Battle of Britain Wwii

Topics: Battle of Britain, Royal Air Force, World War II Pages: 6 (2477 words) Published: December 11, 2012
Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain refers to the World War 2 major air campaign fought against United Kingdom's Royal Air Force (RAF) by Germany's air force (Luftwaffe). The battle began in the summer of 1940 and was waged in the skies over Great Britain. When France fell in June 25, 1940, it triggered a series of miniature events that lead to this battle. Great Britain and France were allies during the Second World War and both declared war on Germany (September 1939). Though despite their declaration of war, little to no fighting was seen between Germany and the two countries. This period of silence broke when Germany invaded France in the Spring of 1940. Although France fought back, they were overpowered and easily defeated in just seven weeks after the invasion began (June 25, 1940). This forced Great Britain to evacuate their heavily armed forces from Dunkirk, France. The Fall of France/Battle of France was the name given to this event. Great Britain was now vulnerable to attack and stood alone against the Axis Powers. Hitler found it a perfect time to strike and immediately began arranging plans to invade and conquer Great Britain. The plan for invasion Hitler and his generals devised was given the code name, Operation Eagle. Operation Eagle's main purpose was actually to make way for a much more ambitious invasion of the whole continent of England (Operation Sea Lion). But invading England would be an unrealistic possibility considering how much damage Great Britain's Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force (RAF) could cause to Germany's forces and the Luftwaffe in the process. Operation Eagle was made to solve this problem. There were four objectives set out for Operation Eagle, all of which are arranged to support Operation Sea Lion. First objective was to engage the Royal Air Force (RAF) in combat and eliminate an adequate amount of aircraft until they no longer pose a threat. This was to ensure air superiority over the English Channel (Germany did not have control of the skies over the English Channel at that time) for the next operation. Second objective was to seal off the Straits of Dover by placing German mines in strategic regions of the area. This was to secure a path for the landing fleet to follow in the next operation. Third objective was to eradicate the Royal Navy for naval supremacy for the next operation. And the Fourth objective was to heavily arm the coastal zone of France so that the German Kriegsmarine and/or the Luftwaffe could retreat and re-arm. Also in case any plans were made to take back the country. Operation Eagle had its fault however and wasn't met with the most enthusiastic response. Herman Goering, the leader of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) responded in opposition by stating “...a combined operation having the objective of landing in England must be rejected. It could only be the final act of an already victorious war against Britain as otherwise the preconditions for success of a combined operation would not be met.” Admiral Erich Raeder of the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) was also against the plan and with good reasons too. Germany's naval power had recently been crippled during a naval campaign waged against Norway and Denmark (June 10, 1940). They left the battle victorious but paid a massive price. One heavy cruiser, two light cruisers, and four destroyers was all that was left of the Kriegsmarine after the battle. In terms of numbers, the Kriegsmarine did not stand a chance against the Royal Navy. He expressed his opinion by stating, “...the emphatic reminder that up until now the British had never thrown the full power of their fleet into action. However, a German invasion of England would be a matter of life and death for the British, and they would unhesitatingly commit their naval forces, to the last ship and the last man, into an all-out fight for survival. Our Air Force could not be counted on to guard our transports from the British Fleets, because their operations...
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