Roof over Britain - the official story of the A.A Defences, 1939 - 1942

6 ROOF OVER BRITAIN reasons why this should be so for instance, atmospheric conditions, such as a belt of moisture, deflect the shell in its flight and with each shot the charge burns a little differently. The anti-aircraft problem is more complicated. Instead of sitting still, the target is moving at anything up to 300 m.p.h. with the ability to alter course left or upright, or down. If the target is flying high it may take 20 or 30 seconds for the shell to reach it, and the gun must be laid a corresponding distance ahead. Moreover the range must be determined so that the fuse can beset, and above all, this must be done continuously so that the gun is always inlaid the right direction. When you are ready to fire, the ’plane, though its engines sound immediately overhead, is actually two miles away. And to hit it with a shell at that great height the gunners may have to aim at a point two miles farther still. Then, if the raider does not alter course or height, as it naturally does when under fire, the climbing shell and the bomber will meet. In other words the raider, which is heard apparently overhead at the Crystal Palace, is in fact at that momefit over Dulwich and the shell which is fired at the Crystal Palace must togo Parliament Square to hit it. It is like shooting a pheasant with a rifle in the dark. Perfect teamwork is necessary. Any single man, from the man who sees the ’plane and decides it is hostile (a testingly responsible decision), to the man who pulls the firing lever, can wreck the shoot. So it is not bad going that three times our A.A. gunners have shot down more than 50 German ’planes over this country in a week, and that during one week they shot down 70. During their most successful 24 hours, August 15th, 1940, they destroyed 23 enemy ’planes, this bag being contributed toby gun batteries in seven towns from Dundee to Dover. Eleven were brought down at Dover, seven on Tyneside and Teeside, and the rest at Southampton, Harwich and Dundee. A fortnight later, on August 31st, 21 were shot down, 16 of them in 90 minutes during the evening blitz. During the whole of 1940, A.A. batteries in the British Isles shot down 444-i enemy aircraft. The odd half represents the A.A. gunners’ share in an enemy bomber which was finished off by fighters after it had been winged by a near miss from aground battery. These figures do not include the many probables which limp out over the coast and crash unwitnessed in the sea. During the first two years of war just on 600 ’planes were shot down by A.A. fire over this country, and during the same two years fighter ’planes destroyed 3,900. So, roughly speaking, the guns bring down one ’plane for every six shot down by fighters. The
Add Names

Disclaimer

We have sought to ensure that the content of this website complies with UK copyright law. Please note however, that we may have been unable to ascertain the rights holders of some items. Where we have digitised items, we have done so with items that to the best of our knowledge, following due investigations, are in the public domain. While the original works are in the public domain we reserve all rights to the usage of the digital works.

Small Medium Large Landscape Portrait