|A Kampfgeschwader of He-111s Approaches Dover|
The Channel could be crossed if the Germans could gain air superiority. This would allow them to drive the Royal Navy from the Channel while the Wehrmacht crossed over from France to England.
In order to gain air superiority, the Luftwaffe had to neutralize RAF Fighter Command, which in August of 1940, had a strength of roughly 800 front line fighter aircraft, one-third of which were Spitfires, the remainder Hurricanes.
By the time of the fall of France, the Luftwaffe (the German air force) had 3,000 planes based in north-west Europe alone including 1,400 bombers, 300 dive bombers, 800 single engine fighter planes and 240 twin engine fighter bombers. At the start of the battle, the Luftwaffe had 2,500 planes that were serviceable and in any normal day, the Luftwaffe could put up over 1,600 planes. The RAF had 1,200 planes on the eve of the battle which included 800 Spitfires and Hurricanes - but only 660 of these were serviceable. The rate of British plane production was good - the only weakness of the RAF was the fact that they lacked sufficient trained and experienced pilots. Trained pilots had been killed in the war in France and they had not been replaced. (Source)So the RAF was outnumbered. However, skilled pilots in well-designed aircraft can make a huge difference. Those boys who stood against the Luftwaffe in 1940 got the job done.
|British Pilot: Welcome to England Jerry!|
German Pilot: Scheisse!
Now I may have posted this short film The German by Nick Ryan before, perhaps I saw it on someone else's blog a while back. Doesn't matter. I watched it again last night and decided to post it here for you today. I thought it was extremely well done.
It also taught me a little known fact that I had not known before.
I won't tell you what that was though, you'll need to watch the film for that!
Kampfgeschwader, German Bomber Wing
Wehrmacht, German armed forces
Luftwaffe, German Air Force