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THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN. JULY – OCTOBER, 1940. WE SHALL GO ON TO THE END. WE SHALL FIGHT IN FRANCE. WE SHALL FIGHT ON THE SEAS AND OCEANS. WE SHALL FIGHT WITH GROWING CONFIDENCE AND GROWING STRENGTH IN THE AIR, WE SHALL DEFEND OUR ISLAND, WHATEVER THE COST MAY BE.

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the battle of britain

THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN

JULY – OCTOBER, 1940

slide2

WE SHALL GO ON TO THE END. WE SHALL FIGHT IN FRANCE.

WE SHALL FIGHT ON THE SEAS AND OCEANS.

WE SHALL FIGHT WITH GROWING CONFIDENCE AND GROWING STRENGTH IN THE AIR,

WE SHALL DEFEND OUR ISLAND, WHATEVER THE COST MAY BE.

WE SHALL FIGHT ON THE BEACHES,

WE SHALL FIGHT ON THE LANDING GROUNDS,

WE SHALL FIGHT IN THE FIELDS AND IN THE STREETS.

WE SHALL FIGHT IN THE HILLS.

WE SHALL NEVER SURRENDER.

SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL,

JUNE 4, 1940

slide3

“THE ‘Battle of France’ IS OVER. I EXPECT THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN IS ABOUT TO BEGIN.”

                  • WINSTON CHURCHILL, HOUSE OF COMMONS SPEECH, 1940
background
BACKGROUND
  • CAUSES:
    • WERMACHT SUCCESSES IN SPRING, 1940 LEAD HITLER TO HOPE / BELIEVE…
      • THE WAR IS BASICALLY OVER (AT LEAST IN WESTERN EUROPE)
      • THE U.K. WILL SETTLE FOR PEACE
      • POSSIBLE EFFECT?
        • IF SO, GERMANY WOULD BE FREE TO CONTROL EUROPE WITHOUT INTERFERENCE
        • GERMANS COULD SHIFT MILITARY FOCUS (AGAIN) TOWARDS EAST TO PREPARE FOR RUSSIAN INVASION
    • HITLER & GOERING DON’T THINK BRITISH AIR FORCE (R.A.F.–ROYAL AIR FORCE) HAS THE ABILITY TO DEFEND BRITAIN LONG-TERM. THEY ALSO…
      • BELIEVE BRITS ARE DEMORALIZED
      • DON’T BELIEVE U.S. WILL BE DRAWN INTO THE WAR
      • THEREFORE, THEY THINK THE BRITS ARE “PLAYING FOR TIME”
    • WERMACHT, AND ESPECIALLY LUFTWAFFE, MORALE IS VERY HIGH – DEFEAT IS NOT GENERALLY REGARDED AS A POSSIBILITY BY TROOPS, PILOTS, ETC.
  • PROBLEM?
    • CHAMBERLAIN IS GONE; CHURCHILL IS NEW PRIME MINISTER
    • CHURCHILL WILL NOT NEGOTIATE WITH / APPEASE GERMANS
  • RESULT?
    • HITLER ORDERS & PLANS FOR AMPHIBIOUS / AIRBORNE INVASION OF BRITIAN
    • INVASION MUST BE PRECEDED BY AERIAL ATTACK TO NEUTRALIZE…
      • R.A.F
      • ROYAL NAVY
    • WHY? SO THAT THE ENGLISH CHANNEL WILL BE OPEN FOR INVASION FLEET
luftwaffe operation plans
LUFTWAFFE OPERATION PLANS
  • GERMAN PLAN FOR AERIAL ASSAULT WAS NOT WELL PLANNED
  • RESULT?
    • A CONSTANTLY ADJUSTING STRATEGY & TACTICS
    • LACKED ORGANIZATION & COORDINATED ATTACK
    • BATTLE OF BRITAIN BECAME BROKE INTO 4 “PHASES”, EACH W/ A DIFFERENT GOAL
  • PHASES OF THE BATTLE:
    • PHASE 1:
      • ATTACK NAVY CONVOYS IN ENGLISH CHANNEL
      • ATTACK RADAR STATIONS ON COAST
      • ATTACK COASTAL CITIES TARGETED FOR INVASION SITES
    • PHASE 2:
      • DESTROY R.A.F. FIGHTERS IN LARGE NUMBERS (ON GROUND OR IN AIR COMBAT)
      • ARIFIELDS IN S.E. ENGLAND WERE HIT HARDEST
    • PHASE 3:
      • LONDON & MAJOR CITIES BOMBED
      • FACTORIES & STRATEGIC SITES ALSO TARGETED
    • PHASE 4:
      • CITIES BOMBED IN NIGHT RAIDS
      • AIRFIELDS & MILITARY TARGETS ALSO ATTACKED
      • BEGINNING OF WHAT IS KNOWN AS “THE BLITZ”
    • ***THE BLITZ WAS A PERIOD OF INTENSE BOMBING ON CITIES, ESPECIALLY LONDON THAT BEGAN AS THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN WAS COMING TO A CLOSE
british plan for defense
BRITISH PLAN FOR DEFENSE
  • BRITISH PLAN RELIED HEAVILY ON 4 FACTORS
  • ALL HAD TO BE WELL COORDINATED IN ORDER FOR PLAN TRO SUCCEED:
    • RADAR: COASTAL R.D.F. SITES WOULD IDENTIFY ENEMY PLAN FORMATIONS
    • ALARM THEN SENT TO R.A.F. COMMUNICATION CENTERS
    • INFORMATION (# OF PLANES, DIRECTION, etc.) SENT TO AIR GROUPS
    • IDIVIDUAL SQUADRONS ALERTED & “SCRAMBLED” TO INTERCEPT GERMANS
  • BRITISH HAD ALSO MADE BACKUP PLANS IF THIS RADAR WAS KNOCKED OUT
    • EXAMPLE: BRITISH CIVILIAN “OBSERVER CORPS” ON COAST ALSO WATCHED FOR LUFTWAFFE
    • THEY COULD ALSO ALERT R.A.F. BY PHONE
    • ANTI-AIRCRAFT SITES PLACED…
      • ON COAST
      • AROUND ALL AIRFIELDS
      • AROUND ALL MAJOR CITIES
order of battle
ORDER OF BATTLE
  • STRENGTH OF FORCES:
    • R.A.F.: 1,963 AIRCRAFT
    • LUFTWAFFE: 4,074 AIRCRAFT
  • COMMANDERS:
    • R.A.F.:
      • AIR MARSHALL SIR HUGH DOWDING – C/O, FIGHTER COMMAND
      • AIR VICE MARSHALL SIR KEITH PARK – X/O, FIGHTER COOMAND
    • LUTFWAFFE: HERMANN GOERING
  • PRIMARY AIRCRAFT:
    • R.A.F.:
      • SUPERMARINE “SPITFIRE” – SINGLE-ENGINE FIGHTER
      • HAWKER “HURRICANE” – SINGLE ENGINE FIGHTER
    • LUFTWAFFE:
      • MESSERSCHMIDT Me-109 – SINGLE-ENGINE FIGHTER
      • MESSERSCHMIDT Bf-109 – SINGLE-ENGINE FIGHTER
      • MESSERSCHMIDT Bf-110 – TWIN-ENGINE FIGHTER/BOMBER
      • JUNKERS Ju-87 “STUKA” – SINGLE ENGINE DIVE BOMBER
      • HEINKEL He-111 – TWIN-ENGINE, MULTIPLE CREW BOMBER
  • AIR UNITS:
    • R.A.F.:
      • 4 PRIMARY AIR GROUPS, COVERING ENGLAND, SCOTLAND & WALES
        • 13 GROUP: SCOTLAND
        • 12 GROUP: CENTRAL ENGLAND
        • 11 GROUP: LONDON & S.E. ENGLAND
        • 10 GROUP: WALES & W. ENGLAND
    • LUFTWAFFE: 3 AIR GROUPS, CALLED “LUFTFLOTTE”
      • LUFTFLOTTE 2 – TARGETED LONDON & S.E. ENGLAND
      • LUFTFLOTTE 3 – TARGETED WALES & W. ENGLAND
      • LUFTFOLTTE 5 (unit based in Norway) – TARGETED N. ENGLAND & SCOTLAND
basic tactics
BASIC TACTICS
  • R.A.F.:
    • USE RADAR SYSTEM TO DETECT GERMAN AIR MOVEMENT EARLY (while forming over France or over the English Channel)
    • RADAR POSTS ALERT SQUADRONS
    • SQUADRONS “SCRAMBLE” (2-3 min) TO GET AIRBORNE
    • RADAR POSTS GUIDE SQUADRONS TO INTERCEPT POINTS (altitude, direction, etc.)
    • SQUADRONS ATTEMPT TO SHOOT DOWN AS MANY BOMBERS AS POSSIBLE
  • LUTFWAFFE:
    • AIR GROUPS ALL HAVE DESIGNATED TARGETS (airfields, factories, etc.)
    • FIGHTERS CONCENTRATE ON STRAFING R.A.F. AIRFIELDS OR SHOOTING DOWN FIGHTERS
    • BOMBERS HEAD TO TARGETS AND CONCENTRATE ON KNOCKING THEM OUT
slide31

HERMANN GOERING SIR HUGH DOWDING SIR KEITH PARK Commanding Officer Commanding Officer Executive Officer German Luftwaffe Fighter Command Fighter Command Royal Air Force Royal Air Force

slide35

ADOLPH GALLAND, LUFTWAFE “SAILOR” MALLAN, R.A.F. 58 KILLS 27 KILLS, 7 SHARED, 3 PROBABLES, 16 DAMAGED

sailor mallan s rules of engagement
SAILOR MALLAN’S RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
  • WAIT TO SHOOT UNTIL YOU SEE THE WHITES OF HIS EYES. FIRE SHORT BURSTS OF 1-2 SECONDS ONLY WHEN YOUR SIGHTS ARE DEFINITELY “ON” THE TARGET.
  • BRACE YOUR WHOLE BODY WHEN SHOOTING. KEPP BOTH HANDS ON THE CONTROL STICK AND CONCENTRATE ON YOUR GUN SIGHT.
  • ALWAYS KEEP A SHARP LOOKOUT FOR THE ENEMY.
  • HEIGHT GIVES YOU THE INITIATIVE.
  • ALWAYS TURN AND FACE THE ATTCK.
  • MAKE YOUR DECISIONS PROMPTLY. IT’S BETTER TO ACT QUICKLY EVEN IF YOUR TACTTICS AREN’T THE BEST.
  • NEVER FLY STRAIGHT AND LEVEL IN THE COMBAT AREA FOR MORE THAN 30 SECONDS.
  • WHEN DIVING TO ATTACK, ALWAYS LEAVE A PART OF YOUR SQUADRON ABOVE TO ACT AS A TOP GUARD AGAINST ATTACK.
  • INITIATIVE, AGGRESSION, AIR DISCIPLINE AND TEAM WORK ARE WORDS THAT MEAN SOMEHTING IN AIR COMBAT.
  • GO IN QUICKLY – PUNCH HARD – GET OUT!
developments
DEVELOPMENTS
  • PROBLEMS DEVELOP FOR BOTH SIDES
  • R.A.F:
    • NUMBERS OF PLANES PRODUCED BY BRIT. FACTORIES IS HIGHER THAN # OF TRAINED PILOTS
    • R.A.F. HAS TO RELY ON HASTILY TRAINED or FOREIGN PILOTS TO KEEP FIGHTERS IN AIR
    • INITIAL R.A.F. TACTICS DIDN’T WORK WELL
    • RESULTS: NUMEROUS CASUALTIES AMONG YOUNG, UNTRAINED PILOTS
  • LUTFWAFFE:
    • PLANES HAVE LIMITED FUEL CAPACITY (have further to go to land, refuel)
    • PLANES ARE OVER ENEMY TERRITORY IF TROUBLE HAPPENS
    • BOMBERS ARE SLOW AND VULNERABLE TO FIGHTER ATTACK
    • FIGHTERS HAVE TO BE USED INCREASINGLY TO COVER BOMBERS
    • RESULTS:
      • HEAVY LOSSES FOR BOMBER CREWS
      • R.A.F. FIGHTERS ARE NOT NEUTRALIZED ON GROUND
results
RESULTS
  • CASUALTIES:
    • R.A.F.:
      • 544 KIA
      • 1,547 AIRCRAFT DESTROYED
    • LUFTWAFFE:
      • 2,500 KIA
      • 1,887 AIRCRAFT DESTROYED
      • LOSSES ARE HIGHEST AMONGST BOMBER / DIVE BOMBER CREWS
  • LONG-TERM RESULTS:
    • ENGLISH CHANNEL REMAINS OPEN TO BRIT./ALLIED NAVAL FORCES
    • OPERATION SEA LION IS CANCELLED
    • R.A.F. FIGHTER COMMAND GAINS VALUABLE EXPERIENCE
    • GERMANS SUFFER FIRST LOSS OF THE WAR
    • HITLER ORDERS PREPARATIONS FOR INVASION OF RUSSIA
    • GERMANS WILL SOON BE INVOLVED IN A TWO-FRONT WAR
slide57

“NEVER IN THE FIELD OF HUMAN CONFLICT WAS SO MUCH OWED BY SO MANY TO SO FEW.”

            • WINSTON CHURCHILL, 1940