Battle of Britain: 10 July – 15 September/31 October 1940

Royal Air Force:

battle of brit pilots sit x

Pilots who participated 1,796
Planes Destroyed 1,023
Pilots Killed 544
Wounded 422
Casualties 966

A further 1,000 Air Crew of Coastal and Bomber Command would lose their lives during this period in other operations.

Of those RAF pilots who took part in the Battle of Britain 814 would die before the end of the war.

Foreign Nationals who fought:

Poland 141 (29) Killed
Australia 21 (14)
Canada 88 (20)
New Zealand 73 (11)
Czechoslovakia 86 (8)
South Africa 21 (9)
Belgium 26 (6)
United States 7 (1)
France 13 (0)
Ireland 8 (0)
Rhodesia 2 (0)
Palestine 1 (0)
Total 487 (98)

Leading Fighter Ace:

eric lock x

British National Flight Lieutenant Eric Lock, d 3 August 1941, aged 23 – 21 confirmed kills.

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Foreign National Sergeant Josef Frantisek -Czechoslovakian who also served in Polish Squadrons, d 8 October 1940, aged 26 – 18 confirmed kills.

Commanders:

hugh dowding x

Air Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding
Air Vice-Marshal Sir Christopher Quintin-Brand – 10 Group
Air Vice-Marshal Keith Park – 11 Group
Air Vice-Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory 12 Group
Air Vice-Marshal Richard Saul – 13 Group.

Primary Aircraft:

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Supermarine Spitfire:
Designer Reginald Joseph (RJ) Mitchell
First flight: 5 March, 1936.
Speed: 350 mph
Armament: 8 Browning machine guns, 4 in each wing.

battle of brit hurricanes

Hawker Hurricane:
Designer Sidney Camm
First flight: 6 November, 1935.
Speed: 328 mph
Armament: 8 Browning machine guns, 4 in each wing.

**The Hawker Hurricane accounted for 56% of German planes lost in combat during the battle**
Also used in a combat role during the Battle of Britain were the Defiant and the Bristol Beaufighter but considered too slow and cumbersome for daylight activity they were largely restricted to intercepting German night time bombing raids.

Luftwaffe:

1,887 planes destroyed.
2,621 Air Crew Killed
2,698 Wounded
967 Captured

adolf galland x

Leading Fighter Ace:
Gruppenkomandeur Adolf Galland
– 31 confirmed kills.

Commanders:

hermann goering 2

Reichsmarschall Herman Goering
Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring – Luftlotte 2
Generalfeldmarschall Hugo Sperrle – Luftlotte 3
Generaloberst Hans-Jurgen Stumpff – Luftlotte 5

battle of brit german ac x

Primary Planes:

Heinkel lll
Crew 5
Speed 270 mph
Capacity 8×551 pound bombs
Armament – 1×20 mm cannon, 1×13 mm machine gun, 7×7.92 mm machine gun.

battle of brit heinkels x

Dornier 17
Crew 5
Speed 265 mph
Capacity 2,200 pound bomb-load
Armament – 6×7.9 mm machine guns

Junkers 88
Crew 3/4
Speed 286 mph
Capacity 5×510 pound bombs
Armament – 6×7.9 mm machine guns

Junkers 87 (Stuka)
Crew 2
Speed 195 mph
Capacity 5×500 pound bombs
Armament – 2 MG81 machine guns in wings, 1 MG81 Rear Gunner.
Herman Goering ordered the withdrawal of the Stuka from the battle after suffering from what he referred to as unsustainable losses.

Messerschmitt 110
Crew 2
Speed 349 mph
Armament – 2 cannon in nose, 4×7.9 mm machine guns in wings, 1×7.9 machine gun Rear Gunner.
Was designed as a Bomber Escort but proved cumbersome, lacking in manoeuvrability and easy prey to British Fighters. Its role was later restricted and it had the embarrassment of being escorted itself by its namesake the 109.
Messerschmitt 109

Crew 1
Speed 348 mph
Armament – 2xcannon, 2×17.9 machine guns.
One of the most effective and feared fighter planes of World War Two it carried much of the burden for the campaign despite fuel restrictions and its limited flying time over the British mainland.
Although the Battle of Britain is formally acknowledged to have concluded at the end of October when German strategy changed and the Blitz began in earnest the decisive day was the 15 September when the greatest aerial attack upon Britain was beaten back with heavy losses.

Two days later Adolf Hitler conceded that the Luftwaffe had failed to secure air superiority over Britain by postponing Operation Sea Lion, the planned invasion of Britain, indefinitely.
The 15 September is now commemorated in the United Kingdom as Battle of Britain Day.

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