|RAF pilots scrambling. My uncle Willem was an|
RAF pilot. He was shot down over Laval, France
on June 10, 1944 and is buried there.
As Prime Minister Winston Churchill said: "Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few."
Britain’s decisive victory saved the country from a ground invasion and possible occupation by German forces and showed that air power alone could be used to win a major battle.
On the first day, 120 German bombers and fighters struck a British shipping convoy in the Channel, while 70 more attacked dockyards in South Wales. Britain had only 600 fighters while the Germans had 1,300. But:
- Britain had an an effective radar system.
- Spitfires could make tighter turns Germany’s ME109s, enabling it to elude pursuers and come up behind them.
- The British Hurricanes could carry 40mm cannon. These planes shot down, with American Browning machine guns, more than 1,500 Luftwaffe planes.
- The German single-engine fighters had limited flight radius and their bombers lacked bomb-load capacity to cause permanent damage.
- Britain had the advantage of a unified command, while German infighting was weakened by poor timing and intelligence.
- The British people were undaunted. When the government asked for all available aluminum to the brought to he Ministry of Aircraft Production to turn into airplanes, the public responded.