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Guest avianskipdiver

Spitfires over Europe

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Just enjoying the Bear's third instalment. At one point he writes: "After Normandy, German field commanders were still complaining about the Spitfires attacking the Luftwaffe over Europe, but in reality there were no Spitfires used over Europe (Spitfires lacked the range to operate as nothing more than a local defensive aircraft)." I don't want to take anything away from the Hurricane think this is right (assuming Normandy means D-Day). I am just reading Johnnie Johnson's autobiography and happen to be on the bit where his Spitfire wing was one of the first into France after Normandy - and indeed had been ranging widely across the Channel for ages. True they could not escort the bombers all the way to Germany, but they were very active over enemy-held territory nonetheless.

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In this particular instance, we're both correct! As a matter of strategy, Spitfires were incapable of providing escort service and my reference was only that Spitfires were not used in this function, but yes, Spitfires were seen over France on numerous occasions, including D-Day.On occasion, before D-Day, a few Spitfires had followed German warplanes across the channel and there are a few recorded air victories of Spitfire pilots over western France, though the number of these instances are limited. My reference in my statement was that German Commanders were complaining of localized attacks by squadrons of Spitfires over Belgium, Holland, and Germany when in fact it was Hurricanes that were doing the attacking, not Spitfires. My statement was meant to be generalized and not meant to be taken literally. Were Spitfires seen over Europe? Of course, assuming that France is a part of Europe, but the German command had been so traumatized by the Spitfire, they believed that anything shooting at them was Spitfires. This was even to the point that when Herman Goering saw Allied fighters over Berlin, he at the time believed them to be Spitfires, though we know that the fighters seen at the time were Mustangs.Steve (Bear) Cartwright

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was this edited? It doesn't make sense. I'm sure I wrote >"I don't want to take anything away from the Hurricane BUT I DON'T think this is right ....." anyway thanks for the reply, Steve. Johnson moans a bit about the way they were retrained to use the Spitfire as a fighter-bomber (for which it was never designed). He also recounts how, after they moved to their new base over the Channel following D-Day, some wag adapted the underwing bomb strongpoints to carry cannisters of beer over from England for the mess!

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