Air attacks ‘comparatively few and mostly unsuccessful’

Downed aircraft became a familiar site, especially in south east England.
Photographs of downed enemy aircraft were given wide publicity.

The ‘Battle of Britain’ as it was later to be officially designated had been under way for almost a month. However the Chiefs of Staff Weekly Resume, for the benefit of the War Cabinet, gives a rather re-assuring picture of bombing attacks not getting through:


Great Britain.

27. German bomber operations during the week were almost exclusively concentrated by day against seaborne targets, and, apart from the 8th August, attacks were comparatively few and mostly unsuccessful. On the 8th August three separate attacks, each of about 100 enemy aircraft, were directed against a convoy off the Isle of Wight, and several ships were sunk or damaged. All these raids were engaged by fighters, and fifty-two enemy aircraft (seventeen Junkers 87 and the remainder fighters) were definitely shot down, with a further fourteen unconfirmed. Our casualties amounted to seventeen fighters and a Blenheim engaged on a training flight. Several of our pilots have been rescued.

28. On numerous other occasions formations of aircraft approached our coast but turned back on sighting British fighters. On the 5th August a threatened attack in the Dover area was driven off before it could develop, and three of the escorting fighters were shot down by Spitfires, a further four probably being destroyed. Except on two occasions land objectives were attacked at night, but these raids were sporadic and caused little damage.


General Review.

45. During daylight enemy air activity overland has been very small and attacks have been concentrated on our convoys off the East and South Coasts. During darkness enemy aircraft have flown over the whole of England, most of Wales and the whole of Scotland except for the West Coast. The flights have mvariably been made by single aircraft which have consistently used the same routes. For the first time there has been a marked tendency to fly over the Midland Industrial Area.

46. Bombing has been on a very small scale and nearly ten per cent, of the high-explosive bombs did not explode and a number of incendiary bombs also failed. Leaflets consisting of extracts from Hitler’s recent speech, headed “An Appeal to Reason,” have been dropped over various parts of England.

TNA cab/66/10/38

A contemporary German newsreel (with english subtitles) provides a different perspective:

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