After the fall of France and Western Europe to Nazi Germany's Blitzkrieg campaign, and the retreat from the continent of the British Army after the fighting at Dunkirk, Germany began planning Operation Sealion, the cross-Channel invasion of Great Britain. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus)
The United Kingdom stood alone but still retained a crucial naval advantage. The Royal Navy's control of the Channel deterred the Germans from launching the invasion. With a stalemate at sea, and thus on the ground, the attention moved to the sky. (AUDIO: Their Finest Hour)
The battle Edit
In the summer of 1940, the Luftwaffe, under Hermann Goering, began flying missions over Britain to attack airfields, radar installations (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus) and other military targets. The Royal Air Force retaliated to defend these targets, beginning the Battle of Britain. (AUDIO: Their Finest Hour)
Young British pilots in Spitfires and Hurricanes fought the Luftwaffe's Messerschmitts, Junkers 88s, Stukas and Dorniers. (PROSE: /Carpenter/Butterfly/Baronet) Alec Whistler was among the British pilots (PROSE: Last of the Gaderene) and Rachel Jensen was also involved in some of the action. (PROSE: Remembrance of the Daleks)
British numbers were also reinforced by a number of Polish pilots who had fled to Britain after the German Invasion of Poland in September 1939. However, initially they saw little action due to the RAF prejudice, borne out of the poor performance of the Polish Air Force against the Luftwaffe during the German invasion. This prejudice masked the fact that the Poles were brilliantly-trained pilots, eager to take part in the struggle, determined to prove their worth and hungry for revenge.
In August 1940, a number of RAF pilots engaging the Luftwaffe fell victim to a cloaked Heliyon ship after a faction of warring Heliyon fanatics began to illegally interfere in Earth's war. On 27 August, after the loss of Red Squadron, Winston Churchill called the Eighth Doctor and Liv Chenka to help investigate the problem. Without the RAF units to spare, the Doctor enlisted the help of Polish Pilot Officers Wilhelm Rozycki and Jan Ostowicz. Together, they brought the Heliyon out of hiding. The rest of the Polish pilots fought off the Heliyon attack on the RAF base at which they were stationed. When the Heliyon moved towards London, Polish and British squadrons fought together to defend the city before Heliyon Prime intervened and arrested the fanatics.
The Polish performance against the Heliyon redeemed the Polish Air Force in the eyes of the RAF. They were allowed to engage the Germans in battle the next day, 28 August. Unfortunately, on that night, Wilhelm Rozycki was shot down and killed by the Luftwaffe. His colleague Jan sought comfort in the fact that he died fighting in the battle he had longed to be a part of, on the side of good. (AUDIO: Their Finest Hour)
Both sides suffered heavy casualties during the battle (AUDIO: Their Finest Hour) but the Royal Air Force ultimately emerged victorious. By fending off the efforts of the Luftwaffe, they were successful in defending the freedom of their country. (PROSE: /Carpenter/Butterfly/Baronet) The Spitfire became a much-celebrated aircraft and largely replaced the Hurricanes as the RAF's main fighter plane. However, the Hurricanes shot down more Luftwaffe aircraft in 1940 than was achieved by all other types of British aircraft combined. (PROSE: The Shadow in the Glass)
Aftermath and legacy Edit
From 7 September 1940, (PROSE: A History of Humankind) the Battle of Britain gave way to continued aerial operations above Britain in the form of the Blitz, the Luftwaffe's intensive nighttime bombing campaign. Nazi propaganda parroted by Colonel Oskar Steinmann claimed that the bombing was still directed at military and industrial targets. (PROSE: Just War, AUDIO: Just War) However, multiple civilian areas were hit, at first around London but also in other cities, especially after February 1941. (AUDIO: Human Conflict) The German bombing of British cities continued throughout the war, (PROSE: Ash, AUDIO: Churchill Victorious) but the Blitz was effectively over sometime between 21 May (PROSE: A History of Humankind) and July 1941. (PROSE: Illegal Alien)
By that time, the Germans had still failed to launch Operation Sealion. Instead, the Nazis turned their attention towards the Soviet Union, invading in the summer. This afforded the British a respite from the fear of invasion (PROSE: Losing the Audience) In the winter, setbacks outside Moscow and the entry of the United States of America into the war forced the Germans to suspend the intensive Blitz – although smaller-scale bombing continued – and abandon Operation Sealion. (PROSE: Just War)
Hitler never forgave the Luftwaffe for their failure. Before his suicide on 30 April 1945 as the Third Reich crumbled in the closing days of the European war, Hitler dictated his last Will and Political Testament in which he denounced both the Luftwaffe and the Wehrmacht, naming Admiral Donitz of the Kriegsmarine as his successor as Chancellor of Germany. (PROSE: The Shadow in the Glass)
In 2040, the Third Doctor and Jo Grant attended a recreation of the Battle of Britain to commemorate the 100th anniversary. The show concluded with a tribute to the pilots reading: "WE WILL REMEMBER THEM" in English as well as a German translation, "DIE GEFALLENEN BLEIBEN IN ALLE EWIGKEIT IN UNSEREM GEDENKEN", to acknowledge the improvement of European relations since the end of the war. (PROSE: /Carpenter/Butterfly/Baronet)
Alternate timelines Edit
On the R101 on 5 October 1930, the Eighth Doctor noted that if a Triskele energy weapon was brought back to Britain it would result in the production of Spitfires armed with laser cannons that could easily win the Battle of Britain, warning that the course of history could be changed. (AUDIO: Storm Warning)
In an alternate timeline in which Hitler acquired the power of the Timewyrm, the Luftwaffe destroyed the RAF in the Battle of Britain. The British Army surrendered shortly after in the ensuing invasion. (PROSE: Timewyrm: Exodus)
Behind the scenes Edit
- The Big Finish audio story Human Conflict is titled in reference to the line "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few" from a wartime speech given by Churchill on 20 August 1940 regarding the ongoing Battle of Britain.
- Another audio story, Their Finest Hour, is titled after Churchill's earlier speech delivered on 18 June 1940. Its concluding paragraphs read: "What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin."