The Spitfire MK1A and the Me109E were the most important aircraft used during the Battle of Britain; though they had different flying qualities—they were relatively evenly matched. The advantage for the RAF was that the Spitfire was used as part of an integrated defence system that, among other things, effectively used RADAR.
An important takeaway from this article is that technology is undoubtedly important. However, how that technology is used in the battlespace is also important. The UK's Integrated Air Defence System (The Dowding System), implemented and commanded by Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, enabled the UK to win The Battle of Britain. This article by Dr Manuel Wolf makes the following points in comparing theMe 109E and the SpitfireMK1A:
- Superior manoeuvrability.
- Eight machine guns- needed lots of hits to down enemy aircraft.
- Level flight speed 587km ph.
- Faster at altitudes above 20,000 feet, slower at lower altitudes.
- Initially, Rolls Royce Merlin II V-12 engine could momentarily misfire when subject to negative G-forces.