Battle of Britain

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by LuftwaffeFuehrer, Jun 6, 2006.

  1. LuftwaffeFuehrer

    LuftwaffeFuehrer Junior Member

    ok i don't know if this has been done before on these forums but
    i'm going to do this anyway, and sorry if it has been done

    a couple of hours ago, i was discussing the battle of britain
    with another person online

    he says that the british was winning the battle from the start and that
    the Luftwaffe never had a chance and wasn't even close
    at harming the RAF

    i say the opposite, the Luftwaffe had a chance of breaking the RAF but
    they lost their chance when they switched from targeting airfields
    and other locations to bomb london and other major cities

    he takes this information from one book while i take mine from several books
    and endless amounts of programs on the History and Military channel

    what do you think?

    i know(or atleast think) that even if the RAF would have lost
    that Germany was not strong enough to invade it since the Royal Navy
    was too strong for an invasion to succesfully happen
     
  2. Hawkeye90

    Hawkeye90 Senior Member

    I would think Germany had an advantage. At the start of the battle the English had 700 fighters, Germany had about 1,100 fighters and around 1,500 bombers. The RAF also had fewer pilots, which resulted in men flying multiple sorties daily. The English upheld a very strong defence against the Luftwaffe.
     
  3. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    One of the biggest problems for the RAF was the limited number of pilots they had. Especially as the battle went on and on.
    The RAF was certainly outnumbered but had the advantage of fighting over home ground.
    Bad tactics certainly helped the RAF but it was no way an easy victory.
     
  4. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    LuftwaffeFuehrer, welcome aboard.

    There are many books on the Battle of Britain, arguing its importance from a variety of angles and ideas, but my take is that if the Luftwaffe had indeed ground down the RAF to insignificance, they could have launched "Sea Lion."

    The outcome of that, I don't know. There are good arguments for it succeeding and failing, and I've seen "what if" books and articles with both sides gaining honors. I have a hunch that "Knickebein" would pay off for the Luftwaffe in attacking the Royal Navy, but there are too many imponderables: weather, logistics, British tenacity, and morale. Mobility and the lack thereof on both sides would also be a factor.

    My personal feeling is that an invasion of England would have been a dreadful mess for the Germans, because of their pigpile invasion fleet. However, if they defeated the British on the invasion beaches, given the fragile state of the British military, it could have had a shock wave effect on morale, possibly knocking over the Churchill government, and replacing it with appeasers.

    Other than that, it's hard for me to judge. Too many what ifs. Too many imponderables. Too many unknowns.
     
  5. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    One of the biggest problems for the RAF was the limited number of pilots they had. Especially as the battle went on and on.



    Nearly 2946 aircrew received the clasp which indicated that they had flown combat missions during the battle.

    but my take is that if the Luftwaffe had indeed ground down the RAF to insignificance, they could have launched "Sea Lion."


    The question that should be asked, is, was Hitler prepared to issue the execute order for sealion.

    The RAF was certainly outnumbered but had the advantage of fighting over home ground.
    Bad tactics certainly helped the RAF but it was no way an easy victory

    There was more to it than just being on homeground and Bad tactics on the behalf of of the luftwaffe. The reason for the victory are complex because we had the advantage od good intelligance from RADAR, Y Sigs, and enigma to a ceretain extent. Therefore the RAF were fighting a holding battle until, they were able to wear down the luftwaffe.

    ACM Sir Chrisotpher Foxley-Norris, a BofB pilot himself, put the victory at the feet of Stuffy Dowdling, The Battle of Britain was not only won partly because Dowding refused to send more fighters to France; it was also won because between June and July 10th, which is the official starting date of the Battle, he refused to commit unnecessary forces to targets that were less than valuable. There has been very little written about that, and I very much hope you will be able to appreciate the effect that that had on the actual outcome of the Battle.


    Probert Air Cde, Henry., Cox Sebastian (Eds)., The Battle Re-thought - a Symposium on the Battle of Britain, London, RAFHS, 1990 P 98
     
  6. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    I put in my first post a few reasons. They are but a fraction. It would take an age to list the various reasons.
    Ginger Lacey was one of the best BoB pilots and he asked to be taken off ops as he was so tired. These pilots were flying 4,5,6 sorties a day. That punishment would wear down even the hardest of men.
     
  7. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    These pilots were flying 4,5,6 sorties a day. That punishment would wear down even the hardest of men.


    My father spoke of helping drunk pilots into their cockpits at RAF Turnhouse in 1940. But still, they flew and still they engaged the enemy
     
  8. redcoat

    redcoat Senior Member

    he says that the british was winning the battle from the start and that
    the Luftwaffe never had a chance and wasn't even close
    at harming the RAF

    i say the opposite, the Luftwaffe had a chance of breaking the RAF but
    they lost their chance when they switched from targeting airfields
    and other locations to bomb london and other major cities

    he takes this information from one book while i take mine from several books
    and endless amounts of programs on the History and Military channel

    what do you think
    The modern view amongst aviation historians is that your friend is correct.
    The RAF was winning from the start, and continued to win all the way through it.
    They point out that on the 5th September 1940,the date of the change from bombing the airfields to London, RAF fighter Command had 150 more operational Hurricanes, and Spitfires as well as nearly 200 extra fighter pilots than at the start of the battle in july
    In fact the modern view is that it would have been difficult for the Luftwaffe to win it, without some major errors on the part of the RAF, given the replacement rates of both sides.
     
  9. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    nearly 200 extra fighter pilots than at the start of the battle in july


    By October, they were over established as regards pilots. They had 38 more pilots than aircraft.
     
  10. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    The RAF was winning from the start, and continued to win all the way through it.

    Even Dr Horst Boog the Chief Historian of the Luftwaffe agrees.
     
  11. Herroberst

    Herroberst Senior Member

    It really depended on how much, in the way of resources, the Wehrmacht was willing to commit. If they had piled into Dunkirk and annihilated the 300,000 evacuated, then Sealion was quickly followed on with the RAF destroyed on their airfields, Britain would be in tough shape. The Luftwaffe would have needed to understand the limitations of their weapons sytems the Me-110 and the Ju-87 against the Spitfire. As well as mentioned before some sort of drop tanks for the Me-109s. Appeasement doesn't come into play with the English on the contrary historians believe there would have been quite a guerilla war against the German invaders.
     
  12. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    It really depended on how much, in the way of resources, the Wehrmacht was willing to commit.

    in addition, having a good plan of attack.
     
  13. LuftwaffeFuehrer

    LuftwaffeFuehrer Junior Member

    LuftwaffeFuehrer, welcome aboard.

    thanks :icon-mrgreenbandit:


    now for the topic

    the other person only takes in mind the number of pilots
    and aircraft that the RAF had available, and on this part
    i agree with him, the RAF had a lot
    but what he doesn't look at was the quality of those pilots,
    most of those pilots barely knew how to fly their plane

    while the luftwaffe replacements, had the appropiate training(for the most
    part) even though they were in smaller numbers than their RAF
    counterpart

    also the RAF was on the verge of collapse because of it's pilots being
    exhausted(i know the Luftwaffe pilots weren't doing any better)
    and if it wasn't for the switch in tactics from Goering, they would have
    collapsed, but since the Luftwaffe did change tactics because of Goering
    incompetence, the RAF was able to regroup and give it's pilots the
    rest they needed, even though cities like London payed the price for a while
     
  14. Herroberst

    Herroberst Senior Member

    but what he doesn't look at was the quality of those pilots,
    most of those pilots barely knew how to fly their plane



    On what source do you base your claim? The fact is the Luftwaffe pilots had more combat experience in the Spanish Civil War, Poland, Norway and The Battle of France. But as far as quality pilots, I wouldn't say the RAF were barely able to fly their planes unless alcohol had something to do with it. (ref Post alla Morse)

    I would say the RAF had far fewer quality pilots.

    also the RAF was on the verge of collapse because of it's pilots being exhausted.


    Agreed on that point Meine Herren

    Ende
     
  15. Herroberst

    Herroberst Senior Member

    in addition, having a good plan of attack.

    The Luftwaffe had a great plan of attack.

    Use dive bombers to eliminate radar(wrong weapons system in that environment, Stuka could only operate with air superiority on the side of the Luftwaffe)

    Bomb air fields to disrupt fighter cover of military targets.

    When fighter cover is eliminated bomb military and industrial targets

    Invade

    The problem was that they didn't follow the original plan.

    Air tactics and mismanagement of weapons platforms were their flaw. Along with some gutsy RAF pilots.
     
  16. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    One thing that seems to be missed is the tactics of the 109s. Goring made the fighter pilots give close protection to the bombers. The 109 was a hunter and used properly would have caused real problems for the RAF.
    As the battle wore on the RAF were more and more reluctant to engage the Luftwaffe fighters on their 'free hunts'.
    The Luftwaffe wasted too much time on attacking airfields that weren't of any tactical use. If they had hit the sector airfields harder and sustained, who knows how the RAF would have coped.
     
  17. LuftwaffeFuehrer

    LuftwaffeFuehrer Junior Member

    On what source do you base your claim? The fact is the Luftwaffe pilots had more combat experience in the Spanish Civil War, Poland, Norway and The Battle of France. But as far as quality pilots, I wouldn't say the RAF were barely able to fly their planes unless alcohol had something to do with it. (ref Post alla Morse)

    I would say the RAF had far fewer quality pilots.



    Agreed on that point Meine Herren

    Ende



    i didn't mean that the RAF had very inexperience pilots at the start of the
    Battle of Britain, i meant that it had barely any good pilots near the end
    of the airfield bombings, where the RAF was about to collapse

    at the begining of the of the battle both the RAF and Luftwaffe had
    excellent pilots

    und danke, mein dame
     
  18. raf

    raf Senior Member

    i dont know so i will ask......

    sept 5th 1940 the Germans changed from bombing airfields to Cities. Was this because they new they couldnt fight/beat the RAF this way. Surely the Germans must have known how many planes we were putting up in the air and how many they were losing.

    so was it the wrong tactik or the right one to save themselves

    Also if an airfield is destoyed the how long would it have taken for a fresh runway to be laid or could they have even taken off on a stretch of grass
     
  19. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    The Battle of Britain changed the course of history. It pitted a relatively few people - primarily the officers and men of the Royal Air Force's Fighter Command against a superior German air force, fighting huge odds until their reserves, both machines and men, were exhausted. This tiny force, flying aircraft that are still recalled for their beauty and capability today, halted the German juggernaut when the entire world thought that task impossible. They showed that a marriage of technology and human resolve produces a formidably strong force. The battle that they won at huge personel cost provided the time, the resolve, and the physical stage needed to build the Allied coalition and launch the counterattack that finally won this greatest of human conflicts. Western history would be a different story today had the Battle of Britain been recorded as a German victory.
     
  20. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    The Luftwaffe had a great plan of attack.

    To quote Dr Boog, yet again on the subject of the Luftwaffe in the BofB

    . . . .
    When the battle for air superiority over England was finally opened by the Luftwaffe on 13 August 1940, more than seven weeks had elapsed since the fall of France. In this period Britain had been able to complete the build-up of her defences, especially her radar-directed fighter defence and reporting system. Meanwhile, on the German side, no coherent air strategy to be used against the British Isles was yet visible. The controversial discussion between the services on the necessity and feasibility of "Operation Sealion" — allegedly the raison d'etre of Eagle Attack — continued. Joseph Goebbels, Minister for Propaganda, tried to counter the impression that Hitler wanted to bring Britain to her knees by using the Luftwaffe alone. Consideration was given to crushing Great Britain indirectly, either by eliminating her only potential ally on the continent, Soviet Russia, or by wresting Gibraltar and the Suez Canal from her and interrupting the British Empire's life-line to India. In this uncertain situation the air offensive had been improvised, strategically and tactically, against an air defence which had consistently been strengthened and refined over the preceding four years.

    The extent of this improvisation can be demonstrated by looking at the way the Luftwaffe prepared for the event. Reichsmarschall Goring showed his lack of interest by taking a long vacation, although as far back as July 1939 his Chief of Intelligence, Oberstleutnant Josef "Beppo" Schmid, had told him of the possible necessity for an occupation of England. And after the victory in France his deputy, Generuloberst Erhard Milch, had prop had proposed the deployment of the entire Luftwaffe along the coasts facing Britain for an immediate invasion of the island. Behind Goring's dilatory attitude lay not only political reasons — he never wanted war with Britain — but also practical ones: the Luftwaffe had lost forty per cent of its aircraft during the cam­paign in the West and needed time to recover. It was not until 21 July that Goring personally met his senior commanders to discuss the problem of how to gain air superiority over England, the essential prerequisite for an invasion. He gave only some general outlines, remarkable — like the earlier Luftwaffe Staff directive of 16 June — for the great variety of targets to be attacked in addition to achieving the primary objective of gaining air superiority. The British fighters were to be beaten first, so that the bombers could destroy the RAF ground organization later on "under easier conditions", and "large casualties" among the civilian population were to be avoided. Goring did not attempt to co-ordinate activities, and he finally asked the Luftflotte commanders to submit independently plans for the tactics to be pursued in the forthcoming air offensive.

    On 30 July Hitler directed Goring to prepare immediately for the "great air battle of the Luftwaffe against England", so that it could begin twelve hours after the date still to be set, which eventually turned out to be 5 August. On 1 August he issued his Fundamental Directive No. 17 for the "Conduct of the Air and Sea War Against England". The war was to be carried on more intensely than before "to produce the necessary conditions for the final reduction of England". With all the means in its power and as quickly as possible, the Luftwaffe was to destroy the Royal Air Force by attacking first of all its flying formations, its ground and supply organizations, and also the aircraft industry, including the factories engaged in the production of anti-aircraft artillery and equipment. After achieving air superiority in terms of time and/or area, the air war was to be continued against harbours (in particular those for the provision of food supplies) and food storage depots further inland; ports and installations needed for subsequent German landing operations were to be spared as far as possible. In addition to all these tasks, Hitler demanded that the Luftwaffe conserve its strength to "take part in full force" in "Operation Sealion", and he forbade terror bombing raids unless he ordered them as reprisal measures. Since good weather would be needed for successful execution of the air offensive, he left its starting date to be decided by the Luftwaffe; eight to fourteen had proposed the deployment of the entire Luftwaffe along the coasts facing Britain for an immediate invasion of the island. Behind Goring's dilatory attitude lay not only political reasons — he never wanted war with Britain — but also practical ones: the Luftwaffe had lost forty per cent of its aircraft during the cam­paign in the West and needed time to recover. It was not until 21 July that Goring personally met his senior commanders to discuss the problem of how to gain air superiority over England, the essential prerequisite for an invasion. He gave only some general outlines, remarkable — like the earlier Luftwaffe Staff directive of 16 June — for the great variety of targets to be attacked in addition to achieving the primary objective of gaining air superiority. The British fighters were to be beaten first, so that the bombers could destroy the RAF ground organization later on "under easier conditions", and "large casualties" among the civilian population were to be avoided. Goring did not attempt to co-ordinate activities, and he finally asked the Luftflotte commanders to submit independently plans for the tactics to be pursued in the forthcoming air offensive.

    On 30 July Hitler directed Goring to prepare immediately for the "great air battle of the Luftwaffe against England", so that it could begin twelve hours after the date still to be set, which eventually turned out to be 5 August. On 1 August he issued his Fundamental Directive No. 17 for the "Conduct of the Air and Sea War Against England". The war was to be carried on more intensely than before "to produce the necessary conditions for the final reduction of England". With all the means in its power and as quickly as possible, the Luftwaffe was to destroy the Royal Air Force by attacking first of all its flying formations, its ground and supply organizations, and also the aircraft industry, including the factories engaged in the production of anti-aircraft artillery and equipment. After achieving air superiority in terms of time and/or area, the air war was to be continued against harbours (in particular those for the provision of food supplies) and food storage depots further inland; ports and installations needed for subsequent German landing operations were to be spared as far as possible. In addition to all these tasks, Hitler demanded that the Luftwaffe conserve its strength to "take part in full force" in "Operation Sealion", and he forbade terror bombing raids unless he ordered them as reprisal measures. Since good weather would be needed for successful execution of the air offensive, he left its starting date to be decided by the Luftwaffe; eight to fourteen days after that, he would decide whether “Sealion” was to be launched. :The deadline was fixed as 15 September
     

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