History KS3 / GCSE: How did RAF tactics defeat Germany in the Battle of Britain?

Andrew Marr looks at tactics used by the RAF in the Battle of Britain.

The report tells the story of Winston Churchill visiting fighter command during a German attack, as German planes and formations were tracked on giant maps.

This work was led by the Women’s Air Auxiliary Force (WAAF). Their work led to decisions about when RAF planes should be sent to the skies to deal with the German threat.

Sir Hugh Dowding, the head of fighter command, led the British effort against the Luftwaffe. His tactics and organisation meant the Luftwaffe was eventually defeated.

Seeing the work of fighter command prompted Churchill to give his famous quote, ‘Never in the field of human conflict, has so much been owed by so many to so few.’

The success of the RAF in the Battle of Britain meant Hitler had to postpone his plans for an invasion of Britain.

This short film is from the BBC series, World War Two with Dan Snow.

Teacher Notes

Key Stage 3

When students watch this short film, they could be asked to list all of the factors that helped Britain defend themselves against the Luftwaffe (for example, the WAAF, the leadership of Sir High Dowding, the pilots).

After watching the clip, they could write an explanation as to how each factor helped Britain.

There could be discussion about how the different factors were linked and whether some were more important than others.

Key Stage 4 / GCSE

For students studying Warfare and British Society, students could evaluate the impact of these tactics in World War Two and how new technology and tactics affected World War Two and the Battle of Britain.

Students could make a comparison between aircraft in World War One and World War Two, how had aviation technology advanced and how did methods to deal with air attacks develop?

Curriculum Notes

This short film will be relevant for teaching KS3 and KS4/GCSE history in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4/5 history in Scotland.

More from World War Two with Dan Snow:

Treatment of immigrants in Britain during World War Two
How did Britain use fake news in World War Two?
How did Britain prepare for a German invasion in World War Two?