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Could Operation Sealion really have succeeded?

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by GunSlinger86, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Active Member

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    This has probably been discussed before...

    Germany had highly successful campaigns to start WWII and made the "mighty" French army capitulate very quickly. After the escape at Dunkirk, the Germans started planning the invasion of England. Yes Germany had innovative offensive tactics that worked and they were building up their airborne divisions, but when it came to a cross channel invasion, I don't think it could have succeeded.

    England's navy dwarfed Germany's, have 12 battleships to none (they had two battle cruisers), 5 aircraft carriers to none, and greater numbers of ships of all types. Since they had the enigma machine and probably could have had an idea of when the invasion was coming, England could have brought their whole navy into the Channel for defense. They could have made a giant blockade and set their aircraft carriers out to hit troop transport ships with planes, and used the massive guns on their ships to also attack. Yes, the Luftwaffe could have made the defense difficult but the numbers and firepower of the Royal Navy would have persevered in the end.

    Also, look at all the planning, cooperation, collaboration, and time it took to prepare and launch Operation Overlord. Hitler's regime didn't have anywhere near that type of logistical military infrastructure or good government cooperation of any kind, plus it was Hitler's way or the highway.

    I know Hitler wanted to concentrate on Russia and didn't really want to fight England to begin with, but do you think the other factors had something to do with the decision not to launch the plan as well?
     
  2. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Yes, it has been discussed over and over again. Please our search engines
     
  3. Owen

    Owen O Patron  

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    Britain's navy.

    England hasnt got it's own navy , nor has Wales nor Scotland nor Northern Ireland.
     
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  4. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    :dance4: Good "what if "topic. The Germans lost because they attacked the "Englander" and faced the British instead :dance4: .
     
  5. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Active Member

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    My apologies, I always still call the country England. Also I did search it and nothing keeps coming up. It keeps saying no results found when I search for Operation Sea Lion.
     
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  6. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    We will get their eventually Owen. One at a time.
     
  7. Owen

    Owen O Patron  

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  8. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The twins were rated as "schlactshiffe" i.e. battleships just like the comparable French ships.

    It should be noted that neither were available during Sept and Oct of 40 though.
     
  9. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    There's also a lot of threads over on the axis history forum on the topic including the very massive BoB thread in the what if sub forum.
     
  10. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith Member

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  11. Justin Smith

    Justin Smith Member

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    I think it was the Royal Navy`s destroyers which were the most important ships in its arsenal, vis Operation Sea Lion. And in Destroyers they vastly out numbered the Germans.
     
  12. DangerousBob

    DangerousBob New Member

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    I read that the other day. Very interesting.
     
  13. Rlean

    Rlean Repeat Offender

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    Just for its own sake, I will reiterate an old argument from none other than Luftwaffe General Kurt Student, who submitted a plan to Hitler which went something lke this....

    Background: In the period immediately after Dunkirk, British defences were VERY weak. There was only one fully equipped Army division in the entire Island, (Monty's 'Ironsides' Division, called 'The Mobile Force' by Whitehall, or "The Mobile Farce" by its detractors.) Coastal defenses were primitive or non-existent, and the rest of the British Army that had escaped France were without heavy equipment of any kind, nor did they have artillery or its attendant transport. It was at this juncture that Student submitted a draft plan to OKH, hoping to capitalize on these very factors.

    The Plan: Student envisaged a corridor , flanked by every sea going mine the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine could get their hands on to lay. Both sides of this corridor would be stuffed with every UBoat available, coastal as well as sea going, and defended by every one of the approx. 3,500 aircraft available to the Luftwaffe at the time. Justs remember that the Luftwaffe achieved control of the English Channel in something called Kanalkampfen, so air support for this venture would have been a nasty piece of deployment indeed.
    The Luftwaffe was to bring its paratroop assets to bear, dropping into a tightly controllled area of the South English coast, and holding their perimeter until more assets could be shipped across. From their, the open grasslands of the area could have been adapted toa temporary airfield, or one would have been captured intitially.
    Timing was to be quick, taking maximum advantage of the unpreparedness and the general situation that the falll of France precipitated. There were enough units of the Kriegsmarine left from Norway to operate as troop transports and stores, whilst the Luftwaffe played the lions share of the role with the UBoats sinking British shipping that tried to interfear. British fighters would have exactted a heavy toll, but would have been worn down expotentially faster. Dowding would have been unable to hold back the bulk of his forces as he did for the BOB, with this emergencey situation forcing him to take larger and larger risks.


    If Operation "SeeLowe" was to succeed at all, it had to be done in this period of May to July 1940, or not at all. Considering the risks that Hitler placed the Fallscirmjaeger under for the later operation at Crete, and considering that the Paratroopers gained the upper hand at Crete despite immense pressure and many casualties, they may well have performed in England very effeciently indeed, as the British forces wereniether numerous nor equipped.

    In any case, it certainly would have made for a dramatic scene, and may well have prevented Winston Churchill from taking the propaganda initiative. His statements issueing from Whiehall may well have been a series of desperate pleas, hurredly put together, rather than the measured tones and grandiose mannerisms of the Bulldog Winston claimed to be.

    Anyhow, I'll leave this to you people for now. I'm not sure whether this would have worked, but it was their best shot by a long chalk....
     
  14. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Do you have any references for Student's plan?

    But right after Dunkirk there's no way the Germans could have done anything. Indeed they were still occupied with France. I'm pretty sure a Canadian division was in Britain if not at the time of Dunkirk pretty soon after furthermore their were significant numbers of other Commonwealth troops in Britain in the same time frame.

    There's a serious question as to whether or not there were enough mines available to make this viable. Furthermore the accuracy of arial mines would mean that they might cause more problems for the invasion force that aid.

    The shallow waters of the English channel are a bad spot to try and operate submarines. This would have been the graveyard of the Uboat force had they tried this. Also the LW at the time had almost no night operational capabilities as far as antiship work goes.

    No they did not "achieve control" fo the English Channel. They inflicted enough losses that the British decided to quit sending merchant ships into the channel and pulled destroyers out of a couple of the closer ports. The LW lost so many JU-87's in this campaign that they were also withdrawn from operations over the channel.

    More later but am having power problems and don't want to loose this.
     
  15. green slime

    green slime Member Patron  

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    No. It was never even close to happening.
     
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  16. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Just what time frame are you talking about? The LW transportation capability had taken a pretty serious hit during both the invasion of Holland and Norway.

    OK so we're talking some time after the fall of France. Again dates would be useful here.

    Really? Just what do you think was left of the KM at least in operational condition at this time? What do you think or did Student think was their sea lift capability? I doubt it was even up to moving a full division at this point certainly not multiple ones.

    Neither the LW nor the u boats would have been very effective at night vs the RN. Even in the daylight neither would have been all that effective vs warships operating at speed with adequate AA ammo. Then there were the shore batteries. Dowding was holding back forces especially to repell an invasion if one was attmepted. There would have been no reason to hold them back if one is launced. The LW overtasking would have pretty much insured that they took heavier losses than the RAF and they were critical to the campaign.

    Launch Sealion while still fighting France??? May is out and so is at least part of June for that reason. Are you going to stage the LW from Germany? If not you are going to need permanent airfields with support facilities in France and possibly the Low Countries. Those don't appear over night. What ships are you going to use and where are they to assemble? And what troops? Most of the Heer would have been resting and refitting in June. Just gathering the ships and detailing the plan would pretty much rule out June as well. But by July many of the British troops evacuated from France (and not just Dunkirk) were reequiped as well.


    The situation in Crete is hardly comparable to that in Britain. The Germans would have been in a far worse position and Crete came within a hairs breath of failing. That's not to say the may not have performed efficiently but they would have failed and done so disasterously as far as Germany would have been concerned.

    If your "best shot" has an infintesimal chance of succeeding maybe your better off not taking it.
     
  17. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Patron  

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    I just would question what boats would be used to transport the German troops? I seem to remember reading that they had no available or usable way to get the troops across the Channel. They would have been blown out of the water or swamped becuse of low sides.
     
  18. Rlean

    Rlean Repeat Offender

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    Stukas withdrawn first Tuesday of BOB, not during the Channel skirmish.

    KM will use anything floating....cruisers...whats left of the DDs, merchant vessels. With a superior numbers and plenty of airfields on the Channel, the 750 spitfires and hurricanes may well not have lasted very long at all.

    Not saying put the operation into place while French conflict still going, but much of June was not exactly a tough time for the Heer, so it may have been possible to run this one concurrently. Further, the only section of the Army requiring a rest and refit was the Panzer divisions. Many Inf divisions still fresh and at full strength, and you certainly would be flying men across the channel as quickly as possible to bolster the airborne component. Student may well have flown in as many as possible on the Crete pattern.

    Remember, after the Ironsides division was gone, there was only the Home Guard left, unless they wanted to rearm the disorganised rabble that was left over from Dunkirk. Further, these guys were very demoralised. Spike Milligan remembers talking to one of them in a pub in Bexhill On Sea. "What was it like?", he asked. "Like, son? It was a fuck-up....a highly successful fuck-up!"

    Anyhow, nice to hear your views. A friend of mine said something recently that was very amusing. "Whatever happened to having an intelligent conversation without resorting to bloody Google". I don't 'google' things and then come on line to 'showcase' what i read five minutes ago. My reading is all on the shelves behind me, so please excuse, and we can't all be right 100% of the darned time now, can we?
     
  19. green slime

    green slime Member Patron  

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    750 Spitfires and Hurricanes would've lasted long enough for the RN to sink every barge the Germans could've laid their hands on, after which, it wouldn't really matter.

    You see, there is no point of having the Royal Navy, once the UK is invaded. Therefore, it's ultimate test would lie in keeping the invader away from British shores. Have a look at the size of the Home Fleet. Also note, the surprisingly few warships sunk during the action at Dunkirk, in spite of those ships being stationary.

    The LW air transport capabilities were never very astounding, and they'd already lost 280 transport aircraft (Ju-52) in the Netherlands. To compare, in the Battle of Crete, 117 Ju-52 were destroyed, and those losses were still not made good by the Battle of Stalingrad, and the abject failure of the LW to keep the 6th Army supplied.

    You can't keep a significant number of men supplied for combat in a hostile island nation with no shipping, and a fast dwindling air transport capability. The Ju-52, as a slow flying transport, was extremely vulnerable.

    Paratroopers were themselves in short supply, the 7th Flieger division having suffered considerable casualties during the operations in the Netherlands.
     
  20. Rlean

    Rlean Repeat Offender

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    Points well taken once again Mr. Slime. Thanking you cordially!

    I do have an issue with your first point. I do not think 750 spitfires and hurricanes would make much of an impression on any type of vessel, let alone any invasion barges. Remember the RAF sending their best daylight bombers over to make a dent in a stationairy fleet of barges concentrated in German channel ports? Their strike rate on targets that sat still was only between 10 and 16%. Since when does a 1940 British fighter have a chance of hitting anything moving with a silly 250 pound bomb? Sounds laughable to me.

    No....I think the RAF would have had a torrid time, and lost a hellofalot of bombers into the bargain. Avro ansons, Handley Page Hampdens, Vickers Wellingtons, whats left of the Fairy Battles......this eclectic collection of aircraft does not exactly strike one with a sence of shock and awe....I mean, they could not even hit the three incredibly large targets that the KM drew across their sights for many hours during the channel Dash, and that was with vastly improved attack craft, munitions, knowledge of radar assets and better intelligence.

    I think the Luftwaffe may well have struck a very big blow at the RAF, and possibly forced a change of policy on both sides of the channel. I mean, the figures for those invasion barges are nothing to write home about, and that also augers well for German shipping getting to England.

    BTW...it's nice to be able to write "Mr Slime" with a straight face, sort of a contradiction in terms!
     

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