British recognize it as from July 10, 1940 to October 31, 1940. This does not include the period of time that The Blitz occured in, which were a series of air mass night attacks that were conducted by the Germans targeting industrial locations, towns and cities. So, the Germans do not accept this subdivision and so recognize the battle as a single campaign from July of 1940 to June 1941.After the fall of France, Hitler did not wish to invade Britain; he assumed that the British would simply give up and surrender, so therefore he was surprised that Britain did not surrender.
On July 16, he issued ‘Directive Number 16′. It authorised detailed preparations for an an invasion landing in Britain, codenamed Operation Sea Lion. It stated: “The aim of this operation is to eliminate the English motherland as a base from which war against Germany can be continued, and, if this should become unavoidable, to occupy it to the full extent”.Before Germany launched their offensive against France, there were no plans for an invasion of Britain, nor were there any made when France’s collapse was assured. Adolf Hitler relied on the British governments’ agreeing to the peace terms on his favorable terms.
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So, he had no intention on pressing the conflict to decide on these terms. The German army thought the war was over, and leave was granted them, so the Luftwaffe shifted to other quarters. Churchill’s Prime Minister of Britain determination to continue with the war had manifested but, still, Hitler clung to the belief that it was just a bluff and that Britain must recognize the situation Hitler’s military is in (a hopeless situation). But, his hope slowly faded away.
Hitler waited till July 2 to even consider the problem of invading England, while still doubting its necessity. At last, on July 16, he ordered preparations to begin the invasion, secretly called Operation Sea Lion. Hitler demanded the preparation be ready by mid-August, yet without a consistent and systematic plan of action.
The underlying object was always to wear down Britain’s air defences, even though targets and tactics were changed in different phases. The effort severely strained the limited resources of Fighter Command, under Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding.The Luftwaffe’s goals also included achieving air superiority and allow the invasion of mainland Britain to occur.
The Luftwaffe was ill-prepared to conduct strategic bombings as it was the first time in WW2 that they would be acting as an independent combat arm. The Luftwaffe also had no long-range, four engine, high level bombers like the Heinkel HE 111. The Luftwaffe’s best fighter plane, the ME (Messerschmitt) Bf 109 only had 20 minutes to stay over Southern England due to fuel restrictions. On the other hand, the ME Bf 110, did have the fuel capacity to escort bombers to the target and back but were slow working and had other disadvantages against the RAF’s single seated fighters, who were much faster and much more effective when used with a strategic plan. At first, it was predicted that it would take the Luftwaffe 4 days to defeat the RAF Fighter Command over Southern England. This was then to be followed by a month of bombing and raids to wipe out the RAF’s traces and the aircraft production industry.
Luftwaffe commanders first decided to destroy British Radar systems, then attack RAF airfields. The Germans failed at wiping out RAF on the ground, so resorted to luring them up with a series of fighter sweeps and hence shoot down the outnumbered RAF squads. Bombing radar systems first enabled the Luftwaffe to surprise the RAF and bomb them on the ground. Aiming at RAF’s airfields, denied them rest, repair and support to the fighter squadrons with a chance of catching them on ground as well.
Lastly, bombing industries and factories will cause finished and ready fighters to not reach airfields. Having the Germans switch tactics to bombing raids at night (The Blitz) and not attacking RAF allowed RAF to regain its strength and eventually defeat Luftwaffe.Primary objectives for Nazi Germany forces: Compel Britain to agree to a negotiated peace settlement. July 1940: Air and Sea blockade began, Luftwaffe mainly targeted shipping convoys, ports, shipping centers.
Luftwaffe directed to achieve air superiority over RAF with aim of dysfunctioning RAF fighter command. Luftwaffe aldo targeted factories produced aircraft relating machinery. Terror bombing on civilians, politically important areas.Preceding WW2, there was an idea that affected military thinking, which was presented by Stanley Baldwin, leader of the Conservatives, said to the British Parliament, ‘the bomber will always get through, which limits the damaging effects that enemy aircraft can do. This tactic was known as Fighter Area Attacks. The idea was based on the fact that attacking bombers would fly from airfields in Germany without cover, since the premier fighter – the Messerschmitt Bf 109 – could provide only brief long-range cover for the bombers, since it was operating at the limit of its flying range.
In Vic formations, only the lead aircraft would be able to see any enemies, so FAA would see the formations fly in these tight 3 aircraft formations (Vic). Once spotted. Formation would position beehind target and attack one by one. A typical RAF squad was made up of 12 aircraft, sometimes less and down on 16 normally required to form one squad, split in 4 sections with 3 pilots to 1, with 2 sections making up one flight of aircraft.
Each sections had a leader and 2 wingmen, a color and number identified each plane. Therefore, as part of FAA, every section would form in Vic with 2 Vics making up one flight. But, the Luftwaffe operated from airfields in France instead of Germany, allowing German fighters to take their bombers all the way to England. When RAF and Luftwaffe met in skies above the English Channel, the ineffectiveness of FAA tactic was exposed. As only one aircraft was able to keep a lookout for enemies, and 2 aircraft keeping formation in line, attackers were able to catch the formation by surprise. But the tactic was later modified to have the fourth Vic leave casualty rates high.The Luftwaffe had lost more than 600 airmen, and RAF has only lost 260, by late August.
Even though outnumbered 4 to 1, RAF holds off the Germans.Recognizing that England’s fate is hung on the sacrifice of its airmen, new Prime Minister Winston Churchill proclaimed before the British Parliament (August 20), “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”; Churchill proclaims: “We shall never surrender”This statement was part of a wartime speech made by Winston Churchill on 20 August 1940. It referred to the ongoing efforts of the Royal Air Force crews who were at the same time fighting in the Battle of Britain, the air battle with the Luftwaffe with Britain expecting an invasion. Pilots who fought in the Battle have been known as ‘The Few’ ever since and are specially commemorated on the 15th of September, known as ‘Battle of Britain Day’.Winston Churchill’s memorable speeches strengthened Britain’s resolve during the dark days of World War Two. He had long understood the power of words, writing at the age of 22: “Of all the talents bestowed upon men, none is so precious as the gift of oratory.
He who enjoys it wields a power more durable than that of a great king.”