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The Battle of Britain


One of the most pervasive views of the Battle of Britain was that heavily out-numbered but superior British pilots won their victory against overwhelming German forces through grit, courage and skill alone. This common perception, still widely held, also lays great stress on the wartime propagandist belief that the German fighter pilots were no match for their opponents. Yet it is worth reinvestigating the truth of what actually hap­pened, as the Battle was in many ways a victory for the RAF's cautious tactics, tactics that ensured the survival of a Fighter Command which, though more than equal in courage and determination, was no match for the Germans when it came to combat experience and tac­tical expertise. The Battle was a 'close run thing', and if we ignore the German bomber losses, the Jagdwaffe caused greater damage than it sustained from Fighter Command. There are nearly as many interpretations of the Battle, and its significance, as there are books about the subject. Many of the issues remain matters of great controversy amongst historians and academics, and even among the survivors of those who fought. Most books have tended to 'take sides' and few offer a balanced view of the battle and the arguments surrounding it. This book is therefore intended both as a straightforward narra­tive history of the Battle, but also as a guide to some of the controversies and arguments.

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