Bargaining for Supremacy: Anglo-American Naval Collaboration, 1937-1941

By James R. Leutze | Go to book overview

8.
Learning to Play Zero-Sum Games 14 August 1940-25 September 1940

While Donovan was doing his best in Washington to convince Roosevelt of British stamina under attack, the air battle over England moved into a new phase. August 9 to 23 marked Phase II in the Battle of Britain. The first few days of this period were spent in preparation and then, even though 13 August dawned with some cloud and drizzle over the Channel, "Adlertag" opened on schedule. The target was the Royal Air Force Fighter Command itself and for two weeks waves of ME 109s, ME 110s, Junkers, and Heinkels attacked air bases and communications facilities. Spitfires and Hurricanes were destroyed on the ground and heavily engaged in the air; it was an all-out effort that almost succeeded. During much of August the outcome was in doubt and although the task had not been completed in the four days originally projected, Air Reichsmarshal Hermann Goering and his Luftwaffe intelligence staff believed that they were well on their way toward attaining air superiority over England. Churchill thought differently, but could the Americans be convinced?

The Americans were already badly frightened by developments in Europe. Churchill's initial policy of attempting to hasten aid by hinting at collapse had done little but make them more cautious.

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