War Thunder background
Battle of Britain Act II, Adlerangriff (Eagle Attack)
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Bf 110 attacked by Hawker Hurricane


Clouds gathered to the east, valiant men watched the menace move effortlessly against the westerly wind, Gallic forests sprouting green wings lifted from the ground and moved unto Britain, bearing broken black crosses. Belts tight, mask on, fire tubes ready, the sky riders charge into the fray, fates cast to the wind.
Vigilant for the coming storm

Everything that happened weeks before, the birth of the assault glider, the unstoppable juggernaut of the German army, the swarm of enemy aircraft rending the air and the utter collapse of its biggest ally France left Britain devastated and in shock. This defeat left a substantial amount of Royal Armies heavy weapons destroyed or abandoned on the continent. In the narrow channel the Royal Navy would be easy to spot and thus significantly more vulnerable to attacks than in open waters. Only the Royal Air Force offered the best hope of stopping them, but after losing a substantial amount of men and material on the continent the situation looked dire little if any time to regroup and rearm. The initial battles between the Royal Air Force and the Luftwaffe was but a prelude, the first act in a Shakespearian like play, a parade of machines and men, sizing up each other for what will come, but gave little on what was to come

Not since the 11th-century Norman invasion was a force able to overcome the natural protection of the English Channel but the advent of aircraft made it all but useless. There was great fear of an air armada eliminating coastal defenses followed by waves of assault gliders disgorging thousands of airborne troops to quickly defeat Britain like it did on the continent just weeks earlier. For the first time ever control of the skies was more important than land or sea and most radical change in warfare since the mounted cavalry.

High altitude condensation trails left by RAF and Luftwaffe aircraft.
The Luftwaffe had every advantage in superior numbers of the most advanced war planes then produced to battle hardened warriors from the Spanish Civil War to the Battle of France, however the RAF where not to be trifled with, boasting large numbers of quick to produce, rugged and dependable Hawker Hurricanes and the superior Supermarine Spitfire that was every bit as good as the best the Luftwaffe could throw that them. Britain was ready for this epic battle, it knew it had to win.

On August 13th and the first mega raid on Britain took place. Dubbed “Adlertag” (Eagle day) by Göring and the start of “Adlerangriff” (Eagle Attack), hundreds of Luftwaffe aircraft directly attacked radar, forward RAF airfields, and command installations in wave after wave. The air was full of shadowy objects, the sky painted with a thousand white streaks of contrails, and here and there a column made of smoke from a falling craft. The carnage caused those on the ground to hide from the rain of metal objects, and occasional bodies, falling on them.

From the start the RAF was inflicting serious losses to the Luftwaffe. The “Dowding system” of observation (radar and spotters), command, and control system was instrumental in early intercepts with ever larger formations, but the strain of action from sun up to sun down, losses, and increased maintenance and replacements were eroding its effectiveness. Conversely the Luftwaffe made a number of tactical and strategic errors that cost them dearly, with August 15 (Black Thursday) and August 18th (The Hardest Day) the worst.
Göring, bragging about the success in Poland and France boasted “his” Luftwaffe could crush the RAF in a few days or a week. The RAF proved he was very wrong, but the battle was far from finished.

 

Joe “Pony51” Kudrna

 

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