Reasons for British Victory in the Battle of Britain

Reasons for British Victory in the Battle of Britain

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Reasons for British Victory in the Battle of Britain

After the BEF's retreat from Dunkirk, of all the countries opposed to
Nazi Germany, Great Britain was the only one still in resistance.
Hitler's plan was to quickly invade Britain and to concentrate
fighting on other fronts, with almost the whole of Europe under Nazi
Germany. The Blitzkrieg tactics used to invade other countries so far
could not be used effectively as the British channel blocked infantry
advance. Britain at this time still had a superior navy compared to
the Germans, hence plans to eliminate the RAF, allowing easier
destruction of Britain's ports; and so its navy. Operation Sealion, as
it was named, began on 1st July 1940. The following attacks, that
lasted until September that year came to be known as the Battle of
Britain, won by the British for several reasons.

The Luftwaffe, led by Herman Goering, had several disadvantages,
concerning both tactics and leadership. Primarily, German air force
fighters contained only enough fuel for them to cross the channel and
have approximately 30 minutes flying time over England. If shot down,
the German pilots would become Prisoners of War, whereas RAF pilots
could recuperate and return to duty. It has been suggested that
Goering did not fully comprehend modern air warfare; Luftwaffe targets
were continually shifted, causing confusion amongst pilots- often many
didn't know where their formation was headed.

These German disadvantages did not bode well when coupled with
advantages held by the RAF. Led by Air Chief Marshall Hugh Dowding, it
appeared the RAF had a good chance of success. Dowding had planned the
British Air Defence system since 1936 and used technological advances
and improvements to great effects, for example bulletproof windscreens
for fighter planes.

The RAF also had a very important tool, much overlooked by those in
charge of the Luftwaffe- Radar. It enabled a very fast response time
to approaching German Aircraft, also allowing an estimation of the
attack force's size and speed. Without radar, bombing RAF bases would
have been much easier for the Luftwaffe, and it is one of the most

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important factors concerning the fighting success of the British
Fighter Pilots. Once airborne, Spitfires and Hurricanes encompassed
the main attack force of the RAF, the Luftwaffe could only really
compete with the Messer Schmitt 109, considered a fair match for the
Spitfire. This can relate to the importance of morale in battles, and
it seemed to be on the RAF's side- statistics show that German
aircraft losses were greater than the British by over 500 planes.

Even with the advantages the RAF had, the Luftwaffe bombings were a
success, and had it not been for a great tactical error, Operation Sea
Lion may well have succeeded. In September, tactics were changed to
begin bombing London, later other cities. While this was a most
horrific phase for civilians, it gave the RAF "breathing space" - time
to rebuild bases and help protect Britain. This change in tactics was
an indication of Hitler's intent. No longer concerned with plans to
destroy the RAF, it seemed he had no ambition to continue Operation
Sea Lion. This was how Britain was able to win the fight for air
superiority over Great Britain.

Concisely, due to the disadvantages the Luftwaffe faced fighting the
RAF, including its experienced Air Chief Marshall, a defence system
developed for four years and the powerful new radar, Britain was able
to defend itself, dissuading further attempts of invasion.
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