Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Battle of Britain

Discussion in 'Aircraft' started by GunSlinger86, Jul 13, 2016.

  1. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2013
    Messages:
    1,109
    Likes Received:
    41
    The story goes that Britain was the underdog in this fight, they had 700 fighters to Germany's 1100, not counting the bombers. I read that the British had built almost 3000 Spitfires and Hurricanes up to the point when battle of Britain started, so why did they only employ 700 fighters? Were they lacking trained pilots, out of all those planes built, only 700 were functional? What made Britain operate fewer fighters if they had the quantity?
     
  2. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2002
    Messages:
    13,577
    Likes Received:
    1,480
    Location:
    London, England.
    Numbers of aircraft can be argued endlessly ie does one include such as the Blenheim and Defiant fighters ( of limited value against the Luftwaffe ) also aircraft in MU's for various reasons etc etc.

    Anyhow, it would be difficult to see who would pilot 3000 aircraft - even with the emergency 'training' period of only two weeks which was in place at the beginning of the Battle, total pilot strength for Fighter Command was 1,259 on 6 July 1940 ( source : 'The Battle Of Britain' by TCG James, Frank Cass 2000 ).
     
  3. YugoslavPartisan

    YugoslavPartisan Drug

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2015
    Messages:
    1,534
    Likes Received:
    182
    Location:
    Pannonia
    UK experienced a serious lack of pilots according to then Air Chief Marshall Hugh Dowding. During the beginning of The Battle of Britan he said that it's not the problem with the production of aircraft but with the number of trained pilots. That's why there were many Poles and Czechoslovaks fighting for the Brits.
     
  4. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,271
    Likes Received:
    673
    Location:
    Auburn, Alabama, US
    Len Deighton's book "Fighter" is a well researched factual account of the BOB. Thought it emphasizes the Spitfire -109 struggle it covers the entire battle . He also emphasizes the pilot shortage. Up to 6-7 sorties a day , being shot down then back up in a new plane in hours.

    On the surface you poase a good question, thinking the same lead me to read more before forum's existed.

    Gaines
     
  5. YugoslavPartisan

    YugoslavPartisan Drug

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2015
    Messages:
    1,534
    Likes Received:
    182
    Location:
    Pannonia
    Indeed. I read that there were cases of pilots taking a cab back to the airfield after they were shot down. Such a spirit they had.
     
  6. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    14,456
    Likes Received:
    4,101
    The RAF had to cover the whole of the UK, not just the London area. The story about having no reserves is a bit misleading, because he meant "no reserves in this sector."

    [​IMG]
     
  7. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2013
    Messages:
    1,109
    Likes Received:
    41
    The book, which was a WW2 Encyclopedia/Reference book, stated that Britain had manufactured over 2000 Spitfires alone by the Battle of Britain
     
  8. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2014
    Messages:
    3,148
    Likes Received:
    359
    Location:
    New England
    Gaines, have that book in my queue but have never picked it up. Worth a read?
     
  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    9,483
    Likes Received:
    2,243
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    I think that should be "ordered" over 2,000 Spitfires by the end of the Battle of Britain.

    Of the first batch of 1,000 - the first was delivered on June 27, 1940, and the last was delivered on July 21, 1941.


    http://www.angelfire.com/sd2/spitfirefactory/production.htm

    edited for readability
     
  10. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    1,708
    Likes Received:
    508
    Location:
    London UK
    The British planned to expand the air craft industry using the capacity of their motor industry. Supermarine which designed the Spitfire was a tine business which specialised in building flying boats with a side line building racing machines. The Spitfire II was designed built by Nuffield's new Castle Bromwich factory. Building fighter aircraft was a bit different to building saloon cars and it took a long time to complete the first orders. The vast majority of Sptifires which fought in the Battle of Britian were Spitfire mk I built by Supermarine.

    Manufacturing numbers only tells part of the story. The Civilian Repair Organisation RAF had a very efficient salvage operation which repaired aircraft which had crashed or crash landed. By July they were returning 160 aircraft per week to service units.
    https://battleofbritainblog.com/unsung-heroes/civilian-repair-unit/
     
  11. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2013
    Messages:
    1,109
    Likes Received:
    41
    So the number of pilots was more of a factor than numbers of aircraft.
     
  12. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1,247
    Likes Received:
    134
    In a huge way. The RAF was taking volunteers from all services who could fly.
     
  13. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    1,708
    Likes Received:
    508
    Location:
    London UK
  14. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,271
    Likes Received:
    673
    Location:
    Auburn, Alabama, US
    KJ, just spotted your question, sorry I missed it. "Fighter" is what I think of as a great book but not a definitive work. It emphasises the comparisons of basically the early versions of the Spitfire and the 109 , chain of command, production, a fact filled book. Not flowing prose but lots of data. I recommend it for that reason. No exaggerations, patriotism, etc, just the fact's ma'm, I then bought "Bomber" thinking it would be the same but it proved to be a truly facinating novel, full of historic knowledge and a very good story. I confess UIn enjoyed Bomber more but of course they are radically different.

    Read both. !

    Gaines
     
  15. FalkeEins

    FalkeEins Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Messages:
    527
    Likes Received:
    75
    the 'myth' of the 'Few' - about 650 serviceable fighters at the start of the battle, but a vastly superior fighter control system that could put the right numbers in the right bit of sky at about the right time which effectively compensated for any shortfall (see Bergstrom's recent study " The BoB - an epic conflict reassessed "). Other Continental writers like Roba credit Ultra with having a decisive impact - the RAF knew what was coming and where and only needed to deploy accordingly- must admit I'm not so sure about that, surely it took a while to exploit Ultra decrypts?
     
  16. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2016
    Messages:
    411
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Germany
    Is a book worth reading which concentrates on the comparism of the Spitfire vs Me 109? I doubt it. Obviously the author even does not know that the standard fighter of the RAF in Summer 1940 was the Hurricane of course.

    Facts, data is easy to collect, then add a few pictures and a nice cover - there you have a sellable product, you can make money with without the need of really understanding what happened and why it happened.

    I consider the german B-Dienst as good as ULTRA back then, i can't imagine why there should be an advantage on either side. Did Göring himself knew, where and when he orders to attack the next day?
     

Share This Page