Casualties are placed in an ambulance by Air Raid Precautions workers, after a German bombing raid on a town in East Anglia, England, 1940.
Photo : Acme Newspictures Inc.
The Invasion Threat to Britain and the Battle of Britain, 1940
Three weeks after the fall of France, Adolf Hitler issued orders
to prepare an invasion of Britain. The United States had not yet
come into the war, and Canada was Britain's sole major ally. After
Dunkirk ( see The German Invasion of Western Europe ), the 1st Canadian
was the only formation in Britain with enough equipment
to meet the German armies.
Before Hitler could launch his armies across the English Channel, he
first had to eliminate or neutralize the Royal Air Force (RAF). This
he could not do. In the Battle of Britain, July 10 to October 31,
1940, the first battle in world history to be fought wholly in the
air, both sides had roughly the same number of fighter aircraft. But
Britain was fighting for and over its own territory, and had the
advantages of radar and newer fighters. The Germans attacked ships
in the English Channel first, flew next against the airfields where
the RAF kept their fighters and then launched bomber raids aimed at
the heart of the British capital city, London.
No matter what, the Germans were unable to break the British fighter
defence. At the end of October, the German began to attack
London at night (the ""),
and Hitler postponed the
invasion indefinitely. No. 1 (Fighter) , later no. 401 ,
, flew Hawker Hurricanes in the Battle of Britain, losing three
of its pilots killed and ten wounded.
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