To watch Hitler make this speech to the thousands that had gathered before him, mesmerised, following every word that he spoke. And between each sentence, they would chant "Hitler, Hitler, Hitler." and as soon as he raised his hand, they stopped, and a sudden silence came over the entire crowd who followed him, believing that it would be this man that will lead them to victory.
William S. Shirer informs us that the audience was made up of mostly women, German female workers, nurses and social workers. He stated that Hitler made mention that while German bomber attacked England by day, the cowardly RAF comes over only at night. Yet Hitler failed to tell his audience as to the reason why. Mr Shirer went on to say that when Hitler stated that he would drop 150,000, 180,000 bombs and so on that Hitler was forced to stop because of the hysterical performance of the women.
Back on September 1st, the Luftwaffe Staff Operations IA had issued an order that listed thirty British factories that were to be destroyed. Each one of these made many vital parts for the manufacture of aircraft. RAF airfields it stated were to continually be attacked. But the German plans were still going astray. The Luftwaffe had failed to destroy the Royal Air Force in two weeks as originally planed. They had also failed to wipe the Royal Air Force from the skies in preparation for the invasion of Britain. The Battle of Britain was now in its 55th day, and it now appeared more than ever that plans were now to be made to make an attack on London itself.
The British War Cabinet was now convinced of this more than ever now. Attacks on the British capital could not be very far off. Kesselring earlier at the meeting with Göring and Sperle had mentioned that the time had come when the German Air Force should now make its attacks on London, but this was still not favoured by Göring who still thought that he could crush the RAF whereas Sperle thought that caution should be implemented as the British air force had more aircraft than the Luftwaffe had been led to believe, and he was right.
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 4th 1940
Over the southern half of England it was expected to be fine and warm. Skies should be mainly clear with occasional cloud. The Channel areas were expected to remain fine with good visibility. The north of England and most of Scotland was expected to have rain periods with some heavy falls and strong winds could be expected.
0830hrs: Formations of enemy aircraft were detected coming across the narrow part of the Channel between Dover and Folkestone. But again, formations were divided as another had been detected coming in over the Thames Estuary. 66 Squadron Kenley (Spitfires) were vectored to the Thames Estuary as was 72 Squadron Croydon (Spitfires) and 111 Squadron Hurricanes (Croydon). Most of the action commenced from 0900hrs onwards as the British fighters engaged a mixture of Bf110s and Bf109s.
0930hrs: The Bf109s stuck to their task well, keeping the Hurricanes and Spitfires at bay and allowing a number of the Bf110s to get the Eastchurch where again the airfield. Fighter Command released a number of squadrons towards the Dover area but some excellent defensive action by the British fighters stopped most of the Bf110s from getting through, although the harbour and the barrage balloons came under fire. but most of the Damage was at Lympne where a number of bombs hit buildings and again the aerodrome was cratered. The balloons at Dover continued to be shot up. 111 Squadron, even though they forced the Bf109s to retreat did lose two of their pilots, both over the Channel off Folkestone. Eastchurch also became a target and a number of bombs made deep craters in the runway and some stores were damaged.
Radar at Dover and Rye detected a wide formation coming across the Channel
for the midday attack. Some 300 enemy aircraft were detected crossing
the coast in the vicinity of Folkestone and Beachy Head. This consisted
of 50+ Heinkel He111s, 30+ Dornier Do17s and 200 Bf109s. Again they split
into groups and headed towards five different targets. A total of fourteen
squadrons of Fighter Command were to be placed at readiness. More enemy
aircraft are spotted coming in from the Channel close to Brighton and Worthing
1300hrs: 43 Squadron Tangmere (Hurricanes) were ordered up giving protection along the Sussex coast. 46 Squadron Stapleford (Hurricanes) were to patrol the Thames Estuary, 66 Squadron Kenley (Spitfires) who had already been up once that morning, 72 Squadron Croydon (Spitfires) also up for a second time, 79 Squadron Biggin Hill (Hurricanes), 222 Squadron Hornchurch (Spitfires), 249 Squadron North Weald (Hurricanes), 234 Squadron Middle Wallop (Spitfires), 253 Squadron Kenley (Hurricanes), 601 Squadron Tangmere (Hurricanes), 602 Squadron Westhampnet (Spitfires) and 603 Squadron Hornchurch (Spitfires) were all scrambled for this biggest build up of the day. 11 Group were further reinforced by 73 Squadron (Hurricanes) who had been transferred from Church Fenton to Debden, 41 Squadron (Spitfires) came down from Catterick and found their new home at Hornchurch. With all personnel fresh and rested, it would not be long before their services were put to good use.
1315hrs: Squadrons were divided as two separate formations came in from two different parts of the English coast. Heavy action took place over north Kent and as was usual in the Thames Estuary with the skies over Kent and Sussex were chaos, vapour trails now hung like heavy white clouds as two thirds of 11 Group battled it out at 20,000 feet. What radar did not pick up was a low flying formation of Bf110s that were following the railway line from Hindhead to Guildford until it was too late.
This small formation of Bf110s managed to get through the British defences and were not intercepted until just north of the town of Guildford which is to the south-west of London. They were met by 253 Squadron Kenley (Hurricanes) who had reasonable success, although a couple of Bf110s did get through, and although the target was the Hawker factory at Brooklands, they mistakenly hit the Vickers factory again. Six 500kg high explosive bombs fell on the machine shops at the Vickers factory killing 86 personnel and seriously injuring 630 others. Six of the Bf110s were destroyed prior to the bombing of the Vickers factory, while another nine were destroyed as they turned for home.
1320hrs: Park instructs that
a squadron patrol the sector station to the south of London, and also a
squadron was to patrol the sector station of North Weald who was still
trying to repair the damage of the previous day. While all this was
going on, the crack Bf110 ErpGr 210 group crossed the coast almost unnoticed
and attacked the radar station at Poling, but not before a Spitfire squadron
had been instructed to intercept.
By nightfall, the Luftwaffe changed from the bombing of Fighter Commands airfields and aircraft producing factories, to the bombing of large towns and cities. Night bombing raids were made on Bristol, Cardiff , Swansea, Liverpool, Newcastle and Tilbury Docks. In South Wales, large oil storage tanks received direct hits and the red glow lit up the dark night sky that it was a wonder that they couldn't see it from London. In all, for the day, the RAF had shot down 20 German aircraft which consisted of 6 Bf109s, 1 Heinkel He111 and 13 Bf110s.
Fighter Command lost fifteen valuable aircraft, 9 Spitfires and 6 Hurricanes. 6 RAF pilots were killed.
In Berlin, Hitler was addressing an audience of women at the opening of the Winterhilfe at the Sportpalast. In his usual sarcastic manner, he informed them of the astounding success that the Luftwaffe was having on the Royal Air Force, he fed them largely inflated figures that indicated that the Luftwaffe had actually shot down more RAF aircraft than the RAF actually possessed. He was just giving them propaganda, the women knew nothing of figures, figures meant nothing to them. They wanted to know when England would be invaded, to which he told them that "England will collapse" and he told them that ".....the people in England are asking, 'Why doesn't he come?', and I reply to them......'I am coming'". The chant went up at the Sportpalast, "Hitler" "Hitler" "Hitler". he spoke on the subject of the RAFs night attacks on the capital Berlin, and he repeated words that had been spoken many times before. ".......we will not let the RAF sleep any more.....they are murderers, they drop their bombs on our beloved city and kill innocent women and children......we are now answering, night for night....when they declare that they will increase their attacks on our cities, then we will raze their cities to the ground......we will stop the handiwork of these night air pirates, so help us God. When the British air force drops 3,000 or 4,000 kilograms of bombs, then we will in one raid, drop 300,000 or 400,000 kilograms and the hour will come, when one of us will go under," and his voice raised almost to fever pitch, "It will never be Nationalist Socialist Germany". The cry went up from the many thousands of women, with right arm outstretched in front of them, almost as if they were punching the air, "Never.........Never.........Never".
Despite much opposition to the bombing of London, things were busy in the preparation of the pending invasion. Air Force photographs and through British intelligence reports, thousands of landing craft were ready for mobilisation in many of the harbours along the coast of northern France. Trucks carrying amphibious craft were in a nose to tail convoy along the French coastal roads.
Goering and Kesselring stated that the British Air Force was all but finished, and the recommendation was put to Hitler that the time had come that London, the inland cities and the dockland areas be attacked and bombed as a prelude to the invasion. The next day, Hitler was to issue the directive that attacks be now made on the inhabitants and air defences of the British cities, and that directive was to include London.