The group of Luftwaffe Bf-109 fighters passed high above the English channel at 38,000 feet. At that altitude, they were almost invisible to the naked eye and had little to fear from ground fire. Their job was to get over London, before the HE-111 bombers trailing behind them, and clear out any British fighters. At their current speed and altitude, they were faster and flying higher than any Spitfire or Hurricane could reach. And being faster and higher than your enemy made all the difference in winning a dogfight.

The Germans had fought the Spitfire and Hurricane in the skies over France the year before and were not impressed. The Bf-109 was at least 40 mph faster and could climb several thousand feet higher.

The flight leader scanned the skies below looking for RAF fighters when his wingman began to furiously wag his wings, trying to get his attention. The flight leader dipped his wing to acknowledge and saw his wingman gesture over his right shoulder with an extended thumb. “They must be behind us and below,” he thought as he craned his neck to see behind his aircraft. He then picked up the glint of metal above and behind him. A squadron of Spitfires was at least 2,000 above them and diving fast.

The flight leader hesitated for a moment. The Spitfires couldn’t fly higher or faster than them. Yet, there they were. A whole squadron, like Furies, descending on the Germans from above. The flight leader signaled to his men to break. His flight of 109s split left and right to try and spoil the RAF fighters’ diving attack.