The Battle of Britain Essays

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The Battle of Britain

By June 1940, France had surrendered to Germany and Britain had rescued approximately 330,000 men from the beaches of Dunkirk. Britain now stood alone with its empire against Germany. Hitler believed that Britain had to be defeated before he could turn his attention to the USSR and so in the invasion of Britain codenamed Operation Sealion, two German armies (totalling 100,000 men) would be transported across the English Channel. However this crossing could be blocked by the Royal Navy, which was protected by the RAF. The Luftwaffe had to eliminate the RAF in order to bomb the Royal Navy blockade. The two sides fought each other in a series of "dog fights" which became known
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This allowed the several airbases that had been put out of action to repair themselves and replace aircraft that had been destroyed by bombing. These aircraft were able to resume the defence of Britain and to attack the Luftwaffe on their way to London.

Germany had also made a series of miscalculations and underestimations of Britain's defence. The British-operated Hurricane and Spitfire aircraft proved to be more superior to German equivalents and more strongly built, which gave the British advantages in combat. The RAF also had the secret weapon of RADAR, which the Luftwaffe was unaware of. This allowed the RAF to assemble their fighters to intercept the Luftwaffe. German fighters were also relatively light and could only carry comparatively little fuel and so as a result they were unable to escort their bombers over London whereas the RAF were operating in their own territory and so could remain in the air for much longer. By September 17th, Hitler called off Operation Sealion, although the Luftwaffe continued to bomb London and other major cities.

The bombing raids by Britain on Berlin were the key factor that had caused the German switch in bombing tactics. Although Britain had not planned to cause this switch in tactic, it was this tactical error that allowed Britain to build more aircraft and so to ultimately
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