1940 Battle of Britain

Commander

Historum Emeritas
Jun 2006
1,362
Jacksonville, FL
#1
August 13th 1940 The Battle of Britain begins

On this day in 1940, German aircraft begin the bombing of southern England, and the Battle of Britain, which will last until October 31, begins.

The Germans called it "the Day of the Eagle," the first day of the Luftwaffe's campaign to destroy the RAF, the British Royal Air Force, and knock out British radar stations, in preparation for Operation Sea Lion, the amphibious invasion of Britain. Almost 1,500 German aircraft took off the first day of the air raid, and 45 were shot down. Britain lost 13 fighters in the air and another 47 on the ground. But most important for the future, the Luftwaffe managed to take out only one radar station, on the Isle of Wight, and damage five others. This was considered more trouble than it was worth by Herman Goering, commander of the Luftwaffe, who decided to forgo further targeting of British radar stations because "not one of those attacked so far has been put out of operation."

Historians agree that this was a monumental mistake on the part of the Germans. Had Goering and the Luftwaffe persisted in attacking British radar, the RAF would not have been able to get the information necessary to successfully intercept incoming German bombers. "Here, early in the battle, we get a glimpse of fuddled thinking at the highest level in the German camp," comments historian Peter Fleming. Even the Blitz, the intensive and successive bombing of London that would begin in the last days of the Battle of Britain, could not compensate for such thinking. There would be no Operation Sea Lion. There would be no invasion of Britain. The RAF would not be defeated.
 
Jul 2006
166
Bemidji, Minnesota
#2
...and coupled with launching Operation Barbarossa a year later, it proved to seal Nazi Germany's fate.
 

Belisarius

Forum Staff
Jun 2006
10,359
U.K.
#3
Commander said:
August 13th 1940 The Battle of Britain begins

On this day in 1940, German aircraft begin the bombing of southern England, and the Battle of Britain, which will last until October 31, begins.

The Germans called it "the Day of the Eagle," the first day of the Luftwaffe's campaign to destroy the RAF, the British Royal Air Force, and knock out British radar stations, in preparation for Operation Sea Lion, the amphibious invasion of Britain. Almost 1,500 German aircraft took off the first day of the air raid, and 45 were shot down. Britain lost 13 fighters in the air and another 47 on the ground. But most important for the future, the Luftwaffe managed to take out only one radar station, on the Isle of Wight, and damage five others. This was considered more trouble than it was worth by Herman Goering, commander of the Luftwaffe, who decided to forgo further targeting of British radar stations because "not one of those attacked so far has been put out of operation."

Historians agree that this was a monumental mistake on the part of the Germans. Had Goering and the Luftwaffe persisted in attacking British radar, the RAF would not have been able to get the information necessary to successfully intercept incoming German bombers. "Here, early in the battle, we get a glimpse of fuddled thinking at the highest level in the German camp," comments historian Peter Fleming. Even the Blitz, the intensive and successive bombing of London that would begin in the last days of the Battle of Britain, could not compensate for such thinking. There would be no Operation Sea Lion. There would be no invasion of Britain. The RAF would not be defeated.
Radar or not, the Luftwaffe still came very close to winning. It was the switch in German operations to bomb London that saved the RAF from almost certain defeat.
 
Aug 2006
583
Waltheofshire
#4
Belisarius said:
Commander said:
August 13th 1940 The Battle of Britain begins

On this day in 1940, German aircraft begin the bombing of southern England, and the Battle of Britain, which will last until October 31, begins.

The Germans called it "the Day of the Eagle," the first day of the Luftwaffe's campaign to destroy the RAF, the British Royal Air Force, and knock out British radar stations, in preparation for Operation Sea Lion, the amphibious invasion of Britain. Almost 1,500 German aircraft took off the first day of the air raid, and 45 were shot down. Britain lost 13 fighters in the air and another 47 on the ground. But most important for the future, the Luftwaffe managed to take out only one radar station, on the Isle of Wight, and damage five others. This was considered more trouble than it was worth by Herman Goering, commander of the Luftwaffe, who decided to forgo further targeting of British radar stations because "not one of those attacked so far has been put out of operation."

Historians agree that this was a monumental mistake on the part of the Germans. Had Goering and the Luftwaffe persisted in attacking British radar, the RAF would not have been able to get the information necessary to successfully intercept incoming German bombers. "Here, early in the battle, we get a glimpse of fuddled thinking at the highest level in the German camp," comments historian Peter Fleming. Even the Blitz, the intensive and successive bombing of London that would begin in the last days of the Battle of Britain, could not compensate for such thinking. There would be no Operation Sea Lion. There would be no invasion of Britain. The RAF would not be defeated.
Radar or not, the Luftwaffe still came very close to winning. It was the switch in German operations to bomb London that saved the RAF from almost certain defeat.
Yes, but also the skill, courage and tenacity of our outnumbered young pilots, without which the frustrated Germans would have carried on with that first strategy.
 
#5
One of the great moments of military history. I read somewhere once that had the Germans had a fighter like the Japanese Zero instead of the Me-109 they would have won the battle. The 109 didn't have the range to stay over England long enough to agressively fight the RAF. Where as the Zero had a range twice as long.

Tancred
 

Belisarius

Forum Staff
Jun 2006
10,359
U.K.
#6
Tancred said:
One of the great moments of military history. I read somewhere once that had the Germans had a fighter like the Japanese Zero instead of the Me-109 they would have won the battle. The 109 didn't have the range to stay over England long enough to agressively fight the RAF. Where as the Zero had a range twice as long.

Tancred
Not quite. The Messerschmitt Bf109 did not have the range to stay over London for more than 10 minutes [as best as I recall, but I'm happy to stand corrected]. Further south it was a formidable opponent. The Japanese Zero might have suffered due to its overall lack of protective armour, especially its fuel tank. I believe that was its greatest weakness.
 
Aug 2006
583
Waltheofshire
#7
re

Hi Tancred

I managed to dig these stats up about the Zero and the 109, and you're along the right lines.
While the 109's only had half hour over England... the Zero would have had the range to escort bombers and engage Spits/Hurries for longer.

http://www.aviation-history.com/mitsubishi/zero.html and
http://aeroweb.brooklyn.cuny.edu/specs/mitsubis/a6m5.htm
Endurance of 1.5 to 2 hours at normal rated power.
Endurance of 6 to 8 hours at economical speed with drop tanks.

http://www.aviation-history.com/messerschmitt/bf109.html

From this site;

http://www.aviation-history.com/index-aircraft.htm[/url]
 

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