Friday, August 25

End of Week Quote

A letter from today's edition of The Times

The Battle of Britain

Churchill not only praised “the Few” (which included 56 Royal Navy pilots) in his famous speech 66 years ago, he also praised the other airmen in Bomber Command who had harried the enemy across the Channel and beyond (report, Aug 24).

There is no doubt that, had “the Few” (and radar and the Observer Corps) failed, the Royal Navy would have fought valiantly to stop any invasion of our shores. It would probably have succeeded but, without air supremacy, that would have been at great cost.

But the main point is that the Battle of Britain was the first time that air-to-air combat reversed the outcome of an enemy’s major strategic plan. The invasion did not take place for a number of reasons. Not least of these was the Luftwaffe’s inability to subdue the RAF, the overrun of time that the belligerence of Fighter Command caused to the invasion plans, making weather in the Channel a serious issue, and the threat of the world’s most powerful navy protecting its own shores.

This points not to a conclusion that the Battle of Britain was not a victory, but that this nation and its Armed Forces acted in a way which surprised, weakened and demoralised the German High Command to such an extent that they allowed its leader to turn his attention towards the East where, incidentally, a slower but very similar situation forced the Germans eventually to retreat again.

September 15, Battle of Britain Day, is a time for celebration, for it marked a turning point when our island nation, standing virtually alone, turned back a hitherto victorious barbaric regime, giving a breathing space for an eventual victory over the tyranny of Nazism.
Had “the Few” not fought so bravely I have no doubt that the world would be a very different place today.

Director GeneralRoyal Air Force MuseumLondon NW9

1 comment:

Mike Cunningham said...

As I posted on my own site, it is my firm belief that we should inaugurate a new holiday entitled Spitfire Day to commemorate the onslaught by the Nazis on 'AdlerTag' which was, of course, the Fifteenth of August!