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  • Making Seel÷we work

    While there has been a number of discussions on the original porposed operation one question that perennially never seems to get a good answer is how could the Germans have made an invasion of England work more or less within historical boundaries? Was it even possible?

    To get this started I came up with this proposal that might...mind you its a big might... work:

    As the battle for France progresses the Germans recognize early on that success is very likely. The British are surrounded at Dunkirk and France is collapsing. They turn their attention, in part, to what to do about England if the English won't surrender. With that in mind they decide to improvise an invasion starting in early June 1940.

    The plan:
    Six infantry divisions already in France are marked to lead the invasion. These are pulled out of the line and sent as quickly as possible to the Channel coast. Each division is told to immediately commandeer every suitable craft afloat within their operational area for an immediate Channel crossing. Each division is sent what assault boats, etc., the OKW / OKM can scrape up within a couple of weeks or so in addition to the above.
    Each division is told to plan for a crossing in the size of one to two reinforced battalions for the initial landing. A single suitable beachhead with an adjacent modest sized port or two is selected for the proposed landing site.
    The 7th FJ division is pulled out of Holland as quickly as can be managed and readied for another drop. Yes, it is reduced in size from casualties but, that is the best that can be quickly managed.
    By late June the German forces are more or less ready and on the assigned day push across begining the night before their 6 to say 9 battalion sized force in small convoys with as much KM escort as can be mustered up. The crossing is accomplished in less than 16 hours and the forces ashore within 24. Much of the smaller shipping used for this purpose is simply abandoned on the beachhead by grounding etc.
    With the RN tied up trying to rescue the BEF, the confusion with the situation in France in general and, the general lack of forces in Britain at that point the initial landing and paratroop drop secures at least a marginal beachhead at low cost.
    If we assume that the Germans take a port, say Folkestowe or one like that, they can then push a small convoy or two across the Channel in either daylight under heavy naval and air escort or, alternately at night under a heavy naval escort.
    If they were able to sustain and expand their beachhead in the face of what opposition existed in June - July 1940 they might.... and it is a big might... be able to at least get a toehold big enough on the English Isle to make a go at keeping their forces there.
    Whether they could actually overrun any substancial part of England is a very open question.

  • #2
    It may not matter if they can conquer the island, they need only be unable to uprooted. The big problem I understand in not in any way the Army, or the RAF, it is the Royal Navy. Landing will not be difficult if executed right, cause the Home Fleet will take at least 24 hours to get into the channel. The logistics will be a nightmare, for the RN will be as suicidal as the Iwo Jima garrison in trying to cut German supply.

    Plus, what heavy escort can the Kriegsmarina provide? Their best assests were sunk or damaged in the Norway campaign. Nothing the Germans have at sea can challenge the RN. In HOI 2 the answer was easy, build transports from 1936 and be ready to use them immediately after starting the French campain. How much in reality that is I can't say, but then again I am much more meticulous than Hitler.
    How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
    275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

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    • #3
      Obviously what has been forgotten is the need for supplies via submarine until the land bridge is completed.

      Duh!
      Last edited by Tyramon; 12 May 10, 01:46.

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      • #4
        Militarily it is not viable. With 1st Can and 2nd NZ divisions in the UK plus whatever can be scrounged the UK has more ground combat power than the Germans can project. However the political reaction to a strong raid might be enough to bring a peace faction to power in the parliament. If Halifax became PM instead of Churchill this may have been possible.

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        • #5
          Germany will need the combined French, Italian, Dutch, Belgian, and German fleets to have a remote chance of pulling this off. And yes, Italy had quite a powerful navy back then, almost the equal of France's.
          Standing here, I realize you were just like me trying to make history.
          But who's to judge the right from wrong.
          When our guard is down I think we'll both agree.
          That violence breeds violence.
          But in the end it has to be this way.

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          • #6
            Home Fleet & Sealion

            In any discussion of Sealion, please remember two things:

            1). There was no intention on the part of the Admiralty for the heavy ships of the Home Fleet to intervene, unless German heavy ships entered the North Sea. The Home Fleet was based at Rosyth & Scapa Flow specifically to guard against this possibility, and to be able to intercept a break-out into the Atlantic. Why should the Admiralty choose to send, for example, the fleet Flagship, Nelson, into the Channel to try to sink barges & tugs with 16 inch shells, when the job could be done more efficiently by destroyers with 4 inch and 4.7 inch guns, or come to that armed trawlers and gunboats with 3 inch guns?

            2). Because the idea of 'The Home Fleet coming down from Scapa' is a false one, then the supposed window of opportunity of 24 - 36 hours between the invasion attempt and the arrival of the Royal Navy never actually existed. The Royal Navy had 40 destroyers and several cruisers, not to mention several hundred auxiliary craft, within four hours' sail of Dover. The idea that the Royal Navy was 'kept out of the way at Scapa Flow' came about when aviation historians after the war wrote their books about the Battle of Britain, and were dismissive of the role of the navy in preventing invasion. The myth has subsequently passed into folklore.

            Other points to consider are that the idea of German infantry units seizing boats in French, Dutch, & Belgian ports and setting sail is a non-starter. The Channel, as any mariner will confirm, is a tricky piece of water, with strong tides, fierce currents, and dangerous sandbanks. As the average German soldier had probably never even seen the sea, the suggestion does not stand up to serious scrutiny. In any case, suitable boats were few & far between as both the RN and the French Navy had commandeered them. As one example, on 15 May the destroyer HMS Brilliant led an expedition to Antwerp, and effectively stole 26 merchantmen, 50 tugs, and around 600 barges.

            As early as 3 June, the Admiralty began allocating extra destroyers to the Channel area.

            On 15 June, Hitler ordered Army High Command to reduce the army to 120 divisions, a reduction of 20%, in order to send the men back into industrial jobs.

            On 20 June, Admiral Raeder reported that the German Navy had no landing craft, but hoped to have 40 barges available within 14 days.

            As to the Germans taking over other fleets:-

            Belgium - What fleet? Holland - The Dutch had taken most of their fleet to Britain. The Germans took over one destroyer and a few subs. in the whole of the war. France - Although Admiral Darlan detested the British, he was acutely aware of the honour of the French Navy, and would never have allowed it to be handed over, When the Germans tried to take some of it later in the war, the ships were scuttled by their crews. Italy - Had its hands full with the British Mediterranean Fleet &, later, Force H. In any case, would struggle to get through the Straits of Gibraltar, and Mussolini would never have dared leaving Italy undefended.

            As if the above wasn't enough, it is not possible simply to take over a ship and sail off to war in it; the crews would need time to work up to operational efficiency, and the Germans hadn't the manpower to provide crews anyway.

            Finally, whatever date you choose, the crux of the matter is the supply situation. Even if a small organized German force did land, the RN would cut the supply line almost immediately, and, without artillery or tanks, it would be forced to surrender in hours. A superb propaganda gift to Churchill, who would have made sure that full accounts of the defeat of the German invasion attempt reached the U. S. newspapers.

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            • #7
              I believe the best situation the Germans could have hoped for would have been analogous the Guadalcanal campain. Here the USN controlled the air and seas around Guadalcanal during the day, then ceded control at night to the IJN. With sufficient planning, could the Germans have used the Luftwaffe and the Kreigsmarine to control the channel during the day, leaving it to the RN at night?

              To get to this precarious state, I think the Germans would have had to have started to plan early. In fact, I think we need to assume the Germans were shocked by the British declaration of war and felt that they would have to provide a viable theat to the UK in order to force some sort of peace.

              They embark on a campain of building wooden landing craft starting in October 1940.

              On completion of the Polish campain, they begin training dive bomber units in anti-shipping strikes.

              Can they strategically forego the attack on Norway in order to save the KM for Seelowe?

              The Battle of Britain would now be the Battle for the Channel. Is it a foregone conclusion that the RAF would defeat the LW if the battle was for control of the skies over the channel?
              Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Roadkiller View Post
                I believe the best situation the Germans could have hoped for would have been analogous the Guadalcanal campain. Here the USN controlled the air and seas around Guadalcanal during the day, then ceded control at night to the IJN. With sufficient planning, could the Germans have used the Luftwaffe and the Kreigsmarine to control the channel during the day, leaving it to the RN at night?

                To get to this precarious state, I think the Germans would have had to have started to plan early. In fact, I think we need to assume the Germans were shocked by the British declaration of war and felt that they would have to provide a viable theat to the UK in order to force some sort of peace.

                They embark on a campain of building wooden landing craft starting in October 1940.

                On completion of the Polish campain, they begin training dive bomber units in anti-shipping strikes.

                Can they strategically forego the attack on Norway in order to save the KM for Seelowe?

                The Battle of Britain would now be the Battle for the Channel. Is it a foregone conclusion that the RAF would defeat the LW if the battle was for control of the skies over the channel?
                They dont have to forego invading Norway. if they wait a few days the allies were already planning an invasion and the force IRR was at sea. In the real world the germans just beat them to the punch. if they wait a few days they are the liberators arriving to fend off the evil british and french.

                The arguement in taking Norway was that if the allies got it or managed in some way to gain control the germans would be cut off from a supply of Iron and steel. They, the germans, cant afford to walk away from it.
                "Sometimes its better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness" T Pratchett

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Doveton Sturdee View Post
                  The Channel, as any mariner will confirm, is a tricky piece of water, with strong tides, fierce currents, and dangerous sandbanks.
                  Then again, in Top Gear they sailed across the channel with a car.
                  Wisdom is personal

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Karri View Post
                    Then again, in Top Gear they sailed across the channel with a car.
                    Indeed but 2/3 failed, much akin to the prospects of the Germans me thinks
                    "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

                    "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Andy H View Post
                      Indeed but 2/3 failed, much akin to the prospects of the Germans me thinks
                      And that was at the second attempt!
                      Signing out.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Andy H View Post
                        Indeed but 2/3 failed, much akin to the prospects of the Germans me thinks

                        Worse, the Top Gear guys had the advantage of sailing in a "Japanese" ship (eg a Toyota pickup) something the Germans didn't have the luxury of doing....

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                        • #13
                          IMHO, Sealion was lost at Dunkirk. If the BEF and the French had been annihilated there, then the new Churchill Gov't could well have fallen right then and there, and the sudden lose of a quarter million trained troops would have left Britain so poorly defended that negotiation with Hitler might have seemed like a pretty good idea.

                          BTW- what terms did Hitler put to the UK that June?
                          "Why is the Rum gone?"

                          -Captain Jack

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