On 13/10/12 11:08 PM, Peter Duncanson (BrE) wrote:
> Sat, 13 Oct 2012 14:34:02 +0100, Daniel James <[email protected]> wrote:
>> In article <[email protected]>, Peter Duncanson
>> (BrE) wrote:
>>> The difference was that the Battle of Britain involved attacks on only
>>> military targets in Britain whereas the Blitz involved attacks on
>>> civilian as well as military targets in Britain.
>> I largely agree with what you've written, Peter, and I think that you
>> have correctly stated how those terms are used by those who wish to
>> attach precise meanings to popular names for phases of the War ... but I
>> think that in the minds of many the word "Blitz" is associated with all
>> German bombing of ground targets (mainly civilian, but also military
>> ones by extension) while "Battle of Britain" is associated with aerial
>> combat over Britain at all/any stage of the War.
>> That is: "Blitz" describes German aggression and is a Bad Thing, while
>> "Battle of Britain" describes our plucky lads giving Johnny Foreigner a
>> bloody nose and so is a Good Thing. The distinction between Good Thing
>> and Bad Thing in people's minds has a marvellous ability to make labels
>> One might also argue that "the Battle of Britain", as Churchill intended
>> those words to be understood in his "This was their Finest Hour" speech,
>> encompassed all the home front war effort between the evacuation of
>> Dunkirk and the date when Operation Sealion was postponed indefinitely
>> in late 1940 ... or maybe even until the Normandy landings in 1944.
> This brief RAF history of the Battle of Britain lists four phases, one
> of which is the Blitz. From their point of view the BofB was the defence
> of Britain from attack by enemy aircraft and thereby making a
> sea-borne invasion unfeasible:
> Phase 1 - The Battle Begins
> Starting on 10 July 1940, the Luftwaffe attacked shipping convoys in
> the Channel and Channel Ports.
> In this stage of the battle, the Luftwaffe was in effect probing the
> British defences - looking for weaknesses before a major assault
> could be launched to exploit them.
> Phase 2-Pressure grows
> At the beginning of August, with German invasion forces and troop
> barges being assembled on the French coast, the raids against the
> South coast of England were increased in size and number.
> Believing that the British early warning system had been destroyed
> and the coastal towns sufficiently 'softened up' for an invasion,
> the Luftwaffe began the next stage of their plan.
> On 13 August (called Adlertag or Eagle Day by the German High
> Command), massive raids began on the airfields of 11 Group. The aim
> was to destroy the RAF, either in the air or on the ground, in South
> East England. To put pressure on the British defences, the Germans
> sent high and low level raids to different targets at the same time.
> However, just when it seemed that the country and 11 Group in
> particular couldn't continue for another day, the Germans changed
> their tactics.
> Phase 3 - The Blitz
> By attacking cities and industry, the Germans hoped to break British
> morale and to destroy the factories that built fighter aircraft.
> They also hoped that RAF fighters would gather in force round the
> cities to protect them, which would make it easier for the Luftwaffe
> to shoot them down in the numbers required to establish air
> The change of plan was a mistake for a number of reasons. It gave 11
> Group a chance to repair their airfields and radar sites, so the
> defences became fully operational again. The German Me 109 fighter
> could only carry enough fuel for 20 minutes flight over Britain, so
> London was on the edge of its limited range.
> For the people living in the cities, the Blitz had begun, as night
> raids followed daytime raids and gave the civilians little rest.
> Everybody was in the front line, and there was little the RAF could
> do to stop the night raids. Airborne radar was in its infancy, but
> there were some successes for the Blenheim, Defiant and early
> Beaufighter night-fighter Squadrons. Some of the Hurricane and
> Spitfire day-fighter Squadrons also took part in the night defences,
> but relied largely on luck to make an interception.
> Phase 4 - The End of the Battle
> As the long, hot summer ran into October, the German daylight bomber
> losses became too heavy. Their bomber force started to operate only
> at night, and the damage they caused to Britain's cities was
> enormous. Many civilian organisations were set up to help deal with
> the wounded people and damaged buildings.
> The German raids continued, but the RAF had started to develop night
> fighters equipped with radar which could tackle the problem.
> The Germans then realised that the RAF could not be defeated in
> 1940. Germany was also preparing to attack Russia, so Operation
> Sea-Lion [the invasion of Britain] was cancelled indefinitely and
> eventually abandoned altogether. The Battle of Britain was over.
> Strangely, for such a ground breaking Battle, the first to be
> decided purely in the air and the first real test of air power as a
> defensive and offensive weapon, it did not really end, so much as
> petered out.
I have always understood that the major reason it came to an end was the
withdrawal of resources for the Russian front. My memory tells me
Goering was pretty annoyed about it.