Battle of Britain

Discussions on WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic.
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ZackdeBlanc
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Battle of Britain

Post by ZackdeBlanc » 03 Apr 2003 04:02

Why did the RAF successfully defeat the Luftwaffe at the Battle of Britain? The Luftwaffe were more numerous and, as I thought, superior warplanes. What was the reason that the Luftwaffe suffered such a crushing defeat in 1940 when they tried to defeat the British RAF? I read somewhere that for every RAF downed during the battle 2.5 Luftwaffe planes went down.









-- Zachary White
zwhite@gladstone.uoregon.edu

James McBride
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Post by James McBride » 03 Apr 2003 04:26

Knowing when German planes were coming and from where helped. And though I can't remember where it was here, there was some discussion on the planes used by both sides. I think the German planes weren't as superior as claimed. But again, the radar helped a lot. Eating carrots didn't quite cut it for the German flyers.

Mike R
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Post by Mike R » 03 Apr 2003 04:58

Bf 109 had very short range, could only spend about 15 minutes over England. As a result, German bombers would often find themselves alone against RAF Hurricanes. I believe the Spitfire, about 1/3 of the RAF fighters, were used mostly to intercept the German escorts as the Spit was more maneuvarable than the 109. The Hurris were then left to the bombers. The long range German escort, the Bf 110, wasn't very successful as a daytime fighter. It was "the escort that needed an escort."

As mentioned, radar was a big advantage. RAF also had the benefit of recovering pilots that had bailed out and were still able to fly, whereas any Germans that bailed out over England were captured.

The Germans also made several strategic errors in target selection. They tried bombing the radar installations and airfields, but eventually gave up on these as they believed their bombs would have more of an effect elsewhere. I'm not entirely sure, but I believe Churchill later made a remark along the lines that if the Germans had continued their campaign against RAF bases for another two or three weeks instead of switching to bombing London the RAF would have had it.

One distinct advantage the German fighters had over the RAF fighters was the use of fuel injection engines. RAF fighters would occasionally have their engines momentarily cut out if they performed certain maneuvers.

Regards,
-Mike

James McBride
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Post by James McBride » 03 Apr 2003 05:32

I remember seeing a quote from Churchill somewhere along those lines myself. I was going to bring it up in my first post, but I wasn't sure if I was remembering correctly
James

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