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Battle of Britain

// Information about the Battle of Britain.

Despite all this, the German air power was now at its peak:

  • Groups of 11 fighter aircraft (1,300 Messerschmitt 109);
  • 2 groups of fighter-bombers fighting and bombardment (180 Messerschmitt 110);
  • 10 bomber groups (1350 - Heinkel 111, Junkers 88, Dornier 17).

A total of 2,830 aircraft. 

With trained and experienced teams, who already knew the taste of victory, entered the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain confident in its success. Two air fleets took part: the first, commanded by Field-Marshal Kesselring (with headquarters in Brussels), and second, commanded by Field-Marshal Sperrle (with headquarters in Paris). On July 2, the German High Command gave orders to open up the way for the invasion of Britain. Two goals were defined:

  • The interdiction of the English Channel to the merchant, to be obtained in conjunction with the German naval forces, through the attack on the convoys, the destruction of port facilities and laying mines in the areas of ports and their access paths.
  • The destruction of the RAF (Royal Air Force).

To thwart this plan, Fighter Command had (on August 8) about six or seven hundred fighters, organized into 55 operational squadrons, including six with night combat aircraft(Blenheim), who did not attend daytime operations. The vast majority of aircraft were Hurricanes, about one-fifth were Spitfires and there were two squadrons of Defiants. Thanks to the efforts of Lord Beaverbrook, Minister of Production Air, the British air force has grown significantly, so that on 30 September had 59 squadrons (eight combat aircraft night). The Battle of Britain began on July 10, when German bombers attacked merchant convoys in the Channel. A week later (July 16), Hitler gave his instructions to Operation Sea Lion.Preparations should be completed by mid-August. Among them was the appointment by Heydrich, the SS Colonel, Professor Six, to the position of representative of the security police (Gestapo) in Britain. 

Occurred in the Channel intense German attacks against merchant convoys between the 8th and August 12th. Then the Germans shifted their attention to the fields where the fighters parked (in South and Southeast of the United Kingdom). However, even though they caused much damage, were not getting the results previously outlined. During the first ten days of the campaign in August, the Luftwaffe suffered losses far in excess of the RAF, which lost only 153 planes. British losses were to fighters seaters. The enemy lost many bombers, carrying a crew of five, two-seaters and also many fighters. In intense battles of the 15th of August, the Germans lost a total of 76. The Spitfire had a considerably higher than the performance Messerschimitt 109, while the Messershimitt 110 was faster than the Spitfire, but had difficulties in handling. The Hurricane, a slower machine, was showing its value against the German bombers. 

It would be absurd to underestimate the value and skill of the pilots of the Luftwaffe, among whom were aces like Galland and Moelders. The truth is that the British fighter pilots aware that victory depended on his courage and tenacity, initiative and showed more courage than their opponents. There have been many cases in which a plane was hit and the pilot was saved by parachute jumping, going back to fight with another plane on the same day. There was a performance advantage in domestic areas, as many RAF pilots forced to leave their phones - even those who fell in the sea - they could be rescued. The organizational control of Fighter Command, under the command of Vice-Air Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, and the 11th Fighter Group, under the command of Vice-Air Marshal Park, left little to be desired. 

The development of radar in the UK has a great advantage in order to be able to distinguish between false and true German offensives, so that they could use their resources as best we can. The Germans then increased the proportion of fighters against the bombers and, after a brief pause, struck eleven major attacks during the first five days of September. This time the targets were the fighter air bases located within the country and aircraft factories. Casualties were beginning to make the Germans lost sight of its true purpose, namely the destruction of the RAF. At the moment they began to change their targets, were routed, although this had not during printing. 

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