Why was Britain able to win the Battle of Britain?

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Why was Britain able to win the Battle of Britain?

Following the evacuation of Dunkirk, Hitler controlled the entirety of Western Europe except from Britain. Britain stood alone against the might of the German army, Air Force and Navy. The German army was situated in France whilst the Luftwaffe was regrouped into three Air Fleets (Luftflotten). Luftflotten 2 was responsible for southeast England and the London area, whilst Luftflotten 3 targeted the West Country, Midlands, and northwest England. The final fleet, Luftflotten 5 targeted the North of England and Scotland. Hitler’s planned invasion of Britain was codenamed “Operation Sealion” and he first planned to land on the south coast of England but was told by Admiral Raeder (leader of the German Navy) that the invasion would only be possible if they had complete air superiority over the British. Hitler, therefore, ordered the invasion to take place once this had been achieved. This is when the Battle of Britain was first put on the table, the Battle of Britain was the name given to the period of time in which the Nazis tried to invade Britain.  “I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin” these are the words spoken by Winston Churchill; PM of Great Britain, on 18th June 1940. There are many different views as to when the Battle of Britain started and finished. The first German plane crossed the channel on 1st July 1940 and this is when I believe the Battle of Britain first got underway. British Historians, however, date the battle to be from 10th  July to 31st October, during the most intense periods of fighting and bombing. On the other hand, German Historians believe it started in mid August 1940 and ended in may 1941, when the German bombers withdrew in preparation for the attack on the USSR. Hitler delayed his invasion twice , on 24th September and 13th October. It was not until Hitler's Directive 21, was ordered on 18 December 1940, that the threat of invasion finally dissipated.

The list of reasons for Britain being able to win the Battle of Britain (B of B) is endless. I have decided to focus my essay on four main areas, Leadership, Tactics, Weaponry and Technology. In my opinion these are the four areas in which helped Britain the most to win the B of B.

The first contributing factor as to why Britain was able to win the B of B is Technology. Between the First and Second World Wars technology advanced massively. The British had managed to develop a Radar System which when properly used could detect accurately the size, location and speed of approaching aircraft, the RAF could therefore get their planes in the air quickly and intercept the enemy aircraft. In previous campaigns the Germans had managed to destroy enemy aircraft whilst on the ground so the development of the Radar Systems stopped the Luftwaffe from destroying stationary RAF planes. The Radar System sent radio waves into the sky and when the waves hit planes the radio waves (RW) would bounce back and be read by British intelligence personnel. Like the Germans, Britain had divided itself into 4 groups, each covering and defending certain airspace. 10 Group defended Wales and the West Country, 11 Group covered the southeast of England and London, 12 Group defended the Midlands and East Anglia and 13 Group covered the north of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. At the HQ of each group, information from Fighter Command headquarters would be noted on plotting tables, large maps on which counters marking the incoming raids would be moved, and RAF officers known as Fighter Controllers could then order a response to the specific Air Field within their group. The radar obviously played a huge role in this defence system called Chain Home and without it Britain would have been prone to attack without any warning. With the help of radar the RAF achieved interception rates of over 80% and the Chain home became one of the biggest factors in helping Britain to win the B of B. Small inventions such as bullet-proof windscreens for fighter planes also helped the British.

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The Second contributing factor in helping Britain to win the B of B was Leadership. Leaders from both Germany and Britain affected the B of B in some way. Sir Hugh Dowding was the head of the RAF and had been a World War one pilot. Dowding was well respected within the whole of the RAF and most of the pilots looked up to him. He was a great teacher and role model, as he taught many of the pilots first hand. This is shown as the RAF pilots were referred to as “Dowding’s chicks” Dowding always looked forwards ...

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