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GERMAN AIR ATTACKS ON BRITAIN, 1940 (BATTLE OF BRITAIN)



RECKONING WITH RADAR


By the summer of 1940 Hitler had only one active enemy remaining, Britain, and with Winston Churchill now in power they vowed to continue fighting. Although if they could fight effectively was still p in the air, as was most of the combat. The British had left much of their war arsenal on the beaches of Dunkirk, and their allies, Russia and France, needed time to recoop and could offer minimal support. The Royal Air Force (RAF), created in 1918, was numerically out numbered by the German Luftwaffe. The Luftwaffe was strong because the Nazi high command viewed their air forces as crucial for supporting the blitzkrieg campaigns.

Although the Luftwaffe was not designed for strategic air warfare, Adolf Hitler elected to commence with the plan. The Nazi plan was to cutoff Britain from all supplies, and subdued them by starving them out. They tried to accomplish this with submarine warfare and the Luftwaffe.

Invasion was the quickest for the Germans way to finish off the island country, but that meant crossing the English Channel; Hitler would not risk this unless the RAF could be neutralized first. As a result the Battle of Britain was primarily fought in the air. In August of 1940 the Germans launched daylight raids against English ports and airfields, and in September the inland cities. The purpose was to draw out the British fighters and destroy them. The Germans failed to reckon with the new device of radar, that greatly increased the RAF effectiveness and readiness. This caused German loses to be high, contrasting their theory of an easy victory, and the Germans switched to almost nightly bombing raids at the end of September 1940. Between this time and May of 1941, the Luftwaffe made 71 raids on London and 56 other cities, but the damage inflicted was too indiscriminate to be militarily decisive. On September 17, 1940, when Hitler postponed the invasion indefinitely, he effectively conceded defeat in the Battle of Britain.

By Andy "The Bear" Johnston

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