Friday, July 10, 2020


July 10, 1940, marks the start of the Battle of Britain.

After having swept before them the combined armies of Britain, France, Belgium and The Netherlands, and either chased them across the Channel or else forced their surrender, the Nazis ruled firmly over Western Europe. Only Britain remained defiant. To be sure, they had the advantage of the most impressive anti-tank ditch in the world. But with the BEF having lost all its matériel in the previous months, and the land forces in the UK either in hopeless disarray or else woefully unprepared to face Hitlers panzers, it was absolutely imperative that this barrier not be crossed.

Hitler counted on the Luftwaffe to neutralize the RAF. Once this task accomplished, his victorious armies would be able to cross the Channel at will, and when on the other side, the British Army and Home Guard would be no match for them.

It was therefore imperative that the RAF retained the upper hand. For two months, a fierce air battle raged, a battle of which the outcome would determine whether Nazi rule would stretch over all of Western Europe and plunge the continent in another dark era.

In the end, the RAF won, a feat which gave birth to perhaps Winston Churchill's most famous quote:

'Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.'

In 1970 the movie The Battle of Britain was released. When it was made, the real Battle only lay three decades in the past. A further half-century separates us from Michael Caine and fellow actors re-enacting the glorious deeds of the 'Few' in that long, hot summer of 1940 so fraught with danger and angst. But to this day, no better picture has been made honoring the young RAF pilots:

Essential info here.