The Instigator
WorldWar2Debator
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
Subutai
Con (against)
Winning
7 Points

Hitler's lack of persistence costed him the Battle of Britain

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Subutai
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/11/2014 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,099 times Debate No: 48832
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (3)

 

WorldWar2Debator

Pro

The Wehrmacht had just taken Dunkirk, clearing France from any army resistance (French Resistance aside). Adolf Hitler immediately orders the destruction of Britain's RAF to clear any possible attacks on his landing craft while the Wehrmacht was setting off for England. So Hermann Goering, head of the Luftwaffe, orders the BF-109 fighters to attack ships in the English Channel in an attempt to draw out British fighters. The fighters would then fight back, allowing the Luftwaffe to wipe them out. But the attack fails: Goering's planes shoot down 400 planes at the cost of 1000 of their own. Hitler orders Goering to halt the attack on the RAF.

My point in summoning a challenger is to attempt to point out that had Hitler carried out these attacks, he would've wiped out the RAF, which was at breaking point, to allow Wehrmacht soldiers to cross the English Channel and fight a couple of "divisions" comprised of old men in their 40's, old women, granny's and Boer War veterans.
Subutai

Con

I would like to thank WorldWar2Debator for starting this debate. Since my opponent made his arguments in the first round, I will make my own arguments in this round.

The Luftwaffe lost the Battle of Britain not so much because they lacked persistence in fighting the RAF, but in the costly mistakes that eventually made the initial German advantage in numbers disappear. There were three key mistakes that the Luftwaffe made, one of which almost decided the war before it even began.

Mistake 1: No Long-Range Bombers

England was not like other countries that Nazi Germany had overrun prior to its attempted invasion of Britain. It often used short-tange dive bombers to clear the way for its troops. The problem now was that these were no longer effective for such a long distance target as Britain was. In other words, the Germans could not clear the way for its troops in much of the same fashion as it had done before.

"Germany had no long-range bombers and would not field its first strategic bomber, the Heinkel 177, until 1944. What it had in 1940 was an assortment of twin-engine medium bombers, notably the slow-moving He 111 and Do 17. They had been adequate to supplement the Stuka on the continent, but they were out of their league in the Battle of Britain."[1]

This, in effect, reduced their force potential during the Battle of Britain before it even began. Even so, it still could have won the battle if it had paid better attention to what was important.

Mistake 2: Discounting Force Multipliers

While the Germans had more planes, Britain had two things that Germany did not - radar and high-octane fuel. In the case of the former, the Germans actually discounted its importance, a crucial mistake as it allowed the British to defend the island so easily.

"Dowding was an early champion of radar. Britain had a chain of 29 RDF stations along its southern and eastern coastlines. The radar was effective for more than 100 miles out. Once Luftwaffe formations crossed England’s coastline, the Royal Observer Corps began tracking them. The RAF knew when and where to respond, and could delay scrambling its fighters until the last moment."[1]

Further, the Luftwaffe rarely took out the radar stations, and even when they did, their bombings did little to stop the use of radar by the British.

"Finally recognizing the value of the radar sites, the Luftwaffe tried to destroy them, but did so by aiming bombs at the radar towers, which were easy to replace and almost impossible to hit. The radar site buildings where the trained operators worked would have been easier targets but were seldom attacked." The Germans were later told to stop targeting radar stations again, as a result.[1]

As for the high-octane fuel, the British obtained it from its allies, the Americans, and this allowed their planes to acheive more horsepower, and therefore have greater strength against the Germans.

"Finally recognizing the value of the radar sites, the Luftwaffe tried to destroy them, but did so by aiming bombs at the radar towers, which were easy to replace and almost impossible to hit. The radar site buildings where the trained operators worked would have been easier targets but were seldom attacked."[1]

Overall, the Germans cared little about the important force multipliers. While the Germans may have had more planes than the British did, it could very well be argued that the Germans' disinterest in those force multipliers gave Britain the upper hand.

Mistake 3: Changing Targets

This was the biggest mistake of all. Instead of attacking the RAF itself, Hitler ordered the Luftwaffe to bomb London itself. This allowed for the RAF to regroup, reinforce, and get ready to attack the Luftwaffe.

"That took the pressure off Fighter Command at a critical time. RAF fighter losses fell below the output of replacements. In diverting the offensive from the RAF, the Germans had lost sight of the valid assumption with which they had begun: The key objective was destruction of the RAF. Otherwise, the Sea Lion invasion would not be possible.""By 15 September, Hitler’s deadline for the invasion preparations to be finished, Fighter Command had been able to rotate many of the units in the South-East, and had recovered its balance and nerve. In fact, they were now stronger than ever before."[1][2]

Essentially, the Germans allowed for the badly damaged RAF forces to recover, and this destroyed any chance the Luftwaffe had of gaining superiority over the British skies.

Conclusion

That battle on September 15th ended in a spectacular defeat for the Germans. They were never able to get the same advantage that they had on the British at the beginning of the battle because of the sheer losses they had suffered.

The Luftwaffe lost 1652 planes, whereas the RAF lost only 1087. By the end of the October of 1940, Britain had produced 2354 planes since June of that same year, whereas the Germans had only been able to produce 975 planes since June of that same year. This annihilated the German advantage, as not only had the Germans lost more planes, they had only been able to make less than half of what the British made. The British came out of the battle with more planes, whereas the Germans came out of the battle with fewer.[3]

"At the end of the Battle of Britain, Fighter Command had slightly more airplanes than it did at the start. Surging British industry produced replacements at an encouraging rate. Fighter Command also had more pilots than in July, but had taken terrible losses in its most experienced airmen. The German aircraft industry was unable to surge its production, and between August and December 1940, Luftwaffe fighter strength fell by 30 percent and bomber strength by 25 percent."[1]

Overall, the Germans did not lose the Battle of Britain because they lacked persistence, but because they made a number of costly mistakes that eventually allowed Britain to take the advantage.

Sources

[1]: http://www.airforcemag.com...
[2]: http://www.raf.mod.uk...
[3]: http://cz-raf.hyperlink.cz...
Debate Round No. 1
WorldWar2Debator

Pro

My opponent has helped my theory. He changed targets, meaning had he continued attack the RAF, he would've won.

Furthermore, Hitler's armies were in no way short of supplies. Britain were sending convoys across the Atlantic for oil tankers, so that proves the British were shorter of oil than the Germans.

The German generals simply didn't want to convince Hitler to beat Britain, but what makes you think the Home Guard and half a depleted army would've beaten off such a strong and successful country? The BF-109's were much more powerful than the Spitfires and more stable and strong.

Had the Abwehr, the German military intelligence agency, known the RAF's strength they would've told Hitler and Hitler would've spanked Montogomery, Dowding and the Home Guard.
Subutai

Con

I would like to thank WorldWar2Debator for presenting his rebuttals. I am going to italicize pro's quotes so that I can give some structure to his arguments.

My opponent has helped my theory. He changed targets, meaning had he continued attack the RAF, he would've won.

I was afraid my opponent was going to bring this up. This rebuttal is based on a misunderstanding of my arguments and of the resolution he created. The resolution is, "Hitler's lack of persistence costed him the Battle of Britain." It is not that Hitler had a lack of persistence against RAF, but with Britain.

If that's not enough, let's look at pro's first argument. He had this to say to his challenger, "My point in summoning a challenger is to attempt to point out that had Hitler carried out these attacks..." Hitler still fought with the RAF - it's just that he concentrated on London more, which I showed was a mistake.

Furthermore, Hitler's armies were in no way short of supplies. Britain were sending convoys across the Atlantic for oil tankers, so that proves the British were shorter of oil than the Germans.

I never argued that the Germans were short of supplies. I argued that Hitler's and the Luftwaffe's mistakes created a shortage in planes. I think my opponent is confused about my high-octane fuel argument. He should look back to that to see what I was actually arguing.

The German generals simply didn't want to convince Hitler to beat Britain, but what makes you think the Home Guard and half a depleted army would've beaten off such a strong and successful country? The BF-109's were much more powerful than the Spitfires and more stable and strong.

Because the Germans never got past the RAF. Now I'm not going to argue the difference between the BF-109 and Spitfire as that would be a different debate, but they were good in their own setting.

"So the British discovered that the Spitfire was better at medium altitude in a turning fight, while the Germans that the Bf 109E was better at high altitude in a high speed combat."[1]

Overall, "The Spitfire was one of the greatest fighters of all time. It had been introduced in 1936 but was still around to shoot down a German jet aircraft Me 262 in 1944. It became the symbol of the Battle of Britain." Further, "Flying from bases in France, it [BF-109[ had only about 10 minutes of fighting time over London. It could not escort the bombers on deep penetration missions in Britain." The Spitfire was a worthy opponent, and the BF-109 wasn't the best plane for the operation.[2]

Had the Abwehr, the German military intelligence agency, known the RAF's strength they would've told Hitler and Hitler would've spanked Montogomery, Dowding and the Home Guard.

I've already shown how the British held their own during the battle. I also showed how the Germans made several costly mistakes, and how this helped them lose the battle.

Sources

[1]: http://theaviationist.com...
[2]: http://www.airforcemag.com...
Debate Round No. 2
WorldWar2Debator

Pro

I would, as it is the final round, like to point out to my opponent for the last time that Britain's RAF could've Ben beaten had Hitler stopped the attacks on London and continued attacking the RAF. With no military intelligence, Hitler was in the dark about the RAF's strength.

As it is the final round, I shall summarise the points I have made:
1. The resuming of attacks on the RAF would've wiped out the Spitfires, proving even despite their skill, they would've been overpowered by the He11's.
2. Britain had basically no army at all after the losses in the Battle of France, as they mostly surrendered after being trapped in Belgium, or one of the 200,000 killed at the Battle of Dunkirk.
My arguments mean Con may make a rebuttal on my point above and then Con must summarise the points he has made.
I would like to thank Con for this debate and wish him luck in the result of this and his future debates. Vote Pro!
Subutai

Con

I would like to thank WorldWar2Debator for this debate. As with the last round, I am going to italicize my opponent's arguments.

I would, as it is the final round, like to point out to my opponent for the last time that Britain's RAF could've Ben beaten had Hitler stopped the attacks on London and continued attacking the RAF. With no military intelligence, Hitler was in the dark about the RAF's strength.

One, as with Hitler and the Luftwaffe, you are underestimating the RAF's strength. "At the start of the battle, the Luftwaffe had 2,500 planes that were serviceable and in any normal day, the Luftwaffe could put up over 1,600 planes. The RAF had 1,200 planes on the eve of the battle." Further, by September 6, the last day of the direct attacks on the RAF, "...for all this apparent success, the Luftwaffe was losing more planes than the RAF was - 1000 German losses to 550 RAF." This made their strength about equal by the time the decision to change targets was made. Finally, my opponent continues to ignore the several force multiplers the RAF had against the Luftwaffe.[1]

And two, again, it was not a lack of persistence that caused Hitler to order the Luftwaffe to change their targets, and it should not be represented as such. Further, by the end of the battle, the Luftwaffe did not have the strength to continue engaging the RAF, regardless of their targets. If they had continued to persist, the Luftwaffe would just have been decimated. Overall, it was not a lack of persistence that caused the Luftwaffe to lose the Battle of Britain.

The resuming of attacks on the RAF would've wiped out the Spitfires, proving even despite their skill, they would've been overpowered by the He11's.

My opponent presents no proof of this. I have refuted this claim a number of times, but if that was not enough, I will make this point - here are the casualty reports for September 15, the last major day of engagement between the two forces: "On September 15th came the last major engagement of the battle. On that day, the Luftwaffe lost 60 planes while the RAF lost 28." Between the heavy Luftwaffe losses, light RAF losses, and quick British factory airplane replacement rate, it is highly unlikely the Luftwaffe could have beaten the RAF.[1]

Britain had basically no army at all after the losses in the Battle of France, as they mostly surrendered after being trapped in Belgium, or one of the 200,000 killed at the Battle of Dunkirk.

This is a complete lie. Here are the various positions of British army units in Britain itself in September 1940:
HQs London District

"20th Guards Brigade and 20th Independent Infantry Brigade(Guards) Anti-Tank Coy: Brigadier W.F.A.L.Fox-Pitt

1st Irish Guards
2nd Welch Guards
1st Royal Norfolk

24th Guards Brigade Group and 24th Infantry Brigade (Guards) Anti-Tank Coy: Brigadier W.Fraser

1st Scots Guards
1st Irish Guards
1st Welsh Guards

3rd London Infantry Brigade and 3rd Infantry Brigade Anti-Tank Coy: Brigadier H.V.Combe

1st Duke of Wellington Regiment
2nd Sherwood Foresters
1st Kings Shroipshire Light Infantry

GHQ Home Forces: General Sir A.F.Brooke

38th Infantry Division: Major General A.A.B.Dowler

113th Infantry Brigade:

15th Welch
2/5th Welch
4th Monmouthshire

114th Infantry Brigade and 113th Infantry Brigade Anti-Tank Coy

5th Kings Shropshire Light Infantry
1st Brecknock Battalion
2nd Herfordshire

115th Infantry Brigade and 114th Infantry Brigade Anti-Tank Coy

8th Royal Welsh Fusiliers
9th Royal Welsh Fusiliers
10th Royal Welsh Fusiliers

115th Infantry Brigade Anti-Tank Coy

102nd Field Artillery Regiment
132nd Field Artillery Regiment
146th Field Artillery Regiment
70th Anti-Tank Regiment
283rd Royal Engineer Company
284th Royal Engineer Company
561st Royal Engineer Company
147th Field Park Company
38th Division Signals

21st Army Tank Brigade: Brigadier R.Naesmyth

42nd Royal Tanks
44th Royal Tanks
48th Royal Tanks

I Corps (Yorkshire and Lincolnshire)

1st Infantry division
2nd Infantry division
44th Infantry division
59th Infantry division

II Corps East Anglia (Camridgeshire/Norfolk)

18th Infantry division
52nd Infantry division
37th Infantry brigade

III Corps (Wales and West Midlands)

2nd London Division

36th Infantry Brigade
23rd Tank Brigade

IV Corps (Bedfordshire/Middlesex)

2nd Armored Division: Major General J. Tilly

1st Light Armored Brigade
4th Hussars
King's Dragoon Guards
3rd Hussars

22nd Heavy Armored Brigade

2nd Royal Gouchestershire Hussars
3rd Sharpshooters
4th County of London Yeomanry
2nd Special Group
3rd Royal Engineer Field Squadron
142nd Field Park Troop
2nd Armored Division Signals

42nd Infantry Division: Major General H.B.B. Wilcox

125th Infantry Brigade:

1/5th Lancashire Fusiliers
1/6th Lancashire Fusiliers
1/8th Lancashire Fusiliers
1st Border

126th Infantry Brigade and 125th Infantry Brigade Anti-Tank Coy

5th King's Own Royal Regiment
4th Border
5th Border
1st East Lancashire Regiment
5th Manchester

127th Infantry Brigade and 126th Infantry Brigade Anti-Tank Coy

4th East Lancashire Regiment
5th Manchester
1st Highland Light Infantry

127th Infantry Brigade Anti-Tank Coy

51st Field Artillery Regiment
52nd Field Artillery Regiment
53rd Field Artillery Regiment
111th Field Artillery Regiment
200th Royal Engineer Company
201st Royal Engineer Company
202nd Royal Engineer Company
205th Royal Engineer Company
203rd Field Park Company
42nd Division Signals

31st Independent Infantry Brigade Group: Brigader H.E.F.Smyth

VII Corps(Surrey and North Hampshire)

1st Armored Division: Major General H.Lumsden

2nd Light Armored Brigade:

8th Hussars
1st Royal Tanks
3rd Hussars

1st Heavy Armored Brigade:

5th Royal Tanks
1st Special Group
1st Royal Engineer Field Squadron
1st Field Park Squadron
1st Field Park Troop
1st Armored Division Signals

1st Canadian Infantry Division: Major General G.R.Pearkes

4th (Armored) Reconnaissance Regiment (Princess Louise Dragoon Guards)
1st Field (Artillery) Regiment, RCHA
2nd Field (Artillery) Regiment, RCHA
3rd Field (Artillery) Regiment, RCHA
1st Anti-Tank Regiment
2nd Light Anti-aircraft Regiment
The Saskatoon Light Infantry (Machinegun Battalion)
1st Infantry Brigade:
The Royal Canadian Regiment
The Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment
48th Highlanders of Canada

2nd Infantry Brigade:

Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada
The Loyal Edmonton Regiment

3rd Brigade:

Royal 22e Régiment
The Carleton and York Regiment
The West Nova Scotia Regiment

1st Army Tank Brigade: Brigader H.R.B.Watkins

4th Royal Tanks
7th Royal Tanks
8th Royal Tanks

XII Corps(Kent and West Sussex)

1st London Division
45th Infantry Division
29th Infantry Brigade
1st Tank Brigade

V Corps (Hampshire, Sussex, Dorset)

4th Infantry division
42nd Infantry division
21st Armoured Brigade

VIII Corps (West County)

48th Infantry Division
50th Infantry Division
3rd Infantry Division
70 Infantry Brigade, 1 x Brigade from 2nd Armoured Div attached

X Corps (Northumberland, Tyne and Wear) Scottish border

46th Infantry division
54th Infantry division
2nd MachineGun Brigade,
24th Tank Brigade"

Over 1.5 million troops were in the home guard, on top of these high numbers.[2]

I would like to thank my opponent again for this debate.

Sources

[1]: http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk...
[2]: http://www.warandtactics.com...
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by alexmiller887 2 years ago
alexmiller887
Interesting...
Posted by Jevinigh 2 years ago
Jevinigh
If no one picked this up by the time we are wrapped up on the other debate, i will take it.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Relativist 2 years ago
Relativist
WorldWar2DebatorSubutaiTied
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Total points awarded:02 
Reasons for voting decision: Con had sources to back his claims while Pro had none.
Vote Placed by WilliamofOckham 2 years ago
WilliamofOckham
WorldWar2DebatorSubutaiTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro tried to argue something different from the resolution he created. Con rightly pointed out that the way pro had worded the resolution, con's arguments were not in support of the resolution, but against it. Overall, con proved that the Luftwaffe lost the Battle of Britain because they made mistakes and lost too many aircraft. Pro also had no sources, which gave little backup to his argument which basically boils down to assertions.
Vote Placed by Seeginomikata 2 years ago
Seeginomikata
WorldWar2DebatorSubutaiTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Historians agree that although the trend was in Britain's favor, the trend was unsustainable and if it had continued indefinitely, Britain would have lost the air war. It's just too hard to argue against facts, especially when the pro stated the well-known fact clearly.