Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

'1941: Circuses and Rhubarbs' for Cliffs of Dover

It is 1941.

After the inconclusive battle that was Operation Sealion, Germany has turned its attentions to the East, initiating Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of Russia.

In the West, just 226 German fighters, primarily those of JG2 and JG26, are left to defend against the constant threat of RAF bomber and fighter attacks. The RAF Air Officer Commander-in-Chief, Sholto Douglas, initiates Operation Circus - large scale bomber raids deep into France and Holland, with the intent of drawing the Luftwaffe into combat and reducing their ability to defend against RAF bomber command's planned incursions into Germany.

The Circuses and Rhubarbs mission pack Ch. 1

Chapter one available for download now as self installing file:

3 missions, all of which recreate historical events:

Flight of the Intruder
Operation Circus mission 1
A Knight Falls

Download the self installer here:

The Operation Circus mission recreates the first large scale air battle involving 2 wings RAF and 4 staffeln Luftwaffe over France in Jan 1941.

15 painstakingly populated airfields: Wissant, Peuplinge, Audembert, Marquise West, Caffiers, Hermelingen, Campagne Les Guines, Coquelles, Calais Marck, St Omer Wizernes, St Omer Arques, St Omer Claimarais / RAF Lympne, RAF North Weald

3 newly populated locations: Calais and Dunkirk Ports, Cassel

Ground targets include the above airfields, road traffic, port infrastructure. As usual, the mission can be fought from the point of view of every flyable unit, by using the CUSTOM button to choose your flight. Both grounds starts and air starts catered for.

This chapter comprises around 20 flyable sorties.

Screenies from "Flight of the Intruder"

From Operation Circus #1

From A Knight Falls


Intruder flight: Jan 09 1941

Early January 1941 was a quiet time for both RAF and Luftwaffe. Licking their wounds after the conflicts of 1940, both sides conducted only nuisance raids intended to probe the other's defences and provide recon information. Jan 09 was no exception. Although the RAF had sent a major fighter sweep over Calais earlier in the day, the Luftwaffe had declined to respond.

This sweep was followed by an Intruder flight by two of 23 Squadron's Blenheims, a small low level hit and run raid conducted in dim twilight conditions. In this raid however, one Blenheim was lost, with Pilot Sgt. Jones: KIA 1 and Sgts. G.E. Bessell and R.W. Cullen taken prisoner.

It was the last such raid before the RAF began its more intensive campaign of Circuses and Rhubarbs.

(In this mission you will have the opportunity to fly either the Blenheim mission, or a special operations mission in a captured Bf 110C 7. Luftwaffe flyables include Bf 109 E3 and E4s of JG26 and JG2.)

Operation Circus begins: 10 January 1941

Objective: Caffiers airfield west of Guines forest.

At the start of January 1941, the RAF began Operation Circus. Much renewed after the Battle of Britain, the RAF now comprised nearly 800 front line fighters, while in France, most Luftwaffe units were being stripped of aircraft and/or moved East for the coming offensive against Russia. A force of around 200 fighters from Luftflotte 3's JG 26 and JG2 were all that remained.

RAF commander in chief, Sholto Douglas, authorised his forces to begin aggressor raids into France to keep pressure on the Luftwaffe in the West. Their primary intent was to draw the Luftwaffe up to fight, through raids on Luftwaffe airfields and German reserves in France and the low countries. But if the Luftwaffe avoided combat, the intruders' orders were to destroy them on the ground. Any and all German military targets in France were considered appropriate.

Luftflotte 3 Generalfeldmarschall Hugo Sperle ordered his geschwader commanders to conserve their forces. They were not to respond to enemy fighter sweeps, or engage in fighter to fighter combat unless the odds were significantly in their favour. Daylight bombing raids were to be met in force, to ensure a high toll was inflicted on the RAF intruders.

In this mission Hurricanes from 242, 56, and 249 Sq fly close escort for a force of Blenheims, being covered by Spitfires from 41, 64 and 611 Squadrons. Opposing them are 6 staffeln from JG 26 and JG 2.

Rhubarb 1: 242 Squadron, January 12 1941

Objective: Attack targets of opportunity in occupied France

242 Squadron's 'Willie' McKnight, of Canada, came out of the Battle of Britain as one of its most successful aces, and by the end of 1940 he had 17 confirmed kills, two shared and three unconfirmed credited to his score. On two occasions he registered three kills (two fighter and one bomber) in one day.

Led by the famous legless ace Douglas Bader, 242 Squadron was relocated to Coltishall in November 1940, followed by a further move to Martlesham Heath in December. On 12 January 1941, the squadron began a series of offensive sorties against targets in France, first acting as escorts for Blenheim bombers then beginning on 12 January, the first of the "Rhubarbs," low-level intruder attacks on targets of opportunity.

While strafing an E-boat in the English Channel, P/O M.K. Brown accompanying McKnight, broke off as the duo came under fire from anti-aircraft fire from the French coast just as Bf 109Es of JG26 attacked. Brown made it back home but McKnight was listed as "missing." OKW records suggest McKnight fell to Fw. Helmut Brugelmann of Jagdgeschwader 26 (three kills), west of Boulogne.

Bader was distraught at the loss of McKnight and vowed revenge, but 242's "top gun" was never found.

No comments:

Post a Comment