Foreign perspectives on the Battle of Britain

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by fastmongrel, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    I have read acres of print and gigabytes of information on the BoB but have never come across much about what contemporary foreign militaries thought of and learnt from the battle. The US, Soviet, Japanese and other neutral countries would have had air attaches and journalists in London and must have had lots of information to work on. Did any country use the lessons learned to change there air defence and offence policy.
     
  2. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    #2 Juha, Jan 8, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012
    Hello fastmongrel
    have you seen The Burning Blue. A New History of the Battle of Britain (2000) It incl. Chapters The Soviet Perspective, The American Perspective and The Japanese Perspective, they were based on contemporary reports from embassies.

    Juha

    ADDUM: Just read the The Japanese Perspective chapter, 13 pages, not very informative but not useless. Based on unpublished memoirs of one of assistant military attachés, major Nakano Yoshio and the recollections of the assistant naval attaché Genda Minoru (of Pearl Harbor fame). Written byTheodore F. Cook.

    Read also the first 6 pages of the 11 pages chapter The Soviet Perspective by Sergei Kudryashov. A couple pages on tone of Soviet reporting/propaganda from Autumn 39 to early Summer 40, then 3 pages of reproducing decrypts of Soviet signals from London Embassy from Summer-Autumn 40 made public by VERONA project. All these messages are on air fighting.
     
  3. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Juha I will look out for that book.

    What would you reccomend for the German take on things and also is there anything out there about the lessons learnt and put into practice from the battle or was there not enough time to digest the information and act on it.
     
  4. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    The German take was...do not attack Britain unless you want a bloody nose :lol:

    John
     
  5. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    The battle had a definite impact on Spain. In July Franco was receptive to joining the Axis, by late october he was convinced of British survivavl, and was resistant to german overtures. Despite being a strong sympathizer of German positions, Franco no longer believed they could defeat the british.
     
  6. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Dont mess with the Merlin :lol:
     
  7. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    300px-Rolls-Royce_Merlin.jpg

    Indeed

    John
     
  8. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    "... The battle had a definite impact on Spain."

    It sure did - Franco was shrewd. But there was lots of Spanish 'volunteer' activity on the communist eastern front. :)

    And Portugal stayed truly neutral, and got rich .... :)

    MM
     
  9. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I'm sure the Italians took someting with them after their meager contribution.

    And many countries have members fly for the RAF such as India, France, Poland, etc. I can only assume that they, too, learned quite alot.
     
  10. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    "... I'm sure the Italians took something with them after their meager contribution."

    Lunch in picnic baskets .. with wine ... shot down over GB ....

    MM
     
  11. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    He wanted to repay his debt to the Nazis for their contribution to his war, and the help he had received with the German volunteer force....the Condor Legion. but he also did not want to commit Spain as an active participant, because at the beginning of the war he saw the likley outcome as an eventual British victory, and the loss of remaning spanish colonial posessions. He was indeed a cuning fox.

    When pressed at Hendaye to join the Axis, he was evasive and made demands for food natural resources and colonial concessions 9mostly on the Vichy posessions in north Africa) which he knew the germans could not afford. On the other hand. , he was clearly sympathetic to the Germans and provided vital trade opportunities for the cash starved germans.

    Spain re-assessed her position twice further after the BoB. After the attack on the Su, he sent a full division of Infantry, the blue Division, which fought with distinction around Novgorod. There were also one or two squadrons of fighters that also flew in this sector, and was perhaps one of the best Axis outfits around.

    After Stalingrad, and the Torch landings, the Spanish re-evaluated their position. The allies had considered an invasion of spain at one stage, and this was let known to the Spaniards in a not so subtle hint. Franco almost immediately reassessed spains position from "co-belligerent neutral" to neutral. In defereence to this redefined dipl;ometic position, the allies demanded the recall of the "volunteers fighting in Russia. Franco acceded to this demand, however most of the survivors immediately joined the SS and continued their fight against the hated Russians.

    I dont know what hjappened to these survivors at the end of the war.....whether they went home or ended up in a russian concentration camp. I suspect the latter....
     
  12. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Many foreign air forces had observers in England and no doubt in Europe also and they learned a lot about modern air war. There is another thread here about the AAF's theory of self defending bombers. I don't believe that the US or any other air force believed that a bomber could necessarily defend itself with guns against a determined fighter force but rather the idea became in vogue in the early thirties that bombers were faster or as fast as the fighters and they were at that time so fighters would be hard pressed to intercept them. By the late thirties modern monoplane retractable gear fighters had a substantial speed edge over the bomber and the BOB showed that the unescorted bomber was quite vulnerable. Obviously radar directed fighters were an innovation, as well as SS fuel tanks, armor and heavy fighter armament and the need to be able to fight at relatively high altitudes.
     
  13. TheMustangRider

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    Out of the top of my head; I do remember reading on "The Mighty Eight" how Carl Spaatz spent some time in London as part of the American air attache during the Battle of Britain, and subsequently became aware of how fighter interception techniques had considerably improved threatening the integrity of the unescorted strategic bombing doctrine.

    The true lessons, of course, for the American bombing doctrine would come later with operational statistics.
     
  14. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    #14 Glider, Jan 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
    I did a potted summary of the Japanese view of the BOB frrom the book Burning Blue in the attached thread. It may be of interest

    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/wwii-books/japanese-perpective-battle-britain-8713.html

    The book itself I found very disappointing but this chapter was worth it. There was also a chapter on the US view of the BOB but we threw the book away by accident before I finished it!!! The only thing I can remember was that the official USA view of the BOB at the time was that the most effective plane in the Battle was the Me110. The RAF couldn't understand how they came up with that decision and the view was revised after the battle. I am confident no one would own up to making that call now.

    One amusing item was the the USA reps and the Japanese had to get back to their own country via the USA. However both teams found themselves on the same plane back to the USA so any discussion was out.
     
  15. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    The RAF started a radar school or 31` Radar Direction School as part of the BCATP in Clinton Ontario it opened early 41 and its first pupils were 25 officers USN and 36 USAAF
     
  16. Rosco P. Coltraine

    Rosco P. Coltraine New Member

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    #16 Rosco P. Coltraine, Jan 13, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2012
    I'm pretty sure it caused the Soviets to mistakenly rush to develop the MiG-1/MiG-3 high-altitude interceptor. And that plane proved unsuitable for the resulting low-altitude aerial warfare over the eastern front.

    It also spurred the Italians to develop their single seat fighters from MAcchi, Reggiane and Fiat.

    After a lifetime's interest in the second world war this is the first time I've ever heard anyone claim that Franco had any interest in joining the second world war.

    Spain was an economic wreck for a long time after their civil war. And Franco Hitler hated each other.

    Except they continued to attack (and defeat) Britain until El-Alamein?

    Just like they'd been booting Britain all over Norway and France previously?

    Hmm?
     
  17. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    #17 buffnut453, Jan 13, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
    Other than using it as a useful opportunity to grab Gibraltar...which would, of course, have greatly helped the Axis.

    Errr...and France had no part in its own downfall? France had the largest army in early 1940 while the BEF's contribution was, in relative terms, miniscule. And yet it was Britain being kicked all over France? The Norwegian Campaign was a multi-national effort involving France and Denmark, not forgetting Norwegian forces. Again, why is it Britain's responsibility to defend the rest of Europe?

    As for your comment about El Alamein, aren't you forgetting Tobruk? Hardly a defeat. Oh, and we were fighting Germany and Italy at that time.

    Maybe your studies of WWII need to be broadened?
     
  18. riacrato

    riacrato Member

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    Alone? And here I was thinking Germany was fighting a little more than just the British from April to November '41...
     
  19. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    So no other country was assiting the UK , that alone crap is a peice of period propaganda .
     
  20. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    True enough but the USSR and Britain weren't mutually supporting in the same way that Italy and Germany were. However, I've edited my post and removed the word 'cos you're right, it wasn't Britain alone.
     
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