Bomb-carrying FW-190 fighters were reported in action for the first time in July, 1942. During
the last few months, the enemy has been employing certain specially trained units called "Jabos" for
daylight fighter-bomber operations over the south coast of England. Analysis of these attacks
reveals a certain uniformity of method and execution.
The aircraft, usually FW-190s alone but sometimes including Me-109s, approach from the sea at
low altitudes varying from sea level to 500 feet, but generally between 50 to 100 feet. They
fly in echelon or loose line astern, making landfall at some distance to the side of the target
near an easily recognizable landmark, such as a headland. They proceed inland until on the
flank or in the rear of the objective and then turn to attack, rising to 100 to 200 feet for
a single indiscriminate bombing and machine-gun run at full speed across the target
area (each aircraft carrying one 1,100-pound bomb). The time spent over the target is
about 5 seconds in the normal hit-and-run raid involving 1 to 4 fighter-bombers. The
flight home is then made in loose formation.
The attacks have usually been pressed home with a reasonable amount of determination, and
in general reveal signs of coordinated attack, although recent reports have indicated some
deterioration of effort in this respect. However, the raids are often carried out under
conditions of poor visibility and by scattered aircraft at irregular intervals.
Because of the low altitude at which the planes approach, radio detection equipment is
seriously limited, with the result that antiaircraft defenses are frequently unable to
come into action before the attack has been delivered. The planes have, in fact, been
over their targets before warning could be given. The enemy uses the configuration of
the coast or of the ground in the vicinity of the target to provide cover during the
approach, and often the aircraft are seen only momentarily between obstacles such as
trees and houses.
Targets vary considerably and may include shipping in harbors, port installations, a coastal
radio direction-finder station or airdrome, railway stations, electric or gas plants, or
simply general raids against a coastal town, irrespective of military importance. The general
preference appears to be for purely civilian targets as opposed to those of military value.
A later development in Jabo raids was to provide cover for the homeward flight. Since
a low-altitude approach makes visual or radio detection very difficult, danger from British
fighters arises chiefly only during the first part of the homeward flight. The protecting
fighters therefore fly over the Channel at altitudes as high as 10,000 feet to await the
return of the Jabos, thus being in a position to attack from above any British fighters
which may be chasing the Jabos home.
The number of FW-190s and Me-109s used in these raids seems to be increasing, and recently
daylight attacks appear to have been largely abandoned in favor of night sorties. No appreciable
damage has been inflicted on military objectives, but civilian targets and personnel have
suffered to a certain extent.
The raids appear to be for the purpose of affecting civilian morale and keeping defenses
on a continuous alert. In general, however, they have had merely a nuisance value.