Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Battle of Britain

Written 7 December, 2010

Battle of Britain

In  the spring of 1940 German's Luftwaffe was the most formidable air force in the world. With superior number and more advanced fighters and bombers, the Luftwaffe dominated the skies of all Europe.

In summer, Hitler turned the Luftwaffe loose against Britain. Waves of bombers, with fighter support, crossed the English Channel to unload bombs over England. The goal was to achieve dominion over the Royal Air Force. Targets were convoys and ports, then airfields, factories, and infrastructure-- and by summer, England's cities.

Against all odds, the Brits predominated. Although the bombings caused tremendous damage and cost thousands of lives and disrupted everyone's lives (all children were evacuated to the country from London, for instance), the toll  by Hurricane and Spitfire fighters on German's aircraft and aircrew was great. By 1942 the decimated Luftwaffe was in decline, losing its superiority in air power and enabling gains to be made on both the Eastern and Western fronts. Hitler's late-in-the-war terror weapons, the V1 and V2 missiles and jet and rocket fighters, came too late. Britain was saved.

Messerschmidt 163 Komet Rocket Plane
The British fighter pilots were courageous and creative. They would, for instance, bring the tip of their aircraft's wing into contact with the wings of V-1, sending it spiraling into the ocean or flying back toward the mainland of Europe.

Spitfire Pilot Turning V-1
(To Send it Back to Germany)
It's been 70 years since all this took place, but you can see it here in Second Life at The Battle of Britain Airfield on the Gurla sim.

You'll find Biggin Hill SL, a working airbase. It's modeled after the real Biggin Hill. There's no shortage of aircraft (many of which you can buy), hangars (which you can rent), and an archive of material about the Battle of Britain (which you can peruse). Pilots can join the group and engage in combat flying over the land or the adjoining Blake Sea.

It's 70 years since the conclusion of the Battle, so there are celebrations.

Photos in next post.

1 comment:

Melissa Yeuxdoux said...

This was indeed their finest hour. I'm glad that it's commemorated in Second Life.