Skip to comments.This Day In History | World War II July 10, 1940 The Battle of Britain begins
Posted on 07/10/2005 4:47:37 AM PDT by mainepatsfan
This Day In History | World War II
1940 The Battle of Britain begins
On this day in 1940, the Germans begin the first in a long series of bombing raids against Great Britain, as the Battle of Britain, which will last three and a half months, begins.
After the occupation of France by Germany, Britain knew it was only a matter of time before the Axis power turned its sights across the Channel. And on July 10, 120 German bombers and fighters struck a British shipping convoy in that very Channel, while 70 more bombers attacked dockyard installations in South Wales. Although Britain had far fewer fighters than the Germans-600 to 1,300-it had a few advantages, such as an effective radar system, which made the prospects of a German sneak attack unlikely. Britain also produced superior quality aircraft. Its Spitfires could turn tighter than Germany's ME109s, enabling it to better elude pursuers; and its Hurricanes could carry 40mm cannon, and would shoot down, with its American Browning machine guns, over 1,500 Luftwaffe aircraft. The German single-engine fighters had a limited flight radius, and its bombers lacked the bomb-load capacity necessary to unleash permanent devastation on their targets. Britain also had the advantage of unified focus, while German infighting caused missteps in timing; they also suffered from poor intelligence.
But in the opening days of battle, Britain was in immediate need of two things: a collective stiff upper lip--and aluminum. A plea was made by the government to turn in all available aluminum to the Ministry of Aircraft Production. "We will turn your pots and pans into Spitfires and Hurricanes," the ministry declared. And they did.
In lost I the movement of the British Fighter Squadrons further North to protect them from the luftwaffter. Would the German been able to carry out Operation Sea Lion (Projected German Invasion of Great Britain).
DDay was carried out in June, and was postponed a number of times and almost postponed again because of the North Sea.
If we had been forced to evacuate the fighter squadrons from the South to protect them. What then for the Germans. We were by then moving into late Autumn. The North Sea wou;ld of been extremely rough and most of the ships that were to be used to were flat bottom Rhine craft, suited for the River Rhine, not for the North Sea not even in the more mild days of June.
Any Invasion with any chance of success would have needed to be carried out when the Weather was better and seas more calmer the following spring in 1941. We would of rebuilt are fighter squadrons and Army by then.
The Battle of Britain was important in that it raised moral and was the first defeat of German Arms. But the projected Invasion itself I feel was one big gigantic bluff on behalf of the Germans.
I don't think an invasion would have been possible in the fall of 1940 even if the Luftwaffe had achieved air superiority over southern England. Even with that air cover the Kriegsmarine wouldn't have been able to protect the troop ships from the Royal Navy. Let alone protect their supply lines back to France.
"Never, in the field of human conflict, have so many owed so much to so few." Winston Churchill on the Battle of Britain.
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