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History Presentation The Dowding System Defending Britain Against the German Air Force in 1940
December 9, 2023
The Dowding System
Defending Britain Against the German Air Force in 1940
Saturday, December 9, 2023
Doors Open at 9am Presentation at 10am
During the dark days of the summer of 1940, Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) confronted an air onslaught by the German Luftwaffe in what became known as the Battle of Britain. The German air attacks were aimed at eliminating the RAF as a threat to the invasion of Britain that Hitler planned for the late summer of that year.
The Dowding System was the key element of Britain’s strategy to defend against the Luftwaffe attacks. It was the world’s first large-scale integrated air defense system and was named after Air Chief Marshall Hugh Dowding, the commander of the RAF’s Fighter Command. Dowding was largely responsible for advocating and then implementing the system that coordinated the efforts of the RAF fighter force against the Luftwaffe, providing an effective means to defend the island nation.
The system consisted of the first-ever large-scale radar system, ground observers, fighters, anti-aircraft artillery, regional command and control centers and a robust communications system linking these various elements. The aim was to provide effective and efficient direction to Britain’s limited air defense forces.
On Saturday, December 9th at 10:00 a.m., Steve Hein, a Docent at the National Museum of World War II Aviation, will present a detailed account of the development of the Dowding System and its operation during the Battle of Britain. The presentation will highlight the importance of the Dowding system and describe its role in the RAF’s eventual victory in the Battle of Britain. The system was the early forerunner of the integrated air defense systems of today.
Doors to the museum will open at 9am. The presentation will begin at 10am. There will be no additional charge for attending the presentation.