The Battle of Britain was one of the most gallant confrontations of World War Two. Winston Churchill penned the words “Never have so many owed so much to so few”. regarding the gallant battle of the R.A.F. (Royal Air Force) against the overwhelming strength of the German Luftwaffe. What was it that the British did to make this struggle their own and bring the victory home.
Andrew Knighton of War History Online suggests that there were nine reasons that contributed to the British winning the air battles.
- They made use of pilots from across Europe, not just British pilots most of all.
- They had better planes. The design decisions of both sides gave the Allies the technological edge.
- The Germans lacked strategic focus.The overall strategy to focus on RAF support units was not focused, rather piecemeal.
- The British fuel tanks were full and the pilots rested. Flying form bases in Germany with smaller fuel tanks, the Germans were at a distinct disadvantage.
- British radar was the best around. The British radar system was the most advanced in the world.
- The British were fighting above their own home turf. The advantages of fighting from your own “backyard” were immense.
- The British could take prisoners. When the Germans were shot out of the sky, they were out of the war while allied pilots could return to the fight as they landed in Britain.
- Hitler’s revenge bombing took focus away from the fight. Hitler focused on revenge bombing of London and took the focus off the fight with the R.A.F.
- Shift the emphasis to night-time raids. With casualties mounting, the Germans switched to nighttime raids which reduced their effectiveness.
For a further discussion, see Andrew’s article at WarHistoryOnline
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