Bader’s entry on 9 September accounted for an
hour and a half:
“Patrolled London with Wing - 242, 310, 19 [Squad-rons] 242 leading. Intercepted Enemy Aircraft Bombers and Fighters South of Thames. Wing destroyed 20
E/A. 242 Squadron got 11. I got the leader - a Do 215
in flames. Pilot Officer Sclanders killed. Sergeant Lon-sdale baled out OK. 2 Hurricanes of 310 collided - 1
pilot OK. Baled out.”
This Bf 109E of JG 27 exemplifies
the Messerschmitt's strengths
and faults. Possessing
excellent performance, its
limited endurance handicapped
Luftwaffe units during the
Battle of Britain in 1940. (Photo
courtesy of Norman Taylor)
For September 15 — now commemorated as
Battle of Britain Day — Bader recorded two missions.
1. Wing patrolled London. Engaged enemy formation
and destroyed most of them. Wing comprised 242,
310, 302, 19 and 611. Eric Ball shot down - OK.
2. Sighted large enemy formation and tried to attack,
but too low. Was attacked by Me 109s and had to
break away. Spun off [pilot’s name]’s slipstream & out
of the fight.
Wing total for day: 52 [confirmed] + 8 [Probably de-stroyed]
242 total: 12.
Georgie P S [Powell-Shedden] shot down baled out.”
The day’s first entry was 90 minutes; the second 50.
A Spitfire pilot’s logbook at Britain’s national
archives shows similar figures to Bader’s. In August 1940, his 15 flights totaled 12: 55, averaging
52 minutes. At times, the pace seemed unrelenting with three and four scrambles a day.
Across the English Channel, the RAF’s opponents lived with a perennial problem: the 109E’s
Recalled Luftwaffe ace Adolf Galland, “It took
us roughly half an hour from takeoff to crossing
the English coast at the narrowest point of the
Channel. Having a tactical flying time of only 80
minutes, we therefore had about 20 minutes to
complete our task … German fighter squadrons
on the Pas de Calais … could barely cover the
southeastern parts of the British Isles. An oper-
ating radius of 125 miles was sufficient for local
defense, but not enough for tasks as were now
demanded of us.”
Many returning Jagdflieger ditched in the
Channel or slid to a stop with French sand in the
bellies of their aircraft.