Battle of Britain Facts

Battle of Britain Facts
The Battle of Britain was an all-air battle that took place from July 10, 1940 until October 31, 1940 over the skies of Britain, primarily London and southern England. The battle took place after the German victories in the Low Countries and France and the British retreat from Dunkirk. Germany next set its sights on Britain by sending its air force, or Luftwaffe, in wave after wave of bomber and fighter plane attacks on southern England in order to prepare for the amphibious invasion of the island known as "Operation Sea Lion." The first two months of the battle was almost totally comprised of air battles, with the British Royal Air Force (RAF) winning the day. The Germans lost 1,733 aircraft during that time and were reduced to just 273 versus 732 RAF planes by October 1. The Luftwaffe changed its tactics in mid-September by targeting civilian targets in what became known as the "Blitz," hoping that the British would sue for peace. Although the Blitz killed more than 42,000 civilians, the Germans clearly lost the Battle of Britain and had to cancel Operation Sea Lion. As a result, the Germans lost a good chunk of their air force and the British were able to stay in the war until the end.
Interesting Battle of Britain Facts:
The Italian Air Corps supported the Luftwaffe by flying 102 bomber sorties and 113 fighter sorties.
Hitler's orders to carry out Operation Sea Lion were covered under Directives 16 and 17.
The Luftwaffe attacked Britain in three fleets: two fleets attacked southern England, Wales, and northwest England, while another fleet based in Norway attacked Scotland and northern England.
The German Messerschmitt Bf 109 provided most of the escort duties for the bombers.
The British used Hurricane and Spitfire fighters to defend their skies. The Spitfire was faster, more nimble, and overall a better plane, but was also produced in far fewer numbers.
The German Stuka dive bombers, which were so successful against ground troops in previous battles, suffered high casualties due to their low speed and were phased out after the first month. The Germans relied on high altitude level bombers for most of the remainder of the battle.
Hugh Dowding (1882-1970) was commander of the RAF during the Battle of Britain.
Hugo Sperle (1885-1953) was the field marshal of the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain.
Many non-British fought in the RAF during the Battle of Britain. Along with many colonials, there were 145 Poles and nine Americans who flew in the battle.
Once the Blitz began, the citizens of London would often spend days sheltered in the subway system.
A large reason for British success was due to its use of the "Dowding System," which was the world's first ground-controlled interception system.
On the other hand, the Germans underestimated British defense and overall numbers.


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