On the 1st August 1940 Hitler issued Directive 17, believing that a knock-out blow against the RAF was within the grasp of the Luftwaffe:
In order to establish the necessary conditions for the final conquest of England I intend to intensify air and sea warfare against the English homeland. I therefore order as follows:
1. The German Air Force is to overpower the English Air Force with all the forces at its command, in the shortest time possible. The attacks are to be directed primarily against flying units, their ground installations, and their supply organizations, but also against the aircraft industry, including that manufacturing anti-aircraft equipment.
2. After achieving temporary or local air superiority the air war is to be continued against ports, in particular against stores of food, and also against stores of provisions in the interior of the country.
Attacks on the south coast ports will be made on the smallest possible scale, in view of our own forthcoming operations.
3. On the other hand, air attacks on enemy warships and merchant ships may be reduced except where some particularly favourable target happens to present itself, where such attacks would lend
additional effectiveness to those mentioned in Paragraph 2, or where such attacks are necessary for the training of air crews for further operations.
4. The intensified air warfare will be carried out in such a way that the Air Force can at any time be called upon to give adequate support to naval operations against suitable targets. It must also be ready to take part in full force in Operation Seelowe.
5. I reserve to myself the right to decide on terror attacks as measures of reprisal.
6. The intensification of the air war may begin on or after 5 August. The exact time is to be decided by the Air Force after completion of preparations and in the light of the weather.
The Navy is authorized to begin the proposed intensified naval war at the same time.