Germany would have WON the Battle of Britain if they had started earlier, thinks study
The Battle of Britain could easily have been won by the Germans, if not because of tactical disability, a new study reveals.
Researchers from the University of York have created a computer model, called the weighted bootstrap, that re-imagines the battle in 1940 under different circumstances.
It identifies two huge blunders by infamous Nazi commander Hermann Goering – a trained fighter pilot – who led the attack that paralyzed the Nazi effort and helped Britain win.
The study suggests that if Germany launched an attack immediately after Winston Churchill’s famous “Battle of Britain” speech on June 18, instead of three weeks later on July 10, and at airports instead of cities and populated areas, the Nazis probably would have overcome, paving the way for a sea and land invasion.
This would have paralyzed the British reaction by decimating the number of fighter pilots and destroying vital radar systems used to track German planes.
The mathematical study supports historians’ long-standing belief that Goering’s failure to strike earlier and carry out more targeted attacks has cost the Germans the Battle of Britain.
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Combat pilots took over the call for weapons in the British spitfires (photo) and hurricanes, with replacement pilots and planes as a result of the serious loss of life. But the British eventually defeated the Germans
British heroes in Spitfires and Hurricanes defeated the German Messerschmidt aircraft (photo) in the Battle of Britain, greatly helped by the tactical shortcomings of Herman Goering
HOW THE STATISTICAL MODEL WORKS
The statistical technique is called ‘weighted bootstrapping’.
The computer simulation is a bit like taking a ball for the events of the Battle of Britain every day and placing them in a lotto machine.
Balls are then drawn, read and replaced to create thousands of alternative sets of fighting days, but in a different order, and perhaps with some days that appear more than once or not at all.
The researchers then repeated the process of testing the “what if” scenarios of the Battle, making some days more or less likely to be chosen, depending on how a protagonist (such as Hitler) would have changed their decisions if they had used different tactics .
The real statistical chances of a Luftwaffe victory in July 1940 are a mystery, because there will never be enough data to make an accurate model.
But the study suggests that an earlier start and targeted airport targeting would have significantly changed the fight in favor of the Germans.
For example, if the chance of a British victory in the actual fight would have been 50 percent, these two tactical changes would have reduced it to less than 10 percent.
If the real chance of a British victory was 98 percent, the same changes would have reduced it to just 34 percent.
The Battle of Great Britain featured a reluctant Hitler in a duel in which he rarely showed interest.
The Fuehrer expressed little emotion towards the British Isles, because the Reich already suffered heavy losses on the Eastern Front in a war with the Red Army of Russia.
Hitler insisted on a deal with the British and tried to intimidate the nation into submission.
But Churchill’s inspired speech on June 18, announcing “the Battle of France is over.” The Battle of Britain is about to begin, “motivated the county and determination.
Combat pilots took over the call for weapons in the British spitfires and hurricanes, with pilots and planes that were soon scarce due to the serious loss of human lives.
But according to the latest investigation, Allied courage would have been in vain if the Germans had responded with an immediate attack that would have led to a Nazi victory.
The researchers try to keep their predictions within the realm of realism and only adjust the timeline that would have been possible in real life.
Dr. Jamie Wood of the Department of Mathematics at the University of York said: “The Luftwaffe could only have made the necessary bases available in France to launch an air strike on Britain at the earliest in June, so our alternative campaign brings the air campaign forward with three weeks. ”
He added: “We discovered that the most important variable is the number of fighter pilots that the British had available.
“If the Germans found a way to lower that number several times, the less the hunting order could carry out a viable defense.
“So what they have to do is increase the number of fights, increase the number of pilots being used – and there were fewer trained fighter pilots in the earlier weeks of the fight.
“We can see the airports the Germans were targeting and, looking at the impact of those attacks, they created the right kind of relegation of British troops to lay the foundation for an invasion.”
As it was, the first attack was only launched on July 10, a delay that Britain may have spared from the German occupation, according to the study.
On July 16, Hitler issued the famous directive number 16, in which he stated that he wanted to fight the “hopeless military situation” of Great Britain.
He added, “I have decided to prepare for and, if necessary, to invade England.”
This cautious announcement spoke of his reluctance to turn the English Channel into a battlefield because his navy was empty after a campaign against Norway, where it lost two cruisers and 10 destroyers.
Hitler feared Britain’s naval power from the 40s, and the war went into the air instead.
But Churchill’s inspired speech on June 18, announcing “the Battle of France is over.” The Battle of Britain is about to begin, “motivated the county and determination. If the Germans had started an attack immediately afterwards, they would probably have won the battle
The study suggests that if Germany had launched an attack in June following the famous speech of Battle of Britain and the intended airports of Winston Churchill (photo), the Nazis would probably have won and paved the way for a sea – and land invasion
Pictured, a colored statue of Hermann Wilhelm Goering in France in 1941. Goring was supreme commander of the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Great Britain. His blunders allowed Great Britain and the RAF to conquer
Goering chose to distribute brochures about Great Britain on 1 August with the title ‘A Last Appeal to Reason’.
These were resolutely ignored and the nation dug in for further bombing when the Blitz destroyed the nation.
Despite their scattershot approach, the Luftwaffe approached the RAF a number of times.
One of the most important successes for the German Air Force was the attack on visible and vital radar masts at major airports on 12 August.
The Germans did not realize how crucial and advanced the radar systems were and how central they were to the RAF.
If Goering had continued with this tactic, he would almost certainly have destroyed the radar system and led the Nazi regime into a historic defeat of Britain.
Instead, the decorated hunter-bait in charge of the German military campaign fluttered among various tactics.
He gave in to his attacks on the airports and this enabled the English, Polish, Canadian, Czech and New Zealand pilots to regroup and save the invaluable equipment from destruction.
Dr. Wood added: “Every time we make a coherent strategy for the Germans, the results are better from their perspective.
“We don’t want to downplay the British strategy. It was bang. They did exactly what they had to do.
“The problem was that the RAF had a critical shortage of trained monoplane fighter pilots who didn’t exploit the Germans.”
While the battle took place in the summer of 1940, Churchill gave one of the most famous speeches of his premiership.
On August 20, he said in the House of Commons: “In the field of human conflict, so few owed so much.”
The hero pilots of the Battle of Britain became known as ‘the Few’.
After throwing away the initial advantage, Germany never regained the lead over the RAF and on September 15, now known as the Battle of Britain Day, the RAF destroyed a huge Luftwaffe formation over London and forced Hitler to stop the fight and its plans suspend before invasion.
The researchers made their calculations using a mathematical model that examines the probability of victory if all ‘what-ifs’ had taken place.
It works in the same way as a lottery machine, where every day of the fight is represented by a single ball.
Balls are drawn, read and replaced to create an alternative timeline.
This is repeated thousands of times in different order to see what the most likely outcome would be.
The Battle of Great Britain: Hitler’s failed attempt to crush the RAF
In the summer of 1940, when the Nazi war machine marched its way through Europe and turned its sights to Britain, the RAF braced itself for the worst.
Young men, in their late teens or early twenties, were trained to fly Spitfires and hurricanes for the upcoming Battle for Britain, while others flew Blenheims, Beaufighters and Defiants and would become the “aces” who would free the land for Hitler would secure.
But the resistance of Great Britain was accompanied by a prize. Of an estimated 3,000 pilots, about half survived the four-month battle, with 544 Fighter Command pilots and crew among the dead, more than 700 from Bomber Command and nearly 300 from Coastal Command who fell to Britain’s sky to secure.
The losses were heavy, but the Germans, who thought they could exterminate the RAF within a few weeks, lost more.
2500 Luftwaffe crews were killed in the battle, forcing the German air command to reconsider how easily Britain would fall for an invading Nazi occupation force.
The pilots who gave everything in the air fight for British freedom were called “The Few,” after a speech by Sir Winston Churchill, who said: “The gratitude of every house on our island, in our empire, and indeed all over the world, goes out to the British pilots who, fearless by opportunities, tireless in their constant challenge and deadly danger, turn the tide of the world war their bravery and through their dedication.
“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed to so few.”
“Never in the field of human conflict was so much due to so little” (photo: an aerial photo of Spitfires)
After the fall of France on the axis in May 1940, the German Supreme Command considered how the fight over the English channel could best be driven to remove Britain from the fight.
Until mid-July, the German campaign consisted of relatively small-scale air attacks during the day and at night, aimed at cities, airports, ports and the aircraft industry.
But the Luftwaffe was completely ready, ready to step up attacks on ships and ports and eliminate the RAF in the air and on the ground.
After defeating the Allies on western mainland Europe, the German Air Force established bases near the Channel to make it easier to tackle Great Britain and quickly set up the infrastructure needed to deal with an air conflict with coordinate the UK.
When the Battle of Great Britain began, the Royal Air Force consistently took down more Axis planes than they lost, but British hunters were often overwhelmed by the larger number of enemy planes.
Pictured: one of the most iconic images of the summer of 1940 and the battle over Dunkirk, with F / Lt Ellis of Squadron 610 pictured at the head of his section in DW-O, Sgt Arnfield in DW-K and F / O Warner in DW-Q
Fighting in France and Norway had weakened British squadrons because it was now time to defend the homeland against the Nazi occupation, but as the year progressed, the RAF’s strength increased with more pilots, planes and operational squadrons available .
The Luftwaffe started an increasing campaign of daylight bombing, focusing on strategic targets such as convoys, ports and airports – probing inland to force RAF squadrons to participate in an effort to exhaust them.
German air units also carry out night-time attacks on the West, Midlands and East Coast, aimed at the aircraft industry with the aim of weakening the British Home Defense system, in particular that of Fighter Command, to prepare for a large-scale air raid in August.
Heavy losses were suffered on both sides.
The most important Luftwaffe attack on the RAF, called “Adler Tag” (Eagle Day), was postponed from August 10 to three days later due to bad weather.
Hawker Hurricane aircraft of No 111 Squadron RAF based on Northolt in flight formation, circa 1940
Depicted: fighter pilots of the Squadron 610, a unit that witnessed some of the most intensive aerial combat in World War II (taken in RAF Acklington, in Northumberland, between 17-19 September 1940)
The plan of the Germans was to have RAF Fighter Command leave South East England within four days and completely defeat the British Air Force in four weeks.
The Luftwaffe fought relentlessly in an attempt to deplete Fighter Command by incessant attacks on ground installations that were moved further inland, with airports in Southern England confronted with intense daylight attacks while night attacks were aimed at ports, shipping targets and the aircraft industry.
But despite heavy damage in the south, Fighter Command continued to push back against the Germans in a series of aerial battles, which caused critical losses to the enemy who thought the RAF would be exhausted at this point.
Both parties feared being exhausted by the constant involvement.
Pictured: German plans to invade Britain when the navy and air superiority were achieved
The focus of the German attacks then shifted to London, where the RAF would lose 248 and the Luftwaffe 322 would lose between August 26 and September 6.
By September, London had become the main target of aggression with Luftwaffe, with large-scale 24-hour attacks carried out by large bombers with hunters.
The German Air Command had still not exhausted the RAF as it had hoped, and British troops continued to fight against their German counterparts, with Fighter Command pushing back Hitler’s troops, postponing German invasion plans.
In October, it became clear to the Germans that the RAF was still very intact, and the Luftwaffe struck Britain with a motor-modified fighter-bombers that were difficult to catch upon entry and still dangerous on the way out.
By the middle of the month, the German strategy had shifted from depleting the RAF to a relentless bombing of the government, the civilian population and the war economy – with London still the primary target.
But from November, London became less of a target, with the Battle of Britain turning into a new conflict – the Blitz.