Adventures in Bookland: Battle of Britain by Christer Bergstrom

Battle of Britain by Christer Bergstrom

This is perhaps the most detailed and in-depth single volume history of the Battle of Britain available. It takes the reader on what is virtually a day-by-day, engagement-by-engagement history of the battle, from the first skirmishes in the Channel to the long drawing down of the Blitz. So if you are looking to know exactly what happened on, say, the 28 August 1940, this is the book to go to before referring to individual squadron histories.

On a broader level, Bergstrom argues strongly, and convincingly, that the Me-110, far from being the flying target duck that it is usually depicted as, was in fact a very capable plane more than able to fulfill its combat ‘destroyer’ role when employed correctly. It is also clear that Goring, far from being the buffoon he is so often portrayed as being, knew how to deploy it, and the rest of his fleet, to overcome the substantial strategic advantages enjoyed by the RAF (in particular, fighting over home territory and the integrated defence system developed by Hugh Dowding). But Goring was let down by his chief lieutenants, who failed to carry out his instructions. Maybe the RAF would still have won, but what was an already close run thing might then have run ever closer to the wire.

The book’s subtitle makes much of its revisting a well-known story but Bergstrom has no axes to grind: he is just trying to get to the truth – and he gets as near to it as is humanly possible. A superb book.


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