Eighty years on. 17th August 1940


Despite perfect flying weather with little wind and cloudless skies, there were only a few German reconnaissance flights.  The RAF took the opportunity to rest pilots and make repairs to aircraft, airstrips and RDF stations damaged in the recent bombing.  One German aircraft was shot down by anti-aircraft fire at Southampton.  Overnight, there was bombing of the East coast and cities in the Midlands (Coventry, Liverpool, Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Chester) and one small bombing raid on London. Another German aircraft is shot down by a Blenheim.  The Luftwaffe removed the “Stuka” from front line operations against Britain, as it had proved too slow and vulnerable to attack.


Incidental information.  Comparison of fighter aircraft

The Messerschmitt Bf109E had three 20mm cannon and two 7.92mm machine guns.  Its top speed was 350mph (560kph) and a ceiling of 34,500ft (10,500m).  The maximum flight time was one hour, range 400 miles (650Km).

The Bf110 had two 20mm cannon and four machine guns firing forward and one rear-facing MG.  Top speed was 350mph (560kph), a ceiling of 32,800ft (10,000m).  The range was 680 miles (1,100 Km).  The disadvantage of the ME110 was the lack of manoeuvrability.

The early Spitfire had eight .303” (7.7mm) machine guns.  Top speed was 400 mph (640kph) with a ceiling of 36,500ft (11,000m) and the range was 1,100 miles (1,750 Km).

The Hurricane also had eight .303” MGs.  Its top speed was 325mph (520kph) and ceiling 33,000ft (10,000m).  The range was 450 miles (720 Km).  Although not as agile as the Spitfire the Hurricane was a stable gun platform and, due to its wood and canvas construction, could take a lot of damage and be quickly repaired.


The RAF bombed the armament works at Leuna, near Leipzig, Germany.  No RAF aircraft were lost.

British troops were evacuated from Berbera, Somaliland.  Italian forces were ordered not to attack during the withdrawal, hoping for a future peace settlement with Britain.  The British cruiser HMS Ceres, covering the evacuation, shelled an Italian column advancing along the coast 40 miles West of Berbera at Bulhar.  British casualties in the defence of Somaliland were 38 killed, 102 wounded and 120 captured. The Italians lost 465 killed and 1530 wounded.  Churchill believed Somaliland has been given up without a fight, but the Commander-in-Chief Middle East, General Wavell, replied that “A bloody butcher’s bill is not the sign of a good tactician”.  Neither Wavell nor Major-General Godwin-Austen, responsible for defending British Somaliland, were removed from command.

The Royal Navy Mediterranean Fleet sailed from Alexandria to bombard the Libyan port of Bardia.  The battleships HMS Warspite, Malaya & Ramillies and the cruiser HMS Kent, supported by twelve destroyers, shelled Bardia and Italian troop concentrations at Fort Capuzzo.  Light Italian coastal batteries did not have the range to reach the British warships.

Adolf Hitler ordered a total blockade of Britain as a means of weakening the island prior to Operation Sea Lion.

Canada and the United States signed the Ogdensburg Agreement, establishing the “Permanent Joint Board on Defense”.

Wendell Willkie made a speech in his hometown of Elwood, Indiana, formally accepting the Republican nomination for president.  Willkie promised to return “to those same American principles that overcame German autocracy once before, both in business and in war, to out-distance Hitler in any contest he chooses in 1940 or after.”  Willkie said that the reason for France’s defeat was because that country had become “absorbed in unfruitful political adventures and flimsy economy theories,” drawing a parallel to the Roosevelt Administration.

Greece mobilised its armed forces following the Italian attack on its fleet.

Game day 352.  Vichy France

The convoy for supplies continued towards the new destination of Madagascar. 

The battleship heading for Syria, which had now defected to the Free French cause, had two four choices: 

  1. Head for a neutral port and be interned,
  2. Sail for Madagascar, through the British-controlled Suez Canal,
  3. Sail back past Gibraltar to the Atlantic and make for French Equatorial Africa,
  4. Return to Marseilles.

With the safe choice, in view of clear British intent, being a neutral port, a die was rolled and that was the option.  But where?  Greece, Turkey, or a Russian Black Sea port?  The decision was made to head for Thessaloniki in Greece.

Game Note.  I made the decision to transfer the game to a contemporary (1938) world map copied from an atlas.  Each nation’s resources and forces will be copied across during their turn, starting with Vichy France.  The resulting map is more crowded and the unit icons are smaller, but movement arrows are larger to compensate.  The resulting map is displayed below.  Only Vichy France forces are currently on the map.

Published by

General Whiskers

Wargaming butterfly (mainly solo), unpainted model figure amasser, and Historical Re-enactor of the black powder era.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.