The Diver campaign was not over. The missiles coming in from the east were now realized to be launches from aircraft, modified Heinkel 111’s, of III Kampfgeschwader 3 which initially operated from sites near The Hague and Rotterdam. The Germans regrouped and increased their forces, transformed into I Kampfgeschwader 53, moving them to bases in north-west Germany. To meet this new threat, the guns were moved again, and deployed in a ‘Diver Gun Strip’ from the northern limit of the Diver Box to the existing GDA at Great Yarmouth. This will be covered in detail under the AA menu of the website.
It was feared the Germans would outflank the ‘Strip’ and plans were made for the addition of a ‘Diver Fringe’ between Ingoldmells Point to Skipsea, with the object of protecting Merseyside, the Midlands and the industrial areas of Lancashire and the West Riding. Planning for this was started in October with reconnaissance for sites and work staring on four sites (pile platforms installed at two new coastal sites, to receive guns if attacks should begin and two batteries to be moved from the Hull GDA wholesale to the coast). This fear was this was realized when some 50 aircraft from Kampfgeschwader 53 set off to launch missiles against Manchester on Dec 24th (although only one missile actually got as far as Manchester). Following the attack on Manchester, the planned Diver Fringe was extended as far north as Whitby and orders given to deploy to the Fringe. Due to further manpower cuts and Bomber Command wanting the Fringe kept as short as possible, only three sections out of five sections were ever manned – Bridlington, the Humber and Louth.
Right - The Diver Gun Strip and Diver Fringe
It was also planned to provide ‘Diver’ defence for the thickly-populated areas around the Tyne, Tees, Forth and Clyde but this was never carried out. The attack on Manchester was the first and last this far north.
About 1,200 missiles were launched in this last phase of the campaign, and only 638 came within the range of the defences which accounted for 403.