Assess The Significance Of The Battle Of Britain In Turning The Tide Of War Against Germany In The Period To The End Of 1942

1501 words - 7 pages

The Battle of Britain can be seen as a significant turning point in the war against Germany as they are unsuccessful in their bid to capture the British Isles. However, it can also be said that this battle's only real importance was the fact that Britain survived the attack, as the Allies were unable to retake Europe and defeat Germany at this point. Yet before the Battle of Britain Germany is the only victorious side.When war was declared in 1939 and Hitler had ordered the invasion of Poland the Allies were unable to stop him, and with the Red army (the Russians) invading Poland from the East, as planned for in the Nazi-Soviet pact, the country was taken within a matter of weeks. In the ...view middle of the document...

Reichsmarschall Hermann Göering, head of the Luftwaffe, ordered his force to draw the RAF into battle by attacking coastal convoys and bombing radar stations along the south coast, installations of the British aircraft industry, and RAF airfields. The short range of the German aircraft however, and the fact that they were fighting over enemy territory were two major disadvantages for the Germans. The Messerschmitt Bf109E (Me-109) was the principal German fighter and with a range of 700 km, it had only 15 minutes' fuel over Kent and was at the limit of its range over London (the two-engine Me-110 had a slightly longer range). Both planes had a limited range and were operating from bases from Dunkirk or further a field, making the German bombers very vulnerable to the most modern RAF fighters. This was primarily due to their design, the aircrafts were short-range fighters, yet they had to travelled hundreds of kilometres to reach their targets and by which time they were low on fuel. The Luftwaffe lost a total of 1,733 aircrafts from July to October, the RAF 915. The Germans were actually winning the battle of slow destruction but, frustrated by the unexpected numbers of Allied planes opposing them, switched in early September to night bombing of cities. This was a fatal mistake, as the Luftwaffe wandered between attacks on transport, civilian morale and the aviation industry. (Switching to attacks on London took the German fighters to the limit of their range.) On 17 September Hitler cancelled Operation Sealion, the name of his plan for the invasion of Britain - it was originally believed they could eliminate RAF Fighter Command in four days and the aviation industry in four weeks - the Germans had failed.The Battle of Britain saw the first defeat of the Germans and with the invasion of Britain unsuccessful Hitler turned to the Russian front. Even though the Allies had remained undefeated he believed they posed no threat to him for the time being as they were still being held back from the continent - the USSR however, was and would remain to be a major threat to Germany. After securing the Southern flank - Greece and Libya (where Hitler's ally Mussolini had failed drastically) operation Barbarossa could begin.Operation Barbarossa was the largest and most ambitious campaign the Wehrmacht had launched, involving several hundred divisions at any one time. In the opening months of the operation it appeared that Germany might be successful in taking the Russian front, as Stalin had been taken by complete surprise, believing that Hitler would not attack (due to Nazi-Soviet pact). In a series of fast moving offensives the German forces broke through Russian defences capturing large numbers of troops and taking various towns and cities. Soviet looses were staggering - mounting into millions of troops, allowing the Germans to advance hundreds of miles eastward. Germany however, underestimated the Soviet ability to rearm and relocate. Russia had...

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