80th ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN – 2020 1oz .9999 GOLD ONE HUNDRED POUNDS COIN
The Battle of Britain was a military campaign of the Second World War, in which the Royal Air Force (RAF) and Fleet Air Arm (FAA) of the Royal Navy defended the United Kingdom (UK) against large-scale attacks by Nazi Germany’s air force, the Luftwaffe. It has been described as the first major military campaign fought entirely by air forces.
The primary objective of the German forces was to compel Britain to agree to a negotiated peace settlement. In July 1940, the air and sea blockade began, with the Luftwaffe mainly targeting coastal-shipping convoys, ports and shipping centres, such as Portsmouth. On 1 August, the Luftwaffe was directed to achieve air superiority over the RAF, with the aim of incapacitating RAF Fighter Command; 12 days later, it shifted the attacks to RAF airfields and infrastructure. As the battle progressed, the Luftwaffe also targeted factories involved in aircraft production and strategic infrastructure.
Eventually, it employed terror bombing on areas of political significance and on civilians. The Germans had rapidly overwhelmed France and the Low Countries, leaving Britain to face the threat of invasion by sea. The German high command recognised the logistic difficulties of a seaborne attack and its impracticality while the Royal Navy controlled the English Channel and the North Sea.
Historian Stephen Bungay cited Germany’s failure to destroy Britain’s air defences to force an armistice (or even an outright surrender) as the first major German defeat in World War II and a crucial turning point in the conflict. The Battle of Britain takes its name from the speech given by Prime Minister Winston Churchill to the House of Commons on 18 June: “What General Weygand called the ‘Battle of France’ is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin.”