The World War 2 involved the two groups of countries, the Axis, and Allied forces. Germany, Italy, and Japan led the Axis. The Axis nations obtruded upon other countries and expanded their territory. The United States, Soviet Union, Great Britain, and France led the Allies, a group that consisted of fifty countries. In the late May 1940, the British evacuation of Dunkirk left France at the mercy of the Germans. Britain was on its own against the German invasion strategy, the Operation Sealion. The German plan, however, could only work if the German Luftwaffe had taken control of the skies. The Germans, therefore, instigated the Battle of Britain. They were, however, unsuccessful and lost the battle. Their next strategy was to starve the British. They began sinking the merchant ships that brought raw materials from America to Britain. The German campaign resulted in the Battle of the Atlantic. The British won the battle and regained full access to the American resources.
The Battle of Britain went on between July and October 1940. During the battle, the German air force, Luftwaffe, fought against the Royal Air Force (RAF) of the United Kingdom. The goal of the Luftwaffe was to gain air superiority over the United Kingdom’s air force (Royal Air Force, n. d). Britain had extensive radar and a C2, command and control, system. The system allowed the British to detect and respond to the German incursions into the British airspace. The RAF achieved a decisive victory over Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain. Germany, therefore, failed to achieve its goal of destroying the RAF. The success of the battle was significant to the Allied forces because it represented a major loss for Adolf Hitler and the Axis during the World War 2. If the Germans had won the campaign against Britain, the Nazis could have launched a massive invasion of the British Isles.
The Battle of the Atlantic occurred between September 1939 and May 1945. Most of the British raw materials, from America, required shipping across the Atlantic Ocean. The journey was sometimes hazardous due to bad weather. During the war, however, the German submarines proved a real threat to the ships. The German government estimated that it needed to sink 150 merchant ships every month in order to starve out the British. The German objective was to cut off Britain from the supplies needed to wage war. Germany mobilized U-boats, battleships, aircraft, and battlecruisers against the Allied merchant shipping. The United States, Canada, and Britain deployed naval and air forces to defeat the challenge. Towards the last stage of the Battle of the Atlantic, the German U-boat crews suffered from low morale, fatigue, high casualty rate, and inexperienced new commanders. The Allied forces, eventually, defeated the Germans on May 8, 1945. Without the Allies’ victory, Germany could have terminated the merchandise shipping and starved Britain into submission. In addition, the British army, which relied heavily on the merchant conveys, could have lacked access to the American-built tanks and vehicles (Old Dominion University, n. d). If the U-boats had prevailed, the Allies could not have succeeded against Germany during the war.
In the short-term, the participating nations incurred heavy losses during the Battle of the Atlantic. The Allied losses included the death of over 72,000 sailors, 175 warships, and about 3,500 merchant ships. German casualties numbered 30, 000 sailors and nearly 783 U-boats. In the long term, the Atlantic campaign was significant because it was the longest and among the most costly of the World War 2 battles. It was also significant because of the courage and suffering of the combatants, and the lower recognition accorded to it in relation to the land campaigns. The Battle of Britain’s short-term effects included the heavy casualty level for both the Allies and Axis. For the Allies, about 544 aircrew members died while 422 suffered serious injuries. In addition, the Axis destroyed nearly 1,547 Allied aircraft. The Axis, however, suffered heavier losses. The Allied forces killed 2,698 members of the Axis aircrew and destroyed 1,887 Axis aircraft. In the long-term, the British victory in the battle prevented the Germans from invading and conquering the country. As a result, the Germans could not control the English Channel and postponed the Operation Sealion. In addition, the victory strengthened the British confidence in the Royal Air Force.
The two battles were significant because they shaped the course of the World War 2. The British victory in the Battle of Britain prevented Adolf Hitler from conquering the country in his effort to strengthen the Axis. The loss of Germany in the Battle of the Atlantic neutralized the U-boat threat and provided the British with access to the American supplies. Britain, therefore, had access to the resources it needed to prevail over future attacks. The triumph of the Allied forces in both battles averted the Operation Sealion and steered the final defeat of the Axis in the War.
Old Dominion University (n. d). USS Vulcan (AR-5) Collection. Retrieved from http://www.lib.odu.edu/specialcollections/manuscripts/vulcan.htm
Royal Air Force (n. d.). Phase 1 of the Battle. Retrieved from http://www.raf.mod.uk/history/phase1ofthebattle.cfm