now our fate lies with victory in the air
Cities are now the front line.
Logic, based on a presumption, makes it so.
Hitler made no plans to invade England.
His mind had already turned to Russia.
They alone stood in the way of German greatness.
Britain was militarily finished.
Churchill would come to realize this.
* * * * *
Disposition of Forces / 10 July 1940
The challenge for Britain is to focus your air defense
to meet the attack of enemy bombers no matter the direction.
This approach requires being able to see over the horizon
to detect a pending attack, determine the air fleet's size and
its intended direction.
Radar will neutralize the Luftwaffe's numerical superiority.
The RAF will not be required to broadly disperse its fighters.
The air force will be saved the costly expense of constant patrols
by RAF fighters to provide the nation's watchtowers. An efficient
management of radar information enables the RAF to concentrate
its attack on a fleet of bombers using aircraft from various bases.
M E S S E R S C H M I T T
s p e e d 348 mph
r a n g e 410 miles
g u n s 2 x 20 mm cannon
CANNON PROJECTILES EXPLODE
2 x 7.92 mm mg
MG - MACHINE GUN
Fighter protection for German planes bombing Britain
was limited to the short range of the Messerschmitt Bf 109.
Designed the British air defense
fully appreciating the decisive role
radar would need to play in
preventing the RAF from being
overwhelmed by German numbers.
German Heinkel He 111s fly low over the Channel
in attempt to evade British detection.
A German bomber already showing its age
by the time of the Battle of Britain. Without the Bf-109
this Heinkel would be a sitting duck in an RAF attack
because its own defensive field of fire is too easily evaded.
H E I N K E L
s p e e d 200 mph
r a n g e 1,224 miles
p a y l o a d 4,410 lb
c r e w 4 - 5
a r m a m e n t 6 - 7 7.92mm MG
RAF pilots came from across the British Commonwealth.
RAF losses were too great to rely solely on England for pilots.
But even with a reliable source of qualified recruits it still
takes a year to fashion them into fighter pilots. Too often,
rookie replacements were expected to match wits with an
experienced Messerschmitt pilot. RAF generals were given
no choice but to throw any flier available into the fiery mix.
Rugged and likable by those who flew it
the Hawker Hurricane was still a transitional fighter,
still constructed in part with cloth and wood,
it was better suited to attacking bombers
than taking on a Messerschmitt one on one.
H A W K E R
s p e e d 324 mph
r a n g e 600 miles
a r m a m e n t 8 x .303 in. MG / 4 each wing
The Spitfire was the equal of the Bf 109.
S U P E R M A R I N E
s p e e d 355 mph
r a n g e 575 miles
a r m a m e n t 8 x .303 in. MG
T A C T I C S
the one clear advantage German pilots
had over their RAF counterparts.
Luftwaffe pilots flew in pairs with one
always assigned the role of wingman -
making sure no one pounces on you
from out of nowhere. The British,
on the other hand flew in groups of three.
The weakness here was that there was
always one plane set up for a relatively
easy blindside kill.
The RAF is a punch-drunk fighter set up for
a knock-out blow. Instead, Hitler suddenly
turns his attention away from destroying the RAF.
It's taking too long. Time to pillage the village
of one's enemy. This switch to the strategic strategy
of bombing cities gives the RAF a desperately
needed respite. Their fliers find time for needed rest.
Bombed air bases are repaired and the nation's
stock of fighter aircraft are replenished.
The Brits fight on with steeled will.
The Americans take notice.
A grainy image from a Spitfire gunsight
records the final moments of a German bomber
and its four members on board.
The Spitfire riddles its target
with .30 caliber rounds coming from eight
machine guns, four in each wing. All that is left
for this crew is riding this nine ton piece of machinery
to its gravity induced fate.
Invasion barges collect in harbors along the English Channel.
what it's all about
The Luftwaffe needs control of the air if an invasion of Britain
is to be anything more than wishful thinking, which it barely is.
Hitler's Operation Sealion is ill-conceived and rushed.
But that is left for him to find out.
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