Battle of Britain: Tactical Assessment

Figure 1.--Hitler eventually decided on the tactic of terror to force Britain to surrender. This placed the British people including the school children on the front line. Many of the children were evacuated from the cities, but many children stayed put. They drilled and redrilled like the boys in the class here moving in militay percission. Thus the children could immediately move into the safest area of the school when the air raid sireens sounded. The Germans killed 32,000 civilians and destroyed 2 million homes, but Britain was stronger militarily and the people more committed to the War effort after the Blitz than before. And Hitler only succeeded in damaging the Luftwaffe which was essential for Barbarossa. Putbyour cursor on the image to see the rest of the class.

The Luftwaffe's original tactics in the Battle of Britain seem well conceived and obtainable, target RAF airfields in southeastern England and establish air superiority over the planned invasion beaches to support an anphibious invasion. We are not sure if the invasion was possible, but the Luftwaffe had the capability of achieving air superority pver that corner of England. But Hitler was impatient after Göring was unabke to destroy the RAF in a few days as prommised. Hitler's decession to shift the battle to London and other cities in effect took the battle north beyond the capability of the Luftwaffe. Hitler's focus and mindset was on terror and disctruction. He had no real concept of waging a strategic bombing campaign. Here the Allies with a much greater bombing force were sunsequently unable to seriously disrupt German industrial production until the final year of the War. Here even the British and Americans which had two decades to work out aerial strategy were unprepared for strategic bombing until well into the War. The Luftwaffe as a service when the War broke out was less than 4 years old. At the time of the Battle of Britain, not only did the Luftwaffe not have a strategic bombing force, no one, neither the Germans or Allies, knew how to conduct an effective strategic bombing campaign. [Rumpf, 41.] Wars are not won by knocking down houses, The Luftwaffe knocked down a lot of houses, but very feew imprtant military targets. And it was done at great cost to important military assetts edfor the coming invasion of the Soviet Union. The British pepople organized. They built bomb shelters in theirbhomes and back gardens (yards) to withstand the bombing. Many of the children were evacuated from the cities. The children that remained werre drilled and redrilled about how to respnd when the bombers came. Hitler threw the vaunted Luftwafe at the British peoole and they were not cowed. It was a tactical error that would affect the outcome of the War. The Luftwaffe would never fully recover.


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Created: 12:40 PM 11/8/2019
Last updated: 12:41 PM 11/8/2019