The Battle of Britain

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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 as the Battle of Britain. From July 10th1940 fleets of German bombers were sent, escorted by German fighter planes to protect them from attack whose targets were the airfields in Southern England. Britain was faced with overwhelming odds as German planes (2500 aircraft) far outnumbered those of the British (700 aircraft) and Goering, commander of the Luftwaffe was confident of success. However Hitler made a major tactical error. Upto 7th September, Germany, with its huge number of pilots in comparison to Britain, was defeating Britain. Any German plane shot down was relatively easy to replace and equip with another pilot. In the first week of September, Britain had lost 185 aircraft and 300 men. Only 200 replacement pilots were available and it took longer to train new pilots than to build new planes, which were constantly bombed by the Luftwaffe whilst in their airbases. Hugh Dowding, Chief of RAF fighter command, had feared that the ba... ... middle of paper ... ...n enabling Britain to hold out but in my opinion, there are some major factors that without them being present, Britain could have not held out. Hitler's tactical errors are extremely important and allowed Britain to hold out in the Battle of Britain as well as allowing the USSR to defeat Germany in 1942. Had Germany not shifted tactics in the Battle of Britain, then Britain would have probably been defeated and a German invasion would have occurred. The USA was also vital in helping Britain to survive as it was a huge industrial power. It had allowed Britain to hold out in the Battle of the Atlantic even when Britain was at the point of defeat and it also helped in Africa. Without the intervention of the USA, it is very questionable as to whether Britain would have held out between June 1940 and the end of 1943.

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