The Battle of Britain (German: Luftschlacht um England) is the name given to the air campaign waged by the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940. The objective of the campaign was to gain air superiority over the Royal Air Force (RAF), especially Fighter Command. The name derives from a famous speech delivered by Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the House of Commons;"The Battle of France is over. I expect the Battle of Britain is about to begin..."
The Battle of Britain was the first major campaign to be fought entirely by air forces, and was the largest and most sustained aerial bombing campaign up until that date. From July 1940 coastal shipping convoys and shipping centres, such as Portsmouth were the main targets; one month later the Luftwaffe shifted its attacks to RAF airfields and infrastructure. As the battle progressed the Luftwaffe also targeted aircraft factories and ground infrastructure. Eventually the Luftwaffe resorted to attacking areas of political significance and using terror bombing tactics.
The failure of Germany to achieve its objectives of destroying Britain's air defences, or forcing Britain to negotiate an armistice or an outright surrender is considered both its first major defeat and one of the crucial turning points in the war. If Germany had gained air superiority, Adolf Hitler might have launched Operation Sealion, an amphibious and airborne invasion of Britain.
BATTLEFIELD - Series One
Documentary which explores the some of the most significant battles of the Second World War, including: The Battle Of France, The Battle Of Britain, Midway, Stalingrad and The Battle Of Normandy and Berlin.
1) The Battle of France Blitzkrieg's most astonishing triumph, establishing Hitler as unassailable within continental Europe.
2) The Battle of Britain The two mightiest air fleets in the world clashed in tumultuous mortal combat. At issue was Britain’s very survival.
3) The Battle of Midway The stakes were no less dramatic when Americans met Japanese in this enthralling carrier-to-carrier battle of Midway. Both sides knew that the victor would rule the Pacific for years to come.
4) The Battle of Stalingrad The annihilation of an entire army amidst the charred and frozen ruins of Stalingrad was catastrophe for Nazi arms. Thereafter, the colossus of the Red Army was never to lose the initiative in the East.
5) The Battle of Normandy D-Day was the biggest amphibious operation in history. But even after the Allied troops had successfully forced a landing in strength, they still had to face a foe whose tenacity and resilience in defence was legendary.
6) The Battle of Berlin The furious, climatic last battle of Hitler’s war. Over half a million lives were lost as the Red Army finally crushed the last Nazi citadel.
Viewers Reviews, from Amazon.com
givbatam3 "givbatam3" (REHOVOT Israel) - See all my reviews
This is one of the most important television documentaries about the Second World War ever produced. Unlike other series, such as "The World at War", there are no interviews with either historians or participants and no descriptions of small-scale engagements, just the hard strategic facts of the engagement as seen by the top leaders. A considerable part of each film describes the run-up to the actual battle, with considerable use of maps, descriptions of the leaders, the commanders, the armies and the weapons that decided the engagement. What is emphasized is the importance of the battle within the whole strategic picture of the war. After this, a detailed presentation of how the battle played itself out is given. Finally, the strategic results of the engagement is described, showing how the entire course of the war was affected. This series is designed for someone who has more than just a casual interest in the history of the war, and I highly recommend it for this audience.
J.S. McIntyre "Mc" (San Francisco, CA USA)
I watched this entire series years ago on the American PBS network. Absolutely riveting. The novel approach of treating each battle as the climactic event of an extended series of events the preceded it was particularly effective in giving the battle a perspective you never get in most war documentaries. For example, the Battle of Midway is discussed as the climactic engagement of a battle the started months before in another region of the Pacific. This device allows the viewer to understand the varying influences at play; the strategic concerns, the manner in which weaponry affected engagements, and how chance, human error and material loss played a part in setting the stage for the final battle over the extended time frame.
Along with the "The World at War" this rates as one of the best World War II documentaries I have seen. And I absolutely hate the fact that it isn't available in a format that works in the United States region.
This excellent series provides a logical, clear, step by step guide to various major engagements of WWII. Broken down into stages such as; prelude, planning, weapons, armies, battle etc, the engagement is explained in comprehensive and easily intelligible detail. It is never over technical or textbook like and I found it absorbing. Tim Piggot Smith's totally professional narration enhances the overall experience. This is one of the best documentaries of its' kind (and I've seen a lot) and is suitable for beginner or history buff. Thoroughly recommended.