By Gill Griffin, Barry Griffin
The 20-year-old Len Thorne joined the RAF in might 1940. After aggravating excursions of operational accountability as a fighter pilot (including a few desperately harmful low-level flying at Dunkirk) he used to be published to AFDU (Air scuffling with improvement Unit) and remained there as a attempt pilot for the remainder of the warfare. He flew either Allied airplane and captured enemy planes and was once a colleague of a few of the fighter 'aces'. thankfully for us, Len saved an insightful diary, which, set along his log publication, tells the original tale of a member of the AFDU, tasked with constructing oeprational strategies and trying out captured enemy plane. Len presents not just an perception into the fantastic paintings performed by way of the try pilots but in addition into essentially the most recognized flyers of the RAF, with whom he labored, together with Wing Commander Al Deere and Spitfire Aces SL 'paddy' Finucane, Ernie Ryder, and so on. Len's diary for September 21 1942 documents the 1st sighting of the dreaded FW190: 'The pilot played a chain of fast rolls... metaphorically sticking up the proverbial fingers.' In may well 1943 Len will be flying an analogous kind after pilot Heinz Erhardt mistakenly landed one at Marston!
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Additional info for A Very Unusual Air War: From Dunkirk to the AFDU--The Diary and Log Book of Test Pilot Leonard Thorne, 1940-45
The crews are loading the guns. (M. Romanych) 31 One of KMK Battery 6’s M-Gerät howitzers being assembled at Przemyśl in May or June 1915. The howitzer is receiving its barrel from the road wagon. (M. Romanych) Lead elements of the German VII Reserve Corps arrived at Maubeuge on August 25 and slowly enveloped the fortress as more infantry and artillery arrived. Bombardment opened five days later by several batteries of heavy artillery intermittently firing on the northernmost fortifications. The shelling increased over the next few days as more artillery and the siege guns joined in, although shortages of ammunition kept the heavy and siege artillery from achieving rates of fire similar to that at Liège and Namur.
Artillery fire began on October 6 and the river crossing was launched on the 7th. The siege batteries shelled Serbian strong points opposite the river crossing. KMK Battery 1’s Gamma howitzers briefly shelled the 15th century medieval-style fortress of Semendria (Smederevo) fortress. Despite its age, the stout construction of the fortress held up well under the shelling and was not heavily damaged when it fell on the 11th. With the advent of trench warfare on the Western Front, there were few notable actions involving siege artillery.
Because of weight and size, Gamma howitzers had to move by standard-gauge rail. (M. 5cm rounds. Two hours later, Fort Marchovelette was catastrophically destroyed when the 50th round fired by KMK Battery 3 hit an ammunition magazine and ignited an explosion that tore through the fort’s interior, killing or wounding two-thirds of the soldiers. 5 and 42cm guns, which fired 1,505, 64, and 50 rounds respectively, lost three of its four artillery turrets and was abandoned by its garrison. The capture of these three forts broke the fortress ring and German infantry occupied the city.