• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Battle of Britain

Extracts from this document...


Battle of Britain In May 1940, the German Blitzkrieg swept through France, trapping the allies at Dunkirk, who were only rescued by an amazingly daring evacuation at the very last minute. Over 300,000 soldiers were saved, but this left Britain in a precarious position. A large part of the army's equipment was left in France, the country's morale was low, and Britain was isolated, with no allies left in Europe, and the USA not yet in the war. Only the English Channel prevented the might of the German army from doing to Britain what they had just done to France. After all Hitler's peace negotiations had failed, he began to put his plan for conquering Britain into action: OperationSeaLion. Obviously, in order to invade Britain, the English Channel would first need to be crossed, but the success of such a crossing and the ability to land on the other side was dependent on having air superiority. This meant that the RAF had to be destroyed, and quickly. No one in Nazi Germany doubted that this was possible, Herman G�ring's all conquering Luftwaffe outnumbered the RAF by almost two to one. G�ring believed that he could destroy the RAF in just four weeks. It isn't hard to see why they believed this to be the case; the British also knew they were outnumbered, and realistically they must also have known that if the Germans landed, they would have no way of stopping them, especially considering the amount of men and equipment still in France. ...read more.


Such inexperience would show in the air and would also reflect in the numbers of RAF losses. This makes the British achievement in the battle even more amazing and raises the question as to whether the battle was won because of the pilots or in spite of them. But what they did took amazing bravery and underlines the fighting spirit and determination of those involved, to still take to the air knowing they faced almost certain death, but knowing the alternative would be even worse. Despite the problems the pilots faced, it is amazing just what can be achieved when there really is nothing left to lose. It has to be remembered, though, that the British did not fight alone, survivors from European air forces such as the French, Dutch, Polish, and Czech all arrived in Britain to fight for the RAF. Likewise, other pilots came from Commonwealth countries including Canada, Australia, and New Zealand as well as a few from the United States. All played important roles, and despite the obvious language problems, provided vital experience that helped give the British the fighting chance they needed. Britain did have one advantage though, and that was radar. Although unreliable, it allowed the British to track the German raids and send the fighters to where they were needed. ...read more.


The war was far from over, but the Germans had certainly got a bloody nose and suffered their first defeat. In four months, while Britain had lost 915 aircraft, the Germans had lost 1733 (North, 1990:113). There was still a long way to go, but it proved to the world that the Germans were not invincible. The Germans subsequently turned their attentions to the East and the invasion of Russia where they would suffer even greater problems. An uneasy stand off between Britain and Germany ensued. In the end, Britain had a lot to be thankful for. The skill and determination of her pilots could not be underestimated, but luck played an even more important role. The weather, so often derided in England, caused more problems than the Luftwaffe could cope with. Yet, it was the unfortunate action of one German pilot that altered the whole pattern of the war, but saved the RAF. Hitler's ego got in the way and changed Germany's tactics just when they had the British were they wanted them. Ultimately, it could be argued that the Germans lost the Battle of Britain rather than the British winning it. However, while the Germans made tactical errors, it still took the bravery and ability of the RAF to exploit these mistakes and defeat the Germans for the first time in the war. By Kay Bradley 10k ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE War Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE War Poetry essays

  1. Why did William win at the Battle of Hastings?

    (About.com- Battle of Hastings) William was a great leader of his men and this is best seen when a rumour spread about his death in battle. To prove he was alive he removed his helmet so that his men could see his face.

  2. This essay will consist of a number of Interpretations some agreeing with the popular ...

    The strengths of this piece are that the book is written from the losers' perspective and gives me a different type of view on World War II. He is an Historian therefore he should be reliable. He also has the advantage of hindsight and is able to look at the

  1. War at Sea.

    century this mainly because of the technological change such as the torpedo, submarines and costal guns. So a Nelsonic type blockade will be impossible so instead the blockade was maintained at a great distance. This was successful over time as it effectively 'strangled� Germany by preventing any Merchant ships entering with their vital foods and goods.

  2. The Battle Of Hastings was in the year 1066, in the medieval times.The battle ...

    Godwinson's army think that there winning and William's army admit defeat but Harold Godwinson made a big mistake, his army broke off from the defensive wall and the wall collapsed.

  1. Why did Britain win the Battle of Britain?

    This tactical error made by the Germans would have handed an advantage to the British. Dowding also advised the Royal Air Force to sent squadrons of planes out at a time instead of sending all of the planes out at once.

  2. This essay would be examining the methods through which the British won the Battle ...

    However, they could not radically change them as arriving replacement pilots, often with only minimal actual flying time, could not be readily retrained in the midst of battle. A compromise was adopted whereby squadron formations used much looser formations with one or two aircraft flying independently above and behind (dubbed 'weavers')

  1. English Short Story

    range and the assailants afterward retire, there was a "dead-line" beyond which no man advanced but to fall. Not a soul of them ever reached the enemy's front to be bayoneted or captured. It was a matter of the difference of three or four paces--too small a distance to affect the accuracy of aim.

  2. "Assess the importance of Britain's contribution to the defeat of Germany in WWI"

    British soldiers was not the best weapon but it had many weaknesses. The tanks were first used in the battle of the Somme in 1916. One of the weaknesses of the tank was that in the first battle 49 tanks were supposed to arrive on the battlefield but only 32

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work