SMHS AGM and Meeting - RAF Tactical Warfare

18 Apr 2012

SMHS Members battled through rain and wind to attend April's AGM and meeting - nice weather for ducks!

A duck glides serenely across the water, apparently unruffled and effortless, yet beneath the surface the duck's legs battle furiously against current or tide, both propeller and rudder, to keep the duck on course. Likewise SMHS runs smoothly - our speakers are booked, newsletter prepared for our enjoyment, wine purchased for our raffle, our purse is kept - our meetings planned. So as we enter a new membership year SMHS reporter raises a glass to the ‘duck's legs', those who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make our SMHS the healthy, growing group we are today…cheers!

April's speaker was Norman Franks, who addressed us on RAF tactical warfare, particularly relating to raids over Northern France in 1941.

Norman concentrated on the Circus Operations - raids to draw German Fighters into the air or Fighters in combination with Bombers, flown with either specific targets in mind or an opportunistic basis. Many of these raids were flown at very low levels to avoid detection. The raids were risky and often not particularly successful in terms of targets destroyed or ‘kills'.

On the subject of ‘kills', Norman was well-informed about the numbers claimed by each side and explained how the figures just don't add up - suggesting that some exaggerations could be accidental, but perhaps on occasion the pilots were a little less honest with the numbers they claimed!

It is likely that Sergeant William Smith, who was found with his Spitfire in France last year by Andy Saunders and buried in France on April 18th was on a Circus Operation, probably number 168. SMHS Reporter is looking forward to hearing more from Andy when he speaks for us later in the year.


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7.30pm for 8.00pm start
Function Room of the
Royal Oak Public House,
Station Street, Lewes,
East Sussex.


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