The majority of the fighting of the Battle of Britain occurred between July 10th, 1940 and October 31st, 1940. The battle took place primarily over the English Channel and England proper and involved German-held bases in northern France as well as attacked originating from German-controlled Norway.
After the fall of Poland, the Low Countries (Luxembourg, Belgium and Netherlands), Denmark, Norway and northern France through expert coordination and speed of air and land forces (Blitzkrieg warfare), the German military machine moved its attention onto Great Britain, the heart of the British Empire. In preparation for a ground invasion of the island (Operation Sea Lion set to begin on August 15th, 1940), German warplanners recognized that air superiority would have to be earned and this meant the destruction of the Royal Air Force (RAF). Less than three weeks after the Fall of France, the German Luftwaffe went to work against this storied group of aviators. Initial raids by German bombers were aimed at ports along the coast as well as shipping lanes to deprive the island nation of critical material while helping to lure RAF fighters that were countered by Luftwaffe fighter escorts. Prior to the Battle of Britain, the German military machine knew little of defeat thanks to their recently strong showings across Europe.
Against 3,358 aircraft (including 1,223 fighters, 1,482 bombers and 327 dive bombers) fielded by the Germans, the British managed just 1,963 total aircraft - primarily 903 of which were single-two-seat fighter types - 560 bombers and 500 coastal-minded aircraft. The Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire became stars of the British cause during the battle, facing off against the equally stellar German Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter.
Aided by its intelligence network and growing proficiency with radar which detected incoming waves of German aircraft over the Channel, the British managed to hold steady despite daily attacks which eventually turned into terror raids against civilians (tens of thousands would perish in the German bombing campaign). German fighter escorts suffered from limited range while British fighters were allowed to operate over friendly territory, RAF pilots being able to carry out several sorties in a single day. After several changes in strategy by the Luftwaffe amidst mounting losses (including the September 7th change to attacking London directly) and an unwillingness on the part of the British to capitulate, Hitler postponed Operation Sea Lion indefinitely and moved his thoughts to his true master plan - the invasion of the Soviet Union - feeling that Britain could, at the very least, be contained and do no serious damage to The Reich from its now-weakened position - however, one of Hitler's grand mistakes would be creating two distinct fronts in the war. The Luftwaffe lost 1,887 aircraft to the enemy's 1,547 (including 56 alone on September 15th) with 2,698 aircrew dead against the British 544. ©www.SecondWorldWarHistory.com
There are a total of (19) entries in the Timeline of the Battle of Britain (July 10th - October 31st, 1940). Entries are listed below by earliest date to latest date.