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History Ww2 Essay

1882 words - 8 pages

The Battle of Britain is a vast subject. It was fought for almost four months, witnessed by millions, and was documented widely and in detail. Let's focus here on one topic, the key causes for the German defeat in the Battle of Britain. These causes were bad senior leadership, and bad intelligence analysis, and they cursed the Luftwaffe (German Air Force), and the German war effort, for the rest of World War 2.

The German Grand Strategy

Adolf Hitler originally intended to conquer the world one enemy at a time. He also trusted that continued European appeasement, and American isolationism, would allow him that. He wanted to conquer Eastern Europe first (Poland, then Russia), and then to ...view middle of the document...

What was at stake from the German strategic point of view was that with Hitler's inevitable war against Russia waiting to start, failing to end the war with Britain one way or another, meant that Germany would once again find itself fighting a major war in two fronts, which it was again likely to lose, as in World War 1.

Preconditions for invasion

Faced with the task of planning to invade England, the German military planners faced the same problem previously faced by Napoleon and earlier European land army powers:
Britain is an island. The English Channel separates it from Europe, making a land army irrelevant unless it can safely cross the channel to England.
Strong British Navy, if present, makes crossing the channel a practically impossible mission. And in 1940 the Royal Navy's Home Fleet was strong and present.
There was also the new dimension, of air war, which didn't exist at Napoleon's time. So:
In order to have a chance to safely transfer an invasion army across the English Channel, the Germans had to neutralize both British naval power and air power, at least locally, near the invasion routes.
Since the German Navy was no match for the Home Fleet, the Germans could only hope to sink the Home Fleet from above, with the Luftwaffe's bombers.
The only way that the Luftwaffe could hope to sink the Home Fleet without being itself decimated by Royal Air Force fighters, was by eliminating them first, at least locally.
It meant that the entire prospect for a German invasion of England, and for the entire German strategy of avoiding war in two fronts, depended on the precondition that the Luftwaffe had to achieve air superiority over South-East England and the English Channel.
German intelligence failure

The story of German military intelligence during World War 2 is one of continued and widespread complacency and mediocrity, with catastrophic results. The Germans did make intelligence efforts, tactical, strategic, and technological, both in attack and in defense, but these efforts were far less than what was needed to make a difference. They repeatedly failed to properly analyze the information they did have, repeatedly answered or dismissed critical intelligence questions offhand, intuitively, based on assumptions, without seriously analyzing or validating, and too often they did not even ask or suspect. This systematic failure of German intelligence also significantly affected the German effort and results in the Battle of Britain, at all levels:
Hitler and his advisors totally misjudged British resolve, before, during, and after the Battle of Britain.
The Luftwaffe did not try, before or during the Battle of Britain, to seriously analyze the Royal Air Force's fighter command and control system, which was far more sophisticated than they imagined, and efficient. The Germans knew that RAF used RADARs, and gathered electronic intelligence about their locations and technical characteristics, and during the battle they...

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