Battle of Britain Day

Golrush007Golrush007 South AfricaPosts: 3,100Quartermasters
I'm sure some of you are aware that September 15 is Battle of Britain day.

I'm not sure how widely known it is elsewhere - In South Africa it is more-or-less unknown except amongst people like myself who have long been interested in the battle.

The battle has always stood out to me as one of the defining battles of the 20th century since so much depended on Britain remaining unoccupied. I think the story of the battle will always remain one of the great wartime stories. ;)

Comments

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 9,205MI6 Agent
    That's something to do with World War 2 isn't it? ?:)
    :D

    I didn't know there was a day to mark it. Of course, the battle took place over several months from around the end of Dunkirk in May/June 1940 to mid-September when Hitler realised he'd been unable to clear the skies for his invasion of Britain.

    Was Sept 15 the fateful day Hitler had to win? There were a few reasons why he didn't 1) the Brits had RADAR (called something different back then) and the Nazis didn't know it. Hence the myth of Brit pilots eating carrots to improve eyesight to account for their success in downing the enemy 2) Allied pilots could bail out over home land and fly again, not so the Luftwaffe who were taken pow 3) The Spitfire was a great flagship plane but let's not forget 4) the Hurricane of which there were more, a good workhorse.

    Hugh Dowding was a great leader, sacked shoddily by Churchill who though he lacked 'charisma'.

    There were other factors to the success, I'm sure.
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  • LoeffelholzLoeffelholz The United States, With LovePosts: 8,864Quartermasters
    edited September 2008
    A great moment in history for the U.K. The indomitable spirit of the British people, the leadership of Churchill in a very dark hour...plus everything Nap detailed.

    I didn't know there was a day for it either, but it seems quite fitting that there is.

    Cheers! {[]
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  • Moonraker 5Moonraker 5 Ayrshire, ScotlandPosts: 1,821MI6 Agent
    RAF Leuchars in Fife has an annual Battle Of Britain Memorial Airshow in mid-September, but other than the major "milestones" where it's been marked by a parade or fly past, Rememberance Sunday tends to include all these events.

    15th September 1940 was the day when the battle turned. The Wehrmacht were massing on the French coast, troops, tanks, lorries, artillery and landing craft. But the invasion of Britain, Operation Sealion, couldn't begin until the RAF had been neutralised. From June through to September 1940, the Luftwaffe concentrated on hitting RAF airfields and aircraft factories in an attempt to destroy the RAF before it could take off.

    With that concentrated and sustained heavy bombardment, the London suburb of Harrow was accidentally hit in late August. In retaliation, the RAF bombed Berlin, which infuriated and embarrassed Hitler, causing the Luftwaffe to change tactic. Hitler made his famous speech in which he claimed that for every bomb the RAF dropped on Berlin, he would drop 10,000 bombs on London and obliterate our cities. On 7th September, over 400 bombers targeted the east end of London. Though the RAF was desperately short, Dowding took a massive gamble in moving everything he had to the south east thinking the build up in bomber force was the last push to wipe out the RAF on the ground. Joe Kennedy, the US Ambassador and JFK's father, sent a communique to Washington saying we had less than 48 hours to survive and not to send any aid. It looked that desperate. Almost the entire RAF rose to meet the bomber force, giving a false show of strength and inflicting massive damage on the Luftwaffe (because their fighters could only spend 20 minutes over the south coast before running out of fuel). Falsely accepting that the RAF was stronger than he thought, Hitler decided to rock British morale by wiping out London. So, on the 15th September, two massive waves were sent against London and the RAF again inflicted huge losses on the bomber force.

    That day Hitler postponed Operation Sealion. The Luftwaffe continued massive raids against British cities with increasing losses until October 1940, when the invasion was cancelled completely and regular bombardment ended.

    We bought time.

    It was Churchill that christened it the Battle of Britain, saying when France surrendered "The battle of France is over. I expect the battle of Britain is about to begin". And famously, of course, he summed it all up with "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many, to so few".
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  • Lady RoseLady Rose London,UKPosts: 2,512MI6 Agent
    ... And famously, of course, he summed it all up with "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many, to so few".

    That line always leaves a shiver down my spine.

    Battle Of Britain day has always been marked in our house.My father is fanatical about WWII planes so I have always been aware of their significance and contribution of the pilots to the war.
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