Their Finest Hour: The Battle of Britain - Manual
AMIGA 500, 1000, 2000
This card provides startup instructions for playing Their Finest Hour: The
Battle of Britain on an Amiga 500, 1000, or 2000 computer. You'll also find
additional Mission Instructions, including a list of keyboard controls for
flying all three types of aircraft in Their Finest Hour.
The information on this card describes how to:
load and play Their Finest Hour from floppy disks
install the program on a hard disk drive
save your Combat Records on floppy disk
load the Mission Builder
fly a quick training mission(Quick Start)
use the Radio Frequency Cipher Wheel to tune your aircraft radio
Before proceeding with these instructions, you should examine the READ.ME
text file on Disk 1 to learn of any last minute updates to the program, the
Mission Builder, or the manual. To access this file:
1. Insert Disk 1 into any disk drive.
2. Type type read.me and press RETURN.
You can use a mouse, a joystick, or the keyboard controls when playing
Their Finest Hour.
The more available free memory you have in your computer, the more game
features you'll be able to use. Examine the READ.ME file on Disk 1 for more
details. You can play Their Finest Hour on a 512K machine, but you'll hear
no sound effects and certain graphic enhancements will be missing. Also, a
512K machine only allows you to run the program from floppy disks, and
you'll be unable to use a hard drive. Sound effects, enhanced graphics, and
the ability to run the game on a hard drive are features available only on
machines with 1MB of memory or more.
The game package contains the following items:
one Game Manual
two 3.5-inch disks, labeled "Disk 1" and "Disk 2"
one Radio Frequency Cipher Wheel
one Reference Card
one Registration Card
one Game Catalog
If you're missing any of these items, please contact Lucasfilm Games
Customer Support at 1-415-662-1902.
RUNNING THE PROGRAM FROM FLOPPY DISK
NOTE: Running Their Finest Hour from a hard drive will greatly reduce
loading and running times. To install the program on a hard drive, please
refer to the Hard Drive Installation section of this Reference Card.
Since Their Finest Hour is not copy-protected, we urge you to make backup
copies of the two game disks by following the instructions in your Amiga
manual. If you use the Duplicate function from the Workbench, you must
change the name of Disk 1 to "bob1, " and Disk 2 must be renamed "bob2".
If your Amiga hasn't been started up yet:
1. Turn on the computer.
2. When you're asked for the Workbench disk, insert Disk 1 into drive df0:.
3. Insert Disk 2 into any drive when prompted.
If your Amiga is already up and running:
1. Take out the Workbench disk.
2. Insert Disk 1 into drive df0:.
3. Press the Ctrl key and the two Amiga keys simultaneously.
4. Insert Disk 2 into any drive when prompted.
HARD DRIVE INSTALLATION
To install Their Finest Hour on a hard drive:
1. Starting from the CLI, type cd, a space, the name of your hard drive and
a colon. For example, if you're starting from a hard drive named "dh0,
"you'd type cd dh0:/
2. Press RETURN.
3. Type makedir bob1940 and press RETURN.
4. Insert Disk 1 into any drive.
5. Type Copy bob1: bob1940 ALL QUIET and press RETURN.
6. Insert Disk 2 into any drive.
7. Type Copy bob2: bob1940 ALL QUIET and press RETURN.
8. Type cd bob1940 and press RETURN.
9. Type copy bob1940.info / and press RETURN.
10. Type delete bob1940.info and press RETURN.
The program will now be installed on your hard drive.
STARTING UP FROM A HARD DRIVE
When playing from a Hard Drive, you can start up the program from either
the Workbench or the CLI. From the Workbench:
1. Click on the hard drive icon containing the "bob1940" directory.
2. When the window opens, click on the drawer labeled "bob1940."
3. When the drawer opens, click on the icon labeled "bob." This will start
up the program.
To start up the program from the CLI:
1. Get to the CLI prompt, and typed cd, followed by a space, the name of
your hard drive, and a colon.
2. Press RETURN.
3. Type cd bob1940 and press RETURN.
4. Type bob and press RETURN. The program will now start up.
SAVING COMBAT RECORDS ON A FLOPPY DISK
If you're running the program from floppy disks and wish to save pilot and
crew records, Custom Missions, Campaign Missions, and combat film replays,
you must format a floppy disk before you start the game. This disk must be
titled "bobdata." At various times throughout the game, the program will
ask you to insert this data disk.
If you're running the program from a hard drive, your Combat Records will
automatically be saved in the "bob1940" directory. To format a disk from
1. Insert a blank disk into any drive.
2. Select the disk icon.
3. Choose Initialize from the disk menu.
4. Choose Rename from the Workbench menu after the disk has been
5. Use the Cursor key and the Delete Key to erase the word "Empty".
6. Type bobdata and press RETURN.
To format a disk from the CLI:
1. Insert a blank disk into any drive.
2. Type format drive, the name of your drive a colon, the word name, and
then bobdata. For example if you're formatting a disk in drive df1, you'd
type:format drive df1:name bobdata. Be sure to include the proper spaces
when you're typing.
3. Press RETURN.
Since the Mission Builder is a separate utility from the game program, you must
use a special procedure to start it up.
If you've been running Their Finest Hour from a hard disk, you can access the
Mission Builder from either the Workbench or the CLI.
To access the Mission Builder from the Workbench, simply click on the icon
labeled "mb" that you'll find in the "bob1940" drawer.
To access the Mission Builder from the CLI, you'll need to get into the
1. Type cd bob1940 and press RETURN.
2. Type mb and press RETURN.
If you're running the game from floppy disks, follow the procedure
described under "Cold Start" or "Warm Start, " but insert Disk 2 when
you're asked for the Workbench disk.
To continue, see Using the Mission Builder in the Appendix section of the
Follow these instructions if you'd like to take Their Finest Hour for a
quick test flight.
1. Load and start up the program by following the Loading Instructions
above. A title screen will appear, followed by the Main Menu.
2. Select FLY TRAINING FLIGHT from the Main Menu by clicking on it. An
Aircraft Selection menu will appear.
3. Click on SPITFIRE. A Spitfire Training Flights menu will appear.
4. Click on SPITFIRE #2. You'll then be sent to Flight Briefing, which
contains a large map of Southern England, the English Channel, and
Continental Europe, along with a row of buttons at the bottom of the
5. Click on the GO FLIGHT button. You'll soon find yourself flying in a
Spitfire over the chilly waters of the English Channel. Several Luftwaffe
Bf 109 fighters are flying around, but won't fire back at you. Your fighter
has unlimited fuel and ammunition, and can't crash.
Your mission objective is to shoot down all the German fighters. Refer to
the Single Seat Fighter Cockpit Controls section in the Mission
Instructions:In- Flight chapter of the manual for more information about
flying your fighter and using its machine guns.
If you need to pause the flight, press ALT-P. To end your mission, type Q
at any time. This will first give you a post-flight evaluation, then return
you to the Main Menu. You may also press esc at any time during your
mission to leave the program.
For more comprehensive instructions, turn to the Mission
Instructions:Pre-Flight chapter of the manual.
The following keys are a summary of the controls used in Their Finest Hour.
For a more detailed discussion of the cockpit controls for each of the
three types of aircraft in the game(single-seat fighters, double-seat
fighters and dive bombers, and medium bombers), see the Mission
Instructions:In-Flight chapter of the manual.
ALT P Pauses game; press any key to continue.
ALT S Turns all game sounds off and on.
ALT E Turns engine sound off and on.
ALT V Gives version number of game.
ALT G Changes amount of ground detail to any of three settings to
speed up game if it is running sluggishly.
ESC Exits the game.(If you're playing from a hard drive, you'll
leave the program. If you're playing from floppy disks,
you'll need to reboot the system.)
KEY FUNCTION KEY FUNCTION
Left mouse Fire forward machine T Toggles between normal
button or guns(fighter), or gunner and accelerated time
SPACE BAR position machine W Gives you the location
gun(all other aircraft) of your aircraft
------------ -------------------------- J Lets you and your crew
Right mouse Fires 20 mm cannon if any, jump from the
button or (Bf 109 and Bf 110 only) plan and parachute to
period(.) key safety
------------- -------------------------- Q End mission;send you to
RETURN Drops bombload postflight evaluation
(except fighters) VIEW CONTROLS
Joystick button Fire machine guns or cannon 8 Forward view
(see X below) 6 View right
------------- -------------------------- 4 View left
X Lets you toggle joystick 3 View straight down
button between machine guns 9 Scan view
and cannon (Bf 109 and Bf 110
S Lets you toggle between bomb- SWITCHING TO DIFFERENT POSITIONS
load settings (dive bombers and
medium bombers only) G Moves you to gunner
A Fires gunner position machine position (except
guns automatically fighters)
COCKPIT CONTROLS B Moves you to bombardier
KEY FUNCTION position (medium bombers
+ Increase throttle (shift key only)
not needed) P Moves you to pilot
- Decreases throttle position (except
L Lowers and raises landing gear fighters
(except Ju 87 Stuka) 7 Toggles you between
F Lowers and raises flaps pilot and gunner
D Extends and retracts dive positions (except
brakes (Ju 87 Stuka and Ju 88 fighters)
only) MOVING TO DIFFERENT GUN POSITIONS
C Turns replay camera on and off (medium bombers only)
R Sends you to Review Combat 8 Nose gunner
Film to watch your replay 6 Right fuselage gunner
camera movie (except Ju 88)
M Sends you to In-Flight Map/ 4 Left fuselage gunner
Radio (except Ju 88)
A Turns on automatic pilot 5 Belly gunner (lower
2 Dorsal gunner (upper
TUNING YOUR RADIO WITH THE RADIO FREQUENCY CIPHER WHEEL
Inside your game box you'll find a wheel with various German unit insignias
around its perimeter. This is the Radio Frequency Cipher Wheel. You'll use it
to tune the frequency of your plane's radio so you can receive vital
information about your enemy aircraft sightings. These sightings will be shown
on the In-Flight Map/Radio, and you'll also be given information about the
number and type of enemy aircraft, their altitude, and their course. If you don't
tune your radio properly, you won't be able to tune your radio properly, you
won't be able to receive any enemy sighting reports, which will greatly hinder
your chances of a successful mission.
When you first begin a mission you'll be in the cockpit of your chosen
aircraft. You'll need to tune the frequency of the cockpit radio if the light
next to it is not lit. You'll also receive on-screen reminders to tune your
radio. To move to the In-Flight Map/Radio screen, where you can tune your radio,
Once you're at the In-Flight Map/Radio:
1. Click on the TUNE RADIO button at the bottom of the screen.
2. Move the Radio Frequency Cipher Wheel around, until the notch lines up
with the unit insignia on the wheel's perimeter that matches the insignia
on the screen.
3. Look on the inner wheel of the Radio Frequency Cipher Wheel, and find
the airfield name on the wheel, you'll see a window with three colored
numbers inside. These three numbers together make up your correct radio
4. Click on the up and down arrow icons to select the correct numbers.
5. Click on the color display on the screen to select the correct colors
for each number. Make sure that the three colored numbers in the window
match the ones you've just selected on the screen.
6. Click on the color display on the screen to select the correct colors
for each number. Make sure that the three colored numbers in the window
match the ones you've just selected on the screen.
7. Click on the DONE button when you've finished setting the radio
frequency. If your radio is tuned properly, the light at the top of the
screen next to the frequency display will now be illuminated.
8. Click on the CONTINUE button to resume flight. For more information
about the radio, turn to the In-Flight Map/Radio section of the Mission
Instructions: Pre-Flight chapter of the manual.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION 6 MISSION INSTRUCTIONS:
HISTORICAL OVERVIEW 8 Flight Controls 87
Prelude to Battle 10 Game Controls 87
Operation Sea Lion 12 Single-Seat Fighter Controls 88
The Luftwaffe: July 1940 13 Double-Seat Fighter and Dive Bomber
The RAF: July 1940 16 Controls 94
The Development of Radar 13 Medium Bomber Controls 100
The Opening Phase: Kanalkampf 22 In-Flight Map/Radio 108
Adlertag: Eagle Day 26 MISSION INSTRUCTIONS:
Black Thursday 31 POST-FLIGHT 110
A Change of Strategy 33 Ending Your Flight 112
The Crucial Phase 35 Mission Results 113
London:The Turning Point 40 Medals and Promotions 115
September 15: Battle of Britain Day 44
GERMAN AND BRITISH AIRCRAFT AND
PILOTS' PERSPECTIVES 48 WEAPONS 118
MISSION INSTRUCTIONS: FLIGHT FUNDAMENTALS AND TACTICS 158
Loading Instructions 64
Game Controllers 64
Main Menu 66 APPENDIX 180
Training Flights 67
Combat Flights 68
Custom Missions 68
Campaign Missions 69
Review Combat Records 75
Review Combat Film 76
Flight Briefing 79
Flight Roster 81
Their Finest Hour: The Battle of Britain is a World War II air combat
simulation that recreates the duel between the German Luftwaffe and
British Royal Air Force waged in the skies above Britain from July to
September 1940. When you play Their Finest Hour, you can fly for either the
offensive-minded Germans or the defensive-minded British, and you can
choose from a variety of Luftwaffe fighters, dive bombers, and medium
bombers, or Royal Air Force (RAF) fighters. If you're a British pilot,
you're defending your home country from an onslaught of Luftwaffe bomber
and fighter attacks. If you're a German pilot or crew member, you're
tying to knock the RAF out of the air, as well as bomb land and sea
targets, so that Operation Sea Lion - the invasion of England - can
commence. Whichever side you choose - and we encourage you to play both -
you'll experience a highly detailed, historically accurate recreation of
those events from the summer of 1940, when the fate of the world was
literally up in the air. In Their Finest Hour, you move through a series of
menus to choose your missions and aircraft. You learn and practice the
fundamentals of flying single-seat fighters, double-seat fighters and dive
bombers, and medium bombers. Then, you can continue on to Combat Flights,
where you take part in missions based on ones actually flown during the
Battle of Britain. To put yourself in the role-playing mood, you create a
pilot or an entire crew, and keep track of their progress in a Combat
Record. If you're good enough, you'll win medals and promotions;if you're
not, you'll discover the true price of glory. For an additional challenge
you can fly in Campaign Missions, where you can actually change the
historical outcome of the Battle of Britain.
We've added a long list of extra features to make Their Finest Hour the
richest most varied game of its kind. For example, in those aircraft with
more than one crew member, you can man all the positions, including the
bombardier, rear seat gunner, and any one of up to five medium bomber gun
posts. With a special Replay Camera feature, you can "film" your combat
action, then move to a special viewing room and watch your "movie" from a
variety of different camera positions. Also, anytime during your mission,
you can call up an In-Flight Map/Radio, which gives you detailed
information about where you'll be flying and the targets you'll be
attacking. And, for the ultimate challenge, you can actually create your
own missions, and then see if you can survive them.
We could tell you more, but you're probably eager to climb into the cockpit
right away. So keep a steady hand, and good hunting!
HOW TO USE THIS MANUAL
Though this manual is nearly two hundred pages long, it doesn't mean that
you'll be spending months learning to play the game. What you'll find
between these covers is a wealth of historical background information, as
well as details about the aircraft you'll be flying - and flying against.
What's more, to help you master the art of piloting a plane, there's a
detailed section covering flight controls for each of the three categories
of aircraft in the game:single seat fighters, double seat fighters and dive
bombers, and medium bombers.
We recommend that you first turn to the Loading Instructions on your
Reference Card, which you'll find inside the box that the game came in.
This tells you how to start up the game from the floppy disks, and how to
load them onto your computer's hard disk drive. Next, look at the Quick
Start instructions, you'll soon be up in the air on a trial Training
Now turn to Mission Instructions in your manual. This information is
covered in three chapters:Pre Flight, In Flight, and Post Flight. In Pre
Flight you'll learn how to select your mission, get your flight briefing,
and choose your flight roster. In Flight gives you specific details about
how to fly the different aircraft, drop bombs, use machine guns, and more.
In Post Flight, you'll find out about your post flight review, plus how to
win medals and promotions in rank. Then, when you've had some combat
experience and want to know more about what happened during the Battle of
Britain, read the Historical Overview and Pilots' Perspective chapters for
both a historical and a personal view of the conflict. For more information
about the aircraft that flew in the Battle of Britain, turn to the German
and British Aircraft and Weapons chapter. Finally to become even more
proficient as a pilot or crew member of a fighter, dive bomber, or medium
bomber, read the Flight Fundamentals and Tactics chapter.
One of the great conflicts of the Second World War took place in the skies
above Great Britain and the English Channel in the summer of 1940. This
epic engagement, the Battle of Britain, pitted two nations against each
other, one struggling for survival, the other striving for domination. For
months the world held its breath while the British Royal Air Force and the
German Luftwaffe dueled high above in the English sky.
And when the battle was over, for the first time ever in the war, Germany
had failed to gain a military objective and defeat an opponent. For the
British, it was a glorious victory;for the Germans, it was a minor setback
that could have had a different outcome had their leaders not changed their
strategy when victory was within reach. Though there would be larger, more
dramatic, and more decisive battles during the next five years, the Battle
of Britain would nevertheless go down in history as one of the crucial
turning point of World War II.
PRELUDE TO BATTLE
Adolf Hitler's election as chancelor of Germany in 1933 marked the
beginning of Germany's reemergence as a world power. The war-weakened
nations that had defeated Germany in World War I watched helplessly as
Hitler proceeded to break the terms of the Versailles Treaty under which
Germany had previously surrendered. In 1933, the German Army was organized
and armed. Shortly afterward German troops reoccupied the demilitarized
Rhineland, which was established as a buffer zone between Germany and
France. And in 1933, the German Army invaded Austria, and incorporated it
The British government, led by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, tried to
appease Germany, and in the process allowed the German Army to occupy the
Sudeten area of Czechoslovakia. But when German troops invaded the rest of
the nation, Britain and France decided that Germany had to be checked. Both
countries signed an agreement to assist Poland if it was ever attacked by
Germany. That day came on September 1, 1939, when the German Army crossed
the Polish border; two days later, Britain and France declared war on
These two allied nations, reluctantly forced into war, were powerless to
stop Germany's momentum. Poland fell before the British and French could
help, then Denmark and Norway were invaded. After a brief lull, German tank
divisions moved into the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg without
warning on May 10, 1940. As the German Army pushed its way into France
from the north, the British Expeditionary Force, which had been sent to
help the French, was cut off and forced to retreat toward the Belgian
coast. Pinned at the coastal town on Dunkirk, 338, 226 British and French
troops were evacuated by 860 ships of all
sizes in Operation Dynamo. Although "the miracle at Dunkirk" saved the
British Army from annihilation or capture, most of its tanks, guns, and
heavy equipment were abandoned on the beach. With the British gone, French
resistance flagged, and on June 22, the defeated French forces were
granted an armistice by the Germans. Britain now stood alone against the
OPERATION SEA LION
With the fall of France, Hitler turned his attention toward Britain. At
first, he believed that he could force the British to sign a peace treaty,
like the French. But the new British prime minister, Winston Churchill,
rejected the offer. Germany, he said, would have to relinquish all
territorial gains before the British would negotiate. Otherwise, Britain
would accept nothing less than total victory and the unconditional
surrender of Germany.
Realizing that the British were determined to fight to the end.Hitler
concluded that Britain posed a grave threat as a hostile base from which
landings on German occupied Europe could be launched. On June 4, Hitler
signed Directive No. 16, which stated "Since England, in spite of her
hopeless military situation, shows no signs of being ready to compromise,
I have decided to prepare a landing operation against England, and, if
necessary, to carry it out." The code name for this was Operation Sea Lion.
Hitler's admirals argued that no invasion of Britain could take place until
Luftwaffe had established air supremacy over the English Channel and
Southern England. After all, it was British fighter cover over Dunkirk,
flying in a shuttle from fighter bases in Southern England, that had
blunted the Luftwaffe attacks on the British Army and allowed the
evacuation to take place. If the Luftwaffe could control the air, the
invasion barges could safely cross the Channel, and the German Army could
land on the beaches of Southern England. Hitler agreed, and the invasion
was set for September 1940;any later, and bad weather would render a
Channel crossing next to impossible.
Plans for knocking out the Royal Air Force (RAF) began to take shape.
Airfields in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands were converted to
Luftwaffe bases, then stocked with planes, fuel, ammunition, and bombs.
Meanwhile, a variety of river barges were gathered, and work began on
converting them to landing craft.
THE LUFTWAFFE: JULY 1940
As nation after nation fell to Germany, the Luftwaffe, under Reichsmarshall
Herman Goering, expanded its five areas of coverage. These areas were knows
as Luftflotten, and were the largest tactical units in the Luftwaffe. Three
of these Luftflotten were to launch the attack on Britain.
The Luftflotte which had the most responsibility for the destruction of the
RAF was Luftflotte 2, commanded by Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring,
a leader in the Polish conquest. With bases in Northeast France, Belgium,
Netherlands, Luftflotte 2 had the shortest distance to travel across the
English Channel. Luftflotte 3 was based in Northwest and Central France,
and its aircraft covered the longer distance across the Channel. Its leader
was Generalfeldmarschall Hugo Sperrle, who had commanded Germany's Condor
Legion in the Spanish Civil War. Luftflotte 5, with bases in Norway and
Denmark, was commanded by Generaloberst Hans-Juergen Stumpf. The smallest
of the three units, its aircraft had the longest route to Britain across
the North Sea. Between the three Luftflotten, there were 864 bombers, 248
dive bombers, 725 single-engine fighters, and 200 twin-engine fighters.
Most of these aircraft had proved to be hugely successful in the Spanish
Civil War and the recent conquest of Europe. But in those conflicts, they
were used in combination with ground attack forces. Now they would be
tested in a totally new and unfamiliar role: destroying an enemy air force
single handedly. The strengths and weaknesses of these aircraft would prove
to be a critical factor in the months ahead.
Since Germany had failed to develop a long range four engine heavy bomber,
the bombing tasks fell primarily to a pair of twin engine medium bombers,
the Heinkel He 111 and the Dornier Do 17. The He 111, knows as Die Spaten,
or "The Spade, "could carry a bombload of two tons, yet only manage a top
speed of 273 miles per hour. The Do 17, nicknamed "The Flying Pencil"
because of its thin fuselage, was slightly slower at 265 miles per hour,
and could only carry about half the bombload of an He 111. These two
aircraft were vulnerable to fighter attack from certain angles, and extra
machine guns and armor were added. Despite their recent successes, the He
111 and the Do 17 were outmoded by 1940 standards. A newer, faster medium
bomber, the Junkers Ju 88, began arriving at the airfields in France in mid
1940, but not in large enough numbers to replace the older bombers.
Although the Ju 88 could also dive bomb, the main German dive bomber in
1940 was the Juners Ju 87 Sturzkampfflugzeug (dive attack aircraft).
Otherwise knows as
the Stuka, the Ju 87 was successful in the Polish campaign, where its
precise bombing ability and the scream from its landing gear mounted
sirens, called the "trumpets of Jericho, " made it a favorite of the Nazi
propaganda machine. But since most of the Polish air force had been
destroyed on the ground, the Stuka had faced little opposition from
fighters that could exploit its slow airspeed. In the area of fighters, the
Luftwaffe was better prepared. The main German fighter in 1940 was the
Messerschmitt Bf 109, one of the most formidable fighter aircraft in the
world. Fast and highly maneuverable, the Bf 109 had proved to be nearly
unstoppable in the Spanish Civil War and the European conquest. But it had
a short range, which meant it could not cross the North Sea from the
Luftflotte 5 bases, and if launched from France, could only stay in the
skies above Britain for twenty minutes. However, Luftwaffe brass did not
believe this to be a problem, for they already had a long range fighter
developed primarily for escorting bombers. This was the Messerschmitt Bf
110 Zerstorer, or "Destroyer, "a twin engine aircraft heavily armed with
two cannon and four machine guns in its nose. Because it was so large,
however, it was not as maneuverable as smaller single engine fighters.
Despite the drawbacks of its aircraft, the Luftwaffe enjoyed a numerical
superiority over the RAF, with approximately two thousand bombers and
fighters to the RAF's five hundred fighters. It had not yet suffered a
defeat or any
significant losses. Its ranks were swelled with well-trained and
battle-seasoned pilots and air crews. And it was facing a weakened,
battered enemy struggling to regroup from its losses in France.
THE RAF: JULY 1940
After the evacuation at Dunkirk, while Hitler and the Germans hesitated and
debated their next move, the British quickly prepared for the invasion they
felt would soon come. Barbed wire was strung along the beaches, barricades
were erected, and signposts were torn down to confuse the invading German
Army. Although most of the British Army was still intact, it had left
scores of weapons on the beaches of France. Moreover, 25 percent of the
British fighter aircraft force was destroyed on the Continent. Now, the war
the British had been gradually preparing for since 1925 would be fought
against a much stronger, better equipped enemy.
The man most responsible for the defense of Britain from aerial attack was
Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, head of Fighter Command, an
organizational arm of the RAF created in 1936. Not only was Dowding in
charge of the fighter aircraft defending Britain, but also the barrage
balloons, which were attached to the ground by steel cables to ward off low
flying aircraft, the Observer Corps, which
watched the skies and noted aircraft movement, and the anti aircraft guns.
Since 1936, when Dowding took over as head of Fighter Command, the number
of fighter aircraft, squadrons, and airfields had steadily increased. In
1940, Fighter Command divided fighter coverage over Britain into four
groups:10 Group, 11 Group, 12 Group, and 13 Group. Of these, 11 Group was
of the most strategic importance, since the territory it covered, Southeast
England, was closest geographically to the Luftwaffe bases in France.
Eleven Group was commanded by Air Vice Marshall Keith Park, a World War I
veteran from New Zealand who had shot down twenty planes in that conflict.
To the north of 11 Group was 12 Group, commanded by Air Vice Marshal
Trafford Leigh-Mallory. To this group fell the task of protecting the
industrial midsection of Britain, as well as providing the industrial
midsection of Britain, as well as providing a protective reserve of
aircraft for 11 Group. North of 12 Group, and in charge of defending
Northern England and Scotland, was 13 Group, headed by Air Vice Marshal
Richard Saul. West of 11 Group, 10 Group protected Western England and was
led by Air Vice Marshal Sir Christopher Quentin Brand. These four groups
were divided into sectors, where various squadrons were based.
Since the standards for RAF pilots were extremely high and the training
period long, there was a near desperate shortage of fighter pilots. But
Dowding refused to speed up the training process, and thus compromise the
quality of future fighter pilots. Instead, "spare time flyers", pilots from
the Royal Auxiliary Air Force and the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve,
were added. In addition, volunteers from New Zealand, Australia, Canada,
South Africa, and the United States plus exiles from the conquered nations
of Czechoslovakia, Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and France joined the
RAF ranks. The refugee pilots, particularly the Czechs and Poles, possessed
a burning hatred for the Nazis that would make them exceedingly daring and
aggressive fighters in the weeks ahead.
The two fighter planes which served as the backbone of Fighter Command were
the Hawker Hurricane and the Supermarine Spitfire, two fast monoplane
Hurricane was the more abundant of the two, since it had been developed
earlier. It was constructed of wood and fabric, covering a strong metal
tube framework. As a result, it was less vulnerable to exploding cannon
shells, and could be repaired rapidly on the ground even when it was
severely damaged. The all metal Spitfire was more agile than the Hurricane,
and was the only British fighter which could confront the Bf 109 on equal
terms. Fast and highly maneuverable, it was based on a radical, oval wing
design that was far ahead of its time. Several obsolete aircraft were also
available to the RAF, including the Gloster Gladiator biplane, and the two
seat Boulton Paul Defiant, with turreted machine guns that could only fire
to the rear. But it was the Hurricane and the Spitfire that the hopes of
the RAF rested.
And the British also had one other defensive weapon of note in their
THE DEVELOPMENT OF RADAR
During the World War I, the German zeppelin and Gotha biplane bombing raids
on Britain were usually spotted by observers on the ground and fighter
patrols in the air. But in the period between the world wars, a specialized
type of aircraft knows as the bomber was evolving in Europe. As the speed
and bombload of the bomber increased, British politicians of the 1930s
became increasingly worried. With Britain being so close to countries on
the Continent, they envisioned a scenario where fast bombers would fly the
short distance to one of Britain's major cities, and attack without being
detected. With a shortage of planes and pilots, keeping round the clock
fighter patrols airborne was next to impossible. Something else had to be
In the popular fiction of the day, a weapon called the "death ray"was
frequently used to kill air crews and disable aircraft. The director of
Scientific Research for the Air Ministry, H. E. Wimperis, felt it was only
right to investigate whether such a weapon could actually be built. He
asked Robert Watson-Watt, a radio expert at the National Physical
Laboratories. If the death
ray stories had any validity. Watson-Watt believed that building such a ray
was impossible, but perhaps by using radio waves, aircraft detection, not
destruction, could be achieved.
At the time, a few scientists had known that radio waves reflected off
metal objects, such as aircraft. Watson-Watt reasoned that a continuous
transmission of these waves could be aimed in the direction of approaching
aircraft. Then, the echo of the waves bouncing off of aircraft could be
detected by a device located near the transmitter. This detection device
had already been invented:it was the cathode ray oscillograph, which
showed the transmission and reception of a radio wave with blips on a glass
screen. Since the speed of radio waves is constant, by measuring the time
it took for a radio wave to be sent out and reflected back, it would be
possible to tell how far away the aircraft were. In February of 1935, a
crude version of this detection device was successfully tested, and by May,
70 foot high radio transmission masts were being built along the British
coastline. This early version of radar could not give the direction that
the aircraft were coming from, but to deliberately mislead the Germans, the
entire system was called "Radio Direction Finding, "short for Radio
Direction Finding and Ranging, became the accepted term for this kind of
By the time of the Battle of Britain, the RDF system was in place, and had
been tested in both peacetime and wartime conditions. Though too bulky to
be carried aboard planes, this early equipment proved to be a satisfactory
additional pair of eyes for the RAF pilots.
From reception to interception, here is a brief outline of how the RDF
system worked: When enemy aircraft took off from their bases and flew
toward Britain, they were detected on the cathode ray tubes at the radar
stations. Next, a phone call was put in to Fighter Command Headquarters in
London, giving estimates on the altitude, position, and number of aircraft.
In the Filter Room at Fighter Command, women plotters, wearing headphones,
picked up this information relayed by the radar stations. Then, the women
moved markers along a huge map using rakes. Each marker stood for a group
of hostile or friendly aircraft.
Officers evaluated this information, then sent it next door to the Fighter
Command Operations Room. At the same time, various Group Operations Rooms
and Sector Operations Rooms also received the information. Each of these
rooms had their own maps, plotters, and markers, and these maps were
updated with the new information.
The Duty Control Officer at each Group Operations Room watched the map, and
decided which sector should intercept the incoming aircraft and how many
fighters should be dispatched.
The Sector Controller at each sector airfield ordered squadrons of fighters
to intercept. If they were on the ground, they were ordered to take off;if
they were already airborne, they were given the location of the incoming
enemy over the radio, and guided to an interception point.
Crucial to the success of the whole system was a device aboard friendly
planes that gave their location in the air. This High Frequency Direction
Finding equipment, known as "Huff-Duff", consisted of a radio transmitter
that automatically sent out a signal for fifteen seconds of every minute.
signal was picked up by three Direction Finding Stations in each sector,
and the information relayed to the Sector Controller. He determined the
location of the RAF fighters, and directed them to intercept any incoming
enemy aircraft. The information provided by Huff-Duff also removed the
danger of the friendly aircraft being mistaken for enemy aircraft.
This early RDF network, called "Chain Home, "was not without its drawbacks.
Since the radio transmitters were all located near the coastline, the
system could not be used once the incoming enemy planes passed by them.
Instead, the Observer Corps had to make sightings from the ground and pass
the information on to the various Operations Rooms. Also, the system could
not detect low-flying aircraft, so a second network, called "Chain Home
Low, "had to be built expressly for that purpose.
Despite these limitations the RDF system gave the RAF many advantages.
Luftwaffe aircraft could now be detected as they assembled in the skies
over Western Europe and flew toward their targets in Britain. Instead of
wasting precious time and fuel flying on patrols searching for the enemy,
the RAF pilots would now know where and when to attack, and could even rest
The RDF system would prove to be a defensive asset that Fighter Command
would desperately rely on in the weeks ahead.
THE OPENING PHASE: KANALKAMPF
The German plan for the aerial assault on Britain called for an all out
attack by the Luftwaffe on the RAF fighter airfields. This was to be known
as Adlertag, or Eagle Day, and would be launched when Hitler himself gave
the order. Until Eagle Day, however, it was decided to attack domestic
British convoys in the Channel, and draw out the RAF fighters who would
surely come to their aid. The German name for these Channel attacks was
Kanalkampf. If the strength of the RAF could be sapped in the Kanalkampf,
it would make Eagle Day all the more effective. To lead the bombing
attacks, Goering chose Oberst Johannes Fink, who was still flying bombing
missions at the age of fifty. The fighter units were commanded by
forty-eight year old Oberst Theo Osterkamp, or "Onkel Theo, "who had shot
down thirty two planes in World War I, and remarkably, was fast becoming an
ace in this new war.
In June and early July, German bombing attacks on the convoys were
sporadic. But on July 10, radar stations began detecting a larger than
normal formation of German aircraft gathering above Calais. As the twenty
Do 17 bombers and their Bf 109 and Bf 110 escort fighters headed toward a
convoy off the narrowest part of the Channel at Dover, they were met by
Hurricanes from four different British squadrons. In the ensuing battle off
what was later dubbed "Hellfire Corner, " four Bf 109s and three Hurricanes
were shot down, while one ship was lost from the convoy. This engagement
would mark the beginning of the Battle of Britain. The next day, a small
convoy was spotted by ten Ju 87 Stukas and twenty escorting Bf 109s.
Harassed by three Hurricanes, the Stukas dived down on the ships, only to
be attacked by six Spitfires. The attack was broken off, though two
spitfires were shot down by the 109s. Later that afternoon, the coastal
city of Portland was attacked by fifteen Ju 87s and forty escorting Bf
110s. Even though only six Hurricanes intercepted the attack, they swept
past the slower
110s and shot down two of the Stukas. The intended coastal target was only
For the next ten days, the Channel clashes intensified. At the nighttime,
the Luftwaffe would drop mines into British harbors and channels. In the
daytime, German bombers, mostly Do 17s, Ju 87 Stukas, and Ju 88s, would
attack convoys, along with airfields and other targets near the British
coast. Despite the fact that their cargo, which was mostly coal, could have
been moved across Britain by rail, the convoys continued to sail, mainly
for reasons of morale. But Dowding refused to commit additional fighter
protection to the convoys, since that would further weaken fighter coverage
for the rest of Britain.
In the skies above the Channel, RAF losses were mounting at a frightening
pace, with fifty fighters shot down in the first ten days. One reason for
the tight three-plane vic formation the RAF fighters were trained to fly
in. Flying in this V-shape, wing tip to wing tip, British fighter pilots
were often so preoccupied with avoiding collisions with each other that
they had little time to search for the enemy. Grouped so closely together,
they were also easier targets. German pilots, on the other hand, flew in a
much looser formation known as the Schwarm, which they had developed in the
Spanish Civil War. Instead of worrying about how close together the
aircraft were, each fighter could cover a wide area while still being
protected by the other fighters in the group.
Moreover, there was no way the RAF pilots could compensate for the years of
combat experience the Luftwaffe pilots possessed. In a one on one dogfight
situation, the German pilots usually had the advantage, and only
twenty-eight Bf 109 fighters were lost in the first ten days.
During the later part of July, bad weather and poor visibility sometimes
grounded the aircraft on both sides, and some convoys managed to get
through the Channel unscathed. But overall, German attacks intensified, and
by August 8, eighteen cargo vessels and four Royal Navy destroyers had
been sunk in the Kanalkampf.
In this opening phase of the Battle of Britain, each side was evaluating
the other. The RAF fighter pilots were learning from their mistakes, and
gradually began flying in looser, less rigid formations. Moreover, the
aircraft on both sides had weaknesses which the opposition quickly learned
about. For the British, the Boulton Paul Defiant fighter, armed with a
three quarter ton rear firing turret, proved vulnerable to frontal attack,
and many were lost in the first few weeks. For the Germans, the Ju 87 Stuka
dive bomber was victimized not only by the much faster Hurricanes and
Spitfires, but my anti-aircraft fire from ships as well. The twin engine Bf
110 suffered from a lack of maneuverability when confronted by the smaller
RAF fighters, and many a Zerstorer was shot down. By early August, the tide
of the battle had changed in favor of the RAF, even though German
intelligence, which was to be faulty throughout the Battle of Britain, had
reported the opposite. The Luftwaffe had actually lost 248 fighters and
bombers to the RAF's 148 fighters in the Kanalkampf. The Germans also
erroneously believed that all of the British fighter force had been used in
the Channel conflicts. In reality, Dowding had wisely kept most of his
fighters in reserve. German intelligence also reported that the Channel was
closed, and the convoys had been stopped. But the British had finally
decided to use rail to ship much of the cargo previously carried by
convoys, which drastically reduced the number of ships needed. Restrictions
were placed on those few convoys that did sail, so that they only
approached Dover at night. However, the Channel was far from closed.
On the British side, the loss of each fighter was keenly felt by the under
equipped RAF. The new minister of Aircraft Production, Lord Beaverbrook,
feverishly stepped up fighter production, and nearly five hundred were
produced in July alone. But replacing the aircraft was a far easier matter
than replacing experienced pilots, and the high casualty rate was of
crucial concern to Fighter Command throughout the course of the Battle of
With winter weather arriving in a few months, the Germans decided to change
their tactics. So far, the full power of the Luftwaffe had not yet been
brought to bear on the RAF. Goering believed that a large scale attack on
the RAF fighter force would wipe out Fighter Command in four days, and the
RAF itself could be destroyed in four weeks. With the skies clear of the
enemy, the invasion could still take place in September, as planned. A
German military conference was held at Hitler's Eagle's Nest headquarters
on July 31 to discuss this knockout blow.
ADLERTAG: EAGLE DAY
On August 1, Fuhrer Directive No. 17 was issued from Hitler's headquarters.
It read, in part, "I intend to intensify air and sea warfare against the
English homeland...The Luftwaffe is to overpower the Royal Air Force...in
the shortest possible time...The intensification of the air war may begin
on or after 5 August. The exact time is to be decided by the Air Force
after the completion of preparations and in light of the weather." The
Luftwaffe was also ordered
to participate in full force during the Operation Sea Lion land invasion.
Hitler himself reserved the right to order terror bombing attacks on
British cities. At last, after two months in limbo following the fall of
France, the Nazi war machine could once again gear up for a major battle.
Goering met with his three Luftflotten commanders on August 5 at his
headquarters near Berlin. There they formulated a plan they hoped would
destroy Fighter Command's most important airfields in a single day, to be
known as "Eagle Day." This operation was to have two phases. First, an
attack would be made on targets along the coast, including the radar
stations. German intelligence had underestimated how much the RAF relied on
these stations, but the head of the Luftwaffe Signals Service,
Generaloberst Wolfgang Martini, knew about radar and insisted that these
stations be knocked out. The outcome of these preliminary raids would
proved or disprove the usefulness of the RDF system. The second phase of
attacks would come on the following day. Eagle Day. Luftflotten 2 and 3
were to launch a large-scale bombing attack on RAF airfields, which would
destroy RAF fighters on the ground. Aircraft production factories,
armaments factories, cargo and naval ships, harbors, and port facilities
were also to be hit on Eagle Day, and over the succeeding three days. Since
two Luftflotten needed about a week to prepare for Eagle Day, Goering
decided that it would take place on August 10, when a stretch of good
weather was predicted.
Luftflotten 2 and 3 had 929 fighters, 316 dive bombers, and 875 bombers
between them. To combat all these aircraft, the RAF had a mere 675
fighters. Despite their overwhelming numbers of aircraft, the Luftwaffe was
embarking on a mission that placed the burden of attack squarely on its
shoulders, unlike previous encounters where it coordinated with the army.
With a responsibility like this, the pressure on the men and machines
would be incalculable.
Attacks on the British convoys continued, much as they had in July. On
August 10 bad weather forced the postponement of Eagle Day until August 13.
At 8:40A.M. on August 12, phase one of the Eagle Day operation began as
Experimental Group 210, a new unit of Bf 110s, took off from Calais. This
group was made up of Jabos (fighter/bombers) that could drop bombs with
pinpoint accuracy, then defend themselves as fighters. In a startling
demonstration of just how effective the Bf 110 could be in this dual role,
Experimental Group 210 attacked the radar stations at Dover, Dunkirk(Kent),
Rye, and Pevensey, knocking out all but Dunkirk. With part of the RDF
system gone, no RAF fighters were alerted, and Ju 87 Stukas attacked
shipping off Kent without suffering any losses. One hundred Ju 88s, 120 Bf
110s, and 25 Bf 109s attacked ships in Portsmouth Harbor, and knocked the
Ventnor radar stations out of action.
That afternoon, the Jabos of Experimental Group 210, refueled and rearmed
from their morning mission, assisted eighteen Do 17s in an attack on
Manston airfield and severely damaged this RAF base.
It was an extremely successful day for the Luftwaffe, even though they lost
thirty one aircraft, while the RAF lost twenty one. But that evening, when
Do 17s were sent to attack targets near Kent, they reported that signals
from the radar stations were still being transmitted. Amazingly, the
British had put three of the four damaged stations back into operation;only
Ventnor remained off the air. The open girder construction of the huge
transmission towers made them difficult to destroy by level bombing, and
their 350 foot height inhibited dive bombing.
The next day, August 13, Eagle Day, got off to an uncertain start when bad
weather forced the postponement of the morning raids until the afternoon.
Notice of the delay failed to reach OberstFink's group of seventy four Do
17s, whose radios had been provided with the wrong crystals, and
consequently could not pick up
the radio wavelength announcing the postponement order. Fink's bombers flew
to the Thames Estuary before encountering a small squadron of
Spitfires;five Flying Pencils were shot down and four others were damaged.
Although the remaining bombers hit their target at Eastchurch airfield, the
aircraft they destroyed on the ground were Blenheim bombers, not the
Hurricanes and Spitfires they had hoped for. Another group of Bf 110s did
not receive the postponement order, and took off without the bombers they
were suppose to escort. Six were shot down by Hurricanes above Portland.
By the afternoon of Eagle Day, even though the weather had further
deteriorated, numerous attacks were launched on targets from Southampton
to the Thames Estuary. In the day's most successful bombing mission, one
hundred Bf 109s and eighty six Ju 87s attacked Detling airfield unopposed,
destroying twenty two aircraft on the ground and killing sixty seven
personnel who were in the mess hall. The Short aircraft factory at Belfast
and a Spitfire factory in Birmingham were also damaged by He 111s later
But with the RDF system still in place and functioning, RAF fighters were
intercepting the other incoming attackers. A group of Ju 87s, Ju 88s, and
Bf 109s were near their target of Southampton when they were met by
Spitfires;nine Stukas were shot down, though the Ju 88s damaged port
facilities. Off Lyme Bay, nine Ju 87s were intercepted by Spitfires, and
only three Stukas survived.
Although the Luftwaffe believed otherwise at the time, Eagle Day was a
failure. Certainly it was not the resounding success that Goering had hoped
for. The Germans had lost 46 aircraft from its 1485 sorties, while the RAF
had 13 fighters shot down from its 700 sorties. Of the forty seven aircraft
that the RAF lost on the ground, only one was a fighter. And while the
Germans reported that eight Fighter Command bases had been destroyed, the
bases that were bombed belonged to Coastal Command, and were not Fighter
Nevertheless, when the day was done, the Germans celebrated, thinking they
had shot down eighty four RAF fighters and destroyed eight airfields.
Believing that the RAF's 11 Group, which was in the thick of the action in
Southern England, was now decimated, they reasoned that it was being
reinforced with fighters from 12 Group and 13 Group to the north. To test
this theory, the Luftwaffe decided to launch attacks from all three
Luftflotten, including Luftflotte 5 in Norway and Denmark. If Fighter
Command had, in reality, sapped the strength of the other groups to build
up 11 Group, this multi-sided offensive would hit the British where they
were most vulnerable-in Northern England and Scotland.
With clouds covering most of Britain, only a few scattered Luftwaffe raids
were launched on August 14. The bad weather persisted the following day,
and the aircraft from all three Luftflotten were grounded with the
exception of two Ju 87 groups from Luftflotte 2, which did not receive the
cancellation order. These Stukas bombed the airfields at Lumpne and
Hawkinge, and at least two were shot down. But by midmorning, the weather
had cleared, and what was to be the largest German offensive of the Battle
of Britain was launched.
Generaloberst Stumpf, commander of Luftflotte 5, decided on a risky two
pronged strategy. A group of twenty He 115 seaplanes from Norway would fake
an attack on targets in the Firth of Forth in Scotland. This would
hopefully draw any defending 13 Group fighters north, away from the main
attacking force of seventy two He 111s and twenty one Bf 110s also from
Norway. These aircraft were all equipped with extra fuel tanks to make the
1100 mile round trip across the North Sea, and the Bf 110s were even forced
to fly without a rear gunner to save weight.
As they approached the coast of Scotland, the decoy seaplanes were spotted
by northern RAF radar stations, and nearly forty Spitfires were sent to
intercept them, just as Stumpf had planned. Unfortunately, Stumpf's
deceptive tactic went awry when the main bombing force made a serious
navigational error that put them in roughly the same area as the decoys.
When the He 111s and Bf 110s reached land, they too were met by Spitfires.
In the ensuing battle, seven Luftwaffe bombers and eight fighters were shot
down, while one RAF fighter was lost.
To the south, a second Luftflotte 5 attack had been launched across the
North Sea from Denmark. The attack force of fifty Ju 88 bombers were
unescorted, relying on their speed and their gun firepower to get them
through. The bombers headed for Driffield, in Central England, which was
covered by 12 Group. Trafford Leigh Mallory, the commander of 12 Group, was
an advocate of the "big wing, " or a coordinated group of three to five
squadrons of fighters massed together to attack the enemy. On this day,
however, he reacted timidly. the big wing did not materialize, and only
twelve Spitfires and six Hurricanes intercepted the German bombers. Seven
Ju 88s were shot down, but ten British bombers were destroyed on the
ground, along with an ammunition dump.
The Luftwaffe was more successful in the southeast, where Luftflotten 2 and
3 hit and damaged numerous airfields, although few were Fighter Command
bases. The Short aircraftworks at Rochester was also bombed by thirty Do
17s and the redoubtable Experimental Group 210 destroyed a Hurricane base
at Martlesham Heath. Later that afternoon, Experimental Group 210 bombed
the training station at Croydon, destroying thirty six training planes and
killing sixty two personnel, but they themselves lost their commander and
Despite these successes, August 15 would go down in history as another day
of frustration for the Luftwaffe, as nearly every raid had been intercepted
by the RAF. In all, seventy five German aircraft were lost, and 20 percent
of the attacking Luftflotte 5 aircraft had been shot down, while the
thirty five fighters in the air. These heavy losses on what the Germans
were now calling "Black Thursday" proved to the Luftwaffe that the British
were not depleting their northern squadrons to help the beleaguered 11
A CHANGE OF STRATEGY
The following day brought with it new orders from Goering to the Luftwaffe.
He had decided that attacks on coastal radar stations were fruitless, and
further attacks were forbidden. In addition, since bomber losses were
mounting, Bf 109s were ordered to provide close support for the bombers
instead of flying freely over Britain searching for RAF fighters. This
order was adhered to reluctantly by the Luftwaffe fighter pilots, who had
enjoyed much success in the free chasing role. August 17 saw only light
fighting, but on August 8, the Luftwaffe attacked and damaged the airfields
at Biggin Hill, Croydon, Kenley, Gosport, and Manston, losing seventy one
aircraft, including thirty Ju 87 Stukas, to the RAF's twenty seven. Bad
weather limited the action for the next few days, and both sides used the
break to rest their men and evaluate the lessons learned from the weeks of
On the British side, Commander Park of 11 Group held a staff conference on
August 19, where several tactical items were discussed. First, it was
decided that the RAF fighters would intercept the Luftwaffe bombers as soon
as possible. They could not waste time for a big wing to form;such a tactic
was better suited for 12 Group, whose geographic location allowed more time
for these large formations to assemble. On this issue, Park was fully
supported by Dowding. Second, several squadrons would patrol the skies
above airfields, instead of leaving each airfield to search for the enemy
itself. Third, fighter to fighter combat was to be avoided, and fighters
were to concentrate on shooting down bombers. This would draw the German
fighters to the same altitude as their bombers, making them better targets.
On the German side, it was decided to phase the Ju 87 dive bomber out of
combat actions against Britain. Since their fighter escort planes lacked
dive brakes and could not stay with them while diving, the Stukas were
virtually defenseless after they pulled out of their dives. As a result,
they were an easy mark for the British fighters, and Ju 87 losses had
increased dramatically during the past several weeks. It was also
determined that the Bf 110, while successful as a fighter/bomber, was
inferior for fighter escort. In the action over England and Scotland, Bf
110s were forced to fly in a defensive circle, with one aircraft using its
tremendous forward firepower to cover the vulnerable rear of another. It
was hardly a tactic that could provide adequate protection for the bombers.
From now on, Zerstorers themselves would be escorted by Bf 109s, thus
giving rise to the paradoxical situation of fighters escorting fighters! In
large groups, they would now go only as far as the limited range of the Bf
109 - which meant Southern England.
Most important, however, was the decision to give top priority to a single
objective:destroying the RAF's fighters. Only one aircraft in the
Luftwaffe's arsenal was capable of taking on the Spitfire and Hurricane:the
Bf 109. All of the Bf 109s from Sperrle's Luftflotte 3 were to be
transferred to Kesselring's Luftflotte 2, and based at Pas de Calais - the
closest geographic point to Britain. There their limited range would be
less of a problem. And from now on, a larger number of attacks - both day
and by night - were to be launched, with
smaller formations of bombers and escorting fighters. The bombers were to
attack targets within the range of 11 Group's bases, particularly around
London where the bases were more numerous and more vital. If these attacks
destroyed British fighters on the ground, fine, but their main purpose was
to force the fighters to take to the air. There they would be dealt with by
the Bf 109s.
It was this new strategy that nearly won the Battle of Britain for Germany.
THE CRUCIAL PHASE
By August 24, the weather had cleared, and the Luftwaffe attacks began
again. This time, the Germans were also armed with an important piece of
information. For the past several weeks, all RAF radio transmissions had
been monitored. As a
result, the Luftwaffe now knew which airfields were of the most importance
to Fighter Command, and gave these airfields top priority as targets.
Now, as the formations of Luftwaffe bombers and fighters headed toward
Britain, the RDF system was having trouble figuring out where they were
going to attack. There were more and more small formations to pick up, and
plotting because increasingly difficult. Moreover, several large fighter
formations flew up and down the Channel, constantly threatening to move
inland and attack, which further confused radar personnel. Then at 3 P.M.,
the real attacks began, as bombers struck the airfields at Manston,
Hornchurch, and North Weald, plus ships at Portsmouth.
Park's 11 Group fighters were largely unsuccessful at penetrating the thick
German fighter screen. With his squadrons depleted, Park asked 12 Group to
cover Hornchurch, North Weald, and Debden airfields north of London. Here
was a chance for Leigh Mallory to test the big wing theory in action. But
on this day, assembling the large formation and coordinating it proved to
be a failure, and only a single squadron from 12 Group made it to North
Weald as the Germans attacked. To make matters worse, this squadron of
Spitfires was equipped with an experimental cannon which frequently jammed
after only a few rounds had been fired. As a result, these Spitfires were
rendered virtually useless against the incoming aircraft, and by the time
the rest of 12 Group's fighters finally made
it to Hornchurch and North Weald, both airfields were a shambles.
That evening the bombing continued, with 170 bombers attacking a variety of
targets from Kent to the Scottish border. But in the early hours of August
25, an incident occurred that would have a direct impact on the Battle of
Britain. A lone He 111, trying to locate oil tanks at Thameshaven by flying
up the Thames Estuary, went too far west and dropped its bombload over
Although parts of Greater London had been hit in earlier missions, the city
center was deemed off limits by Hitler himself. Nevertheless, it had now
been bombed, albeit by one misguided aircraft.
Later that morning, Churchill ordered RAF Bomber Command to launch a
retaliatory raid on Berlin. On the night of August 25, eighty one British
Hampden bombers, on a mission of propaganda more than of military
importance, headed for the German capitol. Goering himself had boasted that
such a raid would never happen, once joking that "You can call me Meyer" if
it ever occurred. Now, as bombs rained down on Berlin, people called
Goering this very name, which was most insulting to the anti-Semitic
leader. After the raid, which did little damage, Goering promised Hitler
that Berlin would never again be bombed. But back in London, Churchill was
ordering additional raids and waiting for a reaction from the German
Both sides were quick to realize that the new Luftwaffe tactics were
working extremely well. Although the newly restrained fighters were
recording fewer kills, the new, tighter Luftwaffe formations were enabling
the bombers to get through to their targets. Many Fighter Command
airfields, especially the important ones around London, had been hard hit,
and the British had no adequate defense for night bombing. The attacks
continued, with up to seventeen hundred sorties a day, interrupted only by
On August 26, the RAF bases at Hornchurch and Debden were bombed when, once
again Leigh Mallory's 12 Group fighters failed to cover these airfields for
11 Group. On August 28, daylight attacks were stepped up, and that night
in Liverpool were blasted by 160 bombers. August 30 saw thirteen hundred
Luftwaffe sorties, and when a German bomb knocked out the electricity for
seven radar stations, waves of aircraft flew toward their Fighter Command
targets unimpeded by RAF fighters. Kenley, Tangmere, Rochfort, and Shoreham
airfields were badly damaged, and Biggin Hill was hit in two separate raids
by Bf 109 fighter/ bombers and Ju 88s. The next day, there were even more
Luftwaffe sorties against the airfields, including He 111s bombing Biggin
Hill again, while Do 17s adopting a new tactic of bombing targets from a
low altitude, hit Croydon. The Luftwaffe shot down thirty nine Fighter
Command aircraft, the heaviest toll for a day since the Battle began.
Meanwhile, across the Channel, preparations were well underway for the
invasion of Britain. Twenty five thousand German troops were stationed at
bases all along the channel coast, from the Meuse River to the Seine,
awaiting the go ahead for Operation Sea Lion. Hundreds of barges and
transports were scattered at various coastal ports, along with thousands of
vehicles and horses. In Berlin, Hitler met with his advisors to discuss
Sea Lion and possible retaliatory action for the Berlin raids. He picked
September 10 as the date he would make a decision on when to launch the
invasion. Obviously, that depended on establishing air superiority over
Southeast England, but as of September 1, that
prospect was looking more and more like a certainty. As for retaliation,
attacks on British cities, including London, were to begin as soon as
Back at Fighter Command, the situation was perilous. During the two weeks
from August 24 to September 6, 466 RAF fighters were destroyed and replaced
by only 269 fighters. The RAF was now losing fighters at a higher rate than
they were receiving new or repaired ones, which meant that fighter command
would soon be totally depleted. The high loss of pilots was an even more
serious issue. Since the Battle of Britain began, 80 percent of Dowding's
squadron commanders had been killed or wounded. In all, 409 pilots had been
killed or wounded in the month of August, and 231 - nearly a quarter of
Fighter Command's strength - were lost between August 24 and September 6
alone. To replace them, Dowding decided to allow two hundred foreign
pilots, mostly Czechs and Poles, to join the fighting. Additionally, pilots
from Bomber, Coastal, and Training commands were rushed through Fighter
Command training, and many were sent into battle with only a few hours of
experience in flying a Hurricane or a Spitfire. This proved to be
disastrous and diluted the overall effectiveness of the squadrons. Those
few surviving experienced pilots found themselves flying as many as seven
sorties a day, and the strain on them was immeasurable.
This intense fighting was also having an effect on German pilots,
particularly those flying the Bf 109s. Even though Kesselring's Luftflotte
2 fighters were flying across the narrowest part of the Channel, Bf 109s
were still hampered by their limited range. Many a Bf 109 was forced to
splash down in the Channel, or crash land on a beach in France, out of
fuel. In addition, some fighter units were flying up to five sorties a day
across the Channel, and the men were pushed beyond their limit.
Yet there was no arguing that the Luftwaffe was finally turning the tide of
the Battle of Britain in its favor. Losses on both sides were about even,
which was acceptable to the Germans because they had more planes to lose.
For the first time, British losses were actually higher than theirs on some
days. All the major 11 Group airfields except for Tangmere and Kenley were
badly damaged and
some were no longer operational. And German intelligence now estimated that
fewer than three hundred Fighter Command aircraft remained. On September 3,
Goering ordered his Luftflotten commanders to The Hague for a conference.
A timetable for Operation Sea Lion had been issued from Hitler's
headquarters stating that the invasion fleet would sail on September 20,
and invade Britain on September 21. Goering and his generals had little
time to waste. Now, they gathered to plan the knock-out blow that would
finish off Fighter Command once and for all.
LONDON: THE TURNING POINT
At the September 3 conference, two of Goering's Luftflotten commanders had
a major difference of opinion on how to finally bring the British to their
knees. Kesselring, believing both the reports of German intelligence and
his pilots, stated that Fighter Command was nearly finished and could
barely muster a hundred fighters in defense of Britain. The time was right
to hit London hard, and force any remaining RAF fighters into the air to
be destroyed by the superior numbers of Luftwaffe aircraft. Then, the
British would either have to negotiate for peace, or suffer the
consequences of an invasion. Sperrle, whose Luftflotte 3 aircraft were
mostly flying bombing missions across the wider part of the Channel and
meeting stiff resistance, disagreed. He believed that Fighter Command still
had over one thousand aircraft, and that the attacks on the British
airfields should continue. (In reality, the actual RAF fighter strength
numbered around seven hundred.)
The optimistic Goering, armed with an intelligence report that put Fighter
Command losses since August 8 at 1115, sided with Kesselring. Time was
running out for Operation Sea Lion, and if the Luftwaffe attacked London,
Goering felt that every available RAF fighter would be ordered aloft to
protect the British capitol and the Bf 109s could make fast work of them.
Since Hitler had lifted the ban on bombing London after the attacks on
Berlin, full scale raids could begin with the Fuhrer's blessing. The next
day, in a speech in Berlin, Hitler stated that "When they declare that they
will increase their attacks on our cities, then we will raze their cities
to the ground!"
For the next few days, the Luftwaffe attacks on Fighter Command airfields
continued as usual. But on the afternoon of September 7, 625 bombers and
648 fighters were sent across the Channel to bomb London. As the aircraft
assembled over France, the formation was nearly 2 miles high and covered
800 square miles.
As it neared the English coast, the RDF plotters and Observer Corps quickly
realized that something was different - the small, carefully coordinated
attack formations of the past two weeks had been replaced by two hugh waves
of aircraft. One formation headed for the dockyards of the Thames Estuary,
while the second flew toward London itself. Bombs rained won on the Royal
Arsenal at Woolwich;the Commercial Docks;the Millwall docks;paint, timber,
and rum warehouses;oil storage tanks;and the impoverished residences of
London's East End. The bombing continued into the night for seven hours,
and over three hundred tons of bombs were dropped, leaving the London
dockyard area and the East End engulfed in flames. Four hundred and forty
eight Londoners were killed and nearly one thousand more were wounded in
the raid. Although Hurricanes and Spitfires did manage to bring down forty
one German aircraft, most of them were intercepted on their way back to the
Continent, after they had dropped their bombloads. In turn, Fighter Command
lost twenty eight aircraft.
But Air Vice Marshal Park, circling the burning city in his Hurricane, saw
a sign of deliverance in the devastation. "Though I felt very angry, " he
later wrote, "I said 'Thank God, ' because I realized that the methodical
Germans had at last switched their attacks from my vital aerodromes on to
cities." For the first time in weeks, the Luftwaffe had left his battered
airfields alone. With this respite, they could be repaired, and more
Hurricanes and Spitfires could then be
sent aloft to engage these new enemy formations.
The next night the Luftwaffe made another raid on London, and 412 people
died in the bombing. But on September 9, when a large two pronged Luftwaffe
formation was launched to repeat the successes of the daylight raid of
September 7, 11 Group was ready for it. Park had moved several of his
squadrons toward the coast, where they could better intercept the incoming
formations. Ten Group and 12 Group were also called in to cover 11 Group's
airfields. The first Luftwaffe formation was met by such stiff resistance
that it was forced to jettison its bombs near Canterbury. The second
formation was forced away from its intended target, the dockyard area of
London, and in the fierce fighting, it scattered bombloads throughout
London and the surrounding countryside. Fighter Command lost nineteen
aircraft, while twenty eight Luftwaffe planes were shot down, several by a
big wing from 12 Group. Led by legless pilot Douglas Bader, these
hurricanes had disobeyed orders to cover 11 Group's airfields, and attacked
the bombers over London instead.
The failure of this raid disturbed the Germans. Obviously, Fighter Command
was still functioning despite intelligence reports to the contrary. On
September 11 a small daytime Luftwaffe raid was also rebuffed by British
fighters. Although bad weather cut back on the daytime raids, the night
raids continued all week. For the next sixty eight successive nights they
would continue, a period later known as "The Blitz." Some two thousand
Londoners were killed and ten thousand were wounded in the first week's
raids. But the RAF fighters as yet had no airborne radar, and could not
find the enemy aircraft in the dark to engage them. So while London was
reduced to rubble, these raids did not flush out Fighter Command aircraft
as the Germans had hoped.
On September 14, Hitler gave Goering until September 17 to clear the skies
of British fighters. With the scheduled invasion only eight days away,
Goering decided to launch every available German bomber and fighter in one
all out effort that would finally decide the Battle of Britain.
SEPTEMBER 15: BATTLE OF BRITAIN DAY
Dawn broke on a clear autumn day, with only a few patches of clouds. In the
early morning hours, the RDF screens showed no enemy aircraft. Then, around
11 A.M., the radar stations picked up large formation of aircraft
assembling over France at an altitude of 15, 000 to 20, 000 feet. At 11:30,
the formation of four hundred fighters, protecting only one hundred Do 17
bombers, began to move toward Britain. Gone were the preliminary feint
attacks designed to lure Fighter Command aircraft up into the air before
the main Luftwaffe attack. This time, everything was out in the open.
GERMAN AIRCRAFT LOSSES
JULY 10 TO AUGUST 7, 1940
*GERMAN CLAIMS 63 *GERMAN GOVERNMENT CLAIMS ANNOUNCED
**ACTUAL LOSSES 192 TO THE PUBLIC.
+BRITISH CLAIMS 188 **FROM GERMAN QUARTERMASTER GENERAL'S
+BRITISH GOVERNMENT CLAIMS ANNOUNCED
TO THE PUBLIC.
AUGUST 8 TO 24, 1940
GERMAN CLAIMS 213
ACTUAL LOSSES 403
BRITISH CLAIMS 755
AUGUST 24 TO SEPTEMBER 6, 1940
GERMAN CLAIMS 243
ACTUAL LOSSES 378
BRITISH CLAIMS 643
SEPTEMBER 7 TO 30, 1940
GERMAN CLAIMS 243
ACTUAL LOSSES 435
BRITISH CLAIMS 846
Fighter Command was ready to fight back with nearly everything it had. Park
had some two hundred fighters at his disposal, including one squadron from
10 Group, and five from 12 Group in big wing. The first interception was
made above Canterbury around noon, and soon the skies above Southeast
England were filled with vapor trails from dogfighters. As the Spitfire
squadrons tangled with the fighters, the bombers droned on toward London
unprotected. Park sent ten squadrons aloft to take on the bombers. Without
the Bf 109s, the German bombers were easy marks for the Hurricanes. Their
formations broken and scattered many Do 17s jettisoned their bombs well
before they reached their target. The main formation made it to Greater
London, Kensington, Westminster, and Clapham. Even Buckingham Palace was
hit. But the main targets were only lightly damaged, and many Do 17s fell
from the sky in flames.
Watching the battle take shape on the giant Operations Map at the Uxbridge
headquarters of 11 Group was Churchill. He watched as, one by one, the bank
lights indicating the number of squadrons in reserve went out. For the
first time since entering the complex, Churchill spoke to Park. "What other
reserves have we?" asked Churchill. "There are none, " replied Park.
At that moment, the height of the battle, 23 squadrons, totaling 370
fighters, were airborne. More than anything else, the sight of so many
aircraft came as a tremendous shock to the Germans, who had been told that
there were fewer than fifty Fighter Command aircraft left. As the battered
Luftwaffe bombers and fighters struggled back toward the Channel, their
crews were convinced that Fighter Command was far from finished as a
Luck was on the British side that day, for the launching of a second wave
of Luftwaffe aircraft was delayed until two hours after the first wave had
taken off. This gave Park's squadrons time to refuel and rearm. As this
second wave of bombers neared the East End, Badar's big wing of five
squadrons from 12 Group arrived. This, the largest formation of British
fighters ever assembled, tore into the German bombers, along with five 11
Group squadrons. Miles above the streets of London, the skies were filled
with some 350 aircraft, twisting and
turning. Again, the bombers scattered their loads around Greater London,
failing to damage their intended targets.
When the day was done, and the totals were added up, the Luftwaffe had
suffered a great defeat. Although the British people were told that 185
German aircraft had been shot down, the total was actually around 60,
including 40 bombers. Additionally, some twenty Bf 109s had ditched in the
waters off France, their fuel tanks dry. These losses were enough to
convince the Luftwaffe that they had not achieved air superiority over
Fighter Command, which had lost twenty eight fighters in the day's
Although Goering still believed that Fighter Command could be wiped out in
a couple of days, a few agreed with him. On September 16, the weather
turned bad, and only a handful of Luftwaffe attacks were made. On
September 17, another drizzly day, time had run out for Goering and his
Luftwaffe. Hitler cancelled Operation Sea Lion and began making plans for
Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of Russia. Although the Luftwaffe would
continue to bomb London at night, the imminent threat of invasion was over.
Thanks to the efforts of Dowding and Park, and the pilots of Fighter
Command, who destroyed 1, 389 Luftwaffe aircraft while losing 790 fighters
of their own, Britain survived - and won - the Battle of Britain.
(THIS PAGE IS BLANK)
The preceding Historical Overview chapter describes the "big picture" of
the Battle of Britain. But since the final outcome was actually decided by
a handful of brave men battling high in the sky, no historical record can
be complete without their recollections. To those British and German pilots
and crewmen who flew, fought, and witnessed many of their comrades dying
during the summer of 1940, this is the real story of the Battle of Britain.
"Even in the heat of the moment I well remember my amazement at the
shattering effects of my fire. Pieces flew off his fuselage and cockpit
covering, a great stream of smoke appeared from the engine and a moment
later a great sheet of flame licked out from the engine cowling and he
dived vertically. The flames enveloped the whole machine and he went
straight down, apparently quite slowly, for about 5000 feet, till he was
just a shapeless burning mass of wreckage. Absolutely fascinated by the
sight, I followed him down and saw him hit the sea with a great burst of
while foam. I had often wondered what would be my feelings when killing
somebody like this, and especially when seeing them go down in flames. I
was rather surprised to reflect afterwards that my own feeling had been one
of considerable elation - and a sort of bewildered surprise because it had
all be so easy." RAF Pilot Officer David Crook
"At the English coast I counted some twenty dark spots in the distance,
somewhat higher than we were. I was certain they were RAF fighters, but
couldn't recognize whether they were Hurricanes or Spitfires - but knew
that our twin engine machines were no match for these single engine
However, it was our duty to protect the Stukas, so they could bomb
unhindered. The main strength of [our] Me 110 was the two 20mm cannons and
four machine guns in its nose. I pressed the firing buttons and bullets
flew like water out of a watering can towards the enemy. The closing speed
was high, and at the last minute both I and my attacker had to break away
to avoid a head on collision. Whether I scored any hits or not, I don't
The next moment, two fighters were on my tail and had opened fire. Almost
immediately both of my engines stopped and a return to the Continent was
clearly impossible. The enemy saw his success and stopped shooting, but
watched me from behind.
I flung off my cabin roof for a quick escape, and hoped it would hit him. I
ordered Helmut Scholz to do the same.He radioed that the mechanism to ditch
his cabin roof would not operate as a result of bullet damage.
I couldn't bail out and leave Scholz to his fate, and for the same reason,
ditching in the sea seemed unwise. The only alternative was a crash landing
on British soil.
After we had landed I found I could not leave the cockpit - a high
explosive bullet had hit my seat, causing a big hole. The torn aluminum
'fangs' around the hole had nailed themselves through my parachute pack and
tunic and on to my flesh.
I pulled myself forward, and suddenly was free. I left the aircraft and
smashed the cabin roof of my gunner so he could get out. He was hurt only
by shell splinters. The first thing to do was destroy the aircraft. We
didn't have a self destruct charge, so opened the fuel caps and tried to
ignite the petrol with the muzzle flash from my pistol.
I fired eight shots, but had no success. In hindsight, this was just as
well, otherwise the aircraft would have exploded and killed us." LUFTWAFFE
OBERLEUTENANT GERHARD KADOW
"A fantastic fireworks. Shots ring to my right and left. Somewhere in my
Messerschmitt I feel a strong blow and hear a heavy rumbling but the
has to go! I see a thin line of smoke under his fuselage, then suddenly the
enemy plane is one red ball of fire rushing downward." LUFTWAFFE HAUPTMANN
"North of Dover we met some low flying Spitfires. I shot [one] down in
flames. But now I found myself in the middle of a clump of Englishmen and
they were very angry with me. They all rushed at me, and that was my good
luck. As they all tried to earn cheap laurels at the expense of one German,
they got in each other's way. Well, I managed to outmaneuver them and made
them even more confused. Nevertheless, I couldn't avoid being hit. Bullets
bespattered my aircraft. The radiator and fuel tank were shot up badly and
I had to make a getaway as quickly as possible. Luckily my engine held out
to the French coast, then it began to misfire. When I wanted to land the
[landing gear] wouldn't work. There was nothing to do but land without it.
I made a smooth belly landing." LUFTWAFFE MAJOR WERNER MOLDERS
"The enemy fighters, who were painted silver, were half rolling and diving
and zooming in climbing turns. I fired two five second bursts at one and
saw it dive into the sea. Then I followed another up in a zoom and got him
as he stalled." RAF SQUADRON LEADER J.R.A. PEEL
EAGLE DAY, AUGUST 13
"We saw about twenty four Ju 88s escorted by many Me 110s and 109s. The
fighters were stepped up in the sun. We flew alongside the bombers on the
left until we were slightly ahead, when the leader gave the order to
attack. I started to attack the bombers, but as the escort came down in a
dive I made a climbing right turn into the 110s. I saw part of the roof and
fuselage of one 110 break away as I fired one burst of about three seconds
from almost head on. The enemy aircraft continued in a dive but I didn't
see what happened to it." RAF PILOT OFFICER MAYERS
"There were about twelve Me 109s diving at me from the sun and at least
half of them must have been firing deflection shots at me. There was a
and my control column became useless. I found myself doing a vertical dive,
getting faster and faster. I pulled the hood back. I got my head out of
the cockpit, and the slipstream tore the rest of me clean out of the
machine. My trouser leg and both shoes were torn clean off. I saw my
machine crash into the sea a mile off Deal. It took me twenty minutes to
come down. I had drifted eleven miles out to sea. One string of my
parachute did not come undone, and I was dragged along by my left leg at
ten miles an hour, with my head underneath the water. I was almost
unconscious when the string came undone. I got my breath back and started
swimming." RAF PILOT OFFICER STEVENSON
"I began to close in on [the bomber] and found I was travelling much too
fast. I throttled back and slowed up just in time. We were frighteningly
close. Then I swung up, took aim, and fired my eight guns. Almost at once,
I saw little flashes of light dancing along the fuselage and centre
section. I closed in again, when suddenly the bomber reared up in front of
me. It was all I could do to avoid crashing into him. I heaved at the
controls to prevent a collision, and in doing so I lost sight of him. I
dived from 30, 000 feet to 3, 000 feet at such a speed that the bottom
panel of my aircraft cracked, and as my ears
were not used to such changes in pressure I nearly lost the use of one of
the drums. But I had to get that bomber. Then as I came nearer I saw he was
on fire. Little flames were flickering around his fuselage and wings. Just
as I closed in again he jinked away into a steep climbing turn. When he got
to the top of his climb I was almost on him. I took sight very carefully
and gave the button a quick squeeze. Once more I saw little dancing lights
on his fuselage, but almost instantaneously they were swallowed in a burst
of flames. I saw him twist gently earthwards and there was a spurt of fire
as he touched the earth. He blew up and set a copse blazing." UNIDENTIFIED
RAF FIGHTER PILOT
"I at once flung my [Bf 109] around and went down after [the Spitfire]. Now
I was about 200 yards behind the Tommy. Steady does it - wait. The range
was much too far. I crept slowly nearer till I was only a hundred yards
away, and the Spit's wings filled my reflector sight. Suddenly the Tommy
opened fire and the Me in front of him went into a dive. I too had pressed
the firing button after previously aiming carefully. I was only in a gentle
turn as I did so. The Spit at once caught fire and with a long grey plume
of smoke dived down vertically into the sea." LUFTWAFFE OBERLEUTENANT
"In the corner of my eye, I saw [a Bf 109] diving for me, pumping shells. A
quick turn toward it shook it off, and it slid by below, then reared up in
a wide left hand turn in front of me. It was a fatal move. My Hurricane
climbed around easily inside its turn. When I fired, the 109 flicked over
and a sudden spurt of while vapor from its belly turned to flame. Down came
another. Again a steep turn and I was on its tail. He seemed to know I was
there, but he did the wrong thing. He kept on turning. When I fired, bits
flew off, the hood came away, and then the pilot bailed out. He looked
incongruous hanging there, a wingless body
in the midst of this duel of winged machines." RAF SQUADRON LEADER PETER
"Me 109s came at us just as we came out of the clouds. My plane was hit by
cannon shells and I went into a spin. I managed to straighten out and
finally came safely through a balloon barrage, pulled up and found myself
at about 600 feet with a big hole in my right wing and the right side of my
cockpit shot away. I was about to bale out when I saw Croydon airfield
below. So I decided to crash land, but as I came over the road to the
airfield, our anti-aircraft guns opened fire at me. They though I was a
German plane and blew my tail off. Instead of crash landing, I went in head
first and ended up in the hospital." RAF PILOT OFFICER DAVID LOOKER
"The whole [Bf 109] became enveloped in flames, and pieces began to fly
off. Finally, as it went down, more pieces came off, all burning. As it
tumbled down toward the Thames Estuary it was really a bunch of blazing
fragments instead of a whole aircraft. It was an amazing sight." RAF
SERGEANT R.F. HAMLYN
"Ran into a bunch of Huns over [Thames] Estuary. Had a bang at Me 110 but
had to break away as tracer was coming over my head from another behind me.
He appeared to be hitting his fellow-countryman in front of me but I didn't
wait to see if he shot him down. Had a crack at another and shot his engine
right out of the wing. Lovely!" RAF FLYING OFFICER B.J. LANE
"Climbing away from Croydon at full boost, I saw ugly black mushrooms of
smoke burgeoning to the south. Biggin Hill had bought it again, the Ops
room demolished, all the toil and travail brought to nothing. I had flogged
Hurricane mercilessly during that climb and was then closing in fast on the
Me 110s. The squadron was somewhere behind;that was enough. I did not give
them a further thought. Only get those ill-mannered bastards' who had
disturbed our lunch, smashed our airfield, invaded our sky. When they saw
us coming, they went into a defensive circle. 'No matter, ' I though,
'keep straight on into the middle of them.' I had pushed my hood back to
watch the Me 109s better. Down they came, and a violent cut and thrust
combat followed, which I vaguely felt must end badly for me. Streams of
tracer, turn this way, more tracer, turn that way. Then an Me 109 passed
below and turned left, climbing. My favorite shot. Belching black and white
smoke, he staggered, slowed up, and rolled over. No time to see more." RAF
SQUADRON LEADER PETER TOWNSHEND
"There several miles away was a black line in the sky. 35 Hun bombers in
close formation - and I gradually began to distinguish about 70 to 100
other little dots - fighters. We sent in at the bombers. But before one
could take stock of the situation the Messerschmitts were on me. I turned
quickly to see if there was anything on my tail and at the same moment two
109s went past my nose. I
turned, diving on one and gave him a burst - nothing happened. Presumably I
had missed him, but the noise of my eight guns gave me great confidence. I
gave the second Me 109 a burst. A sudden flash of brilliant flame, a cloud
of smoke, and a vast piece flew off it, and down he went." RAF FLYING
OFFICER GEORGE BARCLAY
"Something told me it was now or never. Two Dorniers were already ablaze in
front of me, parachutes drifting downwards. The black mass of bombers
flashed towards us as we dived to get in a glancing frontal attack before
turning to take them from the rear. My leader opened fire to the left. My
turn. I pressed the button. Nothing happened. S---! S---! It was too late
to break off, and the tracer was flying in all directions. Suddenly I
noticed the safety catch - it was still on! I wrenched the Hurricane into a
tight turn, doubled up over the stick by the crushing centrifugal force.
Now I was behind my group, and a Dornier sprang up ahead, growing until it
filled my sights. I could see the tail gunner firing at me. At last I
pressed the button and the Hurricane shuddered with the eight gun recoil.
Smoke streamed out of the Dornier's port engine. I let him have another
squirt and saw a banner of flame. Just like that, it all seemed easy." RAF
SQUADRON LEADER JEAN ZUMBACH, FORMER POLISH AIR FORCE PILOT
"After a wide swing eastwards, we headed for London escorted by hundred of
fighters. The targets were the docks and shipping in the Thames, and could
already be seen, when we were suddenly hit by a very short burst of fire
from the machine guns of the RAF fighter that had evidently approached from
behind, unseen by our rear gunner, Unteroffizer Diebler.
Our [Ju 88] was badly damaged and the situation was grim - the control
column didn't work any more, as a bullet must have severed the elevator
cables, and both engines were hit, the right losing gasoline, the left oil.
Then the observer, Unteroffizer Rolf, reported that Diebler was lying dead
in a pool of blood, a bullet having pierced the artery of his neck. I gave
the order to shed the cockpit roof in order to bail out, but then I found
that I could just about control the aeroplane by the trimming wheel, which
to some extent replaced the elevator. Thinking of our dead gunner, I
decided to stray in the plane and make for the Channel. If our engines kept
going long enough, we could get down on the water and maybe get back to
France in the rubber dinghy which was carried on board. So I turned south
for the shortest route and jettisoned our bombs. However, we now had no
guns to defend ourselves against further attack, as these had gone with the
roof, so I dived for cover in the clouds 3, 000 meters below.
Unfortunately, in the clouds the engines stopped and didn't want to start
again. By now we were too low to bail out, so had no choice but to make a
very difficult landing with no use of the control column. I couldn't even
let out the flaps, because the electrical system had failed!
I was very lucky to make a good landing as another problem was that of all
the fields being covered in all sorts of poles and obstacles like old cars
- as a defence against a possible landing by assault gliders in an
However, I got us down in one piece and after we had lifted out the dead
gunner, we set fire to our aeroplane and gave ourselves up to police and
soldiers." LUFTWAFFE OBERLEUTENANT HANS GOLLNISCH
"Party over London. Sighted big bunch of Huns south of river and got in
lovely head-on attack into leading He 111s. Broke them up and picked up a
small batch of six with two Me 110s as escort. Found myself entirely alone
with these lads so proceeded to have a bit of sport. Got one of Me 110s on
fire whereupon the other left his charge and ran for home. Played with the
He 11s for a bit and finally got one in both engines. Never had so much fun
before!" RAF FLYING OFFICER B.J. LANE
"Machine-gun fire cracked on every side, and twice there was a hell of a
thump quite close behind us. Two British fighters must have collided with
two of our Dorniers. The aircraft went spinning down in flames, and below
us several parachutes opened. We looked at each other and gave the
thumbs-up. This time we had come out of the melee unscathed." LUFTWAFFE DO
17 RADIO OPERATOR HORST ZANDER
"I saw a blob coming up from the south, and investigated. Boy! Oh boy!
Twenty fat Dorniers, flying wing tip to wing tip, ack ack all around. I was
well ahead and above them, so shoved the old throttle open, and dived at
them head on.
I picked the chappie who appeared to be leading the bunch, settled him in
my sights, and let him have it.
There isn't much time to muck about in a head on attack. I gave a short
burst, then slid underneath his big black belly with only feet to spare,
and flashed through the rest of the formation. I hadn't meant to cut it so
close, and instinctively ducked as I saw wings, engines, cockpits and black
crosses go streaking past my hood.
I had reached about 450 MPH in my dive, and heaved back on the stick. I
blacked out completely as I went up and over in an enormous loop. My sight
returned as I lost speed and the centrifugal force lessened. I was on my
back, so rolled over. The speed of dive and pullout had carried me up ahead
of them for another attack.
I saw that my first burst had taken effect, the leader had dropped away and
to one side, and was turning back. The rest of the formation were wobbling
about, and didn't seem to know quite what to do.
As I dived down again, two Hurricanes turned up and joined in the party.
The Huns didn't wait for more, but scattered and fled pell mell,
jettisoning their bombs on open country.
I had helped turn twenty bombers away from London! I yelled and whistled
with joy, then pounced on the one I had crippled in my first attack. The
Hurricanes were 'seeing off' the others OK, so I left them to it.
He appeared to be having difficulty with one engine. I fixed that by
stopping it altogether for him. He looked a bit lopsided then, so I stopped
the other one too, and he started a long, steep glide down.
I saw the rear gunner bale out, so went up very close and had a look at the
aeroplane. It was pretty well riddled. Eight machine guns certainly made a
I had a look at the pilot. He sat bolt upright in his seat, and was either
dead or wounded, for he didn't even turn his head to look at me, or watch
out for a place to land, but stared straight ahead.
Suddenly, a pair of legs appeared, dangling from the underneath hatch. The
other gunner was baling out. He got out as far as his waist, then the legs
kicked. They became still for a moment, then wriggled again, they writhed,
squirmed. Good God, he's stuck! Poor devil, he couldn't get in or out, and
his legs, all I could see of them, flailed wildly as he tried to release
himself. It was my fault. I suddenly felt guilty and almost physically
sick, until I thought of all the people down below, wives, young mothers,
kiddies, huddled in their shelters, waiting for the all clear.
The legs still wriggled and thrashed, 2, 000 feet above the cool green
fields, trapped in a doomed aircraft, gliding down, a dead pilot at the
controls. First one boot came off, then the other, he had no socks on, his
feet were quite bare:it was very pathetic.
He'd better hurry, or it'd be too late.
he hadn't got out before they were down to 1, 000 feet. He'd be cut in
half when they hit the ground, like cheese on a grater. In spite of all he
stood for, he didn't deserve a death like that. I got my sights squarely on
where his body would be, and pressed the button. The legs were still. The
machine went on. The pilot was dead. He made no attempt to flatten out and
land, but went smack into a field, and the aeroplane exploded. I saw pieces
sail past me as I flew low overhead. I didn't feel particularly jubilant."
RAF PILOT OFFICER BOGGLE BODIE
"I had damaged [the Hurricane] badly, and she was on fire. She ought to
have been a dead loss. Yet she did not crash but glided down in gentle
curves. My flight companions and I attacked her three times - without a
final result. I flew close alongside the flying wreck, by now thoroughly
riddled, with smoke belching from her. From a distance of a few yards I saw
the dead pilot sitting in his shattered cockpit, while his aircraft
spiralled slowly to the ground as though piloted by a ghostly hand."
LUFTWAFFE MAJOR ADOLF GALLAND
"This time, for a change, we outnumbered the Hun, and believe me, no more
than eight got home from that party. At one time you could see planes going
down on fire all over the place, and the sky seemed full of parachutes. It
was sudden death that morning, for our fighters shot them to blazes." RAF
SQUADRON LEADER DOUGLAS BADER
(THIS PAGE IS BLANK)
MISSION INSTRUCTIONS: PRE-FLIGHT
Remove the floppy disks marked Their Finest Hour. The Battle of Britain
from the disk envelope inside the box, along with the Frequency Cipher
Wheel. Then look at the Reference Card, also inside the box, to find the
Loading Instructions. These instructions tell you how to start the game
from the floppy disks, plus how to install and play it from a hard disk
drive. When you've finished loading the game, see the Game Controllers
section which follows.
GAME CONTROLLERS (MOUSE/JOYSTICK/KEYBOARD)
In this manual, the word "controller" will be used to refer to your mouse,
joystick, or keyboard cursor keys (arrow keys). "Controller buttons" will
refer to the buttons on the mouse or joystick. If you're playing with a
keyboard, there will be corresponding keyboard keys that will serve as
To find out which controllers the program supports on your computer, please
see your Reference Card.
If your computer doesn't support a mouse or a joystick, the keyboard will
control all of the game functions, and the cursor keys used to pilot
and move machine guns around. However, if your computer does support a
joystick or mouse, we urge you to use it, as controlling the game is easier
than with the cursor keys. The joystick gives the best true to life
control, particularly for piloting the plane and performing aerial
maneuvers. The mouse gives the best fine control, which is important for
precision maneuvers such as aiming guns and moving a fighter into a
favorable position from which to attack.
ADJUSTING YOUR JOYSTICK
If you are using a joystick when you first start up the game, the program
will ask you if you want to use it. Press the Y key if you're using a
joystick, and the N key if you're using a different controller. If you
press the Y key, the program will walk you through a three-step joystick
1. First, center the joystick and click any joystick button.
2. Next, while holding the joystick in the top left corner, click any
3. Finally, while holding the joystick in the lower right corner, click any
You can adjust your joystick anytime during the game by pressing Alt-C.
USING THE CONTROLLER TO SELECT FROM THE MENUS AND SCREENS
After you've loaded Their Finest Hour, you'll need to move through several
menus that allow you to select missions, choose aircraft, keep track of
Combat Records, and more. You'll also need to select icons on different
screens throughout the program. Whenever you're at a menu or screen, you'll
see a list of choices, or icons, along with a floating arrow. To make your
selection, use your controller to move the arrow over the desired choice or
icon, then click your controller button.
NON-STANDARD MOUSE OR JOYSTICK BUTTONS
If you're playing the game with a joystick or mouse that has an unusual
button configuration, you may be confused when the game instructions call
for pressing the "left" or "right" controller button. Here's an easy way to
find out which
of your buttons is considered left and which is considered right. First,
read the following Main Menu section, then read the Training Flights
section. Select a Bf 109 from the list of aircraft shown on the Training
Flight Screen. You'll soon find yourself in the cockpit of this fighter,
where you'll see two numbers showing the number of ammunition rounds you
have in your machine guns and cannon. Pressing one of the buttons on your
joystick or mouse will make the top number decrease. This button is the one
referred to as the "left" button. The other button will make the bottom
number decrease. This button is the "right" button.
When you get to the Main Menu, you'll see a box with a list of choices,
surrounded by scenes from the Battle of Britain. On the left, Spitfires
soar high above the English Channel, barrage balloons, radar installations,
and the white cliffs of Dover. On the right, Stukas dive-bomb ships in the
Channel while medium bombers roar off toward England.
Use the floating arrow to choose any of these Main Menu selections:
FLY TRAINING FLIGHT: This lets you hone your flying, shooting, and bombing
skills in a variety of practice situations. The results of these Training
Flights will not count on your Combat Record.
FLY COMBAT FLIGHT: This lets you fly an actual mission, the results of
which will count on your Combat Record.
FLY CUSTOM MISSION: This lets you fly in missions that you've created with
the Mission Builder(see your Reference Card for more information on using
the Mission Builder).
PLAY CAMPAIGN: This lets you take part in various campaign missions, where
you can change the historical outcome of the Battle of Britain if you're
REVIEW COMBAT RECORDS: This lets you look over the records of the pilots
and crews who have flown on your missions.
REVIEW COMBAT FILM: This sends you to the Review Combat Film room, where
you can watch the combat action you've recorded and saved from your various
EXIT FROM PROGRAM: This lets you leave the game and return to your
computer's operating system.
To learn and practice the skills you'll need when flying a combat mission,
we encourage you to fly as many Training Flights as you can. Since the
results won't count on your Combat Record, you can experiment, take foolish
chances, and make lots of mistakes. Training Flights are the best way to
develop that "combat edge" you'll need in battle.
When you choose FLY TRAINING FLIGHT from the Main Menu, you'll be presented
with an Aircraft Selection menu. There you'll see eight German and British
aircraft you can choose from. Move the arrow to either the aircraft
silhouette or the name next to it, then click the controller button to make
your selection. Next you'll be shown a Training Flight Selection menu. This
has a list of four Training Flights specific to that type of aircraft
you've selected. For example
the training missions you can choose for a fighter include forward gunnery
practice, intercepting bombers, and escorting bombers. The first mission on
each of the lists is fairly easy, but subsequent ones become increasing
difficult. Once you've selected a Training Flight, you'll be sent to Flight
Briefing before you begin your flight.
With these missions, you'll be reliving historically authentic flights that
took place during different phases of the Battle of Britain(see the
Historical Overview chapter for more information). When you're flying one
of these Combat Flights, you'll select from a roster of pilots you've
created for the side you're flying on. Their successes and failures will be
kept track of in a Combat Record. Medals and promotions will be won by
those who are skillful and courageous in battle, but a far less glorious
fate awaits those who are not. To select a Combat Flight, move the arrow to
FLY COMBAT FLIGHT on the Main Menu, and press the controller button. Next
you'll be at an Aircraft Selection menu, where you'll see eight German or
British aircraft silhouettes. Click on either the silhouette of the plane
you want to fly or the name next to it. You'll then move to a Flight
Selection menu, where you can choose from eight historically based missions
appropriate for the type of aircraft you've selected. These choices are
ranked in order of difficulty, with the first choices being relatively
easy, and the succeeding choices becoming increasingly difficult. You'll
only see the first four mission choices when you come to the menu. To see
the next four choices, press FORWARD. If you'd like to see the previous
four choices again, press BACK. To make your selection, move the floating
arrow to either the mission text or the number on the left side, and press
your controller button. To leave the Flight Selection menu altogether,
press EXIT. When you have selected a mission, you'll move to Flight
When you pick this selection from the Main Menu, you'll be shown a list of
all the missions you've previously created with the Mission Builder (see
your Reference Card for more information about building your own missions).
If the list is a long one, move the floating arrow to the down arrow icon
next to the
list, and hold down your controller button to view all the missions on the
list. Move the arrow to the up arrow icon and hold down your controller
button to move back up the list. When you've found the mission you want to
fly, click the arrow on it to select it. You'll then go to Flight Briefing.
When you play Campaign Missions, you get a chance to change the historical
outcome of the Battle of Britain. You can choose to command either the
British or the German side, and fly a number of consecutive missions on
that side starting from July 10, 1940, the date generally recognized as the
commencement of the Battle of Britain. Due to the changing weather
conditions at that time of year, you'll only be flying a mission every two
or three days. The success or failure of each of your individual missions
is magnified, since each outcome reflects upon your entire side during the
battle. Also, the effects of one mission are carried over to subsequent
missions. For example, if you're playing on the German side, and you bomb
certain installations, those installations will remain out of action for a
given length of time.
After every mission, a scoring screen will let you know how close your side
is to winning or losing the campaign. If you're directing the British side,
you'll win the Battle of Britain by surviving until September 16. This was
the date by which the Luftwaffe needed to gain air superiority so that
Operation Sea Lion, the invasion of England, could be launched. You'll
also win by shooting down enough Luftwaffe aircraft to deplete their air
strength to the point where they can no longer continue their aerial
assault. If you're directing the German side, you'll win by destroying
enough Fighter Command aircraft, either in the air or on the ground, so
that the Luftwaffe gains air superiority over England and the invasion can
take place. No matter which side you choose, final victory may require that
you direct from fifteen to twenty five missions. (For more information
about actual British and German campaign strategies you might want to
experiment with, see the Historical Overview chapter.)
STARTING A CAMPAIGN
To begin a campaign, choose PLAY CAMPAIGN from the Main Menu. You'll then
see another menu, with the following choices:
START NEW CAMPAIGN DIRECTING THE RAF This creates a new British campaign,
with the starting date set at July 10, 1940. At the text cursor, type in
the name of your campaign, and press RETURN. You'll then go to the Campaign
START NEW CAMPAIGN DIRECTING THE LUFTWAFFE This creates a new German
campaign, which will also start on July 10, 1940. Type in the name of your
campaign, press RETURN, and you'll be sent to the Campaign Map.
CONTINUE CAMPAIGN IN PROGRESS Choosing this displays the list of available
campaigns that have already been created and saved on disk. If this list is
a long one, move the floating arrow over the down arrow icon, and hold the
controller button to look down the list. To look back up the list, hold the
controller button after you move the floating arrow over the up arrow icon.
At the bottom of the list, you'll also see two buttons, labeled RETRY and
CANCEL. If you're saving your campaigns on floppy disks, and want the
program to search a particular disk for your campaign, insert that disk and
press RETRY. If you don't want to direct any of the campaigns listed, and
want to direct a new one instead, press CANCEL.
Once you've selected an available campaign, you'll move to the Campaign
EXIT This sends you back to the Main Menu.
After you've started a new campaign or chosen an existing one, you'll go to
the Campaign Map. At the top of this map is the word "CAMPAIGN, " along
with the name of your campaign, plus its historical date and time. From
this map you'll send your forces into combat on the date shown above.
You'll organize your aircraft into flight groups, give them orders, and
begin that day's mission by taking the controls of one of the planes.
This Campaign Map resembles the Flight Briefing Map, with the English
Channel, Southern England, and the north coast of France displayed(see the
Flight Briefing section for comparison). The map will contain different
information for each side. If you're playing an RAF campaign, you'll see
icons on the map representing all the different British ground
installations and ship convoys, with a special highlight on those that are
about to be attacked. These targets include airfields, radar sites, and
factories. You may also see icons that represent formations of incoming
Luftwaffe aircraft. If you're playing a Luftwaffe campaign, you'll see
icons representing all the possible targets you can attack, including
ground installations and ship convoys. You'll then have to decide which
ones to send your aircraft to assault.
To reveal information about the ground installations on your map, move the
floating arrow over any installation icon. In the column in the lower right
hand corner of the screen, you'll see the name of the installation, along
with its status(whether or not it has been previously damaged or destroyed
in the campaign).
For both German and British campaigns, you'll see four buttons at the
bottom of the screen:
BRIEFING This gives you a description of the status of your campaign, and
tells you how close each side is to victory or defeat.
ROSTER This lets you create and select pilots and crews for that day's
mission (see the Flight Roster section for more information).
CANCEL This sends you back to the Main Menu.
GO FLIGHT This lets you begin your mission.
Before you begin a Campaign Mission, you'll need to assign the aircraft
under your command to various flight groups. A flight group is a given
number of aircraft that fly together as a unit. You determine the number
and type of aircraft in each flight group, and then assign it to a specific
mission objective by creating a flight plan.
Next to the words "PLANES AVAILABLE" on the screen is a number indicating
how many aircraft are available to be placed in your flight groups. Below
these words are five buttons which you use to determine the composition of
FLIGHT GROUP Click your controller button to cycle through the flight
groups you have on hand, plus those you have yet to create. To create a
flight group, you must select a plane type(see below)and allocate at least
one plane to that flight group from the pool of available planes.
PLANE TYPE Click your controller button to cycle through the different
types of aircraft you can allocate to a particular flight group. Each
flight group must be made up of the same type of aircraft. For example, if
you're flying an RAF campaign, you cannot have a flight group with both
Spitfires and Hurricanes in it. However, you can create one flight group of
Spitfires and a second of Hurricanes.
NUMBER OF PLANES This lets you select the number of aircraft for the
flight group you're creating. There must be at least one plane in a flight
before that group can fly your mission. Press the left controller button to
increase the number, and the right controller button to decrease it.
FORMATION Click your controller button to cycle through and set the flight
formation for the current flight group you're creating.
ORDERS Click your controller button to cycle through and set the mission
orders for your current flight group. If you're directing the RAF, you can
choose to have your fighters attack enemy bombers or fighters. If you're
directing the Luftwaffe, your choices vary, depending upon the type of
aircraft. German fighters can fly in a bomber escort role, or a free
ranging role. Jabo fighter/bombers can either fly bomber escort, drop
bombs, or strafe installations.
After you've created a flight group, you must implement a flight plan for
it. To do this you'll plot a course by placing a series of navigation
points on the Campaign Map for the group to follow. A flight plan is
composed of up to six of these points, including a starting point (BEGIN),
four rendezvous points (WAY POINTS 1-4), and an airfield at a home base
point to return to (LAND). For fighter Combat Air Patrol (CAP) missions,
the flight group will patrol an area by repeating the flight plan until it
runs low on fuel. For fighter escort and bomber missions, the flight group
follows the flight plan only once. To create a flight plan, look below the
flight group buttons. There, you'll see a chart which looks like this:
FLIGHT PLAN ALT ATK
WAY POINT 1
WAY POINT 2
WAY POINT 3
WAY POINT 4
To choose where the flight group will begin its mission from, click on
BEGIN. A star will appear to the left of the word. Move the floating arrow
to the desired location on the Campaign Map, and click the controller
button. A starting point icon will appear on the map. If you change your
mind, move the arrow to a new location, and click the button again. RAF
flight groups can only begin their missions over England or the English
Channel. Luftwaffe flight groups can only begin their missions over
Continental Europe or the English Channel.
Now look on the screen for the word "ALT" next to the words "FLIGHT PLAN".
This shows the current cruising altitude for this flight group, and is
given in thousands of feet. (For example, if the number reads "11, " the
current cruising altitude is 11, 000 feet.) Click the left controller
button to increase the altitude at which the flight group begins its
mission, and the right controller button to decrease the altitude.
You set the locations of the four Way Points the same way you set the BEGIN
location. First, click on Way Point 1, move the arrow to the desired
location on the map, and click your controller button. An icon will appear
on the map to represent the location of that Way Point. Click on the number
below ALT to adjust the altitude for your flight group flying toward Way
Point 1. If you wish, repeat this procedure for Way Points 2, 3, and 4.
You can plot a course with these different Way Points to confuse or divert
If your directing a Luftwaffe campaign, bomber or fighter/bomber flight
groups will automatically bomb a target if it is located where you've
placed a Way Point icon. If you don't want to attack this target, look for
word "ATK"(attack) next to ALT. The word YES will appear if an attack will
occur. To call off the attack, click on YES and that word will go away.
To assign each flight group to a home base landing area, click on LAND,
move the arrow to the desired airfield on the map, the click the controller
button. After you've created a flight plan, you may want to modify it by
removing one or more of the Way Points. To do so, click on the Way Point
you'd like to remove, then click the DELETE button, which is located to
the right of the LAND button. This will remove that Way Point icon from the
Although it may seem like you're fighting the Battle of Britain with just a
handful of aircraft, the success of each of your missions represents the
degree of success for your entire side. For example, if you successfully
bomb radar installations on a Luftwaffe bombing mission, then the rest of
the Luftwaffe will have been equally successful bombing similar targets
elsewhere in Southern England.
On the Campaign Results screen at the end of your mission, you'll see a
chart outlining how your mission results affected the status of each side.
It also shows the total air strength remaining for both sides. The
percentage of available RAF pilots, planes, and airfields will fluctuate,
as will the number
of available Luftwaffe planes and crews. These percentages determine how
close each side is to winning or losing the Battle of Britain.
REVIEW COMBAT RECORDS
When you choose REVIEW COMBAT RECORDS from the Main Menu, another menu will
appear listing five categories of pilots and crew whose records you can
BF 109 PILOTS
BF 110 PILOTS
JU 87 STUKA CREWS
You can choose EXIT, which will return you to the Main Menu.
Use the floating arrow to make your selection. The next menu you'll see
will have two lists. The list on the left will show all the current pilots
or crews that exist in that category. If this is a long list, move to the
down arrow icon next to the list, and press and hold your controller button
on the up arrow icon to move up the list. The list on the right will show
the "Top 10" pilots or crews, with their names, the number of missions
flown, and evaluation numbers rating their past combat experience. To look
at the record of an individual pilot or crew, move the arrow to their name,
and click the controller button. The
next screen you'll see will give you detailed information, including rank,
status, number of missions flown, number of air victories, number of
bombloads dropped, targets destroyed, and number of planes lost.
Choosing REVIEW COMBAT RECORDS only lets you look at pilots' and crews'
records. To create pilots and crews go to the Flight Roster screen, which
you access from Flight Briefing (see the Flight Roster section for more
REVIEW COMBAT FILM
Whenever you're flying a mission, you can record your combat action with
the replay camera. Pressing the C key turns on the cameras, which is
located in the cockpit of your aircraft. A number next to the camera
indicates the percentage of film you have left. You can turn off your
camera by pressing C again, by waiting until the film runs out, or by
pressing R, which sends you to the Review Combat Film screen. You can also
get to this screen by selecting REVIEW COMBAT FILM on the Main Menu.
Once you've made your film and pressed R, you'll be at a screen with the
words "REVIEW COMBAT FILM" in the upper part, along with the name of the
plane you were flying in when you made the film. At the bottom of the
screen, you'll see a floating cursor which you can move with your
controller. You'll position this cursor over the desired red buttons on the
bottom of the screen, and press your controller button to activate them.
THE VIEW WINDOW
The playback of your film will be shown in the view window in the center of
the screen. To the left and right of the view window, you'll see two
numeric lists, one marked CAMERA. The YOU list shows flight statistics for
the aircraft you were flying, while the CAMERA list shows flight statistics
from the camera's vantage point, which you can change with the view mode
and vantage point controls(see below). Both of these displays show the
aircraft's IAS (Indicated Air Speed), the ALTITUDE, the RATE OF CLIMB (+ or
- in feet per minute), the HEADING (in number of degrees), the PITCH (the
angle of the nose of the aircraft in degrees above or below the horizon),
and the amount of AMMUNITION left.
The playback controls in Review Combat Film are located directly below the
view window. These controls are similar to those of a VCR. To start the
playback of your film, press PLAY. To stop it at any time, press STOP. To
fast forward it at any time, press FWD. To rewind it, which you'll need to
do when the end of the film has been reached, press REW. To leave Review
Combat Film altogether press EXIT. You'll be sent back to your aircraft if
you were flying a mission; otherwise, you'll be sent back to the Main Menu.
REW Rewinds film to start
STOP Pauses the film
PLAY Starts the film playback
FWD Fast forwards the film
EXIT Exits you from Review Combat Film screen
Below the playback buttons at the bottom are three additional red buttons,
which control different view modes. Whenever you have selected any of these
modes, the word above the button will be highlighted. In the CHASE view
mode, the camera looks forward from directly behind your aircraft. This is
the view mode you always start in when you first come to the Review Combat
Film screen. The next button, COCKPIT, gives you the view from where the
pilot is sitting. The final button, FREE, is a free floating eye in the
sky. You can pan this eye in the sky around by pressing U (up), D (down), L
(left), R (right). To move the camera forward
in the FREE mode, press and hold the square button in the middle of U, D,
L, and R. To move the camera straight up or down, press either the red up
arrow or the red down arrow.
CHASE Displays file from behind aircraft
COCKPIT Displays film from cockpit or aircraft
FREE Displays film from free floating position in the sky
U, D, L, R Pans camera position up,down,left, or right (FREE mode only)
RED SQUARE Moves camera forward (FREE mode only)
RED UP ARROW Moves camera view up (FREE mode only)
RED DOWN ARROW Moves camera position down (FREE mode only)
SWITCHING VANTAGE POINTS
The buttons on the far right allow the camera to be switched to many
vantage points, including different aircraft and objects. If you press the
YOU button, the camera will be positioned on or near your aircraft,
depending on your view mode. If you press the AIR button, the camera will
be positioned from any object that was in the air when you made your film,
except for bombs. These objects can include other aircraft, barrage
balloons, and even men in parachutes who have bailed out. Press the AIR
button repeatedly to cycle through all the different airborne objects, and
change the view mode for additional camera positions. If you press the GRND
button, the camera will be positioned from targets on the ground. If any
aircraft dropped bombs while you were filming, press BOMB to get a bomb's
point of view. You can press YOU, AIR, GRND, or BOMB at anytime during your
replay. The name of the object or aircraft that the camera is positioned on
will always appear on the display at the top of the screen, next to the
words "REVIEW COMBAT FILM."
YOU Moves vantage point to your aircraft
AIR Moves vantage point to objects in air
GRND Moves vantage point to land and sea targets
BOMB Moves vantage point to any bombs dropped during filming
If you'd like to save the movie of your combat action, look at the lower
left hand corner of the screen. There, you'll see a nameplate titled
CURRENT CLIP, with a display panel below it. Move the cursor to the
display panel. Press your controller button, and the arrow will be replaced
by a text cursor. Type in a name for your film clip, the press RETURN. This
will restore the floating arrow. Click on the SAVE button to save your film
under the name you just typed in. A directory of your film clips will be
created, which you can only access by coming to the Review Combat Film
screen from the Main Menu. As you accumulate replays, be sure not to give
the same name to more than one film, or else you will erase the older
SAVE Saves current replay clip to disk
To look at a film clip from any previous missions, press the LOAD button. A
directory of the available film clips will then appear in the center of
the view window. To look down the list, move the floating arrow over the
down arrow next to the list, and press and hold the controller button.To
look back up the list, press and hold the controller button over the up
arrow. To select one of these film clips, click the floating arrow on the
one you'd like to watch.
LOAD Loads films you have saved(will not function if you are in
the middle of a mission)
After you've selected a Training Flight, Combat Flight, or Custom Mission,
you'll go to Flight Briefing. This is where you'll learn about your mission
in greater detail, choose the pilots or crew to fly it, and make any last
When you first enter Flight Briefing, you'll see a map of Southern England
and the west coast of France. This Flight Briefing Map is similar to the In
Flight Map/Radio that you can access anytime during your mission. Above the
map are the words "FLIGHT BRIEFING MAP." To the right will be the title of
plus the name of the current pilot or crew who is assigned to your plane.
On the Flight Briefing Map, you'll find various colored icons scattered
around the two countries. These icons symbolize various land installations,
such as RAF airfields, industrial targets, radar stations, and Luftwaffe
bases. To learn more about these installations, move the floating arrow
over any icon on the map. The information will then appear in the column on
the right side of the screen. You'll see the name of the installation, a
description of it, and its status (whether it is operational, or if it has
been damaged or destroyed by any previous action). Other icons will
identify the location of aircraft and ship convoys in the battle area you
are about to enter, along with the ground targets that are about to be
attacked by Luftwaffe bombers.
On the bottom of the screen, you'll also find four buttons labeled:
BRIEFING This brings up a detailed description of your mission, which will
appear in place of the Flight Briefing Map.
ROSTER This lets you assign pilots and crew to fly your mission(see the
Flight Roster section which follows)
CANCEL This aborts your mission and send you back to the Main Menu, where
you can choose a different mission if you wish.
GO FLIGHT This lets you begin your flight.
MODIFYING YOUR MISSION
Before you begin your mission, you can modify many of the combat conditions
of your flight by clicking on the Mission Setting buttons in the lower
right hand corner of the screen. However, once you modify a Combat Flight,
Custom Mission, or Campaign Mission, the results will not count in any
Combat Record. Whenever you select a mission to fly, the Mission Settings
you'll see will reflect the values for that particular mission.
The Mission Settings you can modify are:
SETUP Use this to choose between a STANDARD or RANDOM disposition of
forces. When you choose STANDARD, the aircraft on both sides will be in the
same location every time you play. When you choose RANDOM, they will
positioned differently every time you play.
AMMO Use this to change between STANDARD or UNLIMITED amounts of
In the STANDARD mode, you'll carry the same number of gun or cannon rounds
that aircraft in the Battle of Britain carried. In the UNLIMITED mode,
you'll have an endless supply of ammunition.
DAMAGE Use this to change between STANDARD or UNLIMITED amounts of battle
damage your aircraft can sustain. In the STANDARD mode, your aircraft can
be damaged and even shot down by enemy gunfire. In the UNLIMITED mode, you
can't be damaged, shot down, or crash.
FUEL Use this to change between STANDARD or UNLIMITED fuel capacity. In
the STANDARD mode, you'll carry a finite supply of fuel, and us it up at
the same rate as aircraft in 1940. In the UNLIMITED mode, you'll never run
out of fuel.
ENEMY Use this to select the skill level of the opposing pilots or crew
members. These settings range from NOVICE to TOP ACE.
START This lets you choose where to start your mission from. If you choose
ON GROUND, you'll begin your mission on the runway of your home airfield,
and will have to takeoff and fly to the enemy or the target. If you choose
IN AIR, you'll begin your mission in mid-flight, and the enemy or target
will be nearby.
RESET This reverts the values for the mission back to the original default
The ROSTER button in Flight Briefing lets you create pilots and crews, and
choose the ones who will fly in the mission you've selected. You can fly
your mission without selecting ROSTER, but then you'll fly with an unnamed
pilot or crew, and the results of your mission won't count on any Combat
Records. In addition to activating a pilot or crew for the plan you're
about to fly, you can select the pilot or crew for any other plan on your
side. At first, you won't have a roster of pilots or crews to choose from.
But as you create more and more pilots and crews, and as they gain
experience in combat, you'll be able to choose those best qualified to
support you in your current mission - and return victorious more often as a
When you press the ROSTER button, you'll be sent to the Flight Roster
screen. At the top of the screen, you'll see the words "FLIGHT ROSTER, "
plus a list of aircraft icons. These icons represent the different planes
that are flying on your side in the particular mission you've chosen. Next
to each aircraft icon
will be the name of its assigned pilot or crew. The aircraft that you
yourself are going to fly will be highlighted. The pilot and crew from your
previous mission will be automatically reassigned to your aircraft if they
survived. For example, let's say your last mission was in a Spitfire with a
pilot named "Clive." If you are about to fly another one, you'll see the
name "Spitfire" highlighted, along with a Spitfire icon, plus the name
"Clive." This way you won't have to create a new pilot every time you fly a
CREATING AND MANAGING PILOTS AND CREWS
In the middle of the Flight Roster screen you'll see six buttons. The first
five buttons are various pilot and crew categories for the different RAF
and Luftwaffe aircraft. When you press one of these buttons, the roster of
available pilots for that type of aircraft will appear at the bottom of the
screen. A sixth button lets you create new pilots and crews to add to the
roster of whichever type of aircraft you choose.
The five pilot and crew category buttons are:
RAF Use this to list the available Spitfire and Hurricane pilots.
Bf 109 Use this to list the available Bf 109 pilots.
Bf 110 Use this to list the available Bf 110 pilots.
STUKA Use this to list the available Stuka crews.
BOMBERS Use this to list the available He 111, Do 17z-2, and Ju 88 Crews.
The last button on the list is CREATE PILOTS/CREW. Use this to create
pilots and crew, and to add them to the roster of each category. To do so,
first select one of the pilot or crew categories by clicking on the
appropriate button. Then click on the CREATE PILOTS/CREW button. A text
cursor will appear. Use your keyboard to type in the name of the pilot or
crew, then press RETURN. The name of the new pilot or crew will now be
added to the roster of available pilots and crews for that aircraft.
Here's an example. Let's say you want to create a new crew for a Ju 88.
Click on the BOMBERS button, then click on the CREATE PILOTS/CREW button.
Type in the crew name, which we'll call "Blitzers, " with the keyboard, the
press RETURN. You now have a Ju 88 pilot and crew named "Blitzers."
LOOKING OVER THE ROSTER
If you've got a long list of pilots and crew on any roster, move the
floating arrow to the down arrow icon the left side of the screen, and
press and hold the controller button to scroll down through all the names.
Press and hold the up arrow icon to move back up through the names. To the
right of each pilot or crew name, you'll see their rank, the number of
missions they've flown, and an evaluation number, which rates them based on
their past successes and failures.
ASSIGNING PILOTS AND CREWS
To assign a pilot or crew to a particular plane, first select the category
of aircraft you want them to fly. Then, use your arrow to select their name
from the roster of available pilots or crews at the bottom of the screen.
Finally, click on the aircraft icon at the top of the screen that you want
to assign that pilot or crew to fly. The pilot's or crew's name will now
appear next to that aircraft icon. Be sure to match the pilot or crew with
a plane from the category of aircraft they're qualified to fly. For
example, an He 111 crew is qualified to fly the three kinds of German
medium bombers, but they cannot fly any other Luftwaffe aircraft.
To deactivate a pilot or crew, click on their name when it appears next to
any aircraft icon.
USING THE ROSTER FOR MORE SUCCESSFUL MISSIONS
Whenever you complete a mission, the Combat Records for all pilots and
crews involved will be updated. The more experience each pilot or crew
member gains, the better they'll perform in future missions. When you
select these proven, experienced pilots or crews for your missions,
they'll generally repeat their successes for you. For example, if you have
a Bf 109 pilot on your roster named "Heinz" who has flown many missions and
is a crack shot, you might want to assign him as your wingman if you're
flying a fighter intercept mission.
Chances are he'll distinguish himself in that role, and help you accomplish
the goals of your mission. However, as in real life combat, there's always
the possibility that he'll be shot down.
To exit the Flight Roster and return to the Flight Briefing Map, press the
MISSION INSTRUCTIONS: IN FLIGHT
To help you learn the flight controls and instruments of the twelve
aircraft in Their Finest Hour, we've divided the planes into three
categories, based on their design, their role in combat, and the number of
SINGLE-SEAT FIGHTERS AND MEDIUM
FIGHTERS DIVE BOMBERS BOMBERS
(PILOT ONLY) (PILOT AND (PILOT, BOMBARDIER, AND THREE
REAR GUNNER) TO FIVE GUNNERS)
Spitfire MK I Bf 110C-4 He 111
Spitfire MK II Bf 110C-4/B Do 17z-2
Hurricane MK I Ju 87B-1 Stuka Ju 88A-1
Bf 109E-3 Ju 87B-2 Stuka
Many of the control keys and the flight instruments are similar for all
three categories. However, we want to make sure that you have all the
information you need right at your fingertips at all times. To do this, we
deliberately repeat some of the information in each of the category
discussions below, and you'll find that there is a separate flight controls
section for each category as well.
Each flight controls section begins with a brief description of that
category of aircraft, followed by some charts. The first chart shows you
the controls you'll need to operate the aircraft's guns, while the second
chart gives you a list of keys you'll use to fly and maneuver the aircraft
itself. Another chart shows you how to look around outside your aircraft.
If you're flying a medium bomber, there's also a discussion on how to move
to the different gunner positions and man the guns, as well as how to move
to the bombardier's position and drop bombs. Finally, a section on cockpit
instruments describes all the different gauges and levers you'll see in the
cockpit of your aircraft. One cockpit screen in each of the three plane
categories is displayed, to help you master the instruments. To see a
cockpit screen of every aircraft, along with additional information, see
the German and British Aircraft and Weapons chapter.
FLIGHT CONTROLS GAME CONTROLS
Your controller operates just like the The following game controls can
control stick on a real plane. For more be used anytime during a
information, see the Flight Fundamentals mission, regardless of whether
and Tactics chapter. you're flying a fighter, dive
bomber, or medium bomber.
CONTROL KEYS FUNCTION
Up arrow Moves the nose of the plane Alt-P Pauses game; press any
Forward(away down key to continue
from you) Alt-S Turns all game sounds
off and on
Down arrow Moves the nose of the plane Alt-E Turns engine sound off
(toward you) up and on
Alt-V Gives version number of
Right arrow Banks the plane to the right Alt-C Lets you adjust
Left arrow Banks the plane to the left Alt-G Changes the amount of
ground detail to speed
up game if it is
Esc Exits the game;returns
you to your computer's
SINGLE-SEAT FIGHTER CONTROLS (SPITFIRE, HURRICANE, BF 109)
As a single seat fighter pilot, you're basically a "flying gun, " armed
with forward firing machine guns and, if you're flying a Bf 109, a
formidable 20 mm cannon. Your fighter is faster and more maneuverable than
a bomber, but it is also less durable, and won't be able to sustain as much
damage. Each of the fighters you can choose from has its own individual
strengths and weaknesses, but they all excel at one task: bringing down
Single Seat Fighter Weapons Controls Single Seat Fighter View Controls
CONTROLLER BUTTON FUNCTION To look around your fighter in all
Left controller Fire forward directions, you can use either the number
button or machine guns keys on the top of your keyboard or,
SPACE BAR if your keyboard has a keypad, use the
Right controller Fires 20 mm keypad controls. On some computers, the
button or cannon(Bf 109 keypad controls are labeled with arrows
period(.) key only) and we recommend that you use them. For
Left AND right Drops bombload a further discussion of these controls,
controller (Bf 109 Jabo see cockpit instrument #10 in the Single
buttons or fighter/bomber Seat Fighter Cockpit Instruments section
RETURN only) below.
SINGLE SEAT FIGHTER COCKPIT CONTROLS KEY FUNCTION
KEY FUNCTION 8 (Up Forward view (your mission
+ Increase throttle (shift key arrow) starts in this direction)
not needed) 6 (Right View right
- Decrease throttle arrow)
4 (left View left
L Lowers and raises landing gear arrow)
F Lowers and raises flaps 2 (down Rearview mirror
C Turns replay camera on and off to look behind you)
R Sends you to Review Combat Film 3 (pgDn) View straight down
(see the Mission instructions: regardless of your flight angle)
Pre-Flight chapter) 9 (PgUp) Scan view (look completely
M Sends you to the In-Flight around your fighter)
J Lets you jump from your fighter and parachute to safety
Q Ends mission;send you to a post flight evaluation
Single Seat Fighter Cockpit Instruments
When you're inside the cockpit of your chosen fighter, these are the instruments
you'll see in front of you:
1. Radio: This receiver has two important components. The three digit
number shows what frequency your radio is turned to, while the light next
to it will be lit when you've tuned into the correct frequency, which
allows you to receive important mission information. To tune or use your
radio, press M, which moves you to the In Flight Map/Radio.
2. Bomb Release Light (Bf 109E-4/B Jabo fighter/bombers only) This will be
lit if you have a bomb to drop. The number next to the light indicates if
you have one or zero bombs left.
3. Flaps Lever: This gives you the position of your fighter's flaps. If it
is in the up position, the flaps are up;if it is in the down position, the
flaps are down. During normal flight your flaps should be up, but for
takeoffs and landings, they should be down to increase lift and lower the
4. Compass: This shows which direction your fighter is headed:north, south,
east, or west.
5. Climb/Dive Indicator: This gauge gives you the rate your fighter is
climbing or diving, in thousands of feet per minute. The + area of the
gauge indicates a climb, while the - indicates a descent.
6. RPM Indicator: This gives you two readings. The dial shows the number of
revolutions per minute(RPMs)your engine is delivering, in units of one
hundred. The higher the RPMs, the farther to the right the dial will move.
If the throttle setting is at "75" or higher, or if the dial moves into the
red area, you'll be using up fuel at a higher rate. The white number at
the bottom of the gauge shows the throttle or power setting of the engine.
For example, if it reads "85, " your engine is set for 85 percent of the
power it can produce.
7. Banking indicator: This shows the roll of your righter(see the Flight
Fundamentals and Tactics chapter for more information). The large
horizontal bar shows the position of your wings relative to the ground,
while the small vertical bar shows the direction your tail is pointing. As
you bank your
fighter left or right, the horizontal bar will also bank to reflect your
8. Ammunition Round Indicator: This show how many gun rounds you have left
in your forward firing machine guns. If you're flying a Bf 109, you'll see
two numbers. The top one indicates the number of machine gun rounds left,
while the bottom number shows how many rounds you have left in your more
powerful 20 mm cannon.
9. Gunsight: Use this to aim your forward firing machine guns and cannon at
10. View Indicator: This panel shows which direction you're looking out of
from your fighter. In normal flight, the panel will be blank. When you
press the 4 key, the view out of your cockpit window will be the left view,
and the word "LEFT" will be displayed on the view indicator. If your
computer has enough memory, the cockpit screen will be replaced by a
picture of the view looking over the left wing of your aircraft. Pressing
the 6 key gives you the right view in the cockpit window with the word
"RIGHT" displayed, or the view looking over the right wing of your fighter.
Pressing the 3 key gives you the view straight down, and the word "DOWN"
will be displayed. When you press the 9 key, you'll be in the scan mode. In
this mode, you can look
around your fighter in any direction by moving your controller, while your
fighter remains on course. Two numbers will be displayed on the view
indicator. The first number shows how many degrees up or down you're
looking starting at 0 (level flight), and ranging from -90 (straight down)
to +90 (straight up). The second number shows how many degrees you're
looking around, beginning with 0 (straight ahead, your flight path). If
you're looking toward the right, the number ranges from 0 to +90 (directly
right) to +180 (behind you). If you're looking left, the number ranges from
0 to -90 (directly left) to -179 (just about straight behind you).
11. Nameplate: This gives the name and model number of your fighter.
12. Altimeter: This gives your distance above sea level in feet. The
digital number indicates thousands of feet, the big hand on the dial
indicates hundreds of feet, and the little hand tens of feet. For example,
if the digital display reads "21, "the big hand is on the "4" and the
little hand on the "8" your altitude is 21, 480 feet.
13. Airspeed Indicator: This shows how fast your fighter is flying in tens
miles per hour. For example, if the hand on the gauge is pointing to "30, "
you're flying at 300 miles per hour.
14. Engine Damage Indicator: This dial shows the amount of damage done to
your fighter's engine in combat. If the indicator moves into the red area,
the power output of the engine will be severely reduced and your RPM
indicator reading will drop. You may then have to abort the mission and
return to your home base, or even bail out.
15. Airframe Damage Indicator: This gauge shows the amount of structural
damage sustained by your fighter in combat. When the indicator is in the
red zone, your aircraft is severely damaged and may go out of control,
forcing you to bail out.
16. Pitch Indicator: This shows the position of the nose of your fighter
relative to the horizon. + means your nose is pointing above the horizon, 0
is level with the horizon, and - indicates that your nose is pointing below
17. Replay Camera Indicator: This shows the percentage of film you have
remaining in your replay camera when you are recording. The number on the
indicator will decrease until you're out of film. When you press C to turn
on your replay camera, a light above the indicator will go on, and stay on
until you have turned your camera off, or used up all the film.
18. Fuel Gauge:This shows how much fuel remains in your fighter's fuel
tanks:E means empty, F means full.
19. Landing Gear Lever:This shows the status of your landing gear. If the
lever is forward or up, your landing gear is up;if the lever is back or
down, your landing gear is down. Don't forget to lower your landing gear
for a landing, or to raise it after takeoff. Lowering your landing gear has
the effect of slowing your airspeed, which may be useful in certain
DOUBLE-SEAT FIGHTER AND DIVE BOMBER CONTROLS (BF 110, JU 87 STUKA)
When you're flying a double seat fighter or dive bomber, you're in a
larger, less maneuverable aircraft than a single seat fighter. However,
you're more heavily armed, with a rear firing machine gun to help ward off
enemy attacks. Like a single seat fighter, you're also armed with forward
firing machine guns, and, if you're flying a Bf 110, a 20 mm cannon. Your
plane is slightly more durable than a fighter, so it will take more enemy
bullets to bring it down. The Stuka and the fighter/bomber version of the
Bf 110 carry bombs, and in the hands of a skilled pilot, they can be
extremely accurate for low-altitude bombing (Bf 110C-4/B) and dive
bombing (Ju 87).
DOUBLE SEAT FIGHTER AND DIVE BOMBER WEAPONS CONTROLS
Your forward firing guns function exactly the same as in a single seat
fighter. But your plane is equipped with an extra weapon at your defense -
a rear gunner. To activate your rear gunner, and switch to the rear view,
press the G key(the 2 key will also switch you to this mode). Your plane
will fly on, with the controls left where you set them. If you press A
before you switch to the rear gunner, you'll activate the automatic pilot.
Then, to manually aim the machine gun, move your controller around. If you
press A while you're manning the rear gun, you'll activate the automatic
shooting mode, which aims and fires the machine gun for you. You cannot aim
and fire the rear machine gun yourself while it is in this mode. If you
want your rear gun to be firing away while you return to piloting the
plane, you must activate this auto shoot mode first.
CONTROLLER BUTTON FUNCTION DOUBLE SEAT FIGHTER AND DIVE
BOMBER VIEW CONTROLS
Left controller Fires forward
button or machine gun or rear To look around your double seat
SPACEBAR machine gun fighter or dive bomber in all
directions, you can use either
Right controller Fires 20 mm cannon the number keys on the top of
button or (Bf 110 only) your keyboard or, if your key-
period(.) key board has a keypad, use the key-
pad controls. On some computers
Left AND right Drops bombload the keypad controls are labeled
controller (except Bf 110C-4) with arrows, and we recommend
buttons or that you use them. For a
RETURN further discussion of these
controls, see cockpit instrument
DOUBLE-SEAT FIGHTER AND DIVE #13 in the Double Seat Fighter
BOMBER COCKPIT CONTROLS or Dive Bomber Cockpit
Instruments section below.
KEY FUNCTION KEY FUNCTION
+ Increases throttle 8 (Up Forward view (your mission
(shift key not needed) arrow) starts in this direction)
- Decreases throttle 6 (Right View right
L Lowers and raises landing gear arrow)
F Lowers and raises flaps 4 (Left View left
D Extends and retracts dive brakes arrow)
C Turns replay camera on and off 2 (Down Switch to rear gunner
R Sends you to Review Combat Film arrow)
(see the Pre-Flight chapter)
P Moves you to pilot's position 3 (PgDn) View straight down
G Moves you to rear gunner seat regardless of your flight
A Turns on the automatic pilot, 9 (PgUp) Scan view (look completely
or automatic shoot mode if around your fighter or dive
you're manning the rear gun bomber)
position at the time
S Lets you toggle between bombload settings
M Sends you to the In-Flight Map/Radio
J Lets you and crew member jump from plane & parachute to safety
Q Ends mission; sends you to post flight evaluation
DOUBLE SEAT FIGHTER AND DIVE BOMBER COCKPIT INSTRUMENTS
Once you've seated at the controls of a double seat fighter or dive bomber,
these are the instruments you'll be relying on in combat:
1. Landing Gear Lever (Bf 110 only): This shows the status of your landing
gear. If the lever is forward or up, your landing gear is up;if the lever
is back or down, your landing gear is down. Don't forget to lower your
landing gear for a landing, or to raise it after takeoff. Lowering your
landing gear has the effect of slowing your airspeed, which may be useful
in certain situations.
2. Compass: This shows which direction your double seat fighter or dive
bomber is headed:north, south, east or west.
3. Bomb Indicator Panel(except Bf 110C-4):The number on this panel shows you
how many of your externally mounted bombs you have left to drop. The lever lets
you choose how to drop your bombload.
If you're flying a Ju 87 Stuka, you'll be carrying four small wing mounted
bombs and one large fuselage mounted bomb. When you start your mission, the
lever is in the far left position, and a light underneath the miniature
aircraft on the panel indicates that only your fuselage mounted bomb will
be dropped when you press RETURN. Pressing S once moves the lever to the
middle, and the lights on the miniature aircraft now indicate that only
your four wing mounted bombs will be dropped. Pressing S again moves the
lever to the far right, with the lights showing that all of your bombs will
be dropped. Pressing S a third time returns the lever to the original
If you're flying a Bf 110C-4/B, you'll be carrying two fuselage mounted
bombs. Your bomb indicator panel will be in the lower right hand corner of
the cockpit. Underneath the word BOMBEN on the panel, you'll see two
lights. When the light on the left is lit, one bomb will drop every time
you press RETURN. When the light on the right is lit, both of your bombs
will drop at once if you press RETURN. Pressing S allows you to toggle
between these two settings.
4. Ammunition Round Indicator:This show how many gun rounds you have left
in your forward firing machine guns. If you're flying a Bf 110, you'll see
two numbers. The top one indicates the number of machine gun rounds left,
while the bottom number shows how many rounds you have left in your more
powerful 20 mm
5. Dive Brakes Lever(Ju 87 Stuka only):This shows whether your dive brakes
are up or down. Lowering the dive brakes is necessary to slow down a Ju 87
during a dive bombing run.
6. Automatic Pilot Light:This tells you if you've turned on your automatic
pilot, which you activate by pressing the A key. You'll want to turn on the
automatic pilot before moving to the rear gunner position, otherwise the
double seat fighter or dive bomber will fly with the controls set where you
7. Altimeter:This give your distance above sea level in feet. The digital
number indicates thousands of feet, the big hand on the dial indicates
hundred of feet, and the little hand tens of feet. For example, if the
digital display reads "13, ", the big hand is on the "7", and the little
hand on the "2, " your altitude is 13, 720 feet.
8. Climb/Dive Indicator:This gauge gives you the rate your double seat
fighter or dive bomber is climbing or diving, in thousand of feet per
minute. The + area of the gauge indicates a climb, while the - area
indicates a descent.
9. Nameplate:This gives the name and model number of your double seat
fighter or dive bomber.
10. Pitch Indicator:This shows the position of the nose of your double seat
fighter or dive bomber relative to the horizon. + means your nose is
above the horizon, 0 is level with the horizon, and - indicates that your
nose is pointing below the horizon.
11. Banking Indicator:This shows the roll of your double seat fighter or
dive bomber (see the Flight Fundamentals and Tactics chapter for more
information). The large horizontal bar shows the position of your wings
relative to the ground, while the small vertical bar shows the direction
your tail is pointing. As you bank your plane left or right, the horizontal
line will also bank to reflect your position.
12. Gunsight:Use this to aim your forward firing machine guns and cannon at
13. View Indicator:This panel shows which direction you're looking out of
from your double seat fighter or dive bomber. In normal flight, the panel
will be blank. When you press the 4 key, the view out of your cockpit
window will be the left view indicator. If your computer has enough memory,
the cockpit screen will be replaced by a picture of the view looking over
the left wing of your aircraft. Pressing the 6 key gives you the right view
from the cockpit window with the word "RIGHT" displayed, or the view
looking over the right wing of your double seat fighter or dive bomber.
Pressing the 3 key gives you the view straight down, and the word "DOWN"
will be displayed.
When you press the 9 key, you'll be in the scan mode. In this mode, you can
look around your double seat fighter or dive bomber in any direction by
moving your controller, while your plane remains on course. Two numbers
will be displayed on the view indicator. The first number shows how many
degrees up or down you're looking, starting at 0 (level flight), and
ranging from -90 (straight down) to +90 (directly right) to +180 (behind
you). If you're looking left, the number ranges from 0 to -90 (directly
left) to -179 (just about straight behind you).
14. Airspeed Indicator:This shows how fast your double seat fighter or dive
bomber is flying, in tens of miles per hour. For example, if the hand on
the gauge is pointing to halfway between "20" and "30, " you're flying at
250 miles per hour.
15. RPM Indicator (One gauge for each engine - two on the Bf 110), one on
the Ju 87 Stuka): Each indicator gives you two readings. The dial shows the
number of revolutions per minute (RPMs) the engine is delivering, in units
of one hundred. The higher the RPMs, the farther to the right the dial will
move. If the throttle setting is at "75" or higher, or if the dial moves
into the red area, you'll be using up fuel at a higher rate. The white
number at the bottom of the gauge shows the throttle or power setting of
the engine. For example, if it reads "85, " your engine is set for 85
percent of the power it can produce.
16. Replay Camera Indicator:This shows the percentage of film you have
remaining in your replay camera when you are recording. The number on the
indicator will decrease until you're out of film. When you press C to turn
on your replay camera, a light above the indicator will go on, and stay on
until you have turned your camera off, or have used up all the film.
17. Radio:This receiver has two important components. The three digit
number shows what frequency your radio is tuned to, while the light next to
it will be lit when you've tuned into the correct frequency, which allows
you to receive important mission information. To tune or use your radio,
press M, which moves you to the In Flight Map/Radio.
18. Engine Damage Indicator(One gauge per engine - two on the Bf 110, one
on the Ju 87 Stuka): Each dial shows the amount of damage done to your
double seat fighter's or dive bomber's engine in combat. If the indicator
moves into the red area, the power output of the engine will be severely
reduced and your RPM indicator reading will drop. You may then have to
abort the mission and return to your home base, or even bail out.
19. Fuel Gauge: This shows how much fuel remains in your double seat
fighter's or dive bomber's fuel tanks:E means empty, F means full.
20. Flaps Lever:This gives you the position of your double seat fighter's
or dive bomber's flaps. If it is in the up position, the flaps are up;if it
is in the down position, the flaps are down. During normal flight your
flaps should be up, but for takeoffs and landings, they should be down to
increase lift and lower the stalling speed.
21. Airframe Damage Indicator:This gauge shows the amount of structural
damage sustained by your double seat fighter or dive bomber in combat. When
the indicator is in the red zone, your aircraft is severely damaged and may
go out of control, forcing you to bail out.
MEDIUM BOMBER CONTROLS (HE 111, DO 17Z-2, AND JU 88)
As the pilot of a medium bomber, you're flying a stable platform from which
a large bombload can be dropped on enemy installations, usually from medium
altitudes. However, your bomber is much slower and less maneuverable than
the enemy fighters which will be defending these installations or
intercepting you on your bombing mission. To partially compensate for this,
your bomber is armed with machine guns, located at various positions
throughout the fuselage(see the German and British Aircraft and Weapons
chapter to find out where the machine guns are located on each bomber). The
He 111 and the Do 17z both have five machine gun positions, while the Ju 88
has three. Your medium bomber is very durable, and it can generally take a
lot of battle damage before it is shot down.
SWITCHING POSITIONS RETURN Drops bombload
IN A MEDIUM BOMBER J Lets you and your crew jump from
In a medium bomber, you can fly as a bomber and parachute to safety
pilot, bombardier, or gunner at a variety Q End mission;send you to post-
of gun position. What's more, you can flight evaluation
constantly switch between any or all of
these positions in mid-flight. Use these MEDIUM BOMBER VIEW CONTROLS
keys to move around to all the positions. To look around your bomber in all
The pilot, gunner, and bombardier roles directions, you can use either the num
all have their own controls, and will be bet keys on the top of your keyboard
discussed in turn in this section. or, if your keyboard has a keypad, use
the keypad controls. On some
KEY FUNCTION computers, the keypad controls are
P Moves you to pilot position labeled with arrows, and we recommend
G Moves you to gunner position that you use them. For a further dis-
B Moves you to bombardier position cussion of these controls, see cockpit
M Sends you to In Flight Map/Radio instrument #10 in the Medium Bomber
7 Toggles you between pilot and Cockpit Instruments section below.
gunner positions KEY FUNCTION
MEDIUM BOMBER COCKPIT CONTROLS 8(UP Forward view(your mission
+ Increase throttle arrow) starts in this direction)
(shift key not needed) 6(Right View Right
- Decrease throttle arrow)
L Lowers and raises landing gear 4(Left View Left
F Lowers and raises flaps arrow)
D Lowers and raises dive brakes 3(PgDn) View straight down(regardless
(Ju 88 only) of your flight angle)
C Turns replay camera on and off 9(PgUp) Scan view(look completely
R Sends you to Review Combat Film around your bomber)
(see the pre flight chapter)
A Turns on the automatic pilot, or MEDIUM BOMBER GUNNER CONTROLS
automatic shoot mode if you're From the pilot's position, you can
manning a machine gun at the move to the gunner position by
time pressing G, then pressing one of the
S Lets you toggle between bomb- keys in the chart below. The bomber
load settings will continue to fly with the control
set where you left them, unless you
press A to turn on the autopilot
before you leave the cockpit. If you
go back to the pilot's position and
press G again, you'll be sent to the
last gunner position you manned.
To move around to all the gun positions, press any one of these keys:
8 (Up arrow) Nose gunner
4 (Left arrow) Left fuselage gunner (except Ju 88)
6 (Right arrow) Right fuselage gunner (except Ju 88)
5 (Middle key) Lower fuselage (rear) gunner
2 (Down arrow) Upper fuselage (rear) gunner
7 Lets you toggle between pilot and gunner positions
A Automatic shooting mode
Notice how the location of each gun corresponds with the numeric keypad key
that send you to that position. The location and key also correspond with
the group of gun indicator lights in the cockpit that display the status of
each gun(see the Medium Bomber Cockpit Instruments section for a
description of these lights).
When you're in any of these gunner positions, use your controller to move
the machine gun up, down, left, or right, and press your controller button
to fire. The number displayed next to the machine gun indicates how many
round of ammunition it has left. If you'd like for the machine gun to aim
and shoot automatically, press A. A red light will come on to show that
the gun is in the autoshoot mode. As long as it's in this mode, you won't
be able to manually aim and shoot it. You'll also see gun indicator lights
similar to those displayed in the cockpit, which indicate the status of
all gunner positions. From any gun position, press P to return to the
pilot's position, press B to move to the bombardier's position, or press M
to get to the In Flight Map/Radio.
MEDIUM BOMBER BOMBARDIER CONTROLS
When you press B, you'll find yourself looking down from the bomber as a
bombardier would. In this position, you actually fly the bomber, so you can
maneuver it into the best position to drop its bombload. To do this, move
the controller around just like you would then you're piloting the bomber
from the pilot's position. All of the cockpit controls will function,
although you won't be able to use the cockpit view unless you press P and
move back to the cockpit (see the Medium Bomber Cockpit Controls section
for more information).
To help you maneuver your bomber into position you'll find four gauges:an
altimeter, an airspeed indicator, a compass, and a banking indicator.
You'll also find a bomb indicator panel, which shows you how many bombs are
left, plus a switch which lets you choose how to drop your bombs. If the
light on the left is lit, it indicates that only one bomb will drop every
time you press RETURN. If the light on the right is lit, it indicates that
all of your bombs will drop simultaneously when you press RETURN. To
alternate between these two settings, press S. See the Medium Bomber
Cockpit Instruments section for more information about these controls, and
the Flight Fundamentals and Tactics chapter to learn how to drop a bombload
MEDIUM BOMBER COCKPIT INSTRUMENTS
Most of the same instruments found in a fighter's or dive bomber's cockpit
are also used by a medium bomber. These instruments you'll see in front of
1. Altimeter:This gives your distance from the ground in feet. The digital
number indicates thousands of feet, the big hand on the dial indicates
hundreds of feet, and the little hand tens of feet. For example, if the
digital display reads "09, " the big hand hand is on the "6, " and the
little hand on the "1, " your altitude is 9, 610 feet.
2. Climb/Dive Indicator:this gauge gives you the rate your bomber is
climbing or diving, in thousands of feet per minute. The + area of the
gauge indicates a climb, while the - area indicates a descent.
3. Automatic Pilot Light:This tells you if you've turned on your automatic
pilot, which you activate by pressing the A key. You'll want to turn on the
automatic pilot before moving to the bombardier or gunner position,
otherwise the bomber will fly with the controls set where you left them.
4. Banking Indicator:This shows the roll of your bomber(see the Flight
Fundamentals and Tactics chapter for more information). The large
horizontal bar shows the position of your wings relative to the ground,
while the small vertical bar shows the direction your tail is pointing. As
you bank your bomber left or right, the horizontal line will also bank to
reflect your position.
5. Pitch Indicator:This shows the position of the nose of your bomber
relative to the horizon. + means your nose is pointing above the horizon, 0
is level with the horizon, and - indicates that your nose is pointing below
6. Compass:This shows which direction your bomber is headed:north, south,
east, or west.
7. Airspeed Indicator:This shows how fast your bomber is flying, in tens of
miles per hour. For example, if the hand on the gauge is pointing to "20, "
you're flying at 200 miles per hour.
8. Gun Indicator Lights:These lights show the status of each of your
bomber's machine guns. The top light indicates the nose gun, the center
light indicates the upper fuselage (or dorsal) gun, the left and right lights
indicate the left and right fuselage guns, and the bottom light indicates
the lower fuselage (or
belly) gun. The chart below tells you how to read these lights, which is
crucial to defending your bomber.
LIGHT GUN STATUS
Blue Gun idle
Yellow Enemy fighters approaching gun's field of fire;you could be
attacked from that direction
Black Gun out of ammunition or destroyed
Red Gun switched on to automatic shoot mode
Green Gun firing at enemy fighters in automatic shoot mode
In some graphics modes on some computers, the colors may be different. Consult
your Reference Card to see which colors are used by your computer.
When you begin your mission from the pilot's position, the guns will not be
automatically shooting at enemy aircraft, and your bomber will be
defenseless. To set your guns to fire automatically, press G to move into
the gunner role(see the Medium Bomber Gunner Controls section to choose a
particular gun position). Once you're in a position, press the A key. A red
light on the machine gun barrel indicates that the gun is now in the
autoshoot mode. Pressing A again turns off the autoshoot. If you want, you
can stay and watch the machine gun automatically aim and fire at enemy
fighters, but you can't manually move and shoot the gun when it's set on
autoshoot. To activate this mode on all your guns, you must move into each
individual gun position, and press A. Pressing P returns you to your
pilot's seat. Your gun indicator lights will be red for every gun position
in the autoshoot mode. The lights will flash green when the guns are
automatically firing at enemy fighters.
9. Nameplate:This give the name and model number of your bomber.
10. View Indicator:This panel shows which direction you're looking out of
from your bomber. In normal flight, the panel will be blank. When you press
the 4 key, the view out of your cockpit window will be the left view, and
the word "LEFT" will be displayed on the view indicator. If your computer
has enough memory, the cockpit screen will be replaced by a picture of the
over the left wing of your aircraft. Pressing the 6 key gives you the right
view from the cockpit window with the word "RIGHT" displayed, or the view
looking over the right wing of your bomber. Pressing the 3 key gives you
the view straight down, and the word "DOWN" will be displayed.
When you press the 9 key, you'll be in the scan mode. In this mode, you can
look around your bomber in any direction by moving your controller, while
your plane remains on course. Two numbers will be displayed on the view
indicator. The first number shows how many degrees up or down you're
looking, starting at 0 (level flight), and ranging from -90 (straight down)
to +90 (straight up). The second number shows how many degrees you're
looking around, beginning with 0 (straight ahead, your flight path). If
you're looking toward the right, the number ranges from 0 to +90 (directly
right) to +180 (behind you). If you're looking left, the number ranges
from0 to -90 (directly left) to -179 (just about straight behind you).
11. Radio:This receiver has two important components. The three digit
number shows what frequency your radio is tuned to, while the light next to
it will be lit when you've tuned into the correct frequency, which allows
you to receive
important mission information. To tune or use your radio, press M, which
moves you to the In Flight Map/Radio.
12. Dive Brakes Lever (Ju 88 only):This shows whether your dive brakes are
up or down. Lowering the dive brakes is necessary to slow down a Ju 88
during a dive bombing run.
13. Bomb Indicator Panel:This gives you information on the status of your
bombload. The large number on the right indicates the number of bombs you
have left. To the left, you'll see two lights, one marked "1, " the other
marked "A." If the light next to the "1" is on, one bomb will drop when you
press RETURN. If the light next to the "A" is on, your entire bombload will
drop consecutively when you press RETURN. To toggle between these two
lights, press the S key.
14. Flaps Lever:This gives you the position of your bomber's flaps. If it
is in the up position, the flaps are up;if it is in the down position, the
flaps are down. During normal flight your flaps should be up, but for
takeoffs and landings, they should be down to increase your bomber's lift
and lower its stalling speed.
15. Landing Gear Indicator:This shows the status of your landing gear. If
the up arrow is lit, your landing gear is up;if the down arrow is lit, your
landing gear is down. Don't forget to lower your landing gear for a
landing, or to raise it after takeoff. Lowering your landing gear has the
effect of slowing your airspeed, which may be useful in certain situations.
16. RPM Indicators (One per engine): These two identical gauges give you two
readings. The dial shows the number of revolutions per minute(RPMs)the
engine is delivering, in units of one hundred. The higher the RPMs, the
farther to the right the dial will move. If the throttle setting is at "75"
or higher, or if the dial moves into the red area, you'll be using up fuel
at a higher rate. The white number at the bottom of the gauge shows the
throttle or power setting of the engine. For example, if it reads "65, "
your engine is set for 65 percent of the power it can produce.
17. Engine Damage Indicators (One per engine): These two identical dials
show the amount of damage sustained by your bomber's engines in combat. If
the indicator moves into the red area, the power output of that engine will
be severely reduced and your RPM indicator reading will drop. You may then
have to abort the mission and return to your home base, or even bail out.
18. Airframe Damage Indicator:This gauge shows the amount of structural
damage done to your bomber in combat. When the indicator is in the red
zone, your aircraft is severely damaged and may go out of control, forcing
you to bail out.
19. Replay Camera Indicator:This shows the percentage of film you have left
in your replay camera when you are recording. The number on the indicator
will decrease until you're out of film. When you press C to turn on your
replay camera, a light above the indicator will go on, and stay on until
you have turned your camera off, or used up all the film.
20. Fuel Gauge:This shows how much fuel remains in your bomber's fuel
tanks:E means empty, F means full.
IN FLIGHT MAP/RADIO
To examine the In Flight Map, receive important mission information, and
tune and use the radio of your plane, you'll need to move to the In Flight
Map/Radio. You can do this by pressing M from any crew position during a
IN FLIGHT MAP
Once you're at the In Flight Map/Radio screen, you'll see a map of the
English Channel, Southern England, and the west coast of France. In the
upper part of the screen, the words "IN FLIGHT MAP" will be displayed,
along with the historical date and time of your mission.
On the map of Southern England and the west coast of France, you'll see
small colored icons scattered about. These icons represent various ground
installations, including RAF airfields, factories, and radar sites, plus
Luftwaffe airfields in France. To get more information about each of these
installations, move the arrow over the icon. You'll then see the
information listed in a column on the right, under the heading MAP ID. This
information includes the name of the installation, a description of it, and
its status(whether it is operational, or if it has been damaged or
destroyed by any previous action). If your radio is tuned properly, you'll
also be shown the distance this installation is from your plane, and the
heading your plane needs to take to reach it.
IN FLIGHT RADIO
Whenever you're flying a mission, the radio is a valuable source of
information. You can use the radio to determine the position of your
aircraft, and have it appear on the map as an icon. The radio will also
give you reports of aircraft and ship sightings in the battle area. If
you're flying as an RAF pilot, these sightings are radioed to you from the
RDF system;if you're flying for the Luftwaffe, these sightings come from
other German planes in the area. The most recent sighting reports will also
show up as icons on the map, and will be updated every five minutes. To get
this information click on the AIR/SEA ID button at the bottom of the
screen. Then click on the ship or plane icon on the map. Information about
the sighting will be displayed in the column on the right of your screen.
To cycle through all the available sightings, click on either the NEXT FWD
or NEXT BACK button. To view the map containing information about ground
installations again, click on the LAND ID button at the bottom of the
TUNING YOUR RADIO
If the radio icon in the upper right hand corner of the screen is lit, the
radio is correctly tuned and you'll be able to receive information. If the
icon is not lit, you'll need to tune your radio. To do this, pull out the
Frequency Cipher Wheel, which you'll find inside the game box. Move the
arrow to TUNE RADIO, located at the bottom of the screen, and click the
button. Now you'll see a unit insignia, plus the name of an airfield, in
the column at the right of the screen. Line up the notch on the Frequency
Cipher Wheel so that the unit insignia on the wheel matches the one on the
screen. Next, look at the window on the Frequency Cipher Wheel that
displays the same airfield name that is on the screen. Beside the airfield
name on the Frequency Cipher Wheel, you'll find a window with three colored
numbers inside it. These three numbers together make up your correct radio
frequency. Use the arrow to select the correct frequency and correct color
from the display on the screen.
To continue your flight, move the arrow to the box titled CONTINUE and
click your controller button.
THIS PAGE IS BLANK
ENDING YOUR FLIGHT
There are many ways that your mission can be ended:
CRASHING:If your plane smashes into the ground or water at a sharp angle
before the pilot and crew has a chance to bail out, they are considered to
be lost in action.
CRASH LANDING:If your plane is forced down or lands poorly, and is a total
wreck, the pilot and crew will survive. However, if this crash landing
takes place on enemy soil, the pilot and crew will be captured, and will
not be able to take part in any more missions.
DITCHING:If your plane splashes down in the English Channel, it cannot be
recovered. The pilot and crew will survive, however, and will be rescued by
a passing ship or a rescue seaplane from their side. They then will be able
to participate in a new mission.
BAILING OUT OVERLAND:If your plane is plummeting down over land, and you
press J before it crashes, the pilot and crew will parachute out of the
plane. If the pilot and crew bail out over enemy territory, they will be
captured, and cannot be used on any more missions. If they bail out over
friendly territory, they will be transported back to their airfield for
BAILOUT OUT OVER WATER:If the pilot and crew parachute from their plane
over the English Channel, they will be rescued and can fly again.
LANDING AT YOUR HOME AIR FIELD:Your mission also ends when you fly back to
your home airfield, land safely, and press Q.
PRESSING Q IN MID-FLIGHT:If you don't want to make a landing, you may also
press Q at any time to end your mission. This will not affect the Combat
Record score for your pilot and crew, unless they are captured or the
aircraft is lost, which can happen by:
Pressing Q while flying over enemy territory. If this happens, the pilot
and crew will be captured and the aircraft lost.
Pressing Q while flying over the Channel. If this happens, the plane will
be lost, but the pilot and crew will be rescued.
To avoid losing your aircraft, or having your pilot or crew captured, press
Q when you're over England if you're a British pilot. If you're a Luftwaffe
pilot, try to fly to the coast of Continental Europe before pressing Q.
When your mission has ended you'll see a Mission Evaluation screen. The
chart in the center of the screen will list the type of RAF or Luftwaffe
aircraft that saw action in that mission, and how many were destroyed or
damaged. The numbers in parentheses indicate the number of aircraft shot
down or damaged by your own plane. At the bottom of the screen, you'll find
a chart that shows which ground installations were destroyed or damaged,
and which ship convoys were hit or sunk during your mission.
UPDATING COMBAT RECORDS
After a pilot or crew has completed the mission you assigned them to fly,
their Combat Records will be updated to reflect their successes and
failures. These Combat Records will be displayed after the Mission
Evaluation screen. Any additional pilots or crews that you have selected
from the Flight Roster to participate in a mission will also have their
Combat Records updated. Each pilot or crew also has a cumulative score as
part of their Record. This score
is based on a ranking system, and allows you to compare pilots and crews to
one another. It too will be updated after every mission.
Pilots and crews will achieve higher scores if the min objectives of their
missions are accomplished. If you're an RAF pilot, your main mission
objective is to prevent ground installations, ship convoys, and other RAF
fighters from being destroyed in Luftwaffe medium bomber or dive bomber,
you main mission objective is to bomb the target accurately. Since knocking
out a target is a group objective, if other bomber crews also score direct
hits on a target, your individual score will improve. If you're flying a
Luftwaffe fighter as an escort, your main mission objective is to protect
the bombers from enemy fighter attack so they can drop their bombloads over
the target. The more bombs that hit the target, and the more bombers that
survive, the higher your score will be. If you're flying a Luftwaffe
fighter in a free ranging role, your main objective is to shoot down as
many RAF fighters as you can. The greater the ratio of RAF fighter losses
to Luftwaffe fighter losses, the higher your score will be. No matter which
mission you choose to fly, helping your fellow pilots and crews to survive
and complete their missions will increase your score.
If you're flying a Campaign Mission, a chart will be displayed after the
Combat Records screen. This chart will summarize the impact of your last
mission on the Battle of Britain as a whole. It will also tell you how the
Battle is shaping up, and which side is closer to victory.
MEDALS AND PROMOTIONS
Whether you're an RAF pilot or a Luftwaffe pilot or crew member, medals and
promotions in rank will be awarded if you and your fellow fliers repeatedly
fulfill mission objectives and have outstanding flights. The following
honors were bestowed upon those who distinguished themselves in battle in
RAF MEDALS (Listed in order of rank)
The highest award in the Royal Army, Navy, and Air Force, the Victoria
Cross was given to officers or enlisted men for "most conspicuous bravery
or preeminent act of valour, self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in
the presence of the enemy." Some 1, 346 Victoria Crosses have been awarded
since the decoration was originally established by Queen Victoria in 1856.
Flight Commander James Nicolson was the one RAF Fighter Command pilot to
receive this award for combat action during the Battle of Britain.
Established in 1940, this medal was awarded to men and women for deeds of
bravery, either against an enemy, or in peacetime. It is the second highest
British decoration, ranking only below the Victoria Cross.
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER
Awarded for meritorious service while engaging an enemy, the Distinguished
Service Order was established in 1886. It was given to officers and warrant
officers of the Royal Army, Navy, Marines, or Air Force for numerous acts
of bravery, rather than for a single individual act. If a recipient had
already received a Distinguished Service Order, they were awarded bars,
which were worn on the ribbon of the medal.
DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS
This medal was awarded to Royal Air Force officers and warrant officers for
courage and valor while flying against an enemy. Like the Distinguished
Service Order, it was usually given for several acts of bravery. Bars were
awarded if a person had already won this medal for previous actions.
BATTLE OF BRITAIN STAR
This was given to all Fighter Command aircrews who flew at least one sortie
against the Luftwaffe between July 10 and October 31, 1940.
KNIGHT'S CROSS OF THE IRON CROSS
This was the highest award in the German military, and was given for valor
and heroism against an enemy. Luftwaffe fighter pilots could be awarded the
Knight's Cross for shooting down a set number of enemy planes. Werner
Molders was awarded the Knight's Cross for shooting down twenty aircraft,
while Adolf Galland received his for downing seventeen. Molders and Galland
were also the first fighter pilots to receive Oak Leaves, which were
awarded if a pilot recorded forty aerial victories, and worn on the
Knight's Cross. Swords were given when a pilot reached seventy victories
(Galland was the first to do so), while Diamonds were awarded for one
hundred victories (a mark Molders was first to reach). Both the awards of
Swords and Diamonds were initiated specifically by Hitler to honor these
extraordinary accomplishments of Luftwaffe fighter pilots.
IRON CROSS FIRST CLASS
This medal was first instituted in 1813, and reinstated in 1870 and 1914.
It was awarded for an outstanding feat of heroism, and usually given when
the individual had already received the Iron Cross Second Class.
IRON CROSS SECOND CLASS
This award was commonly given for acts of bravery or distinguished service
by the German military.
This medal was reinstated by Hitler in 1939, with three different classes.
If an individual in the German military was wounded one or two times, he
earned a black badge. If he was wounded three or four times, or lost an
eye, a hand, a foot, or his hearing, he received a silver badge. If he was
wounded five or more times, lost his eyesight, suffered brain damage, or
was totally disabled, he was awarded a gold badge.
RANKS AND PROMOTIONS
For both the Luftwaffe and the RAF, promotions in rank were awarded to
those pilots who demonstrated success in battle and exhibited qualities of
leadership. New Luftwaffe pilots began their careers with the rank of
Lieutenant, while new RAF pilots started out with the rank of Pilot
WORLD WAR II COMMISSIONED OFFICERS' RANKS
U.S. ARMY AIR FORCE
LUFTWAFFE RAF (for comparison)
Oberst Group Captain Colonel
Oberstleutnant Wing Commander Lieutenant Colonel
Major Squadron Leader Major
Hauptmann Flying Lieutenant Captain
OBERLEUTENANT Flying Officer First Lieutenant
Lieutenant Pilot Officer Second Lieutenant
PICTURE OF PLANES
GERMAN AND BRITISH AIRCRAFT AND WEAPONS
Three types of aircraft were used by the RAF and the Luftwaffe in the
Battle of Britain:fighters, dive bombers, and medium bombers. World War I
fighters were highly maneuverable biplanes, but the 1930s saw the evolution
of the faster, though less maneuverable, monoplane fighter. There were
those, especially on the British side, who believed that the biplane
fighter's greater maneuverability would give it an advantage over the
swifter monoplane fighter. However, as subsequent World War II aerial
battles proved, superior maneuverability was not nearly as important as
superior speed. The faster a fighter was, the quicker it could move into a
favorable position from which to attack a slower, though perhaps more
maneuverable, enemy. These new fighters also had metal wings strong enough
to hold as many as eight machine guns, while the biplanes could only carry
two fuselage mounted machine guns. Although the British had some biplane
fighters in use during the latter part of 1940, they were stationed away
from heavy fighting and eventually replaced altogether. In the Battle of
Britain, the RAF mainly relied on two monoplane fighters, the single engine
Supermarine Spitfire and the Hawker Hurricane. The Luftwaffe flew the
single engine Messerschmitt Bf 109 and the twin engine Messerschmitt Bf
110, both monoplane fighters.
Like the monoplane fighter, the dive bomber also evolved between the two
world wars. The theory called for using a plane to dive steeply on a
target, drop its
bombs from a relatively short distance, and pull out in time to escape the
blast was first tested by the U.S. Navy. In 1933, German pilot Ernst Udet
used a couple of obsolete American made Curtiss Helldiver biplanes to
demonstrate the accuracy of dive bombing to the German Air Ministry. The
demonstration was impressive, and eventually resulted in the development
of the Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive bomber. The single engine Stuka was a
formidable weapon in the conquest of Europe, when it attacked ground
targets in coordination with German troops. It saw more action in the
Battle of Britain than any other dive bomber, although the larger, twin
engine Junkers Ju 88 was sometimes used in this role.
Though not as accurate as a dive bomber, the twin engine medium bomber
could carry a greater bombload. On the German side, these aircraft were
originally developed as Schnellbombers, or bombers that could fly faster
than the fighters that were attacking them. During the Spanish Civil War,
the Schnellbomber proved to be successful against the slower, obsolete
opposition fighters. But in the Battle of Britain, British Spitfire and
Hurricane fighters were much faster than the Luftwaffe medium bombers,
which resulted in heavy losses for the German air
force. Like the dive bomber, the medium bomber was designed to bomb targets
in concert with an attacking army;Goering himself cancelled the development
of a longer range heavy bomber, since he did not see the need for one. This
proved to be a mistake that would come back to haunt Germany, as many of
Britain's factories and airfields could have been hit by heavy bombers but
were out of range of the Luftwaffe medium bombers. During the Battle of
Britain, the main German medium bombers were the Dornier Do 17, the Heinkel
He 111, and the Ju 88.
RAF AND LUFTWAFFE AIR UNIT DESIGNATIONS
In 1936 the RAF was reorganized and divided into "commands, " each of which
was a large operational unit consisting of aircraft with the same function
and responsibility. The major commands were Bomber Command, Fighter
Command, and Training Command. After war was declared in 1939, Fighter
Command, the new fighter arm in charge of defending Britain from aerial
attack, divided fighter coverage into four "groups, " with each group
responsible for covering a designated area of Britain.(See the Historical
Overview chapter for a map of the area each group covered.) These groups
were in turn divided into "sectors" with the most important airfield within
a sector designated as the "sector station." At various airfields within
each sector were "squadrons, " each of which consisted of twelve aircraft.
Each squadron was broken up into two "flights" of six aircraft, designated
"A" and "B". In turn, each flight was broken up into two "sections" of
three aircraft, and given the designation "red, " "yellow, " "blue, " or
"green." Two or more squadrons were sometimes joined together to form a
"wing, " and three to five squadrons formed a "big wing." (See the maps at
the back of the manual for more information.)
Unlike the RAF, the Luftwaffe did not split up command of its aircraft
according to function. Instead, it was divided into five self contained air
fleets, or "Luftflotten, " each of which was responsible for air operations
over a given section of Europe.(See the Historical Overview chapter for a
map of the areas of Luftflotten coverage.) A Luftflotte was made up of
approximately one thousand fighters, bombers, transports, and
reconnaissance planes, and was in turn divided into two "Fliegerkorps, "
consisting of these four type of aircraft. As the war progressed, the
Fliegerkorps, which had started out as units of mixed aircraft, became more
specialized. Within each Fliegerkorps were three to six "Geschwader, "
which were specialized units of around 80 to 120 aircraft. Each Geschwader
was named for the type of aircraft in the unit. A "Jagdgeschwader" (JG)was
a fighter unit, "Kampfgeschwader" (KG) a bomber unit, and
"Zerstorergeschwader" (ZG) a Bf 110 Zerstorer unit. These Geschwader were
divided into "Gruppen" of about thirty aircraft, which were usually based
at the same airfield. Each Gruppe was divided into three "Staffeln, " and
each Staffel consisted of nine or ten of the same aircraft. (See the maps
at the back of the manual for more information.)
GERMAN AIRCRAFT: 1940
MESSERSCHMITT BF 109E-3 EMIL FIGHTER
One of the greatest fighter aircraft of the Second World War or of any war,
the Bf 109 was a mainstay of the Luftwaffe from the time of Spanish Civil
War right up until the defeat of the Third Reich. Nearly thirty five
thousand Bf 109s were produced, more than any other fighter of that era. Bf
109s saw service in nearly every German offensive of World War II, and were
the only German single seat fighters used in the Battle of Britain. There
the Bf 109s, with their small, stubby wings, were an even match for the
Spitfire, and swifter and more maneuverable than any of the other British
TOP SPEED, FIGHTERS
SPITFIRE 370 MPH
HURRICANE 320 MPH
BF 109 354 MPH
BF 110 340 MPH
The Bf 109E-3 was developed in 1939 as a faster, more heavily armed
improvement over the earlier models, the Bf 109B and C, which had been
deadly in the Spanish Civil War.(Although designed by Willy Messerschmitt,
the Bf 109 was named after his company at the time, Bayerische
Flugzeugwerke.) The Emil featured a more powerful and reliable Daimler Benz
601Aa engine, as well as 20 mm cannons in the wings in place of machine
guns. The Bf 109E-3 saw service in the invasion of Denmark and Norway, and
in the campaigns against France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg,
where it gained a fearsome reputation.
MESSERSCHMITT BF 109E-4/B JABO FIGHTER/BOMBER
As the Bf 109E-3 was tested in battle, certain modifications were made
based on its combat performance. This new version, the Bf 109E-4, had a
redesigned and reinforced canopy for better visibility and durability, plus
more powerful wing mounted cannons. When it was later decided to use the Bf
109E-4 as a Jabo, or fighter/bomber, a bomb rack was mounted underneath the
fuselage. This model, the Bf 109E-4/B, saw its first action in July 1940
against coastal radar stations in the Battle of Britain.
The Bf 109E-3 and E-4/B were fast, agile fighters that could dive and climb
quickly. These planes had a tighter turning radius than either the Spitfire
or the Hurricane, though few pilots found this out because they were afraid
that the stubby wings would break off. Like the Spitfire, the Bf 109 was a
joy to fly at medium speeds, but tougher to handle at high speeds, and
could easily tire its pilot in a dogfight. Takeoffs and landings were also
tricky, because the Bf 109s had a tendency to swing right or left. During
the Battle of Britain, their limited range became a factor, since they
could only fly as far as London and back. As a result, the longer range
bombers they escorted would sometimes be left unprotected, and many Bf 109
pilots were forced to ditch in the Channel when they ran out of fuel.
BF 109E-3 PERFORMANCE BF 109E-4/B PERFORMANCE
Powerplant:one Daimler Powerplant:one Daimler
Benz DB 601Aa 12-cylinder Benz DB 601Aa 12-cylinder
liquid cooled engine liquid cooled engine
Horsepower:1, 100 Horsepower:1, 100
Top speed:354 miles per hour Top speed:354 miles per hour
Rate of climb:3, 280 feet per minute Rate of climb:3, 280 feet per minute
Ceiling:34, 450 feet Ceiling:34, 450 feet
Range:410 miles Range:410 miles
Wingspan:32 feet 4 inches Wingspan:32 feet 4 inches
Wing area:174 square feet Wing area:174 square feet
Length:28 feet 4 inches Length:28 feet 4 inches
Height:8 feet 2 inches Height:8 feet 2 inches
Empty:4, 189 pounds Empty:4, 189 pounds
Loaded:5, 520 pounds Loaded:4, 875 pounds
Guns:two 20 mm MG FF Guns:two 20 mm MG
cannons with 60 rounds FF/M cannons with 60
per gun, mounted in the rounds per gun, mounted
wings. Two 7.92 mm in the wings. Two 7.92 mm
Rheinmetall Borsig MG 17 Rheinmetall Borsig MG 17
machine guns with 1, 000 machine guns with 1, 000
rounds per gun, mounted rounds per gun, mounted
in the fuselage. in the fuselage.
Warhead load:one 110
pound bomb, or one 550
pound bomb, mounted
beneath the fuselage
1. Radio 11. Nameplate
2. Bomb Release Light 12. Altimeter
(Bf 109E-4/B Jabo 13. Airspeed Indicator
fighter/bombers only) 14. Engine Damage
3. Flaps Lever Indicator
4. Compass 15. Airframe Damage
5. Climb/Dive Indicator Indicator
6. RPM Indicator 16. Pitch Indicator
7. Banking Indicator 17. Replay Camera
8. Ammunition Round Indicator
Indicators 18. Fuel Gauge
9. Gunsight 19. Landing Gear Lever
10. View Indicator
BF 109 +
BF 110 +
MESSERSCHMITT BF 110C-4 ZERSTORER FIGHTER
Noted for its sleek design and distinctive twin rudders and engines, the
versatile Bf 110 served in a variety of roles during World War II. Heavily
armed with two cannons and four machine guns in its nose, the Zerstorer, or
"destroyer, " was originally designed as a fast, long range fighter that
could escort bombers deep into enemy territory, while blowing any
opposition fighters out of the sky. During the invasion of Poland in 1939
Bf 110s proved successful in this role, and were also used to destroy
Polish airfields and communications lines. As a fighter and a close support
weapon for the German Army, the Bf 110 was highly effective in the invasion
of Denmark, Norway, and the Low Countries, as well as in the Battle of
The Bf 110C series was the first Zerstorer to be widely produced. It
featured the more powerful Daimler Benze 601A engines, which enabled it to
fly faster and farther than earlier models, plus a shallower radiator,
which eliminated a turbulence problem. The Bf 110C-4 version had extra
armor protection for its crew of two, the pilot and rear gunner. It arrived
in France just in time for the Battle of Britain.
MESSERSCHMITT BF 110C-4/B JABO FIGHTER/BOMBER
In the summer of 1940, a modified version of the Bf 110C-4 began arriving
at the Luftwaffe bases in France. This new model, the Bf 110C-4/B, had a
pair of bomb racks beneath the fuselage and could carry two 551 pound
bombs. It also featured the newer Daimler Benz 601N engines, which gave a
slight boost in horsepower. A special Bf 110C-4/B unit, known as
Experimental Group 210, was set
RATE OF CLIMB, FIGHTERS
SPITFIRE 2, 600 FT/MIN +
HURRICANE 2, 420 FT/MIN +
BF 109 3, 280 FT/MIN +
BF 110 2, 118 FT/MIN +
up to develop fighter/bomber tactics, and in August this unit successfully
attacked radar stations, airfields, and other targets in the south of
Britain. During the Battle of Britain the weaknesses of the Bf 110 began to
outweigh its strengths. On the plus side it was almost as fast as the
Spitfire, was formidably armed, a delight to fly, and extremely capable in
the fighter/bomber role. When combating enemy fighters, Bf 110 pilots
enjoyed the most success by diving down on enemy aircraft, blasting them
with their superior firepower, and then flying away from the action. But in
a dogfight the much larger Bf 110 was no match for the more maneuverable
Spitfire and Hurricanes, and a great number of 110s were lost in the
summer's fighting. Many Bf 110s were forced to fly in defensive circles, to
protect each other's more vulnerable rear. As fighter escort for Luftwaffe
bombers, Bf 110s fared so poorly that they themselves had to be escorted
by Bf 109s, and were eventually removed from that role. The versatility of
the Bf 110 did prove to be a vital asset for the Luftwaffe in later action
in North Africa and on the Russian Front, where the fighter opposition was
BF 110C-4 PERFORMANCE BF 110C-4/B PERFORMANCE
Powerplant:two Daimler Powerplant:two Daimler
Benz DB601A 12-cylinder Benz DB 601N 12-cylinder
inline engines liquid-cooled engines
Horsepower:1, 100 per engine Horsepower:1, 200 per engine
Top speed:340 miles per hour Top speed:349 miles per hour
Rate of climb:8.5 minutes Rate of Climb:2, 255 feet
to 18, 000 per minute
Ceiling:32, 810 feet Ceiling:32, 800 feet
Range:680 miles Range:528 miles
Crew:two - one pilot and Crew:two - one pilot and
one rear gunner one rear gunner
Wingspan:53 feet 4 inches Wingspan:53 feet 4 inches
Wing area:413 square feet Wing area:413 square feet
Length:40 feet 4 inches Length:40 feet 4 inches
Height:11 feet 6 inches Height:11 feet 6 inches
Empty:9, 920 pounds Empty:9, 920 pounds
Loaded:15, 290 pounds Loaded:15, 430 pounds
Guns:two 20 mm MG FF Guns:two 20 mm MG FF
cannons with 180 rounds cannons with 180 rounds
per gun, mounted in the per gun, mounted in the
nose. Four 7.92 mm MG 17 nose. Four 7.92 mm MG 17
machine guns with 1, 000 machine guns with 1, 000
rounds per gun, also rounds per gun, also
mounted in the nose. One mounted in the nose. One
flexible 7.92 mm MG 15 flexible 7.92 mm MG 15
machine gun, mounted in machine gun, mounted in
the rear of the canopy. in rear of the canopy.
Warhead load:two 550
pound bombs, mounted
beneath the fuselage.
1. Flaps Lever 12. Nameplate
2. RPM Indicator 13. Automatic Pilot Light
3. Engine Damage Indicator 14. Climb/Dive Indicator
4. Ammunition Round Indicator 15. Airspeed Indicator
5. Radio 16. Airframe Damage Indicator
6. Altimeter 17. Replay Camera Indicator
7. Pitch Indicator 18. Compass
8. Fuel Gauge 19. Bomb Indicator Panel
9. Banking Indicator (Bf 110C-4/B Jabo fighter/bombers
10. Gunsight only)
11. View Indicator 20. Landing Gear Lever
21. Autoshoot Light
22. Ammunition Round Indicator
Junkers Ju 87B-1 Stuka Dive Bomber
At the start of World War II the Junkers Ju 87 was the most feared weapon
in the arsenal of the Luftwaffe - and perhaps even of the entire Third
Reich. With its bent wings, fixed landing gear, and screaming sirens, the
intimidating Stuka proved to be nearly unstoppable during the Spanish Civil
War and the invasion of Poland. Since it could deliver bombs with great
accuracy, it was unsurpassed as an army-support weapon, despite its lack of
speed and maneuverability. Coordinated attacks with Stukas and German Army
troops, part of the tactics of the Blitzkrieg, were responsible for the
incredible string of German successes during the early part of the war.
The Ju 87B-1 was the first model to be produced in great numbers, and it
incorporated many of the lessons learned from Spanish Civil War combat. It
featured a more powerful engine, redesigned landing struts, and better
quarters for its crew of two, the pilot and the rear facing gunner/radio
operator. The Ju 87B-1 even had lines etched into the port side of the
canopy showing diving angles, and an automatic pilot which pulled the plane
out of its dive if the pilot blacked out. This was the model that gave the
Stuka its notorious reputation, and it saw service in the campaigns against
Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Greece, and Crete.
TOP SPEED, BOMBERS
STUKA 242 MPH HE 111 273 MPH
DO 17 265 MPH JU 88 280 MPH
JUNKERS JU 87B-2 STUKA DIVE BOMBERS
In late 1939, a slightly more powerful version of the Junkers Jumo 211 Da
engine began to arrive at Ju 87 assembly lines. The Stukas fitted with this
engine were designated as the Ju 87B-2. Along with the new powerplant this
new version had a number of minor modifications, including a deeper
radiator for better cooling, and adjustable-pitch wooden propeller blades
to replace the thin metal ones on the B-1. Despite these changes, the
performance of the B-2 differed little from that of the B-1.
The first Ju 87B-2s arrived in France just as the Battle of Britain began.
At first B-1s and B-2s enjoyed success against British convoys in the
English Channel. But after August 13, 1940, Eagle Day, Ju 87s were ordered
to attack airfields and radar stations on the south coast of England, which
were barely within the Stuka's range. For the first time in the war, the Ju
87 had to fly against significant enemy fighter opposition in an attack
role for which it was ill suited. The Ju 87's slow speed, lack of
maneuverability, and poor crew protection proved fatal against RAF
Spitfires and Hurricanes, especially when pulling out of a dive, and over
forty were shot down in just six days. Ju 87 losses mounted, and after
August 19 the Stuka, its invincible reputation shattered, would see no more
action in the Battle of Britain, though it would continue to be successful
on other fronts.
JU 87B-1 PERFORMANCE fuselage. Four 110 pound
Powerplant:one Junkers bombs, mounted beneath
Jumo 211 Da 12-cylinder the wings.
Vee liquid cooled engine JU 87B-2 PERFORMANCE
Horsepower:1, 200 Powerplant:one Junkers
Top speed:242 miles per Jumo 211 Da 12-cylinder
hour Vee liquid cooled engine
Rate of climb:12 minutes Horsepower:1, 200
to 12, 140 feet Top speed:237 miles per
Ceiling:26, 250 feet hour
Range:373 miles Rate of climb:12 minutes
Crew:two - one pilot and to 12, 140 feet
one rear gunner Ceiling:26, 250 feet
DIMENSIONS Range:373 miles
Wingspan:45 feet 3 inches Crew:two - one pilot and
Wing area:344 square feet one rear gunner
Length:36 feet 5 inches DIMENSIONS
Height:12 feet 9 inches Wingspan:45 feet 3 inches
WEIGHTS Wing area:344 square feet
Empty:6, 080 pounds Length:36 feet 3 inches
Loaded:9, 371 pounds Height:13 feet 2 inches
Guns:two 7.92 mm MG 17 Empty:6, 060 pounds
machine guns with 1, 000 Loaded:9, 320 pounds
rounds per gun, ARMAMENT
mounted in the Guns:two 7.92 mm MG 17
wings. One flexi- machine guns, with 1, 000
ble 7.92 mm MG rounds per gun, mounted
15 machine in the wings. One flexible
gun with 7.92 mm MG 15 machine
900 gun with 900 rounds,
rounds, mounted at the rear of the
mounted at canopy.
the rear of the Warhead Load:one 1, 100
canopy. pound bomb, mounted
Warhead load:one beneath the fuselage. Four
1, 100 pound bomb, 110 pound bombs, mount-
mounted beneath the ed beneath the wings.
1. Compass 13. Airspeed Indicator
2. Bomb Indicator Panel 14. RPM Indicator
3. Ammunition Round Indicator 15. Replay Camera Indicator
4. Dive Brakes Lever 16. Radio
5. Automatic Pilot Light 17. Engine Damage Indicator
6. Altimeter 18. Fuel Gauge
7. Climb/Dive Indicator 19. Flaps Lever
8. Nameplate 20. Airframe Damage Indicator
9. Pitch Indicator 21. Autoshoot Light
10. Banking Indicator 22. Ammunition Round Indicator
12. View Indicator
Dornier Do 17z-2 Medium Bomber
Originally designed in 1934 as a passenger aircraft, the twin engine
"Flying Pencil" was rejected by the German airline Lufthansa because the
slender fuselage did not leave enough room for its six passengers. The
design attracted the attention of the Luftwaffe, however, and prototypes
were developed into bombers and reconnaissance planes that could fly faster
than pursuing fighters. The feasibility of this Schnellbomber idea was
tested at the Zurich Air Show in 1937, where a Do 17 prototype startled
onlookers by finishing ahead of all the fighters in the competition.
The first Do 17s saw service in the Spanish Civil War as reconnaissance
aircraft. The Do 17z-2, which had extra protective armor, a redesigned
nose, and a cockpit with more room and greater visibility, was delivered to
the Luftwaffe in 1939. Unfortunately, the Messerschmitt factory had top
priority and got to use the Daimler Benz engine for its Bf 109s, forcing
the Do 17z-2 to use the less powerful BMW Bramo Fafnir engine, which
greatly reduced its speed. During the Battle of Britain the Do 17z-2 was
first used against Channel convoys, then on bombing missions against
airfields and factories inland, where it did extensive damage despite
suffering heavy losses. The Do 17 enjoyed success as a low altitude bomber,
since it could dive on a target with its engines at full throttle and then
pick up enough speed to get away after dropping its bombload. Although it
had several drawbacks, including a relatively light warhead load, the
ruggedness, maneuverability, and stability of the Flying Pencil made it
popular with the men who flew it.
RATE OF CLIMB, BOMBERS
STUKA 1, 012 FT/MIN HE 111 492 FT/MIN
DO 17 991 FT/MIN JU 88 770 FT/MIN
DO 17Z-2 PERFORMANCE WEIGHTS
Powerplant:two BMW Empty:11, 484 pounds
Bramo Fafnir 323P nine- Loaded:18, 913 pounds
cylinder air cooled redial ARMAMENT
engines Guns:five 7.92 mm MG 15
Horsepower:1, 000 per machine guns with 750
engine rounds per gun - one
Top speed:265 miles per mounted in the nose, one
hour mounted at the upper part
Rate of climb:3.3 minutes of the canopy facing rear,
to 3, 280 feet one mounted beneath the
Ceiling: 26, 740 canopy facing rear, and
Range:721 miles two at the center of the
Crew:four - one pilot, fuselage facing left and
one radio operator, one right
flight engineer, and one Warhead load:four 550
aircraft commander/bom- pound bombs totaling
bardier 2, 200 pounds
Wingspan:59 feet 10 inches
Wing area:592 square feet
Length:51 feet 10 inches
HE 111 +
DO 17 +
JU 88 +
1. Altimeter 12. Bomb Indicator Panel
2. Climb/Dive Indicator 13. Flaps Lever
3. Automatic Pilot Indicator 14. Landing Gear Indicator
4. Banking Indicator 15. RPM Indicator
5. Pitch Indicator 16. Engine Damage Indicator
6. Compass 17. Airframe Damage Indicator
7. Airspeed Indicator 18. Replay Camera Indicator
8. Gun Indicator Lights 19. Fuel Gauge
9. Nameplate 20. Autoshoot Light
10. View Indicator 21. Ammunition Round
11. Radio 22. Gun Indicator Lights
HEINKEL HE 111H-3 MEDIUM BOMBER
The bomber used most by the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain, the twin
engine He 111 was originally introduced as a civil airliner but secretly
tested as a bomber. In fact early versions, marked as Lufthansa airlines,
actually flew photo reconnaissance missions over Britain, France, and the
Soviet Union in 1937. The He 111 was first used in the Spanish Civil War
with a great deal of success, as it flew faster than the defending
fighters. Then in 1939 it was mass produced as the main Luftwaffe bomber.
Called "The Spade" by its crews because of its broad, rounded wings, the
glass nosed He 111 saw service in campaigns against
Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and France.
The He 111H-3 could carry twice the bombload of a Do 17, and over a
thousand pounds more than the Ju 88. But since the Messerschmitt factory
was using all available Daimler Benz engines, the He 111H-3, like the Do
17, was forced to use less powerful engines that reduced its airspeed. To
compensate for its slowness, more machine guns were added, along with extra
armor protection. He 111H-3s did extensive damage to British targets during
the Battle of Britain, when protected by fighter escort, and gained a
reputation as a tough aircraft capable of remaining airborne even when shot
to pieces. But when fighter protection was unavailable, the lumbering
"Spade"was shot down in great numbers by the much faster British fighters.
After the Battle, however, He 111s were the main Luftwaffe bombers used in
the Blitz, and nearly leveled London.
HE 111H-3 PERFORMANCE ARMAMENT
Powerplant:two Junkers Guns:five 7.92 mm MG 15
Jumo 211D-2 12-cylinder machine guns with 750
Vee liquid cooled engines rounds per gun - one
Horsepower:1, 200 per mounted in the nose, one
engine mounted in the fuselage
Top speed:273 miles per above the wings facing
hour rear, one mounted in the
Rate of climb:30 minutes gondola beneath the fuse-
to 14, 765 feet large facing rear, and two
Ceiling:25, 590 mounted at the waist win-
Range:745 miles dows at the center of the
Crew:four or five fuselage
DIMENSIONS Warhead load:eight 550
Wingspan:74 feet 2 inches pound bombs or four
Wing area:943 square feet 1, 100 pound bombs, total-
Length:53 feet 9 inches ing 4, 400 pounds
Height:13 feet 2 inches
Empty:15, 873 pounds
Loaded:28, 924 pounds
1. Altimeter 15. RPM Indicators
2. Climb/Dive Indicator 16. Engine Damage Indicators
3. Automatic Pilot Light 17. Airframe Damage Indicator
4. Banking Indicator 18. Replay Camera
5. Pitch Indicator 19. Fuel Gauge
6. Compass 20. Autoshoot Light
7. Airspeed Indicator 21. Ammunition Round Indicator
8. Gun Indicator Lights 22. Gun Indicator Lights
9. Nameplate 23. Altimeter
10. View Indicator 24. Airspeed Indicator
11. Radio 25. Compass
12. Bomb Indicator Panel 26. Banking Indicator
13. Flaps Lever 27. Bomb Indicator Panel
14. Landing Gear Indicator 28. Bombsight
JUNKERS JU 88A-1 MEDIUM BOMBER/DIVE BOMBER
The newest and best of the German medium bombers in 1940, the twin engine
Junkers Ju 88 did not see as much action in the Battle of Britain as the
He 111 or the Do 17 because fewer of them had been produced. Swift,
reliable, and tough, the Ju 88 ended up as the primary all-purpose bomber
of the Luftwaffe, and nearly fifteen thousand were built during the course
of World War II. Based on a 1935 design by a team led by two Americans, the
first prototype flew in December 1936. Limited production began in 1939,
too late for the testing grounds of the Spanish Civil War, and it saw
little action in the conquest of Europe. The Ju 88 was used on a limited
basis against British warships in the North Sea prior to the Battle of
STUKA 373 MILES HE 111 745 MILES
DO 17 721 MILES JU 88 1, 453 MILES
The Ju 88A-1 was the first of these models to be widely produced, and
featured underwing dive brakes that enabled it to be used as a dive bomber.
It was faster, stronger, more maneuverable, and could fly farther than any
other Luftwaffe medium bomber. In the Battle of Britain, the Ju 88A-1
initially enjoyed success attacking RAF airfields. But as the Battle
progressed, the Ju 88A-1, like the other Luftwaffe bombers, proved
vulnerable to the RAF fighters, though crews had a better chance of
getting back to their bases in this excellent aircraft than in the others.
JU 88A-1 WEIGHTS
PERFORMANCE Empty:21, 738 pounds
Powerplant:two Junkers Loaded:30, 865 pounds
Jumo 211B-1 12-cylinder ARMAMENT
Vee liquid cooled engines Guns:three 7.92 mm MG
Horsepower:1, 200 per 15 machine guns with 750
engine rounds per gun - one
Top speed:280 miles per mounted in the nose, one
hour mounted on the top of the
Rate of climb:23 minutes fuselage above the wings
to 17, 715 feet facing rear, and one
Ceiling:26, 500 mounted in the gondola
Range:1, 453 miles beneath the fuselage fac-
Crew:four - one pilot, ing rear
one bombardier/nose gun- Warhead load:six 550
ner, one radio operator/ pound bombs or three
rear gunner, and one 1, 100 pound bombs, total-
gondola gunner ing 3, 300 pounds, mount-
DIMENSIONS ed beneath the fuselage
Wing area:540 square feet
Length:47 feet 1 inch
Height:15 feet 5 inches
HE 111 +
DO 17 +
JU 88 +
1. Altimeter 13. Bomb Indicator Panel
2. Climb/Dive Indicator 14. Flaps Lever
3. Automatic Pilot Light 15. Landing Gear Indicator
4. Banking Indicator 16. RPM Indicators
5. Pitch Indicator 17. Engine Damage Indicators
6. Compass 18. Airframe Damage Indicator
7. Airspeed Indicator 19. Replay Camera Indicator
8. Gun Indicator Lights 20. Fuel Gauge
9. Nameplate 21. Autoshoot Light
10. View Indicator 22. Ammunition Round Indicator
11. Radio 23. Gun Indicator Lights
12. Dive Brakes Indicator
BRITISH AIRCRAFT: 1940
HAWKER Hurricane MK I FIGHTER
The first monoplane fighter ever used by the RAF, the sturdy, reliable
Hurricane was a workhorse during the early part of World War II when it
outnumbered all other modern British fighters. Its fuselage was constructed
of metal tubes surrounded by wood and fabric, which enabled it to sustain a
good deal of damage in battle and to be quickly repaired on the ground.
Although not as fast or as maneuverable as the German Bf 109, the
performance of the Hurricane was nevertheless close enough to hold its own
in dogfights if its pilot was skilled enough. Also, since it had better
range, it had the advantage of staying in the air longer than the Bf 109.
The rugged, heavily-armored Hurricane proved to be
devastating against the other German aircraft. Frequently British fighter
tactics called for this fighter to attack the bombers, while the more
maneuverable Spitfire would take on the 109s. The Hurricane proved more
than capable, and 57 percent of the German aircraft lost in the Battle of
Britain were shot down by Hurricanes. The Hurricane Mk I was the first
production model to go into service. Later versions of this model featured
an all-metal wing, replacing the earlier fabric skinned wing, plus extra
armor protection around the cockpit area. These were used in the defense of
Singapore against the Japanese, and in the Battle of France and the Battle
SPITFIRE 34, 000 FEET HURRICANE 35, 000 FEET
BF 109 34, 450 FEET BF 110 32, 810 FEET
HURRICANE MK I DIMENSIONS
PERFORMANCE Wingspan:40 feet
Powerplant:one Rolls Wing area:257 square feet
Royce Merlin II or III 12- Length:31 feet 5 inches
cylinder liquid cooled Height:13 feet 1 inch
Horsepower:1, 030 Empty:4, 670 pounds
Top speed:320 miles per Loaded:6, 600 pounds
Rate of climb:2, 420 feet Guns:eight Browning .303
per minute caliber machine guns, four
Ceiling:35, 000 feet mounted in each wing,
Range:460 miles with 334 rounds per gun
BF 109 +
BF 110 +
1. Fuel Gauge 10. RPM Indicator
2. Ammunition Round Indicator 11. Climb/Dive Indicator
3. Pitch Indicator 12. Replay Camera Indicator
4. Altimeter 13. Nameplate
5. Airspeed Indicator 14. Engine Damage Indicator
6. Gunsight 15. Airframe Damage Indicator
7. View Indicator 16. Radio
8. Banking Indicator 17. Landing Gear Lever
9. Compass 18. Flaps Lever
SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE MK I FIGHTER
Perhaps no other combat aircraft in history can match the reputation of the
Spitfire. In the eyes of the British public, the performance of this
aircraft, more than any other factor, decided the outcome of the Battle of
Britain and changed the course of World War II. The first all metal fighter
to be produced for the RAF, the Spitfire was noted for its sleek design and
unique thin, oval wings. While the Hurricane evolved from a biplane design,
the Spitfire was designed as a monoplane from the start. And while the
Hurricane outnumbered the Spitfire in 1940 and shot down more German
aircraft, the Spitfire captured the imagination of the British people.
Originally based on a design for a record breaking racing seaplane, the
first Spitfire prototype flew in 1936. Though its complex design delayed
initial production, the first Spitfires, model MK I, were delivered to RAF
squadrons in 1938. The first seventy seven aircraft had two blade fixed
pitch propellers, and succeeding aircraft were fit with three blade two
position propellers, thereby raising its ceiling by 7, 000 feet and
improving climbing and diving. Later modifications included the addition of
a high visibility bubble cockpit hood and extra armor protection. The
Spitfire MK I first saw action in October 1939 at the Firth of Forth in
Scotland, where two RAF squadrons intercepted Ju 88 bombers and shot one
SPITFIRE 500 MILES HURRICANE 460 MILES
BF 109 410 MILES BF 110 680 MILES
SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE MK II FIGHTER
When the more powerful Rolls Royce Merlin XII engine was developed in 1940,
it was delivered to a new Spitfire plant near Birmingham. The Spitfire
model that used this engine was known as the MK II, and the first one
rolled off the assembly line in June 1940. Along with a higher level of
performance, the Spitfire MK II was more combat worthy than the MK I, with
self sealing fuel tanks, a bulletproof windshield, and extra armor
protection for the pilot added during assembly. Certain versions of this
model could also carry bombs and extra fuel tanks.
During the Battle of Britain, the speed and maneuverability of the Spitfire
made it an even match for its main German adversary, the Bf 109, and gave
it a decisive advantage over other German aircraft. Although the Spitfire
could not out climb the Bf 109, it could outrun it, unlike the Hurricane.
The Spitfire's engine, however, would sometimes cut out in combat when the
G-forces caused fuel to flood the carburetor. To prevent Bf 109 pilots from
taking advantage of this British pilots would execute a half roll and
dive, which kept the Spitfire's engine running. The carburation flaw was
later corrected, and the Spitfire would go down in history as perhaps the
best defensive weapon of the war.
SPITFIRE MK I SPITFIRE MK II
Powerplant:one Rolls Powerplant:one Rolls
Royce Merlin II or III 12- Royce Merlin XII 12-cylin-
cylinder liquid cooled der liquid cooled engine
engine Horsepower:1, 175
Horsepower:1, 030 Top speed:370 miles per
Top speed:355 miles per hour
hour Rate of climb:2, 600 feet
Rate of climb:2, 530 feet per minute
per minute Ceiling:34, 000 feet
Ceiling:34, 000 feet Range:500 miles
Range:395 miles Crew:one
DIMENSIONS Wingspan:36 feet 10
Wingspan:36 feet 10 inches
inches Wing area:242 square feet
Wing area:242 square feet Length:29 feet 11 inches
Length:29 feet 11 inches Height:11 feet 5 inches
Height:11 feet 5 inches WEIGHTS
WEIGHTS Empty:5, 142 pounds
Empty:5, 067 pounds Loaded:6, 484 pounds
Loaded:6, 409 pounds ARMAMENT
ARMAMENT Guns:eight Browning .303
Guns:eight Browning .303 caliber machine guns, four
caliber machine guns, four mounted in each wing,
mounted in each wing, with 300 rounds per gun
with 300 rounds per gun
1. Fuel Gauge 10. RPM Indicator
2. Ammunition Round 11. Climb/Dive Indicator
3. Pitch Indicator 12. Replay Camera Indicator
4. Altimeter 13. Nameplate
5. Airspeed Indicator 14. Engine Damage Indicator
6. Gunsight 15. Airframe Damage Indicator
7. View Indicator 16. Radio
8. Banking Indicator 17. Landing Gear Lever
GERMAN AIRBORNE WEAPONS
7.92 MM MG 15 AND MG 17 MACHINE GUNS
The MG 15 and MG 17 were the standard German airborne machine guns, used by
both Luftwaffe fighters and bombers. The MG 17 was mounted on the wings,
fuselage, and nose of the Bf 109, the Bf 110, and the Ju 87. The MG 15 was
drum-fed, and flexibly mounted inside the canopies and gondolas of the He
111, the Do 17, and the Ju 88. In performance, these weapons had a slightly
slower rate of fire than the British .303 machine guns, although they fired
slightly heavier bullets.
20 mm MG FF and MG FF/M CANNONS
The MG FF and MG FF/M cannons could do a great deal of damage at close
range, especially the MG FF/M, which had a higher fighter rate. Mounted in
the wings of the Bf 109 and in the nose of the Bf 110, they fired a thin
shelled projectile that exploded on impact. These cannons, however, had a
limited magazine of sixty shells, which could be used up in just eight
seconds! Worse yet, they had a low muzzle velocity, meaning that the shells
were slow to reach the target. Since it was hard for Luftwaffe pilots and
gunners to keep the swift RAF fighters in their gunsights for long, this
proved to be a great drawback.
1, 100/550/110 POUND(500/250/50 KG)BOMBS
The 1, 100, 550, and 110 pound bombs were general purpose bombs, with
bodies made of a solid piece of forged steel, then packed with explosives.
From the He 111, the 550 pound version was dropped tail-first, which the
British and other Allied enemies claimed reduced its accuracy.
.303 BROWNING MACHINE GUNS
With eight Browning machine guns mounted on the wings of the Spitfire and
Hurricane, these fighters provided an even match for the firepower of the
Bf 109 with its two cannons and two machine guns. However, a lot of machine
gun bullets were needed to bring down the more durable bombers. These
machine guns had a somewhat greater muzzle velocity and rate of fire than
their German counterparts, the MG 15 and MG 17.
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FLIGHT FUNDAMENTALS AND TACTICS
This section covers the dynamics of flight, both in a real aircraft, and in
the fighters and bombers you fly in Their Finest Hour. Those paragraphs
that apply in the game are in italics.
At the same time of the Battle of Britain, aircraft had become larger,
heavier, and faster than every before. Yet these 1940 fighters and
bombers, like the supersonic military aircraft of today, utilized the same
aerodynamic principles that the Wright Brothers first applied in 1903 at
Kitty Hawk. And the most important of these principles of flight is known
LIFT FASTER AIR PRESSURE
(LOWER PRESSURE DIFFERENCE
Try this simple experiment. Hold a piece of paper by one of its edges and
blow across the top of it. The paper will rise. Why? Because the air moving
across the top of the paper creates a high pressure zone greater than the
pressure zone below the paper, which in turn creates suction and pulls the
paper up. This is known as lift.
Substitute an aircraft wing for the piece of paper, and you have some idea
of how a plane becomes airborne. Of course, a wing has a more streamlined,
aerodynamic shape than a piece of paper. This shape is designed specially
to to create high and low pressure zones, and to ensure a smooth flow of
air around the wing. Without a streamlined shape, too much drag, or wind
resistance, is produces, which reduces the amount of lift.
A continuous flow of air is needed over and under a wing to sustain lift.
To do this, an engine is used to push the aircraft through the air by
providing forward thrust, or movement. The faster the forward thrust, the
more lift is created. As a result, an aircraft can be large in size and
weight as long as it is equipped with a powerful engine.
To increase your thrust, use the + key on your keyboard. To decrease it,
use the - key.
If the smooth flow of air around the wing is interrupted, a dangerous
situation known as a stall can occur. An aircraft usually stalls when the
wing is tilted upward at such a steep angle that it obstructs the airflow.
A stall can also occur when the aircraft is moving too slowly. When an
aircraft stalls, it can go out of control and crash.
Your aircraft may stall if you've pulled the nose up at too sharp an angle,
or if you let your airspeed drop to 60-80 MPH in level flight(this is known
as the stalling speed of your aircraft). If a stall occurs, push the nose
of your aircraft down by moving the controller forward. When the message
STALL RECOVERED appears on the screen, quickly pull back on the controller
until your aircraft is in level flight again. Stalls frequently occur when
you're trying to engage an aircraft that's at a much higher altitude. Learn
to gain altitude gradually. Also keep an eye on your airspeed indicator,
and learn to listen for the distinctive sound that your engine makes when
the plane is about to stall.
While an aircraft is in flight, it can maneuver three different ways. It
can pitch, or move up and down;it can yaw, or swivel left and right, and
it can roll,
or tilt left or right. To execute these maneuvers, the pilot moves a
control stick or column, which controls pitch and roll. Yaw is controlled
by a combination of pitching and rolling.
To make an aircraft dive, the pilot pushes on the control stick. This moves
the trailing-edge(or rear)horizontal portions of the tail, called
elevators, down. To climb, the pilot pulls back on the stick. This moves
the elevators up. To turn, the pilot moves the control stick either left
or right and banks the plane left or right. This moves the trailing-edge
vertical segment of the tail, called the rudder, along with the small,
trailing-edge sections of the wing near the wing tips, called ailerons. As
the aircraft banks, its wings will tilt more and more to one side or the
other. The steeper the bank, the faster the turn, up to a full 90 with the
wings pointing straight up and down.
As you steepen a bank turn, and as your wings become closer and closer to
perpendicular to the ground, your aircraft will lose lift and the nose will
start to drop. To counter this, pull back on the controller slightly or
increase your throttle setting when you bank. To come out of a banked turn,
and return to level flight, move your controller in the opposite direction
of your bank.
TAKEOFFS AND LANDINGS
To help an aircraft gain lift for takeoffs, and allow it to slow it down
for landings, flaps are used. These are the large trailing-edge sections of
the wings that, when extended downward, increase lift. This added lift lift
allows the plane to fly at a slower speed before stalling. Of course,
landing gear is also used for takeoffs and landings. It consists of the
wheels of the aircraft and the supports for those wheels.
To takeoff from an airfield, increase your plane's throttle and taxi down
the runway. When you reach the end of the runway, turn your plane around so
that it's pointing down the runway in the other direction. Then, lower your
flaps and increase your throttle until the white digital number at the
bottom of the RPM indicator reads "100%". As your aircraft rushes down the
runway, wait until the
airspeed reaches 125 MPH. Then, pull back on your controller to become
airborne. Retract your landing gear(unless you are flying a Ju 87 Stuka
with fixed landing gear), then decrease the throttle setting with the - key
to conserve fuel.
When approaching an airfield to land, begin to slow your airspeed by
decreasing the throttle setting. Gradually, flatten your descent, then line
up your aircraft with the airstrip. As you continue to descend, lower your
flaps and your landing gear, and decrease the throttle setting until it is
just above the stalling speed of your aircraft. When you touch down,
decrease the throttle setting to 0 and let your aircraft taxi until it has
come to a complete stop.
DIVE BOMBER MANEUVERING
SPEED BRAKES are special flaps found only on dive bombers. They open both
up and down from the trailing-edge of the wing and are full of small holes
to keep the aircraft from being buffeted when they are open.
If you're flying a Ju 87 Stuka or a Ju 88, use your speed brakes to slow
your diving speed as you make your dive-bombing run on a ship convoy or
ground installation. This will make it easier to line up the target and
drop your bombload more accurately.
This section of the chapter describes tactics used by many RAF and
Luftwaffe pilots during the Battle of Britain. Those paragraphs that will
be helpful to you in the game situations of Their Finest Hour are in
Also note that the replay camera is a useful tool for analyzing your
performance in combat and improving your aerial tactics. It lets you "film"
your dogfights, bombing runs, or other aerial maneuvers, and then view the
"motion picture" from any angle. See the Review Combat Film section of the
manual for more information.
As the slower, more maneuverable biplane fighters of World War I evolved
into the faster, less maneuverable monoplane fighters of World War II, the
tactics of aerial combat evolved as well. Yet one of the keys to aerial
victory remained the same throughout both wars:surprise the enemy.
Gaining a height advantage was one way to achieve this element of surprise.
The higher a fighter could get, the faster it could pounce upon the enemy
aircraft below, hopefully without being detecting until it was too late.
Another way to surprise the enemy was to attack from the direction of the
sun. Hidden in the sun's bright glare, a fighter pilot could strike before
the enemy spotted him and retaliated. RAF pilots had an expression for
guarding against this type of attack:"Beware of the Hun in the sun."
Attacking from the direction of the sun is a valuable tactic, since the
enemy fighters or bombers you're attacking can't see you. To attack from
the angle of the sun, first use the scan mode to locate the sun, then use
it to locate the enemy fighters or bombers you want to attack. Next, adjust
your flight path so that your fighter will eventually be positioned between
the sun and the enemy. When you reach this point, turn your fighter around
and head toward the enemy. ideally the sun should be at your back;if you
can see the sun in your rear view mirror, you're in a perfect position to
attack. Since you can't be seen, the enemy fighters won't take any evasive
action or fire at you until you fire at them. Likewise, the bomber gunners
won't fire at you until you open fire first.
In all of your missions, keep in mind that enemy fighters may use these
same tactics on you.
When attacking from the direction of the sun, pilots would usually rely on
the stern attack. To execute this approach, which dates back to the First
World War, the attacking pilot would dive on a target, pull out of his
dive when he was on the tail of the target, then fire. If the target
aircraft had a rear or tail gunner, the attacking pilots would usually pull
out of their dive and fire at an angle slightly beneath the tail of the
target to avoid gunfire.
If you're flying a Spitfire or a Hurricane, and a Bf 109 is attacking you
from behind, never try to dive away from it, since it can accelerate in a
dive faster than you can. Instead, try to make a tight turn inside to shake
it. A series of S-turns can also throw off its aim. But if you're flying a
Bf 109, you can shake a pursuing RAF fighter by going into a dive. If
you're flying a Bf 110, you won't be able to lose pursuing fighters with
maneuvers, so use your rear gunner to ward off stern attacks, and try to
bring your Zerstorer around so that you can use its forward firepower.
In the early part of the Battle of Britain, RAF pilots would sometimes fly
straight at approaching enemy formations, and fire at them when they were
within range. This was known as the opposite attack, and it was phased out
after a number of head-on collisions.
With stern and opposite attack tactics, a fighter pilot could bring down an
airplane by shooting straight ahead, since the target was right in front of
But when approaching and attacking an enemy plane from an angle, pilots on
both sides had to learn deflection shooting to score a kill. This meant
that the pursuing pilot would shoot at a point ahead of the enemy plane's
flight path, so that the bullets would reach that point at the same time as
Mastering deflection shooting was extremely difficult, as Spitfires and Bf
109s could reach speeds of nearly 400 MPH, leaving little time to judge
distance. Deflection shooting is a skill you must master to enjoy success
as a fighter pilot. You'll need to compensate for the speed of your target,
the angle at which it crosses your line of sight, and its distance away
from you, which you can judge by comparing the size of the enemy aircraft
to your gunsight right. If
your gunsight ring. If the enemy aircraft is faster, flying a perpendicular
flight path, or flying away from you, you'll have to lead your shots more.
By taking all these factors into account, and remembering to shoot ahead of
your target, you'll be able to score hits every time. You'll know your
shots are hitting home when pieces of the enemy plane break off, or if
smoke pours out of it.
To maximize a pilot's chances to score a kill, the eight machine guns on
the Spitfire and the Hurricane were harmonized. This meant that the guns
were adjusted so that when they were fired, the bullets would intersect at
a certain point in the distance. This gave the pilots a large "area of
lethal density" ahead of them. Unfortunately, this often penalized pilots
who liked to shoot from close range, since their bullets did not intersect
in the vicinity of the target. These pilots countered by adjusting their
own guns so that their intersection point was much closer, allowing them to
pour on highly concentrated gunfire as they neared their target.
The machine guns of your RAF fighter are harmonized so that they will do
more damage at close range than from long range. When you're approaching
enemy fighters, there may be a few seconds when you'll be so close that
you're able to make out the details of a particular aircraft. This is the
time to open fire. Since the machine guns on the Hurricane were more
closely grouped together than those of the Spitfire, it had a denser bullet
pattern. This made the Hurricane more suited for attacking bombers, since a
bomber required more gunfire to bring it down than a fighter. Factored into
this tactic was the knowledge that the Hurricane was not as maneuverable as
the Bf 109, so while the Hurricanes took on the bombers, the more agile
Spitfires attacked the German fighters.
A good rule to remember as a fighter pilot is that when you're in hostile
skies never fly in a straight or level path for more than thirty seconds.
After the Luftwaffe fighters suffered heavy losses flying in tight
three-plane formations during the Spanish Civil War, German ace Warner
Molders developed and tested a loose fighter formation. Known as the
Schwarm, it consisted of four fighters flying in pairs, or Rotten. The
leader of this formation was the best pilot and best shot, and always flew
ahead of the other three fighters. The second aircraft was the leader's
protective wingman, and his job was to never
leave the leader's side. The wingman always flew on the side of the leader
where the sun was, though at a lower altitude so that the other aircraft
would not have to look into the sun to see him. On the opposite side from
the wingman was the leader of the second Rotte, and at his side, though at
a higher altitude, was high wingman. The second wingman always had the job
of scanning the sky around the sun, and watching for enemy attacks from
that direction. Since the Schwarm was so spread out, it was harder for
enemy fighters to spot it, and it had the added benefit of minimizing the
risk of collision within a formation. The result was a high rate of kills
for the Luftwaffe fighters during the remainder of the Spanish Civil War
and the early stages of the Battle of Britain.
During the time between the two world wars, the British, believing that
their fighters would be attacking unescorted bombers, developed a tight
formation known as the vic. Essentially the same formation the Luftwaffe
abandoned in Spain, it consisted of three fighters flying at the same
altitude, with the middle fighter slightly ahead of the other two. Flying
wing tip-to-tip, the vic was a great formation for air shows, but with each
pilot constantly worrying about collision, it left little time to look for
the enemy. This made the RAF fighters easy targets for the looser-flying
Luftwaffe fighters, who could also spot the tight British formation sooner.
As the Battle of Britain progressed, RAF pilots, who lacked the vital
experience the Luftwaffe had gained in the
Spanish Civil War, gradually abandoned the vic, and adopted their own
version of the Schwarm, which they called the finger four formation.
If you're flying as the leader of a Schwarm or a vic formation, you're
responsible for leading the attack on the enemy. It's important that your
wingmen remain at your side for protection;therefore don't fly so radically
that you lose them. If you're flying as a wingman in either of these two
formations, your primary responsibility is to cover your leader, and to
stay by his side.
A controversial fighter formation that the British developed during the
Battle of Britain was the big wing. It was made up of three to five
squadrons, totaling some thirty six to sixty aircraft. The advantage of a
big wing was obvious more guns were brought to bear on the enemy aircraft.
Moreover, the sight of so many fighters proved to be a show of strength
unnerving to the Luftwaffe. The disadvantage of the big wing was the amount
of time it took all the aircraft to assemble usually over half an hour.
Also, the more RAF fighters in the air, the more that could be knocked out
by the Luftwaffe, who saw aerial combat as the best way to finish off
The debate over the feasibility of the big wing divided Fighter Command.
Eleven Group felt that the big wing was impractical, since its besieged
squadrons simply did not have enough time to assemble such a large
formation. Twelve Group, which originated the big wing, was located further
north than 11 Group, and the gave then more time to put a big wing together
before the Luftwaffe
arrived. Twelve Group's big wing proponents believed that it was better to
hit the enemy hard after it had dropped its bombs on its targets and was
returning to Continental Europe. But since many of these targets were 11
Group's fighter airfields, 11 Group vehemently disagreed with this
philosophy, and usually tried to intercept the Luftwaffe beforehand, with
The formidable Bf 109 was often used in a free-ranging or free chasing
role, in which formations of 109s would simply fly about looking for RAF
fighters to attack. When the defensive minded RAF avoided engaging these
free ranging Bf 109s, the Luftwaffe used the Ju 87 Stuka and other bombers
as bait to lure the RAF fighters into combat.
Using fighters to accompany and protect bombers on their way to the target
and back was knows as fighter escort. The Bf 110 was originally developed
for this role, but during the early part of the Battle of Britain, it
proved to be a failure against the more maneuverable Hurricane and
Spitfire. The Bf 110 was successful only when it could dive down and blast
the enemy with its two cannons and four machine guns, then get away. As Bf
110 losses mounted, they were given a protective escort of Bf 109s, and the
109 became the main escort fighter for the duration of the Battle.
If you're flying fighter escort, you main responsibility is to make sure
bombers reach their targets and escape enemy fighter attacks. Try to keep
the bombers in sight at all times, and beware of enemy fighters pouncing on
them from the direction of the sun, or from high above.
During the Kanalkampf, providing fighter escort for Ju 87s proved to be
next to impossible during a dive bombing run, since the Stukas were slowed
by their dive brakes and bombload. Their escorts, the much-faster Bf 109s,
flew right past the Stukas during a dive, leaving them unescorted, and easy
targets for Spitfires and Hurricanes. As Ju 87 losses increased, their
crews began demanding more fighter escort, and the fighter-to-bomber ratio,
which had been one to one, was increased to two to one.
When the Stukas were withdrawn from the Battle of Britain in mid-August,
Luftwaffe bomber formations were escorted by formations of Bf 109s, flying
several thousand feet higher to gain a height advantage over the attacking
British fighters. But British fighters in turn took advantage of this
height difference, and pulverized the bombers before the Bf 109s could dive
down. Again, the increasing bomber losses forced the Luftwaffe to change
its escort formations. Bf 109s were then ordered to fly alongside the
bombers, at the same altitude. The fighters were forced to throttle way
back to stay at the same speed as the bombers, and often weaved in and out
of the bomber formations. This cut down on bomber losses, but it also cut
down on RAF losses, since the 109s were now in a defensive, rather than an
offensive, role. The fighter-to-bomber ratio was increased to three to one,
and formations of fighters flew ahead of, alongside, and above the
When the tactics of dive bombing were being developed during the period
between the wars, the RAF took little interest. But the Luftwaffe, seeing
dive bombing as a way to soften up an enemy before ground troops moved in,
embraced the concept, and developed the Ju 87 Stuka dive bomber in 1935.
The Stuka became a formidable weapon in the conquest of Europe, although it
had limited success against the convoys and coastal targets of the English
Channel during the Battle of Britain.
What made dive bombing so appealing was its pinpoint accuracy.
Theoretically, if a plane could dive straight down on a target before
releasing a bomb, there was no way it could miss. Though Stuka pilots
rarely made vertical dives, 80 dives generally resulted in deadly dits.
Flying at an altitude between 10, 000 and 15, 999 feet, the Stuka pilot
would spot his target, and begin to dive when he was nearly over it. Dive
angle lines were even etched on the glass canopy of the Ju 87, to give the
pilot an idea of his angle of approach. As the Stuka picked up speed in its
dive, the pilot would extend the dive brakes, which slowed the airspeed and
enabled the pilot to make a more controlled dive. Along with the brakes,
the drag on the fuselage caused by the externally mounted bomb and the
fixed landing gear slowed the Stuka's diving speed to around 350 MPH. With
the landing gear mounted sirens, called the "trumpets of Jericho, "
screaming in the wind, the pilot would release the Stuka's fuselage mounted
bomb at an altitude of 3, 000 feet. If the bomb was released any lower, the
Stuka would be in danger of being destroyed by the resulting explosion,
since it needed another 1, 500 feet to pull out its dive and level off.
Once the pilot had released the bomb and pulled out of his dive, he would
often make evasive turns to avoid any anti aircraft fire or enemy fighters.
And if he looked over his shoulder, he might get a glance at the damage
inflicted by the bomb he just delivered.
If you're flying a Ju 87 dive bombing mission with other Stukas, there will
always be one or more. Stukas flying ahead of you. When you're about five
miles from the target, all the Stukas will assemble into a line astern
up after another. If you've strayed away from the formation, you'll see a
space where your Stuka should be. After you've returned to the formation,
you'll be able to follow the Stuka ahead of you as it dives down to attack
a ground installation or ship.
When you're piloting a solo Ju 87 Stuka or Ju 88, switch on the scan view
mode to help you locate the target you want to dive bomb(see the Double
Seat Fighter and Dive Bomber View Controls section for more information).
In this view mode, you can fly the plane in one direction while searching
in any direction. When you spot the target, make a note of its location in
degrees, switch back to normal flight, and change the direction of your
dive bomber so that will fly over the target. Switch back to the scan view
mode if you have trouble locating the target in normal flight. As you get
closer to the target, switch to the straight down view mode. If you have
lines up your target correctly, it will slowly begin to appear in the
screen. This is the time to begin your dive. Ideally, you should be at n
altitude of 7, 000 feet or more when you start diving;if your starting
altitude is below 5, 000 feet, you may have trouble pulling out of your
dive in time.
To begin your dive, make sure you're in normal flight, and extend your
speed brakes. You may want to turn on your replay camera to record your
dive and see if your bombload hit home, and check your bomb indicator to
determine which of your bombs will drop. If you're bombing a large target,
such as a ship, you'll want to drop your entire bombload at once. If you're
attacking scattered ground targets, such as airfield hangars, you'll want
to scattered ground targets, such as airfield hangers, you'll want to
scatter your bombs on different targets. Then, when you're ready, push the
controller forward until you're in a 70 to 80 degree dive. The Ju 87 has
several diving angle lines etched in the left window. Four of these lines
are labeled 50, 60, 70, and 80 degrees. Switch to the view left mode to
line up any of these diving angle lines with the horizon. You can also use
your pitch indicator to judge how steep your descent is. If its
needle is pointing three quarters of the way down the minus(-) part of the
indicator, you're in a 70 degree dive. Try to keep the target in your
gunsight ring on your way down.
As you dive, you may find that your approach to the target is off, and that
it's straying to one side or the other. Simply moving your controller to
the side to correct this is dangerous, since it could cause your dive
bomber to move sideways relative to the direction it's headed(a condition
known as slipping or skidding). To correct your approach, push the
controller forward until your dive bomber is in a near vertical dive,
approaching 90 degrees. Then, move your controller left or right until the
target is lined up correctly, and pull back on the controller to return to
your desired diving angle.
If you're attacking a ship in a convoy, a longitudinal attack, along the
line of the ship's course, is best, since this gives you a longer area for
your bombs to hit. Approaching the ship from the bow is more preferable
than from the stern, as in a stern attack the ship will sail away from you
and you'll have to flatten out your dive to catch it further along.
However, don't waste valuable
making a perfect approach. With practice, you'll be able to score direct
hits even with a perpendicular attack on a ship.
If you're attacking ground installations, they will be easier to hit than
ships, because they aren't moving. But no matter which type of target
you're attacking, ignore the bursts of flak or gunfire around you, and
concentrate on your mission objective, since it is vital.
When your altitude reaches 3, 000 feet, you should get ready to release
your bombload, and release it below your altitude reaches 2, 000 feet. If
you're in a 70 degree dive, your gunsight should be pointed just ahead of
where you want your bomb or bombs to fall. This will compensate for gravity
pulling your bombload out of the line of your dive. Once you've released
your bombload, pull back on the controller to pull out of your dive. In the
Battle of Britain, this was the time when dive bombers, particularly the Ju
87 Stuka, were the most vulnerable to enemy fighter attack, since their
airspeed was slowed and their fighter escort gone, unable to stay with the
dive bombers in a dive. To avoid what the RAF fighter pilots called a
"Stuka party, " make sure that your dive bomber is in level flight after
you've pulled out of your dive, turn on the autopilot, then switch to the
rear gunner. Us your forward guns if an unlucky fighter happens to wander
in front of you. If you're flying a Ju 88, you may want to switch to the
upper dorsal gun position to ward off fighter attacks. You can also weave
your dive bomber around to make it a harder target for enemy fighters to
LOW AND MEDIUM ALTITUDE BOMBING TACTICS
Low altitude bombing raids, from heights of several hundred feet or less,
proved to be highly successful against airfields, radar stations, and other
targets. At the low height these bombers flew, the RDF system couldn't
detect them, and the Observer Corps on the ground had trouble spotting
them. Low altitude surprise attacks also gave anti-aircraft batteries
little time to react, and thus gave the planes an excellent chance to get
away after dropping their bombloads. Bombers also had a better chance of
scoring more accurate hits from low levels. The main Luftwaffe bombers for
low altitude bombing raids were the Ju 88, which was structurally
reinforced to serve double duty as a dive bomber, and the Do
17. The fighter/bomber versions of the Bf 109 and the Bf 110 were also used
for low altitude bombing.
If you fly your mission from an altitude of less than 500 feet, you won't
be detected by the radar system, and they won't send any fighters after
you. More important, you may be able to fly to your target without being
seen by any high altitude fighter patrols. However, there's always a chance
that a low altitude fighter patrol will spot you. For low altitude bombing,
it's more accurate and less dangerous to drop your bombload from the
pilot's position than from the bombardier's position.
The majority of the Luftwaffe's bombing raids came from medium altitudes of
11, 000 to 18, 000 feet, depending on the cloud cover. It was essential to
the success of medium bombing raids that the ground be visible from the
bomber, since in 1940 landmarks had to be visible from the plane for
navigation, and targets had to be spotted before they could be bombed. In a
medium altitude bombing mission, the bombers flew directly to the target,
released their bombs, and headed directly to their bases. If the bombers
spent more time than necessary over England, they would be in jeopardy of
losing their fighter escort, because the Bf 109s only carried enough fuel
to remain over England for twenty to thirty minutes. The He 111, the Do 17,
and the Ju 88 served as the main
medium altitude bombers for the Luftwaffe.
If you're flying a bomber and are attacked by enemy fighters, maintain a
tight formation. This allows the gunners on the other bombers to protect
It will take a lot of practice to learn how to drop a bombload accurately
from a medium altitude. To give yourself some benchmarks, always drop your
bombload from the same altitude and at the same speed on all your missions.
Then, use the rings on your bombsight to gauge the precise moment when you
should drop your bombs on a target.
BOMBER GUN POSITIONS
The best way to defend your bomber from enemy fighter attack is to learn to
read the flashing yellow gun indicator lights. When you see a flashing
light, it means that an enemy plane is approaching, and you could be
attacked from that position. Look at the lights, determine which position
is being attacked, and move over to that position. If you feel that some
positions are not as critical to defend as others, switch those less
important positions to the autoshoot mode, it will use up its ammunition
faster. Also, it will not be able to see enemy aircraft attacking from the
direction of the sun, which you yourself are
able to do. Deflection shooting is as important for bomber gunners as it is
for fighters (see Fighter Tactics above for more information).
NIGHT BOMBING TACTICS
The Luftwaffe made scattered bombing raids at night throughout the spring
and summer of 1940, and switched over entirely to night bombing in the fall
and winter, as daylight raids were proving too costly. Night bombing had
many advantages. The bombers could fly virtually undetected after they
passed the coast, since then the RDF system could no longer pick them up
and the Observer Corps could not see them. British ground defenses had to
rely on listening for the sounds of the bomber's engines to track them, and
this difficult task was made virtually impossible by bad weather and the
varying speeds of German aircraft. Since airborne radar had not yet been
developed for RAF fighters, they
were virtually useless in the dark, and only a few German bombers were
brought down by fighters at night. Yet this same darkness that hindered
Fighter Command also prevented the Luftwaffe from finding and hitting
blacked-out targets accurately.
However, the Luftwaffe did posses a navigational aid which could have made
night bombing much more formidable. It was a radio beam known as
Knickebein, or "crooked leg." The Knickebein signal radiated from Germany
or France, and pointed toward a target in England. A bomber pilot, flying
along this beam, which was a few hundred yards wide, heard a series of dot
and dash codes if he strayed too far left or right. As the bomber
approached the target, it would intersect with a second beam, which was
transmitted from a different location on the Continent. This beam gave a
different sound, and was the signal to prepare to drop the bombload. The
bomber released its bombs a predetermined distance from where the second
beacon was received.
But the British, who had known about Knickebein ever since early 1940,
developed countermeasures to hinder its effectiveness. Special detection
equipment was installed on top of the 350 foot high RDF masts along the
British coast, and technicians precariously sat on the masts and listened
for incoming beams. The German usually tested a beam the morning before a
raid, and by plotting the direction of the beam, the British usually
figured out which target was likely to be bombed that night. Then, the
British overpowered the Knickebein beam by transmitting beams of their own,
making it impossible for Luftwaffe bomber pilots to hear the correct beam.
Often the British beam would be misinterpreted as the second German beam,
and many German bombloads were dropped in the ocean or scattered throughout
the countryside by crewmen who thought they had hit their target.
These British countermeasures were not always successful, yet for the most
part they blunted the weapon of night bombing. Although airfields,
factories, ports, and cities were hit at night throughout the close of
1940 and into the beginning of 1941, these raids, which might have brought
Britain to its knees, did not.
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When you use the Mission Builder, you get a chance to become your own game
designer. This utility lets you create missions, and then save them to disk
for yourself and others to fly in Their Finest Hour. Your actually
construct a battle scenario by deciding the composition of forces for both
the British side and the German side in the Battle of Britain. You decided
the number of aircraft for each side, the types of aircraft to be used, the
flight groups they'll fly in, and more. Once you finished designing a
mission, you save it, and then select FLY CUSTOM MISSION from the Main Menu
of Their Finest Hour to fly it. You can even go back and modify it later if
you want. With the Mission Builder, there's no end to the variety of combat
mission challenges you can create, both for yourself and for your friends.
HINT:Before you sit down in front of your computer to create a mission,
plan it out on paper. Since there are so many choices you need to make,
building a mission with the computer can be tricky without a plan to work
LOADING THE MISSION BUILDER
To start up the Mission Builder on your computer, look at the Loading
Instructions:Mission Builder section of your Reference Card. Then continue
by following the instructions below.
USING THE MISSION BUILDER
Once you've loaded the utility, you'll see a special map, which shows
Southern England, the English Channel, and the west coast of France, with
the words MISSION BUILDER at the top. This map is nearly identical to the
Campaign Map you access whenever you're playing Campaign Missions. If
you've already fought a campaign battle, you'll notice that many of the
controls used for playing a campaign are
the same ones used for building a Custom Mission. You'll use this map and
the buttons on it to determine the forces for both sides of your mission.
The markings on the map indicate different ground installations that can be
attacked by the Luftwaffe or defended by the RAF. To learn the name of any
of these ground installations, move the arrow over a ground installation
icon. You'll see the information in the column in the lower right hand
corner of the screen.
At the bottom of the screen, you'll see five buttons:
LOAD:This lets you load the missions you've already created, so you can
make any modifications to them. When you choose this, you'll be shown a
list of the down arrow icon, and hold down the controller button;to look up
the list, move the arrow to the up arrow icon, and hold down the button.
Click the arrow on the name of a mission to load it. The name of the
mission you've selected will appear next to the word NAME at the top of the
SAVE:This lets you save a mission you've just created, so you can play it
from the game program at a later time. Your mission will not be saved
unless it has been given a name. To name your mission, click the controller
on the white area labeled NAME at the top of the screen. A text cursor will
appear. Use it to type the name of your mission, then press RETURN.
NOTE:If you build a mission with more than three different types of
aircraft, you won't be able to save it, as it requires too much memory
during game play.
NEW:This cancels any mission building choices you have made, so you can
start building a mission all over again.
SETTINGS:This lets you change the mission settings for the plane that you
yourself will fly in your mission.
EXIT:This returns you to your computer's operating system.
When you create a Custom Mission, you'll begin with up to sixteen aircraft,
although you don't have to use all sixteen in every mission you create. To
divide these available aircraft between the British and the German sides,
you'll need to assign them to various flight groups for both sides. A
flight group is a given number of aircraft flying together as a unit. By
choosing the type of
aircraft and the number of aircraft for each flight group, you allocate
aircraft to either the RAF or the Luftwaffe in your mission.
Here's an example. Let's say you're creating three flight groups for a
mission; the first with six He 111 bombers, the second with six Bf 109
fighters. The Luftwaffe now has twelve aircraft on its side in your
mission. Now, the most aircraft the RAF can have on its side in the third
flight group is four. Of course, you can put all of your available aircraft
on only one side, and create a mission with no enemy aerial opposition.
But, as you'll find out, it won't be very challenging or interesting. Also,
if you have a slow machine, you won't want to have the aircraft bunched
together in the same location, since the mission will be more enjoyable
when they're spread out.
HINT:Even though you have a limited number of aircraft, if you
create a fighter flight group, and it is destroyed, a flight group of
similar composition can be vectored to take its place. If you'd like to use
this feature in your missions, see the WAVE button below.
BUILDING YOUR OPPOSING FORCES
To determine the composition of your forces, you'll use the seven Flight
Group buttons on the right side of the screen:
FLIGHT GROUP:Click your controller button to cycle through the flight
groups that are available to be filled, and to look at the ones you've
already created. To create a flight group, you must select a plane type(see
below)and allocate at least one plane to that flight group.
You yourself will always fly in the first flight group, called FLIGHT GROUP
1. The default setting for this group will always have you flying a
Spitfire. This can be changed by using the PLANE TYPE button below.
PLANE TYPE:Click your controller button to cycle through the different
types and models of aircraft that can make up a flight group.(For example,
"SPITFIRE" is a type of aircraft, and "MK I" designates its model number.)
Each flight group must consist of the same model of aircraft. For instance,
you cannot create a flight group with both Spitfire Mark Is and Spitfire
Mark IIs. However, you can create one flight group of Mark Is and a second
one of Mark IIs.
# PLANES:This lets you change the number of aircraft in the flight group
you're creating. You need to have at least one plane in the flight group
group can fly in your mission. Pressing the left controller button
increases the number, and pressing the right controller button decreases
The number of planes you have left to assign will be displayed in the upper
right hand corner of the screen, next to the words PLANE AVAILABLE. The
number of planes on your side, along with the number of planes on the
opposition side, will be displayed below PLANES AVAILABLE.
The maximum number of planes you can have in a flight group is six.
FORMATION:Use this to cycle through the available flight formations your
current flight group can fly in. These formations are the "VIC"(a
triangular three plane formation), the "SCHWARM"(a single file formation),
and "ABREAT"(a side by side formation). For more information about the vic
and the Schwarm, see the Flight Fundamental and Tactics chapter of the
EXPERIENCE:Use this to cycle through the amount of combat experience a
flight group can possess.
ORDERS:Click your controller button to cycle through the mission orders for
the flight group you're creating. When you're composing the RAF forces, you
can choose to have your fighters attack either enemy bombers or fighters,
or to ignore or avoid an attack. If you're composing the Luftwaffe forces,
the choices vary, depending upon the type of aircraft in your flight group.
The He 111 and the Do 17z-2 can level bomb, the Ju 87 Stuka can dive bomb,
and the Ju 88 can be used for both level bombing and dive bombing. The Bf
109 and 110 fighters can be used for bomber escort(protecting a bomber
flight group0, for free ranging (hunting RAF fighters), or for strafing
airfields. Bf 109 and 110 Jabo fighter/ bombers can be used for either
level bombing, or for bombing and strafing airfields. Both RAF and
Luftwaffe forces can also be ordered to return to their home airfield.
WAVES:Use this to choose the number of times the fighter Combat air
Patrol(CAP) aircraft in an enemy flight group will be reinforced. What this
means is that if a wave of fighters is destroyed, another one will be
vectored to the battle area to take its place. The number to the right of
the WAVES button indicates the total number of waves that can appear in
your mission. This number also includes the initial wave that you start
with. For example, if you choose "4, " your first wave of fighters will be
reinforced up to three times. If the number
to the right of the WAVES button is "1, " the flight group will not be
If you've chosen to have the flight group fly a fighter escort mission,
this button will change to ESCORT. Then, you use this button to select
which bomber flight group your fighters will escort.
FLYING YOUR OWN AIRCRAFT AS LEADER OR WINGMAN
At the top of the screen, in the upper right hand corner, you'll see a
button marked PLAYER. Pressing this button switches your plane between the
LEADER, whose plane is leading the formation, or WINGMAN, whose plane has
the responsibility of covering the leader. If you're flying a bomber, you
cannot fly as the leader.
Like the other missions in Their Finest Hour, you can select pilots and
crews to fly the aircraft in your custom mission when you're at Flight
Briefing in the program. However, if you create a mission with more than
seven aircraft on your side, you'll only be able to assign pilots and crews
from the ROSTER screen to the first seven planes.
CREATING A FLIGHT PLAN
After you've created a flight group, you need to implement a flight plan
for it to follow. You create a flight plan by placing a series of
navigation markers on the Mission Builder map. A flight plan is composed of
up to six of these navigation markers, including its starting point(BEGIN),
four rendezvous points (WAY PT 1, WAY PT 2, WAY PT 3, and WAY PT 4)and an
airfield to return to(LAND). To create a flight plan, look below the Flight
Group buttons. There, you'll see a chart that looks like this:
FLIGHT PLAN ALT ATK
WAY PT 1
WAY PT 2
WAY PT 3
WAY PT 4
To choose where you want a flight group to start its mission, click on
BEGIN. A star will appear next to the word BEGIN. Move the floating arrow
to the location on the map where you want the flight group to begin its
mission, then click the controller button. A starting point icon will now
appear on the map.
If you decide you want to relocate the starting point, move the arrow to
the desired location, and click the button again. RAF flight groups can
only begin their missions over England or the English Channel. Luftwaffe
flight groups can only begin their missions over Continental Europe or the
English Channel. Now look for the word ALT next to the words FLIGHT PLAN.
This shows the current cruising altitude for this flight group, in
thousands of feet. Clicking the left controller button increases the
altitude at which that group begins your mission, and clicking the right
controller button decreases it.
The locations of the four Way Points are set the same way you set the BEGIN
location. First, click on WAY PT 1, move the arrow to the desired location
on the map, and click your controller button. An icon will appear on the
map to represent the location of WAY PT 1. To adjust the altitude for your
flight group flying toward WAY PT 1, click on the number below ALT. Repeat
this procedure for WAY PT 2, 3, and 4 if you want. With these different Way
Points, you can plot a course for each side to follow in your mission.
During fighter Combat Air Patrol(CAP)missions, the flight group flies
between the Way points until it runs low on fuel. For bombing missions, the
flight group only follows the flight plan once. For fighter escort
missions, the flight group stays near the bomber flight group it is
escorting, regardless of the flight plan created for it, unless the bombers
have all been destroyed.
Any bomber or fighter/bomber flight group will automatically bomb a target
if it is located where you've placed a Way Point icon. If you don't want
the flight group to attack this target, lik for the word ATK(attack)next to
ALT. A YES will appear if an attack will occur. Click on YES to erase this
word, and call off the attack.
To assign each flight group to a landing area after you have assigned them
to different Way Points, click on LAND, move the arrow to the desired
airfield, then click the controller button.
After you've created a flight plan, you may want to remove one or more of
the Way Points. To do this, click on the Way Point you'd like to remove,
then click the DELETE button, which is located to the right of the LAND
button. This removes the Way Point icon from the map.
As you create flight plans for all of the flight groups for both sides,
their starting points will be marked by icons on the map.
If you're looking for a suitable dive bombing target for a Ju 87 Stuka or a
Ju 88 flight group, you can include a ship convoy in your mission. To do
this, look at the buttons in the lower right hand corner of the screen.
Click the controller on CONVOY to choose between a YES or a NO setting. If
you choose YES, click the controller on # SHIPS to choose how many ships
will be in the convoy. To determine the location where the convoy will
start, click on START LOC. Now every time you click the controller, a black
convoy icon will move around to various locations in the English Channel.
Keep clicking until the convoy icon is positioned in the desired location.
CHANGING THE SETTINGS FOR YOUR AIRCRAFT
If you'd like to modify the features of your aircraft in your mission,
press the SETTINGS button from the Flight Group buttons. You'll then see
four new buttons:
TIME:Use this to change the time of day you'll begin your mission, from 0
to 23:00 hours.
AMMO:Use this to change between "STANDARD" or "UNLIMITED" amounts of
ammunition you'll carry. In the "STANDARD" mode, you'll carry the same
number of gun or cannon rounds as German and British aircraft in 1940. In
the "UNLIMITED" mode, you'll never run out of ammunition.
FUEL:Use this to change between "STANDARD" or "UNLIMITED" fuel capacity. In
the "STANDARD" mode, you'll carry a finite supply of fuel, and use it up as
you go along. In the "UNLIMITED" mode, you'll have an endless supply of
DAMAGE:Use this to change between "STANDARD" or "UNLIMITED" amounts of
battle damage that can be sustained by your aircraft. In the "STANDARD"
mode, your plane can be damaged and shot down by enemy gunfire. In the
"UNLIMITED" mode, your aircraft is invincible. If you change the AMMO,
FUEL, or DAMAGE settings to "UNLIMITED, " the results of your mission will
not count on your Combat Record.
A SAMPLE MISSION:STEP BY STEP
Though the Mission Builder may seem complex at first glance, it is actually
fairly easy to create a mission with it.
For example, let's say you want to create a mission where you defend the
RAF airfield at Hawkinge with three Hurricanes against a level bombing
attack by three He 111 bombers and three escorting Bf 109 fighters. First,
set the composition of the RAF forces by clicking on FLIGHT GROUP. For
FLIGHT GROUP 1, choose "HURR MKI" from the PLANE TYPE, and "3" from #
PLANES. Choose "VIC" from FORMATION, "TOP ACE" from EXPERIENCE, "CAP
PRIORITY BOMBERS" from ORDERS(ordering the Hurricanes to go after the
bombers instead of the fighters), and "1" from WAVES. Since the Luftwaffe
will be attacking Hawkinge, create a flight plan where your fighter CAP
covers this airfield from many directions. Finally, you might as well
designate the aircraft you'll be flying to the leader position. Now for
the Luftwaffe. For FLIGHT GROUP 2, choose "He 111H-3, " and for FLIGHT
GROUP 3, choose "Bf 109E-3." For # PLANES, choose three for each flight
group. Then, go down the flight group list to set the other variables for
the two flight groups. Since Flight Group 3 will be escorting Flight Group
2, be sure to designate that with the ESCORT FG button. Then, create a
flight plan for Flight Group 2 so that the bombers will fly straight in to
Hawkinge, bomb it, and then head for home. Create a flight plan for Flight
Group 3 in case you manage to shoot down all of the bombers in Flight Group
The mission you're building is nearly completed. Now, click on the name
bar, and type in a name for your mission. Click on SAVE to store it on
disk.(If you're using a floppy disk to save the game, insert one at this
time.) To fly the mission, exit the Mission Builder, and start up the game
program. When you're at the Main Menu, select FLY CUSTOM MISSION, then
select the name of your mission. Soon, you'll be flying a Hurricane over
Hawkinge - against a larger Luftwaffe force. Good luck!
When we began working on the game design and manual for Their Finest Hour,
we were pleasantly surprised to find that a wealth of information exists on
the subject of the Battle of Britain. To gain a better understanding of
this epic air duel, we recommend the following books:
Battle for Britain by Ronald W. Clark
Fighter by Len Deighton
The First and the Last by Adolf Galland
Summer, 1940:The Battle of Britain by Roger Parkinson
Duel of Eagles by Peter Townshend
The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster
A visit to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., is
also highly recommended. Besides being one of the most interesting museums
around, it's also one of the most fun. The Air and Space Museum features
an actual Spitfire and Bf 109, plus many other famous World War II aircraft
and memorabilia. It also has a research library, whose staff graciously
supplied us with many of the photographs used in this manual, and was of
In addition, we encourage you see the movie The Battle of Britain, which
was release in 1969. It features plenty of terrific aerial acrobatics by
Spitfires, Hurricanes, Bf 109s, and even He 111s that will really put you
in the mood to play the game. For a more documentary type look at the
events of 1940, part three of the series Why We Fight is also recommended.
Although it was a U.S. made propaganda film, and consequently is heavily
biased(a map of Scandinavia and Northern Europe turns into "the jaws of the
Nazi whale"), its documentary footage is well worth seeing.
Agar, Herbert. The Darkest Year. Doubleday & Company, Inc. 1973.
Angelucci, Enzo, and Paolo Matricardi. The Complete Book of World War II
Combat Aircraft. Military Press, 1988.
Bekker, Cajus. The Luftwaffe War Diaries. Ballantine Books, 964.
Beman, Jr., John R. and Jerry L. Campbell. Messerschmitt Bf 109 in Action.
Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., 1980.
Brickhill, Paul. Reach for the Sky. Fontana Books, 1954.
Campbell, Jerry L. Messerschmitt Bf 110 Zerstorer in Action. Squadron/Signal
Publications, Inc., 1988.
Clark, Ronald W. Battle for Britain.Franklin Watts, Inc., 1955.
Deighton, Len.Fighter.Alfred A. Knopf, 1978.
Ethell, Jeffrey L., et al.The Great Book of World War II Airplanes.Bonanza
Filley, Brian.Ju 87 Stuka in Action. Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc.,
Fleming, Peter.Operation Sea Lio.Simon and Schuster, Inc., 1957.
Galland, Adolf.The First and the Last.Ballantine Books, Inc., 1957
Gelb, Norman.Scramble.Pan Books, Ltd., 1986.
Johnson, J.E. Wing Leader.Chatto & Windus, ltd., 1956.
Johson, J.E. Full Circle. Ballantine Books, Inc., 1964.
Jullian, Marcel. The Battle of Britain. Grossman Publishers, Inc., 1967.
Keegan, John, ed. The Rand McNally Encyclopedia of World War II. Rand
McNally & Company, 1977.
Kesselring, Albert. Kesselring:A Soldier's Record. William Morrow &
Lucas, Laddie. Wings of War. Macmillan Publishing Company, 1983.
Mason, Francis K. Battle Over Britain. McWhirter Twins, Ltd., 1969.
Mosley, Leonard. The Battle of Britain. Time-Life Books, Inc., 1977.
Munson, Kenneth. German Aircraft of World War II in Colour. Blandford
Press, Ltd., 1978.
Novarra, heinz. Heinkel He 111:A Documentary History. Jane's
Publishing, Inc., 1980
Parkinson, Roger. Summer, 1940:The Battle of Britain. David McKay Company,
Scutts, Jerry. Spitfire in Action. Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., 1980.
Scutts, Jerry. Hurricane in Action. Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., 1986.
Taylor, A.J.P. English History 1914-1945. Oxford University Press, 1965.
Time-Life Books, Inc. The RAF at War. Time-Life Books, Inc., 1981.
Time-Life Books, Inc. The Luftwaffe. Time-Life Books, Inc., 1982.
Townshend, Peter. Duel of Eagles. Simon and Schuster, 1970.
Turner, John Frayn. British Aircraft of World War II. Stein & Day, 1975.
Willis, John. Churchill's Few. Paragon House Publishers, 1985.
Wood, Derek, and Derek Dempster. The Narrow Margin. McGraw-Hill Book
Company, Inc., 1961.
Wood, Tony, and Bill Gunston. Hitler's Luftwaffe. Crescent Books, 1977.
Provided by THE SOUTHERN STAR for M.A.A.D.