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The Battle of Britain (July 1940 - September 1940)

The Battle of Britain (July 1940 - September 1940)

The Battle of Britain (German: Luftschlacht um Großbritannien) is the name given to the air campaign waged by the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940. The objective of the campaign was to gain air superiority over the Royal Air Force (RAF), especially Fighter Command. The name derives from a famous speech delivered by Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the House of Commons: "The Battle of France is over. I expect the Battle of Britain is about to begin..."

The Battle of Britain was the first major campaign to be fought entirely by air forces, and was also the largest and most sustained aerial bombing campaign to that date. From July 1940 coastal shipping convoys and shipping centres, such as Portsmouth were the main targets; one month later the Luftwaffe shifted its attacks to RAF airfields and infrastructure. As the battle progressed the Luftwaffe also targeted aircraft factories and ground infrastructure. Eventually the Luftwaffe resorted to attacking areas of political significance and using terror bombing tactics.

The failure of Germany to achieve its objectives of destroying Britain's air defences, or forcing Britain to negotiate an armistice or an outright surrender is considered its first major defeat and one of the crucial turning points in the war. If Germany had gained air superiority, Adolf Hitler might have launched Operation Sea Lion, an amphibious and airborne invasion of Britain.

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German Messerschmitt Bf-109F-4 Fighter German Messerschmitt Bf-109F-4 Fighter (1:72 Scale)

Numerically the most abundant fighter produced by either side during WWII, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 formed the backbone of the Jagdwaffe on both the eastern and western fronts, as well as in the Mediterranean and North Africa. Of the eight distinct sub-types within the huge Bf 109 family, the most populous was the G-model, of which over 30,000 were built between 1941-45.

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German Dornier Do 17Z-1 Medium Bomber - 1./Kampfgeschwader 76, Beauvais-Tille/Nordfrankreich, France, September 1940 German Dornier Do 17Z-1 Medium Bomber - 1./Kampfgeschwader 76, Beauvais-Tille/Nordfrankreich, France, September 1940 (1:144 Scale)

The Dornier Do 217 was a bomber used by German Luftwaffe during World War II as a more powerful version of the Dornier Do 17, known as the Fliegender Bleistift (German: "flying pencil").

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German Messerschmitt Me 109E-1 Fighter - Feldwebel Artur Beese, 9./Jagdgeschwader 26, Battle of Britain, August 1940 German Messerschmitt Me 109E-1 Fighter - Feldwebel Artur Beese, 9./Jagdgeschwader 26, Battle of Britain, August 1940 (1:72 Scale)

Numerically the most abundant fighter produced by either side during WWII, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 formed the backbone of the Jagdwaffe on both the eastern and western fronts, as well as in the Mediterranean and North Africa. Of the eight distinct sub-types within the huge Bf 109 family, the most populous was the G-model, of which over 30,000 were built between 1941-45.

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German Messerschmitt Me 109E-3 Fighter - Heinz Bar, 1/Jagdgeschwader 51, Battle of Britain, 1940 German Messerschmitt Me 109E-3 Fighter - Heinz Bar, 1/Jagdgeschwader 51, Battle of Britain, 1940 (1:72 Scale)

Numerically the most abundant fighter produced by either side during WWII, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 formed the backbone of the Jagdwaffe on both the eastern and western fronts, as well as in the Mediterranean and North Africa. Of the eight distinct sub-types within the huge Bf 109 family, the most populous was the G-model, of which over 30,000 were built between 1941-45.

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German Messerschmitt Bf 109E Fighter - Hauptmann Wolfgang Lippert, II./Jagdgeschwader 27, 1940 German Messerschmitt Bf 109E Fighter - Hauptmann Wolfgang Lippert, II./Jagdgeschwader 27, 1940 (1:72 Scale)

Numerically the most abundant fighter produced by either side during WWII, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 formed the backbone of the Jagdwaffe on both the eastern and western fronts, as well as in the Mediterranean and North Africa.

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RAF Hawker Hurricane Mk. I Fighter - Plt. Off. Alois Vasatko, No. 312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron, 1940 RAF Hawker Hurricane Mk. I Fighter - Plt. Off. Alois Vasatko, No. 312 (Czechoslovak) Squadron, 1940 (1:72 Scale)

The Hawker Hurricane was the first monoplane to join the Royal Air Force as a fighter aircraft, capable of reaching speeds in excess of 300-mph in level flight. Often compared with the sleek-looking Supermarine Spitfire, the Hurricane, in actuality, shouldered the brunt of the fighting during the "Battle of Britain", equipping more than three-fifths of the RAF's Fighter Command squadrons.

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RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IXe Fighter - Peter Hillwood, Lady Jane, No. 127 Squadron, Netherlands, 1944 RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IXe Fighter - Peter Hillwood, "Lady Jane," No. 127 Squadron, Netherlands, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The Spitfire is the most famous British aircraft of all time. Although less numerous than the Hawker Hurricane, it is remembered as the sleek, thoroughbred fighting machine that turned the tide during the Battle of Britain. The Spitfire was among the fastest and most maneuverable prop-driven fighters of World War II, serving in virtually every combat theater.

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RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. I Fighter - Sgt. Ralph Havercroft, No. 92 Squadron, August 1940 RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. I Fighter - Sgt. Ralph Havercroft, No. 92 Squadron, Biggin Hill, England, August 1940 (1:72 Scale)

The Spitfire is the most famous British aircraft of all time. Although less numerous than the Hawker Hurricane, it is remembered as the sleek, thoroughbred fighting machine that turned the tide during the Battle of Britain. The Spitfire was among the fastest and most maneuverable prop-driven fighters of World War II, serving in virtually every combat theater.

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RAF Boulton Paul Defiant Mk. I Fighter - No. 264 Squadron, RAF Kirton-in-Linsey, England, July 1940 RAF Boulton Paul Defiant Mk. I Fighter - No. 264 Squadron, RAF Kirton-in-Linsey, England, July 1940 (1:72 Scale)

The Boulton Paul Defiant was a result of an Air Ministry specification (F.9/35) issued before the onset of WWII. It was a low-wing, cantilever monoplane, two-seat fighter of all-metal construction, with retractable landing gear, looking not unlike the Hurricane.

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RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. I Fighter - No. 616 (South Yorkshire) Squadron, 1940 RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. I Fighter - No. 616 (South Yorkshire) Squadron, 1940 (1:72 Scale)

The Spitfire is the most famous British aircraft of all time. Although less numerous than the Hawker Hurricane, it is remembered as the sleek, thoroughbred fighting machine that turned the tide during the Battle of Britain. The Spitfire was among the fastest and most maneuverable prop-driven fighters of World War II, serving in virtually every combat theater.

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RAF Hawker Hurricane Mk. I Fighter - 11 Group, 6 OUT, Sutton Bridge, England, 1940 RAF Hawker Hurricane Mk. I Fighter - 11 Group, 6 OUT, Sutton Bridge, England, 1940 (1:72 Scale)

The Hawker Hurricane was the first monoplane to join the Royal Air Force as a fighter aircraft, capable of reaching speeds in excess of 300-mph in level flight. Often compared with the sleek-looking Supermarine Spitfire, the Hurricane, in actuality, shouldered the brunt of the fighting during the "Battle of Britain", equipping more than three-fifths of the RAF's Fighter Command squadrons.

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German Messerschmitt Bf 109E Fighter - Herbert Ihlefeld, I./Lehrgeschwader 1, Battle of Britain, 1940 German Messerschmitt Bf 109E Fighter - Herbert Ihlefeld, I./Lehrgeschwader 1, Battle of Britain, 1940 (1:72 Scale)

Numerically the most abundant fighter produced by either side during WWII, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 formed the backbone of the Jagdwaffe on both the eastern and western fronts, as well as in the Mediterranean and North Africa.

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RAF Hawker Hurricane Mk. I Fighter - Wing Commander Bob Foster, Battle of Britain, No. 73 Squadron, Croydon, England, 1940 RAF Hawker Hurricane Mk. I Fighter - Wing Commander Bob Foster, "Battle of Britain", No. 73 Squadron, Croydon, England, 1940 (1:72 Scale)

The Hawker Hurricane was the first monoplane to join the Royal Air Force as a fighter aircraft, capable of reaching speeds in excess of 300-mph in level flight. Often compared with the sleek-looking Supermarine Spitfire, the Hurricane, in actuality, shouldered the brunt of the fighting during the "Battle of Britain", equipping more than three-fifths of the RAF's Fighter Command squadrons.

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German Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4/N Fighter - Oberstleutnant Adolf Galland, Jagdgeschwader 26 Schlageter, Audembert, France, 1940 German Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4/N Fighter - Oberstleutnant Adolf Galland, Jagdgeschwader 26 "Schlageter", Audembert, France, 1940 (1:72 Scale)

Numerically the most abundant fighter produced by either side during WWII, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 formed the backbone of the Jagdwaffe on both the eastern and western fronts, as well as in the Mediterranean and North Africa. Of the eight distinct sub-types within the huge Bf 109 family, the most populous was the G-model, of which over 30,000 were built between 1941-45.

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RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. I Fighter - R6800/LZ-N, Squadron Leader Rupert 'Lucky' Leigh, No.66 Squadron, Gravesend, England, September 1940 RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. I Fighter - R6800/LZ-N, Squadron Leader Rupert 'Lucky' Leigh, No.66 Squadron, Gravesend, England, September 1940 (1:72 Scale)

The Spitfire is the most famous British aircraft of all time. Although less numerous than the Hawker Hurricane, it is remembered as the sleek, thoroughbred fighting machine that turned the tide during the Battle of Britain. The Spitfire was among the fastest and most maneuverable prop-driven fighters of World War II, serving in virtually every combat theater.

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RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. I Fighter - DW-N, Flight Leftenant John Ellis, No. 610 Squadron, RAF Biggin Hill, July 1940 RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. I Fighter - "DW-N", Flight Leftenant John Ellis, No. 610 Squadron, RAF Biggin Hill, July 1940 (1:48 Scale)

The Spitfire is the most famous British aircraft of all time. Although less numerous than the Hawker Hurricane, it is remembered as the sleek, thoroughbred fighting machine that turned the tide during the Battle of Britain. The Spitfire was among the fastest and most maneuverable prop-driven fighters of World War II, serving in virtually every combat theater.

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RAF 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain Commemorative Aircraft Set RAF 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain Commemorative Aircraft Set (1:72 Scale)

The Battle of Britain (German: Luftschlacht um England, literally "Air battle for England") is the name given to the Second World War air campaign waged by the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940.

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RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. I Fighter - GR-P, Flight Leftenant Robert Stanford Tuck, No. 92 Squadron, RAF Pembry, May 1940 RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. I Fighter - "GR-P", Flight Leftenant Robert Stanford Tuck, No. 92 Squadron, RAF Pembry, May 1940 (1:48 Scale)

The Spitfire is the most famous British aircraft of all time. Although less numerous than the Hawker Hurricane, it is remembered as the sleek, thoroughbred fighting machine that turned the tide during the Battle of Britain. The Spitfire was among the fastest and most maneuverable prop-driven fighters of World War II, serving in virtually every combat theater.

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RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IIA Fighter - P7856 F/S E.N. MacDonnell, 412 Squadron, Digby, October 1941 RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IIA Fighter - 'P7856' F/S E.N. MacDonnell, 412 Squadron, Digby, October 1941 (1:48 Scale)

The Spitfire is the most famous British aircraft of all time. Although less numerous than the Hawker Hurricane, it is remembered as the sleek, thoroughbred fighting machine that turned the tide during the Battle of Britain. The Spitfire was among the fastest and most maneuverable prop-driven fighters of World War II, serving in virtually every combat theater.

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Limited Edition German Messerschmitt Me 109E-3 Fighter - Heniz Bar, Jagdgeschwader 51, Battle of Britain, Summer 1940 Limited Edition German Messerschmitt Me 109E-3 Fighter - Heniz Bar, Jagdgeschwader 51, Battle of Britain, Summer 1940 (1:72 Scale)

Numerically the most abundant fighter produced by either side during WWII, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 formed the backbone of the Jagdwaffe on both the eastern and western fronts, as well as in the Mediterranean and North Africa. Of the eight distinct sub-types within the huge Bf 109 family, the most populous was the G-model, of which over 30,000 were built between 1941-45.

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RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IX Fighter - Francis Gabreski, PK-E, No. 315 (City of Deblin) Polish Fighter Squadron, RAF Northolt, West London, January 21st, 1943 RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IX Fighter - Francis Gabreski, PK-E, No. 315 (City of Deblin) Polish Fighter Squadron, RAF Northolt, West London, January 21st, 1943 (1:48 Scale)

The Spitfire is the most famous British aircraft of all time. Although less numerous than the Hawker Hurricane, it is remembered as the sleek, thoroughbred fighting machine that turned the tide during the Battle of Britain. The Spitfire was among the fastest and most maneuverable prop-driven fighters of World War II, serving in virtually every combat theater.

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RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IXC Fighter - Otto Smik, 312 (Czech) Squadron, 1944 RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IXC Fighter - Otto Smik, 312 (Czech) Squadron, 1944 (1:48 Scale)

The Spitfire is the most famous British aircraft of all time. Although less numerous than the Hawker Hurricane, it is remembered as the sleek, thoroughbred fighting machine that turned the tide during the Battle of Britain. The Spitfire was among the fastest and most maneuverable prop-driven fighters of World War II, serving in virtually every combat theater.

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RAF Bristol Beaufighter Mk. IF Fighter - R2059 "ZK-A", 25 Squadron, RAF North Weald, Essex, England, September 1940 RAF Bristol Beaufighter Mk. IF Fighter - R2059 "ZK-A", 25 Squadron, RAF North Weald, Essex, England, September 1940 (1:72 Scale)

Developed as a private venture by the Bristol Aeroplane Company, the Beaufighter was a two-seat all-metal fighter using components from the Beaufort torpedo-bomber. First flown on July 17th, 1939, the Beaufighter eventually equipped 52 RAF squadrons, giving outstanding service during World War II, in particular as a night-fighter and torpedo-bomber (where the aircraft were affectionally known as 'Torbeaus').

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RAF Bristol Beaufighter Mk. IC Fighter - Squadron Leader AW Fletcher, No. 272 Squadron, Luqa, Malta, 1941 RAF Bristol Beaufighter Mk. IC Fighter - Squadron Leader AW Fletcher, No. 272 Squadron, Luqa, Malta, 1941 (1:72 Scale)

Developed as a private venture by the Bristol Aeroplane Company, the Beaufighter was a two-seat all-metal fighter using components from the Beaufort torpedo-bomber. First flown on July 17th, 1939, the Beaufighter eventually equipped 52 RAF squadrons, giving outstanding service during World War II, in particular as a night-fighter and torpedo-bomber (where the aircraft were affectionally known as 'Torbeaus').

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RAF Hawker Hurricane Mk. I Fighter - Douglas Bader, No. 242 (Canadian) Squadron, 1940 RAF Hawker Hurricane Mk. I Fighter - Douglas Bader, No. 242 (Canadian) Squadron, 1940 (1:48 Scale)

The Hawker Hurricane was the first monoplane to join the Royal Air Force as a fighter aircraft, capable of reaching speeds in excess of 300-mph in level flight. Often compared with the sleek-looking Supermarine Spitfire, the Hurricane, in actuality, shouldered the brunt of the fighting during the "Battle of Britain", equipping more than three-fifths of the RAF's Fighter Command squadrons.

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RAF Hawker Hurricane Mk. I Fighter - Sgt. J. Frantisek, 303 (Polish) Squadron, RAF Northolt, England, September 1940 RAF Hawker Hurricane Mk. I Fighter - Sgt. J. Frantisek, 303 (Polish) Squadron, RAF Northolt, England, September 1940 (1:48 Scale)

The Hawker Hurricane was the first monoplane to join the Royal Air Force as a fighter aircraft, capable of reaching speeds in excess of 300-mph in level flight. Often compared with the sleek-looking Supermarine Spitfire, the Hurricane, in actuality, shouldered the brunt of the fighting during the "Battle of Britain", equipping more than three-fifths of the RAF's Fighter Command squadrons.

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RAF Hawker Hurricane Mk. I Fighter - Flying Officer W.L. McKnight, 242 (Canadian) Squadron, RAF Coltishall, England, December 1940 RAF Hawker Hurricane Mk. I Fighter - Flying Officer W. L. McKnight, 242 (Canadian) Squadron, RAF Coltishall, England, December 1940 (1:48 Scale)

The Hawker Hurricane was the first monoplane to join the Royal Air Force as a fighter aircraft, capable of reaching speeds in excess of 300-mph in level flight. Often compared with the sleek-looking Supermarine Spitfire, the Hurricane, in actuality, shouldered the brunt of the fighting during the "Battle of Britain", equipping more than three-fifths of the RAF's Fighter Command squadrons.

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German Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4 Fighter - Hauptmann Hans von Hahn, 1./Jagdgeschwader 3 "Udet", Grandvillers, France, Late 1940 German Messerschmitt Bf 109E-4 Fighter - Hauptmann Hans von Hahn, 1./Jagdgeschwader 3 "Udet", Grandvillers, France, Late 1940 (1:48 Scale)

Numerically the most abundant fighter produced by either side during WWII, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 formed the backbone of the Jagdwaffe on both the eastern and western fronts, as well as in the Mediterranean and North Africa. Of the eight distinct sub-types within the huge Bf 109 family, the most populous was the G-model, of which over 30,000 were built between 1941-45.

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German Messerschmitt Bf 109E-3 Fighter - Oberstleutnant Adolf Galland, Jagdgeschwader 26 "Schlageter", Audembert, France, June 1940 German Messerschmitt Bf 109E-3 Fighter - Oberstleutnant Adolf Galland, Jagdgeschwader 26 "Schlageter", Audembert, France, June 1940 (1:48 Scale)

Numerically the most abundant fighter produced by either side during WWII, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 formed the backbone of the Jagdwaffe on both the eastern and western fronts, as well as in the Mediterranean and North Africa. Of the eight distinct sub-types within the huge Bf 109 family, the most populous was the G-model, of which over 30,000 were built between 1941-45.

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RAF Hawker Hurricane Mk. I Fighter - Flight Leader J.B. Nicolson, 249 Squadron, England, 1940 RAF Hawker Hurricane Mk. I Fighter - Flight Leader J.B. Nicolson, 249 Squadron, England, 1940 (1:48 Scale)

The Hawker Hurricane was the first monoplane to join the Royal Air Force as a fighter aircraft, capable of reaching speeds in excess of 300-mph in level flight. Often compared with the sleek-looking Supermarine Spitfire, the Hurricane, in actuality, shouldered the brunt of the fighting during the "Battle of Britain", equipping more than three-fifths of the RAF's Fighter Command squadrons.

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