The Battle for Britain

Interservice Rivalry between the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy, 1909-1940

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The Battle for Britain is a provocative reinterpretation of both British air and naval power from 1909 to 1940. Anthony Cumming challenges the view that the Battle of Britain was a decisive victory won solely by the Royal Air Force through independent airpower operations. By re-evaluating the early stage of the Mediterranean conflict and giving special emphasis to naval battles such as Calabria and Taranto, Cumming argues that the Royal Navy played an equally important role in defeating Hitler’s early advances, buying critical time until the Americans could make a decisive contribution. His argument holds that the RAF’s role as an independent arm has been exaggerated and that contemporary strategists can learn from investing too much confidence in independent airpower.

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