The Battle of Britain: The Greatest Air Battle of World War II

Overview

A definitive account of the three-month air battle in 1940 between the Royal Air Force and the Luftwaffe.
The victory of the Battle of Britain ranks with Marathon and the Marne as a decisive point in history. At the end of June 1940, having overrun much of Western Europe, the Nazi war leaders knew that they had to defeat the Royal Air Force Fighter Command before they could invade the British mainland. With a finely-struck balance of historical background and dramatic renderings...

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The Battle of Britain: The Greatest Air Battle of World War II

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Overview

A definitive account of the three-month air battle in 1940 between the Royal Air Force and the Luftwaffe.
The victory of the Battle of Britain ranks with Marathon and the Marne as a decisive point in history. At the end of June 1940, having overrun much of Western Europe, the Nazi war leaders knew that they had to defeat the Royal Air Force Fighter Command before they could invade the British mainland. With a finely-struck balance of historical background and dramatic renderings of RAF and Luftwaffe engagements over the English countryside, Hough and Richards offer a history that is at once deep and wide-ranging. They offer insight into how the British laid the groundwork for victory through aircraft research and production, the development and implementation of command and control structures, and research into new technologies, the most important of which was radar. Hough and Richards also utilize first-person accounts of the battle whenever possible, rendering the battle scenes with cinematic intensity. A compelling introduction to one of the most important battles of World War II, The Battle of Britain pays tribute to the men about whom Winston Churchill would remark, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."

"An unsentimental and unaffected account of how the outnumbered RAF fought the Luftwaffe to a standstill during the summer and early autumn of 1940 ...A wide-ranging, painstakingly documented and comprehensive appreciation of a turning-point engagement." Kirkus Reviews. Forty pages of photographs.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few,'' said Churchill at the height of a three-month air battle in 1940 between the Royal Air Force and the Luftwaffe. It was a major turning point in World War II: unable to subdue the RAF, Hitler was forced to cancel his invasion of England. In their definitive account, British historians Hough and Richards explain how Fighter Command managed to send aloft ``in the right place and at the right time and with the right weapons'' the Spitfire and Hurricane pilots who won the defensive battle against great odds. The authors analyze the reasons for the Luftwaffe's failure, which include the presence of the British radar net and the German high command's error in shifting tactical attention to London instead of continuing their devastating attacks on airfields. This is a first-rate work of scholarship written for the general reader. Photos. History Book Club main selection. Nov.
Library Journal
More books continue to be written about this crucial aerial campaign than any other World War II subject. Most of them stress tactics and in-the-cockpit action for the military buff. While this title by two Royal Air Force (RAF) historians has plenty of air combat scenes, it also features an intelligent and informative study of why the struggle turned out the way it did. The authors go back to the early years of the RAF for perspective and provide a mature treatment of the tactical mechanics of the battle. This book is more comprehensive, for instance, than Derek Wood and D.D. Dempster's The Narrow Margin: The Battle of Britain and the Rise of Air Power (1969. o.p.) and makes a nice supplement to the numerous pilot memoirs found in nearly every library.-- Raymond L. Puffer, U.S. Air Force History Prog., Los Angeles
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393307344
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/19/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 1,242,232
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Hough, a noted naval historian and author, lives in England.

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Table of Contents

Carnage at noon 1
Pt. 1 Before the battle
1 No longer an island 7
2 Groundwork 17
3 The bomber won't always get through 31
4 Late spurt 52
5 Bonus of time 66
6 Surviving the storm 81
7 Battle order 101
Pt. 2 The battle
8 British day one : 10 July 1940 121
9 Channel fight : 11 July-11 August 129
10 Clearing the way : 12 August 140
11 Eagle day - and after : 13-14 August 154
12 Enter - and exit - Luftflotte 5 : 15 August 167
13 The assault continues : 16 August 186
14 Respite and re-engagement : 17-18 August 197
15 Desperate days : 19 August-6 September 219
16 Strategic turning-point 242
17 The new target : 7 September 252
18 'Ominous quiet!' : 8-14 September 267
19 'The odds were great; our margins small; the stakes infinite' : 15 September 274
20 The scent of victory : 16-30 September 284
21 The battle fades : October 298
Pt. 3 After the battle
22 Retrospect 307
23 Scrambles 335
App. I Chronology of the battle 357
App. II Basic statistics of fighter command and Luftwaffe Aircraft engaged in the battle of Britain 371
App. III Higher command, summer 1940 372
App. IV Air defence higher formations, July-September 1940 373
App. V Operational chain of command in the Luftwaffe 374
App. VI Equivalent commissioned ranks : RAF and Luftwaffe 375
App. VII Fighter command order of battle, 8 August 1940 376
App. VIII Luftwaffe order of battle against Britain, 13 August 1940 379
App. IX Anti-aircraft defences : number and location of heavy guns, 21 August 1940 380
App. X The balloon defences, 31 August 1940 382
App. XI Fighter command order of battle, 7 September 1940 384
App. XII 100 octane fuel 387
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2004

    Good Source

    I liked the book because it had a lot of information and good pictures. It helped on a paper I was doing, but I study World War 2 a lot

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