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What if the Germans used u-boats as a supply vessels in Sealion

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  • #61
    Originally posted by leopold View Post
    Would you care to elaborate on that? What were the errors?
    On the German side, it was automaticly assumed the Germans make a successful landing without elaborating how or why.

    On the British side, it was automaticlly assumed the blocade would be a total success completely ignoring the fact the Germans could well use several means to attack RN ships. Geography would have also been to their advantage as travelling in such tight spaces (the English Channel is quite a tight space compared to the open sea) is risky.
    "Beneath its gilded beauty, though, there lies a poorly designed game which rewards the greedy and violent, and punishes the hardworking and honest; and if you think about it, that's a good representation of capitalism" - Nightfreeze about Eve Online

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    • #62
      http://web.ukonline.co.uk/chalcraft/sm/ww2sm2.html

      There seem to be a minimum of 12 British submarines available to help oppose Sea Lion. If the Channel is actually safe for submarine operations I wonder what they would have inflicted on the German sea transport?

      What were the Brtish plans for using subs in opposing Sea Lion, & what were their views on operating subs in the Channel?

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      • #63
        Originally posted by leopold View Post
        So my arguments do not matter? Why, becouse I wrote them?


        Depends on the scale of what you call "the whole venture". If we call that the very transport operation - it did bring enough according to what it was planned to bring. The subs brought 1500 ton cargo and hundreds people sucessfully and took back wounded and brought them successfully. A total of 41 successful sub missions were done.
        If we call "the whole venture" WWII then again it came out quite well for the US and allies.
        My point is that if you choose not to look objectively on the issue I can do it as well...
        What is the source of your "41 successful sub missions?" I can't recall anywhere near that many. One of the subs in fact took on board a large portion of the Philippine gold reserves as ballast. As far as evacuees, the subs took out code breaking technicians, fighter pilots and female nurses, not wounded personel.
        "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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        • #64
          Originally posted by johnbryan View Post
          What is the source of your "41 successful sub missions?" I can't recall anywhere near that many. One of the subs in fact took on board a large portion of the Philippine gold reserves as ballast. As far as evacuees, the subs took out code breaking technicians, fighter pilots and female nurses, not wounded personel.
          Here is one source: http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/NAVPALIB/...3/saviors2.htm
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          • #65
            Originally posted by Tom Phoenix View Post
            On the German side, it was automaticly assumed the Germans make a successful landing without elaborating how or why.

            On the British side, it was automaticlly assumed the blocade would be a total success completely ignoring the fact the Germans could well use several means to attack RN ships. Geography would have also been to their advantage as travelling in such tight spaces (the English Channel is quite a tight space compared to the open sea) is risky.
            Do you have your own estimates?
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            If you doubt, you go without.

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            • #66
              Also keep in mind that since the u-boats have the element of surprise they can be escorted by wolf packs of non transporting u-boats -
              Where are these escorts coming from? The transporting fleet, or the North Atlantic? I also see you've changed your mind about the survivability of submarines versus surface vessels.

              Submarines were created to attack convoys,not to protect them. They would have been decimated by the RN in the shallow waters of the channel. Only by evading the surface warships they could have survived.
              Care to clarify this statement?

              d) The more I think of this idea the more seems likely that germans could have received some assistance by the Italian sub fleet. After all the Italians had 117 subs at that point and the British were their rival as well.
              Those maybe weren't as good as u-boats but we are talking if using them for transport purposes.
              Are these submarines going through the Straits of Gibraltar? Let's just hope Mussolini doesn't mind squandering the submarines he's using to try and cut off the British supply route to Africa. Of course, they could always transport them by land to Northern France: it'd be much safer.

              EDIT: Hold the presses, ladies and gentlemen. It appears that the current flowing through the Straits is too strong for a submerged U-Boat to travel from the Med to the North Atlantic. Looks like the Italian subs are going overland after all.

              e) The RN would have suffered losses also - slowly draining it's ability to maintain the blockade. The main RN tool would be the 50 destroyers -
              You're drastically underestimating the amount of anti-submarine assets the Royal Navy can deploy. There's not just destroyers- of which the RN have 184 constructed and 52 building in 1939- but over 100 corvettes and frigates, not to mention 200 armed trawlers fitted with ASDIC. The Channel is going to be a very interesting place for the U-Boats- not that it wasn't already.
              Last edited by robcraufurd; 20 Nov 06, 15:07.
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              • #67
                Originally posted by leopold View Post

                That's what I thought. You were talking about sub missions to the entire Philippine Islands from the start until the end of the war.

                I was speaking about the time period of 7 Dec. 41 until May 42 and strictly to the island of Luzon and the fortified islands around Bataan.

                Two completely different subjects.
                "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by robcraufurd View Post
                  Where are these escorts coming from? The transporting fleet, or the North Atlantic? I also see you've changed your mind about the survivability of submarines versus surface vessels.
                  Care to clarify this statement?
                  Not at all. I was talking of supporting an unvisible underwater convoy, which by itself can become part of the wolfpack by releasing the cargo containers.
                  This is not a 'stand up and die' type of engagement as when protecting surface merchants.

                  As to the second question - I looked at the statistics of WWII again and it seems that u-boats were not so bad at sinking destroyers after all. That changes however when they stop using their stealth and are forced to protect some surface ships.

                  Originally posted by robcraufurd View Post
                  Are these submarines going through the Straits of Gibraltar? Let's just hope Mussolini doesn't mind squandering the submarines he's using to try and cut off the British supply route to Africa. Of course, they could always transport them by land to Northern France: it'd be much safer.

                  EDIT: Hold the presses, ladies and gentlemen. It appears that the current flowing through the Straits is too strong for a submerged U-Boat to travel from the Med to the North Atlantic. Looks like the Italian subs are going overland after all.
                  So you say that while the germans are invading , advancing inside england and attacking the RN in the channel - what the English do with utmost diligence? - Guard the Gibraltar of course! Patrol it day and night with every ship they have...


                  Originally posted by robcraufurd View Post
                  You're drastically underestimating the amount of anti-submarine assets the Royal Navy can deploy. There's not just destroyers- of which the RN have 184 constructed and 52 building in 1939- but over 100 corvettes and frigates, not to mention 200 armed trawlers fitted with ASDIC. The Channel is going to be a very interesting place for the U-Boats- not that it wasn't already.
                  Those were distributed throught the entire british empire, they could not be available on a moment's notice.
                  The number of available destroyers for the home fleet was closer to 80 and out of those some had to be used as convoy escorts (we assume the british could not possibly know all of german's plans) So my guess is they would be closer to 50-60 destroyers in the channel.
                  There were no frigates at that time (1940)- only corvetes. They were slower than surfaced u-boats and were considered more of a scaring ship for the subs than actual 'hunters'. As to the armed trawlers - I didn't forget them - I was consentrating on the main forces - the germans also had some torpedo boats and destroyers and even capital ships if we start counting.
                  I'm not sure that all the trawlers had ASDIC,but I'll take your word for it.
                  As to the sunken u-boats in the channel -most of them happened at the time when the Allies had overwhelming superiority - 1200 ships against 18 ATTACKING subs !- they weren't just passing with cargo.
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                  • #69
                    Originally posted by leopold View Post
                    Not at all. I was talking of supporting an unvisible underwater convoy, which by itself can become part of the wolfpack by releasing the cargo containers.
                    the VIIB's surface speed is ~30km/h, let's say it is slowed down by the cargo to 20km/h, lets say it needs to get submerged third of the way
                    Doesn't sound much like an invisible underwater convoy to me: sounds like a bunch of U-Boats on the surface, visible to everything passing. So what's it to be? Are you towing 500 tons of supplies with a boat that can do only 7 knots when submerged, or are you going to fall prey to every single aircraft Coastal Command can put out? And I'd still like to know where the escorts have come from, because with a grand total of 57 boats, you don't have much to play with.

                    As to the second question - I looked at the statistics of WWII again and it seems that u-boats were not so bad at sinking destroyers after all. That changes however when they stop using their stealth and are forced to protect some surface ships.
                    I've said it before, and I'll say it again. These U-Boats would be far better used in the North Atlantic, with perhaps four or five making life very occasionally difficult for the Royal Navy, than stripped of their armament doing shuttle runs between Channel ports. They're made for hit-and-run attacks where they're not expected: if the enemy know where you are, it makes life so much shorter. While they have almost no chance of fulfilling the role you assign them, if they manage to hit a few key ships the Royal Navy's response will be impaired.

                    So you say that while the germans are invading , advancing inside england and attacking the RN in the channel - what the English do with utmost diligence? - Guard the Gibraltar of course! Patrol it day and night with every ship they have...
                    They don't need to, actually, since your Italian submarines can never leave the Med. They can't do it submerged, and if they try while surfaced the naval guns and aircraft of Gibraltar will massacre them.

                    Those were distributed throught the entire british empire, they could not be available on a moment's notice. The number of available destroyers for the home fleet was closer to 80 and out of those some had to be used as convoy escorts (we assume the british could not possibly know all of german's plans) So my guess is they would be closer to 50-60 destroyers in the channel.
                    95 destroyers in home waters in 1939, plus those building. I imagine that, in the event of an invasion, you'd have seen more than 50 destroyers in the Channel: jerry-rigged and not entirely complete, perhaps, but still more than 50.

                    There were no frigates at that time (1940)- only corvetes. They were slower than surfaced u-boats and were considered more of a scaring ship for the subs than actual 'hunters'.
                    Of course, the threat of air or sea attack will probably keep the U-Boats underwater for much of the trip. That's if they're not already travelling in an "invisible underwater convoy", of course.

                    As to the armed trawlers - I didn't forget them - I was consentrating on the main forces - the germans also had some torpedo boats and destroyers and even capital ships if we start counting.
                    I'm not sure that all the trawlers had ASDIC,but I'll take your word for it.
                    If you're talking about the Royal Navy's antisubmarine capabilities, how exactly can you just lose 200 ships off the total? If you assumed they wouldn't perform any useful function, I'd draw your attention to the fact that of the three U-Boats sunk in the Channel in 1939, one falls victim to an ASW trawler.

                    As to the sunken u-boats in the channel -most of them happened at the time when the Allies had overwhelming superiority - 1200 ships against 18 ATTACKING subs !- they weren't just passing with cargo.
                    That's because after three are sunk within 16 days, the Germans stay out of the Channel for most of the rest of the war. They're only forced back in 1944 due to desperation, and they get the response that they, with all probability, would have got in 1940: if not from destroyers and trawlers, then from the mines which, it has to be assumed, the British would have been frantically laying to deny the Channel to the Germans.

                    There are too many unanswered questions in this counter-factual. Do the Germans have naval and air superiority in the Channel? If so, why do they need submarines to carry cargo at all? If they don't, why are they launching the invasion in the first place? The whole idea of Sealion is flawed: you're asking a navy 20% the size of its opponent and an outnumbered air force to protect and supply an invasion launched in canal barges. This idea, however, goes no way to remedying these flaws.
                    Last edited by robcraufurd; 21 Nov 06, 06:20.
                    Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt

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                    • #70
                      Originally posted by leopold View Post
                      So you say that while the germans are invading , advancing inside england and attacking the RN in the channel - what the English do with utmost diligence? - Guard the Gibraltar of course! Patrol it day and night with every ship they have...
                      The RN only needs a few ships to watch the Straits as they are very narrow with an even narrower deep channel.


                      Those were distributed throught the entire british empire, they could not be available on a moment's notice.
                      The number of available destroyers for the home fleet was closer to 80 and out of those some had to be used as convoy escorts (we assume the british could not possibly know all of german's plans) So my guess is they would be closer to 50-60 destroyers in the channel.
                      If the home nation came under attack, the chances are that the ships in the Atlantic on convoy duty would have been ordered home with all due speed.


                      There were no frigates at that time (1940)- only corvetes. They were slower than surfaced u-boats and were considered more of a scaring ship for the subs than actual 'hunters'.
                      They would still be an effective force. If the u-boats are surfaced, they will be good targets for the RAF and other RN vessels. If they are submerged, the corvettes will be able to do their job.

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by robcraufurd View Post
                        Doesn't sound much like an invisible underwater convoy to me: sounds like a bunch of U-Boats on the surface, visible to everything passing. So what's it to be? Are you towing 500 tons of supplies with a boat that can do only 7 knots when submerged, or are you going to fall prey to every single aircraft Coastal Command can put out? And I'd still like to know where the escorts have come from, because with a grand total of 57 boats, you don't have much to play with.
                        .
                        As I previously stated the boats will :
                        1) Swim first part of the trip surfaced and on the constant lookout for threats.
                        2) If plane or ship is spotted they'll dive asap.
                        3) If plane or ship threat becomes serious they'l drop the cargo and retreat.
                        4) When they approach the cost 1/2 - 1/3 of the way they'll submerge at periscop depth, which will keep their sonar signature minimized.
                        5) LW planes will scout destination just before the subs arrive there and give some radio signal that all is clear.
                        6) If cost is not clear the sub will wait or move to another destination or wait for small wolf pack of subs making diversion at some other place thus provoking RN to move there.
                        7) On arrival at cost the sub will surface shortly . Give some light signal to shore party then receive back some light indication of wheather there is an emtpy cargo nearby. Then detach the cargo container and if there is one empty around attach it and leave submerged. The whole operation can be no more than 15 min - most of it the sub is submerged and the cargo as well - (close to the surface).
                        8) The coastal party gets to the cargo by some small boat. forces it to surface by dropping some preattached balancing weights and then starts unloading - either by attaching some rope and dragiing it to shore or if all is happening inside port using some port equipment.
                        Originally posted by robcraufurd View Post
                        I've said it before, and I'll say it again. These U-Boats would be far better used in the North Atlantic, with perhaps four or five making life very occasionally difficult for the Royal Navy, than stripped of their armament doing shuttle runs between Channel ports. They're made for hit-and-run attacks where they're not expected: if the enemy know where you are, it makes life so much shorter. While they have almost no chance of fulfilling the role you assign them, if they manage to hit a few key ships the Royal Navy's response will be impaired.
                        As I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The scenario that you describe has been played in RMA wargames and found unwinable for Germany.
                        Those games may have not been without flaws (as someone here suggested) ,but they must be taken into account.

                        Originally posted by robcraufurd View Post
                        They don't need to, actually, since your Italian submarines can never leave the Med. They can't do it submerged, and if they try while surfaced the naval guns and aircraft of Gibraltar will massacre them.
                        So how do you explain italian subs scoring hits in Atlantic during WWII?
                        Did they shoot torpedoes from inside the mediterarean through the Gibraltar and scored on the other side ot the Atlantic?
                        Or maybe they sent their torpedoes by train?

                        Originally posted by robcraufurd View Post
                        95 destroyers in home waters in 1939, plus those building. I imagine that, in the event of an invasion, you'd have seen more than 50 destroyers in the Channel: jerry-rigged and not entirely complete, perhaps, but still more than 50.
                        I tend to agree with that.
                        Still, some of the homefleet destroyers would have to be used as convoy escorts - espesially diring the invasion british would need all supplies they can get and they have no way of knowing that the atlantic u-boat threat has become significantly thinner.

                        Originally posted by robcraufurd View Post
                        Of course, the threat of air or sea attack will probably keep the U-Boats underwater for much of the trip. That's if they're not already travelling in an "invisible underwater convoy", of course.
                        So ? What's your point?

                        Originally posted by robcraufurd View Post
                        If you're talking about the Royal Navy's antisubmarine capabilities, how exactly can you just lose 200 ships off the total? If you assumed they wouldn't perform any useful function, I'd draw your attention to the fact that of the three U-Boats sunk in the Channel in 1939, one falls victim to an ASW trawler.
                        I did some searching again and these numbers do not add up.
                        I came with 54 patrol boats, tug-boats and trawlers equiped with asdic for the entire british navy at the beginning of the war. How this becomes "100 corvetes + frigates + 200 tug-boats equiped with asdics " in several months and only for the home fleet would need some explanation.
                        I will be very grateful if you provide some source. ( preferrably link)

                        Originally posted by robcraufurd View Post
                        That's because after three are sunk within 16 days, the Germans stay out of the Channel for most of the rest of the war. They're only forced back in 1944 due to desperation, and they get the response that they, with all probability, would have got in 1940: if not from destroyers and trawlers, then from the mines which, it has to be assumed, the British would have been frantically laying to deny the Channel to the Germans.
                        You seem to wonderfully ignore tha facts that:
                        a) Those were 18 u-boats against 1200 allied ships + thousands of planes
                        b) They were not hiding , but attacking - i.e. seeking trouble.
                        c) The 2 subs lost to mines were lost in the narrowest and shallowest area of the channel (34km) 20 - 45 depth
                        which isn't quite the same as the whole 80 000 square kms of the rest of the channel. Mines are not completely free
                        d) If in the wargames simulation the invasioin wave managed to land then there were considered some possible approaches cleared of mines.


                        Originally posted by robcraufurd View Post
                        There are too many unanswered questions in this counter-factual. Do the Germans have naval and air superiority in the Channel? If so, why do they need submarines to carry cargo at all? If they don't, why are they launching the invasion in the first place? The whole idea of Sealion is flawed: you're asking a navy 20% the size of its opponent and an outnumbered air force to protect and supply an invasion launched in canal barges. This idea, however, goes no way to remedying these flaws.
                        While this statement is true about the navy it's not about the airforce. In fact with the assistance of airbases in england the LW could even have air superiority in south england after several days of the invasion.
                        The fact most hampering the LW in BoB was the short range of the Bf109Es.
                        The idea's base so far remains sound : 300 tons per division per day (excluding any help from the italian subs), which would will improve that figure.
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                        If you doubt, you go without.

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                        • #72
                          Actually, Italian submarines did serve in the Atlantic. They were based out of Bordeaux, France after the fall of France in the summer of 1940. Their submarines were of questionable value and construction. They didn't serve with German U-Boats because of the length of time that it took for them to dive. Most of their patrols went to the South Atlantic where British anti- submarine patrols were mostly non-existant or more lax.
                          "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by leopold View Post
                            What if after the first wave of German landings of Sealion, which according to war game experiments could have succeeded were followed by the Germans taking some ports and then using part of their U-boat fleet to provide supplies for the troops?

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                            • #74
                              Originally posted by leopold View Post
                              As I previously stated the boats will :
                              1) Swim first part of the trip surfaced and on the constant lookout for threats.
                              2) If plane or ship is spotted they'll dive asap.
                              Let's hope they do, because with only 28 submarines to play with, you can't afford to have a single one of these convoys strafed.

                              5) LW planes will scout destination just before the subs arrive there and give some radio signal that all is clear.
                              Is this "destination" a beach, a port, or what? If it's a port, it'd have to be held by the Germans with the attendant risks of mining, artillery and bombing. If it's a beach, you're going to have a hell of a job manhandling tons of cargo up the sand.

                              6) If cost is not clear the sub will wait or move to another destination or wait for small wolf pack of subs making diversion at some other place thus provoking RN to move there.
                              More spare submarines. Where are they coming from? I've asked this three times, and haven't got an answer yet.

                              As I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The scenario that you describe has been played in RMA wargames and found unwinable for Germany.
                              Those games may have not been without flaws (as someone here suggested) ,but they must be taken into account.
                              You appear to ignore the main lesson of these games. Sealion, for the Germans in 1940, appears to be utterly unworkable. Even when presented with an entirely successful landing, they still can't beat the British. For the Germans to be able to win in 1940, they'd have had to be planning the war against the British since 1936, devoting their war effort to a power Hitler sees as a potential ally, not a threat.

                              So how do you explain italian subs scoring hits in Atlantic during WWII?
                              Did they shoot torpedoes from inside the mediterarean through the Gibraltar and scored on the other side ot the Atlantic?
                              Or maybe they sent their torpedoes by train?
                              My thanks to johnbryan for fielding this one for me.

                              I tend to agree with that.
                              Still, some of the homefleet destroyers would have to be used as convoy escorts - espesially diring the invasion british would need all supplies they can get and they have no way of knowing that the atlantic u-boat threat has become significantly thinner.
                              Remove half the U-Boats from the North Atlantic, that supply situation'll ease up considerably. Of course, the idea that if each submarine sinks 101 tons of supplies per day in the North Atlantic it's actually helping you more than if it delivers 100 tons per day in the Channel is clearly so risible you haven't entertained it for a second.

                              So ? What's your point?
                              U-Boats travel considerably more slowly underwater. If they're going at 8 knots rather than 17 knots, all your carefully prepared estimates go out of the window.

                              I did some searching again and these numbers do not add up.
                              I came with 54 patrol boats, tug-boats and trawlers equiped with asdic for the entire british navy at the beginning of the war. How this becomes "100 corvetes + frigates + 200 tug-boats equiped with asdics " in several months and only for the home fleet would need some explanation.
                              I will be very grateful if you provide some source. ( preferrably link)
                              By 1939 it had only grown from 300 requisitioned trawlers to 400 with a Patrol Service personnel remaining at 434 skippers and 3,733 ratings. These trawlers were split thus, 200 to be used for minesweeping and the remaining 200 for patrol work.

                              It's a rough estimate, of course, but it was never intended to be more than that: since you'd completely forgotten they existed, it was better than nothing. I'd expect the numbers to grow fairly rapidly from the beginning of the war due to the fact that requisition is much easier to accomplish than building new destroyers.

                              You seem to wonderfully ignore tha facts that:
                              a) Those were 18 u-boats against 1200 allied ships + thousands of planes
                              How many of those 1200 ships are suitable for ASW? How many of those thousands of planes are fighters or bombers lumped into the total?

                              b) They were not hiding , but attacking - i.e. seeking trouble.
                              They had the ability to strike anywhere in the Channel they chose, to pick their moment and fade away. They weren't stuck transporting cargo in a single route across the Channel.

                              c) The 2 subs lost to mines were lost in the narrowest and shallowest area of the channel (34km) 20 - 45 depth
                              Oddly enough, they also bite the dust between Dover and Calais: other words, in the Channel outside the port chosen by the Kriegsmarine as their main invasion artery.

                              Mines are not completely free
                              Cheaper than U-Boats, though. If I were Churchill, I'd fill the Channel from end to end with them.

                              d) If in the wargames simulation the invasioin wave managed to land then there were considered some possible approaches cleared of mines.
                              This is a wargame that allowed 90,000 troops to land on an enemy coast in canal barges, with neither air nor naval superiority. I'd be a little sceptical of its judgement: after all, wargaming the German invasion that doesn't even reach England is like wargaming Bull Run if the South seceded peacefully.

                              While this statement is true about the navy it's not about the airforce. In fact with the assistance of airbases in england the LW could even have air superiority in south england after several days of the invasion.
                              The fact most hampering the LW in BoB was the short range of the Bf109Es.
                              I'll break it down into easily-manageable chunks.
                              1) The Luftwaffe have less fighters capable of supporting Sealion than the RAF has fighters capable of opposing it.
                              2) They also have to choose between supporting bomber attacks on airfields, railway lines and fixed defences, or protecting the invasion fleet.
                              3) If they choose to support the bomber attacks, the Royal Navy will sink the invasion fleet.
                              4a) If they choose to protect the invasion fleet, the unhampered RAF will beat them in the skies.
                              4b) If the invasion fleet manages to land, it will lack air protection and cannot be resupplied.

                              The idea's base so far remains sound : 300 tons per division per day (excluding any help from the italian subs), which would will improve that figure.
                              1) You have no Italian subs coming, as we've already discussed.
                              2) You've over-estimated the speed of the submarines, since you're assuming they will hardly have to submerge.
                              3) I think you're over-estimating the number of submarines, but since you won't give any definite answer to my questions I can't tell.
                              4) I can't help but wonder whether 300 tons is a little too low, considering that an inactive Russian rifle division in 1943 requires 275 tons per day.
                              5) You still haven't answered the questions I posed.

                              Originally posted by robcraufurd
                              Do the Germans have naval and air superiority in the Channel? If so, why do they need submarines to carry cargo at all? If they don't, why are they launching the invasion in the first place?
                              Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt

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                              • #75
                                Originally posted by leopold View Post
                                While this statement is true about the navy it's not about the airforce. In fact with the assistance of airbases in england the LW could even have air superiority in south england after several days of the invasion.
                                After a few days of the invasion, the LW would not have the use of many if any air bases. Within the planned invasion, the only airfields they could have possibly siezed "after several days" were Lympne and Hawkinge. Both of these would be of dubious value as they could only support a small number of aircraft; the RAF would have destroyed all of the facilities before the field was evacuated; and, they would have been within range of the British army's artillery.

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