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The Battle of Britain was one of those crucial turning points in history that determine the future fate and course of history. Germany had invaded Poland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, and several others and proven triumphant every time. The might of the Wehermacht seemed unlimited and the superiority of the Luftwaffe irresistible. The great alliance of European nations that had formed to contain and defeat Nazi Germany was now gone except for Great Britain.

The British army had escaped from Dunkirk to England and the Germans finished off France and then waited. Germany expected Britain to surrender or negotiate a peace settlement. Churchill did not accommodate the Germans and gave them their reply to accommodation/peace overtures - We shall Never Surrender.

 

 

Hitler finally ordered the planning of the invasion of England under code name Sealion, but realized that air superiority over the English Channel would have to be achieved if the Germans hoped to invade. Preparations were made for the air battle as a prelude to invasion.

On July 10th, 1940 the attack began. The Germans had roughly 2500 planes while there were about 1200 plans in Great Britain. That month the Canadian 1st division, one of the few equipped and ready divisions in England, was added to the British 7th corps. If a German invasion came it was unlikely that the Allied army would be able t stop the Germans. The bombing of England began with attacks on airfields, military installations, channel shipping and other obvious strategic targets.

On August 12, 1940 Number 1 squadron RCAF engaged the German bombers over the south of England. They shot down 3 German planes and lost one of it's own. The battle was joined and the Canadians fought continuously throughout the rest of the battle. On August 30th, with 303 Squadron RAF, and #1 RCAF met and fought a German attack in which 12 German planes were shot down with no loss to the Canadians or the Brits. This continued until September 27th when the last large daylight raid by the Germans took place. The Canadians accounted for another 7 confirmed kills. They mainly flew Hurricanes which along with the Spitfires formed the main body of planes flown by the allies. This was really the end of the battle although German bombing continued for years afterwards.

This ended the direct threat to England which would slowly wrestled control of the skies from German over the next few years. Hitler, in the meantime, turned his eyes upon the east and prepared for his massive invasion of the Soviet Union.

 

Battle:

July 10 - Oct 31, 1940

Campaign:  Western Front  
War: World War II 1939 - 1945
 
Where: South Eastern England, channel
Western Front
Great Britain, France
 
 

Opponents

Belligerents: Britain Germany
Canada Italy
Allies  
 
Commanders:
Hugh Dowding - Br
Keith Park - Br
Trafford Leigh-Mallory - Br
C.J. Quintin Brand
Richard Saul
Hermann Goring
Albert Kesselring
Hugo Sperrle
Hans-Jurgen Stumpff
Rino Corso Fougier - It
Forces:   1,963 Aircraft 2,550 Aircraft
 
Result:

Decisive British Victory

 
Casualties: Britain, Canada & Allies Opponents
Killed - 544 Killed - 2,698
Wounded - 422 Aircraft - 1,887
Aircraft - 1,547  

 

 

 

 

The Battle of Britain

 



Article/Document/Material Source:
Reference: www.canadahistory.com/sections/war/war.html