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The battle of England

Discussion in 'Air War in Western Europe 1939 - 1945' started by -, Oct 6, 2007.

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    Contrarily to what happened in other occasions, Göring in this case had some justification to his error. During the Country of France, the British Metropolitan Aviation, constituted for the greatest part from the new models Spitfire and Hurricane, had been maintained in reserve just to face the eventuality that the continental ally was defeated and it had had to defend the homeland itself. Only during the most convulsive phases of the retreat from Dunkirk, the loss of that precious aircrafts was risked. The large number of bombardiers lost over the beaches of the French town would have had to let the vertexes of the Luftwaffe reflect about the goodness of the machines of the enemy.

    If this didn't happen for that that Göring concerns, who remained convinced of the absolute superiority of his own forces, the rest of the command of the German aviation modified the tactics of attack foreseeing for the raids above England a strong escort of Messerschnitt for the fleet of Junkers, Dornier and Heinkel that had to break up the British resistance. Unfortunately, for four orders of reasons, the German effort would never have been able to have success. Two of these motives were uncontrollable for the German command because they were referable to the qualities of the adversary aircrafts and two, instead, were directly connected with defects of the Messerschnitt and the strategic formalities with which the missions of bombardment were performed.

    We start from the lacks on the German side. After the unpunished attacks to Berlin completed by the allies in the night on August 25, 1940, and in the followings, the objectives of the German bombardments deeply changed. English justified the bombs launched on the large German city with the retaliation for the serious damages suffered from London the preceding day, caused however, according to a German version told after the conclusion of the war, from the release of the war load from some German bombardiers damaged by the English antiaircraft protection system. However, it is, Hitler pretended, under the push of the popular rage, that London and the other English cities were “punished.” The abandonment of the Fighter Commands as primary bombardment target of the raids allowed allied forces having a little period of rest. In addition, the necessity to lengthen the flight to strike the big centers of the north of England as Manchester or Liverpool or to stop above the London urban agglomeration for more time to furnish suitable coverage to the bombardiers, showed the greatest defect of the Messerschnitt Bf 109E that was the limited autonomy that reduced the maximum range of action.

    For the English, instead, two unfavorable to the Messerschnitt conditions happened, a first one of technical character corresponding to the better armament of the Hurricane and the Spitfires (from six to eight machine-guns from 7,6 mms against from two to four weapons of superior slightly caliber of the Messerschnitts) that in the second airplanes was added to the highest operational altitude that they could reach allowing the pilots of the RAF to attack from a most favorable position. The other element of favor for English was of psychological character and entirely unexpected either for the Luftwaffe either for the Fighter Commands. The ardor and the tenacity with which the English pilots fought to protect their own houses from the Nazi Terrorangriff (terrorist Aggression) was beyond every imagination, consecrating an indomitable spirit that Churchill had asked, but that hardly he would have expected to get so early.

    It is necessary to remember his famous sentence in which he affirmed that “never the nation owes so much to so few men.” A similar behavior held by the pilots of the RAF could be also considered relatively normal, but it had to add to it the true fury with which they fought, from the moment in which they could do it, the hundreds of foreign refugee pilots. An unbelievable admixture of Polish, Norwegians, Dutch, Belgians, Czech, French that had seen their own country succumb in front of the German advance and of Australian, Canadian and American voluntaries that fought for ideal of liberty and justice were as brave as the members of the Metropolitan aviation furnishing the only good that the British war industries didn't succeed in replacing with quickness: the pilots.

    The balanced clash between RAF and Luftwaffe was concluded in favor of the former one, but the Messerschnitt went out defeated, but not reappraised. All pilots that flew with it praised its great qualities, complaining a greater autonomy of flight and maneuverability at high altitude only. The suggestions were partially received in the project that brought to version F of the machine that was strengthened with the adoption of the motor DB 601F from the lower consumption and from 970 kWs of power.

    "An unlucky legend" by Raul Larroque

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