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German Do 17 bomber and British Spitfire fighter in the sky over Britain, Dec 1940

Caption   German Do 17 bomber and British Spitfire fighter in the sky over Britain, Dec 1940 ww2dbase
Source    ww2dbaseGerman Federal Archive
Identification Code   Bild 146-1969-094-18
More on...   
Spitfire   Main article  Photos  
Do 17   Main article  Photos  
Battle of Britain   Main article  Photos  Maps  
Added By C. Peter Chen
Added Date 20 Jul 2010

This photograph has been scaled down; full resolution photograph is available here (800 by 538 pixels).

Licensing  Creative Commons. According to the German Federal Archive (Bundesarchiv), as of 21 Jul 2010, photographs can be reproduced with if these preconditions are met:
- quote the "Federal Archives" as source,
- add the signature of the pictures and
- of name of the originator, i.e. the photographer.
You also can use fotos from the Federal Archives for free on Wikimedia Commons

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
1 Oct 2010 05:12:13 PM

ONE FOR THE CAMERA! PROPAGANDA PHOTO: REEL COMBAT, OR REAL COMBAT? Propaganda photograph? what British pilot would put himself in such as bad position attacking German bombers, this is a good way to get yourself shotdown, but in the heat of battle I'm sure it happened, and everybody was surprised and remember all this happens within seconds! So lets take a good look at that photo, just the same. The position of the two aircraft show the Dornier flying stright and the Spit passing below and in front of the bomber, giving the gunners a clear shot at the cockpit and engine, and he's way, way to close within 100 feet or so of the Dornier. The gunner would use a technique called deflection shooting, even at that range the 7.92mm slugs firing ahead of the Spit, would be divesting, and this pilot would run into a lot of lead!, and the gunner couldn't miss. Most fighter pilots would make a six o'clock attack and maybe make a steep bank to the left or right diving away exposing as little of his aircraft as possible. He's way to close after a firing pass, and below the German plane. Also check out the placement of the wing roundels,RAF Spitfires had the roundel center in line with the first aileron hinge (more or less) and occupy the outer third of the wing panel. The propaganda Spitfire has its roundels occupying the inner third of the wing panel! which is visually obvious. Also there are no other known phots that show underwing markings, so its difficult to know what type of markings were on the undersides maybe the Balkankreuze (Black Cross) were carried. Anyway this is my guess, and I'm sticking to it. The Germans did capture a number of Spitfires during the war, some aircraft were re-engined with DB 601 engines, the same type that powered the Messerschmitt Bf 109's and were used for tests and evaluation. DEFLECTION SHOOTING: This is a technique for leading a moving target. The gunner shooting just ahead, so his bullets and target meet at the same time.
2. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
3 Oct 2010 11:07:45 AM

Continued from # 1 ARMAMENTS: Most Luftwaffe bombers were armed with thee or four MG 15/7.92mm machineguns. Many crews carried as many drum magazines as possible, the MG 15 used a 75 round saddle drum magazine, the weapon had a rate of fire of 1,000 rounds per minute. The problem for the gunner, was that the weapon couldn't feed from a metallic belt and only used the drum magazine. Because of its high-rate of fire, the 75 rounds gave the gunner only 4.7 seconds firing time, before he needed to change magazines! and in the heat of battle not an easy task. The effectiveness of a rifle-caliber type weapon/machinegun has always been marginal against fighter planes, that were in view for only a few seconds. To increase the chances to hit such a target a weapon needed a high-rate of fire. During the Battle of Britain bomber crews started to carry as many as eight MG/15's plus a Oerlikon 20mm cannon, this weapon gave a formidable punch against British fighters. FIGHTERS AGAINST BOMBERS: The Spitfire was armed with eight .303/7.7mm machineguns with 300 rounds per-gun, thats 2,400 rounds giving the pilot 20 seconds firing time. The German gunner had his MG/15 machinegun that had a rate of fire of 1,000 rounds per-minute, but fed from a 75 round drum magazine, giving 4.7 seconds firing time, before he needed to change the magazines! Still the question is academic and purely theoretical. Combat reports showed that an average of 4,500 rounds was needed to shoot down one enemy aircraft! RAF tactics during the Battle of Britain the Spitfire went after the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and the Hurricane went after the bombers. But I'm sure both RAF fighters had their share of dogfights, and when they saw targets of opportunity. "History", said Alexis de Toqueville, is a gallery of pictures in which there are a few originals and many copies. Alexis de Toqueville was a French Political Thinker and Historian (1805-1859) *Note Comments and corrections are invited
3. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
30 Nov 2010 08:12:44 AM

KAMERAD, BOMBEN auf ENGELAND! At the start of the Battle of Britain the Luftwaffe had: 734 Messerschmitt Bf 109 Fighters 268 Messerschmitt Bf 110 Twin-Engine Fighters 336 Junkers Ju 87 Stuka Dive Bombers 949 Medium Bombers, of Three Types The Heinkel He 111,Junkers Ju 88 & Dornier Do 17 Strength of 2,287 aircraft. The Luftwaffe lost a total of: 663 Messerschmitt Bf 109s, and 691 Bombers of all types. This does not count aircrew killed, wounded, missing and taken POW. Also this does not count aircraft lost on the way back to France, or other Luftwaffe bases, written-off, salvaged and repaired. Kamerad Bombs on England Kamerad Bomben auf Engeland,is my translation
4. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
30 Nov 2010 12:37:08 PM

COST TO THE LUFTWAFFE: Battle of Britain Between July to August 1940 2,698 Aircrew Killed 967 Captured 638 Missing and bodies identified by the British
5. Ted says:
2 Jul 2012 02:01:13 PM

Love your site!
6. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
9 Apr 2013 10:07:48 AM

FLY TOGETHER, MOST LIKLY DIE TOGETHER: The Germans relayed to much on twin-engine medium bombers such as the Do-17, Do-217 and the Ju-88. The designers positioned the crew together in the same cockpit, instead of spreading crew positions along the airframe. CLOSE QUARTERS: German bomber crews pilots and gunners shared the same cockpit area, the problem with this type of arrangement that I can see, a fighter making an attack could very well kill or wound the entire crew. If any of the crew survive such an attack and have to abandoned the aircraft or aid their wounded comrades and bail out themselves they have to work in close quarters. PROS & CONS: The Allies had a different design policy, bomber crew were positioned along the entire airframe, so if one gunner was killed, wounded or injured another position was still in operation like those on medium and heavy bombers. Crews could abandoned the aircraft and were able to exit from the bomb bay and other exits and also cared for the wounded. Allied bombers were armed with heavy machine guns and equipped with power turrets besides hand held positions, and were fed with a large supply of linked ammunition. The Germans on the other hand operated hand held weapons, that used magazines and gave little firing time and needed to be changed not an easy thing to do during the heat of battle, and how many magazines could a bomber crew carry in the cockpit without getting in the way of movement and flying duties...I'm no expert, but this is the way I see it.

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