December 13, 2017

1942. "British Hit Nazis in Big Air Battle"

"RAF Downs 13 Planes as Protection for Raid on St. Nazaire Port"
"Flight Lieutenant Brendan 'Paddy' Finucane DFC, an Irishman who flew with the Royal Air Force, seated in the cockpit of his Supermarine Spitfire at RAF Kenley while serving with No. 452 Squadron RAAF," 1941 (source)
British Hit Nazis in Big Air Battle
RAF Downs 13 Planes as Protection for Raid on St. Nazaire Port
United Press Staff Correspondent

London — (UP) Royal Air Force fighter pilots shot down thirteen German planes yesterday in great sweeps over northern France and the English Channel to divert German planes from attacking British naval vessels retiring from the "commando" raids on St. Nazaire.

An Air Ministry communiqué said five British planes were lost in continuation of the RAF's non-stop spring aerial offensive.

The communiqué, which described the sweeps, said that the British pilots gave the German air force "one of its liveliest days in months."

"The Huns were all over the skies," the Air Ministry said.

One of the heroes of the day's action was Brendan (Paddy) Finucane, the "fighting Irishman" who is squadron leader of a Scottish squadron, and who returned to action only recently after being wounded in the foot in a previous dogfight.

He shot down two Focke-Wulfe 190s and ran his score to twenty-nine planes.

The battle, in which 40 to 50 fighters were slugging it out at one time, was believed to have offered one of the first tests for new and improved German and British fighter planes which will decide the air war of 1942.

One squadron leader, the Air Ministry said, reported seeing at least thirty Focke-Wulfe 190s in action at one time and that his group scored hits on ten of them.

The offensive, which started with the first of two shattering raids Wednesday on the industrial Ruhr valley of Germany, picked up with full force today after being slightly slowed down last night by bad weather.