Statistical summary, Week 16:
* Total Fighter Command Establishment: 1727 planes
* Strength: 1735 planes
* Balance: over strength 8 planes
* Weekly Aircraft Production: 9 Beaufighters, 16 Defiants, 69 Hurricanes, 42 Spitfires
The fact that the RAF had emerged apparently intact from nearly 4 months of day to day battle against a concerted attack by three Luftflotten of the Luftwaffe was of enormous significance. Against every expectation, to have won this victory meant that the rest of the world saw that Britain was a serious contender in the war against Hitler. The country was, after all, the only one in Europe still at war with Hitler. It meant that the many governments who had already sought refuge in London knew now that they were safe here. They wouldn’t have to move again in a hurry. From Churchill’s point of view it meant above all that he could show America that Britain was worth supporting.
For Britain itself, the victory meant that the Germans would not, after all, be marching down Whitehall in a repetition of their victory parade down the Champs Elysees. It meant also, that Britain would not have to experience the nightmare of invasion with the Gestapo making lists of thousands of English people whom they wanted to eliminate. We were to face some appalling dangers in the rest of the war and it would be over two years before we would be able to celebrate a victory on land against German forces. Indeed, we would be in for five years of strife. But we had won our spurs and had not been defeated right at the start, as we might well have been. Our deliverance was, in fact, due to two circumstances. First, the preparation which we had put in before the war so that we were in a position to defend ourselves. Secondly, the small band of young fighter pilots who threw themselves into the fight with such determination. As might have been remarked at the time, it had been a good show.