Battle of Britain

  • Operation Pied Piper

    Operation Pied Piper
    Designed to protect civilians, particularly children, from the risks associated with aerial bombing of cities by moving them to areas thought to be less at risk. The country was divided into three zones "evacuation", "neutral", or "reception". 240,000 People alone were evacuated from London. "One of the things people had to do, evacuate the children, pull up the blackout curtains and kill the cat"
  • Food Rationing

    Food Rationing
    Food Rationing was brought into Britain in January 1940, five months before the Battle of Britain would commence. Sugar was rationed at twelve ounces per week, but meat was rationed by cost. Therefore each person would be allocated 1/10d worth of meat per week, 3 pints of milk, 8 ounces of sugar, 4 ounces of butter or fat, 4 ounces of bacon, 2 ounces of tea, 1 ounce of cheese and 1 egg.
  • The Norway Debate

    The Norway Debate
    A debate in parliament about the invasion of Norway, it descended into a vote of no confidence in Neville Chamberlain, following which Winston Churchill becomes the new Prime Minister.
  • The home guard

    The home guard
    The local defence volunteers (The LDV) are formed with 1.5 million volunteers. This frequently satirised group allowed the public real military involvement in a people's war. They carried out essential duties like guarding the coastline, railway stations and setting up road blocks when required. Their main role was to act as a secondary defence force in the event of invasion. They were renamed the Home Guard in 1940. They were disbanded on the 31st of December 1945.
  • Halifax and Goring

    Halifax and Goring
    Lord Halifax, the foreign secretary, attempts to organise a secret meeting with Goring to discuss terms of peace.
  • The evacuation of Dunkirk

    The evacuation of Dunkirk
    Almost 340,000 troops had been evacuated from Dunkirk in France to Britain, leaving behind up to a million tons of arms, equipment and fuel. Although the military operations in France had been a major disaster, the rescue of the stranded soldiers was hailed as a miracle. A flotilla of amateur volunteers took part, everything from private yachts , fishing boats and lifeboats helped the navy, particularly ferrying soldiers from the shores to the waiting ships.
  • We will never surrender

    We will never surrender
    Churchill gives one of his great speeches after the evacuation of Dunkirk. []
  • The Spirit Of The People

    The Spirit Of The People
  • Private doubts.

    Private doubts.
    Whilst maintaining a public persona of defiance, in private, Churchill was pessimistic about Britain's chances in the war.
  • ''The Battle of Britain is about to begin.''

    ''The Battle of Britain is about to begin.''
    Churchill's address to the nation before the imminent fall of France.
  • France surrenders.

    France surrenders.
    The French government signs an armistice with Nazi Germany. The fall of France deeply upset the British plans for the war, Churchill was determined never to surrender. The capitulation of France made possible air attacks on Britain from a heretofore unconsidered direction. Britain was now alone in the west and had lost considerable weaponry in Dunkirk. The Battle of Britain was one of the few battles in history to be named before it begun, by Churchill on the 18th of June 1940.
  • Plans Presented

    Plans Presented
    Alfred Jodl (Chief of Operation Staff in German High Command) presents plan that will lead to the defeat of the RAF and then pave the way for an invasion of Britain. Britain would be placed under siege and be subject to an almost constant stream of attacks. Emphasis was placed on RAF targets in particular other aircraft along with factories, airfields and radar stations.
  • Dogfight over Dover

    Dogfight over Dover The British had two main fighters, the Spitfire and the Hurricane while the German's main fighter was called the Messerschmitt 109. Ironically the Messerschmitt was powered by a British Rolls Royce engine. The 109 had a major advantage over the British fighters, it had a fuel injection system that worked in negative G's. This meant it could dive much faster than the British planes but it had a limited range of 370 miles.
  • Invasion Planned

    Invasion Planned
    Hitler issues Directive No. 16. Mobilization begins for Operation Sea Lion.
  • Hitler's ultimatum

    Hitler's ultimatum
    Hitler's speech to the Reichstag implored the British government to see ''reason and common sense.''
  • Attacks Begin

    Attacks Begin
    Hermann Goering (Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe) orders attacks to go ahead with extra emphasis out on the British radar installations. Emphasis was placed on RAF installments (radar, airfields, factories ect.).The German High Command lacked real consensus on actual tactics due to their lack of experience. Commanders argued between goading RAF fighters into the air or attacking them on the ground along with factories and radar installations.
  • Lack of Experience

    Lack of Experience
    Luftwaffe lose 57 fighters in attacks across the South coast. The Luftwaffe’s relative inexperience was shown as they struggled to protect their bombers against a well organised defence. This coupled with the poor numbers of fighters being manufactured across Germany proved to slowly bleed the Luftwaffe dry. This is the first time the Luftwaffe had faced a well organised aerial defence.
  • Churchill during the Battle

    Churchill during the Battle
    Churchill was present in Group 11's underground bunker at times during the Battle, there stating one of his most famous quotes.
  • The Hardest Day

    The Hardest Day
    This was called the 'Hardest day'. Goering turned his attention to RAF airfields. They targeted Biggin hill and Kenley airfields. Unknown to the Luftwaffe these were the sites of sector operations rooms. The day proved to be punishing for both sides having their biggest loses. Attacks on airfields continued until August 31st.
  • London and Liverpool Left Untouched

    London and Liverpool Left Untouched
    Bombers began to use more as bait than as actual instruments of destruction. Liverpool and London were still left untouched.
  • The Debt of a Nation.

    The Debt of a Nation.
    Churchill acknowledges the debt owed to the RAF.
    It proved that air power alone could win a battle, it was a turning point in WW2. It saved the country from a ground invasion and possible occupation by German forces.
  • Change in Tactics

    Change in Tactics
    Attacks resume on London. 100 bombers caused 76 ‘incidents’ within the city. The RAF retaliates.
  • Radar - The battle winner.

    Radar - The battle winner.
    Air Chief Marshall Dowding unlike Goering recognised the importance of radar, by late August, Goering had switched his concentration of air attacks from bombing radar stations and airfields to bombing cities. Radar meant that British pilots did not have to engage in reconnaissance flights. This lack of foresight allowed the British to retain the advantage in the air.
  • Britain Bombs Berlin

    Britain Bombs Berlin
    On 25 August 1940, the RAF launched its first raid on Berlin in retaliation for the German bombing of London the previous day.
    The aircraft below, an Armstrong Whitworth Whitley was used along with Hampdens and Wellingtons. This infuriated Hitler who swore to raze British cities to the ground. It also embarrassed Goering who promised that Berlin would never be bombed. The raid was not very successful as the British bombers had to fly to high to avoid heavy defensive fire.
  • Invasion Plans

    Invasion Plans
    German High Command plans to start invasion on 20th September.
  • The Blitz

    The Blitz
    43,000 people would be killed as The Germans commenced there new tactic of Lightning War.
  • London Attacks Continue

    London Attacks Continue
    Another major attack against London (and this time including it’s docks) which like previous ones proved very effective. 306 were killed, and a further 1,337 injured. While the attacks on London were effective it allowed for the Southern region of England to regain its strength. Here we see a turn of attention to attacking London and away to the ultimate goal of air supremacy in order to begin an invasion
  • Exaggerated claims

    Exaggerated claims
    Both sides claimed they downed more planes than they did. This was done in order to boost morale and in the case of Britain, in order to convince the United States to join the war. The RAF claimed 2,698 kills, when the figure was actually 1,977. The Luftwaffe claimed 3,198, when in reality it was 1,611.
  • Invasion Postponed

    Invasion Postponed
    Navy begin preparations for operation Sea Lion. At this point German High Command believes it will gain the necessary air superiority in the following two weeks and so the invasion is postponed to the 27th.
  • Battle of Britain Day

    Battle of Britain Day
    A massive attack on London was stoutly defended by the RAF. Around 1500 aircraft took part in the battle which lasted until dusk. The RAF's determined defence scattered a lot of Luftwaffe formations leading to inaccurate bombing. The Luftwaffe suffered their highest losses since the 18th of August forcing a reconsideration of tactics. From the 15th the Germans began to scale down their attacks. This was subsequently chosen as Battle of Britain day,
  • Morrison Shelter Invented

    Morrison Shelter Invented
    This was a steal cage given to families who's income was less than £400, families would sleep inside the metal cage which was designed so that it could be used as a kitchen table during the day.
  • Another Change in Tactics

    Another Change in Tactics
    After previously attempting to increase attacks on London the Germans lift their ban on attacking docks and harbours. In an attempt to demoralise the British public attacks were made on the 8 million civilians residing in London. With the intention of swaying public opinion towards a surrender. Along with civilians and food supplies, sewage and electrical plants were also attacked in an attempt to lower morale. The attempts did nothing but to strengthen civillian resolve.
  • Underestimation of British Industry

    Underestimation of British Industry
    Germans begin to realise their gross underestimation of the RAF’s capacity to defend Britain. Frans Halder summarises: ‘Air Force Command has underestimated the British fighter strength by about 100%...’ From the beginning of hostilities above Britain the Luftwaffe had been depleted from 950 fighters to 600 and 1,100 bombers to about 800. It was estimated that the Luftwaffe would need up to four times their original numbers to be able to continue a war that would soon include the USA and Russia.
  • Civilian Shelter - Balham Tube Station

    Civilian Shelter -  Balham Tube Station
    68 people killed when a a bomb penetrated sewage works and water mains
  • Stalemate Approaches

    Stalemate Approaches
    Stalemate approaching. Attack once again shifts. First away from London and then back once the British had shifted their defences. The focus would shift to the industrial midlands (Coventry, Birmingham and Sheffield) where the Germans wished to place further pressure on British industry and the rest of the countries quality of life. The Germans become too spread out accross the country and so overall effectiveness is diminished.
  • The Last Day

    The Last Day
    The 31/10/40 is widely regarded as the last day of the Battle of Britain by historians. Raids became fewer and fewer as the weather worsened but they did not cease completely, the Blitz continued into the following summer. Operation Sealion, the planned invasion of Britain was called off as it was regarded as untenable. It's estimated that between July 10th and October 31st 1940 the RAF lost 1023 aircraft to the Luftwaffe's loss of 1887.