London and suburbs are again the main targets.
Night: Generally quiet, but some damage to the National Gallery.
Weather: Widespread mist and fog during the day, clearing later.
The point had now been reached where Hitler had to decide on his next course of action. It was evident towards the end of September that Seelöwe could not be accomplished before the end of the year. Bomber Command had sunk 214 barges and twenty-one transports of the invasion fleet which in any case had been forced to disperse. He was thus compelled in October to choose between stopping this dispersal or postponing the whole project indefinitely.
As the bombs fell on Biggin Hill, Chatham and Piccadilly, Keitel circulated Hitler’s decision:
The Führer [he wrote] has decided that from now until the spring, preparations for Sealion shall be continued solely for the purpose of maintaining political and military pressure on England.
Should the Invasion be reconsidered in the spring or early summer of 1941, orders for a renewal of operational readiness will be issued later. In the meantime military conditions for a later invasion are to be improved.
The significance of this memorandum was not to be realised at the War Office, damaged at nine o’clock that evening by a direct hit, nor at Bentley Priory, until very much later. Hitler had admitted defeat nineteen days before the Battle of Britain officially came to a close.
Despite mist and fog, October 12th was a day of almost uninterrupted German activity the RAF did not find easy to counter. Raids on London and the south-east started at 8.45 a.m. and went on until late afternoon.
Met in force by the British, who flew 797 sorties, the Germans had difficulty reaching their objectives. They lost eleven planes. British aircraft destroyed numbered ten.
Excerpt from The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood & Derek Dempster
Airmen: 7 | Aircraft: 13
Airmen: 5 | Aircraft: 11
Spitfire P9338, No. 72 Squadron
P/O H.R. Case killed.
Spitfire X4591, No. 92 Squadron
F/O A.J.S. Pattinson killed. Shot down and killed by Bf 109s over Hawkinge.
Hurricane V7426, No. 145 Squadron
Sgt. J.V. Wadham killed. Shot down and killed by Bf 109s over Hastings.
Blenheim L1113, No. 219 Squadron
P/O R.V. Baron killed. Baled out of aircraft but parachute failed to open.
Hurricane P3022, No. 605 Squadron
Sgt. P.R.C. McIntosh killed. Shot down in action against Bf 109s over the Channel off Dungeness.
- Soldiers camouflage Leutnant Bernhard Malischewski’s Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4 of Stab II./JG 54 to prevent its possible destruction by the Luftwaffe. The aircraft was shot down by Flt Lt “Bob” Stanford Tuck on 12 October 1940 during a combat over Tenterden in Kent. Malischewski was captured at Chapel Holdings, Small Hythe.
- Leutnant Malischewski’s Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4 of Stab II./JG 54 on display.
- Sgt. Cyril Babbage’s Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I of No. 602 Squadron lies in a field after crashing during a wheels-down emergency landing at Iford Hill near Lewes, East Sussex on 12 October 1940. Having run through a hedge, the aircraft flipped onto its back after the wheels hit a small ditch. Although quite badly damaged, the aircraft was repairable.