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The Battle of Britain
· The battle started on July 10th 1940 when the Luftwaffe attempted
to gain control of the Straits of Dover. The aim of the Luftwaffe was
to tempt the RAF out for a full-scale battle.
· By the end of July, the RAF had lost 150 aircraft while the Luftwaffe
had lost 268. In August, the Luftwaffe started to attack Fighter
Command's airfields, operation rooms and radar stations - the idea
being that the RAF could be destroyed on the ground so that the
Luftwaffe need not fight them in the air. Without radar the RAF
would be seriously hampered in terms of early warning and the
destruction of operation rooms would cut off communications
between fighter bases and those at the heart of the battle controlling
the movement of fighter planes. Destroyed runways would hamper
the chances of a fighter plane taking off.…read more

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The Battle cont...
· Bad weather stopped the Luftwaffe from daily raids in August but
August 15th is seen as a key date as nearly all the Stuka dive-
bombers were destroyed by this date as they fell easy prey to the
British fighter planes. Therefore, pin-point bombing of radar stations
was all but impossible.
· From August 23rd to September 6th, the Luftwaffe started night time
bombing raids on cities. The RAF was also badly hit with 6 out of 7
main fighter bases in south-eastern England being put out of action.
Biggen Hill was wrecked. However, for all this apparent success, the
Luftwaffe was losing more planes than the RAF was - 1000 German
losses to 550 RAF.…read more

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The Battle cont...
· One event did greatly aid the British. The head of the Luftwaffe - Herman Goering -
ordered an end to the raids on radar bases as he believed that they were too
unimportant to matter. Albert Speer - a leading Nazi throughout the war - claimed in
his book "Inside the Third Reich" that a number of important decisions were made
based on Goering's ignorance. As Goering did not understand the importance of
something, it was dismissed as unnecessary for success. As a result of this, the
radar station at Ventnor on the Isle of Wight functioned throughout the battle and
gave Fighter Command vital information regarding German targets.
· The change to bombing the cities also gave Fighter Command time to recover from
its losses and for pilots to recover from the many hours a day they operated which
took many to the brink of exhaustion.
· On September 15th came the last major engagement of the battle. On that day, the
Luftwaffe lost 60 planes while the RAF lost 28. On September 17th, Hitler
postponed indefinitely the invasion of Britain though the night time raids - the Blitz -
continued. London, Plymouth and Coventry were all badly hit by these raids.…read more

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Why was it a turning point?
· If the RAF had been destroyed, the English fleet could have then been attacked
by the German air force and navy, resulting in the invasion of England and Spain
joining the war alongside Germany. Spanish leaders had said if England was
knocked out of the war they would join in.
· If Germany had defeated Britain in 1940, Germany would have reaped these
benefits: time to continue building their military machine before invading Russia;
the ability to attack Russia without Britain as an enemy in the rear; loss to the
Allies of Britain as a staging area for invasion of Europe/Africa, etc. It is not all
that far-fetched, that the Germans could have won the Battle of Britain. Their
strategic mistake was to shift the point of attack, from the RAF (attain air
superiority), to wanton and pointless destruction of British cities. The Germans
were actually winning the Battle, although both sides were suffering horrendous
losses, when they switched to bombing cities, etc. Once the Luftwaffe had
achieved air superiority over Britain, an invasion (by air or sea) becomes
achievable.…read more

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In terms of the western front, the Luftwaffe failure to defeat the RAF in the Battle of Britain
was a major failure on the German part, and it's not like they didn't have the opportunity,
with Hitler and Goering changing tactics from the airfields to the cities just when the RAF's
back was nearly broken. (It came back to haunt the Germans later when the Allies began
to launch the infamous bombing raids on German cities and the main industrial sectors.)
· This was probably one of the most important turning points in the war. If Hitler had
defeated Britain the US and Russia would have lost a valuable ally and it would have
allowed Germany to concentrate on the USSR. It also allowed D-Day and El Alamein to
· The Battle of Britain was one of the most important events during the courseof World War
II, this showed the people of the world that Hitler was not undefeatable, the British showed
everyone what the Germans were weak at. The Battle of Britain kept the British from
German control and later staged the D-Day landings, when if the Allies had not re-entered
Europe Russia would have been alone against the Germans. If the Americans, British and
other Allied forces had not gained the French beaches then France would have still been
under German control. Without Britain being free, Germany would still have controlled
Eastern Europe, and would not have had to fight on two fronts, meaning it could
concentrate the bulk of their forces in Russia.…read more


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