Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day 372 September 6, 1940

Battle of Britain Day 59. At 3 AM, an armed German parachutist dressed in civilian clothes with a Swedish passport and British identity card lands in Northamptonshire to report on damage to airfields. He is injured by landing on his wireless set and is discovered in a ditch in Denton by a farmer at 5.20 PM. With continued good flying weather, Luftwaffe stays with the successful tactics of recent days. They send 3 raids up the Thames Estuary and across Kent at 9 AM, 1 PM and 6 PM, again splitting up to attack RAF airfields at Heston, Kenley and Biggin Hill. Hawker aircraft factory at Brooklands and oil storage tanks at Thameshaven are bombed for the second day. Luftwaffe loses 37 fighters and 7 bombers. RAF loses 22 fighters (7 pilots killed, 1 taken prisoner when his Spitfire is shot down in France). The situation is becoming critical for RAF with 295 fighters lost (171 badly damaged) and 103 pilots killed (128 wounded) since August 24.

British submarine HMS Tribune attacks U-56 40 miles West of Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland (all torpedoes miss U-56). Luftwaffe bombs merchant ships around Ireland, damaging British MV Melbourne Star (180 miles West of Ireland, under repair for 1 month) and Greek SS Aegeon (in the Irish Sea, 30 miles Southeast of Dublin).

British aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, battleships HMS Barham and HMS Resolution and 10 escort destroyers depart Gibraltar bound for Freetown, Sierra Leone, for refueling. They will join cruisers HMS Devonshire and HMAS Australia to cover landings at Dakar by Free French troops under General De Gaulle (supported by 8,000 British troops).

Despite RAF’s needs for the Battle of Britain, 30 more Hurricanes are flown off aircraft carrier HMS Argus to Takoradi in the British colony of Gold Coast, West Africa, to be flown 3600 miles overland to RAF Abu Sueir in Egypt.

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