The Hardest Day – WW2 Air Battle

German Aeroplane - Hardest Day 1940The Bromley & District Times published this photograph of a German plane which had been brought down close to Biggin Hill airfield during a fierce air battle between the German Luftwaffe and British Royal Air Force (RAF) on Sunday 18th August 1940.

The Luftwaffe had chosen this particular day to make an all-out effort to destroy RAF Fighter Command. The air battles that took place on the 18th August were amongst the largest aerial engagements in history to that time, with both sides suffering heavy losses.

In the air, the British shot down twice as many Luftwaffe aircraft as they lost. However, many RAF aircraft were destroyed on the ground, equalising the total losses of both sides. Both the Luftwaffe and the RAF lost more aircraft combined on this day than at any other point during the campaign, including 15 September, the Battle of Britain Day, which is generally considered the climax of the fighting.

It is for this reason that the 18 August 1940 became known as “the Hardest Day” in Britain.

This clearer picture was taken over 70 years ago, by a British serviceman, of a Dornier Do 17 bomber of 9 staffel (Squadron) Kampfgeschwader 76, brought down on 18 August 1940 near RAF Biggin Hill.

 

Source: Bromley & District Times, 23rd August 1940 and Wikipedia

 

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