Battle of Britain

After the defeat of France in June 1940, Germany moved to gain air superiority over Great Britain as a prelude to an invasion of Britain. Despite months of air attacks, Germany was not able to destroy Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF). In the fall of 1940, the invasion was indefinitely postponed. The German bombing campaign against Britain continued until May 1941. The Germans ultimately halted the air attacks primarily because of preparations for the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.


Many of the most violent encounters taking place over the cliffs of Dover on the southeast coast. The Germans attack in large numbers and our anti-aircraft batteries, as well as our fighter pilots, continue to destroy them in large numbers. Barrage balloons naturally have quite a bad time in these parts. It's easy for a Nazi to shoot them down, they can't shoot back. But the anti-aircraft gunners can, and do. [music] Many of the enemy pilots bail out and are made prisoner. In any case, as fast as the balloons may be hit, so fast are they replaced. It's all part of the Battle of Britain. But the most vital, spectacular, and brilliant part of the great aerial campaign is being played by the Fighter Command. Constantly in action, the Hurricanes and Spitfires refuel and rearm in preparation for the next encounter. You all know the staggering losses suffered by the Germans. Well, these are the boys who are doing the trick. Over the Straits of Dover the Blitzkrieg is being broken by the Fighter Command; nearly two thousand enemy planes destroyed during the first year's defense of Britain. There goes one of them, a Heinkel 112.


  • ABC News Videosource

This content is available in the following languages

Thank you for supporting our work

We would like to thank Crown Family Philanthropies and the Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation for supporting the ongoing work to create content and resources for the Holocaust Encyclopedia. View the list of all donors.