What Was the Battle of Britain in World War II?


Quick Answer

The Battle of Britain in World War II was Nazi Germany's effort to prevent the United Kingdom from being an effective contender in the war. It was a series of bombing raids conducted mainly by the German Luftwaffe against strategic military and civilian targets in southern England, and countered by the British Royal Air Force.

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Full Answer

The Battle of Britain was intended as the starting point for Operation Sea Lion, or a German land invasion of Britain. It started with bombing raids in July of 1940 and lasted until October of the same year. At first, the German Luftwaffe started bombing munitions factories and aircraft factories along the southern coast, then switched to RAF airfields to maintain air superiority. After all, if the fighters could not take off, there would be no opposition.

The Luftwaffe later switched to bombing civilian targets, such as London. The two most notable occurrences were on September 7 and September 15, 1940. The bombing raid on the 7th caused severe damage to London. The raid on the 15th was with a more committed force of the Luftwaffe, but the RAF was in the area and inflicted heavy casualties and a blow to German morale that ultimately ended the Battle of Britain, and led Hitler to abandon invasion plans.

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