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What if: Goering had faced a united RAF in 1940?

A series examining critical decisions made by the commanders on both sides of the Battle of Britain using the latest in war gaming technology* to reinvent the Battle. In this article:
What if RAF Fighter Command was not divided in 1940, but united? Could it have led to greater losses for the Luftwaffe, and even altered the outcome of the invasion of the Soviet Union?
Historians have frequently discussed the merits of various decisions by the leader of RAF Fighter Command, Sir Hugh Dowding. Key among these, was the division of RAF fighter command resources into 4 discrete groups, each with its own commanding officer;
  • 10 Group defended Wales and the West Country and was commanded by Air Vice-Marshal Sir Quintin Brand.
  • 11 Group covered the southeast of England and the critical approaches to London and was commanded by New Zealander Air Vice-Marshal Keith Park.
  • 12 Group defended the Midlands and East Anglia and was led by Air Vice-Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory.
  • 13 Group covered the north of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland and was commanded by Air Vice-Marshal Richard Saul.
The two Groups which bore the brunt of the fighting were 11 Group, which faced the Luftwaffe onslaught head on, and 12 Group, which airfields were those most able to provide support to 11 Group.
But in the period after the war, it emerged that in-fighting between the commanders of these two key organisations, Park and Leigh Mallory, severely hampered the ability of the RAF to bring its full operational capacity to bear on the Luftwaffe raids.

Above: 12 Group Big Wing forming up. By they time they had, the Luftwaffe had hit their targets were on their way home.
The disagreements ranged from arguments over strategy, to petty arguments over Group boundaries and span of control. Leo McKinstry’s book Spitfire, Portrait of a Legend, details the scale, and the pettiness of the conflicts between these two leaders. In Park’s own words in a letter to the Air Ministry in 1940:
"Throughout August and September 1940, on occasion when all my squadrons had been dispatched to engage the many German bomber forces, I called on No 10 Group to cover some vital targets on my right with one or two squadrons. Brand always responded at once and on many occasions effectively intercepted the enemy, preventing them from bombing their target unmolested. In similar circumstances I called on No 12 Group to cover my fighter aerodromes north east and east of London but Leigh-Mallory failed to respond. This resulted in North Weald, Hornchurch, and Debden being accurately bombed whilst 12 Group wing was being dispatched, assembled and climbed in mass formation to the rear of my area."
According to McInstry in another letter Park wrote at the time he said, "Frankly I was more worried at the lack of cooperation (with Leigh-Mallory) than I was about out-witting the massed German raids."
Further evidence of the pettiness of their conflict can also be seen in a memo, again cited by McKinstry, which Leigh-Mallory sent to Park during the height Battle, "Full explanation required why 11 Group fighters have shot down enemy fighters over 12 Group area."
Historians agree that this infighting resulted in the RAF not making best use of the total fighting capacity of the combined 11 and 12 Group squadrons, and created an uneven balance of attrition in which the vital 11 Group covering the potential invasion sites of South East England was very close to collapse in September 1940, while 10 and 12 Groups were still largely operational, but not engaged in the fighting to the extent they could be.
But what if Dowding had chosen another structure for Fighter Command, in which 11 and 12 Groups were united under a single Commander? Would this have allowed better management of precious Fighter Command resources? Would more fighters have been brought to bear on incoming Luftwaffe raids, and fewer fighters lain underutilised on airfields north of London? Would the RAF have been able to achieve an earlier victory in the Battle of Britain, or would it simply have squandered 12 Group resources as well, leading both Groups to the point of collapse by September 1940.
Above: A 54 Squadron Spitfire out of 11 Group tackles a massed bomber attack - without 12 Group support.
These questions were tested in this simulation. For the purposes of the simulation three ‘control’ simulations were run, in which traditional RAF command structure and strategy were used and the entire campaign was conducted using the computer AI which is programmed to follow the historical strategy for utilisation of the respective groups ie the Dowding doctrines. The results of these three control campaigns were then averaged to provide a baseline for comparison. Following this, a campaign was run in which a human strategist assumed combined responsibility for the strategies and tactics of both 11 and 12 Groups ie a new doctrine in which one commander is given command of all of the resources relevant to both South East England, the Midlands and East Anglia. This will be called the ‘unified command’ simulation.
It was determined before running the simulation that a strategy of unified coordination of 11 and 12 Group resources would be deemed to have been successful if:
  • By Sept 17, the deadline set by Hitler for the invasion of Britain, the RAF had significantly more aircraft available to it in 11 and 12 Groups in the ‘unified command’ simulation versus the ‘control’ or historical simulations; or
  • The Luftwaffe was deemed by the game AI to have insufficient resources to continue the battle any time before September 17 (ie RAF victory).
For the purposes of this simulation, New Zealander Keith Park is assumed to have been given control of both 11 and 12 Groups.  12 Group squadrons were not tied to the duty of patrolling 11 Group’s London airfields but could be freely utilised as the ‘virtual’ Park saw fit.
As with other tests, the counterfactual principle of ‘limited second level changes’ was applied to the simulation. That is, only one major strategic element was varied, while others prevalent at the time remained in force. Specifically, what has not been changed in this scenario is Luftwaffe strategy, which follows historical timelines and decision points such as the decision to change from attacks on airfields to attacks on London on September 7 1940. The units available to Park are deemed to be those present in 11 and 12 Groups on August 12 1940 – he was not given the ability to draw on significant reserves from either 10 or 13 Groups. Neither was there any testing of ‘big wing’ theory – this will be tested in a future article. The tactics used were Park’s tactics of squadron sized or smaller sequential interceptions of incoming raids, as soon as possible after the raid was detected.

Below: Spitfire losses in the Park ‘combined command’ scenario should be higher if 12 Group Spitfire squadrons see more action.

Neither was Park allowed to abandon front line coastal airfields such as Manston, Hawkinge and Tangmere. While he may theoretically have been able to preserve precious pilots and reduce fatigue by basing units out of 12 Group airfields rather than the 11 Group airfields which faced daily bombing raids, this was not his strategy historically. Park believed his forward airfields were essential to provide early interception of incoming raids, even though their ability to reach effective altitudes before engaging was limited by their proximity to the raids when detected. And it is unlikely that politically, his masters would have allowed him to abandon Britain’s front line airfields until they were utterly and completely destroyed.
Finally, Park’s policy of avoiding engagements with large fighter sweeps and focusing resources on intercepting bombing raids was also followed.
In the 3 control simulations, the Dowding policy of using 12 Group to patrol 11 Group’s airspace and airfields was strictly replicated.
The table below shows the results of the simulation. The critical parameter measured is the ‘% of baseline’. This is a measure of the aircraft destroyed by Sept 17 1940 for the ‘unified command’ simulation as a % of the result from the ‘control’ or historical simulations. The results are split by aircraft type, for the purposes of discussion.

Loss-kill ratio
RAF baseline
RAF Park scenario
% of baseline


Luftwaffe baseline
Luftwaffe Park
% of baseline

The results show the following:
The RAF lost 5% more aircraft in total and 22% more Spitfires with a single commander in command of 11 and 12 Groups. This result is within the margin of random error, but probably reflects the fact that more 12 Group aircraft were engaged during the Battle rather than patrolling or forming up. Considering that several more squadrons were frequently and actively engaged in the Battle, it was surprising RAF losses were not higher, but it must be noted the extra RAF squadrons often gave the RAF an element of parity when attacking Luftwaffe raids, rather than being outnumbered (which was the case in the baseline scenario, and in history.)
The higher Spitfire casualties are clearly a function of greater frequency of use of 12 Group Spitfire Squadrons 616, 266, 74, 19, and 611 in the Battle than was historically the case.
The Luftwaffe lost considerably more aircraft; 18% more aircraft overall (109 in total) and importantly nearly 20% more bombers.
The RAF loss to kill ratio, despite higher casualties, was better for the Park Unified Command scenario, with the RAF losing only .74 aircraft for every kill in this scenario, compared with .84 in the baseline scenario. On the other hand every RAF kill cost the Luftwaffe 1.35 aircraft in the Park scenario, vs 1.19 in the baseline scenario.
Giving a virtual Keith Park the ability to command the resources of both 11 and 12 Groups resulted in a significantly higher number of Luftwaffe aircraft being destroyed, while RAF losses were only 5% higher than baseline. The RAF loss to kill ratio was lower than in the baseline.
Park was able to bring the squadrons of 12 Group to bear earlier against incoming raids, as they were not tied to protection of specific 11 Group airfields. He was also able to better rotate his front line units between the hard hit coastal airfields of Manston, Hawkinge and Tangmere, and the quieter 12 Group airfields.
The greater loss of RAF aircraft was within tolerable limits at 5% (just 24 aircraft). By end Sept 1940 the major RAF concern was not lack of flyable aircraft (thanks to Lord Beaverbrook), it was lack of experienced pilots, many of which were sitting in 12 Group, underutilised thanks to Dowding’s command structure and the internecine conflict between Leigh-Mallory and Park.
There was a risk inherent in the ‘Park unified command strategy’ that by bringing more RAF units to bear against the Luftwaffe from 11 and 12 Groups, Park would be playing exactly the game Goering hoped for by exposing his fighter forces to a knockout blow. But the simulation showed that application of greater RAF numbers, using the Park strategy of smaller sequential attacks on Luftwaffe raids, as early as possible, resulted in both fewer RAF losses, and greater damage to the Luftwaffe.
The Luftwaffe loss of more 100 more fighters and bombers under the Park scenario is the equivalent of an entire Luftwaffe Geschwader being wiped out. Would Germany have been able to make up these numbers of aircraft, and more importantly, experienced pilots, in time for Operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union in 1941?
A total of 868 Luftwaffe aircraft took part in the first wave of Barbarossa strikes and on that day they traded just 35 aircraft lost for around 2000 destroyed. The success of this attack devastated the Soviet defence and contributed to Germany’s ability to advance to within 100 miles of Moscow.
History rewritten
In the aftermath of the Battle of Britain, it might have been expected that Dowding, and Keith Park, would be lauded as heroes with all the benefits that might flow from having won the first substantive military victory against Germany in World War II.
Instead, Dowding was removed from Fighter Command and given an administrative role in the United States with the Ministry of Aircraft Production. He did not command a fighting wing again. Park was sent to a training command, a posting he bitterly resented. Leigh Mallory assumed command of 11 Group.
This result is unlikely to have changed that element of history. The heavier Luftwaffe losses would not have been transparent to the RAF, while the slightly heavier RAF losses certainly would have been. Dowding and Park would still have been banished.
More interesting is speculation about what the impact of 20% heavier bomber losses – an entire Geschwader of bombers and escorts - would have had on Luftwaffe command, morale and strategic planning.
  • Would the timetable for starting Operation Barbarossa on June 22 1941, just 10 months after the Battle of Britain. still have been possible?
  • Would Hitler have launched Barbarossa with only 760 aircraft, instead of 860?
  • Would the Luftwaffe have achieved the same knockout blow with fewer aircraft?
  • Without it, could Germany have advanced to within 90 miles of Moscow by October 13 1941?
Above: Soviet IL2 ground attack aircraft over Germany in 1945
And of course if you answer ‘no’ to these questions, the question becomes ‘could the Soviet Union have thrown back the German invasion sooner, and secured the whole of Eastern Europe and Germany for Communism before the Allies were ready to launch a D-Day invasion?’

About the simulation platform
The Simstudy (TM) series uses as its programming platform the strategic simulation code for Battle of Britain II Wings of Victory. BOBII includes a self contained ‘commander level’ strategy gaming module which is able to simulate every RAF Fighter Command and Luftwaffe squadron/staffel and aircraft which took place in the battle, to the level of individual pilots. At the ground target level, individual buildings on airfields and industrial sites, their functions and capacities are fully modelled, such that partial damage to individual buildings is calculated after each raid to allow a precise assessment of bomb damage by the game engine. When calculating combat outcomes, it takes account of not just aircraft type and numbers, but situation (relative altitudes) and latitude/longitude (if a Luftwaffe pilot bails out over the UK, the pilot is lost. Similarly if a pilot bails out over the Channel, they have a weighted chance of rescue depending on their bailout location.) The simulation is able to model either historical German tactics, or vary tactics according to the player’s directives. And it can model either the historical intelligence available to the Luftwaffe, or give the Luftwaffe perfect sight – full knowledge of the role and capacity of British air force and industrial targets. Further, it models the impact on available aircraft numbers of aircraft and war materials industry production, port and convoy traffic and of course both aircraft and pilot losses on both sides. It is the most sophisticated computerised Battle of Britain campaign simulation ever developed.

What if: Adolf Hitler met Walter Rubensdorffer in July 1940?
 History is replete with examples of individuals whose actions, simple as they may have seemed at the time, changed the course of history. What if the theories of a lowly Luftwaffe Hauptmann had changed the outcome of the Battle of Britain?
 In the late 1930s the prevailing doctrine of war within Nazi Germany was best summarised as that of ‘Total War’. It was a belief that while war was indeed waged on and between the armed forces of nations, it was also directed against an enemy’s material resources and the ‘moral strength’ of his population.
 Goering first tested the weapon of Total Air War when he turned his Condor Legion against the population of Guernica in April 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. He became so enamoured of the results of what would be known as ‘terror bombing’ that he prioritised development of a massive medium bomber fleet capable of meeting the military and moral requirements of total air war doctrine – the military destruction of the enemy and the terrorisation of its population.

Enter Hauptmann Walter Rubensdorffer. Commander of Erprobungsgruppe 210, a specialist unit within Luftflotte 2 then operationally evaluating Bf109 and Bf110 aircraft in the fighter-bomber role, he had since 13 July 1940 been operating against shipping. He proved so effective that by 30 July, after little more than two weeks active service, Generalfeldmarschall Kesselring congratulated the unit for having sunk 89,000 tons of merchant vessels plus four warships.
 There is no record of Rubensdorffer ever meeting Hitler. He was awarded a Knights Cross, but posthumously, following his death in a raid on Croydon during the Battle of Britain. But imagine a scenario in which Kesselring’s commendation was delivered in person, not by despatch, and brought about a meeting between Kesselring, the Fuhrer, and a confident young Rubensdorffer on July 30 1940.
Rubensdorffer was an energetic and engaging Swiss national, and staunch National Socialist, who had gained a reputation as a ground-attack specialist during the Spanish Civil War where he led 3/J 88, using the He-51B in the development of schlactflieger tactics.
In the brief meeting arranged at Kesselring’s insistance, Hitler invites Rubensdorffer to explain the tactics behind his success. Rubensdorffer outlines the hit and run, low level bombing methods he has been experimenting with since the Spanish Civil War, and the efficacy of the Bf110C in the role of strike fighter, rather than as fighter escort. He enthusiastically details his belief that the use of multiple smaller raids, rather than fewer and larger massed raids, would confuse and confound RAF defences and allow the raiders a greater chance of success and escape. The British would feel themselves to be constantly under attack, with no pause or relief. Britain’s political and military masters would be under pressure to explain why they did not have mastery of their own skies.
If you were just to give me command of our Zerstorer force, Mein Fuhrer, I could wipe the British airfields from the face of the earth and cause the British people to cry out ‘Where is the Verdammt RAF?” he tells Hitler.
Hitler stops short of placing the ambitious Rubensdorffer in charge of his own personal Zerstorer Geschwader, but is engaged by the concept of pinpoint hit and run bombing used in hundreds, if not thousands of sorties a day. While still a proponent of the concept of total war, and having seen its success in Poland and France, Hitler is not so keen to use this weapon against Britain and has given Goering orders not to attack civilian targets there. He is also keenly aware of the huge cost in munitions and fuel of a major air war against Britain; munitions and fuel he will need either for an invasion of Britain, or for his planned war against the Soviet Union. A report from his Quartermaster General in June 1940 highlighted potential shortages.

The chance meeting with Rubensdorffer is therefore decisive. On the night of 31 July Hitler takes up his pen and redraftsDirective 17 for the conduct of air and sea warfare against Britain, to read (abridged):
In order to establish the necessary conditions for the final conquest of England I intend to intensify air and sea warfare against the English homeland. I therefore order as follows:
1. The German Air Force is to overpower the English Air Force with all the most effective forces at its command, in the shortest time possible. The attacks are to be directed primarily against flying units, their ground installations, and their supply organizations, but also against the aircraft industry, including that manufacturing anti-aircraft equipment…
2. After achieving temporary or local air superiority the air war is to be continued against ports, in particular against stores of food, and also against stores of provisions in the interior of the country.
Attacks on the south coast ports will be made on the smallest possible scale, in view of our own forthcoming operations.
5. I reserve to myself the right to decide on terror attacks as measures of reprisal.
In subsequent discussions with Goering, Hitler explains he wishes to conserve his forces and explore against Britain the hit and run tactics proven so successful by Rubensdorffer. This would have the combined effect of reducing the RAF capability to resist invasion, while preserving vital war materiels and limiting damage to British facilities vital to the invasion, such as ports. Hitler makes clear the use of terror attacks with massed bombers is forbidden unless by his express command. Against the strong objections of Goering, who argues for the use of all aircraft at his disposal in a massive and sustained attack, the Directive is enacted.
Goering’s interpretation of the directive is typically liberal. His Ju88s are fitted with dive brakes and capable of ‘shallow dive’ bombing attacks, while his Do17 medium bombers and pilots excel at low-level high speed attacks. He disposes his forces in the following way in orders issued to his Luftflotte commanders: 
  1. The strategy for the air offensive against Britain is to overwhelm, demoralise and destroy its air defences by the use of myriad pinpoint bombing attacks.
    1. Primary targets for the first phase will be RAF airfields and supply depots, communications facilities, anti aircraft installations and aircraft production facilities. Attacks against other targets, whether shipping or industrial, not connected with British system of air defence and production are to be avoided. 
  1. Attacks will be made using 1 Gruppe or 2 staffeln sized units of Ju88, Do17, Stuka and Bf110 aircraft using precision bombing tactics. 
  1. Bf109 aircraft will be used to support these pin-point raids, both by sweeping the skies ahead of the dive bombers, and providing escort for the bombers. Twin engined fighters are not to be used for fighter escort duties, as we have a limited supply of these and they are to be dedicated to ground attack duties.

Do17 'Flying Pencils' cross the English coast at 2,000 feet on Adler Tag (Eagle Day).
Could such a radical change in Luftwaffe tactics, called here the ‘Rubensdorffer Doctrine’, have resulted in Luftwaffe victory in the Battle of Britain?
 Simulation Methods
 This question was tested in a computer simulation (see endnotes regarding the simulation platform). For the purposes of the simulation three ‘control’ simulations were first run, using the traditional Luftwaffe Total Air War strategy of larger massed raids of medium bombers escorted by Bf109s and Bf110s, with dive bombing raids reserved mainly for RDF facilities and ports, and the Stuka force withdrawn early in the first days of the campaign. The results of these three control campaigns were then averaged to provide data for comparison, and these are called the 'Baseline data'. (The RAF won these baseline simulations of the Battle, with RAF and Luftwaffe losses comparable to historical,)
Following this, a campaign was run in which the Rubensdorffer Doctrine was strictly applied and multiple small scale raids in which Ju 88, Do 17, Stuka and Bf110 in dive bomber or low level bombing roles were used exclusively. No Heinkel 111 Geschwader were used at all, allowing both these aircraft, their crews, munitions and fuel requirements to be conserved for use against the Soviet Union or Great Britain later in the war.
Success for the Rubensdorffer Doctrine was predetermined to occur if: 
  • By Sept 15, the date by which Hitler decided on the invasion of Britain, more than 90% of airfields (both bomber and fighter command) in 11 Group had been destroyed and made non operational; or
  • By an earlier date the RAF had been sufficiently reduced such that it could no longer mount a defence of Britain. For this, the simulation uses an algorithm which takes account both of the number of destroyed airfields, and RAF squadrons on release, or non operational to determine whether the RAF is still a viable threat.
The counterfactual principle of ‘limited second level changes’ was applied to this simulation. That is, only one major strategic element was varied, while others prevalent at the time remained in force. In this case the strategic element that was varied was the size and composition of attacking Luftwaffe formations. Other historical elements of strategy and tactics were not varied. For example, regarding Luftwaffe targeting, the decision by Hitler to order attacks on civilian targets in London from Sept 7 1940 would be respected, though it would be executed using Rubensdorffer Doctrine rather than massed raids.
Historically poor Luftwaffe intelligence on RAF facilities was also reflected, so that both Fighter Command and other airfields were raided, not Fighter Command airfields alone.

Stuka Geschwader were withdrawn from use after 18 August and only Ju88, Do17 and Bf110C units were used after this date.
Finally, raids against British RDF (radar) facilities took place in the opening days of the Rubensdorffer Doctrine campaign but as in the historical or baseline campaign, these were soon discontinued in favour of attacks on airfields and production facilities.
Complete Luftwaffe victory was achieved by August 29 1940.
By this stage all RAF airfields in 11 Group had been destroyed, and most airfields in 10 and 12 Groups destroyed or damaged sufficiently to be inoperable. British aircraft production facilities at Southampton and around London had been destroyed or heavily damaged. Dover Port had been destroyed, Portsmouth, Southampton and the London Docklands heavily bombed.
Statistical comparison of Luftwaffe and RAF aircraft destroyed Aug 12 to August 29
Baseline simulation average: RAF 499 Lufwaffe 595 comprising 188 fighters and 407 bombers
Rubsensdorffer Doctrine simulation: RAF 550 Luftwaffe 446 comprising 259 fighters and 187 bombers
Several important differences between the Rubensdorffer Doctrine simulation, and the baseline data can be seen. RAF losses were only 10% higher, but the early destruction of 11 Group airfields (most were either heavily damaged or destroyed by August 16) allowed a concentrated attack on aircraft production facilities, reducing the production advantage enjoyed by the RAF during the historical or baseline campaign.
A map showing the strategic situation at 1700 hrs on 17 August 1940 under the Rubensdorffer strategy. All coastal airfields have been destroyed, as have Kenley, Croydon, West Malling, Eastchurch, Biggin Hill, and Rochester. The Luftwaffe is able to send further raids against North Weald, Northolt and Stapleford unopposed as the RAF units based in the north are refueling and rearming after earlier sorties.
Having denied the RAF use of its 11 Group airfields, the Luftwaffe was able to range into 10 and 12 Groups. After the first five days of Adler Angriff, the RAF was capable still of strongly meeting the first attacks of the day from airfields in the North and West. But the use of multiple, sequential raids throughout the day, rather than two or three waves of massed bombing raids, meant many RAF squadrons were caught on the ground refueling and rearming after their first sortie of the day. 'The Hardest Day' (August 18 in the historical battle), in which both sides suffered greatest casualties, took place on August 16, when the RAF lost 52 aircraft, for 60 Luftwaffe aircraft destroyed. August 17 was comparable, with 47 RAF aircraft lost for 37 Luftwaffe destroyed. Between August 12 and August 17 the RAF lost 298 aircraft, for 325 Luftwaffe destroyed.
This was equal to a loss to kill ratio of only 1.1 Luftwaffe aircraft for every 1 RAF aircraft lost - lower than the Baseline ratio of around 1.3.
As it was pushed further and further North and West, the RAF was unable to meet the Luftwaffe attacks in South East England before they reached their targets, and often had to turn back over the Channel without being able to catch up to the returning attackers who wasted no time in climbing for altitude but raced back across the Channel at 1,000 feet.
The Blitz attacks on broader London which in history began following Hitlers orders on September 7, did not take place in this simulation, as Luftwaffe victory was achieved before this date.
The day that broke the RAF's back: The day of most intense Luftwaffe action after Adler Tag, in which numerous RAF units were caught and destroyed on the ground, was August 21. On this day the Luftwaffe mounted 29 raids, typically comprising 30 bombers (Bf110, Do17 or Ju88) and 36 fighters per raid. A total of nearly 2,000 individual sorties. 20 RAF aircraft were destroyed for the loss of only 9 Luftwaffe aircraft, but more importantly by the end of the day, critical 10 and 12 Group airfields such as Colerne, Filton, Warmwell, Digby and Duxton (the home base of Douglas Bader) had been put out of commission.
The following days of the campaign are described in detail to illustrate the tactics used.
August 12; Adler Tag
Below: Bf110s split up after crossing the coast at 2,000 feet on Adler Tag - Eagle Day.
38 separate raids were mounted during the day. The Bf110s of Rubensdorffer's Erpro 210 led the attack at 0630 am with coordinated raids on Dover, Pevensey, Rye and Dunkirk RDF stations causing heavy damage. 5 Gruppe of Do17s configured in raids of 2 staffel each, escorted by Bf109s, simultaneously struck Manston, Hawkinge, Lympne, Shoreham and Ford airfields. At 1200 and again at 1300 Gruppe sized raids of 30 Ju88s and Stuka Ju87s returned to strike coastal airfields again. At 1600 Stukas struck Dover, Pevensey and Rye RDF facilities again, while Ju88s raided Dover Port. Most raids were conducted between 2 and 5000 feet, giving the defenders little warning of their approach.
By sunset on Adler Tag, Dover and Pevensey RDF were non operational. Manston, Hawkinge and Lympne airfields had been destroyed and Shoreham, Ford, Tangmere and Westhampnett airfields heavily damaged.
August 21; The Hardest Day
By now, all 11 Group airfields had been heavily damaged or destroyed, but the RAF was effective in trying to return them to operational status and early reconnaissance showed Manston, Croydon, Kenley, Eastchurch, Rochford and Northolt although still heavily damaged had returned to operational status. Raids configured to include 2 staffeln of Bf110s escorted by Bf109s which were also empowered to stafe ground facilities if no fighter cover was needed, were dispatched at 0630 and proved sufficient to return these airfields to 'critical' or non operational status. These raids were met by 1-2 squadron sized patrols of the RAF (up to 24 aircraft) which the escorting 109s were able to engage allowing the fast and low flying Bf110 fighter bombers to reach their targets.
At 1100 raids of Ju88 and Do17 bombers escorted by Bf109s attacked aircraft production facilities including the Supermarine factory Woolston and Itchen aircraft factory, plus the Brooklands Hawker, Brooklands Vickers, and Feltham General production facilities. These met with little resistance.
The Supermarine Spitfire production plant at Woolston is destroyed on August 21.
Goering's liberal interpretation of the ban against 'terror raids' extended to a belief that pinpoint bombing of London Docklands factories and warehouses did not constitute terror raids. It would however bring the war directly to the doorstep of Londoners and Goering authorised a series of Bf110 and Do17 strikes in the late evening of August 21, attacking with great effect the East India, West India, Limehouse, Surrey and Rotherhithe Docks, plus the Purefleet oil refinery and Thames Haven oil farm. His fighter bombers roamed virtually unhindered through the skies over London.
The headline in the London Times the following day stated, "London burns. Where was the RAF?"
This day, and the need to fly up to 3 sorties a day, also took its toll on Luftwaffe pilots and their machines. Fatigue and maintenance requirements meant that the following day 30 Gruppe, including 12 Bf109, 8 Bf110 and 10 Kampfgruppe, had to be taken off the line to rest.
The screen above shows the tactical situation on August 28 at 0815 am. Luftwaffe raids are inbound on targets deep in 10 and 12 Group airspace, but no RAF patrols are available to intercept them.
August 28; the Last Day
The Luftwaffe had been gradually extending its reach North and West, deep into 10 and 12 Groups. These raids necessitated the use of Bf110s as fighter escorts due to the range required, but RAF resistance was negligible and the threat to the less manoueverable twin engined fighters minimal. Bf110 units were used in early morning raids to shut down renewed activity at Tangmere, Ford, Gosport, Farnborough and Odiham airfields. At 1100 Ju88s and Do17s escorted by Bf110s in two waves of 24 bombers each, separated by a half hour, reached and destroyed Wittering and Digby airfields in the North of Britain. There were no RAF fighters sighted on these raids.
 The simulation AI judged the RAF incapable of offering further resistance and Luftwaffe victory was declared on 29 August 1940. 
 Use of the Rubensdorffer Doctrine delivered the Luftwaffe air superiority over not just the 11 Group area of operations, but all of Southern Britian, and certainly sufficient to enable a landing.
Luftwaffe kills were only 10% higher in this scenario than in the baseline average, but importantly Luftwaffe losses were significantly lower.
The higher speed, low altitude and small size of the Luftwaffe raids meant they were hard to detect and pursue. Around 150 fewer Luftwaffe aircraft were lost through the use of the Rubensdorffer Doctrine in the time period studied. Importantly the entire He111 strategic bomber fleet was intact, and available for use in the coming offensive either against Britain or the Soviet Union.
The strategy took a disproportionately higher toll on the fighter Geschwader, as can be expected. Not tied to lumbering bombers at high altitude, they were free to fight and strafe ground targets, and more often engaged than in the baseline scenario. Comprising more than half of the aircraft in the Luftwaffe strike packages, they also suffered more than half of the losses, with the Bf109 Gruppen hardest hit.
But the tactic of multiple smaller raids ensured a large number of attacks were able to reach their target with limited interference from RAF interception, and many raids were not intercepted at all, especially the low-level, high-speed Bf110 and Do 17 raids. Raids of 30+ dive bomber aircraft were particularly effective, with 3-4 strikes usually sufficient to knock out an airfield for 1-2 days. RAF airfields which returned to service after this time required usually only 1 successful strike by two-staffeln of dive bombers to knock them out again. 

History rewritten
Had the Luftwaffe employed the Rubensdorffer Doctrine, rather than the tactics of Total Air War for its attack on Britain, it could have achieved air superiority over Britain by late August, while conserving valuable fuel and resources for the invasion, or alternatively for its planned campaign against the Soviet Union.
The invasion of Britain: there is much debate about whether Operation Sealion, the plan for the invasion of Britain, was a military reality or simply intended to place political pressure on Britain to agree to a settlement. Certainly, uppermost in Hitler’s mind would have been the reports from his Quartermaster General’s Office in 1940, indicating that Germany’s ability to carry out an offensive against the Soviet Union would be severely limited by a protracted land war in Britain. Fuel was the most critical issue and Hitler was dependent on his potential Soviet enemy to supply it.
Irrespective of this, a study by Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the 1970s concluded Germany could have established an invasion beachhead in late 1940, without air superiority. In this study however it was concluded a lack of air superiority would ultimately doom the invasion because RAF aircraft would have been able to interdict the supply routes of German sea and land forces, resulting in the eventual collapse of the invasion.
Would this also have been the case if the Luftwaffe was also able to establish effective air superiority over South East England? German convoys between Holland/France and England would have been able to operate without fear of air attack from 11 Group, and the freedom of movement of the British fleet at Scapa Flow conversely restricted by the Luftwaffe. Within days of the invasion, the Luftwaffe would have established forward bases at overrun British forward airfields such as Manston, Hawkinge and Lympne. When not flying offensive operations, these fields would have served as critical resupply points. Land forces would have been able to build up for their offensives with the protection of fighter cover, and fighters flying unmolested out of airfields in England would have been able to operate without the usual concerns about running out of fuel - conducting offensive operations both in support of land offensives, but also taking the attack to RAF 10 and 12 Group, Bomber and Coastal Command installations.
Without fear of interception from RAF fighters in 11 Group, the ‘flying artillery’ of the Stuka Geschwadern could have been brought back in to support German Blitzkrieg tactics in England, helping rapid penetration of German armour toward London and the Thames.
Finally, Goering would have achieved an appreciable reduction in fuel and munitions requirements, and a lower wastage of valuable crews, with which to ‘fund’ the British offensive. ,Under the Rubensdorffer Doctrine, the more than 240 He111s which were lost in the Battle of Britain would have been available to him to support the invasion, allowing him to throw the full weight of his fresh He 111 Geschwadern against an already weakened RAF, British land forces, and strategic targets.
Presented with this alternative scenario on September 15 1940, Hitler may indeed have decided to risk a Blitzkrieg war in England to neutralise the threat on his Western Front before turning his attentions east.
We can perhaps be grateful that Walter Rubensdorffer never met Adolf Hitler in July 1940.
END NOTE: About the simulation platform
This article uses as its war gaming platform the strategic simulation code for Battle of Britain II Wings of Victory. BOBII includes a self contained ‘commander level’ strategy gaming module which is able to individually simulate every single RAF Fighter Command and Luftwaffe squadron/staffel and aircraft which took place in the battle. At the ground target level, individual buildings and installations on airfields and industrial sites, their functions and capacities are fully modelled, such that damage to individual buildings is calculated after each raid to allow a precise assessment of bomb damage by the game engine. When calculating combat outcomes, it takes account of not just aircraft type and numbers, but the skill and morale of the pilots, their tactical situation (relative speeds and altitudes) and latitude/longitude (which impacts the chances of a pilot who bails out returning to their unit.) Morale of the various squadrons is impacted positively by victories, and negatively by heavy losses or the loss of commanding officers.
At the artificial intelligence (AI) level, the simulation is able to model either historical British and German tactics, or vary tactics in response to the player’s directives. And it can model either the historical intelligence available to the Luftwaffe (fog of war), or give the Luftwaffe commander ‘perfect sight’ – full knowledge of the role and capacity of British air force and industrial targets. Further, it models the impact on available aircraft numbers of aircraft and war materials industry production, port and convoy traffic and of course both aircraft and pilot losses on both sides.  
A tribute to the ability of the code to model the strategic interplay of the Battle of Britain is the fact that despite the granularity at which it models individual units and facilities in the conflict, a straight simulation of the Battle with no player interference results in the same outcome as the historical battle - RAF victory - and historically comparable results for both sides in terms of aircraft damaged, destroyed, produced, repaired, pilots lost and targets damaged and destroyed.
Created in 2001 and recoded continuously since by the BOB Development Group, it is the most sophisticated computerised Battle of Britain campaign simulation ever developed and the ideal platform for answering the many ‘what if’ questions that surround the Battle of Britain.


WEBSITE, News 2050: A Google search for Battle of Britain alternate history threw up this quirky but well written hit offering a glimpse into 'Future History'. The mysterious news agency Zurich Intermedia, has the ability to download a news feed from the year 2050. It shows us a world devastated by the 2020s "Oil Wars", where China and India are the new superpowers, and other world powers vie for control over water rights. The latest news to filter through from 2050 indicates the UK and Germany may be headed for a new Battle of Britain. Who will win the next Battle of Britain?

See NEWS 2050, by Zurich Intermedia.