Sink, sink - right back now with the stick. Bump, rumble, rumble, rumble - fine. No brakes - plenty of room. Tiny bit heavy that
one. Not quite right. Oh well. Taxi in - run the petrol out of the carburettor, switch off ignition, brakes off, undo safety and parachute harness and jump out.

I stroll across to join the other pilots. Prosser fixes me with his characteristic dead-pan look."You just missed a steeple when we were beating-up Havre, Paul," he says casually.
"Did I?" Equally casual. "Glad I didn't see it!"

.................................................. ...............................

.................................................. ..........

CONVERGEANCE SETTINGS

A few days later an air marshall from the Air Ministery paid us a visit. He had come, he told us, to find out out why we had shot down every aircraft we had attacked while the Fighter Command squadrons in England were, in the main, only succeeding in "driving the German aircraft off in an easterly direction", as the communiques delicately phrased it.Since we were no longer under the jurisdiction of Fighter Command we had no hesitation in telling the air marshall the reason.

All single-seat eight-gun squadrons in Fighter Command - both Hurricanes and Spitfires - had very poor practice shooting results before the outbreak of war. We all used the "Dowding Spread" at that time - a method of gun-harmonization laid down in accordance with the conviction of our Commander-in-Cheif, Air Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding, that his fighters would never see, let alone engage, enemy fighters.

In theory the Dowding Spread, which was worked out for shooting at enemy bombers from astern, seemed a good idea. Used against a big target, theoretically it produced a wide enough bullet pattern to compensate for aiming error and left
sufficient lethal density to destroy such a target. Furthermore, the range laid down - 400 yards - was outside effective enemy defensive fire.Now we were not armament experts, but we knew about flying and air firing, and we didn't like the Dowding Spread. We reckoned that, even if the experts were right and that at 400 yards' range the bullet velocity was still high enought to prevent tumble, maintain accuracy and penetrate armour (which seemed unlikely),
the spread produced by aiming, shooting and random errors combined would be more than enough to drop lethal density below the minimum required for a kill, especially against a small target like a fighter - which WE were not at ALL convinced we would never meet. As for defensive fire from an enemy bomber, we felt his one or two guns hardly stood a chance against the Hurricane's eight. Curiously, the only thing we were wrong about turned out to be this last point.Fighter Command had dismissed our theories, so during our month's shooting
practice in the spring of 1939 we secretly harmonized all our guns on a spot at 250 yards range. Our shooting results on towed air targets showed we were right - we shot them clean away time and time again. Action in France had now proved this point: we had shot down every enemy aircraft we'd attacked.To the air marshall, and later on to the Air Staff, the case was conclusive. All sigle-seat fighter squadrons were instucted to adopt our method. It was not a moment too soon...

Not long afterwards we made another contribution that was benefit all our fighter
squadrons. While still with Fighter Command, in order to facilitate recognition by our observers on the ground the undersides of our wings were painted black on one side, white on the other. We considered thid to be idiotic, since the German aircraft were duck-egg blue underneath and very difficult to spot from below, whereas we stood out like flying chequerboards. So the Bull gave orders for the undersides of our aircraft to be painted duck-egg blue, and this too was later adopted for all RAF fighters.

.................................................. ...............................

.................................................. ..........

"By the time No.1 Squadron withdrew from France on 18th June 1940, they had gained a formidible combat reputation. Miraculously, they had destroyed a total of 155 enemy aircraft with only three of their own pilots having been killed, two wounded and one captured".

Fighter Pilot: a personal record of the campaign in France 1939-1940
by Paul Richey 1941.
1990 edition published by Leo Cooper.
ISBN 1-85089-550-3
.................................................. ...............................
As mentioned at the top of this thread, the book is now widely available, might be useful reading while you wait for BoB.

Perhaps someone else has a recommendation?

Low_Flyer_MkII
07-09-2005, 05:43 AM
Originally posted a couple of years ago (when were still waiting for Spitfires.) The book in question is now widely available in paperback in the U.K. and is thouroughly recommended.

So with apologies to those that have read this before....are you sitting comfortably?

.................................................. ..............................................

Just been reading, thought some of you might find it interesting...
(That's a 'u' in P*ssy BTW - I appear to have been censored )
.................................................. ...............................

.................................................. ..........

AN INTERESTING POINT ABOUT MUNICH

On arrival at Tangmere I was rather surprised to hear about the flap that had swept through the fighter squadrons during the Munich crisis a few months before.

All the 1 Squadron officers had spent a hectic week in the hangers with the aircraftsmen spraying camouflage paint on the brilliant silver aircraft. The troops had belted ammunition day and night. And the CO of 1 Squadron (which was equipped with obsolete Hawker Fury biplanes carrying two slow-firing machine-guns and capable of a top speed of 220 mph) had announced to his startled pilots:
"Gentlemen, our aircraft are too slow to catch the German bombers: we must ram them."

Fortunately for the RAF, England and the world, Mr Chamberlain managed to stave off war for a year. That vital year gave the RAF time to re-equip the regular fighter squadrons with Hurricanes and Spitfires armed with eight rapid-firing machine-guns and capable of an average top speed of 320 mph.


.................................................. ...............................

.................................................. ..........

FORMATION PRACTICE

Soon we were in our cockpits, most of us in shirtsleeves in the heat. Engine after engine burst into life and was run up by its pilot. The Bull's order came clearly over thre R/T: "Come on, we're off! We're off!" He taxied past, followed by Hilly Brown and Leslie Clisby, who formed his section of three. Then came Johhny Walker,P*ssy Palmer and sergeant soper, the Red Section of "A" Flight, followed by Prosser Hanks, myself and Stratton, the Yellow Section. Next came "B" Flight - Leak Crusoe, Boy Mould, Sergeant Berry (Blue Section), and Billy Drake, Sergeant Clowes and Sergeant Albonico (Green Section).

The fifteen Hurricanes move forward together with a deep roar, slowly at first, then gathering speed. Tails come up, and controls get more feel. Bump-bump-bump. Almost off. A bit frightening, this take off. We fly! No...down we come again. Bump...Blast! Must have been a down-draught...Hold it! We're off now - straight over the cliff edge 400 feet above the sea. I see Prosser shut his eyes in mock terror. It is an odd feeling. As usual, I start to talk to myself. Wheels up. Keep in. Stick between knees. Come on, bloody wheels! Dropping behind a bit. Open your throttle! More! Wide! Ah, there are the two pretty red lights: the wheels are locked up. Now get in closer, for God's sake! The Bull's giving it too much throttle, blast him! Anyway - I'm tucked in now. That's fine."Sections astern - Sections astern - Go!" over the R/T from the bull. Back drops my section of three, a little left and underneath. Don't waffle, P*ssy, or I'll chew up your tail! Up we climb. Phew, it's hot! But I'll bet it looks nice. Hope so anyway.

Out we go over the sea. Flying south I think. Yes, there's the far side of the Seinne. "Turning right - turning right a fraction!" from the Bull. Round and out to sea again. Keep below Prosser in the turn - that's right. Hell, the sun's bloody bright! I can't see Prosser's wing when he's above me in the turn. Don't hit him! Watch his tailplane! The Bull again: "Coming out - coming out!" We straighten. Ah, that's better - I can see now. And the Bull once more: "For Number 5 Attack - Deploy - Go! Sections-line-astern - Go! Number 5 Attack - Go!"Open out a bit. There goes Johnny. Now P*ssy. Soper. Prosser next. Now me. Down I go. Watch "B" Z Flight and synchronize with them. Pull up now. Fire! Break away quickly. Roll right over and down to the right. Rejoin. Where's Prosser got to? Can't see a bloody thing. Ah, there he is, up there. Full throttle! Up - up - cut the corner. Here we come behind him. Throttle back or you'll pass him. And there we are again, back in line-astern.Prosser's waggling his wings. That means form Vic. "Re-form! - Re-form!" from the Bull. "Turning right now!" Towards Havre? Yes, there it is dead ahead. "Sections-echelon-starboard - Go!" Right goes my section. Up. Left. Keep in! There, that's nice, really nice. The whole squadron is now in Vics of three aircraft and the five Vics are echeloned to starboard. now, fingers out please 1 Squadron. Hope we don't overshoot. No, here we go. "Peel off - peel off - Go!" says the bull. His section banks left in formation beyond the vertical and disappears below. Johnny's section follows. Don't watch them - keep your eyes
glued to Prosser. Here goes my section now. Down, down we dive in tight Vic, turning slightly left. Keep in - tucked right in! Stratton is OK the other side of Prosser. Right a bit. The controls are bloody stiff - must be doing a good 400. Flattening out now. Don't waffle! There goes the harbour. Buildings flashing by. We're nice and low. Keep in! Hold It! Pulling up now - up - over the rise - over the airfield now. Down we go again - just to make the Frogs lie down. Up over the trees - just! Round and back again. Good fun, this. Bet they're enjoying the show down there. I am! Here we go again, skimming the grass and heading straight for the trees. Pull up - up come our noses and we just clear them. Prosser's waving his hand. Break away! There goes Stratton's belly - away we go, nicely timed in a Prince of Wales, and I'm in my own.
What now? God, I feel ill! Let's give the old girl a last shake-up. What about an upward roll? Good idea - but watch the others - the air's full of flying bodies! Let's climb. Down in that clear space. Need some space for this. 300-350-360. That's enough. Adjust the tailwheel. Now back with the stick. Gently Up - up - a touch harder now. Horizon gone - look out along the wing. Wait till she's vertical - now look up. Stick central, now over to the right of the cockpit. Round she goes. Stop. Back with the stick. Look back. There's the horizon, upside down - stick forward - now over to the left - and out we roll. Not bad. Oh my god, I'm going to be sick...

Better land. Throttle right back. Slow down to 160 mph. Wheels down. Now flaps. Turn in now. Open the hood. Hold speed at 90. Tailwheel right back. Over the boundary. Hold off a fraction. Sink, sink - right back now with the stick. Bump, rumble, rumble, rumble - fine. No brakes - plenty of room. Tiny bit heavy that
one. Not quite right. Oh well. Taxi in - run the petrol out of the carburettor, switch off ignition, brakes off, undo safety and parachute harness and jump out.

I stroll across to join the other pilots. Prosser fixes me with his characteristic dead-pan look."You just missed a steeple when we were beating-up Havre, Paul," he says casually.
"Did I?" Equally casual. "Glad I didn't see it!"

.................................................. ...............................

.................................................. ..........

CONVERGEANCE SETTINGS

A few days later an air marshall from the Air Ministery paid us a visit. He had come, he told us, to find out out why we had shot down every aircraft we had attacked while the Fighter Command squadrons in England were, in the main, only succeeding in "driving the German aircraft off in an easterly direction", as the communiques delicately phrased it.Since we were no longer under the jurisdiction of Fighter Command we had no hesitation in telling the air marshall the reason.

All single-seat eight-gun squadrons in Fighter Command - both Hurricanes and Spitfires - had very poor practice shooting results before the outbreak of war. We all used the "Dowding Spread" at that time - a method of gun-harmonization laid down in accordance with the conviction of our Commander-in-Cheif, Air Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding, that his fighters would never see, let alone engage, enemy fighters.

In theory the Dowding Spread, which was worked out for shooting at enemy bombers from astern, seemed a good idea. Used against a big target, theoretically it produced a wide enough bullet pattern to compensate for aiming error and left
sufficient lethal density to destroy such a target. Furthermore, the range laid down - 400 yards - was outside effective enemy defensive fire.Now we were not armament experts, but we knew about flying and air firing, and we didn't like the Dowding Spread. We reckoned that, even if the experts were right and that at 400 yards' range the bullet velocity was still high enought to prevent tumble, maintain accuracy and penetrate armour (which seemed unlikely),
the spread produced by aiming, shooting and random errors combined would be more than enough to drop lethal density below the minimum required for a kill, especially against a small target like a fighter - which WE were not at ALL convinced we would never meet. As for defensive fire from an enemy bomber, we felt his one or two guns hardly stood a chance against the Hurricane's eight. Curiously, the only thing we were wrong about turned out to be this last point.Fighter Command had dismissed our theories, so during our month's shooting
practice in the spring of 1939 we secretly harmonized all our guns on a spot at 250 yards range. Our shooting results on towed air targets showed we were right - we shot them clean away time and time again. Action in France had now proved this point: we had shot down every enemy aircraft we'd attacked.To the air marshall, and later on to the Air Staff, the case was conclusive. All sigle-seat fighter squadrons were instucted to adopt our method. It was not a moment too soon...

Not long afterwards we made another contribution that was benefit all our fighter
squadrons. While still with Fighter Command, in order to facilitate recognition by our observers on the ground the undersides of our wings were painted black on one side, white on the other. We considered thid to be idiotic, since the German aircraft were duck-egg blue underneath and very difficult to spot from below, whereas we stood out like flying chequerboards. So the Bull gave orders for the undersides of our aircraft to be painted duck-egg blue, and this too was later adopted for all RAF fighters.

.................................................. ...............................

.................................................. ..........

"By the time No.1 Squadron withdrew from France on 18th June 1940, they had gained a formidible combat reputation. Miraculously, they had destroyed a total of 155 enemy aircraft with only three of their own pilots having been killed, two wounded and one captured".

Fighter Pilot: a personal record of the campaign in France 1939-1940
by Paul Richey 1941.
1990 edition published by Leo Cooper.
ISBN 1-85089-550-3
.................................................. ...............................
As mentioned at the top of this thread, the book is now widely available, might be useful reading while you wait for BoB.

Perhaps someone else has a recommendation?

new-fherathras
07-09-2005, 09:24 AM
thank you http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

p1ngu666
07-09-2005, 11:06 AM
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

Jungmann
07-09-2005, 12:25 PM
This book has always been one of my favorities--recommend it to all RAF nuts. Up there with Clostermann. I always loved the names in 1 Squadron. "Boy Mould" reminds me of my toes back in gym class.

Cheers,

wayno7777
07-10-2005, 02:17 AM
Reach for the Sky, Fly for Your Life, Fighter and Duel of Eagles come to mind...(Bader, Tuck, BoB and Townsend)