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PAX, LUX ET VERITAS SINCE 1965
Post Battle of Britain: No Reserve Planes
Created by John Eipper on 02/11/18 4:50 AM

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Battle of Britain: No Reserve Planes (David Fleischer, Brazil, 02/11/18 4:50 am)

In response to Luciano Dondero (7 February), the Battle of Britain was certainly a very important moment of WWII.

The Germans did not know that the UK had radar, so the RAF could pinpoint exactly where the German bombers were coming in and rise quickly to the attack, especially at night, with radar-guided search lights aimed at the bombers.

Churchill was certainly right:  "Never so many owed so much to so few"--the RAF fighter pilots. At that time, the RAF also had some "volunteer" American and Canadian fighter pilots. (Perhaps some from Australia and New Zealand as well?)  [Don't forget the Poles!--JE.]

The Germans took heavy losses of their bombers and plane crews, but they bombed many UK airfields and fighter plane factories.

The day that Goering called a halt to the Battle of Britain, the RAF had all its fighter planes in the air, with zero reserve planes--a very nice coincidence!!

Hitler had already chosen his residence after he had conquered the UK--that beautiful castle on the hill in Edinburgh! Not to be.

JE comments:  Hitler must have felt safe (or imperial) when perched up high.  Consider Berchtesgaden.  If memory serves, wasn't he also planning to move into the Winter Palace in St Petersburg/Leningrad?  Or was it the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoe Selo?  (Granted, there are no hills in that part of Russia. Either way, as in Edinburgh, it was not to be.)


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  • UK Radar Technology at Battle of Britain (John Heelan, UK 02/13/18 4:48 AM)
    David Fleischer wrote on February 11th: "The RAF [in the Battle of Britain] could pinpoint exactly where the German bombers were coming in and rise quickly to the attack."

    Not quite! Radar technology (Chain Home) at the time was fairly primitive, with an absence of aerials (no oscillating or downward-looking aerials) that could determine the height of an incoming attack. (I spent two years of my National Service working as a fighter plotter in Air Defence operations bunkers scattered around the UK.)


    German pilots soon learned to avoid being detected by flying under the radar shadow and hugging the waves until Chain Home Low was developed. This was particularly true of the station on St. Boniface Down (750 ft above sea level) on the Isle of Wight that suffered attacks using this manoeuvre.


    JE comments:  John Heelan reminds us that "flying under the radar" used to be literal.  John, do you know if the Americans at Pearl Harbor had the same level of radar technology?  This was a full year after the Battle of Britain.  I recall the scene from Tora! Tora! Tora! in which the radar technicians see the incoming blips, but are not taken seriously by their incredulous higher-ups.


    A "time flies" epiphany:  TTT (1970) was made only 29 years after Pearl Harbor.  An equivalent time lapse now would be a film about the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989).

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