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Larry 20th July 2020 14:45

Sqn Ldr Reginald J Peacock - Blenhein Ace
Peacock is said to be the only Coastal Command pilot to achieve 'ace' status while flying the Blenheim. It is said he did this with the close cooperation of his WOP/AG

At the outbreak of war, Peacock was serving with 'A' Flight of 2 AACU Gosport and he was appointed 'B' Flight Commander there on 7th September 1939.
He joined 235 Squadron at Manston on 22nd January 1940. These are the claims he made;

On 12th May 1940 he destroyed a Bf 109 in the Hague-Hook of Holland area, on 27th June he destroyed a Bf 109 and damaged another over the Zuider Zee, on 3rd August he shared in the destruction of a He115 and on the 11th he shared a Bf109.

On the 18th August 1940, flying Blenheim IV L9446, he destroyed a Ju88 over Thorney Island.

Has any one investigated these claims or has more info on this pilot who was sadly killed in NA when flying in a Hudson that crashed on take off?

andy bird 20th July 2020 15:06

Re: Sqn Ldr Reginald J Peacock - Blenhein Ace
In my time as registrar of No 235 Sqn aged 27 in 1990 to date yes.

Kind regards

Andy Bird

Col Bruggy 20th July 2020 15:13

Re: Sqn Ldr Reginald J Peacock - Blenhein Ace

Loss of Peacock:


Chris Goss 20th July 2020 22:56

Re: Sqn Ldr Reginald J Peacock - Blenhein Ace
Ju 87 over Thorney Island I believe & I also believe the Bf 109 claims were a little optimistic

Larry 20th July 2020 22:58

Re: Sqn Ldr Reginald J Peacock - Blenheim Ace
Can anyone explain Peacocks tactics? There was presumably four 0.303 MGs in a gun pack under the fuselage of the Blenheim, one in the wing and a single Vickers in the turret. Did he have some kind of plan of avoiding an attack and perhaps getting the Bf 109 to overshoot and then firing on it with the front guns. Close co-operation with the gunner suggests a last minute manoeuvre to avoid an attack?

andy bird 22nd July 2020 14:31

Re: Sqn Ldr Reginald J Peacock - Blenhein Ace
The tactics used by aircrew on 235, 248, 236 and 254 was a simple one. The navigator stuck his head out the side window situated behind the pilots seat (port) and likewise did the same on the starboard side.

Communication was requisite with Peacock's gunner Sgt William Wilson. However if comms failed they had a bicycle chain pully system which they could attach note to.

Some had chinagraph pencil marks on the Perspex too. As you know they had a simple drop down ring sight, a contemporary of Peacock's Jackson-Smith said you just had to get in close as the 303 machine guns had little convergence in the gun pack.

Andy B

Chris Goss 22nd July 2020 14:42

Re: Sqn Ldr Reginald J Peacock - Blenhein Ace
So luck, training and optimism!

andy bird 22nd July 2020 16:59

Re: Sqn Ldr Reginald J Peacock - Blenhein Ace
As you say opitimsm - hopefulness of staying alive.

Larry 25th July 2020 20:56

Re: Sqn Ldr Reginald J Peacock - Blenhein Ace
Well thanks for the update. They were quite brave then, and I still cannot understand how they got any single seaters in their sights, that's why I was thinking they would play the sitting duck, but all the time have some stall turn or other method of confusing the enemy at their disposal?

bearoutwest 28th July 2020 16:11

Re: Sqn Ldr Reginald J Peacock - Blenhein Ace
Bristol Blenheim performance figures (from 'Bristol Blenheim' [1]Crowood book by Theo Boiten & [2]Ian Allen book by Chaz Bowyer). Values are for the bomber versions, so expect a reduction for the fighter version with extra drag from belly gun pack.

Max speed [2]
SL 220mph (354 kmh)
5,000ft 247mph (397 kmh) approx 1.52km altitude
10,000ft 265mph (426 kmh) approx 3.0km
15,000ft 279mph (449 kmh) approx 4.5km

Max diving speed [1]
285mph (459 kmh)

Blenheim Mk.IV bomber, similar to the fighter flown by Peacok with 235 Sqn seems to have similar top speed 266mph @11,800ft.

Messerschmitt Bf109E-1/E-3 performance
- from Schiffer book 'Bf 109A-E' by Radinger and Schick

Max speed
SL - 460 kmh; short 5m duration at 1,015 hp/2,400 rpm for max continuous speeds
1 km - 480 kmh
2 km - 500 kmh
3 km - 520 kmh; at 3.7 km, short 5m at 1,100 hp/2,400 rpm
4 km - 540 kmh; at 4.1 km, continuous 1050 hp/2,400 rpm
5 km - 555 kmh
(power settings to achieve max speeds at roughly that height)

Max diving speed
750 kmh (at 3,000 rpm)

Max range - cruising speed at height
1 km - 430 km @2,200 rpm/ 650 km @1,300 rpm
3 km - 450 km @2,200 rpm/ 600 km @1,300 rpm
5 km - 460 km @2,200 rpm/ 665 km @1,300 rpm

- - - - - -

The above are sample performance data, just to give an indication of possible aircraft speeds at various heights that the Blenheim fighters (assumed to be Mk If's) and the Bf109E-3 might have encountered each other.

From what little there is to read about the pilots who made claims while flying Blenheim day fighters, they tended to be exceptionally aggressive. Peacock does not seem to be any different. The next few paragraphs are conjecture - as I am unable to locate any actual combat reports to confirm details - but I suggest it a possible scenario.

a) As an interceptor, the Blenheim fighter is not going to beat many (or even any) RAF fighters in a climb to height to intercept a raid. It is likely to arrive late, after the Spitifres, Hurricanes and even Defiants have already engaged. It is likely that the Blenheims will engage the Luftwaffe aircraft on the return trip after dropping their bombs. Alternately, on a fighter sweep over/offshore Holland, the Blenheim can enter the combat area at a higher-speed/power setting.

b) If the Blenheims are defending further inland over the UK; or if the Bf109Es are on a fighter sweep over Holland from bases in Western Germany - then the Bf109E-3s will be extremely fuel conscious; and likely to be flying at a cruising speed and height for best range on the return trip. So (as an example) at 3 km altitude (approx 10,000 ft), Bf109E-3 max speed is 520 kmh at approx 2,400 rpm. Returning from England, best range at 3 km height is for 1,300 rpm - so, very approximately 280-300 kmh. Bf109E returning from fighter sweep over Holland, and not having to fly over water, perhaps a higher rpm setting - at 3 km height, <2,200 rpm, very approximately 400-450 kmh.

c) At the same height, a pristine Blenheim Mk.I can achieve 426 kmh. A slightly worn, and more draggy Mk.If, can achieve at least 350-400 kmh (assuming higher, near-max power settings to try and achieve an intercept). If at 15,000 ft, then likely at the 400 kmh end of the scale. With a seldom seen height advantage, the Blenheim Mk.If can dive at near 450 kmh.

d) At this stage, the Blenheim Mk.If has a momentary height and speed advantage over the withdrawing Bf109E-3; with the Blenheim possibly diving at 450 kmh onto a Bf109E-3 cruising at 300-400 kmh. Before the Bf109E-3 can accelerate to 3,000 rpm (from 1,300 rpm) and bunt over into a dive reaching 750 kmh; and aggressively flown Blenheim has a chance to get in close with directly forward firing centreline gun pack.

e) Now whether the Blenheim scores hits causing the Bf109E-3 to smoke; or whether the smoke is due to a DB601 engine exhaust due to power increase becomes immaterial. The Blenheim pilot sees a 'smoking' Bf109E-3 diving away and makes a claim.

In my mind, this is a more likely scenario for an aggressive pilot like Peacock. For him to try and fly slow to try and out-manoeuvre the Bf109E-3 in a big, unwieldy Blenheim - basically inviting an initial attack by the Bf109, doesn't seem to fit the profile of the more successful Blenheim fighter pilots - over England, the Middle East or the Far East. Peacock - as noted in Shores' Those Other Eagles - made most of his claims with forward firing armament; only the 11-Aug Bf109 claim was scored as a combination of Blenheim gunner action.

My opinion only - as I said before, the above tactics are conjecture only. Perhaps Andy Bird can shed some light on whether the combat reports are available on-line yet.


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