Battle of Britain
Worse! Kenley and Biggin are a shambles and the rest not much better. God Knows
how many aircraft we'll have in the morning. All because 12 Group couldn't do their
stuff. Leigh-Mallory and his big wings! Might as well stay on the ground for all the
use they are!
The Battle of Britain attempts to recreate the historical events that underline one of the Second World War's greatest struggles. The film starts with the preceding Battle of France in early 1940 where RAF pilots are swept up in the Nazi Blitzkrieg. In neutral Switzerland, Baron von Richter officially proposes to British ambassador Sir David Kelly that fighting the Nazis is a losing cause. Kelly refuses to accept this and, raising his voice, declares that Britain will fight to the end.
At the same time, RAF Air Chief Marshal Dowding realizes that an imminent invasion of Great Britain will require every available aircraft and airman and will not allow additional forces to be deployed to continental Europe. Prime Minister Winston Churchill declares the end of the fight in France and the start of the Battle of Britain.
Through a series of vignettes mixing real figures with fictional characters, the movie documents the efforts for the RAF to prepare for and eventually engage in a monumental air campaign to defend Great Britain. Efforts to rapidly train young RAF pilots at first seem to be futile as the British, Commonwealth and Allied pilots do not have the combat experience of their Luftwaffe foes, and are decimated in large numbers. As the attackers switch from Channel raids to attacks on the RAF airfields, the Allied forces begin to recover and fight back. Eventually, “Eagle Day”, the climatic Luftwaffe operation is launched but through an inadvertent attack on London, an RAF reprisal results in Berlin being bombed. In a rage, Adolf Hitler intercedes in the air campaign and orders London to be razed.
With that fateful decision, the fortunes of the Battle of Britain swing to the RAF as London takes the brunt of the German air armada's attacks. The reprieve from the continual bombing of airfield and aviation installations such as the radar picket stations allows the besieged pilots to build up their strength, even allowing the Polish pilots then in training to join the battle. As the tide turns against a naval invasion of the British Isles, the film ends with the campaign drawing to a close at the end of the 1940 and Churchill's declaration about the "Few" and their role in saving Britain from invasion.
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