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    Posted: 21-Jan-2007 at 19:13
One of the major campaigns of the early part of World War II, the Battle of Britain is the name commonly given to the attempt by the German Luftwaffe, as part of German Blitzkrieg tactics, to gain air superiority over the Royal Air Force (RAF), before a planned sea and airborne invasion of Britain (Operation Sealion). Neither Hitler nor the German Wehrmacht believed it possible to carry out a successful amphibious assault on the British Isles until the Royal Air Force had been neutralised. Secondary objectives were to destroy aircraft production and ground infrastructure, as well as terrorising the British people with the intent of intimidating them into seeking an armistice or surrender and attacking areas of political interest.

British historians generally date the battle from 9 July to 31 October 1940, which represented the most intense period of daylight air raiding. German historians usually place the beginning of the battle in mid-August 1940 and end it in May 1941, on the withdrawal of the bomber units in preparation for the attack on the USSR. The failure of Nazi Germany to destroy Britain's air forces to allow for an invasion or to break the spirit of either the British government or people is widely considered the Third Reich's first major defeat.

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Edited by comet9 - 24-Jan-2007 at 21:26
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bulldog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Jan-2007 at 19:15
We owe everything to those brave heroes, may they rest in peace.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jacobtowne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Jan-2007 at 09:42
Even if the Luftwaffe had succeeded in neutralizing the R.A.F., the Germans possessed neither the necessary equipment in assault craft, nor the training,nor the experience, nor the technical know-how to mount a successful cross-channel amphibious operation.

Even the Americans, with almost a decade of Marine Corps experimentation with amphibious landings, made many mistakes at Tarawa, and that was with the support of naval gunnery and total air supremacy.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Top Gun Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Jan-2007 at 14:06
Originally posted by Bulldog Bulldog wrote:

We owe everything to those brave heroes, may they rest in peace.
 
Amen
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pekau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Jan-2007 at 18:50
Originally posted by jacobtowne jacobtowne wrote:

Even if the Luftwaffe had succeeded in neutralizing the R.A.F., the Germans possessed neither the necessary equipment in assault craft, nor the training,nor the experience, nor the technical know-how to mount a successful cross-channel amphibious operation.

Even the Americans, with almost a decade of Marine Corps experimentation with amphibious landings, made many mistakes at Tarawa, and that was with the support of naval gunnery and total air supremacy.

JT

 
I don't think you got it right there. The German bombardment against England was so successful in the beginning that Germans literally achieved air supremacy. Yes, the Britain's spitfire was still more effective than German fighters... but Britain's air force was so numerically disadvantaged that they could not do a thing to German bombers knocking out the Britain's radars and other defense buildings. Many foresaw Britain's quick defeat. By air and sea, Britain was trapped and was scouraged.
 
Sadly, the luck for Germans ran out. A group of bombers with the mission to knock out the radars accidently changed their course... and bombed London. Chruchill was furious. He ordered that every available bombers should avenge London by bombing Berlin. When Berlin was bombed. Hitler nearly lost his mind. Germans always thought that their capital was protected, untouched by the enemies. Suppressing Hitler's anger, the Luffwaffe swore to bombard London from that time. No longer did German air force bombed the radars or aircraft fields. They kept bombarding London with no significant victories achieved.  As Britain's antiair weapons advanced, German fighters slowly declined in terms of their numbers... while the British fighters grew in numbers in secret. Look at the classic example of V1 and V2 rockets. Granted, the invention was revolutionary... but was it really worth it? Those rockets were expensive, and required considerable amount of time to prepare for the rockets' launch. Furthermore, many of the rockets exploded before it even arrived to London, and many of them were shot down by the British antiair weapons. Those that managed to successfully bombarded London... their best scenerio was to kill some soldiers, and perhaps a war factory. With so much manpower, effort, time and costs... Germans failed to gain anything while Britain gave everything they got to increase their air and sea armies. Heck, Britain even had Canadian bases to train.
 
 
     
   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jan-2007 at 07:18
Originally posted by pekau pekau wrote:

Yes, the Britain's spitfire was still more effective than German fighters...
Actually the Hurricane was more effective. But the Spitfire was probably the most beautiful propeller-driven aircraft ever built.
 
Otherwise you seem to ignore the raids on Coventry, Southampton and Plymouth in particular.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Act of Oblivion Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jan-2007 at 09:51
 
..Hello Comet….

 

..thank you for your thread….I would just like to add a few points to what has already been written…

 

…. I think it should be noted that the ‘evacuation of Dunkirk’ gave some idea of the future potential of the Royal Air Force, and perhaps, helped reinforce Hitler and Goring’s belief that German air superiority was necessary in order to mount a successful invasion of Britain…despite the ‘defeat’ of Dunkirk, the RAF fought an important rearguard action, which along with the flotilla of ships and boats crossing the English Channel from the south coast to rescue stranded soldiers, helped prevent  the potential disaster of the beleaguered British Expeditionary Force being totally overwhelmed and captured…the air cover  provided by the RAF did not go unrecognised by the German commanders, the RAF flew nearly 3000 fighter,  and approximately 650 bomber sorties directly related to the cover of the evacuation…the RAF lost roughly 180 aircraft against the Luftwaffe’s 240….

 

 

..it must also be noted that although the RAF has been recognised as the main player in the Battle of Britain, some historians have observed that the Royal Navy’s role was vital, if not equally as important in Britain’s victory….Britain’s Navy had already by this time, assembled four flotillas of destroyers to help protect the Channel…..in addition to this, the Home Fleet was poised to bring its battleships and cruisers (and thus heavy guns) into the fray if necessary… this again, had not gone unnoticed by the German commanders, indeed, Len Deighton has noted that the damage suffered by the German navy in Norway made it necessary for the Luftwaffe to gain ‘absolute’ control of the air in the operation against Britain…however, had the Luftwaffe managed to establish air superiority and move about the skies uncontested, then a sea-borne landing would have been much more difficult to oppose…

 

Jacobtowne said…

 

Quote Even if the Luftwaffe had succeeded in neutralizing the R.A.F., the Germans possessed neither the necessary equipment in assault craft, nor the training,nor the experience, nor the technical know-how to mount a successful cross-channel amphibious operation

 

..this is a pretty accurate assessment, indeed, the German Army had nothing equivalent to the United States Marine Corps, or it has to be said, the Japanese marines…apart from the ‘Siebel Ferries’ and an experimental amphibious landing truck, the German’s had no landing craft…in fact it is curious to note, that at this time the German Army relied heavily on horse-drawn equipment and the biggest problem was how to transport a vast number of horse across the English Channel… most of the German efforts concentrated on the use of barges and tugboats… still, this was not enough to deter Hitler from continuing his plans to launch Operation Sea Lion..

 

..the actual first phase of the Battle of Britain took place in July 1940, when the Luftwaffe made small-scale bombing runs against coastal convoys (Operation Kanal-kampf) in which the German pilots soon realised the ineffectiveness of the twin-engined BF 110 against Spitfires and Hurricanes…the second phase (called Adlerangriff) was to be a major assault on British fighter command in a effort to deliver a swift knock-out blow to the RAF….this practically became a battle of attrition with severe loses on both sides...the supply of planes and more importantly, trained and experienced pilots, took its toll on Britain’s efforts to fight back…Churchill observed that the Battle of Britain was an event that ‘will decide all’….and he was correct in his assessment…

 

..the event was decided by a group of young pilots who fought with immense bravery and tenacity and in the end they won…most were from the peacetime RAF, many were ‘part-time’ airmen of the Auxiliary Air Force and the Volunteer Reserve…approximately one in every six  flyers came from outside the United Kingdom, many New Zealanders, twenty two Aussies ( 14 were killed), Irishmen, Frenchmen, South Africans and Canadians, and the most successful ‘ace’ was Czechoslovakian…( and yes, some American pilots did see service in the Battle of Britain)….the air battle was of vital importance to Britain’s everywhere, but i think ultimately, the victory that was the Battle of Britain served a greater purpose in that it demonstrated (mainly to the USA)  that Britain was not going to ‘surrender’ and could survive, and along with Churchill’s personal ‘courtship’, gave strength to Franklin Roosevelt’s desire to continue aiding Britain for the rest of World War II, and thus a decisive factor in the eventual allied victory….if Britain had succumbed to Nazi invasion, whose to say in a game of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ what destiny would have befallen mainland Europe?… 

 

 

Sources

 

Deighton, Len. Blood, Tears and Folly-An Objective Look at World War II (Castle Books, New Jersey) 1993.

 

Reynolds, David. Churchill in 1940: The Worst and the Finest Hour in Churchill- A Major New Assessment of his Life in Peace and War, Robert Blake and Roger Loius eds (Oxford University Press, New York) 1993.

 

 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jan-2007 at 14:17
Originally posted by pekau pekau wrote:

 
I don't think you got it right there. The German bombardment against England was so successful in the beginning that Germans literally achieved air supremacy. Yes, the Britain's spitfire was still more effective than German fighters... but Britain's air force was so numerically disadvantaged that they could not do a thing to German bombers knocking out the Britain's radars and other defense buildings. Many foresaw Britain's quick defeat. By air and sea, Britain was trapped and was scouraged. 
 
 
I don't know what books you've been reading.... but
 
The Germans had no great numerical superiority of aircraft. It must be remembered Northern British squadrons largely didn't participate in the battle and were held back in reserved out of range of the Luftwaffe as a force to assault any attempted channel crossing. So if the southern air fields were destroyed and the planes unable to take off the British wasn't defenceless. The Germans were entirely ignorant of this fact, so it would have been a nasty surprise.
 
The Spitfire was far superior to the Hurricane and no better than the ME109. THe problem for the Germans was the rest of their planes were ME110's and JU88's which make appalling fighters.
 
Britain was also building planes at a faster rate than Germany and had a much more ready supply of pilots. Comeing from Canada, downed pilots who survived landing on friendly soil (unlike the Germans) and twin engine bomber squadrons whose experienced pilots could potentially be quickly retrained.
 
Effectively 2/3rds of the RAF only participated in the battle which when you consider the advantage in men, materials, range, radar and replenishment was the only reason it was so close.
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pekau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jan-2007 at 19:56
Originally posted by Paul Paul wrote:

Originally posted by pekau pekau wrote:

 
I don't think you got it right there. The German bombardment against England was so successful in the beginning that Germans literally achieved air supremacy. Yes, the Britain's spitfire was still more effective than German fighters... but Britain's air force was so numerically disadvantaged that they could not do a thing to German bombers knocking out the Britain's radars and other defense buildings. Many foresaw Britain's quick defeat. By air and sea, Britain was trapped and was scouraged. 
 
 
I don't know what books you've been reading.... but
 
The Germans had no great numerical superiority of aircraft. It must be remembered Northern British squadrons largely didn't participate in the battle and were held back in reserved out of range of the Luftwaffe as a force to assault any attempted channel crossing. So if the southern air fields were destroyed and the planes unable to take off the British wasn't defenceless. The Germans were entirely ignorant of this fact, so it would have been a nasty surprise.
 
The Spitfire was far superior to the Hurricane and no better than the ME109. THe problem for the Germans was the rest of their planes were ME110's and JU88's which make appalling fighters.
 
Britain was also building planes at a faster rate than Germany and had a much more ready supply of pilots. Comeing from Canada, downed pilots who survived landing on friendly soil (unlike the Germans) and twin engine bomber squadrons whose experienced pilots could potentially be quickly retrained.
 
Effectively 2/3rds of the RAF only participated in the battle which when you consider the advantage in men, materials, range, radar and replenishment was the only reason it was so close.
 
 
 
 
I am sorry for misunderstanding, but I said that in the beginning of war... Before Britain fully followed the "Total War' policy.
 
Yes, there were a lot of Britain's reserved air force, but Britain did not use them when France was under attack. Until Britain seriously used their air force against the Germans, Nazi Germany enjoyed air supremacy.
 
Spitfires were much more superior than any German fighters. I did not argue against that.
 
The increased production rate did not occur until France fell. And the production rate was only functional in British colonies... and they could not show their true potential until after Battle of Britain. (Canada provided some support, but their number of spitfire was quite small.)
 
But overall, I think I understand your point. Allies were never known for their coordinated attacks. I cannot understand how smart and intelligent men of the government were so foolish... Oh wait. Counterexample: Bush. 
     
   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jan-2007 at 21:39
Originally posted by pekau pekau wrote:

Originally posted by Paul Paul wrote:

Originally posted by pekau pekau wrote:

 
I don't think you got it right there. The German bombardment against England was so successful in the beginning that Germans literally achieved air supremacy. Yes, the Britain's spitfire was still more effective than German fighters... but Britain's air force was so numerically disadvantaged that they could not do a thing to German bombers knocking out the Britain's radars and other defense buildings. Many foresaw Britain's quick defeat. By air and sea, Britain was trapped and was scouraged. 
 
 
I don't know what books you've been reading.... but
 
The Germans had no great numerical superiority of aircraft. It must be remembered Northern British squadrons largely didn't participate in the battle and were held back in reserved out of range of the Luftwaffe as a force to assault any attempted channel crossing. So if the southern air fields were destroyed and the planes unable to take off the British wasn't defenceless. The Germans were entirely ignorant of this fact, so it would have been a nasty surprise.
 
The Spitfire was far superior to the Hurricane and no better than the ME109. THe problem for the Germans was the rest of their planes were ME110's and JU88's which make appalling fighters.
 
Britain was also building planes at a faster rate than Germany and had a much more ready supply of pilots. Comeing from Canada, downed pilots who survived landing on friendly soil (unlike the Germans) and twin engine bomber squadrons whose experienced pilots could potentially be quickly retrained.
 
Effectively 2/3rds of the RAF only participated in the battle which when you consider the advantage in men, materials, range, radar and replenishment was the only reason it was so close.
 
 
 
 
I am sorry for misunderstanding, but I said that in the beginning of war... Before Britain fully followed the "Total War' policy.
 
Yes, there were a lot of Britain's reserved air force, but Britain did not use them when France was under attack. Until Britain seriously used their air force against the Germans, Nazi Germany enjoyed air supremacy.
 
Spitfires were much more superior than any German fighters. I did not argue against that.
 
The increased production rate did not occur until France fell. And the production rate was only functional in British colonies... and they could not show their true potential until after Battle of Britain. (Canada provided some support, but their number of spitfire was quite small.)
 
But overall, I think I understand your point. Allies were never known for their coordinated attacks. I cannot understand how smart and intelligent men of the government were so foolish... Oh wait. Counterexample: Bush. 
 
 
Spitfires, early versions at least, if anything were marginally inferior to ME109s it was just that Spitfire pilots were superior. Most veteran ME 109  pilots having been moved to ME110s.
 
British vs German single engined fighter production statistics are,
 
               Britain                 Germany
 1940  
 
June          446                    164
July            496                    220
Aug            476                   173
Sept           467                   218
Oct             469                   144
Nov            458                    140 (approx)
Dec            413                    140 (approx
 
1945
 
Jan           313                   136
Feb           535                   255
Mar           609                   424
Apr           534                   446
 
 total        5216                  2460
 
 
British fighter production supassed German before the fall of France. The month after it was 3/1. It also shows the gap between just how powerful the two industrial economies were.
 
 


Edited by Paul - 23-Jan-2007 at 21:40
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pekau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Jan-2007 at 21:54
Lesson learned. Never underestimate the commerical power of Britain. Holy crap, what the hell were they doing in France? They got tons of fighters.
     
   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Jan-2007 at 06:27
On the Spitfire and the Hurricane, with side comments on the Me109, and opinions from people who flew them:
 
 
A lot of it comes down to how you rate manoeuvrability[1] against speed.
 
The real thing about the Spitfire is it was so beautiful. And of course to someone like me who was growing up in Southampton when it was developed there it's very much 'our' aircraft. But I have to admit the hurricane destroyed more enemy aircraft than the Spitfire did.
 
[1] In particular the Hurricane could turn inside the Spitfire and the Spitfire inside the Me109.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Joinville Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Jan-2007 at 06:48
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

I have to admit the hurricane destroyed more enemy aircraft than the Spitfire did.

From what I understand this was due to pitting the Spitfires against the German fighters, while the Hurricanes could concentrate the bombers, with the "Stukas" making partcularily good targets, hence the appelation of the time of "a Stuka party".

Different taks for different machines to get the best odds.

Iirc the reason the RAF was initially less successful against the Luftwaffe than it later became was du to tactics. Too small numbers of fighters would be sent up to engage the enemy at good odds. They ended up spending too much time ducking an d weaving.
Changing to bigger formations, "the big wing", meant they could gain tactical superiority and really start dishing it out.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Decebal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Jan-2007 at 12:21
Paul, I think that looking at the statistics for fighter production to determine the industrial strength of the Germany and Britain is misleading. Hitler had a definite preference for bomber production, despite his Luftwaffe generals insistence that more fighters were needed. The problem was that German bombers were quite poorly designed. The Ju87, while very effective against ground troops, were sitting ducks when attacked by fighters. The Ju111 was somewhat better, though not by much.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jacobtowne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Jan-2007 at 14:45
Pekau wrote:

"German bombers knocking out the Britain's radars."


I'd like someone else's assessment here. I've been under the impression, rightly or wrongly, that German bombers failed to destroy the British coastal radar towers.

In one of my books there is a photograph of German troops practicing boarding and debarking  "assault craft" prior to the scheduled Sea Lion operation. The boat is a flat-bottomed, flat-topped, river and canal barge with low gunwales of the sort known in Northern Germany as Binnenschiffe.  And these people expected to cross the English Channel in these things?

JT




Edited by jacobtowne - 24-Jan-2007 at 14:46
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pekau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Jan-2007 at 14:49
Originally posted by Decebal Decebal wrote:

Paul, I think that looking at the statistics for fighter production to determine the industrial strength of the Germany and Britain is misleading. Hitler had a definite preference for bomber production, despite his Luftwaffe generals insistence that more fighters were needed. The problem was that German bombers were quite poorly designed. The Ju87, while very effective against ground troops, were sitting ducks when attacked by fighters. The Ju111 was somewhat better, though not by much.
 
Yes, but in the Battle of Britain... fighters were more critical than bombers. Bombers can't really do much in air warfare... Unless the fighters are stupid enough to fly directly below the enemy bombers.
 
Yes, the art of blitz did wonders to German military. This does not work, if the battle occurs in Britain where main German armies can't do a thing, their navy inferior to British Royal Navy, and the only air force was fighting against Britain's land and air forces.
     
   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Jan-2007 at 16:31
Originally posted by Decebal Decebal wrote:

Paul, I think that looking at the statistics for fighter production to determine the industrial strength of the Germany and Britain is misleading. Hitler had a definite preference for bomber production, despite his Luftwaffe generals insistence that more fighters were needed. The problem was that German bombers were quite poorly designed. The Ju87, while very effective against ground troops, were sitting ducks when attacked by fighters. The Ju111 was somewhat better, though not by much.
 
 
I could expand the figure to total military aircraft production...
 
                     Britain        Germany
 
1939              7,940         8,295
 
1940            15,049        10,826
 
1941            20,094        11.776
 
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pekau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Jan-2007 at 19:11
Originally posted by Paul Paul wrote:

Originally posted by Decebal Decebal wrote:

Paul, I think that looking at the statistics for fighter production to determine the industrial strength of the Germany and Britain is misleading. Hitler had a definite preference for bomber production, despite his Luftwaffe generals insistence that more fighters were needed. The problem was that German bombers were quite poorly designed. The Ju87, while very effective against ground troops, were sitting ducks when attacked by fighters. The Ju111 was somewhat better, though not by much.
 
 
I could expand the figure to total military aircraft production...
 
                     Britain        Germany
 
1939              7,940         8,295
 
1940            15,049        10,826
 
1941            20,094        11.776
 
 
 
 
 
 
I know it's just a typo... but 11.776? Did Germans manage to fly a fighter that is 77.6% complete?LOL
     
   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Jan-2007 at 21:47
very clever......Clap
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Jan-2007 at 10:56
I don't recall the Ju87 being used in Britain. The 88 is the one I remember along with the Dornier 17 'flying pencil' and the Heinkel 111.
 
One of the classroom activities we had at school during the war was learning to recognise aircraft types: if you were a bit older than me you also go to work with the Royal Observer Corps. We were taught to recognise the 87 (which was anyway so notorious) but I don't think anyone expected us to see any.
 
I thought it was only used in close tactical air support of the army: a dive bomber wouldn't have been much use in the blitz.
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