A remarkable, intimate portrait of the young men of Fighter Command, whose skill, temperament and morale determined the fate of Britain and arguably the free world. The Battle of Britain, fought in the skies over Britain during the sweltering summer of 1940, was one of the most crucial battles ever fought: without the Luftwaffe's control of the skies it was unlikely that Nazi Germany would mount an invasion across the Channel. For most of the 3,000 young British airmen involved this was their first real experience of combat. The pressure on the pilots, groundcrew and their controllers was unimaginable; at certain points in the Battle a single blunder or failure of nerve could have been enough to tip the balance of the contest and give victory to the enemy. Patrick Bishop creates a new and surprising portrait of the Battle drawing on previously unseen source material and testimonies from survivors on both sides.
Against the background of wider strategic considerations, he focuses on the lives and thoughts of the combatants, their attitudes towards 'the enemy' and their aircraft, the fear, horror and exhilaration of flight and battle, attempts by each side to gain the upper hand through daring technological innovations; coping tactics, mess room life and friendships.