JF Ptak Science Books Post 346 (from 2009)--extended
This tremendous display is half of a double-page spread that appeared in The Illustrated London News for 7 September 1940. It was meant to bolster the civilian population of Britain during the time of the German attacks, shoping that "Over one thousand Nazi aircraft (were) brought down over Great Britain in ...20 Days..." The artwork, drawn by Bryan de Grineau, actually depicts 1000 planes, and accurately depicted ones at that. What the graphic doesn't tally though are the airmen losses, which would be considerably more thanb the 1000 aircraft: for example, of the aircraft involved in the sustain air-invasion of England, the Dornier 215's had a crew of four, Dornier 17's three, Heinkel 111's four, Messerschmitt 110's two, and Junkers 88's three. Thus there were thousands more airmen lost, a commodity that the Nazis could little afford.
(This continues a thread on The Battle of Britain and also a post on "What 185,000 Planes Looks Like").
The results of the battle (and if you take a look at this earlier post for the full narrative), in terms of aircraft and humans, were, for England: 1,023 fighters: 376 bombers, 148 coastal command aircraft for a total of 1,547 aircraft and 544 pilots and aircrew killed. There were also 27,450
civilians killed and 32,138 wounded. The Germans lost 873 fighters and 1,014
bombers for a total of 1,887 aircraft and 2,500 pilots
I find this visual display of quantitative data beautiful and compelling--and overwhelming in its way.
The Battle of Britain was fought primarily from 10 July to 31 October 1940, so by the time this image was published the Brits had been able to turn the tide of Hitler's plan. (The air strikes wouldn't really end until the Nazis turned their attention to the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa in May 1941.) And that plan, named Luftschlacht um England, was to overtake and destroy the British capacity in the air, for as long as the English had command of the airspace there would be no way that the Nazis could force an invasion by land/sea (at least in the minds of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht and Hitler). And so the Nazis failed--it was their first major defeat, and, especially, with the turning of attention east, it was a pivotal point of the war.