About 'The Hardest Day'

The Day's Events

A brief summary of the combat on Sunday 18th August 1940
The day's conflict came during one of most difficult phases of the Battle of Britain for the RAF (the British Royal Air Force). The Luftwaffe (the German Air Force) had turned its attentions to attacking the RAF directly, with hard hitting raids on its airfields and vital installations, such as radar stations, intending to destroy the RAF on the ground and in the air.
Hurricane Taxiing
 

Sunday the 18th August was typical of this relentless offensive.

Three main raids were attempted by the Luftwaffe:

'Stirring up the Hornets' Nest'- Hurricanes of 'Treble One', No. 111 Squadron
The first, at around 13.30 was a bold attack on airfields just South of London. A daring low level attack was scheduled to arrive just after a high level attack on Kenley aerodrome, hammering it twice in a short space of time. As it turned out, the low level raiders arrived first and, thanks to the Navy and the Royal Observer Corps, their surprise was lost and the defence was ready for them. They suffered significant losses for this.
Detail Biggin Hill
Kenley did suffer heavily, and Biggin Hill and Croydon were also bombed during this raid.

The second raid, at around 14.30, was against airfields and radar installations on the South Coast around Gosport, using Ju 87 'Stuka' divebombers.
‘The Fighting Cocks Attack’- Hurricanes of No. 43 Squadron

Despite a strong fighter escort, the Stukas suffered heavy losses, albeit inflicting heavy damage on Ford Aerodrome and some damage to other airfields and a radar installation in the area.

'Evening Fight' - Hurricane of F/Lt. Harry Raymond Hamilton, No. 85 Squadron
The final main assault came at about 17.30. A large force of fighters and bombers came to attack airfields North of London. The cloud cover at low levels closed in as the raiders crossed the coast, making it impossible for accurate bombing.As this became apparent to the attackers, they turned for home over the Thames Estuary. At the same time, large forces of British fighters intercepted and heavy fighting ensued.