Thursday, 5 May 2011

Jabos over England - Batailles Aériennes No. 56

New from Lela Presse (publishers of 'Avions' magazine) is this nice edition of  Chris Goss' "Tip and Run...", the story of the 15-month Luftwaffe fighter-bomber campaign against southern UK towns during 1942-3. A-4 format 82 pages softback, French text. The pictures are as large and clear as I've ever seen them and there is some neat Dekker artwork to complete the package. Recommended at just 12 Euros.  Contents illustrated here courtesy of Michel Ledet. Available from

The illustrations below depict Fw 190s flown by IV./SKG 10 based at Caen during May 1943 responsible for the 'notorious' raid on the English seaside resort of Bournemouth on 23 May 1943. Each Fw 190 carried  two 250kg bombs under the wings or more usually one 500kg slung under the fuselage.

One of the RAF units tasked with defending the south coast during the first half of 1943 was 91 Squadron based at Hawkinge under Sq. Leader Raymond Harries. This unit was one of the first to receive the new Griffon-engined Mark XII Spitfire in April 1943 designed to combat the low flying Fw 190s. On 25 May 1943, Harries, flying Spitfire XII DL-K (EN 625), intercepted Fw 190s from SKG 10 heading for Folkestone;

" I was leading Blue Section on a defensive patrol. I had just returned to base, with my No 2, had just landed when the scramble signal was given from the watch office. We both immediately took off again, and saw enemy aircraft approaching Folkestone. I sighted one lone Fw 190 at sea level returning to France. I came in from his starboard side, delivering a three-second burst at 250 yards. The enemy aircraft hit the sea tail first, split in two, and sank immediately.."

The Fw 190 was thought to be Fw 190A-5 Wrk Nr 2511 of 6./SKG 10, flown by Oberleutnant Josef Keller, the only loss apparently recorded by the attackers.

"..I then spotted another Fw 190 to starboard. I flew straight over the top of it in order to identify it in the failing light. The enemy aircraft pulled his nose up and gave me a quick squirt. I pulled straight up to about 1000ft, and turning to port, dived right onto his tail, opening fire from 300 yards and closing to 150 yards. I fired a four-second burst, seeing strikes and flames all over the enemy aircraft. The enemy aircraft gradually lost height, with smoke and flames coming from it, skimmed for some distance along the surface of the water and then sank. I orbited around taking cine gun snaps of the oil patch and pieces of wreckage that were visible..."

The Jabo attack on Folkestone on 25 May 1943 showed up the limitations of this type of raid when defended effectively by RAF fighters - in fact the Fw 190s failed to reach the target and similar daylight raids were abruptly curtailed shortly thereafter. Author Goss continues to maintain that the campaign was a success for the Luftwaffe, while pointing out that there were only ever a maximum of 28 Jabos for some 1,300 kms of coastline (!). In the end, when elements of SKG 10 were committed that summer to the Mediterranean and what was left was switched to an equally disastrous night campaign, the Luftwaffe simply ran out of French-based Jabos. The last victory over an SKG 10 Jabo by day was on 6 June 1943. Harries was ultimately the most successful pilot to fly a Rolls-Royce Griffon powered Spitfire, scoring 11 kills.

Below; my model of Harries Spitfire XII from the new Airfix kit. More on my modelling blog here