The Battle of Britain was fought between the Germans and the British in the summer and autumn of 1940. During this war, Sir Winston Churchill was the British Prime Minister. According to McGlashan (1988), “The Battle of Britain was the largest and most sustained bombing campaign attempted up until that date”. Air forces were fully used through out the battle. The Nazi were unable to eliminate the air defense of Britain and could also not force Britain in to surrender. This was a major failure that prevented the Nazi from accomplishing their major objectives. McGlashan further states that, “Had it been successful, the planned amphibious and airborne forces landings in Britain of Operation Sealion may have followed”.
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Bombing of strategic places began as the battle progressed. Areas of political significance were targeted by both the Luftwaffe of Germany and the Royal Air Force of Britain. This saw the destruction of infrastructure and airplane manufacturing centers. The British triumphed in the Battle of Britain which ended in
In charge of the Royal Air Force
Winston Churchill was British prime minister. Hugh Dowding was the Air Chief Marshal. He had the main obligation of Fighter Command throughout the Battle of Britain epoch. He was the person who was responsible for the triumph of Britain. Some years before world war two, he supervised development of an integrated air protection system of radar, attack scheming and communication control of airplane called the “Dowding called System”. He also brought in modern airplanes into the force. He was the brain behind introduction of the Spitfire and the Hurricane. These were essential during the Battle of Britain and contributed highly to Britain’s victory. Marshal Keith Park was the Air Vice. He was Commander In Chief 11 Group Fighter Command. It was under his leadership that Britain’s Southern Coastline and Southern England were protected. He was also in charge of protecting London that was a major target for the Luftwaffe. He intercepted the Luftwaffe during the mass departure of troops from Dunkirk preventing the Luftwaffe from attacking the weary and fatigued British soldiers.
In charge of the Luftwaffe Air Force
Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering was the highest leader of the German Luftwaffe. He was responsible of organizing a very strong and in McGlashan’s words, “The most dangerous and most potent of any air force in the world.” He was a politically motivated man and displayed great loyalty to his leader Adolf Hitler. His leadership sustained the Luftwaffe Air Force in the first phase of the Battle of Britain. General Adolf Galland was a Fighter Pilot & chief of the Luftwaffe Fighter Arm. He was responsible for the use of airplane in the reinforcement of ground forces. He had a positive impact on the side of the Luftwaffe.
Aircrafts used in the battle
Royal Air Force
The Bf 109E was one of the aircraft used. It had a better climbing capability with a climbing rate of up to 30 to 40 mph faster than any other aircraft. It was capable of carrying a 250kg bomb beneath the fuselage. Hurricane was also used and had the capability of turning faster than the other aircrafts used in the battle. The Boulton-Paul Defiant was a two seater single engine fighter. It was capable of attacking from the back due to its likeness to the Hurricane. The spitfire was a British fighter that had the same capabilities as the Bf 109 E.
The Armstrong Whitworth Whitley, the Vickers Wellington and the Handley-Page Hampden were the bombers used by the British for night raids on railway centers, industries and assault ports. These were heavy bombers. There were two light bombers; the Bristol Blenheim was a twin engine while the Fairey Battle was a single engine. The Bristol Blenheim was capable of bombing during the day and night in airdromes, assault ports and industries.
The twin-engine Messerschmitt Bf 110 was a long range destroyer. It was swifter than the hurricane with equal speed as the spitfire. It was capable of attacking small targets. It was able to engage in air to air combat as it escorted the Luftwaffe bombers. The Jagdwaffe was a Luftwaffe fighter that that was able to fire from the rear. It also had forward firing equipment and a light turret, enabling it to maneuver easily.
There were four major bombers of the Luftwaffe. The first three general bombers were; the Heinkel He 111, the Dornier Do 17 and the Junkers Ju 88 which was the fastest after dropping the bomb carried on the outside surface. The fourth was the Junkers Ju 87 stuka which was a specialist bomber. The Heinkel He 111 had a distinctive wing shape and was widely used in the combat.
Adlertag was named the “Eagle’s day”. It was a great failure for the Luftwaffe. The Luftwaffe changed its raids from English waterway ports and delivery to Royal Air Force Fighter Command. The Luftwaffe carried one successful raid and destroyed 22 airplanes. However, this did not have any impact on the outcome of the war because it was not a defeat to the fighter command. it caused some smash up to the Spitfire industry and also a few Stirling bombers. This operation caused heavy damage and loss of aircrafts on both sides. The Luftwaffe abandoned night bombing in September 20.
McGlashan, After the Battle of France: John Paul Vann and Battle of Britain (New York: Random House, 1988), 25.