War and Society
The Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain is the first time that Germany really attempts to try and destroy Britain and is historically known as one of the major battles in World War II. The Battle of Britain was fought between England and Nazi Germany. This short battle can easily be broken up into five different parts beginning on, July 10th 1940 until October 30th of the same year. This battle brought forth new innovation, taking place primarily in the air; this was because German Admiral Earl Raeder said Germany could only conquer Britain through air superiority. This new air style of battle is due to increased technologies at the time of World War II compared to past wars. The Battle of Britain is considered one of the major turning points of World War II for the allied powers. This was also the first major loss for the Germans during the war. On July 10th, 1940 the first stage of the Battle of Britain began, this first stage is known as the “Channel Battle” and continues until early August of the same year. At this point during the Second World War, Germany had overtaken France and Adolf Hitler figured that once he conquered Britain he would have access to the water ways, essentially giving him the power to conquer all of Europe. After Germany defeated France, British forces moved back to the channel and not many people thought Britain had the firepower or soldiers to survive a German attack after their quick defeat of the French. The “Channel Battle”, began with German bomber raids on the Southern English Coast including the towns of Plymouth, Weymouth, Falmouth, Portsmouth and Dover. Germany was also attacking any British Convoys they could find. Most of the fighting during the channel stage took place on July 10th because Germany how weak the English were, and were hoping for a decisive and quick victory. However, on this first day, only 1 out of every 6 German aircrafts that took off landed back safely on the ground. (Hough and Richards, 122). The British used new radar assisted guns known as a dover gun. The dover guns helped the British shoot down these German Planes (Hough and Richards, 124). The rest of the “Channel Fight” period was seemingly quiet compared to the first day of battle (July 10th), and perhaps the main reasons for this was the unfavorable weather for bombing and divisions 2 and 3 of the German air force were not yet fully prepared. During this time there were still bombings and naval fighting, just not as major as before. On July 16th, Hitler released his operation Sealion plan which combined Germany’s Navy, Army and Air Force together in battle in a full scale attempt to conquer Britain. While the German Luftwaffe continued to attack the British through bombing, the German Army and Navy failed to find a way to invade. This is primarily because the German Navy was just not strong enough to fend off the British’s strong Navy to allow German soldiers to reach and start fighting on land. During this phase of the battle, over 40,000 tons of British shipping was destroyed and 70 British fighter planes were lost while 180 German aircrafts were destroyed (only 80 fighter) which left both sides about where they started in terms of an advantage during the battle when this stage ended (Keegan 94). On August 1st Hitler released his Fuhrer Directive 17 which said that Germany now planned on overpowering the English air force with all his units of command in the shortest time possible. This leads to the next phase of the war which began on August 13th and ended on August 18th.
The next phase of the war is known as “Operation Eagle”. The name came about because Hitler was angered with the aerial stalemate Germany and England were in. Hitler believed that the “British were already beaten, if only they would recognize it” (Keegan 94). Unlike the invasion of France and other Countries under German rule at this time, Hitler did not want to attack Britain; instead, he