BLUFThe decisions of 4 key people played a significant part in determining the outcome of the Battle of Britain.
This article from the Imperial War Museum makes the following points about the prominent military leaders during the Battle of Britain:
- Dowding oversaw the defence of Britain in the summer and autumn of 1940.
- Served in WW1.
- Commander-in-Chief of RAF Fighter Command.
- Drove the development of the air defence network that gave the RAF a significant advantage.
- He had the best understanding of managing and commanding integrated air defence systems.
- Oversaw 11 Group (London and the southeast UK) in Battle of Britain.
- Respected by Dowding.
- Tough and respected by his men.
- Clashed with the 12 Group commander, Air Vice-Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory, over the 'Big Wing'.
- Commander in Chief of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) in WW2.
- Decorated WW1 fighter pilot.
- One of Hitler's closest political associates and nominated successor.
- Long-standing Nazi.
- He argued that a sustained air assault against Britain would achieve the decisive victory needed to make the invasion of Britain a possibility.
- During the Battle of Britain, he underestimated the importance of radar.
- His forces accidentally bombed London.
- The RAF responded by bombing Berlin.
- In retaliation, Goering switched the Luftwaffe's attacks away from RAF targets to London.
- Political and military leaders on both sides underestimated the capability of civilian populations to withstand conventional bombing.
- Goering lost influence after the Luftwaffe failed in the Battle of Britain.
- Commanded Luftflotte 2, leading the attacks against southeast England during the Battle of Britain.
- Served with the German Army in WW1.
- Learned to fly at age 48.
- Commanded Luftflotte 1 during the invasion of Poland and Luftflotte 2 against France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg in May 1940.
- Instrumental in the fatal decision to switch attacks from RAF airfields to London in what became known as the Blitz.
Recent Runway Posts related to this topic:
- Dowding and Park: air war’s greatest commanders? | The Runway (airforce.gov.au)
- Stories of the Battle of Britain 1940 – Constant-Speed Propellers | The Runway (airforce.gov.au)
- Battle Of Britain: The Royal Air Force Stopped Hitler's Total Domination Of Western Europe | The Runway (airforce.gov.au)
- From the bookshelf: ‘To defeat the few’| The Runway (airforce.gov.au)
References from the Web:
- JUL 2017 “Smiling Albert” Kesselring; a German General of World War Two-War History on Line
- Commander-in-Chief of Fighter Command Air Chief Marshal Hugh Caswell Tremenheere Dowding- Royal Air Force Museum
- Hermann Goering- Jewish Virtual Library
- Keith Park Biography- New Zealand History
- The One: Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding –Bentley Priory Museum
- Hugh Dowding, 1st Baron Dowding- Undiscovered Scotland
- The Dowding and Park Spitfire-AceSquadron