The Narrow Margin: The Battle of Britain and the Rise of Air Power 1930-40

The Narrow Margin: The Battle of Britain and the Rise of Air Power 1930-40

The Narrow Margin: The Battle of Britain and the Rise of Air Power 1930-40

The Narrow Margin: The Battle of Britain and the Rise of Air Power 1930-40

Excerpt

Twenty-one years ago one of the most significant battles of history was fought in the skies over Britain. Its outcome had a profound effect on the future of the civilized world.

The Battle of Britain saved the country from invasion. If the R.A.F. had been defeated all the efforts of the Army and Navy could hardly have averted defeat in the face of complete German air superiority. With all Europe subjugated, Germany and Japan would later have met on the borders of India.

The undivided weight of the German war effort would then have fallen on Russia with the United States completely isolated.

It is unlikely that there will ever be a parallel to the Battle of Britain where armies and navies, immobilized on either side of the Channel, watched a few thousand combatants meet in the air above.

The battle was not, however, won in the period from July to October 1940 alone. The outcome was the culmination of the preparation, good judgment and error made in the preceding seven years.

On the face of it the Luftwaffe should have won the battle. It possessed superiority in numbers and bases stretching round two- thirds of Britain, but lacked any effective plan of campaign, intelligence facilities and above all operational scientific knowledge.

The battle marked the advent of controlled scientific warfare, which is the basis of defence strategy today. Science and enlightenment were employed in the British and not the German camp.

We have endeavoured to show, step by step, how the military machines of both sides were built up and how they finally came to grips in the summer of 1940. The battle has been laid out for the first time in the form of a complete operational day-to-day diary.

Most previous accounts of the battle have been divided into four phases, but close analysis of official records reveals a clear cut separation for the R.A.F. into five phases between July 11th and October 30th. The diary has accordingly been divided in this form.

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.