The Battle of Britain

The Battle of Britain

The Battle of Britain, known in Germany as “Luftschlacht um England” is the name of the air battle which took place in the summer/ autumn 1940 and was fought by the German air force, the Luftwaffe ….

…. against the United Kingdom.
The goal of the campaign was to gain air superiority over the British Air Force, the Royal Air Force (RAF) …

… and particularly against its fighter planes of  RAF Fighter Command.
The f
irst major war campaign to be fought entirely by air forces, the Battle of Britain was also the largest aerial bombardment action … ..

… .carried out up until then.
In July 1940, the main targets were the supply convoys and ports, such as Portsmouth; a month later, the Luftwaffe began to hit even the airports and the infrastructure of the RAF.
Then the German air force, to crush the will of resistance of the civilian population, also began to bombard civilian targets ….

…. especially in London.

The total British civilian losses from July to December 1940 amounted to more than 23,000 dead and 32,000 injured, but the British people did not allow themselves to be  terrorized and they reacted courageously organizing their defence.

One of the most dramatic raids was that of 29 December 1940 which killed about 3,000 civilians.

Contrary to the intention of the Nazis, who had largely underestimated the British airforce, the fact that the Luftwaffe diverted part of their air forces from military objectives allowed the RAF to regroup, to move its bases further north out of the reach of the Luftwaffe and put up effective air battle tactics to effectively attack enemy formations.

By the will of Mussolini, convinced of a quick victory of Hitler, ….

…. 180 Italian airplanes were sent to participate in the Battle of Britain that ended however with the loss of the best Italian pilots.
Nazi Germany failed in its plans as it was unable to destroy the British air defense system, and could not, therefore, force the United Kingdom to negotiate an armistice.
This is considered the first German defeat of World War II and a crucial turning point of the conflict.
By preventing Germany from gaining air superiority, the battle ended the threat that Hitler …. … would start Operation Sea Lion, the invasion of Great Britain led by an amphibious attack, and with the launch of paratroopers.
Winston Churchill …

… summarised the effect of the battle and the contribution of the RAF in words passed into history: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”