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The Battle of Britain (German: die Luftschlacht um England, "the Air Battle for England") was a military campaign of the Second World War, in which the Royal Air Force (RAF) and Fleet Air Arm (FAA) of the Royal Navy defended the United Kingdom (UK) against large-scale attacks by Nazi Germany's air force, the Luftwaffe.
- 10 July – 31 October 1940, (3 months and 3 weeks)
- British airspace
- British victory
Battle of Britain, during World War II, the successful defense of Great Britain against unremitting and destructive air raids conducted by the German air force from July through September 1940, after the fall of France. Learn more about the Battle of Britain in this article.
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- Herman Göring and The Luftwaffe
- Operation Sea Lion
- Finest Hour
- Hawker Hurricane, Supermarine Spitfire, Messerschmitt Bf-109
- Blitz Begins
- Who Won The Battle of Britain?
- Why Did The British Win The Battle of Britain?
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- The Battle of Britain Movie
After World War I, the Treaty of Versailles forbade Germany to have an air force. With the help of the Soviet Union, however, Germany secretly defied the treaty and trained air force pilots and support staff on combat planes. When Adolf Hitler and his Third Reich came to power, Nazi Germany began rebuilding their air force. He officially created the Luftwaffe in February 1935, placing former World War I fighter pilot and political ally Hermann Göringin charge.
By the start of World War II in 1939, the Luftwaffe was the strongest and best-trained air force in the world. They played a crucial role in Germany’s methodical and highly effective invasion of much of Western Europe, including Poland, Holland, Belgium and France. After France fell to Germanyon June 22, 1940, Hitler set his sights on the Soviet Union but still had to contend with Great Britain. He planned a massive invasion by land and sea, code named Operation Sea Lion, but knew he needed to defeat the RAF first. Hitler hoped his Luftwaffe and its fierce reputation would intimidate Britain enough that they would surrender peacefully, and even dangled the prospect of a peace treaty. However, he underestimated the resolve of Britain’s people, its military and its combative new prime minister, Winston Churchill, who rejected the offer outright. Churchill believed Hitler and the evils of Nazismhad to be abolished no matter what. He knew that the RAF was Britain’s main defense against...
Days before France’s surrender, Churchill gave his famous “Finest Hour” speech to the House of Commons, making it clear he had no intention of capitulating to Hitler, although some members of Parliamenthoped to negotiate peace. In his speech, Churchill said, "the Battle of France is over. I expect the Battle of Britain is about to begin." He spoke of his certainty that the Luftwaffe would attack Britain hard, but also his confidence that the RAF, commanded by Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding, would hold their own and be victorious. Churchill knew failure was not an option, and his powerful speech boosted the morale and patriotism of the British people, its military and Parliament.
Hitler and many of his generals were unprepared to invade Britain. Göring, however, was confident his Luftwaffe would quickly destroy the RAF with his German bombers and prevent, or at least postpone, the need for a full-scale invasion; Hitler gave him the go-ahead to prove it. On July 10, 1940, the Luftwaffe attacked Britain, performing reconnaissance missions and targeting coastal defenses, ports and radar stations. Their efforts, however, did little damage to the RAF. In mid-August, using mostly single-engine Messerschmitt BF-109 combat planes, the Luftwaffe began attacking Britain’s airfields, air fighter production sites and targeting RAF Supermarine Spitfires and Hawker Hurricanes in the air.
Despite being outnumbered, the RAF retaliated by bombing Berlin. Enraged, Hitler and Göring changed tactics and ordered a bombing campaign known as “the Blitz” against London, Liverpool, Coventry and other major cities, hoping to decimate the morale of the British people. To ensure massive casualties, German bombing was carried out at night. On September 15, the Luftwaffe began two massive raids on London, eager to force the British to the negotiating table, but they could not defeat the RAF or gain control of British airspace. The Luftwaffe was by then stretched too thin, poorly organized and unable to keep up with the demand for new fighter planes or overcome the RAF’s superior technology.
By the end of October 1940, Hitler called off his planned invasion of Britain and the Battle of Britain ended. Both sides suffered enormous loss of life and aircraft. Still, Britain weakened the Luftwaffe and prevented Germany from achieving air superiority. It was the first major defeat of the war for Hitler. Although Britain stood alone against Germany after the fall of France, nearly a quarter of the RAF pilots who participated in the Battle of Britain were from other countries including Poland, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, France, the United States and South Africa.
The British won the Battle of Britain due to a confluence of factors. They were defending their home territory, so were more motivated to succeed, and also knew the local geography better than the invaders. Another major factor was the Dowding System, named after Sir Hugh Dowding, Commander in Chief of the RAF Fighting Command. The Dowding System’s pioneering use of radar (which could warn the RAF of enemy attacks), aircraft and ground defense gave Great Britain a competitive advantage.
The Battle of Britain was a turning point in World War II; if the RAF had not held off the Luftwaffe, Hitler would have likely moved forward with his Operation Sea Lion invasion of the British Isles. This would have been devastating to the British people and all efforts to stem Hitler’s rise to power. Germany needed to control the English Channel to invade Britain, and the battle prevented them from gaining that valuable control. Britain’s victory in the Battle of Britain demonstrated the courage and resilience of the country’s military and its people and allowed them to remain free from Nazi occupation. It also enabled the Americans to establish a base of operations in England to invade Normandy on D-Dayin 1944.
The Battle of Britain’s significance was not lost on Hollywood. In 1969, MGM released The Battle of Britain movie starring Laurence Olivieras commander Hugh Dowding. Other notable productions include: Battle of Britain, a documentary produced by brothers Colin and Ewan McGregor to mark the event’s 70th anniversary; Voices of the Battle of Britain, a documentary which includes first-hand accounts of RAF veterans; and Mission of Honor, a movie which tells the story of RAF Hurricane Squadron 303.
Battle of Britain. International Churchill Society. Battle of Britain. WW 2 Facts. How the Luftwaffe Fought the Battle of Britain. Imperial War Museum. The Battle of Britain: A Brief Guide. Military History Matters.
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Apr 07, 2017 · The Battle of Britain was the intense air battle between the Germans and the British over Great Britain's airspace from July 1940 to May 1941, with the heaviest fighting from July to October 1940. After the fall of France at the end of June 1940 , Nazi Germany had one major enemy left in Western Europe -- Great Britain.
- Hitler wanted to invade Britain in 1940. Adolf Hitler had expected the British to seek a peace settlement after Germany’s defeat of France in June 1940, but Britain was determined to fight on.
- The Battle of Britain saw the RAF take on the German Air Force. Photographs 2. The Battle of Britain saw the RAF take on the German Air Force. The Battle of Britain was ultimately a test of strength between the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) and the RAF.
- The British had developed a highly effective air defence network. Art 3. The British had developed a highly effective air defence network. The British developed an air defence network that would give them a critical advantage in the Battle of Britain.
- There were several phases to the Battle of Britain. Photographs 4. There were several phases to the Battle of Britain. The Battle of Britain took place between July and October 1940.
Directed by Guy Hamilton. With Michael Caine, Trevor Howard, Harry Andrews, Curd Jürgens. In 1940, the British Royal Air Force fights a desperate battle to prevent the Luftwaffe from gaining air superiority over the English Channel as a prelude to a possible Axis invasion of the U.K.
- Guy Hamilton
- Why Did The Battle of Britain occur?
- Battle of Britain Commanders
- Battle of Britain Casualties
- Battle of Britain Summary
- Battle of Britain Conclusions
After the Dunkirk evacuation occurred and the French surrendered on June 22nd, 1940, Adolf Hitler became focused on invading the Soviet Union. He believed that the British would quickly come to terms and did not make the invasion of Great Britain a priority at the time. Despite the UK Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax, preferring a negotiated peace with Germany, the new British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, refused to consider an armistice with Hitler. On July 11th, Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine told Hitler than an eventual invasion of Great Britain would require full air superiority and should only be considered as a last resort with many of the German Navy ships being sunk during the Norwegian Campaign. Less than a week later, Hitler ordered the preparation of a plan to invade Britain that he hoped would frighten the country into coming to the peace table. All preparations were to be completed by August and resulted in the Battle of Britain c...
Allied Commanders Hugh Dowding Keith Park Trafford Leigh-Mallory CJ Quintin Brand Richard Saul Axis Commanders Hermann Göring Albert Kesselring Hugo Sperrle Hans-Jürgen Stumpff Rino Corso Fougier(Italy)
Allied Casualties 544 aircrew killed 422 aircrew wounded 1,547 aircraft destroyed Axis Casualties 2,698 aircrew killed 967 captured 638 missing bodies identified by British Authorities 1,887 aircraft destroyed
The RAF achieved a decisive victory over the German Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain. At the beginning of the battle, Herman Goring, commander of the German Luftwaffe, believed Britain could be defeated with air power alone. At the commencement of the battle he had more than 2,000 aircraft in three air fleets or Luftflotten against approximately 700 aircraft in the RAF that were divided across four fighter groups. The significant difference between the two sides was the extensive radar and command and control (C2) system the British had in-place to detect and provide response against German incursions into British airspace. The Battle of Britain is now divided into four stages by war scholars. The first occurred July 10th to August 12th, 1940. During this phase of the battle, the Luftwaffe would concentrate on conducting recon missions for larger attacks later in the campaign. They would also attack the southern ports, shipping, and radar stations around the English Channel. D...
Germany failed to achieve its objective of destroying the RAF and forcing the British government to the negotiating table. This was considered the first major defeat for Adolf Hitler and the German government during the war. If Germany had won the Battle of Britain, it is possible that the Nazis could have launched an amphibious invasion of the British Isles which was prevented.
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- It got its name before it started. The stage for the battle was set in May 1940, when Nazi Germany launched a massive blitzkrieg against Western Europe.
- Hitler tried to convince Britain to surrender without a fight. Despite being fresh off his lightning conquest of France, Hitler was wary of invading Britain.
- It was the first battle in history waged almost exclusively in the air. Hitler’s plan to invade the British mainland hinged on Germany first annihilating the Royal Air Force and winning air superiority over England.
- The battle included one of the earliest uses of radar in combat. While the Luftwaffe enjoyed an edge in total aircraft during the early stages of the battle, the RAF had a secret weapon in the form of Radio Direction Finding, better known as radar.
- Adolf Hitler wanted to negotiate a peace treaty with Britain. World War II began in 1939 and from 10th May to 15th June in 1940, Germany defeated the Allied forces in a series of military operations to conquer France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, thus leaving Great Britain as the last standing major Allied power in Europe.
- Battle of Britain got its name before it had begun. Battle of Britain got its name before it was fought during the famous This was their finest hour speech delivered by Winston Churchill to the House of Commons on 18th June 1940, in which he stated, “the Battle of France is over … the Battle of Britain is about to begin”.
- The German objective of the campaign was to establish air superiority over RAF. For invading England, Germany faced the arduous task of crossing the English Channel and fighting against Britain’s Royal Navy, which was considered superior to the Kriegsmarine, the navy of Nazi Germany.
- It was the first ever battle which was fought exclusively by air forces. The Battle of Britain was the first major military campaign fought almost exclusively by air forces.