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The Battle Of Britain Aircraft?

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posted on Nov, 6 2004 @ 04:08 AM
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Guys i thank you all for your input,youve answered my questions,i like to consider myself quite clued up on ww2 but i didnt know nearly half of the stuff youve just told me about that movie,again,many thanks!

Regards.




posted on Nov, 6 2004 @ 12:18 PM
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A couple of other points you may be intereted in, the chap introduced to Susannah York in the movie who has a burnt face was a real Battle Of Britain veteran as the effects of 1940 style plastic surgery were too difficult to reproduce accurately with make up at that time. I'm sorry but his name escapes me for the moment (shame on me).

Also, in the case of the Spitfire at least, it is not true that there are fewer every year as there are more Spits flying today than at any time since the RAF retired them in 1954, with more 'new' ones flying every year. The company in England that specialises in rebuiding spits has a policy of using as much of the original as it is possible to safely use. This results in a lengthy and painstaking build process but its got to be worth it.

All the flying sequnces in the movie were specially shot because there was no technicolour footage of the real thing. The scene where the RAF pilots parachute failed to open was in fact a failed attempt to film a normal bale out, it was only included in the movie after its dramatic effect was realised afterwards.

If you want to see a decent movie with genuine footage of the Battle seek out 'Reach For The Sky' on DVD. No special features but a decent transfer of the movie. It is the slightly fictionalised story of Douglas Bader the famous legless pilot.

Finally, to the chap who commented about changing the name of the Spitfire due to the huge changes it underwent during its development, well ultimately they did. Check out the Supermarine Spiteful and Seafang.

[edit on 6-11-2004 by waynos]



posted on Nov, 6 2004 @ 07:22 PM
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I think its also worth saying that there are several companies world wide that specialise in building new spitfires to order, any Mk or model you want. These are true to the origional, with as few 'modern luxuries' as you like, right down to lack of onboard electric starter! I think one company, whose name escapes me at the moment, churns out 30 or 40 new spitfires a year.



posted on Nov, 6 2004 @ 07:30 PM
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Originally posted by RichardPrice
I think its also worth saying that there are several companies world wide that specialise in building new spitfires to order, any Mk or model you want. These are true to the origional, with as few 'modern luxuries' as you like, right down to lack of onboard electric starter! I think one company, whose name escapes me at the moment, churns out 30 or 40 new spitfires a year.


God Imagine the price for one! It costs $1,000,000 for a P-51D Mustange
Only millionares could afford them, unless you find a perserved one in the Artic



posted on Nov, 7 2004 @ 01:58 AM
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If you want real battle footage then watch The Battle of Midway. Those shots where Japanes planes are flying through flak to attack the Pacific fleet are the real thing. How the hell they made it through is beyond me.

The only problem I have with Reach For The Sky is the bit where they say Bader proved his "Big Wings" theory. Absolute crap. Dowding refused to use it and was proved correct, they got rid of him and tried to erase him from history. After the BoB was over they staged a re-enactment of one of the big raids and tried to assemble a "big wing" to stop it. It was a farce. Bader was proven completely wrong. Didn't admit it, though.



posted on Nov, 7 2004 @ 05:00 AM
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thanks for that other info aswell,they would never let actual footage of a guys shoot not opening in a film today would they?



posted on Nov, 7 2004 @ 05:25 AM
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It was a prop dummy with a rigged shoot (badly rigged apparently)

The Spit was a two seater....I think.

The camera team was pulling thier hairs out, the producers were furious.....I think thats when they called it a day.

so the camera team goes home thinking they copped the short end of the stick......and the footage gets used. One of the memorable moments of "tragedy" in the film!



posted on Jul, 17 2007 @ 04:16 AM
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For anyone interested in learning more (in fact virtually everything it is possible to know!) about the Battle of Britain I recommend reading Stephen Bungay's book 'The Most Dangerous enemy'. I went straight into this book after finishing Vulcan 607 and I think I have just finished reading two of the best books I will ever read!

Bungay firmly and irrevocably gives the lie to that commonly held notion these days that 'Britain didn't win the Battle of Britain, Germany lost it', illustrating in fine detail just why it was indeed a magnificent Victory for the RAF.

I too have had my perception of the battle, reinforced by decades of Legend, completely turned around in two specific areas, namely that the Battle was a close run thing, it was nothing of the sort, and also that Germany screwed up by switching targets to London - it turns out that the Germans were not idiots and there were genuine and valid military reasons for this switch, rather than the 'revenge' motive we are taught and furthermore the changing of targets actually made no difference to the battle at all, the Germans had, to all intents and purposes already lost by this time.

The long term effects of the BoB are also examined, how without the RAF victory the entire history of WW2 would have been different with no possiblility of a US rescue and the certainty of either a Nazi or Soviet dominated Europe thereafter, to quote "Britain alone could not win the fight in the West, but without Britain, America could certainly lose. Also without the diversion of British attacks in the west, Germany could turn all its might on the USSR, everything would be different."

An absolutely excellent read, it also gives you the personal stories of pilots and commanders on both sides and highlights that often forgotten detail, that Keith Park, throughout WW2, was the most successful fighter commander in the history of air warfare and that Douglas Bader, though extremely brave, gallant and inspiring, wasn't nearly so clever as Reach For The Sky would have us think.

I am now in the mood for a discussion on the subject if anyone wants to


[edit on 17-7-2007 by waynos]



posted on Jul, 17 2007 @ 04:27 AM
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Its not uncommon for common"mythology" to spring up around such historical events.

I recently had the majority of my assumptions about the Battle of Midway turned upside down. The David versus Goliath telling of the story from the US prespective and some Japanese seems further from the trut after reading "Shattered Sword"

I have always flt that the biggest issue regarding the Luftwaffe's defeat at the Battle of Britain was the total lack of a real heavy bomber in resonable numbers. THis is meant to take nothing away from the RAF, but if they had had a Lancaster type heavy bomber, they may have been able to damage infrastructure to the point the UK could not mount a defence.

The Chain Home radar also played a important role as well

[edit on 7/17/07 by FredT]



posted on Jul, 17 2007 @ 04:28 AM
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Just a little extra as sminkeypinkey earlier mentioned the marvellous collection at Duxford.

It was Duxford which was the used for the external location air base filming in Battle of Britain. Famously they blew up one of the hangers for the film and it has since been commented that more damage to the base was done that day than in the war itself.

As a kid I lived in N. W. Kent and have very clear memories of playing in the garden on summer and observing the slightly surreal sight of three ME109s flying over the house as they were making the film at the time.

I seem to recall my Mum was a little less cheerily enthralled than I was as she spent a large chunk of her childhood sitting on the roof of her school fire watching during the war.



posted on Jul, 17 2007 @ 05:09 AM
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One of the things to emerge from this book is just how central Chain Home was to the entire thing, remarkable too is that the Germans themselves had radar, inventing it a year before Britain did, yet completely failed to appreciate what Britain was doing with it, mounting only cursory raids and never mounting sustained attacks which could have blinded the defences. The RAF's fighter control system, the Dowding system, was the only one in existence in the world and is the model on which all modern fighter control systems are built. It was the robustness of this system which helped enormously, one example being that the towers were open structures and so were not vulnerable to bomb blasts.

An account is given of one of the Luftwaffes most successful raids, which came about by accident. In raiding the airfield at Manston a bomb which completely missed the airfield and exploded on the main road outside the perimeter severed the power supply to three chain home stations. Coicindentally at this time another raid was approaching right where the gap was created and got through to their target unmolested. The Germans never realised what had happened and simply assumed they had 'slipped past' that day. If this had been a deliberate policy the Germans could have had more success.

Rather than a strategic bomber, the best course of action, it is suggested, would have been to use the Bf 110 as a fast low level bomber and direct raids constantly against chain home, on the few occasions where this was actually done, they were completely successful, however chain home was never down for more than a few hours and these raids were not co-ordinated with massed bomber raids so the effort was wasted. As it was the Bf 110's were completely wasted as escorts where they were massacred.

On the other hand the real point of the battle was not to bomb Britain into submission, but to destroy fighter command whilst remaining intact themselves to support the invasion. To this end the Germans needed a kill ratio of 4:1, and so the Bf109 commanders wanted chain home working so the RAF would appear and they could be shot down. When they got their battles however the Germans never got anywhere near their required ratio, only achieving a positive kill ration at all (1.8:1) on a couple of days of the battle.

The Germans also lacked any reserves to make good their losses whilst UK fighter production was outstripping attrition rates comfortably, meaning that a successful outcome in this respect was never likely as long as the RAF didn't screw up the defence.

A quote is included that all warfare is a catalogue of errors and the winners are the guys who make the fewest of them. Keith Park made very few.



posted on Jul, 17 2007 @ 06:31 AM
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I saw an article in the paper last week about a chap importing Spitfire Kits into the UK.
These are slightly smaller than the original but a very good copy nonetheless and at aroun £100K not a bad deal. I think the total cost once finished is around £130K

Now I wonder if the wife will let me have one of these when I finish building my Kitcar V8 Morgan


www.supermarineaircraft.com...

[edit on 17/7/07 by Chorlton]



posted on Jul, 17 2007 @ 06:57 AM
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From this years RIAT (Saturday)



Red Arrows escorting four original, restored Battle of Britain Spitfires.

Seemed somehow appropriate



posted on Jul, 17 2007 @ 10:24 AM
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A small sample of the 400 odd photos I took at this years RIAT, including several of the Lancaster bomber:

picasaweb.google.com...



posted on Jul, 19 2007 @ 10:28 AM
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Originally posted by waynos

Bungay firmly and irrevocably gives the lie to that commonly held notion these days that 'Britain didn't win the Battle of Britain, Germany lost it', illustrating in fine detail just why it was indeed a magnificent Victory for the RAF.

I am now in the mood for a discussion on the subject if anyone wants to


[edit on 17-7-2007 by waynos]


Then I hope I'm not too late :


Seriously, I tend to agree that it was not such a close thing as has been previously described, but the Luftwaffe did make some serious mistakes.

Firstly, remember that the two side were fighting a completely different Battle of Britain. The Luftwaffe's aim was to destroy Fighter Command and attain air superiority (what would now be called air supremacy) to pave the way for invasion. The RAF was fighting a battle against the bombers and taking on the fighter escorts only as necessary. That the Luftwaffe forgot their primary task is shown by two decisions.

1. Shifting the bombing offensive away from Fighter Command and on to London (Whatever disruption it was causing Fighter Command was removed from them by the switch) [Hitler's decision, I believe], and

2. The tying of Luftwaffe fighters ever tighter to the bombers to reduce bomber loses, thereby depriving them of the initiative [Goering's decision]. Remember, from the Luftwaffe perspective, the bombers were really only bait to bring Fighter Command into action. (without the bombers, Fighter Command could have withdrawn from the battle and awaited the invasion).

In case 1. (above), the Chain Home radar stations proved invaluable, as it is often forgotten that one of the reasons that the Luftwaffe felt that their attacks on Fighter Command airfields was ineffective, was that they almost never caught a squadron 'on the ground', but never worked out why - forewarning by the radar stations.

By contrast single low level raiders (under the radar) did get through and caught squadrons refueling and rearming. The Luftwaffe WAS disrupting Fighter Command operations by attacking their airfields and the radar stations (Ventnor on the Isle of Wight (I think) was out of action for much of the BoB) and it was senseless to take that pressure off the airfields, regardless of the extent of the disruption it was causing. That the RAF was able to conceal the effects or extent of that disruption from the Luftwaffe, partly due to the radar stations, must have had some influence on the decision to move the attack away from Fighter Command airfields.

Added to the situation was the fact the the Luftwaffe never had an effective intelligence gathering system in Britain - all implanted agents were caught and 'turned' to provide misinformation.

Further, it was never a contest about material attrition. What Churchill's words refer to is the very limited number of trained fighter pilots available (to either side). Here Fighter Command was always at an advantage, in that pilots (of both sides) parting company with their aircraft almost invariably landed in Britain. May I remind you that no Luftwaffe PoW ever escaped from Britain during WWII. Thus many of Fighter Command's downed pilots were able to return to battle, while every downed Luftwaffe aircraft removed crews permanently from WWII. Indeed the importance to both sides of the limited number of trained pilots prompted both sides to go to rather extreme lengths to recover crews from the Channel (as well as the humanitarian reasons, of course).

One could go further and say that Germany could not actually afford to go to war in 1939, and that economically the only reason that it could do so was by looting the treasuries of the occupied countries. Further, Germany NEVER had the fuel reserves to wage WWII, and thus Hitler HAD to attack Russia to gain access to its oil reserves (He didn't get Moscow, but he did get the oilfields!) and it had to be done on a fairly strict timetable, or Germany's war machine would have ground to a halt. (as an aside, have you ever considered why things such as gold fillings were removed from gas chamber victims - the Reich needed them to pay for the war!)

Much has been said of Germany's lack of four engined strategic bombers, but Germany did not plan for a long war, only short battles, BECAUSE Germany could not afford anything more - it just didn't have the reserves.

So probably the two most important turning points in the European theatre were the Battle of Britain (disrupting Hitler's timetable severely - thanks Hermann, you pompous git!) and America's entry into the war - bringing - more importantly than its troops - its financial and industrial might. While it is romantic to think of battles as being between individuals or squadrons or even different pieces of equipment, the fact is that war is a battle of economics - simply, regardless of any other constraints, in the first instance, you can only field what you can pay for!

Magnificent victory - I don't know, Waynos - certainly a very important one, but the German high command did make some serious and fundamental errors.

Some have argued that with Germany's economic situation, that it was only Goering's arrogant overconfidence in the capabilities of his forces (repeated at the siege of Stalingrad - which wasted most of the Luftwaffe transport fleet) that Hitler decided to enter into the BoB. Perhaps it was never actually possible for the Luftwaffe to win in the time available, even without the tactical errors - no one will ever know.

Did Britain win, or Germany lose? Does it matter? Long live the mythology


Regards,
The Winged Wombat


[edit on 19/7/07 by The Winged Wombat]



posted on Jul, 19 2007 @ 04:34 PM
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Brilliant!
Thanks Wombat.




1. Shifting the bombing offensive away from Fighter Command and on to London (Whatever disruption it was causing Fighter Command was removed from them by the switch) [Hitler's decision, I believe],


Through the historical record it can now be seen that the change of targets was irrelevant, whether the airfields were the target or whether it was London, the loss rate was always the same, the disruption caused to the airfields by these attacks was negligible as the robustness of the system meant that none of the airfields was put out of action. The switch to London was a deliberate militery move as the RAF were picking and choosing when to intercept, by attacking London the plan was to draw the RAF into the fight so they could be shot down. The record show that the Luftwaffes most successful days, Sep 11, 14 and 28 all came after the switch to attacking London. Hitler had actually forbidden attacks on London where his commanders wanted to the fight the battle this way all along, it was not so much his decision to attack London, as he was persuaded to relax his edict.




The tying of Luftwaffe fighters ever tighter to the bombers to reduce bomber loses, thereby depriving them of the initiative [Goering's decision]


This is one of the myths of the Battle, Goering never ordered the fighters to stay close to the bombers, he left the decision completely up to his fighter commanders, they were manouvred intoputting their fighters close to the bombers in response to the tactics used by Park.



The Luftwaffe WAS disrupting Fighter Command operations by attacking their airfields and the radar stations (Ventnor on the Isle of Wight (I think) was out of action for much of the BoB)


Yes there was disruption, and the change of targets was a relief, but it was not critical, and the Luftwaffe's prime objective was to destroy fighter command whilst themselves remaining intact and it in this aim where they never came close.

On the Germans most successful attack on the radar chain they put Ventnor out of action for thee days, apart from this the average time 'off air' for an attacked radar station was two to six hours, this is the robustness of the system that I was referring to before. Incidentally that raid which put Ventnor out of action for three days was one of the smallest, being carried out only by a pair of Ju-88's which lowered their undercarriage and feinted to land, 'pretending to be Blenheims'.



Further, it was never a contest about material attrition. What Churchill's words refer to is the very limited number of trained fighter pilots available (to either side). Here Fighter Command was always at an advantage, in that pilots (of both sides) parting company with their aircraft almost invariably landed in Britain.


You are right about the pilots, the RAF began the Battle with 1,259 pilots in Fighter Command (including Gladiator, Defiant and Blenheim crews) but ended the battle with 1,796 flying mainly on Spitfires and Hurricanes with all three previous mentioned types withdrawn but with Beaufighters coming into service in place of the Blenheim), Fighter Command ended the Battle stronger than it had ever been, also the majority of those pilots were seasoned veterans due to the high percentage loss rate suffered by rookie replacements, after the war the RAF revealed that 2,917 airmen fought in the battle, 19% of these lost their lives. Of those who survived the BoB a further 66% went on to survive the war.

in 1944 Hauptmann Otto Bechtle published a report where he calculated that during the Battle of Britain the Luftwaffe suffered a 30% decline in the number of available fighter pilots, the complete opposite to the RAF. This is of course a benefit of flying over home ground.

However material attrition was also crucially important, The Germans seriously underestimated their own loss rates and they went into the Battle without sufficient material reserves to make good their losses, it is recounted in one part of the battle for instance where Osterkamp was forced to merge two or three Staffeln together to mount attacks in what looked like normal strength, two Staffeln in particlar are noted that entered the Battle with 16 aircraft each , but by Sept 15th were reduced to 6 and 8 respectively, this was as much to do with a lack of aeroplanes as pilots and morale was, understandably, on the floor. By contrast the RAF never lost the ability to meet whatever raids came in with whatever strength was deemed necessary.




Magnificent victory - I don't know, Waynos - certainly a very important one, but the German high command did make some serious and fundamental errors.


This is the beauty of Bungays study, the most comprehensive and in depth study of the Battle that it is possible to produce I think. I have read all the standard histories and I always thought that whether we won or the Germans lost was simply a matter of perspective. However when you see the whole thing spelled out in this meticulously sourced and annotated work (almost 500 pages of it!) it is amazing to see how much of the recieved wisdom on the battle that is repeated across several works is just plain wrong and the real magnitude of the military victory becomes apparent.

Of course the Germans made many errors, maybe even more than you realise, but that is War. As I said before, a quote very early on in the book goes along the line that in any conflict, the winners are just the side who make the fewest mistakes, it doesn't mean they didn't win. And it doesn't mean they couldn't lose.

Regarding your statement that you can only field what you can pay for, I would add the rider 'over the next 60 odd years'



posted on Jul, 19 2007 @ 09:18 PM
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Thanks waynos,

It looks like Bungay has put a different slant on a few things, I'll have to obtain a copy.

In particular it sounds to be at odds with comments that former Luftwaffe fighter commanders have published concerning protection of the bomber raids. It sounds quite odd to me that a fighter pilot (and I've known quite a few) would want to tie himself closely to a bomber stream, rather than to seek the advantages of height and speed - it just doesn't seem to go with the fighter pilot mentality at all. (I'm not knocking knuckleheads here, that particular mentality of invincibility is definitely required to do the job effectively)

In reference to the 'what you can pay for in the next 60 years', that was very true and perhaps leads to the wider conclusion that while Britain won the BoB and the allies won WWII, Britain ultimately lost because that debt 'brought down the curtain' on the British Empire.

The Winged Wombat



posted on Jul, 20 2007 @ 03:21 PM
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Yes, it is quite a different take on the battle, but the sources are all meticulously cross referenced (there are 40 pages of notes at the back).

It got a bit annoying constantly flicking to the back of the book but it was usually worth the effort





It sounds quite odd to me that a fighter pilot (and I've known quite a few) would want to tie himself closely to a bomber stream,


The pilots didn't want to. The trouble was the commander who ordered his fighters to do it, Kesselring, was not a fighter pilot, like the other commanders, but a field commander from the Whermacht, who insisted the bombers must be protected at any cost following a severe bollocking from Goering about the number of bombers being lost, it was still his own decision though. The other fighter leaders did not adopt this tactic, preferring instead mounting sweeps ahead of the bombers combined with high flying top cover to bounce the RAF.




while Britain won the BoB and the allies won WWII, Britain ultimately lost because that debt 'brought down the curtain' on the British Empire.


Aint that the truth! This is also covered later on, noting as the noblest self sacrifice any nation ever gave for other countries. This sounds rather grand, but given that Britian did this both knowing the consequences and not even needing to fight Germany after May 1940 (or so it seemed - covered in some depth) the conclusion does seem inescapable.

edit, for 'Britain knew the consequences, read 'Churchill knew'.

[edit on 20-7-2007 by waynos]



posted on Jul, 20 2007 @ 04:08 PM
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Sounds like avery interesting book Waynos - I'm sure I've seen something about it discussed on TV
(the guy uses every scrap of available info to construct a very credible computer model to show the '2 weeks from defeat' theory is just nonsense?).

I'll have to get myself a copy, as you say a lot of supposedly 'accepted truths' are completely blown out of the water.



posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 11:21 AM
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Originally posted by waynos

not even needing to fight Germany after May 1940 (or so it seemed - covered in some depth) .....

[edit on 20-7-2007 by waynos]


Hmmm, that certainly brings up quite a number of 'what ifs'.

Given that Japan refused Hitler's preferred option of Japan declaring war on Russia (they felt that it was inevitable that the US would enter the war and didn't want to fight on two fronts) - if Britain had no longer been threatened and had withdrawn from the war, then perhaps the US would have remained isolationist and the Japanese might have felt differently about Russia - but then again the Japanese always intended to take the Philippines (a US protectorate at the time), Malaya and Singapore, so that made them directly involved in a war against the US and Britain.

Perhaps the Japanese were right - regardless of the European war, the US would inevitably have entered into a war with Japan, even if they didn't enter the war in Europe.

The Winged Wombat




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