The Catastrophic 16-Hour Air Battle

16-Hour Air Battle

In early 1942, the Soviet Union pushed the Allies to open another front in the West as the Germans closed in on Stalingrad. During the first months of the war, the British had engaged the Axis powers in North Africa, but they would have to cross the English Channel into Europe sooner or later. Thus, the Allied High Command chose Dieppe, a strategic coastal town in northern France where the Germans had established a seafront defense with two imposing artillery batteries. Dieppe was within range of the Royal Air Force fighters, and on August 14, the 174 Squadron based at Manston Airfield in Kent was moved to RAF Ford in West Sussex. Upon receiving the instructions, Flight Sergeant John William Brooks replied: (QUOTE) “To Ford, for what?” He and his unit would have the dubious honor of going into Dieppe first. Little did they know they were about to take part in what is widely considered to be the largest single day of air combat in World War 2…

Credit Dark Skies

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