ww2 facts, Battle of Britain

1. The Battle of Britain was a major battle immediately after the Battle of France. Although the Germans achieved an unprecedented victory in the Battle of France and annihilated the large troops of the Allies with the equivalent scale within just over 40 days, this does not mean that the next battle for invading Britain would be easier. Because the Royal Navy mastered the English Channel sea control, the German army could not easily land in the UK to launch a decisive ground offensive, which made it difficult to play the biggest advantage of the Germans. German Navy was unable to have direct engagement with the Royal Navy in a short time. To attack the UK, the only effective way for the Germans was to capture the air control, and thus suppress the Royal Navy’s fleet in order to ensure the safety of the Germans crossing the sea.  

2. In the previous battles, the Luftwaffe gained victories every time. It not only suppressed the air forces of the other, but also gave its own ground forces effective support. The Allied air forces suffered disastrous defeat in the Battle of France. Only 66 of 452 Hawker Hurricane fighters sent to France by the Royal Air Force withdrew after the battle. At that time, the Luftwaffe not only had the advantage in numbers, but also the quality was better than most of the aircrafts of the Allied. Its main fighter Messerschmitt Bf 109 had outstanding performance, posing a great threat to the Allied Air Force.

3. Analyzed based on the above-mentioned two points, to successfully invade Britain, the Germans must obtain the air control. At that time, the Luftwaffe had an advantage. But whether there was no chance for the Royal Air Force to win? If this combat took in other places, then the probability of winning for the Royal Air Force would be much smaller. However, the combat carried out on the territory of the United Kingdom, the Royal Air Force obtained many favorable factors to win. First of all, personnel losses would be far less than that of the Germans. Even if the plane was shot down, as long as the pilot survived, he could continue to drive a new aircraft. Once the plane of the Germans was shot down, there were only two possibilities for the crew of being killed or captured. During the entire Battle of Britain only more than 500 people of the Royal Air Force were killed and another 400 were injured, while the killed, captured and missing of the Germans totaled up to 4,000 people. This is a pretty unbearable figure for the Luftwaffe. Secondly, because the Luftwaffe fought in the UK, they could not understand the situation of takeoff and combat of the Royal Air Force. The Royal Air Force, on the other hand, was able to take advantage of radar and spotter to effectively capture information of aircrafts of the Germans in order to seize the favorable opportunities. Thirdly, the Royal Air Force could have air defense support on the ground, the Luftwaffe could only fight alone. These factors reduced the gap of the strength of the two sides to some extent, but it did not completely determine the outcome of the war.

4. The Luftwaffe repeatedly changed tactics during the battle from attacks on British coastal radar facilities to massive air strikes in the United Kingdom airports, as well as large-scale raid carried out later on the cities. But these operations ultimately failed to achieve the desired objectives and caused tremendous losses to the Luftwaffe.

5. The main fighters of the Royal Air Force during the battle were Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire. Both aircrafts were also the main fighters of the Royal Air Force during World War 2, of which Hurricane due to the relatively poor performance was mainly used against German bombers. Spitfire was mainly used to deal with the German escort fighter troops. The main German fighter was Messerschmitt Bf 109. At that time, it had comparably advanced performance. It was also the main fighter of the Germans during World War 2.

6. The German aircrafts used for bombing missions were mainly Heinkel He 111, Dornier Do 17, and Junkers Ju 88. But these aircrafts could not be compared with post-war developed heavy bombers of the Allied. Their bombing capability was relative weaker. This also resulted that the Germans could not give effective blows to ground military targets of the UK. When these planes were used to bomb cities, because the damage caused was relatively smaller, it could not quickly crumble morale. Winston Churchill once said that if at the time of the war the Germans was equipped with heavy bombers that the Allied had at the late stage of the war, it may have a incalculable negative impact on morale of Britain.

7. The Luftwaffe conducted massive bombings against British cities, resulting in 60,000 civilian casualties. It was a great difference between World War 2 and World War 1. Massive bombings led to huge casualties of civilians in the rear areas.

8. During the Battle of Britain, radar was not a decisive factor. Because radars were mainly deployed in coastal areas, once the German aircraft entered into inland, they could not be detected. Then, mastering German aircraft movements relied mainly on spotter. Spotter reported the observations on the German aircrafts to the Royal Air Force.

9. During the battle, the Luftwaffe lost about 1,900 aircraft, while the RAF lost about 1500.

10. The Germans could not launch landing operations because of the failure of the battle. And till the end of World War 2, the Germans was never able to launch any large-scale attacks against the British mainland.

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