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Luftschlacht um england (film)

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Juli Nazideutschland startet Luftangriffe auf England. Die deutschen Flugzeuge sind zahlenmäßig weit überlegen, doch die britischen Piloten unter Führung von Sir Hugh Dowding sind mutig, kühn und listenreich. Nach 16 Wochen Luftschlacht geht. Luftschlacht um England (Originaltitel: Battle of Britain) ist ein britischer Kriegsfilm des mehrmaligen James-Bond-Regisseurs Guy Hamilton und des. Luftschlacht um England - der Film - Inhalt, Bilder, Kritik, Trailer, Kinostart-​Termine und Bewertung | scandem2014.se Im Kriegsfilm-Klassiker Luftschlacht um England versucht die Royal Air Force mit allen Mitteln, die Nazi-Invasion der britischen Insel zu stoppen. scandem2014.se - Kaufen Sie Luftschlacht um England günstig ein. Qualifizierte Entdecken Sie hier reduzierte Filme und Serien auf DVD oder Blu-ray.

luftschlacht um england (film)

Luftschlacht um England (Originaltitel: Battle of Britain) ist ein britischer Kriegsfilm des mehrmaligen James-Bond-Regisseurs Guy Hamilton und des. erschien ebenfalls der Film "Stukas über London", zwar unter anderer Produktion, aber mit ähnlicher Thematik. Filmdaten. Deutscher Titel, Luftschlacht um. Die Luftschlacht um England (). Übersicht; Filmplakat · Credits · Forum. Bilder: United Artists. Fotos: United Artists. Hurricane - Luftschlacht um England ein Film von David Blair mit Milo Gibson, Iwan Rheon. Inhaltsangabe: In der Luftschlacht um England bis 41 leisteten​. Die Luftschlacht um England ein Film von Guy Hamilton mit Harry Andrews, Michael Caine. Inhaltsangabe: Die deutsche Wehrmacht plant, nach der Besetzung. erschien ebenfalls der Film "Stukas über London", zwar unter anderer Produktion, aber mit ähnlicher Thematik. Filmdaten. Deutscher Titel, Luftschlacht um. Die Luftschlacht um England (). Übersicht; Filmplakat · Credits · Forum. Bilder: United Artists. Fotos: United Artists.

If the threat came from above, the top section went into action while the side sections gained height to be able to follow RAF fighters down as they broke away.

If attacked, all sections flew in defensive circles. These tactics were skilfully evolved and carried out, and were difficult to counter.

We had the impression that, whatever we did, we were bound to be wrong. Fighter protection for bombers created many problems which had to be solved in action.

Bomber pilots preferred close screening in which their formation was surrounded by pairs of fighters pursuing a zigzag course.

Obviously, the visible presence of the protective fighters gave the bomber pilots a greater sense of security.

However, this was a faulty conclusion, because a fighter can only carry out this purely defensive task by taking the initiative in the offensive.

He must never wait until attacked because he then loses the chance of acting. We fighter pilots certainly preferred the free chase during the approach and over the target area.

This gives the greatest relief and the best protection for the bomber force. Once over Britain, a pilot had to keep an eye on a red "low fuel" light on the instrument panel: once this was illuminated, he was forced to turn back and head for France.

With the prospect of two long flights over water, and knowing their range was substantially reduced when escorting bombers or during combat, the Jagdflieger coined the term Kanalkrankheit or "Channel sickness".

The Luftwaffe was ill-served by its lack of military intelligence about the British defences. As a result of intercepted radio transmissions, the Germans began to realise that the RAF fighters were being controlled from ground facilities; in July and August , for example, the airship Graf Zeppelin , which was packed with equipment for listening in on RAF radio and RDF transmissions, flew around the coasts of Britain.

Although the Luftwaffe correctly interpreted these new ground control procedures, they were incorrectly assessed as being rigid and ineffectual.

A British radar system was well known to the Luftwaffe from intelligence gathered before the war, but the highly developed " Dowding system " linked with fighter control had been a well-kept secret.

On 16 July , Abteilung V , commanded by Oberstleutnant "Beppo" Schmid , produced a report on the RAF and on Britain's defensive capabilities which was adopted by the frontline commanders as a basis for their operational plans.

One of the most conspicuous failures of the report was the lack of information on the RAF's RDF network and control systems capabilities; it was assumed that the system was rigid and inflexible, with the RAF fighters being "tied" to their home bases.

Supply Situation At present the British aircraft industry produces about to first line fighters and first line bombers a month.

In view of the present conditions relating to production the appearance of raw material difficulties, the disruption or breakdown of production at factories owing to air attacks, the increased vulnerability to air attack owing to the fundamental reorganisation of the aircraft industry now in progress , it is believed that for the time being output will decrease rather than increase.

In the event of an intensification of air warfare it is expected that the present strength of the RAF will fall, and this decline will be aggravated by the continued decrease in production.

Because of this statement, reinforced by another more detailed report, issued on 10 August, there was a mindset in the ranks of the Luftwaffe that the RAF would run out of frontline fighters.

Throughout the battle, the Luftwaffe had to use numerous reconnaissance sorties to make up for the poor intelligence. Reconnaissance aircraft initially mostly Dornier Do 17s, but increasingly Bf s proved easy prey for British fighters, as it was seldom possible for them to be escorted by Bf s.

Thus, the Luftwaffe operated "blind" for much of the battle, unsure of its enemy's true strengths, capabilities, and deployments.

Many of the Fighter Command airfields were never attacked, while raids against supposed fighter airfields fell instead on bomber or coastal defence stations.

The results of bombing and air fighting were consistently exaggerated, due to inaccurate claims, over-enthusiastic reports and the difficulty of confirmation over enemy territory.

In the euphoric atmosphere of perceived victory, the Luftwaffe leadership became increasingly disconnected from reality.

This lack of leadership and solid intelligence meant the Germans did not adopt consistent strategy, even when the RAF had its back to the wall.

Moreover, there was never a systematic focus on one type of target such as airbases, radar stations, or aircraft factories ; consequently, the already haphazard effort was further diluted.

While the British were using radar for air defence more effectively than the Germans realised, the Luftwaffe attempted to press its own offensive with advanced radio navigation systems of which the British were initially not aware.

One of these was Knickebein "bent leg" ; this system was used at night and for raids where precision was required.

It was rarely used during the Battle of Britain. The Luftwaffe was much better prepared for the task of air-sea rescue than the RAF, specifically tasking the Seenotdienst unit, equipped with about 30 Heinkel He 59 floatplanes, with picking up downed aircrew from the North Sea , English Channel and the Dover Straits.

In addition, Luftwaffe aircraft were equipped with life rafts and the aircrew were provided with sachets of a chemical called fluorescein which, on reacting with water, created a large, easy-to-see, bright green patch.

Nevertheless, RAF aircraft attacked these aircraft, as some were escorted by Bf s. After single He 59s were forced to land on the sea by RAF fighters, on 1 and 9 July respectively, [] [] a controversial order was issued to the RAF on 13 July; this stated that from 20 July, Seenotdienst aircraft were to be shot down.

One of the reasons given by Churchill was:. We did not recognise this means of rescuing enemy pilots so they could come and bomb our civil population again Ambulance aircraft which do not comply with the above will do so at their own risk and peril [].

The white He 59s were soon repainted in camouflage colours and armed with defensive machine guns.

Although another four He 59s were shot down by RAF aircraft, [] the Seenotdienst continued to pick up downed Luftwaffe and Allied aircrew throughout the battle, earning praise from Adolf Galland for their bravery.

During early tests of the Chain Home system, the slow flow of information from the CH radars and observers to the aircraft often caused them to miss their "bandits".

The solution, today known as the " Dowding system ", was to create a set of reporting chains to move information from the various observation points to the pilots in their fighters.

It was named after its chief architect, "Stuffy" Dowding. Telephone operators would then forward only the information of interest to the Group headquarters, where the map would be re-created.

This process was repeated to produce another version of the map at the Sector level, covering a much smaller area.

Looking over their maps, Group level commanders could select squadrons to attack particular targets. From that point the Sector operators would give commands to the fighters to arrange an interception, as well as return them to base.

Sector stations also controlled the anti-aircraft batteries in their area; an army officer sat beside each fighter controller and directed the gun crews when to open and cease fire.

The Dowding system dramatically improved the speed and accuracy of the information that flowed to the pilots.

The result is what is now known as an example of " force multiplication "; RAF fighters were as effective as two or more Luftwaffe fighters, greatly offsetting, or overturning, the disparity in actual numbers.

While Luftwaffe intelligence reports underestimated British fighter forces and aircraft production, the British intelligence estimates went the other way: they overestimated German aircraft production, numbers and range of aircraft available, and numbers of Luftwaffe pilots.

In action, the Luftwaffe believed from their pilot claims and the impression given by aerial reconnaissance that the RAF was close to defeat, and the British made strenuous efforts to overcome the perceived advantages held by their opponents.

It is unclear how much the British intercepts of the Enigma cipher , used for high-security German radio communications, affected the battle.

Ultra , the information obtained from Enigma intercepts, gave the highest echelons of the British command a view of German intentions.

According to F. Winterbotham , who was the senior Air Staff representative in the Secret Intelligence Service, [] Ultra helped establish the strength and composition of the Luftwaffe's formations, the aims of the commanders [] and provided early warning of some raids.

Keith Park and his controllers were also told about Ultra. This unit which later became No. In the late s, Fighter Command expected to face only bombers over Britain, not single-engined fighters.

A series of "Fighting Area Tactics" were formulated and rigidly adhered to, involving a series of manoeuvres designed to concentrate a squadron's firepower to bring down bombers.

RAF fighters flew in tight, v-shaped sections "vics" of three aircraft, with four such "sections" in tight formation. Only the squadron leader at the front was free to watch for the enemy; the other pilots had to concentrate on keeping station.

Fighter Command recognised the weaknesses of this structure early in the battle, but it was felt too risky to change tactics during the battle, because replacement pilots—often with only minimal flying time—could not be readily retrained, [] and inexperienced pilots needed firm leadership in the air only rigid formations could provide.

Front line RAF pilots were acutely aware of the inherent deficiencies of their own tactics. A compromise was adopted whereby squadron formations used much looser formations with one or two "weavers" flying independently above and behind to provide increased observation and rear protection; these tended to be the least experienced men and were often the first to be shot down without the other pilots even noticing that they were under attack.

Malan's formation was later generally used by Fighter Command. The weight of the battle fell upon 11 Group.

Keith Park's tactics were to dispatch individual squadrons to intercept raids. The intention was to subject incoming bombers to continual attacks by relatively small numbers of fighters and try to break up the tight German formations.

Once formations had fallen apart, stragglers could be picked off one by one. Where multiple squadrons reached a raid the procedure was for the slower Hurricanes to tackle the bombers while the more agile Spitfires held up the fighter escort.

This ideal was not always achieved, resulting in occasions when Spitfires and Hurricanes reversed roles.

Again, in the environment of fast moving, three-dimensional air battles, few RAF fighter units were able to attack the bombers from head-on.

During the battle, some commanders, notably Leigh-Mallory, proposed squadrons be formed into " Big Wings ," consisting of at least three squadrons, to attack the enemy en masse , a method pioneered by Douglas Bader.

Proponents of this tactic claimed interceptions in large numbers caused greater enemy losses while reducing their own casualties.

Opponents pointed out the big wings would take too long to form up, and the strategy ran a greater risk of fighters being caught on the ground refuelling.

The big wing idea also caused pilots to overclaim their kills, due to the confusion of a more intense battle zone.

This led to the belief big wings were far more effective than they actually were. The issue caused intense friction between Park and Leigh-Mallory, as 12 Group was tasked with protecting 11 Group's airfields whilst Park's squadrons intercepted incoming raids.

The delay in forming up Big Wings meant the formations often did not arrive at all or until after German bombers had hit 11 Group's airfields.

In the report, he highlighted that during the period of 11 September — 31 October, the extensive use of the Big Wing had resulted in just 10 interceptions and one German aircraft destroyed, but his report was ignored.

Dowding's removal from his post in November has been blamed on this struggle between Park and Leigh-Mallory's daylight strategy.

The intensive raids and destruction wrought during the Blitz damaged both Dowding and Park in particular, for the failure to produce an effective night-fighter defence system, something for which the influential Leigh-Mallory had long criticised them.

Bomber Command and Coastal Command aircraft flew offensive sorties against targets in Germany and France during the battle.

An hour after the declaration of war, Bomber Command launched raids on warships and naval ports by day, and in night raids dropped leaflets as it was considered illegal to bomb targets which could affect civilians.

After the initial disasters of the war, with Vickers Wellington bombers shot down in large numbers attacking Wilhelmshaven and the slaughter of the Fairey Battle squadrons sent to France, it became clear that they would have to operate mainly at night to avoid incurring very high losses.

At the urging of Clement Attlee , the Cabinet on 15 May authorised a full bombing strategy against "suitable military objectives", even where there could be civilian casualties.

The RAF lacked accurate night navigation, and carried small bomb loads. By September, the build-up of invasion barges in the Channel ports had become a top priority target.

On 7 September, the government issued a warning that the invasion could be expected within the next few days and, that night, Bomber Command attacked the Channel ports and supply dumps.

On 13 September, they carried out another large raid on the Channel ports, sinking 80 large barges in the port of Ostend. The Bristol Blenheim units also raided German-occupied airfields throughout July to December , both during daylight hours and at night.

Although most of these raids were unproductive, there were some successes; on 1 August, five out of twelve Blenheims sent to attack Haamstede and Evere Brussels were able to destroy or heavily damage three Bf s of II.

Two other s were claimed by Blenheim gunners. One Blenheim returned early the pilot was later charged and due to appear before a court martial, but was killed on another operation ; the other eleven, which reached Denmark, were shot down, five by flak and six by Bf s.

Of the 33 crewmen who took part in the attack, 20 were killed and 13 captured. As well as the bombing operations, Blenheim-equipped units had been formed to carry out long-range strategic reconnaissance missions over Germany and German-occupied territories.

In this role, the Blenheims again proved to be too slow and vulnerable against Luftwaffe fighters, and they took constant casualties.

Coastal Command directed its attention towards the protection of British shipping, and the destruction of enemy shipping.

As invasion became more likely, it participated in the strikes on French harbours and airfields, laying mines, and mounting numerous reconnaissance missions over the enemy-held coast.

In all, some 9, sorties were flown by bombers from July to October Although this was much less than the 80, sorties flown by fighters, bomber crews suffered about half the total casualties borne by their fighter colleagues.

The bomber contribution was, therefore, much more dangerous on a loss-per-sortie comparison. Bomber, reconnaissance, and antisubmarine patrol operations continued throughout these months with little respite and none of the publicity accorded to Fighter Command.

In his famous 20 August speech about " The Few ", praising Fighter Command, Churchill also made a point of mentioning Bomber Command's contribution, adding that bombers were even then striking back at Germany; this part of the speech is often overlooked, even today.

Bomber and Coastal Command attacks against invasion barge concentrations in Channel ports were widely reported by the British media during September and October Given the volume of British propaganda interest in these bomber attacks during September and earlier October, it is striking how quickly this was overlooked once the Battle of Britain had been concluded.

One of the biggest oversights of the entire system was the lack of adequate air-sea rescue organisation.

The RAF had started organising a system in with High Speed Launches HSLs based on flying boat bases and at some overseas locations, but it was still believed that the amount of cross-Channel traffic meant that there was no need for a rescue service to cover these areas.

Downed pilots and aircrew, it was hoped, would be picked up by any boats or ships which happened to be passing by.

Otherwise the local life boat would be alerted, assuming someone had seen the pilot going into the water.

RAF aircrew were issued with a life jacket, nicknamed the " Mae West ," but in it still required manual inflation, which was almost impossible for someone who was injured or in shock.

The waters of the English Channel and Dover Straits are cold, even in the middle of summer, and clothing issued to RAF aircrew did little to insulate them against these freezing conditions.

Because pilots had been lost at sea during the "Channel Battle", on 22 August, control of RAF rescue launches was passed to the local naval authorities and 12 Lysanders were given to Fighter Command to help look for pilots at sea.

In all some pilots and aircrew were lost at sea during the battle. No proper air-sea rescue service was formed until The battle covered a shifting geographical area, and there have been differing opinions on significant dates: when the Air Ministry proposed 8 August as the start, Dowding responded that operations "merged into one another almost insensibly", and proposed 10 July as the onset of increased attacks.

Following Germany's rapid territorial gains in the Battle of France , the Luftwaffe had to reorganise its forces, set up bases along the coast, and rebuild after heavy losses.

They found that, rather than carrying small numbers of large high explosive bombs, it was more effective to use more small bombs, similarly incendiaries had to cover a large area to set effective fires.

These training flights continued through August and into the first week of September. The attacks were widespread: over the night of 30 June alarms were set off in 20 counties by just 20 bombers, then next day the first daylight raids occurred during 1 July, on both Hull in Yorkshire and Wick, Caithness.

On 3 July most flights were reconnaissance sorties, but 15 civilians were killed when bombs hit Guildford in Surrey.

The Kanalkampf comprised a series of running fights over convoys in the English Channel. It was launched partly because Kesselring and Sperrle were not sure about what else to do, and partly because it gave German aircrews some training and a chance to probe the British defences.

When nine Squadron Defiants went into action on 19 July six were lost to Bf s before a squadron of Hurricanes intervened.

On 25 July a coal convoy and escorting destroyers suffered such heavy losses to attacks by Stuka dive bombers that the Admiralty decided convoys should travel at night: the RAF shot down 16 raiders but lost 7 aircraft.

By 8 August 18 coal ships and 4 destroyers had been sunk, but the Navy was determined to send a convoy of 20 ships through rather than move the coal by railway.

After repeated Stuka attacks that day, six ships were badly damaged, four were sunk and only four reached their destination.

The RAF lost 19 fighters and shot down 31 German aircraft. The Navy now cancelled all further convoys through the Channel and sent the cargo by rail.

Even so, these early combat encounters provided both sides with experience. Intelligence reports gave Göring the impression that the RAF was almost defeated, and raids would attract British fighters for the Luftwaffe to shoot down.

Poor weather delayed Adlertag "Eagle Day" until 13 August On 12 August, the first attempt was made to blind the Dowding system, when aircraft from the specialist fighter-bomber unit Erprobungsgruppe attacked four radar stations.

Three were briefly taken off the air but were back working within six hours. The failure to mount follow-up attacks allowed the RAF to get the stations back on the air, and the Luftwaffe neglected strikes on the supporting infrastructure, such as phone lines and power stations, which could have rendered the radars useless, even if the towers themselves which were very difficult to destroy remained intact.

Adlertag opened with a series of attacks, led again by Erpro , [] on coastal airfields used as forward landing grounds for the RAF fighters, as well as 'satellite airfields' [nb 17] including Manston and Hawkinge.

Luftflotte 5 attacked the north of England. Believing Fighter Command strength to be concentrated in the south, raiding forces from Denmark and Norway ran into unexpectedly strong resistance.

Inadequately escorted by Bf s, bombers were shot down in large numbers. Out of bombers and 35 fighters sent, 75 planes were destroyed and many others damaged beyond repair.

Furthermore, due to early engagement by RAF fighters many of the bombers dropped their payloads ineffectively early. Following this grinding battle, exhaustion and the weather reduced operations for most of a week, allowing the Luftwaffe to review their performance.

So as to preserve the Stuka force, Göring withdrew them from the fighting. This removed the main Luftwaffe precision-bombing weapon and shifted the burden of pinpoint attacks on the already-stretched Erpro The Bf proved too clumsy for dogfighting with single-engined fighters, and its participation was scaled back.

It would be used only when range required it or when sufficient single-engined escort could not be provided for the bombers.

Göring made yet another important decision: to order more bomber escorts at the expense of free-hunting sweeps. To achieve this, the weight of the attack now fell on Luftflotte 2, and the bulk of the Bf s in Luftflotte 3 were transferred to Kesselring's command, reinforcing the fighter bases in the Pas-de-Calais.

Stripped of its fighters, Luftflotte 3 would concentrate on the night bombing campaign. Göring, expressing disappointment with the fighter performance thus far in the campaign, also made sweeping changes in the command structure of the fighter units, replacing many Geschwaderkommodore with younger, more aggressive pilots like Adolf Galland and Werner Mölders.

Finally, Göring stopped the attacks on the radar chain. These were seen as unsuccessful, and neither the Reichsmarschall nor his subordinates realised how vital the Chain Home stations were to the defence systems.

It was known that radar provided some early warning of raids, but the belief among German fighter pilots was that anything bringing up the " Tommies " to fight was to be encouraged.

German intelligence reports made the Luftwaffe optimistic that the RAF, thought to be dependent on local air control, was struggling with supply problems and pilot losses.

After a major raid attacking Biggin Hill on 18 August, Luftwaffe aircrew said they had been unopposed, the airfield was "completely destroyed", and asked "Is England already finished?

Göring ordered attacks on aircraft factories on 19 August That morning, bombs were dropped on Harrow and Wealdstone , on the outskirts of London.

A sustained bombing campaign began on 24 August with the largest raid so far, killing in Portsmouth , and that night, several areas of London were bombed; the East End was set ablaze and bombs landed on central London.

Some historians believe that these bombs were dropped accidentally by a group of Heinkel He s which had failed to find their target; this account has been contested.

Göring's directive issued on 23 August ordered ceaseless attacks on the aircraft industry and on RAF ground organisation to force the RAF to use its fighters, continuing the tactic of luring them up to be destroyed, and added that focussed attacks were to be made on RAF airfields.

From 24 August onwards, the battle was a fight between Kesselring's Luftflotte 2 and Park's 11 Group. The Luftwaffe concentrated all their strength on knocking out Fighter Command and made repeated attacks on the airfields.

Of the 33 heavy attacks in the following two weeks, 24 were against airfields. The key sector stations were hit repeatedly: Biggin Hill and Hornchurch four times each; Debden and North Weald twice each.

Croydon , Gravesend , Rochford , Hawkinge and Manston were also attacked in strength. Coastal Command 's Eastchurch was bombed at least seven times because it was believed to be a Fighter Command aerodrome.

At times these raids caused some damage to the sector stations, threatening the integrity of the Dowding system.

To offset some losses, some 58 Fleet Air Arm fighter pilot volunteers were seconded to RAF squadrons, and a similar number of former Fairey Battle pilots were used.

Most replacements from Operational Training Units OTUs had as little as nine hours flying time and no gunnery or air-to-air combat training.

At this point, the multinational nature of Fighter Command came to the fore. Many squadrons and personnel from the air forces of the Dominions were already attached to the RAF , including top level commanders — Australians, Canadians , New Zealanders, Rhodesians and South Africans.

In addition, there were other nationalities represented, including Free French , Belgian and a Jewish pilot from the British mandate of Palestine.

They were bolstered by the arrival of fresh Czechoslovak and Polish squadrons. These had been held back by Dowding, who mistakenly thought non-English speaking aircrew would have trouble working within his control system: Polish and Czech fliers proved to be especially effective.

The pre-war Polish Air Force had lengthy and extensive training, and high standards; with Poland conquered and under brutal German occupation , the pilots of No.

The RAF had the advantage of fighting over home territory. Morale began to suffer, and [Kanalkrankheit] "Channel sickness" — a form of combat fatigue — began to appear among the German pilots.

Their replacement problem became even worse than the British. The effect of the German attacks on airfields is unclear.

According to Stephen Bungay , Dowding, in a letter to Hugh Trenchard [] accompanying Park's report on the period 8 August — 10 September , states that the Luftwaffe "achieved very little" in the last week of August and the first week of September.

Dowding admitted 11 Group's efficiency was impaired but, despite serious damage to some airfields, only two out of 13 heavily attacked airfields were down for more than a few hours.

The German refocus on London was not critical. Retired Air Vice-Marshal Peter Dye , head of the RAF Museum, discussed the logistics of the battle in [] and , [] dealing specifically with the single-seat fighters.

Dye contends that not only was British aircraft production replacing aircraft, but replacement pilots were keeping pace with losses.

The figures indicate the number of pilots available never decreased: from July, 1, were available, and from 1 August, 1, were available.

Just over that number were in the field by September. In October the figure was nearly 1, By 1 November 1, were available.

Throughout the battle, the RAF had more fighter pilots available than the Luftwaffe. Richard Overy agrees with Dye and Bungay.

Overy asserts only one airfield was temporarily put out of action and "only" pilots were lost. British fighter production produced new aircraft in July and in August, and another in September not counting repaired aircraft , covering the losses of August and September.

Overy indicates the number of serviceable and total strength returns reveal an increase in fighters from 3 August to 7 September, 1, on strength and serviceable to 1, on strength and serviceable.

Personnel records show a constant supply of around 1, pilots in the crucial weeks of the battle. In the second half of September it reached 1, The Germans never had more than between 1, and 1, pilots, a deficiency of up to one-third.

Other scholars assert that this period was the most dangerous of all. According to them, from 24 August to 6 September fighters had been totally destroyed and badly damaged, against a total output of new and repaired Spitfires and Hurricanes.

They assert that pilots were killed or missing and were wounded, which represented a total wastage of pilots per week out of a fighting strength of just fewer than 1, They conclude that during August no more than fighter pilots were turned out by OTUs and casualties in the same month were just over A full squadron establishment was 26 pilots whereas the average in August was In their assessment, the RAF was losing the battle.

He states that between 8 and 18 August RAF pilots were killed, severely wounded, or missing, while only 63 new pilots were trained.

Availability of aircraft was also a serious issue. While its reserves during the Battle of Britain never declined to a half dozen planes as some later claimed, Richards describes 24 August to 6 September as the critical period because during these two weeks Germany destroyed far more aircraft through its attacks on 11 Group's southeast bases than Britain was producing.

Three more weeks of such a pace would indeed have exhausted aircraft reserves. Germany had seen heavy losses of pilots and aircraft as well, thus its shift to night-time attacks in September.

On 7 September RAF aircraft losses fell below British production and remained so until the end of the war. The port areas were crowded next to residential housing and civilian casualties would be expected, but this would combine military and economic targets with indirect effects on morale.

The strategy agreed on 6 August was for raids on military and economic targets in towns and cities to culminate in a major attack on London.

Luftwaffe doctrine included the possibility of retaliatory attacks on cities, and since 11 May small scale night raids by RAF Bomber Command had frequently bombed residential areas.

The Germans assumed this was deliberate, and as the raids increased in frequency and scale the population grew impatient for measures of revenge.

Clouds prevented accurate identification and the bombs fell across the city, causing some casualties among the civilian population as well as damage to residential areas.

Hitler issued a directive on 5 September to attack cities including London. The first daylight raid was titled Vergeltungsangriff revenge attack.

On 7 September, a massive series of raids involving nearly four hundred bombers and more than six hundred fighters targeted docks in the East End of London, day and night.

The RAF anticipated attacks on airfields and 11 Group rose to meet them, in greater numbers than the Luftwaffe expected.

The first official deployment of 12 Group's Leigh-Mallory's Big Wing took twenty minutes to form up, missing its intended target, but encountering another formation of bombers while still climbing.

They returned, apologetic about their limited success, and blamed the delay on being scrambled too late. The German press jubilantly announced that "one great cloud of smoke stretches tonight from the middle of London to the mouth of the Thames.

And then came that word 'Vengeance! Göring maintained that the RAF was close to defeat, making invasion feasible. Fighter Command had been at its lowest ebb, short of men and machines, and the break from airfield attacks allowed them to recover.

The Luftwaffe began to abandon their morning raids, with attacks on London starting late in the afternoon for fifty-seven consecutive nights.

The most damaging aspect to the Luftwaffe of targeting London was the increased distance. Its eventual stablemate, the Focke-Wulf Fw A, was flying only in prototype form in mid; the first 28 Fw s were not delivered until November The ordnance rack was not retrofitted to earlier Bf Es until October Göring was in France directing the decisive battle, so Erhard Milch deputised for him.

Hitler refused the latter, perhaps unaware of how much damage had already been done to civilian targets. He reserved for himself the power to unleash the terror weapon.

Instead political will was to be broken by destroying the material infrastructure, the weapons industry, and stocks of fuel and food.

On 15 September, two massive waves of German attacks were decisively repulsed by the RAF by deploying every aircraft in 11 Group.

Sixty German and twenty-six RAF aircraft were shot down. The action was the climax of the Battle of Britain. Two days after the German defeat Hitler postponed preparations for the invasion of Britain.

Henceforth, in the face of mounting losses in men, aircraft and the lack of adequate replacements, the Luftwaffe completed their gradual shift from daylight bomber raids and continued with nighttime bombing.

At the 14 September OKW conference, Hitler acknowledged that the Luftwaffe had still not gained the air superiority needed for the Operation Sealion invasion.

In agreement with Raeder 's written recommendation, Hitler said the campaign was to intensify regardless of invasion plans: "The decisive thing is the ceaseless continuation of air attacks.

British morale was to be broken by destroying infrastructure, armaments manufacturing, fuel and food stocks. On 16 September, Göring gave the order for this change in strategy.

In those circumstances, Hitler said, "even a small invasion might go a long way". Hitler was against cancelling the invasion as "the cancellation would reach the ears of the enemy and strengthen his resolve".

He had to maintain the appearance of concentration on defeating Britain, to conceal from Joseph Stalin his covert aim to invade the Soviet Union.

Throughout the battle, most Luftwaffe bombing raids had been at night. A raid of 70 bombers on 18 September also suffered badly, and day raids were gradually phased out leaving the main attacks at night.

Fighter command still lacked any successful way of intercepting night-time raiders, the night fighter force was mostly Blenheims and Beaufighters , and lacked airborne radar so had no way of finding the bombers.

Anti-aircraft guns were diverted to London's defences, but had a much reduced success rate against night attacks. Small groups of fighter-bombers would carry out Störangriffe raids escorted by large escort formations of about to combat fighters.

The raids were intended to carry out precision bombing on military or economic targets, but it was hard to achieve sufficient accuracy with the single bomb.

Sometimes, when attacked, the fighter-bombers had to jettison the bomb to function as fighters. The RAF was at a disadvantage, and changed defensive tactics by introducing standing patrols of Spitfires at high altitude to monitor incoming raids.

On a sighting, other patrols at lower altitude would fly up to join the battle. A Junkers Ju 88 returning from a raid on London was shot down in Kent on 27 September resulting in the Battle of Graveney Marsh , the last action between British and foreign military forces on British mainland soil.

German bombing of Britain reached its peak in October and November In post war interrogation, Wilhelm Keitel described the aims as economic blockade, in conjunction with submarine warfare , and attrition of Britain's military and economic resources.

The Luftwaffe wanted to achieve victory on its own, and was reluctant to cooperate with the navy. Their strategy for blockade was to destroy ports and storage facilities in towns and cities.

Priorities were based on the pattern of trade and distribution, so for these months London was the main target. In November their attention turned to other ports and industrial targets around Britain.

Hitler postponed the Sealion invasion on 13 October "until the spring of ". It was not until Hitler's Directive 21 was issued, on 18 December , that the threat to Britain of invasion finally ended.

If the technology looks dated now, we must not forget that at the time radar was ultra secret and definitely cutting edge - this was the start of electronic warfare.

I believe I am correct in saying the film opened on 15th September , celebrated in the UK as Battle of Britain day and the actual anniversary of the Churchill incident above.

This was truly the finest hour of those young pilots and we did it all without American help or even a Yank guest star PS Christopher Plummer is Canadian!

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Metacritic Reviews. Photo Gallery. Trailers and Videos. Crazy Credits. Alternate Versions. Rate This. In , the British Royal Air Force fights a desperate battle to prevent the Luftwaffe from gaining air superiority over the English Channel as a prelude to a possible Axis invasion of the U.

Director: Guy Hamilton. Available on Amazon. Added to Watchlist. Michael Redgrave. Trevor Howard remains one of the finest character actors of his time.

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