The Spitfire Mk XII was essentially a standard Spitfire VC airframe modified to take a Griffon III engine. A four-blade Rotol propeller, rotating clockwise - the reverse of the Merlin, was fitted to the Griffon engine. The aircraft was designed to be a high performance low altitude fighter and was delivered with clipped wings to improve manoeuvrability. Compared to the Spitfire V, the bulge over the cannon feed on the mainplane was much smaller, the rudder and trimming tabs were larger, and the engine cowlings and spinner differed considerably in order to accommodate the Griffon engine. The universal wing of the Spitfire V was fitted, armament being two 20 mm cannon and four .303 machine guns. While early models were based on the Spitfire V airframe, subsequent aircraft utilized the Spitfire VIII fuselage which incorporated such refinements as flush rivetting and a retractable tail wheel. All models were fitted with the broad chord rudder of the Spitfire VIII. The fuel capacity was 85 gallons with provision made for jettison tanks. The operational weight with full fuel and ammunition was 7,400 lbs. While the Griffon III engine was fitted to the majority of Spitfire XIIs, the Griffon IV engine was fitted to the last 15 aircraft built which were delivered in July and August 1943. A total of 100 Mk XIIs were built.
Brief Operational History
The first production aircraft (EN.221) was delivered in October 1942. No. 41 Squadron began re-equipping with Spitfire XII’s when they moved to High Ercall at the end of February, 1943. March was spent working up on the new aircraft. The Squadron Operations Record Book (ORB) noted for 30 March “Two more Spitfire XII aircraft arrived during the afternoon, and thus brought the Squadron up to full establishment with these aircraft.” The first operational sorties with the Spitfire XII’s occurred on 3 April, Form 541 noting “Scramble base at Valley to 27,000 ft. Nothing to report”. Intensive operations, however, began after the squadron moved to Hawkinge on 13 April. 41 Squadron took over the duties of 91 Squadron, which went off operations and moved to Honiley to also re-equip with Spitfire XII’s. F/O R. H. W. Hogarth drew first blood, shooting a Ju 88 down into the sea 2 miles North of Ostend on 17 April. On 27 April Blue Section engaged 4 FW 190’s while carrying out a recco to Calais-Somme. F/O C. R. Birbeck downed one of the FW.190’s, thus marking the Spitfire XII’s first confirmed victory against a German fighter. Operational duties for April included recco’s of French ports such as Dieppe, Ostende and Calais; recco’s of shipping along the French coast and in the English Channel; patrols of Dungeness and Hastings area; and scrambles.
91 Squadron went operational with their Spitfire XII's when they moved back to Hawkinge in May. 41 Squadron moved to Biggin Hill on 21 May, followed by a move to Friston on the 28th. Their primary duty, as recorded in their ORB, was now to “protect the coastal towns against tip and run raiders”. 91 Squadron downed five of these tip and run 190’s on 25 May, the Squadron Diary noting:
41 Squadron departed from the usual scrambles and coastal patrols on the 27th in order to perform an “Offensive rhubarb on Ault, Beauchamp and Tocqueville”. 41 Squadron got a crack at the tip and run raiders on 4 June when 18 FW 190's raided Eastbourne. F/O J. Solak (Polish) intercepted them at sea level and shot one down into the water, while F/O D. H. Smith roughed up another but didn't see it go in. It was 91 Squadron’s turn again two days later when P/O D. H. Davy and Sgt. J. T. Watterson ran down a FW 190 heading south from Beachy and shot it down into the sea.
41 Squadron moved to Westhampnett, a satellite field of Tangmere, on 21 June. Marking a shift in operational duty, on 26 June the squadron provided withdrawal support for 60 Fortesses which were bombing Le Mans. Two days later, on the 28th, 91 Squadron joined 41 at Westhampnett to form the Tangmere Spitfire XII Wing. Led by Wing Cdr. Rhys Thomas, the newly formed Spitfire XII Wing carried out its first joint mission on 29 June, a Ramrod escorting Fortresses to Le Mans. During July the Tangmere Wing (Spitfire XII) was primarily engaged in Ramrods - escorting Fortresses, Mitchells, Marauders, as well as Typhoons to attack targets in France. These targets included the marshalling yards at Amiens and St. Omer; airdromes at Poix, Abbeville and Tricqueville; and assorted targets at Le Havre, Villacoubay, Le Bourget and Yainville. The Wing would often sweep ahead of the main bomber formation. Other times they would provide target support, withdrawal support or escort cover. Rhubarbs were carried out when the weather was not conducive to bombing, the favorite target being trains. The Tangmere Wing received the following Signal dated 15/7 from General Anderson Commanding 8th U.S. Bomber Command:
On 18 July the Wing took part in Ramrod 148 where S/L Harries of 91 Squadron turned in a good performance:
Missions were much the same for the Spitfire XII Wing during August where again they scored the occasional victory. The focus of the Ramrods was bombing raids on enemy airfields. The Wing participated in the raids on airfields at St. Omer, Tricqueville, Poix, Lille, Bryas Sud, Bernay, Abbeville and Monchy-Breton. The following exerpt from 41 Squadron's ORB for 17.8.43 captured the essense of August's activity:
Rhubarb weather found the Wing shooting up targets of opportunity in northern France and shipping off the coast. On another note, W/C Harries took over control of the Tangmere Wing on 19 August.
The constant bombardment of Luftwaffe airdromes in France by the Allies could no longer be ignored by September 1943. The German Fighter Groups attempted to put up a more spirited defense which led to greater opportunities for the Spitfire XII Wing and they made the most of it, destroying 28 of the enemy aircraft for the month. 41 squadron's ORB recorded the results of a 4.9.43 escort mission:
The Wing participated in Ramrods against airfields at Vitry-en-Artois, Moncy Breton, Beaumont Le Roger, Everux and Beauvais, France as well as Woesdrecht A/D in Holland. They had good results on the 16.9.43 escort mission to Beaumont-le-Roger, shooting down three Me 109G's and 2 FW 190's. On 22 September, while escorting Marauders to Evreux Airfield, 41 Squadron destroyed 3 FW 190s with 2 probables and 1 damaged with W/C Harries adding a FW 190 destroyed and another damaged. The Spitfire XII squadrons seemed to have particularly good success on those days when they flew in the vicinity of Beauvais A/D - home of II./JG 26. Notable was Ramrod 241 to Beauvais on 24 September when 91 Squadron scored three Fw 190’s destroyed and another damaged, while 41 Squadron accounted for two 190’s destroyed as well as two probables. 41 Squadron recorded the events of the day as follows:
During September, the Wing also provided escort to Marauders, Mitchells, Bostons and Venturas hitting marshalling yards at Abbeville, St Pol, Rouen, St Mayo, St Omer and Lille.
41 and 91 Squadrons moved from Westhampnett to Tangmere on 4 October. Wing sweeps to Lille/Veudeville A/D on the 8th and back to Woensdrecht A/D on the 9th were uneventful. Bad weather followed through the middle of the month. The wing was grounded for 13 days in October due to weather. The pace of operations slowed with the wing engaging in exercises and Rhubarbs - where several trains were successfully attacked. Lt. Jaco Andrieux (French) of 91 Squadron destroyed a Fw 190 near Poix-Amiens during Ramrod 273 on the 18th, and F/O Davy battered a 109 on the 19th. The Spitfire XII Wing turned in one of its best days on 20 October 1943, 91 Squadron's Diary noting:
Ramrods had become much harder hitting affairs by this stage of the war. The Wing escorted 72 Marauders to Evreux in Ramrod 280 on 22 October. Two days later the Wing provided escort cover to 72 Marauders bombing Beauvais Tille A/D. That same day another 72 Marauders hit Montdidier A/D, while a third raid of 72 Marauders bombed St/ Andre de L’Evre A/D. These attacks made the forward French bases untenable for the Luftwaffe, forcing their withdrawal. During the winter of 43/44 operations slowed. Poor weather and the Luftwaffe’s withdrawal reduced scoring opportunities for the Spitfire XII squadrons. 41 Squadron noted in their ORB for 31.12.43:
91 Squadron flew their last operations with the Spitfire XII on February 28 (fittingly and predictably escort cover to Marauders). The Squadron Operations Record Book notes for 29 February 1944:
41 Squadron would have to wait until summer before they could convert to the Spitfire XIV.
Spitfire F Mk. XII D.P.845
Climb and level speed performance
and position error correction
|Max. rate of climb in M.S. supercharger gear||3760 ft/min.@ 2,600 ft.|
|Max. rate of climb in F.S. supercharger gear||2760 ft/min.@ 15,300 ft.|
|In M.S. supercharger gear||372 m.p.h. at 5,700 ft.|
|In F.S. supercharger gear||397 m.p.h. at 17,800 ft.|
|Performance on Climb|
|Level Speed Performance|
Spitfire F Mk. XII D.P.845
Climb and level speed performance
and position error correction with a Griffon VI engine
|Max. rate of climb in M.S. supercharger gear||4,960 ft/min.@ 1,900 ft.|
|Max. rate of climb in F.S. supercharger gear||4,300 ft/min.@ 10,200 ft.|
|In M.S. supercharger gear||375 m.p.h. at 4,600 ft.|
|In F.S. supercharger gear||389 m.p.h. at 12,800 ft.|
|Performance on Climb|
|Level Speed Performance|
The following chart represents a comparison of the Spitfire XII and its contemporaneous adversaries during the height of the Spitfire XII Wing's activity from May through October, 1943.
DP.845 was the prototype Spitfire XII. It was fitted with a Griffon IIB engine and normal span wings. The report noted a Rotol "experimental" propeller was fitted, however, it was previously reported that this model propeller was "rather inferior" in climb and that maximum level speed did "not show any appreciable difference" to production propellers. AFDU Report No. 61 noted that speeds of a production Spitfire XII (EN.223) with Griffon III and clipped wings "were found to be almost identical" to DP.845. For comparison, Spitfire XII MB.878 with Griffon VI operating at +12 lbs/2750 RPM achieved 394 mph at 18,100 ft. (15th part of Report No. AAEE/692,o). The Spitfire XII Aircraft Data Sheet is in good agreement with these test results.
The Fw 190 A-5 curve above comes from a Focke Wulf chart dated 220.127.116.11 It includes compressibility corrections and gives performance at take-off and emergency power (Start und Notleistung). The Fw 190 A-5 Aircraft Development Sheet gives speeds as 351 mph at sea level and 407 mph at 20,669 ft. (GL/C-E2 Flugzeug-Entwicklungs-Blatt Fw 190(J) 1.11.44). 2 A German document compiling flight performance of the FW 190 A-5 gives 352 mph at sea level and 408 mph at 20,669 ft. (Zusammenstellung der wichtigsten Flugleistungen der Normaljäger Fw 190 mit BMW 801 D). 3 Taking into account the drop tank rack that operational FW 190's were customarily equipped with, the level speeds of the Spitfire and 190 would be just about even. Certainly there was little to choose when one also takes into account a typical 3% production variation. Summarizing the German data:
|Alt Km||Km/H||Alt Ft.||MPH|
|Horizontalgeschwindigkeit über der Flughöhe, Normaljäger Fw 190 A-5, 20.10.43|
|GL/C-E2 Flugzeug-Entwicklungs-Blatt Fw 190(J) 1.11.44|
|Zusammenstellung der wichtigsten Flugleistungen der Normaljäger Fw 190|
For additional information related to the FW 190 A-5 refer to FW 190 A-5 Performance written by Hermann & Williams. See Me 109 G Flight Testing for further information on Me 109 G performance. The Me 109G had a climb advantage over the Spitfire XII powered by the Griffon III, but otherwise would have been very hard pressed indeed at anything under 18,000 feet. Those Spitfire XIIs delivered or re-engined with the Griffon IV could climb, according to AFDU tacitcal trials, "about the same as that of the standard Spitfire IX (Merlin 66) up to 4,000 feet, after which it is still noticeably inferior". Above 20,000 feet the Spitfire XII quickly ran out of steam.
The following Griffon engines were fitted to Spitfire XIIs:
Griffon IIB, 1,720 hp, (1939), Supercharger rotor diameter 10.1 in; two speed, 7.85:1/10.68:1, single-stage supercharge, similar to Mk II, compression ratio 6:1. Injection-type carburettor. Geared drive .451:1. Rated RG.2SM.
F/O C. R. Birbeck of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 27 April, 1943:
I was Blue 2 on a weather recco to Calais and the Somme area. We flew down the French coast at zero feet, climbing North of the Somme to about 2,000 feet. Controller then told us to steer 330 degrees and we were just turning on to this course, West of the Somme Esturary, when I saw two F.W. 190's approaching from three o'clock at our height. I warned Blue 1, who turned towards them. I dived down to the deck, pulling up in a steep turn towards the E/A. One of these, which I saw through thin cloud, was climbing. I climbed after him and fired a full beam shot at him, giving him a six seconds cannon and m/g burst, starting at 700 yards and closing to 300 yards. The E/A did a gentle turn towards the French coast and I saw flames on the port side which seemed to be coming from just in front of the cock-pit. I broke away and was pursued up the French coast by another F.W. 190 for about five minutes. This E/A kept firing from about 600 yards, missing to port. I was taking violent skidding evasive action on the deck and he was just about holding me at 340 I.A.S. I had not jettisoned my extra tank. He finally abandoned the chase and turned towards France. I claim one F.W. 190 Destroyed.
S/Ldr. Ray H. Harries DFC & Bar of 91 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 25 May, 1943:
I was leading Blue section, comprising 4 aircraft of 91 Squadron, on a defensive patrol. I had just returned to base & with my No. 2 had just landed when the scramble signal was given from the watch office. We both immediately took off again & saw enemy aircraft approaching Folkestone. I immediately dived towards the sea, the enemy aircraft turning back & jettisoning their bombs immediately they saw us. Going over Folkestone I experienced very heavy flack, luckily inaccurate, from our ground defences. I sighted one lone F.W.190 at sea level returning to France. I came in from his starboard side, delivering a 3 second burst at 250 yards. Enemy aircraft hit the sea tail first, split in two & sank immediately. I then spotted another F.W.190 to starboard. I flew straight over the top of it in order to identify it in the failing light. Enemy aircraft pulled up his nose & gave me a quick squirt. I pulled straight up to about 1000 ft. & turning to port dived in to his tail, opening fire from 300 yds & closing to 150 yds. I fired a 4 second burst, seeing strikes & flashes all over enemy aircraft. Enemy aircraft lost height very gradually with smoke & flames coming from it, skimmed for some distance along the surface of the water & then sank. This was confirmed by F/Lt Matthew & F/Lt Kynaston. I orbited around taking cine gun snaps of the oil patch & pieces of wreckage visible.
F/O J. A. Round of 91 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 25 May, 1943:
I had just landed with Blue Leader and was taxying back to dispersal when the Flying Control fired the "scramble" signal. I took off at once and headed towards Folkestone where I saw a lot of flak. I saw two F.W. 190's flying parallel with the coast Westwards on the deck and watched them jettison their bombs. I tried to attack the leader but could not get enough deflection and did not fire. I climbed up and saw two more, heading out to sea, so followed them and selected the No. 2, who was being left behind by his leader. I chased him for about 10 miles until I was about 200 yards behind him, at the same time trimming my aircraft. I found myself suddenly pulling up on him very quickly and gave a burst of about 3 secs from full astern. His nose went down and he went straight into the sea. I continued chasing the other but lost sight of him in the failing light. As I turned to go back I saw a big spash some way to the West as if an aircraft had gone in.
F/O Jean P. Maridor (Free French) of 91 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 25 May, 1943:
I was about to land when I heard Control say there were several E/A coming in towards Folkestone. I opened up straight out to sea and saw about 12 F.W. 190's at sea level, one mile off-shore, heading straight for Folkestone. I dived head-on at the leading formation with blue 4 just behind me to starboard. There were five E/A in a close box and the remainder were spread out behind them. Flak opened up from Folkestone. All the E/A panicked and jettisoned their bombs, turning towards the French Coast. I selected one E/A and was about to attack when I saw Pilot Officer Round in a better position than I was. I took another E/A on the starboard side and closed to 300 yards without difficulty, giving him a four secs burst from astern without result. I closed to 250, giving another 4 secs burst seeing cannon hits on the fuselage. He began to smoke and I gave him a third burst, seeing further hits. I broke away on seeing some tracer going past my wings from astern and saw the E/A I had attacked go straight into the sea.
P/O D. H. Davy of 91 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 6 June, 1943:
I was patrolling as Blue 1 with Sgt Watterson (Blue 2) and F/O Bond (Blue 3) South of Hastings, having taken over leadership of the section from F/O Johnson who had crash-landed owing to engine trouble. We headed in the direction of Pevensey Bay and saw bombs explode in Eastbourne. We changed course to approximately 200 degrees in hope of cutting off the E/A returning after the raid. I spotted an F.W.190 about three miles ahead of us one mile South of Beachy Head, going South at sea level. We gave chase and after about five minutes I engaged the E/A, opening up from 250 yards astern and observing strikes. I then closed to 150 yards and observed more strikes. There was an increase in the black smoke coming from the E/A and I broke away to starboard and above him. There were flames coming from the starboard side of the E/A's cowling. Blue 2 then engaged and when he broke away I came in again and with two more bursts from 150 yards astern, seeing more strikes, After running out of ammunition I continued to take camera shots. Blue 2 then went in again from very close range. I observed more strikes and the E/A went into the sea, exploding as he hit the water. I claim one FW 190 destroyed shared with Blue 2 (Sgt Watterson).
Sgt. J. T. Watterson of 91 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 6 June, 1943:
I was Blue 2 in a section of three being led by P/O Davy on a patrol South of Hastings. We were told that there were 12 plus E/A at Pevensey and then saw bombs exploding in Eastbourne. I followed Blue 1 when he altered course to intercept the raid on the way out. We spotted one F.W. 190 about 3 miles away at sea level and closed steadily until Blue 1 was able to attack with several bursts of cannon and machine-guns. I saw strikes during these attacks. The E/A was taking mild evasive action and during one or two of his gentle turns I fired several short bursts with about 10 degrees defelction, observing strikes. After Blue 1 had made another attack and scored a good strike to starboard on the E/A. so that black smoke issued, I was able to close to about 100 yards and give a three second burst which resulted in strikes all over the aircraft. The E/A hit the sea and broke up and I could not avoid passing through some of the wreckage thrown up, so that I sustained minor damaged to my aircraft. I claim one F.W. 190 destroyed (shared with P/O Davy).
F/O Ray S. Nash of 91 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 16 June, 1943:
I was leading Yellow Section comprising four aircraft of 91 Squadron escorting Walrus Air/Sea Rescue operations about four miles off Gris Nez. A rescue was effected and the Walrus was taxying back to Dover being unable to take off owing to the rough sea when I saw about twenty aircraft turning towards us from Gris Nez. We were at 500 feet and they were at about 2,000 ft. On turning towards them I recognized them as F.W. 190's and climbed into to them head on. A general dog-fight ensued. I attacked one at about 200 yards range from the beam, closing to 50 yards, deflection varying from one to two rings. I gave him approximately a two second burst and saw strikes on fuselage and mainplane. I was being attacked from astern by two more E/A so broke away, and seeing no result claim only a damaged.
S/Ldr. R. Harries of 91 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 18 July 1943:
I was leading Blue section 91 Squadron on Ramrod 143. Between Abbeville & Poix I sighted several E/A in front and above. I picked out 3 Me.109s which were in fairly close formation 700 ft. above and to port. I immediately climbed up and engaged the port A/C of the section, opening fire from approximately 250 yards. and seeing strikes on the wings and fuselage. This was confirmed by Sgt. Watterson (Blue 2). As the middle E/A was now closer to my line of fire, I turned my aircraft slightly to starboard and allowing approximately 1½ rings deflection shot his tail clean away with my first burst. The E/A spun towards the ground. The third E/A half rolled and dived away, white streamers showing from his wing tips. I half rolled after him and closed rapidly in the dive. I opened fire at approximately 200 yds., my strikes hitting the port wing and fuselage and starboard wing root. The E/A gave off white smoke and burst into flames. This was seen by a pilot of 197 Squadron.
F/O G. Stenborg D.F.C., NZ of 91 Squadron reported his combat of 24 August, 1943:
I was leading Yellow section of 91 Squadron. The Squadron was passing between Bernay and Beaumont aerodromes when I saw 2 F.W. 190’s diving (not at all steeply) from 6 o’clock. I headed around into them and chased one down. I estimated I was at about 700 yards when I first fired – hoping he would turn. He turned right and by cutting the corner I drew into about 450 yards. I gave him two or three bursts closing to about 300 yards and observed a strike on the left wing root and pieces falling off. In my last burst his hood – with bits and pieces – flew off. (He probably jettisoned this). As I then saw the Pilot getting out I ceased firing. The F.W. 190 crashed into a field from 200 feet and burst into flames. I claim 1 F.W. 190 Destroyed.
F/O C. R. Birbeck of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 4 September, 1943:
Flying as blue 3, I broke down over Le Touguet with my No. 2 as I understood there to be a fight going on. After orbiting there I picked up a F.W. 190 who was at about 5,000 ft. I fastened onto his tail and he pulled up in a steep left hand climbing turn and I was closing fast firing at intervals. We did a 360 degree orbit of Le Touquet in this manner my No. 2 still with me. He then half rolled inland and I followed him, in the dive he pulled away from me a little. My No. 2 was by now following another F.W. when he was hit by light flak over Etables. Meanwhile I followed the F.W. over the tree tops indicating 355 and closed on him. I gave him about 3 bursts from about 300-400 yards and after the last one, he hit some trees and crashed and cartwheeled over. I then made a pass at another but found I had run out of ammo and returned home on the deck experiencing considerable light flak.
91 Squadron's Intelligence Form 'F' records the following actions from 2 September, 1943:
At 18.50 hrs. the Tangmere Spitfire XII wing, 41 and 91 Squadrons, was scrambled from Lympne as high withdrawal cover in Ramrod S.24 Part III. Blue 1 (F/Lt. Matthew) of 91 Squadron left the wing to return the Lympne with technical trouble and was accompanied by Blue 2 (F/O Bond). When near Le Touquet at 12000 feet, 4 Me.109's were seen about 1000 feet above flying South. These E/A swept round to attack the section from astern and the section turned into the attack. Blue 1 attacked an E/A head on and gave a steady 2 second burst, range 700 yards closing very rapidly. Strikes were seen on the cowling of the E/A which passed beneath Blue 1, turned on its back and dived down, exploding when hitting the ground near Le Touquet. This is confirmed by Blue 2.
91 Squadron's Intelligence Form 'F' records the following actions from 4 September, 1943:
At 17.30 hrs. the Spitfire XII wing left base to act as escort cover to 36 Marauders bombing St. Pol marshalling Yards. This was Ramrod S.31 Part III.
F/O B. B. Newman of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 16 September, 1943:
I was flying Yellow 2, 41 Squadron, to F/Lt. Parry when about 6 E/A were reported diving towards the bombers, from the south as they were leaving the target area. I turned hard to starboard and dived towards E/A as I thought this was the intention of the Squadron, who had become obscured by my wing. E/A climbed behind the bombers and after I had looked around for my No. 1 I lost sight of them and joined up with the nearest formation of friendly fighters who happened to be 91 Squadron, Red Section.
S/Ldr. Norman A. Kynaston of 91 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 16 September, 1943:
I was leading 91 Squadron as high squadron in the Wing Escort Cover. When the Wing leader reported FW 190's over his squadron. These FW's flew over my Squadron about 1,000 ft. above. I turned the Squadron to port in a climbing turn into the sun and headed for the enemy aircraft, about 10 if them, and they immediately turned away and began diving away. We overtook them and they split up in various directions. I saw one on my starboard side and chased him inland opening fire first of all out of range, in the hope that he would turn, and then closing to 300 yards gave him a fairly long burst. I observed strikes on the cockpit and fuselage, and the aircraft which was at tree height turned slightly to port and flew into the ground, breaking up and catching fire.
F/Sgt. R. A. Blumer (R.A.A.F.) of 91 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 16 September, 1943:
I was flying Yellow 3 on ramrod, when F/Sgt. Mulcahy (Yellow 4) complained of engine trouble. When covering his going out of France, six 190's attacked us. I broke into them, broke up their attack and got onto one 190's tail, (F/Sgt. Mulcahy going on). I followed the 190 to the ground firing at close range and noticing many strikes on the fuselage and bits and pieces flying off aircraft.
W/Cdr. R. Harries leading the Spitfire XII wing recorded in his Combat Report for 19 September 1943:
I took off from Manston at 1049 hours on 19th September, leading the Westhampnett wing, (which consisted of Nos. 41 and 91 squadrons) in Part I of Ramrod 232. I was flying with 91 squadron.
F/Lt. John C. S. Doll of 91 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 19 September, 1943:
Found myself alone over Lille at about 9,000 ft with about 18 FW 190's and ME 1090's behind at about 3,000 ft. above. Looked round for some Spitfires and saw six ahead so opened up to join them. Just as I got slightly ahead and to one side 2 FW 190's jumped four of the Spitfires they broke past with the FW 190's firing. I got a second burst from 400 yards at the leader and saw a few strikes on front starboard side of fuselage. Also had a very short squirt, out of range, and deflection at the second one, which had dived down and fired at a Spitfire, - no hits. Then a general dog-fight for about 2 minutes until I saw one pull up from 6,000 to 9,000 feet. I followed him up having short bursts closing from 500 - 300 yards. Suddenly he flicked over and did a gentle gliding turn down to about 5,000 feet, when something white seemed to leave the A/C, it went into a spin and crashed straight into the ground.
W/Cdr. R. Harries leading the Spitfire XII wing recorded in his Combat Report for 22 September 1943:
I took off from Westhampnett, leading the Spitfire XII wing; flying with 41 squadron. Operation was carried out according to plan just after the bombing, when I saw several e/a approach the bombers head on. I turned towards these e/a and they all half rolled and dived south. I followed three of these e/a down, but was unable to close with them.
F/Lt. D. H. Smith of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 22 September, 1943:
I was flying No 3 in Yellow section. About 6-8 miles west of Evreux at about 12.20 hrs.- height 16,500 ft. I observed two F.W. 190's passing across 1,000 ft. below our section. I broke down followed by yellow 4 and attacked one of the E/A in a steep dive. I fired 3 short bursts from 350-400 yds at his port quarter above him. I observed one strike on port side of his cockpit and one in the centre of his starboard wing. The latter produced a series of small explosions in the starboard wing which eventually caused the outer end of the wing to break off. The E/A continued to dive towards the ground, yawing violently from side to side. I did not see the pilot leave the aircraft. I subsequently rejoined yellow section.
S/Ldr. Norman A. Kynaston of 91 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 23 September, 1943:
I was leading 91 squadron on Escort cover to Beauvais, when Yellow 1 spotted 9 F.W. 190's below and to the port. He dived down to identify and I followed on hearing that they were bandits. They broke and climbed and I pulled up behind one F.W. 190, which dived down and went inland. I chased him and closed to 300 yards and gave him 2 bursts from dead astern. He pulled up into the sun and I pulled to one side to be able to see him. My No. 2 (Red 2) pulled in behind him and gave him a burst and then delivered two attacks from dead astern, observing strikes and pieces flying off the 190. He then broke off and I closed in again and delivered a two second burst on the E/A, which was staggering in the air and which the pilot was baling out. I observed strikes and the pilot fell out of the aircraft, which burst into flames and crashed into the ground.
F/Lt. John C. S. Doll of 91 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 23 September, 1943:
I was flying yellow 4 at 13,000 ft when my No. 1 yellow 3 saw some 190's at about 3,000 ft. diving towards the coast going towards the bombers. We got down behind them at 2,000 ft, when a single F.W. 190 came in from the port beam and got right on my No. 1's tail. I called out and yellow 3 did steep climbing turn to the port with the 190 about 150 yds behind him and firing hard. I closed to about 300 yards and had a short burst but with too little deflection. I closed further in to 150 yds and gave the 190 a 3 second burst hitting it on the wings, fuselage, and cockpit. Bits flew off and flames poured from the front of the cockpit. He turned over on his back and went down in a spin with white smoke pouring from it and crashed into the ground.
F/Lt. A. A. Glen of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 24 September, 1943:
I took off from Westhampnett at 1520 flying as Blue 1 in 41 Squadron. We made rendezvous with 72 Maruaders and proceeded to Beauvais. My R/T was u/s and I heard no warnings of any E/A about, but when approaching target at about 15,000 ft - I saw about 10 F.W. 190's diving on my port side towards the bombers. I broke left and came in behind them and they pulled steeply to the right. Two of the E/A were lagging slightly and I took a quick squirt at the leader from about 300 yds and 45° deflection using cannon and m/g. I saw a large flash in the cockpit and he flicked over and collided with the E/A following him. Both A/C disintegrated. There was a terrific mix up in the area but being unable to find any further Huns within range, I joined the last box of bombers and came out on their flank, landing at base at 16.40.
F/O B. B. Newman of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 24 September, 1943:
I was flying Red 4, 41 Squadron and broke left when Squadron was passed by about 8-10 F.W. 190's. After completeing a turn I got my sight on an M.E. 109, fired a short burst and saw no results, as I had to break off the attack when I saw two F.W. 190's diving towards me. I turned behind the second of these two and gave one burst as E/A was rolling on its back to dive down. I followed in to about 600 yds seeing strikes on the fuselage. I gave a third burst as we were leveling out but had to break attack when my aircraft became difficult to handle.
S/Ldr. Norman A. Kynaston of 91 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 24 September, 1943:
I was leading 91 Squadron on top Squadron Wing Escort Cover, in Ramrod 242 to Beauvais. When approaching the Target about 15 ME 109's dived down on Bumper Squaadron. I told them to break and then attack the bandits. I chased one down to the ground and gave up the chase when I saw that he was diving towards Beauvais aerodrome. When climbing up again I saw two pairs of FW.190's passing underneath and dived down on to one pair. I was then joined by another Spitfire XII and I took the right hand FW. 190 and after a short chase closed to about 250 yards. After about 3 seconds burst I saw numerous strikes on the engine and cockpit of the FW. 190 and it began to break up into tiny pieces and then flew into the ground, where it exploded and burnt.
F/Lt. John C. S. Doll of 91 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 24 September, 1943:
I was flying Red 2 to the C.O. at about 15,000 ft. when suddenly about 10 ME 109's dived abreast vertically down in front of us. Red 1 turned over on his back and followed one, I followed him. He did and aileron turn to port, myself still following, when suddenly I saw flash past my port wing and one very bright flash 2 yards port of my cockpit. I looked round and saw another ME 109 about 800 yards behind me. My No. 1 dissappeared from my view so I did a half roll, now about 9,000 ft. and went straight down to the deck. When about 3,000 ft. I saw many Spitfires, FW. 190's and ME 109's at varying heights between about 4,000 ft. and the ground. I saw 2 FW. 190's at 300 ft. line abreast 50 yards apart about 4 miles away travelling South. I continued down to about 200 feet and gave chase apparently quite unnoticed as they both continued straight and level abreast 50 yards apart. After about 4 mins. I caught them up closing quickly. When about 400 yards away I pulled up to their level 500 feet and as I did the starboard one did a gentle climbing turn to starboard. I gave him a burst from between 250-300 yards. He seemed to straighten out as though hit. I then closed to 130 yards, I was still overtaking at (?), and gave him another burst from 150 yards closing to about 50 yds when I had to break over him due to my extra speed. Just before I broke his engine and cockpit burst into flames and pieces flew past me. White smoke poured from him. I pulled out to one side and watched him turn slightly to starboard and crash into the middle of a wood. Flames and smoke leapt into the air. Whilst watching this I looked round to see where the other 190 was and saw him on the other side of the wood about a mile away coming for me. I pushed everything forward and steered 220 for home at 0 feet. He chased me for about 40 miles. My engine was very rough and occasionally puffs came from port exhaust so I did not feel like playing with him. He was still a mile behind. I came to a round hill, made a 360 degree turn round its base and found I had lost him, throttled back and crossed the coast at a quite spot. I experienced no flak at any time.
F/Lt. Jean P. Maridor (Free French) of 91 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 24 September, 1943:
I was flying Red 3 when we were attacked by several ME 109's. I broke starboard and went down after a 109. I could not catch up so I went after four FW 190's who were diving down on my right and caught one of them at ground level and gave him a two second burst from the Starboard beam. I saw strikes and he crashed into a wood and exploded. This was seem by Red 4 and by Lotion leader. I then went for two more FW. 190's flying line abreast in front of me. I gave the leader a five seconds burst from 400 to 300 yards seeing no results. I then went for the number two giving him a five second burst, range 250 closing to 150 yards. He took violent evasive action. I saw some strikes and quite a lot of black smoke come out all round his engine cowlings as if on fire. I then broke away. For this I claim a FW. 190 damaged. This was seen by Red 4.
W/Cdr. R. Harries leading the Spitfire XII Wing recorded in his Combat Report for 27 September 1943:
I was leading the Spitfire XII Wing, which was escort cover in Ramrod 250, and was flying with 41 Squadron. As we approached the target several enemy aircraft were seen above and in the sun. After the bombing the enemy aircraft started to dive down on to the bombers and I detailed 91 Squadron to attack. One Marauder became detached from the main formation and lagged about 4 miles behind. Approximately 15 Me. 109G’s started to attack this bomber so I quickly brought 41 Squadron on the scene and several dog fights ensued. One Me. 109G (camouflaged dull grey and recognized by its underslung cannons) started to come round for a head on attack on me but I turned quickly into him and he started to dive down to the ground, I closed rapidly and from dead astern opening fire with a 1½ second burst from 300 yards and saw strikes on the fuselage of the enemy aircraft.
F/Lt. R. S. Easby of 91 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 27 September, 1943:
I was leading Yellow Section in 91 Squadron, acting as Escort Cover to Ramrod 250.
F/O A. G. O'Shaughnessy of 91 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 27 September, 1943:
I was flying Yellow 2 to F/Lt. Easby flying Yellow 1, in 91 Squadron acting as Escort Cover to Ramrod 250.
W/Cdr. R. Harries leading the Spitfire XII Wing recorded in his Combat Report for 20 October 1943:
I was leading the Tangmere Wing on Rodeo 263 and was flying with No. 41 Squadron. We swept Bernay, Beaumont and Evreux Area at 8,000 feet. After turning approximately 10 miles north of Evereux I sighted between 25 and 30 109s and 190s 5,000 feet above and coming round the sun. I increased speed as the enemy came down to attack. I put the Wing into a steep climbing turn to port. The enemy aircraft opened fire at extreme range without success; they then dived away steeply.
S/Ldr. Norman A. Kynaston of 91 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 20 October, 1943:
I was leading 91 Squadron when I saw 27 enemy aircraft up sun of us over Beaumont. I turned port into them and a dogfight ensued.
F/O B. B. Newman of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 20 October, 1943:
I was flying Yellow 3 in Viceroy Squadron when about 20 E/A were sighted at 9 o'clock to the wing in the vicinity of Rouen. E/A turned up sun of the wing and dived out of the sun towards us. I saw a 109g by itself and dived down on it from about 5000 ft. closing from about 600 yds. to 100 yds. at 500 feet.
F/O P. Cowell of 41 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 20 October, 1943:
I was flying as Blue 3 in Viceroy Sqdn., when the squadron was attacked by 20 E/A. I broke sharply to port and saw a F.W. 190 diving away on my starboard side. I followed this A/C down and opened fire at about 600 yds. I gave several bursts on the way down and at about 150 - 200 yds, I gave a long burst of cannon and M.G. closing to 50 yds.
F/O D. Fisher of 41 Squadron related his combat on 20 October, 1943:
I was flying Blue 2 and the Wing had just turned North from Beaumont at 8000' when about 20 enemy aircraft were seen above and approaching from the West, they were all thought to be F.W. 190's.
F/Sgt. R. A. Blumer (R.A.A.F.) of 91 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 20 October, 1943:
When flying Red 2 on Fighter Sweep we mixed it with about a Squadron of 109's. I noticed 2 109's sitting above and called out and went after them. I chased them down to the deck and was followed by several other Spitfires. I held my fire until 300 yards behind and scored some hits on fuselage with a 1 second burst. The two 109's then separated and I followed mine in a left turn and with another 1 second burst at 200 yards caused pieces to fly off and the petrol tank behind the pilot and engine to catch fire. The 109 then stalled, turned on it's back and hit the ground and exploded. P/O. McPhie confirms this.
F/Lt. John C. S. Doll of 91 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 20 October, 1943:
At 09.50 hours aircraft were reported at nine o'clock above. They turned round and came in to attack from five o'clock. The C.O. (S/Ldr. Kynaston) turned towards them and at the same time three ME 109's attacked my section (I was Yellow 1) from head on position. As they passed underneath us, I pulled sharply up and to port and saw two more 109's firing at me from port quarter. I pulled further to port and saw two more 109's to my port and underneath. I dived down on them. One pulled to the port and the other to slightly starboard. I turned starboard and followed him closing to 300 yards and gave him a 2 second burst - not enough deflection. He then pulled fairly tightly to port and I saw one strike on the port wing with another 2 second burst. I gave a quick look round and saw a 109 on my tail and pulled round tightly to port still firing. All the time my deflection was too little, but on pulling round my cannon shells caught up to the correct deflection and removed the tail unit of the 109 in front of me. I saw him whip over onto his back and go down. I then lost him whilst getting away from the 109 behind me and went fairly slowly to the deck looking round well as there were still a lot of aircraft about. I looked down to see if I could find the one I had shot the tail off and just then saw a plane burning on the ground with lots of black smoke coming out from it.
F/O Ray S. Nash of 91 Squadron recorded in his Combat Report for 20 October, 1943:
At about 09.50 hours, Harvest Yellow Section was attacked from head-on above. As Yellow 3, I became separated after breaking and climbed up towards six aircraft at 10,000 feet. They were yellow nosed FW 190's and ME 109's. Two of us chased two of them down to ground level, where they separated and I chased the 109G - I fired at him from astern at not less than 300 yards range. It was too bumpy to get closer, because of the terrific speed we were travelling over tree-tops. The 109G eventually crashed into a field, after receiving many hits, all over it.
1. Horizontalgeschwindigkeit über der Flughöhe, Normaljäger Fw 190 A-5, 20.10.43