1940 - Battle of Britain
Title: 1940 - Battle of Britain
About: The Royal Air Force (RAF) successfully defended Great Britain against unremitting and destructive air raids conducted by the Luftwaffe (German air force) from July through September 1940.
With France defeated, Britain stood alone against the power of Germany’s military forces, which had conquered most of Western Europe in less than two months. Britain’s success in continuing the war would very much depend on the RAF Fighter Command’s ability to thwart the Luftwaffe’s efforts to gain air superiority.
The Luftwaffe started by striking at radar sites, and caused some considerable damage. However, they soon turned their attention to attacks on RAF air bases. A battle of attrition ensued in which both sides suffered heavy losses
Day after day the Germans sent armadas of bombers and fighters over England hoping to lure the RAF into battle and annihilate the defenders. In response, the RAF scrambled their pilots into the sky to do battle, often three, four or five times a day. Britain's air defense bent but did not break. The RAF lost around 21% of its fighter pilots, while the Luftwaffe suffered around 16% losses.
By September, the Germans enthusiasm for the assault waned. The Luftwaffe changed its operational approach to massive bombing raids on London and other cities -the Blitz- while Hitler postponed and then canceled invasion plans, turning his attention to the defeat of Russia.
Victory for the Luftwaffe in the air battle would have exposed Great Britain to invasion by the German army, but defeat in the air blocked the possibility of invasion while also creating the conditions for Great Britain’s survival, for the extension of the war, and for the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany.
In appreciation of the RAF pilots' heroic effort, Winston Churchill declared: "Never before in human history was so much owed by so many to so few."
Country: UK + Germany
Conflict: World War II
Type: Historical Event
Artist: Yulia Kozlova
Price: 1 ETH