Battle of Britain
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The Battle of Britain was a 1940 World War II battle. It was an attempt by the German air force to establish air superiority over Britain, an attempt that ultimately failed and thus prevented Germany from invading Britain. The air battle was conceived of as a prelude to a cross-Channel invasion. Although the German air force, the Luftwaffe, was generally considered to be the more well-equipped and experienced force, the British Royal Air Force, or RAF, had some major advantages at its disposal. These included radar, an immensely useful tool for detecting enemy aircraft, as well as the short-range of the German planes, and the fact that the Germans were fighting over enemy territory. It is typically much more difficult to gain control over an area than to defend a specific geography.
As the German attack wore on, the Luftwaffe changed its tactics. Initially the Germans had focused their aerial attacks on shipping in the English Channel and coastal towns and air defenses; a month into the assault the Luftwaffe began to focus its energies on destroying the RAF through attacks on airfields and radar bases, in addition to initiating direct air confrontations. A lack of sufficient success in these endeavors led to the attempted destruction of London and other large cities.
The battle was immensely costly in terms of aircraft for both sides; it is estimated that between 10 July 1940 and the end of October 1940, the Royal Air Force lost roughly 1,023 aircraft while the Luftwaffe lost 1,887.