What was the Battle of Britain?
Battle between RAF and Luftwaffe for control of the air over Britain + it was fought over months.
- 10 July -7 Aug: Luftwaffe attacks on British coast, especially RAF radar stations
- 8 Aug -6 Sept: Luftwaffe attacks on RAF airfields
- 7-15 Sept: Luftwaffe, thinking RAF beaten attack London
- 15 Sept: Luftwaffe defeated. Now Battle of Britain Day, because it convince Luftwaffe that RAF was still a fighting force. 17 Sept –Hitler called of operation Sealion.
Why did Britain win?
- RAF had radar (system invented 1935) installed south + east coasts of Britain at start of war (uses radiowaves to detect moving objects that the waves bounce off of – could detect Luftwaffe + inform RAF of how many planes were coming + where they were heading.
- While Germans had more bomber planes, RAF had more fighter planes (spitfire planes = most efficient design)
- British factories worked around the clock to replace/build new planes
- ‘Dunkirk spirit’ kept RAF pilots flying
What factors other than deception were key to the
Pluto fuel pipeline, rapid ferrying of troops/supplies once invasion began, air + sea backup + parachute troops captured inland areas on first day.
Helped resistance blow up bridges + disrupt German communications.
USA provided huge no. troops + great deal of equipment so allies could keep going and keep up the pressure despite heavy losses.
German army under pressure in the east + in the Mediterranean + wasn’t able to easily regroup + organise to fight back.
Churchill wrote a history of war – and said control of the air (won in the Battle of Britain & held by Brit + US planes after USA joined war) was vital to D-day’s success