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ONE SPITFIRE = £5,000
NINE SPITFIRES = 40 MESSERSCHMITTS
GIVE AS MANY PENNY UNITS AS YOU CAN AFFORD
…a single British plane [a Spitfire] suddenly dived into [a formation of seven German aircraft] from above, the pilot tackling them single handed. He was hit at once by one of the enemy and I saw smoke pouring from his machine. He then turned and dived towards the ground about 1,000 feet to save himself, then straightened out…he certainly could have saved himself before his plane got further alight: instead he went on, avoiding the farm etc. and all of the houses and the post office and a large Army Service Corps depot…he drove on with his plane now ablaze. I saw the flames yards behind it and he had no chance then. He gave his life to save us all at Leigh Green…he met his death in this last act of self-sacrifice.
Since England, in spite of her hopeless military situation, shows no signs of being ready to come to an understanding, I have decided to prepare a landing operation against England and, if necessary, to carry it out.
The aim of this operation will be to eliminate the English homeland as a base for the prosecution of the war against Germany and, if necessary, to occupy it completely.
I therefore order as follows :
1. The landing will be in the form of a surprise crossing on a wide front from about Ramsgate to the area west of the Isle of Wight. Units of the Air Force will act as artillery, and units of the Navy as engineers.
The possible advantages of limited operations before the general crossing (e.g. the occupation of the Isle of Wight or of the county of Cornwall) are to be considered from the point of view of each branch of the Armed Forces and the results reported to me. I reserve the decision to myself.
Preparations for the entire operation must be completed by the middle of August.
2. These preparations must also create such conditions as will make a landing in England possible, viz:
(a) The English Air Force must be so reduced morally and physically that it is unable to deliver any significant attack against the German crossing.
(b) Mine-free channels must be cleared.
(c) The Straits of Dover must be closely sealed off with minefields on both flanks; also the Western entrance to the Channel approximately on the line Alderney-Poitland.
(d) Strong forces of coastal artillery must command and protect the forward coastal area.
(e) It is desirable that the English Navy be tied down shortly before the crossing, both in the North Sea and in the Mediterranean (by the Italians). For this purpose we must attempt even now to damage English home-based naval forces by air and torpedo attack as far as possible.
RAF - five planes and four pilots.
Luftwaffe - Nine planes and twenty-eight aircrew.
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The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him all Europe may be free, and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands; but if we fail then the whole world, including the United States, and all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more prolonged, by the lights of a perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duty and so bear ourselves that if the British Commonwealth and Empire lasts for a thousand years men will still say, “This was their finest hour.
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Our task is not only to win the battle - but to win the war. After this battle in France abates its force, there will come the battle for our Island — for all that Britain is, and all the Britain means.