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BRITISH HISTORY > THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Aug 20, 2010 03:16PM) (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
This is a thread dedicated to the Battle of Britain.

The Battle of Britain (German: Luftschlacht um England or Luftschlacht um Großbritannien) is the name given to the air campaign waged by the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940.

The objective of the campaign was to gain air superiority over the Royal Air Force (RAF), especially Fighter Command. The name derives from a famous speech delivered by Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the House of Commons: "The Battle of France is over. I expect the Battle of Britain is about to begin..."

The Battle of Britain was the first major campaign to be fought entirely by air forces, and was also the largest and most sustained aerial bombing campaign to that date.

From July 1940 coastal shipping convoys and shipping centres, such as Portsmouth were the main targets; one month later the Luftwaffe shifted its attacks to RAF airfields and infrastructure.

As the battle progressed the Luftwaffe also targeted aircraft factories and ground infrastructure. Eventually the Luftwaffe resorted to attacking areas of political significance and using terror bombing tactics.

The failure of Germany to achieve its objectives of destroying Britain's air defences, or forcing Britain to negotiate an armistice or an outright surrender is considered its first major defeat and one of the crucial turning points in the war.

If Germany had gained air superiority, Adolf Hitler might have launched Operation Sea Lion, an amphibious and airborne invasion of Britain.


Source: Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_o...


message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Battle of Britain:

The Cost -

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11029903

Why Germany Lost by Battle of Britain author - James Holland

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11022335

The Battle of Britain by James Holland by James Holland


message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Winston Churchill's Battle of Britain 'Few' remembered

Article plus video:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11026119

The 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain is being commemorated by a reading of one of Churchill's most famous speeches and a fly-past.

Winston Churchill's "so much owed by so many to so few" speech will be read at 1552 BST, precisely 70 years after he gave the address in Parliament.


message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Remembering the Battle of Britain: Fading Finest Hour

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-10989709


message 5: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Evan Davis: Spitfire Pilot


Seventy years on from the Battle of Britain, can the current generation comprehend what it is like to fly a Spitfire?

To find out, BBC Radio 4 Today programme presenter Evan Davis took a flight with The Aircraft Restoration Company's chief engineer and test pilot John Romain.


With video:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11004370


message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Aug 20, 2010 05:25AM) (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
A Poem for the few - read and written by former Spitfire pilot William Walker: (with audio)

The Battle of Britain entered its most critical phase 70 years ago this week.

Spitfire pilot William Walker reads a poem he wrote in memory of the pilots who died in the battle.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/...


message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Remembering the Battle of Britain

Forever associated with the RAF's victory in the Battle of Britain 70 years ago, the Supermarine Spitfire has secured an enduring nostalgic place in British aviation history.

For BBC Radio 4's Today programme, presenter Evan Davis was shown around a workshop at Duxford in Cambridgeshire, where rusty remnants of the fighter aircraft are used to help restore old Spitfires to their former glory.

Audio slideshow: Spitfire Saviours

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-10955752


message 8: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
How Important was the Battle of Britain?

It is the 70th anniversary of Winston Churchill's speech praising "the few" of the Battle of Britain.

History professor Norman Davies and author James Holland discuss whether give to much historical importance to this moment in the nation's history.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/...


message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Anniversary of Winston Churchill's 'The Few' speech

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11027879?ls


message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
'I was never let down by a Spitfire'

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/...

Winston Churchill's famous tribute to the pilots of the Battle of Britain is being commemorated today.

For the fourth in a series of reports about the events of 1940, Sanchia Berg speaks to William Walker, who flew Spitfires in the aerial war.


message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
'The pilots were exceptionally brave'

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/...

The Spitfire and Hurricane pilots of the Battle of Britain garner much of the glory, but they would never have taken off without their ground crew.

In the second of five reports, reporter Sanchia Berg talks to Ronald Tooke, who was a young engine fitter for a frontline Hurricane squadron.


message 12: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
'Everyone pulling together, defending our homes'

On this day 70 years ago plotter Hazel Gregory was taking part in one of the fiercest days of fighting in the Battle of Britain.

For the third report charting a critical week in the battle, she describes plotting the course of hundreds of German bombers across London in the RAF operations room.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/...


message 13: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
'Flak is bursting all around you'

The Battle of Britain entered its most critical phase 70 years ago this week.

In the first of Sanchia Berg's five reports Tom Neil, then a pilot officer based in southern England, describes the fearsome fighting in the air over Britain.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/...


message 14: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Past meets future in Battle of Britain village

Tangmere in West Sussex, one of the country villages made famous forever by the Battle of Britain, seems quiet today.

Its 1940s control tower looks out over summer fields of wheat and maize in the countryside east of Chichester where, in that other summer 70 years ago, Tangmere's RAF Hurricane fighters were in the front line.

Alongside the former runways, huge high-tech glasshouses stretch - 63 acres of them, where thousands of peppers ripen silently for Britain's supermarkets.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-10703466


message 15: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Tangmere Military Aviation Museum:

http://www.tangmere-museum.org.uk/


message 16: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Tangmere Airfield Pepper Nurseries (what happened to the airfields)

http://www.tangmere.co.uk/en-GB/Histo...


message 17: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
RAF Historic Association:

http://www.rafha.co.uk/1.html


message 18: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
This is a terrific resource: The BBC Archives for the Battle of Britain:

WWII: The Battle of Britain | Memories of 'Britain's finest hour'

http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/battleof...


message 19: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Battle of Britain - Royal Air Force - 70th Anniversary

http://www.raf.mod.uk/history/battleo...


message 20: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
The Royal Observer Corps Museum:

http://www.therocmuseum.org.uk/


message 21: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
The Battle of Britain in depth:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwar...


message 22: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Some great links there Bentley. If its OK I will add a few books in case anyone wants to follow up on a good account. You have already mentioned one of the more recent releases which offers a very good and complete overview of the whole campaign, from the invasion of France to the Blitz; "The Battle of Britain" by James Holland.

The Battle of Britain by James Holland by James Holland

Some other good titles are:

First Light by Geoffrey Wellum by Geoffrey Wellum (one of the best first-hand accounts around)
"An extraordinary, deeply moving and astonishingly evocative story. Reading it, you feel you are in the Spitfire with him, at 20,000 feet, chased by a German Heinkel, with your ammunition gone." - Independent

The Most Dangerous Enemy The Definitive History of the Battle of Britain by Stephen Bungay by Stephen Bungay (the most detailed and accurate account in recent times)
"The most exhaustive and detailed account of the Battle of Britain that has yet appeared." - Times Literary Supplement

"A fascinating case history in illusion and reality. He dispels the myths and kills the cliches... Admirable." - Godfrey Smith, (Sunday Times)

Brothers in Arms by Chris Goss by Chris Goss (interesting account from both sides)
"Both sides of the Battle of Britain are shown in a day-to-day, blow-by-blow account between 609 Squadron based in southern England and 1/JG53' a Luftwaffe staffel based in northern France. The tense action of aerial combat and the relief felt by individual pilots surviving these encounters, the elation of a successful `kill' and the tragedy of seeing a friend shot down highlight the common fears felt by airmen on both sides of the fight."


message 23: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Of course, I am opening up this thread for everybody to discuss this event and to add books that are appropriate and recommended.

Thank you for your adds.


message 25: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Just as an FYI Aussie Rick - the first link does not seem to work in the US. For those of you looking for spitfire film clips there are a quite a few that can be found with the link in message 5.

I look forward to looking at the second link which has opened.

Thanks.


message 26: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Hi Bentley, That's a shame about that link not working. I have added a book below which is an art book full of some great prints by Robert Taylor. This is the sort of book you can just sit back and indulge yourself with:

Robert Taylor's Battle of Britain The Celebrated Paintings of WWII's Defining Moment by Robert Taylor by Robert Taylor
Publishers blurb
This superb commemorative edition showcases the Battle of Britain paintings of the world's finest aviation artist, Robert Taylor. It celebrates the 70th anniversary of the momentous aerial battle that took place in the skies about Southern England in the Summer of 1940, during World War II.

The story of more than thirty dynamic actions during the battle is told as the background to Robert Taylor's stunning depictions of the event. Detailed information about the battle as well as fascinating information about the paintings is augmented by the recollections of some of the most famous aces, including Douglas Bader, Johnnie Johnson, and, Adolf Galland. Includes paintings of Spitfires, Hurricanes, Messerschmitts, Focke-Wulf and Junkers amongst others


message 27: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Aug 21, 2010 09:59AM) (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Yes thank you. One of the reasons that I began this thread is that this week marked the anniversary with tributes to those who are still alive who flew during this period of time which was about four months (July to October 1940 reaching its peak on the 15th of September).

From the American Archives are some actual pictures of the dog fights and they are included in this news video. The newscaster was delivering his news from the Churchill War Rooms and from the actual presentation ceremony where many of the surviving pilots attended (now in their late 80's and 90's). They do not want to be personally thanked but would collectively like to be remembered in terms of those who made the supreme sacrifice as well as those who participated.

For their respective ages, they all looked pretty sharp for the occasion.

Tributes to Battle of Britain 'Few'

The 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain has been marked by a reading of one of Sir Winston Churchill's most famous speeches and a fly-past.

Actor Robert Hardy read extracts from Churchill's "so much owed by so many to so few" speech, precisely 70 years after the address in Parliament.

The speech strengthened this country's resolve as Britain, and her Empire, stood alone against Nazi Germany.

Nick Higham reports.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11043462

Note: 20 August 1940 was the date when Winston Churchill delivered the "Never was so much owed by so many to so few" war speech to the British Parliament.


message 28: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Aug 21, 2010 10:38AM) (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
The Few Speech delivered by Winston Churchill to the British Parliament on August 20, 1940 (Entire Text)

http://www.winstonchurchill.org/learn...

Source: Churchill Centre and Museum Site

This speech is not only one of Churchill's most inspiring speeches; but it has become so well known (probably even more so) as the years have gone by; but these words also describe the differences between World War I and World War II, the agreements made with the US and Roosevelt, why the RAF was so important, why the enemy ports needed to be blockaded; how foodstuffs can be used in weaponry, Churchill's disppointment in the French resolve in this war aside from General DeGaulle as compared to World War I. And I love the reference to the Mississippi in the last line that the conflict has to run its course and cannot be stopped and it will just keep rolling along. A great speech to the people. Churchill kept his people proud of themselves and survivable. The country owed him a lot.


message 29: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) A great speach, I didn't realise how long it actually was! For those your side of the globe who may not be aware of the Americans who were part of the 'few' here is a really good book offering their side of the story:

The Few by Alex Kershaw by Alex Kershaw
Review:
"With his customary narrative drive, Kershaw (The Bedford Boys: One American Town's Ultimate D-Day Sacrifice) spotlights the handful of American pilots who joined the Royal Air Force and its fighter squadrons during the Battle of Britain. They have been overshadowed by or confused with the better-known Eagle Squadrons, which formed in the autumn of 1940 with the tacit consent of the U.S. government. Kershaw's "few" were a vanguard, enlisting individually to operate the British Spitfire planes as early as May 1940, when England stood alone and her odds of survival seemed long. Crusaders and adventurers, the pilots ignored U.S. neutrality acts to fight from a mixture of principled opposition to Nazism, vaguely defined Anglophilia and sheer love of air combat at a time when it still seemed glamorous. Scattered by ones and twos among different squadrons, each had his own story, which Kershaw admirably contextualizes within the climate of the Battle of Britain. Using personal vignettes to convey the extraordinary routines of life in the cockpits, in the squadrons and in England, Kershaw evokes the heroism of these pilots, only one of whom survived the war whose tide they helped turn." - Publishers Weekly


message 30: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Aug 21, 2010 09:16PM) (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Yes, the speech was both fabulous and enlightening; I also did not realize how long it actually was too. But after reading the Keegan book, I was really struck at how well Churchill described the differences between the two wars. I wish politicians were able to talk to us that way today. Wouldn't it be nice to be inspired that way or even be able to be inspired or admire somebody that way in spite of their warts.


message 31: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) I agree Bentley, politicians have lost the art of being able to inspire people, now-a-days it's either fear or money that they use to obtain votes and power.


message 32: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Spitfire and Hurricane in Battle of Britain flypast

Prince Charles said the veterans' sense of duty was evident in today's military personnel

A Spitfire and a Hurricane have taken part in a flypast to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.


September 19, 2010

It was watched by Prince Charles, Prince William and Prime Minister David Cameron, who all attended a service at Westminster Abbey.

The 1940 battle saw RAF pilots repelling a German bid for air superiority, making an invasion of the UK impossible.

Prince Charles said the veterans always brought a "tear to his eye".

The Westminster Abbey service was attended by veterans of the Battle of Britain and representatives of the Ministry of Defence.

An RAF chaplain spoke of the pilots' "bravery and sacrifice" for freedom.

I can never get over how wonderful they are, this country does produce staggeringly special people”

As well as commemorating the achievements of those who fought in the 1940s, this year's service celebrated the work of the men and women currently serving in the Royal Air Force.

The Prince of Wales is patron of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association, and his son, Prince William, has just graduated as an RAF helicopter pilot.

Following the thanksgiving service, Prince Charles said: "I always find it so moving, this particular service each year, it always brings a tear to my eye particularly in the way the wonderful veterans marched up the aisle.

"There's something very special about it. Of course we owe an enormous debt to them, it makes one feel very humble."

More of the article:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11360228


message 33: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Great article Bentley


message 34: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
There were quite a few historic articles posted today. And that was an a nice tribute too.


message 35: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) A different take on the Battle of Britain (and the war in general) is offered in this book, an alternative history. It poses the "what if" questions, such as "what if Hitler had carried out Operation Sea Lion", "what if Air Marshall Dowding had released his RAF squadrons for offensive attacks", etc. A scholarly book written by noted historians and it makes a good case for how Germany could have won the Battle of Britain and the war.

If The Allies Had Fallen by Dennis Showalter by Dennis Showalter(no photo)


message 36: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Last of the Few The Battle of Britain in the Words of the Pilots Who Won it by Max Arthur by Max Arthur

Throughout the summer of 1940, German bombers pounded the RAF bases in southern England. Greatly outnumbered by the Luftwaffe, the RAF overcame quantity with quality. This book presents the personal stories from those who survived.


message 37: by Karen (new)

Karen  (blacksnakecreek) | 4 comments With Wings Like Eagles: A History of the Battle of Britain Just finished reading this. Excellent book


message 38: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Karen.....don't forget to cite the book cover, author link and photo (if available). It should look like this:

With Wings Like Eagles A History of the Battle of Britain by Michael Korda byMichael Korda (no photo)

I have read this book and thought it was fantastic. Great research and very well written.


message 39: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) For those interested in the other side of the story here is one book that I recently purchased but am yet to read:

Target England Flying with the Luftwaffe in World War II by Edmund L. Blandford by Edmund L. Blandford


message 40: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited Oct 18, 2011 07:56PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Here are another few books covering the German perspective of the Battle of Britain:


The Luftwaffe Bombers Battle of Britain by Chris Goss by Chris Goss

The Luftwaffe Fighters' Battle of Britain by Chris Goss by Chris Goss

And the author's latest release:

Luftwaffe's Blitz the Inside Story The Inside Story November 1940-may 1941 (Consign) by Chris Goss by Chris Goss


message 41: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) I am going to have to read at least one of those books since I have only read the British side of the battle. Thanks for the tip.


message 42: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited Oct 18, 2011 08:00PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Hi Jill,

I have the first two but not the latest book. I also have a copy of this book which I should try and get around to reading soon:

Forgotten Voices of the Blitz and the Battle For Britain A New History in the Words of the Men and Women on Both Sides (Forgotten Voices) by Joshua Levine by Joshua Levine


message 43: by Jill (last edited Nov 28, 2011 01:12PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) The Blitz - An Illustrated History (General Military) by Gavin Mortimer Gavin Mortimer

Photos, combined with newspaper articles, diary entries and interviews with survivors, this collection presents a vivid, accurate and emotional account of an event that is almost beyond comprehension today. It clearly shows that London Can Take It!!!!!


message 44: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Nov 30, 2011 03:42AM) (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
I am not sure if you have visited the Churchill Museum (in London) but if you haven't it is a very worthwhile trip. London was very much destroyed during that period of time. Remarkable how with the resilience of the British people, you would never know it now when you walk through the city today - even though it is 70+ years later (the stateliness of the older buildings still exists).


From Wikipedia:

The city of London was bombed by the Luftwaffe for 76 consecutive nights and many towns and cities across the country followed. More than one million London houses were destroyed or damaged, and more than 40,000 civilians were killed, half of them in London.


message 45: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Bentley, when walking in London, I was overwhelmed by the thought of what happened during the Blitz; and saddened by the losses of life that occurred as well as the loss of some of the most historic buildings such as several of Wren's churches. Looking at St. Paul's I could hear those words, "St. Pauls must be saved at all cost" and was amazed that it still stands so proudly. I have a framed poster in my home library that reflects the spirit of the people and the country "Keep Calm and Carry On".

Here is a link to one of the first broadcasts of the London blitz....Edward R. Murrow from Trafalgar Square in April, 1940.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpOKri...


message 46: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Thank you Jill and I agree.


message 47: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) I must tell this story because it typifies the spirit of the British people. I was in Westminster Abbey, and as you know there is a monument to Churchill, although he is not buried there. A very elderly gentleman came through the crowd, dressed in a WWII era military uniform (I could not identify the service branch)......he came to attention at the Churchill site and saluted. I'm not sure I have ever been so moved by a gesture as I was by that old soldier's honor to his war time PM. I will never forget it...I was at the right place at the right time and I must admit, I cried.


message 48: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) A moving story Jill and you are right, moments like that can touch you very deeply.


message 49: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Beautiful story Jill.


message 50: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Thanks, guys....it was poignant, to say the least..... I am such an unabashed Anglophile.


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