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The Hardest Day – Battle of Britain

By 18 August 2019April 29th, 20212 Comments

August 18th represents a special day in the timeline of events of the Battle of Britain.

On this day the German Luftwaffe set out to destroy RAF Fighter Command. The air battles that took place on this day saw both sides suffering heavy losses in the air and on the ground. Crucially both sides lost more aircraft combined on this day than at any other point during the campaign, including Battle of Britain day itself.  For this reason, 18 August 1940 became known as “The Hardest Day”.


spitfire mk1 craig sluman the hardest day


On this day the Luftwaffe tried its utmost to destroy our fighter airfields flying 850 sorties involving 2200 aircrew. The RAF resisted with equal vigour flying 927 sorties involving 600 aircrew. (RAF Museum)


The following were  targets in the UK for 8 Luftwaffe units on this day:

  • RAF Biggin Hill
  • RAF Kenley
  • Fleet Air Arm (RAF Gosport)
  • Polling Radar Station (RAF Ford)
  • RAF Hornchurch
  • Liverpool Docks


In 2015 Biggin Hill airport marked the 75th anniversary of the most intense day of fighting in the Battle of Britain with a huge display of 24 Hurricanes and Spitfires which flew all over Kent and the south east as far as the Isle of Wight.


biggin hill 75 years since hardest day ww2 mike rivett

Credit: Mike Rivett


There were 8 aircraft used by the RAF Fighter Command and these included the iconic SuperMarine Spitfire MK1. Learn more about the other 7 here. 


Further Reading

Read more facts about the Hardest Day. Hear from people who have flown them in our blog, Tales from A Spitfire Pilot.

Love the Spitfire? Love ASALI.




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