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July 10
1940: Luftwaffe launches Battle of Britain
[ 2007-07-03 19:28 ]

July 10
Two RAF pilots from Fighter Command return from their latest encounter with the Germans unscathed
1940: Luftwaffe launches Battle of Britain

England have

The German Air Force, the Luftwaffe, has mounted a series of attacks on shipping convoys off the south-east coast of England.

It is the first major assault by the Luftwaffe and is being seen as what the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, dubbed in a speech three weeks ago as the beginning of the "Battle of Britain".

Although heavily outnumbered, the British fighter pilots put up a fierce fight and succeeded in driving off the attackers.

The Air Ministry says they inflicted "the greatest damage on the German air force since bombing raids on this country began".

In total the Air Ministry says 14 enemy aircraft were shot down and 23 more were severely damaged.

Two British fighters were lost, but the pilot of one survived and is safe.

The bombing raids began at dawn hitting airfields along the south and east coasts of England.

But the main attacks took place offshore later in the day, when two shipping convoys were targeted. The first was at 1100 hours off Manston and at 1325 hours a large force of about 120 enemy aircraft approached a convoy between Dover and Dungeness.

Spitfire pilots went into the attack shooting down a number of Messerschmitt 110s and 109s. Exact numbers are difficult to verify but it seems at least nine planes were shot down.

On landing the Spitfire pilots said when they made their last attack and came round again to carry on the fight the sky was clear of German aircraft.

Towards evening Hurricane pilots sighted nine Heinkel bombers protected by more than 50 fighters attempting to attack shipping off the east coast. The bombers were surrounded by two rings of Messerschmitts - but the Hurricanes broke through and attacked the bombers shooting down at least two.

People watching from the south-east coast say the first sign of the attack was when a wave of about 20 German bombers with a similar number of support fighters dived out of the clouds.

They rained bombs down on a convoy of ships, but did not hit. A second wave of bombers and fighters followed but before a second load of bombs could be released, the ships opened fire with their anti-aircraft guns.

At this moment, a flight of Spitfires appeared and flew straight into the middle of the German formation - hitting one bomber which crashed into the sea.

It appears the intensity of the attack took the Germans by surprise and completely destroyed their formation.

One eye-witness told The Times newspaper: "I saw 10 machines crash into the sea, they included bombers and fighters. The range of operations was too extensive to see everything, for it was over land and sea.

"The British fighters were fewer than the Messerschmitts sent to protect the bombers, but the superiority of our airmen and machines was most convincing."

July 10
The Americans entered Palermo two weeks after the invasion

1943: Western Allies invade Sicily

Artificially 1969:
The The armed forces of Britain, the United States and Canada have landed on the Mediterranean island of Sicily.

It is the first major landing of British troops on European soil since the fall of Crete two years ago.

Initial resistance has been surprisingly weak against British forces with little anti-aircraft fire and no enemy naval intervention. However, the US forces faced a tougher fight on their beaches.

The Times reports Allied air forces acted in close co-operation with naval and ground forces.

Their first sight of the island was against a brilliant red sunset with the dramatic outline of Mount Etna. No-one would forget the mixture of awe and foreboding this created.

Late last night airborne troops in parachutes and gliders - many of whom fought in North Africa - were dropped over the island.

American paratroops were the first to land at 2110 under the command of Colonel John Cerny, who said a whole battalion had been dropped in one area alone. They were followed by British airborne troops two hours later.

There is little news about them at the moment but all the aircraft carrying them returned to base in North Africa safely.

Meanwhile hundreds of ships of all sizes sailed across from North Africa carrying thousands of troops, weapons, armoured vehicles and heavy artillery.

The invasion fleet was described by one pilot as stretching across 40 miles of water consisting of huge barges and merchant ships escorted by destroyers.

At about 0300 local time today the British and Canadian troops were brought ashore at Pachino, near Cape Passero on the south-east coast of the south-eastern tip of Sicily.

Americans arrived three hours later near Gela to the west of the British beaches.

The Canadians had to cope with fairlychoppyseas in the area of their operations but the British were protected by the bay at Passero and were able to land their equipment ashore fairly easily.

They did encounter some heavy sniping from coastal defences but have made swift progress inland.

A Times correspondent arrived with the invading force on a destroyer.

He said the ships "were as unmolested as if this were indeed a peacetime trip to Sicily. Raiders have not appeared in the air, and from the sea the scene might be along some pleasant stretch of coast where our task was protection rather than assault."

Major airfields in and around Catania on the east coast were bombed yesterday and today by Flying Fortresses.

But there was no major bombardment of the coast ahead of the invasion, for fear of alerting the enemy to a major assault - only a brief attack from the Navy and Air Force a few hours before the landings.

Over the past month Sicilian airfields have been attacked to weaken air power on the ground and prevent the arrival of reinforcements.


choppy :(of water) covered with many short rough waves(波浪起伏的)

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