10 July, the official first day of the Battle of Britain, witnessed increased aerial activity over the English Channel and along the eastern and southern seaboards of the British coastline. The main assaults by ever-increasing formations of Luftwaffe bombers, escorted by Bf 109 and Bf 110 fighters, were initially aimed at British merchant shipping convoys plying their trade of coal and other materials from the north of England to the southern ports.
These attacks often met with increasing success although RAF Spitfires and Hurricanes endeavoured to repel the Heinkel He 111s, Dornier Do 17s and Junkers Ju 88s, frequently with ill-afforded loss in pilots and aircraft. Within a month, the English Channel was effectively closed to British shipping.
Only a change in the Luftwaffe’s tactics in mid-August, when the main attack changed to the attempted destruction of the RAF’s southern airfields, allowed convoys to resume sneaking through without too greater hindrance.
|234 x 156 mm
|15 July 2017
|32 black-and-white photographs
Brian Cull has been writing Second World War aviation history for the past twenty-five years and has more than twenty-five titles to his credit, many of which have been highly acclaimed. For Fonthill Media, he is the author of First of the Few: 5 June-9 July 1940, The Diary of Sonny Ormrod DFC: Malta Fighter Ace (with Frederick Galea), 249 at Malta: RAF’s Top-Scoring Fighter Squadron (with Frederick Galea), Fighters Over the Aegean: Hurricanes Over Crete, Spitfires Over Kos, Beaufighters Over the Aegean, 1943-44 and Battle for the Channel: The First Month of the Battle of Britain 10 July-10 August 1940.