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The story of the Battle of Britain from the perspective of a British Royal Air Force fighter pilot

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OVERVIEW
The Battle of Britain was a pivotal World War II battle in which the Royal Air Force (RAF) defended the United Kingdom (UK) against large-scale attacks by Nazi Germany’s air force bombers, the Luftwaffe. It was the first battle fought entirely in the air. The victory by RAF not only blocked the possibility of a German invasion of the UK but also assisted in the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany.

 

INTRODUCTION

In reference to the title, an Ace, or Flying Ace, was a name credited to fighter pilots who shot down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat.

 

In the last verse, the lyrics reference “Bandits at eight o’clock”. Pilots refer to a clock as orientation with twelve o’clock being the nose of the plane and six o’clock being the tail. At 8 o’clock, the enemy would be approaching from behind and toward the port (left) of the plane. The referenced Spitfire was the most famous British plane of WWII renowned for its groundbreaking design. The referenced ME-109s (or Messerschmitt Bf 109) were German fighter planes that were the backbone of the Luftwaffe’s fighter force.

 

There goes the siren that warns of the air raid.
There comes the sound of the guns sending flak.
Out for the scramble we’ve got to get airborne.
Got to get up for the coming attack.

 

Jump in the cockpit and start up the engines.
Remove all the wheel blocks, there’s no time to waste.
Gathering speed as we head down the runway.
Gotta get airborne before it’s too late.

 

Running, scrambling, flying.
Rolling, turning, diving, going in again.
Running, scrambling, flying.
Rolling, turning, diving.

 

Run
Live to fly
Fly to live
Do or die
Won’t you run
Live to fly
Fly to live
Aces high

 

Move in to fire at the mainstream of bombers.
Let off a sharp burst and then turn away.
Roll over, spin ’round to come in behind them.
Move to their blindsides and firing again.

 

Bandits at eight o’clock move in behind us.
Ten ME-109’s out of the sun.
Ascending and turning our Spitfires to face them.
Heading straight for them I press down my guns.

 

Running, scrambling, flying.
Rolling, turning, diving, going in again.
Running, scrambling, flying.
Rolling, turning, diving.

 

Run
Live to fly
Fly to live
Do or die
Won’t you run
Live to fly
Fly to live
Aces high

 

-Aces High.  Iron Maiden (1984)

[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”Xg9aQvjMS60″ width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”Hear this story”]

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The story of the Battle of Britain from the perspective of a British Royal Air Force fighter pilot
The story of the Battle of Britain from the perspective of a British Royal Air Force fighter pilot
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