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The Battle of Britain

Discussion in 'Air War in Western Europe 1939 - 1945' started by Col. Hessler, Dec 17, 2005.

  1. Col. Hessler

    Col. Hessler Member

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    I was reading some old topics on the Battle of Britain, and I thought I'd bring this one up again. Could Germany possibly have won the Battle of Britain? Does no Blitz mean a German victory?

    The British were relying on radar to detect the incomming German aircraft instead of having planes in the air patrolling the skies constantly. This had not only a strategic advantage, but it also helped morale. The British were also fighting in their own homeland. If they were shot down, they could be back in action the same day unlike their German counterparts who were taken prisoner of war after being shot down.

    Despite these advantages, the Germans had crippled the RAF. If the Germans would have preceded with their plans, would victory have been possible?
     
  2. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Only if the Luftwaffe had achieved their objective of destroying the RAF on the ground at the very beginning of the offensive - and even then, they would have needed a moral/political collapse as invasion was never really an option.
     
  3. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Also the Germans had problems with the suitable ships to use to cross the Channel. Even if the RAF had been destroyed getting the troops over would be a huge problem. And RN would be there doing their part sinking the Germans on their way.

    Just remembered what the British propaganda broadcasted to Germans to lower their morale. Some language lessons for the week in case of invasion :

    "I am burning
    You are burning
    We are burning..."
     
  4. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    The Germans were in the process of gaining air superiority over the operational area of SE England. Their bombing of the airfields in that area forced the British to move airplanes back. This in turn added time before the British could engage the Luftwaffe. Air Marshal Dowding was even making comments of the time left before he would consider the RAF inoperative due to excess losses and fatigue.

    But then fate changed that when that lone bomber unloaded on London and Hitler intervened and forced the bombing of London. Then the RAF knew where the Luftwaffe was heading and merely had to wait for the bombers.

    So, the Luftwaffe could have won the battle of Britain if they stuck with their original battle plan and goals. As for the amphibian landing, well that is another story
     
  5. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    The RAF were forced to move back from Manston, and..............? :confused:
     
  6. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    If I recall correctly, this took away a half hour of engagement time. This gave the Germans the ability to hit targets in SE England without encountering the RAF because the RAF would have shown up about the time the bombers were heading for home. This also gave the Luftwaffe the ability to close the English channel to shipping. The source was Len Deighton's Fighter
     
  7. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Plus, those units that stayed were fighting for their lives and when the Luftwaffe began their night raids, fatigued the RAF pilots.

    Dowding knew that to save the RAF he would have to move the units back but this is what the Luftwaffe wanted. To save Great Britain, he left some there but had the Germans kept to their plan, The RAF units in that area would cease to exist and Leigh-Mallory's units would have to fill the gap.

    [ 19. December 2005, 02:08 PM: Message edited by: PzJgr ]
     
  8. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Manston was oly 1 of 23 airfields in 11 Group and was not even a Sector airfield. Hawkinge, Gravesend, West Malling and Tangmere are only minutes' flying time from Manston. What has shipping got to do with Battle of Britain ? Did the Luftwaffe close the Channel to the Royal Navy ? And why on earth did the Luftwaffe repeatedly bomb non-Fighter Command airfields such as Detling, Eastchurch, Abingdon and Ford while leaving major 11 Group stations such as Northolt relatively unmolested ?
     
  9. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    What has shipping got to do with Battle of Britain ? Since the Germans were trying to invade England, they would need to have control of the channel not only from the RAF but the Royal Navy as well. Push back the RAF, they can then hit any naval interference. At least that is in the plan.

    Did the Luftwaffe close the Channel to the Royal Navy ? For a period. Convoys were directed through the channel but at a heavy cost.

    And why on earth did the Luftwaffe repeatedly bomb non-Fighter Command airfields such as Detling, Eastchurch, Abingdon and Ford while leaving major 11 Group stations such as Northolt relatively unmolested ? Luftwaffed intelligence was not very good. Just like attacking the radar towers instead of the huts housing the operators.

    I would have to look it up but I could have sworn there were more fields that were abandoned due to heavy damage and daily harrassment from the Luftwaffe. I will check.

    Question stands, would the RAF still have won the Battle if the Luftwaffe continued its attacks such as their were in the second phase of the battle?
     
  10. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    I think you've partly answered your own question. ;) Luftwaffe intelligence was unbelievably poor - to have had any chance of winning, they would have needed to know what they were hitting, and what they needed to hit. Toward the end, even the Luftwaffe pilots were becoming cynical about 'the last 30 Spitfires'.

    There can be no doubt about the skill and courage of the Luftwafe pilots, or the technical sophistication of their aircraft. But, as an overall organization - which includes photo-recon and intelligence analysis - the Luftwaffe did not have the cohesion to defeat a Nation unaided.

    And neither could the RAF/USAAF later in the war.....at least, not until the advent of atomic weapons.
     
  11. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    True enough. I could not imagine being a bomber pilot or aircrew having been briefed about the "last 30 spitfires" and then getting pounced by them. Day afte day. The ME pilots must be real bad if the same 30 spits are still there.
     
  12. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Did the Germans ever really think the RAF had any radars to protect them or just thought that they were "pretty lucky to always be in the same place as German bombers?"

    And would the Germans have tried the Blitz if they had understood the effect of the radar? Anyone high enough in the Luftwaffe to understand its meaning in this kinda warfare?
     
  13. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Since they did attack the radar towers at one point, I would think that they were aware of the use of radar. Though, they misunderstood the technical aspects since the towers could easily be replaced but not the operators. The operators were located in a hut easily damaged by stafing. Goring made the mistake of taking radar off the list of targets since he perceived no gain. Had he changed tactics instead of removing them off the list, he could have found out how to effectively knock radar out of the battle. Again, naive thinking on their part.
     
  14. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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    Actually the Luftwaffe were fully aware that the British had radar.
    What they didn't realize was that the British had a highly effective fighter control system in place as well.
    Which meant that not only did the British know the Luftwaffe was coming, they had the capabilty to control their fighters like chess pieces. Either bringing them into,or avoiding combat as they saw fit.

    Because they didn't realize this, there was actually a strong body of opinion within the Luftwaffe that the radars should be left alone, because they would bring more of the the RAF into combat, where the Luftwaffe could destroy them
    :eek:
     
  15. Col. Hessler

    Col. Hessler Member

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    I was always under the impression that the Germans knew the radar towers had some significance. I read somewhere that they didn't bother to target them because they believed they couldn't knock them out because and everything was underground.
     

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