Not Millwall

7 September 1940

An update on the whole Millwall thing. Well, a teaser, anyway. I've had an email from Chris Going letting me know how his research into the Luftwaffe's photoreconnaissance flights over Britain on the first day of the Blitz, 7 September 1940. Can't say too much, but he did authorise me to say that 'interesting things are in store', and to post one of the photographs taken that day.

7 September 1940

Just as with that iconic Blitz image, there are other aircraft in the frame (in the lower right quadrant). These aren't Heinkels, though. Are those wings elliptical?

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5 thoughts on “Not Millwall

  1. Teasing! Looking forward to Chris' stuff being published.

    Interesting too, how one can clearly force fit what you actually see to be what you want to see. They could be Spitfires, but at that resolution, Hurricanes, Bf 109Es or even Defiants (unlikely on the date) are just as possible.

    Interesting that they are probably in a bank with both wings in their own shadow and the fuselages in sun - you'd expect the shadow to be asymmetric if they were in level flight given the sun is low but not very low.

  2. Post author

    Interesting too, how one can clearly force fit what you actually see to be what you want to see.

    Well, yes, but that's why I framed it as a question, not a statement :) I tend to think they are RAF fighters if only because they're at a much lower height than the reconnaissance aircraft, which the not-Millwall photo suggests was at about the same height as the bombers. German escorts would ideally be above the bombers (or about the same height for close escort?) I guess they could be returning to height after an engagement. They're in a staggered line-abreast formation -- not finger-four, the one on the right edge is actually ahead of his neighbour. Maybe they were still forming up? Good point about the bank, the aforementioned one on the right is definitely banking as the wings are very noticeably foreshortened.

    Now where did I put my Photointerpretation For Dummies...

  3. Chris Going

    Interesting to note that the port wing is perceptibly shorter than the opposite wing -so even without shadow data the dihedral effect shows they were banking quite sharply to starboard.

  4. In the absence of the 'finger four', this is difficult. First glance, I would have said German as I believe RAF squadrons were flying the 3 plane 'vic' at that time. Great pic, otherwise!

  5. Post author

    Officially, I think that's right. But my understanding is that finger four was adopted unofficially and unevenly over the course of the Battle of Britain. As this photo was taken towards the end of the Battle (7 September), I'd expect there was a good chance that any given squadron would have been using it by then.

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