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Canadian Newspapers and the Second World War
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History of World War 2 Battles
  - The Invasion of Poland, 1939
  - The Battle of the Atlantic
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  - The Invasion of the Balkans
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  - Dieppe Raid, 1942
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  - D-Day and the Normandy Campaign
  - The Liberation of the Netherlands
 
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World War 2 Battles and Military Operations
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 Credit: Acme Newspictures Inc. Photo, CWM Reference Photo Collection
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 Division 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 air force began to attack London at night (the "blitz"), and Hitler postponed the invasion indefinitely. No. 1 (Fighter) Squadron, later no. 401 Squadron, RCAF, flew Hawker Hurricanes in the Battle of Britain, losing three of its pilots killed and ten wounded.

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    Date created: September 19, 2003 | Last updated: October 22, 2009