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Battle of Britain 1 | 2 || The Nazi Assault on London 1 | 2 | 3 || Types of Aeroplane |

The Nazi Assault on London
Part 3

By November the Battle of Britain was over. And our fighters had won it. From then on the Nazis made their raids over Britain by night, when darkness protected them from the fury of the Hurricanes and the Spitfires.

How had our fighters achieved such effective resistance against such overwhelming odds? The secret lay partly in exact control from the ground. The coastline was divided into Sectors, each with its own fighter aerodromes and headquarters; and Sectors were under the command of Groups, which in turn were under the control of Headquarters, Fighter Command.

In the Operations Room of each Sector and Group was a Controller, who knew the position, course, and speed of every German formation that approached his area.

His object was to assemble a sufficient strength of fighters, at sufficient height, at a point where they could intercept the Nazis before these reached their target. Once the R.A.F. squadrons signaled, "enemy sighted" the Controller's work was complete.

Against the great formations of the Luftwaffe the R.A.F. could dispose in all 63 squadrons of fighters. With such a relatively small force, and one must remember that the endurance of a fighter aircraft in the air was not much more than three hours, it was clearly impossible to fly patrols at all hours.

The Controller not only had to arrange that the fighters were at the right places when they' were wanted, but to ensure that a proper proportion of the force was kept in reserve.

The battle was a bitter one, and the losses to the British and Allies were severe. Just under 1,500 air crew were lost out of this truly gallant band, from Britain, its Dominions and its Colonies, from Poland, Czechoslovakia, France, Belgium, and America, who hurled themselves so fearlessly against a foe which often outnumbered them by ten to one.

Click here to read the Types of Aeroplanes in the Battle of Britain.

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