Heavy raid on Portsmouth. Convoy in Thames Estuary, radar stations and coastal airfields attacked.
Night: Widespread harassing raids.
Weather: Fine with some mist patches.
Shortly after 0900 hours, twenty Bf 109 and Bf 110 fighter-bombers of Erprobungsgruppe 210 attacked the Chain Home radar stations at Dover, Rye, and Pevensey, knocking them out of action for six hours. A fourth attack on the station at Dunkirk near Canterbury caused no vital damage. While emergency repairs were being carried out, Do 17s of I/KG 2, escorted by Bf 109s of JG 54, attacked RAF Lympne, damaging hangers, offices, and the landing ground.
At about 1100 hours, twenty-two Ju 87 Stuka dive-bombers of IV/LG 1, escorted by Bf 109s of III/JG 26, were despatched to attack two convoys codenamed ARENA and AGENT in the Thames Estuary. The naval trawlers HMS Tamarisk and Pyrope were sunk. Fifteen Hurricanes from Nos. 151 and 501 Squadrons were scrambled to intercept, shooting down one Stuka and damaging several others before the escorting Messerschmitts intervened. Two Hurricanes were lost and another two damaged.
At 1151 hours, a large formation was detected heading towards Brighton. The incoming raid comprised sixty-three Ju 88 bombers of KG 51, escorted by 120 Bf 110s of ZG 2 and ZG 76 along with twenty-five Bf 109s of JG 53. The bulk of the bomber formation attacked Portsmouth Harbour, destroying the railway station, oil tanks, and shipping. Ninety-six navy personnel and civilians were also killed. A smaller formation of fifteen Ju 88s split off and attacked the Chain Home radar station at Ventnor, knocking it out of action for three days. Almost sixty Hurricanes and Spitfires were scrambled from Middle Wallop, Tangmere, Warmwell, and Exeter but arrived too late to prevent the bombing. Eleven Ju 88s, five Bf 110s, and two Bf 109s were shot down for the loss of thirteen British fighters and four damaged.
At 1245 hours, twenty Bf 109 and Bf 110 fighter-bombers of Erprobungsgruppe 210 made a low level attack on RAF Manston, immediately followed by a medium level attack by eighteen Do 17s of I/KG 2. An estimated 150 high explosive bombs hit the aerodrome, destroying two hangers, the workshops where a civilian clerk was killed, and damaging two Blenheims. A Spitfire of No. 65 Squadron was also damaged while taking off during the attack.
At 1743 hours, RAF Hawkinge was attacked by Erprobungsgruppe 210. Hangars, workshops, and other buildings were destroyed, and two Spitfires were seriously damaged with others being struck by splinters. Two civilians and five airmen were also killed.
Despite the damage, both Manston and Hawkinge were back on ‘top line’ within twenty-four hours.
Airmen: 52 | Aircraft: 32
Airmen: 11 | Aircraft: 18
Hurricane P3304, No. 151 Squadron. Aircraft destroyed.
P/O R.W.G. Beley. Died of wounds. Shot down by Bf 109. Crashed into sea and rescued. Taken to Manston.
Spitfire K9999, No. 152 Squadron. Aircraft lost.
P/O D.C. Shepley. Missing in action. Last seen in combat with Ju 88. Failed to return to base.
Spitfire P9456, No. 152 Squadron. Aircraft destroyed.
F/L L.C. Withall. Missing in action. Shot down by gunfire from Ju 88, believed crashed into sea.
Hurricane R4180, No. 145 Squadron. Aircraft destroyed.
P/O J.H. Harrison. Missing in action. Shot down over Channel during combat with Ju 88s and Bf 109s.
Hurricane P3391, No. 145 Squadron. Aircraft lost.
Sgt J Kwiecinski. Missing in action. Failed to return to base.
Hurricane R4176, No. 145 Squadron. Aircraft destroyed.
F/L W. Pankratz. Missing in action. Shot down over Channel during combat with Ju 88s and Bf 109s.
Spitfire P9333, No. 266 Squadron. Aircraft destroyed.
P/O D.G. Ashton. Killed. Aircraft burst into flames from gunfire from enemy aircraft.
Hurricane P2802, No. 213 Squadron. Aircraft destroyed.
Sgt S.G. Stuckey. Missing in action. Shot down over Channel by Bf 109s.
Hurricane P2854, No. 213 Squadron. Aircraft lost.
Sgt G.N. Wilkes. Missing in action. Last seen in combat with Bf 109s. Failed to return to base.
- A view of Portsmouth Harbour (looking to the Portsmouth side) during an air raid of 12th August 1940. © IWM (MH 156)
- Another view of Portsmouth Harbour (looking to the Portsmouth side) during an air raid of 12th August 1940. © IWM (MH 155)
- Ventnor RDF station on the Isle of Wight under attack by Ju 88 bombers of JG 51, 12 August 1940.
- Bomb-damaged houses on the corner of Spring Garden Lane and Grove Avenue in Gosport, Hampshire, after a raid on 12 August 1940. The vicarage on the corner itself was completely destroyed. © IWM (MH 149)
- Messerschmitt Bf 109E of 2./JG 52 resting in a wheat field after being shot down during a combat over Hastings, 12 August 1940. Its pilot, Unteroffizier Leo Zaunbrecher, was captured. © IWM (HU 104719)
- Army officers inspect the wreckage of Messerschmitt Bf 109E-1 (W.Nr. 3367) “Red 14” of 2./JG52, which crash-landed in a wheatfield at Mays Farm, Selmeston, near Lewes in Sussex, 12 August 1940. © IWM (HU 73928)
- Locals watch as troops and police inspect Messerschmitt Bf 109E-1 (W.Nr. 3367) “Red 14” of 2./JG52, which crash-landed in a wheatfield at Mays Farm, Selmeston, near Lewes in Sussex, 12 August 1940. © IWM (HU 50153)
- No. 3 hangar at RAF Hawkinge following the attack by Erprobungsgruppe 210 on 12 August 1940.
- Hawker Hurricane Mark Is of No 32 Squadron coming in to land for refuelling and rearming at Biggin Hill, watched by an airman standing with a signalling flag in the foreground, August 1940. © IWM (HU 54519)