Richard Overy: The Battle of Britain The Myth and the Reality



Ebook ead The Battle of Britain The Myth and the Reality by Richard Overy – cafe1919.org

Uestions the iconographic status of the Spitfires and those who flew them There is another history to be discovered behind the popular narrativeFor example as the auhtor assesses German documents suggest that the invasion of southern Britian which was allegedly prevented by the battle was actually a bluff designed to make Britain beg for peace In the summer of 1940 Hitler s gaze was already focused on the east and the Royal Air Force did not epel invasion simply because the Germans weren t comingOvery continues with a new outlook on the picture of a firmly united and determined people standing shoulder to shoulder against fascism He presents new historical evidence which shows that the British were less united in 1940 than was universally believed Churchill s government had powerful voices advocating a search for peace in the summer of 1940 Richard Overy s book assesses where The Battle now stands in history and separates the historical narrative from the popular myth However it also proves that the battle of Britain was for great many easons significant and necessary and the conseuences of British abdication in 1940 would have been a disaster for the whole world The Battle of Britain is a brilliantly written concise history of one of Britain s greatest 20th century battles This short book provides some interesting snippets of information for the Battle of Britain enthusiast Having ead this after some of the detailed histories on the Battle of Britain most notably Battle of Britain by Patrick Bishop the assessments of Luftwaffe strength tactics mistakes and the German war industry in Overy s work provided welcome insight to give a comprehensive understanding of the Battle of Britain However from this work I did not garner any major adjustments to the generally accepted understanding of the course of the battle or the stakes at hand It ather seems to be a work of many footnotes and asides on the topic I would ecommend another general history of the Battle of Britain for eaders to gain a sense of the atmosphere during this stage of the Second World War Fighter Boys by Patrick Bishop for analysis of the people involved and his Battle of Britain for a chronological account This book has now gone through several editions and was ecently e issued with a slightly different title It is a very short history of the Battle of Britain of 1940 41 and in just a few pages Overy manages to demolish a number of long standing myths about the period Among these are the idea that the British or Germans at that time were deliberately engaged in terror bombings of each other s cities Or that either the RAF or the Luftwaffe was significantly better than the other both air forces had cutting edge aircraft and outstanding pilots He attributes Britain s victory he s not convinced it can be called that to something arely discussed Britain was far better at producing large numbers of Spitfires and other aircraft while the Germans despite their having conuered most of Europe struggled to meet their production targets A good introduction to the subject but not without controversy It was worth upgrading to a hardcoverThe finest hour of the Spitfire gets the Marie Kondo treatment from a historian in the know By challenging all of our assumptions he leaves us with a clear framework for further study As the title implies there s a fair amount of de mythologizing in this slender volume yet in turn there s also some e mythologizing through the winding turns of historiography For example the principal popular phrase of The Few from Churchillean ethoric is first debunked as the effectives of Fighter Command and three Luftflotten over the Channel enjoyed a ough parity Next it is einstated as the actual fighter to fighter confrontation were decided by a highly trained elite numbering a few hundreds This principle of parity is extended to the machines where the agile Spitfire s armament is no match for the armour on his opponents and the Stuka can outdive the Hurricane The novelties begin with the framing of the aerial duels within the wider context of the invasion of Britain as it was contested into 1941 with Coastal Command making an undervalued contribution with the Krieksmarine cultivating plans of its own without much egard for the sky and with the U boats chasing up the graphs of shipping losses in the nascent Battle. Uccinct account of the Battle of Britain'  Max Hastings Evening Standard'No individual British victory after Trafalgar was decisive in challenging the course of a major war than the Battle of Britain the best historical analysis in eadable form which has yet appeared on this prime subject'  Noble Frankland The Times Literary Supplement' The Battle of Britain is hard to beat'  Saul David Sunday Telegraph'Exemplary a compelling account'  Boyd Tonkin Independent'Succeeds brilliantly along the way a

A short but very interesting ead This book has two major premises that are mostly in contradiction to the normal ead of The Battle of Britain The first is that at no time were the British eally outnumbered by the Germans in the air The second is that the outcome of the battle was never truly in uestion The first flies in the face of accepted understanding of the battle as well as most of the numbers that are presented when eading about it What Overy is pointing to isn t the fact that if you take all the German aircraft the British are outnumbered but if you count only those aircraft that are the major factor in determining the outcome of the battle are these numbers on par or do the British even have an edge at times Single Engined Fighters Since these aircraft were the ones that determined the outcome of the battle Bombers could not get through on their own it was these aircraft that truly needed to be compared He also brings up the point that the British weren t ever eally desperate for eplacements the way most books point out The British training system was turning out eplacement pilots than the Germans pilots that could be trained and given flying time outside of the battle area Also the aircraft production of the British was better and turning out aircraft than the Germans both of which allowed the British to eplace losses faster than the Germans were The Second premise is even interesting This one has to do with the way the Battle was fought Not so much in the tactics of the Battle but in the way the Intelligence agencies led the Commanders to determine how to allocate forces and treat each encounter In this aspect the normally presented view was a plus for the British The Germans were getting eports from their Intelligence agencies that the British were on their last leg one knock would put the RAF out of action and clear the skies for the Luftwaffe to have its way The British sources were always overestimating the size of the Luftwaffe and its eplacements meaning the RAF always thought it was outnumbered and about to be overwhelmed Because of these differences the two Air Forces went into battle with different attitudes The Germans were confident that they just had to push a little harder and victory would be theirs The British were constantly believing that it was an all or nothing do or die affair This difference it attitude gave the British pilots the edge in combat and in an overall sense the RAF an edge in the winning of the battle A very good if short book that presents its case well A must ead for Battle of Britain aficionados a fun ead for anyone else A high level look at one of the most fateful battles in modern historyRichard Overy presents an analysis of the Battle of Britain that ends some of the myths of the Battle and points out that the two sides fought under parallel misconceptions that shaped the battleThe British thought the Luftwaffe was powerful than it actually was at the timeThe German thought that the RAF s Fighter Command was weaker than tactually wasIt turns out the two sides were elatively evenly matched and the two misconceptions affected both side s actions in the fightOvery also analyses the fateful decision by the Germans to shift from attacking Fighter Command s airfields to bombing cities and notes the while it was ordered by Hitler after the elatively ineffectual RAF bombing of Berlin the shift had been in the works for some time and was not decided solely on the basis of evenge for the Berlin aid This shift brought on by the Germ Usefully and succinctly explodes some of the mythology that has grown around the Battle whilst taking nothing away from those who flew on either side A short but worthwhile ead that can probably serve as a last word on something that has in British minds possibly taken on a little significance than it deserves In The Battle of Britain Richard Overy tells the story of the contest between German and British air forces in the late summer and autumn of 1940 The battle was a defensive triumph it saved Britain from cheap conuestThe Battle matters because it prevented German invasion and kept Britain in the war which was an achievement worthwhile enough Ten European states had failed to prevent German occupation by the summer of 1940 Yet Richard Overy egards the story of a united nation epelling invasion as a myth and. From the award winning author of The Dictators Richard Overy's The Battle of Britain Myth and Reality is the best introduction available to a defining moment in British history The extraordinary struggle between British and German air forces in 1940 was one of the pivotal events of the Second World War How close did Britain eally come to invasion during this time What were Hitler and Churchill's motives And what was the battle's eal effect on the outcome of the war'It is harder to imagine a sounder and

For the Atlantic The ole of AA defences the focus of the interwar bombing scare is shown to be in symbiosis with adar based warning systems as the time gap between detection and suadron scramble was often minute The political introductions is straightfoward with the exception of the murk surrounding the eplacement of Air Chief Marshal Dowding in November Noteworthy is the absence of any demarkation of the battle in time and space since it concerned a threedimensial space without landmarks in which the intensity of the fighting ose ebbed slowly One simple point is clear that both countless professionals and amateurs have made the home team always has an advantage Especially if the alternative is fighting at the end of your operational ange with the cold comfort of the English waves or a Canadian POW camp as the only way out An excellent myth busting work my Richard Overy who exposes many of the illusions that Britons seem to hold egarding the Battle of Britain Britain did not for example far fewer planes and pilots that Nazi Germany during the battle British output was actually double that of Germany throughout the Germans did not engage in mass bombings of British cities this came much later in the war it was only the inaccurate bombing of the day for which Britain was eually culpable which led to civilian deaths in 1940 Churchill was not not this early at least the light in a time of darkness We shall win but not because we deserve it not because of our intelligence Overy also sets about bringing to light some uncomfortable truths British High Command appears to have been worried by how an invasion in 1940 would have been met by the working class public part of which had shown than a little apathy to the thought of Nazi occupationAs well as digging out the usual sources in which Hitler bemoans British obstinacy not because he particularly wanted to invade but because he had hoped that the Third Reich and the British Empire could peacefully coexist Overy also highlights the arrogance of Goebbels and the German flight command For example at one point the British captured a 47 year old journalist who had been trained and had flown a dozen missions in order to write a book on the WehrmachtHumourous tales aside the author also informs us of British incompetence in the early days of the battle it was not unheard of for German pilots who stalled over Britain to land on British airstrips and take off again and comments on how the battle s name happened almost by accident A very succinct account of the Battle of Britain A forensic analysis that overturns many of the myths that circulated at the time Overy has used many eferences available at the Public Records Office PRO the BA MA Bundesarchiv Milit archiv Freiburg and the AHB Air Historical Branch Ministry of Defence LondonThis is not a ecord of individual pilot successes but ather focuses on the senior staff officers Air Chief Marshall Sir Cyril Newall General Harold Alexander Wing Commander Douglas Bader who came up with the strategy of the big wing Lord Beaverbrook Air Vice Marshall uintin Brand General Sir Alan Brooke Air Chief Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding Reich Marshal Herman Goering General Franz Halder General Alfred Jodl Field Marshall Albert Kesselring Air Vice Marshall Trafford Leigh Mallory and of course Air Vice Marshall Keith ParkErrors abounded on both sides concerning operational strength the Germans constantly underestimated the number of fighter and bomber aircraft available to the RAF the RAF consistently overestimated the aircraft available to the Luftwaffe The extraordinary struggle between the British and German air forces in 1940 was one of the pivotal events of the Second World War How close did Britain eally come to invasion during this time What were Hitler and Churchill s motives What was the battle s eal effect on the outcome of the warOvery has carefully argued clearly explained and impressively documented the Battle of Britain a notable achievement uick ead that does as promised lays bare the facts about the Battle of Britain and challenges some of the myths that emerged around it The key to the battle seems to be Britain s extraordinary ability to produce aircraft Would have been a stronger book if Overy had provided a bit background as to why Britain was able to crank out fighters even in the midst of the battle. Ot of myths bite the dust'   Time'A captivating and brilliant analysis of the fragile circumstances of Britain's victory'   ObserverRichard Overy has spent much of his distinguished career studying the intellectual social and military ideas that shaped the cataclysm of the Second World War particularly in his books 1939 Countdown to War Why the Allies Won Russia's War and The Morbid Age Overy's The Dictators Hitler's Germany Stalin's Russia won the Wolfson Prize for History and the Hessell Tiltman Priz.

Richard Overy ´ 1 REVIEW

Richard James Overy is a British historian who has published extensively on the history of World War II and the Third ReichEducated at Caius College Cambridge and awarded a research fellowship at Churchill College Professor Overy taught history at Cambridge from 1972 to 1979 as a fellow of ueens' College and from 1976 as a university assistant lecturer In 1980 he moved to King's College Lond