.. n their goals(Mosley 57). In the first 10 days the British suffered heavy loses because they flew in tight formations and had no room to move when they were under attack by the Germans. The RAF soon changed their strategy and began flying in Finger Four formation, which broke up the rigidity of the old formations and improved their odds against the Luftwaffe in air encounters(Mosley 86). Every day, during the months of June to October 1940, the RAF and Luftwaffe fought in the skies.
The Luftwaffes final attempt to knock out the RAF began on Eagle Day, August 13,1940(Battle of Britain). Though the weather was stormy a flight of 74 Dronier bombers and 50 Me-110s headed towards RAF fields and installations in Kent. The Luftwaffe, relying on heavy cloud cover, made it to Eastchurch airfield in England and bombed. By 3:45 p.m. the unleashing of Eagle Days offensive began.
At the end of Eagle Day the Luftwaffe calculated successful attacks on six RAF airfields, the wiping out of several small factories, and the paralysis of the port of Southampton, along with 88 RAF planes being destroyed. The Luftwaffe had miscalculated its gains and loses because only 13 RAF fighters had been shot down compared to 23 German planes(Mosley 94). Though Luftwaffe intelligence officers were disturbed by the fact the British always seemed to know where their attackers were coming they still didnt recognize the effectiveness of the British radar system and still didnt take direct action against it. Two days after Eagle Day the Luftwaffe were back in the air. Goring ordered the largest number of planes used for a single operation into the air for an attack on Southern England.
Up to that point there had never been as many dogfights in one day of fighting. The RAF lost 34 planes and the Luftwaffe lost 75(Mosley 96). In four days, starting August 14, the RAF shot down 194 Luftwaffe planes(Mosley 99). The RAF gave Germany their first defeat of the war. The RAF were able to hold off the German invasion even though they were short of planes and pilots.
It was one of the greatest moments in British history(Battle of Britain). The British were victorious because of their sophisticated defense mechanisms and also because of a series of tactical mistakes made by the Germans. After the Battle of Britain was over and Germany had aborted Operation Sea Lion Hitler changed his strategy towards Britain and the other Allies. He turned to bombing Britains cities in hopes of a surrender(Battle of Britain). Britain was able to endure the bombings, factories remained in operation and in the end they were able to stay afloat until D-Day and the defeat of the Nazis.
Herman Goring Herman Goring was head of the Luftwaffe between 1933-1945. He was second in power to Adolf Hitler. Goring oversaw formation of the Luftwaffe before World War 2. Goring ended up killing himself while in prison awaiting execution for war crimes(Battle of Britain). Sir Hugh Dowding Dowding was the Air Chief Marshall during the Battle of Britain, head of the RAF Fighter Command, and the defensive counterpart of Sir Arthur Harris.
Dowding built-up the defensive air power of the RAF during the 1930s. After the Battle of Britain, Dowding lost his position after a policy dispute. The strategy he employed during the Battle of Britain and his relentless determination are credited for the successful defense of Britain(Battle of Britain). Famous Planes of the RAF The Supermarine Spitfire served as a first-line fighter throughout WW2. It was fast and maneuverable.
Its thin elliptical wings made it capable of very high speeds(571 km/hr). It had a Ceiling of 10,360 meters and a Range of 805 km. The make-up of the plane was continuously being changed to meet the needs of low and high altitude fighters, tropicalized, navalized, or equipped as an unarmed photo-reconnaissance aircraft. Its one of the most famous military aircraft in history. There were 20,351 built and the RAF retired the last Spitfire in 1954(Battle of Britain).
The Hawker Hurricane was a biplane, structure wise, with a monoplane layout. It had a Speed of 520 km/hr, a Ceiling of 10,900 meters, and a Range of 965 km. The fuselage was a braced steel tube construction, with wooden frames and fabric covering, making it easy to repair. The Hurricane was relatively inferior to the best fighters but they were sturdy, reliable, and easy to produce. Most fighters during the Battle of Britain were Hurricanes and later models were used as ground attack and anti-tank aircraft because they were obsolete as fighters.
14,533 were built(Battle of Britain). The Boulton Paul Defiant was a two seat fighter with a four gun armament. It had initial success but heavy loses followed. It had a Max. Speed of 485 km/hr, a Ceiling of 9,250 meters, and a Range of 740 km. It was later used as a night fighter and then as a target tug. There were 1,064 built(Battle of Britain). Famous Planes of the Luftwaffe The Messerschmitt Bf 109 was a standard Luftwaffe fighter throughout the war.
It had good performance and handling but it had restricted vision, bad landing characteristics, and it couldnt carry a lot of armament because it was so small. It was the smallest frame that could be built around the large and powerful engine. The Me-109 had a Max. Speed of 560 km/hr, a Ceiling of 10,500 meters, and a Range of 660 km. It was one of the best fighters in the world(E model). There were approximately 35,000 built and production continued in Spain after the war(Battle of Britain).
The Junkers Ju 88 was one of the most versatile aircraft of the war. It was used for various types of air battle: dive bomber, reconnaissance aircraft, torpedo-bomber, night fighter, heavy day fighter, and an anti-tank aircraft. The plane had a Speed of 470 km/hr, a Ceiling of 8,200 meters, and a Range of 2,730 km. There were 10,774 produced(Battle of Britain). The other Junkers, Ju 87 or Stuka, was a gull winged dive bomber. It was the most feared bomber, it was ugly, sturdy, accurate, but very vulnerable to enemy fighters.
It was very effective in destroying fortifications, ships, and instilling fear in people. The last versions of the Ju 87 were used as anti-tank aircraft and there were over 5,700 produced. The Ju 87 had a Speed of 383 km/hr, a Ceiling of 8,000 meters, and a Range of 790 km(Battle of Britain). Aces of the Air One of the most famous aces was Major Adolf Galland of the Luftwaffe. He was already an ace before the Battle of Britain began.
He had 37 kills. He was also one of the few Luftwaffe pilots to survive the war(Ward 162). Other Luftwaffe aces of the Battle of Britain include Helmut Wick, Walter Oesau, Hans Mayer, and Gustav Sprick. Brian Kingcome was one of Britains most respected and famous aces of the Battle of Britain. Other aces of the RAF include E.S.
Lock, J.H. Lacey, P.C. Hughs, and C.F. Gray(Ward 162 and Battle of Britain). Conclusion The Battle of Britain was the finest hour for the British but the first defeat of the war for the Germans. Though Germany was favored in the invasion the tables turned and Britain proved to be steadfast and determined in the defense of their country and it worked.
The Battle of Britain ended up setting the stage for D-Day , the demise of the Reich, and the end of World War Two. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few – Winston Churchill Bibliography Works Cited Mosley, Leonard Battle of Britain: World War II. Canada: Time-Life Books Inc., 1977. Ward, Arthur A Nation Alone:The Battle of Britain-1940. London: Osprey Publishing Ltd, 1989.
Battle of Britain Online. Internet. 7 Nov. 1998. Available: www.geocities.com/Pentagon/4143/index.html Aviation Essays.