The Role of Intelligence in Deciding the Battle of Britain

Published In: Intelligence and National Security, v. 21, no. 3, June 2006, p. 416-439

by Samir Puri

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The successful employment of German air power in the Battle of Britain was greatly hindered by abysmal intelligence. The Luftwaffe never developed an accurate picture of enemy strengths and weaknesses, and this contributed to preventing it from bringing force to bear at the decisive point of battle. Although certain aspects of British intelligence were equally flawed, it ultimately proved itself to be an indispensable adjunct to the operational success of Fighter Command. This article focuses on the contribution made to Luftwaffe and RAF operations during the Battle of Britain by their respective intelligence gathering institutions. It is an investigation into the extent to which activities in the realm of intelligence can explain the eventual British victory.

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