The battle of Britain was a fierce air battle during World War 2, the majority of which lasted from June-October 1940, between Britain’s Royal air force and the Nazi Germany’s Luftwaffe. The Germans were trying to soften England for an invasion which was code-named “operation sealion.” Germany would have been able to achieve this and destroy the RAF had it not been for the crucial mistakes that they made.
The RAF beat the Luftwaffe because, firstly, the Luftwaffe wasn’t as mighty as it had been made out to be; it had never fought against first-rate pilots flying decent fighter aircraft.
Secondly, the Luftwaffe’s aircraft were either extremely range deficient or could not function in fiercely contested airspace and survive. Third, the RAF made great use of radar which although were an initial target for the Luftwaffe, were soon abandoned due the difficulty it was to hit the only exposed part which was the satellite. Fourth, the accidental bombing of London on 24 August 1940 shifted the course of the battle in British favor.
Lastly, there was the desperation of the Allied flyers to defend their homes, families, and airfields, or to seek revenge against those who had destroyed their countries.The Luftwaffe had gained a reputation as being “invincible” yet the German pilots were poorly trained and had little experience. The French were able to pound the Luftwaffe and yet the best fighters they had were second hand P-35’s bought from the American Air Corps. One French pilot killed six Germans flying a P-35 while on a non-combat mission, and he wasn’t even a full trained combat pilot! However, Germany still didn’t see its military as vulnerable or inferior.
The Treaty of Versailles meant that all developmental work on the German planes had to be done in secret, using older technology and older engines. This meant the engines were not as fuel efficient as the newer aircraft and had less range, meaning many fighter pilots could not cover bombers as they often had no more than 15 minutes of fuel before having to leave British airspace. Many crashed into the Channel on their return to Britain.Radar was also used giving RAF fighter command an advantage, stations along the coast of England gave the RAF advance warning of where a German raid was coming from, how many planes there were, altitude and how fast they were coming.
This meant the RAF was able to send their fighters exactly where they were needed at the right time.Germany also lacked decent bombers as it had decided against the development of long-range, heavy, strategic bombers. They thought it would be time-consuming and expensive to develop and produce. Germany had never bombed a competent, well equipped and radar possessing enemy with such a functional defense.
German strategy, early on was to bomb radar stations, airfields and aircraft manufacturing facilities. However on August 24 1940, an accidental bombing resulted in swift British retaliation leading to the Blitz. This enabled Britain to replace lost aircraft and airfields and repair damage.In conclusion, Britain beat Germany due to Germany’s lack of proper aircraft and ill preparedness to fight against a capable enemy defending itself.
Their loss against Britain and later Russia ultimately led them to lose the entire war. The allies also had the “world’s largest aircraft carrier” from which to launch an offensive against the Nazis. The loss also served to demoralize the Germans, reducing their ability to fight. Had Germany won the Battle of Britain, they may have ultimately won the war.
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