World War Two Daily: October 1, 1940: Wait Daddy

Thursday, September 29, 2016

October 1, 1940: Wait Daddy

Tuesday 1 October 1940

1 October 1940 Wait For Me Daddy
"Wait For Me Daddy," by Claude P. Dettloff, October 1, 1940: A line of soldiers marches in British Columbia on their way to a waiting train as five-year-old Whitey Bernard tugs away from his mother's hand to reach out for his father. The troops are the British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught's Own Rifles) in New Westminster, Canada. Other spouses and family members also say their goodbyes all along the column. This is widely considered one of the most powerful photographs ever taken. (H/t Jodi P)
Battle of Britain: The Luftwaffe high command - namely Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering - continues tinkering with its strategy on 1 October 1940. He reverses a recent strategy to send in fighter-bombers ahead of the medium bombers, which drained the fighters of fuel. Now, he orders that each fighter squadron be outfitted with a Gruppe of Bf 109E-7 fighter-bombs ("Jabos") to entice the RAF fighters up to do battle while leaving the all but the fastest Junkers Ju 88 bombers for night-time activity.

All of these tactical switches have a bad effect on the Luftwaffe's morale, but not everything that went wrong for the Germans was Goering's sole responsibility (even if he did have the final say on everything relating to the Luftwaffe except overall strategy). Goering was laboring under several handicaps which included:
  • Absolutely horrendous military intelligence about the RAF;
  • The fact that this was the first air campaign of its kind in history;
  • Equipment not suited to an air campaign of this nature;
  • Insufficient time to prepare for the campaign after the unexpectedly quick victory over France;
  • Orders from Hitler to bomb London.
Viewing the battle in its broadest sense, the German air effort in 1940 is a laboratory experiment regarding how to conduct a strategic bombing campaign against fierce defenses. In fact, it is one of the few times in history it ever has been tried. The lessons learned during it have helped every other air force since. Thus, if the Luftwaffe is making mistake after mistake, it is not (solely) because it was being run by stupid people with hideously misplaced objectives.

In the day's operations, the Luftwaffe gets off to an early start by attacking RAF Carew Cheriton at first light with two bombers. It is an unusually effective attack, destroying two Ansons on the field and several buildings. There were one death and 10 other casualties.

Several hours later, at 10:30, the Luftwaffe sends over a large fighter formation toward Portsmouth and Southampton. The 100+ fighters of JG 2, JG 53 and ZG 26 are met by RAF fighters in the area of the Isle of Wight. Losses are about even for the two sides. A problem with the new strategy arises early on, though, when the Jabos (fighter-bombers) have to jettison their bombs early at random in order to defend themselves, in some ways nullifying the benefits of the strategy. However, from the Luftwaffe's perspective, the strategy in the larger sense works because it draws the RAF fighters up to do battle, which they might not do otherwise if only pure fighters attacked.

Another formation approaches the coast at The Needles, and another dogfight breaks out. The Luftwaffe pilots appear to get the better of this engagement, shooting down several Spitfires.

After the now-typical lunchtime break, the Luftwaffe sends an attack on London at around 13:00 which consists of Jabos and some Heinkel He 111s escorted by Bf 109s. Fighter Command gets right on this highly predictable attack but suffers a bunch of losses when it runs into elite fighter squadron JG 26.

Shortly after 16:00, the Luftwaffe sends another Jabo/fighter formation to the area of RAF Kenley. This formation manages to reach London, somewhat justifying the change in strategy as the slow Heinkels and other German bombers typically have had to turn back well before then. As a bonus, the Luftwaffe only loses one plane in this bombing, though the Jabos carry far fewer bombs than the bombers and thus cause much less damage than they could have.

After dark, the main targets are London, Liverpool, Manchester, East Anglia, Bristol, and the Midlands - the usual targets. The British are catching on to the German radio direction-finding used by the Luftwaffe at night - the Knickebein system - and are learning how to jam it in RAF No. 80 Signals Section. This is an ongoing process that continues throughout the remainder of the battle. The raids during the night are very moderate, and by now the civilian population has learned how to protect itself as much as possible.

Losses for the day are fairly even, with the usual score given as 6 Luftwaffe losses and 4 RAF ones. This, as usual, does not include planes lost on the ground, RAF bombers lost on their own attacks, and the two-sides respective amounts of bombing damage, which overall gives the Luftwaffe a pretty good day. However, while the change of tactics to reduced bomber use during daylight may be working, it also represents a strategic defeat since the medium German bombers no longer can carry out precision daylight raids.

The first RAF bomber equipped to drop "Mutton" parachute bombs into the path of approaching Luftwaffe planes goes into operation. This follows on earlier, moderately successful attempts to drop bombs in the path of bombers during August.

Hptm. Helmut Wick of Stab I./JG 2 files claims for two Spitfires, giving him a total of 36 victories.

1 October 1940 Manchester Guardian Battle of Britain statistics
The Manchester Guardian runs one of its periodic summaries of the course of the Battle of Britain (for those keeping score at home). The loss figures shown are extremely fanciful and simply tally the highly inflated numbers distributed each day to the press. 1 October 1940.
European Air Operations: RAF Bomber Command continues its assault on Berlin, attacking a munitions plant there. Other raids occur on Cologne and Duisburg power plants, the coastal guns at Cap Gris Nez, and various airfields and ports in northwestern Europe. The raid on Berlin is notable because the RAF drops propaganda leaflets. The improving Luftwaffe night-fighter force shoots down four RAF bombers over Berlin, and anti-aircraft claims three others along the coast. The RAF is sending numerous small-scale raids on various targets - 105 separate attacks tonight - which prove difficult to intercept. Individually, however, they do not cause much damage, especially when taking into account poor accuracy endemic to bombers of the period.

Battle of the Atlantic: U-38 (Kptl. Heinrich Liebe), on her seventh patrol, uses a total of three torpedoes and sinks 14,172-ton British liner Highland Patriot (Master Robert Henry Robinson). Before sinking the ship, Liebe allows the passengers to disembark after first attacking at 06:47, preventing more casualties, then puts in his final torpedo. The sinking is about 400 miles (700 km) west of Ireland at 07:08. There are only 3 deaths out of the 172 people on board as sloop HMS Wellington (Cdr. R.E. Hyde-Smith, RN) is nearby to pick the survivors up quickly.

Italian submarine Maggiore Francesco Baracca (C.C. Enrico Bertarelli), operating out of Bordeaux about 300 miles (560 km) west of Porto, Portugal, disembarks the crew and then uses its deck gun to sink 3687 ton Greek freighter Aghios Nicolaos at 16:15. There are 27 survivors and four crew perish.

Dutch freighter Haulerwijk torpedoed on 30 September by U-32, is sunk by gunfire after the crew is taken off shortly after midnight.

Minesweepers MSW Britomart and Retake collide in the Firth of Forth, causing minor damage.

The Luftwaffe attacks Convoy WN. 19 Slow in the North Sea at dusk, machine-gunning the ships.

Force H cruises off the Azores as it steams north toward England, investigating reports of German invasion convoys.

Convoy FN 296 departs from Southend, Convoy OA 223 departs from Methil, Convoy OB 222 departs from Liverpool, Convoy SHX 77 departs from Halifax.

Battleship HMS King George V (41, Captain Wilfrid R. Patterson), built by Vickers-Armstrong, is commissioned for trials at Walker Naval Yard, Newcastle upon Tyne. It introduces the first Mk IV Pom-pom director and is the first ship with gyroscopic target tracking in tachymetric anti-aircraft directors. The battleship remains incomplete and, after completion of trials, will be taken to Rosyth for final fitting out. This is a major event in the life of the Royal Navy, as King George V is state-of-the-art and the first in a projected series of battleships. She also comes along just at the right time, as later events will prove.

1 October 1940 Highland Patriot
A Royal Mail postcard of Highland Patriot.
Battle of the Mediterranean: At Malta, cruisers HMS Gloucester and Liverpool, having unloaded their 1000+ troops and cargo, scoot back out of Grand Harbour and head back to Alexandria. The island's army units spend the day reorganizing and inspecting the new troops.

Manhattan Project: Uranium produced at the mine located at Shinkolobwe, Belgian Congo (the Democratic Republic of the Congo) is shipped to New York. Director Edgar Sengier stores the final total of 1140 tons of uranium in a Staten Island warehouse. The ore is freakishly rich, containing 65% U3O8. The mine itself has been closed and its location made classified - it even has been removed from maps - but the US Army at some point sends a squad from the Corps of Engineers there to reopen the mine and upgrade the nearby airfields at Léopoldville (now Kinshasa) and Elizabethville (now Lubumbashi) and the port of Matadi.

Albert Einstein receives his US citizenship documents.

German/Finnish Relations: The two nations continue tightening ties with each other. In addition to the transit rights granted to Wehrmacht troops recently, they agree that Germany will receive the right to all of Finland's nickel exports in exchange for arms shipments. Throughout the war, right into its final days, Germany may run short of many things, but nickel is not one of them because of this deal. The mine is in the far north near Petsamo and from this point forward becomes one of the most important but little-known strategic locations in Europe.

1 October 1940 Naz German propaganda newspaper
German propaganda newspaper Naz (dated 1 October 1940) blares the headline "Ten British Spies Caught in Japan." What is somewhat ironic about this headline - which apparently relates to a months-old incident - is that three German spies have just been caught in Scotland as part of Operation Lena.
German Military: Hubert Lanz receives the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross as an Oberst on the General Staff and as Chief of Staff of XVIII. Armeekorps during the Battle of France.

Erich Alfred Hartmann, who goes by the nickname "Bubi," begins his basic military training at the 10th Flying Regiment (Friegerausbildungsregiment) in Neukuhren (near Königsberg in East Prussia).

Wolfgang Falck, considered the "Father of the Nachtjagdwaffe (Night fighters)" and commander of NJG 1, receives the Ritterkreuz. Falck is busy developing new tactics with General Josef Kammhuber for better defense against growing RAF raids.

Also receiving the Ritterkreuz is Oberleutnant Gustav “Micky” Sprick, Staffelkapitän of 8./JG 26, for his 20th victory on 28 September.

I,/NJG 3 forms at Vechta with Bf 110s. Its first commander is Hptm. Günther Radusch.

At Zossen, General Halder continues the Army's perpetual preparations for phantom operations and sets in motion a detailed planning process for Operation Felix, the projected assault on Gibraltar. These sorts of contingency planning sessions take place in all armies, but the Wehrmacht's obsession with this particular operation - which would be easy with Spanish cooperation, and impossible without - creates an impression of pointless make-work for an idle staff.

Only Francisco Franco in Madrid can create the conditions necessary for Operation Felix, and his attitude remains obscure. His Foreign Minister Serrano Suner, having just met with Hitler, meets today with Mussolini in Rome to discuss similar "things."

US Military: The US Navy conducts landing operations in the Caribbean (probably Puerto Rico) with the Marines. The operation is called Special Landing Operation No. 2.

Clarence L. Tinker is promoted to Brigadier General. He currently serves as Commandant of the Air Services Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, Texas and is considered one of the US Army's top aviation experts (the US air force still being the US Army Air Corps). He also is a Native American, one of the first to reach the rank of General in the Army.

Jacob Devers is promoted to Major General. He now commands the US 9th Infantry Division based at Fort Bragg.

1 October 1940 barrage balloons
"Kite balloons of No. 1 Balloon Training Unit at Cardington, October 1940." Daventry B J (Mr) © IWM (CH 17333).
China: The Japanese 22nd Army, weakened by transfers south for the invasion of French Indochina, battles fiercely to hold its supply lines in the continuing Battle of South Kwangsi.

The Chinese Communist and Nationalist armies skirmish around Huangqiao.

Australian Homefront: The Chermside Army Camp is established in Brisbane, with construction beginning. It can accommodate 3500 militia troops housed in tents and, eventually, barracks.

Petrol rationing is imposed.

German Homefront: In today's Manchester Guardian (page 2) is an account lifted from a New York newspaper (Ralph Ingersoll's P.M.) by Richard Boyer. It recounts a recent visit to Germany. Boyer recalls a:
dead listlessness which is spreading like a plague and infecting increasing numbers with defeatism. If the contagion is not halted, Germany itself, even in victory, may go the way of France.
While Boyer's interpretation is perhaps a bit sensationalized for the press and flavored by the source newspaper's liberal orientation, it does comport with other indications that German morale is depressed relative to, say, British morale and that of 1914. Virtually all of Germany's pre-war grievances relating to the Treaty of Versailles have been satisfied at this point, and yet Berliners still must sit endlessly in bomb shelters as the British launch repeated attacks. While many Germans are happy about the undeniable military successes to date, there appears to be an underlying sense even among many loyal to the regime that perhaps the war has served its purposes and should be put to rest. That, however, appears to be the last thing on Hitler's mind.

British Homefront: The media publicizes the recipients of the new George Cross and George Medal. These include Thomas Hopper Alderson and Patrick King, both involved in civilian rescues after bomb damage.

A debate rages in England as to whether the government should be building deep shelters for the citizenry (as opposed to mere "surface shelters" which have proven vulnerable to direct hits. Former Prime Minister Lloyd George leads this point of view. Today, Lord Davies writes to the Guardian supporting this argument, calling the refusal properly to acknowledge the air war's dangers "another legacy of the Chamberlain regime" (which is perhaps the worst insult imaginable at this time).

Davies, George and many, many others would be perhaps discomfited to learn that the government, despite its protestations, indeed is building massive, deep, well-constructed shelters - but only for its own use. Cost, it turns out, is no object when it comes to protecting government bureaucrats. Many of these shelters survive today, virtually intact, down to the teapots and cutlery to be used in 1940. The public is not informed of their existence until the 21st Century.

1 October 1940 Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein becomes a US citizen, 1 October 1940.

September 1940

September 1, 1940: RAF's Horrible Weekend
September 2, 1940: German Troopship Sunk
September 3, 1940: Destroyers for Bases
September 4, 1940: Enter Antonescu
September 5, 1940: Stukas Over Malta
September 6, 1940: The Luftwaffe Peaks
September 7, 1940: The Blitz Begins
September 8, 1940: Codeword Cromwell
September 9, 1940: Italians Attack Egypt
September 10, 1940: Hitler Postpones Sealion
September 11, 1940: British Confusion at Gibraltar
September 12, 1940: Warsaw Ghetto Approved
September 13, 1940: Zeros Attack!
September 14, 1940: The Draft Is Back
September 15, 1940: Battle of Britain Day
September 16, 1940: Italians Take Sidi Barrani
September 17, 1940: Sealion Kaputt
September 18, 1940: City of Benares Incident
September 19, 1940: Disperse the Barges
September 20, 1940: A Wolfpack Gathers
September 21, 1940: Wolfpack Strikes Convoy HX-72
September 22, 1940: Vietnam War Begins
September 23, 1940: Operation Menace Begins
September 24, 1940: Dakar Fights Back
September 25, 1940: Filton Raid
September 26, 1940: Axis Time
September 27, 1940: Graveney Marsh Battle
September 28, 1940: Radio Belgique Begins
September 29, 1940: Brocklesby Collision
September 30, 1940: Operation Lena

October 1940

October 1, 1940: Wait Daddy October 2, 1940: Hitler's Polish Plans
October 3, 1940: British Cabinet Shakeup
October 4, 1940: Brenner Pass Meeting
October 5, 1940: Mussolini Alters Strategy
October 6, 1940: Iron Guard Marches
October 7, 1940: McCollum Memo
October 8, 1940: Germans in Romania
October 9, 1940: John Lennon Arrives
October 10, 1940: Führer-Sofortprogramm
October 11, 1940: E-Boats Attack!
October 12, 1940: Sealion Cancelled
October 13, 1940: New World Order
October 14, 1940: Balham Tragedy
October 15, 1940: Mussolini Targets Greece
October 16, 1940: Japanese Seek Oil
October 17, 1940: RAF Shakeup
October 18, 1940: Convoy SC-7 Catastrophe
October 19, 1940: Convoy HX-79 Catastrophe
October 20, 1940: Convoy OB-229 Disaster
October 21, 1940: This Evil Man Hitler
October 22, 1940: Aktion Wagner-Burckel
October 23, 1940: Hitler at Hendaye
October 24, 1940: Hitler and Petain
October 25, 1940: Petain Woos Churchill
October 26, 1940: Empress of Britain Attack
October 27, 1940: Greece Rejects Italian Demands
October 28, 1940: Oxi Day
October 29, 1940: US Draft Begins
October 30, 1940: RAF Area Bombing Authorized
October 31, 1940: End of Battle of Britain


1 comment:

  1. 'Wait For Me Daddy' must surely be, as is stated, one of the most powerful photos to come out of WW2. I would like to know if his father ever came back from the war and, if he did, in what condition.
    Tremendous site! Keep up the the good job.