#6 – The British Were Fighting Above Their Home Turf
During the First World War, German Flyers had dominated the skies through superior technology and defensive flying. This time, those advantages fell to the Allies.
Fighting over home ground gave the British and their allies many advantages. It meant that they could use the radar network to best effect. There was less wear and tear on the planes from flying back and forth. Less fuel was expended, a vital factor given the vulnerability of British supply lines across the Atlantic.
#7 – The British Could Take Prisoners
The biggest edge the home advantage gave them was that they kept more of their pilots. If a British, Czech, or Polish pilot survived the destruction of his plane then he would land in Britain, or at worst in the surrounding seas. He could be retrieved, have his injuries treated, and return to active service.
Not so the Germans. Any pilots they lost in the Battle of Britain fell into enemy hands. Captured by the army or arrested by local authorities, they became prisoners of war. And so the battle proved a greater drain on German manpower than on that of their enemies.
#8 – Hitler’s Revenge Bombing Took Focus Away from the Real Fight
The defeat of the Luftwaffe was sealed through a mixture of accident and Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s cunning.
On the 24th of August, a German plane accidentally went off target and bombed civilian buildings in London. In response, Churchill ordered a retaliatory strike against Berlin. Of 81 bombers sent out by the British the next night, only 29 reached the German capital. They didn’t do much damage, but they didn’t need to.
The attack provoked Hitler, who had promised the Germans that no such thing would happen to them. Abandoning his focus on destroying the RAF, he turned his bombers on British cities. Starting on the 7th of September, hundreds of tons of bombs were deliberately dropped on London and other cities in a series of raids known as the Blitz.
By taking pressure off the RAF, the Blitz gave them time to recover. Soon they were shooting down bombers faster than the Germans could make them. The work of the preceding weeks was undone. Though no-one knew it yet, the outcome of the Battle of Britain had been decided.
#9 – Shift to Night-Time Raids
Raids against British cities continued throughout September. At the start of October, with casualties mounting, the Germans switched to night-time raids. This reduced their losses, but also reduced their effectiveness. It was almost a concession of defeat.
By the end of October, the Battle of Britain was over. Bombing raids continued, but never again with the same intensity and focus.
Britain had been saved.