The Dumbest Trap of WW2

The Dumbest Trap of WW2 | World War Wings Videos

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After planning for months, the RAF prepared an offensive operation called Circus. But why did it turn out to become one of the dumbest traps of WWII? 

Operation Circus

During a conference, commanders of bomber and fighter commands agreed that the Circus’ purpose was forcing Luftwaffe fighters into combat in circumstances favoring them.

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To achieve this, bombers had to do enough damage on targets so that the Luftwaffe couldn’t ignore the attacks. 

Limiting Factor

However, as several operations were launched, it was soon clear that a significant limiting factor in these operations was range. That’s because British fighters could only penetrate 60 miles inland from the enemy coast as well as two channel crossings back and forth to be dealt with. 

With their rudimentary radars, the Luftwaffe can detect these RAF incursions. They can pick and choose when and where to intercept them.

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In just a couple of weeks, the Germans became experts at bouncing RAF fighters from above. Also, being in German territory meant English pilots who survived were taken in as POWs. 

Costly and Disappointing

The so-called Circus summer offensive of the RAF later saw almost 100 major sweeps. However, the results of combined fighter and bomber command operations proved to be costly and disappointing. About 300 RAF pilots were lost or captured by the enemy. 

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The Luftwaffe also had a qualitative edge over the RAF- their Messerschmitt Bf-109F was a worthy adversary for the latest Spitfire variant, the Mk Vb.

The latter’s short-range left RAF pilots very little time to fight or maneuver when penetrating German territory. Germany’s Focke-Wulf 190 was also significantly superior in performance. 

An Epic Fail?

In the end, the RAF’s defensive operations like the Circus have simply become too expensive.

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Overall, the campaign was so futile that Luftwaffe leadership never even bothered to reinforce their two fighter groups in the West. 

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