Did the Navy win the Battle of Britain?

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by adrian roberts, Aug 25, 2006.

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  1. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Oh dear. For a very few pages I thought Fred had caught on to the principle of proving/providing evidence for something he said in a forum post.

    Seems I was wrong. It's not Leccy's job to think; YOU are the one who said -
    ...

    You know, Phylo, when I was a frequent poster in 'another forum' who happens to allow "What IF" type discussions - which this one doesn't as we all know and as can be seen :p - at a point I got so fed up with the whole thing* that I managed to have people agreeing in a policy whereby the person with the bright idea had to present arguments in quantity, quality and coherence sufficient to satisfy, instead of having the 'Establishment' - that's you! - constantly having to come up with all manner of objections to shunted aside by the 'innovator'!

    I called this the Tail Wags Dog Manoeuvre.

    I used to have a signature saying something like "Welcome to the Fifth Dimension, where pigs fly and the Germans win at World Wars" :D

    * one egregious one I remember was a guy proposing doing a Tom Clancy's Red Storm in 1940, the Germans taking Iceland just before the Yanks occupied it and then to be supplied by air, all this to shoot V-2s at NYC :lol:
     
  2. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    Za, the "what if" consideration is fine as long as it does not become an alternative to reality.
    Whilst being very much aware of the "Sealion"/ "Did Hitler intend to invade GB" thread which never lost its grip on reality this one is fast moving away from what took place.
    Given the short time to prepare , the lack of suitable craft , lack of escorts , shortage of air transport , few gliders, no control of airspace, it is difficult to see the Germans being able to mount a successful invasion or even deeming the attempt to be worthwhile - what may have influenced them as much as anything was there own lack of resources and the lack of time to set any pre- prepared plan in order.
    The loss of so many naval vessels in Norway did impact on any plan which existed to invade GB should the opportunity have presented and part of that opportunity had to be the control of the air over the Channel or at least a degree of control which would have allowed a decision to be forced in favour of the invading Germans .
    Defeat for the Germans could never have been an option , they had a reputation to maintain one which they traded on and intended to exert political influence with there were other fish to fry and whilst invading England would have been the icing on the cake as the summer wore on , with losses mounting and Goring's promises coming to nothing ( so it seemed ) it was easier to see other options being more important as the window of opportunity to deal with England faded.
    The Luftwaffe in attacking Britain had taken on a role which it was not prepared for and Goring was a poor leader.
    It could be equally argued that it was not the Royal Navy who won the Battle of Britain but the failure to prevent the evacuation of REF and French from Dunkirk.
    Nothing stands in isolation yet all contributed in their own part to what took place in the summer of 1940, good luck , good judgement, poor planning , good planning , time lost, time gained , the part played "the weather Gods" .
    Hindsight is a wonderful thing, it really is we can make judgements on the past without truly knowing or feeling the potential of the stakes which were being played for , fortunate for us.
    In 1940 Invasion was a real possibility , the Germans planned and prepared for invasion - Sealion was no joke it had physical form and was a plan in being and a work in progress. Thankfully circumstances dictated that it never came to pass and all the players (British and German) shaped those circumstances and influenced the outcome.
    To say that victory alone belonged to the Royal Navy is to exclude the others , not least the Germans and above all for them a failed attempt would have been worse than postponement.

    As we all know Sealion "was never was" as much as it is " a what if" and no matter how impressive it looks on paper the invasion force had to arrive in good order, had to be sustained once it was ashore and given the resources which the Germans had when they would have committed themselves to invading their window for success would have been small and fraught with difficulty.

    Fred Leander
    As the saying goes ―The history is written by the victorious. It has always been so, and World War II is no exception. The history of the war is colored by the many heroic stories published by the Allied victors just after the war, and it took quite some time before similar books were published in Germany, usually for the domestic market. The tone of the German books are often less sure, in an excusing way, as the Germans could not necessarily show any pride in their achievements during the war.


    Fred, I would beg to differ with you.
    In the first instance yes - "History is written by the Victors" - it is an almost natural order that it will be but with time that changes, the men who wrote how they won the war were human after all and they told it as they saw it and in some cases they ( being human) didn't want to make themselves look bad , mistakes were often glossed over or played down.
    When you look at some of the early histories of WW2 what you say does in part hold water but can you really say that today , could you have said that in the late 1960's - I don't really think so.... and that is 40 odd years ago.
    "Victors History" is propaganda and historians today can and do set that aside , just as they have "propaganda" from this conflict. ( Propaganda being viewed for what it was and what it was hoped to achieve.)
    As far as German accounts from WW2 go I have read my fair share of them and the same human frailties which exist in accounts from Allied sources exist in them as well.
    I have heard quite a few German reenactors" talking about "Victors History", this usually leads on to a rather one sided view of what took place "looser's history" if you want to call it that.
    A balanced view of WW2 does exist and it has been around for quite sometime, if I might point you back to "The World at War" series - early 1970's 35 plus years ago yet very balanced and non judgemental in how it was made - you will not find that the German veterans and Commanders interviewed received anything less than a level playing field.
     
    Jaeger likes this.
  3. leccy

    leccy Senior Member

    fredleander

    since you have failed to answer some reasonable questions I will ask them again

    How long were the barges due to be at sea for each crossing. I answered your questions about where I got my speeds from and even pointed out that i was not on about the beach tides but the actual tidal current through the channel being a factor.
    I answered your post where you questioned what use beach recces were and the french info on them was to the allies.

    Did the Germans ever do a medium or large scale practice of the crossing and landing to ensure these hastily scraped together crews in unfamiliar river craft could actually operate together. The allies had huge problems with Ships if various speeds and sizes station keeping in the convoys and that was with experienced crews and skippers on their own ships. The allies practice landings many times yet craft still rammed each other (powered and sea going types), waves landed in the wrong order and wrong beaches, the allies knew the tides and beaches well from recces, the Germans did not have that info or can you say that they in fact did know all about them and if so how.

    As a little note this has been floating around as a German medium scale practice for several years now that I know of.

    Operation Sealion - The One Exercise

    One single main exercise was carried out, just off Boulogne. Fifty vessels were used, and to enable the observers to actually observe, the exercise was carried out in broad daylight. (The real thing was due to take place at night/dawn, remember).

    The vessels marshalled about a mile out to sea, and cruised parallel to the coast. The armada turned towards the coast (one barge capsizing, and another losing its tow) and approached and landed. The barges opened, and soldiers swarmed ashore.

    However, it was noted that the masters of the boats let the intervals between the vessels become wider and wider, because they were scared of collisions. Half the barges failed to get their troops ashore within an hour of the first troops, and over 10% failed to reach the shore at all.

    The troops in the barges managed to impede the sailors in a remarkable manner - in one case, a barge overturned because the troops rushed to one side when another barge "came too close".

    Several barges grounded broadside on, preventing the ramp from being lowered.

    In this exercise, carried out in good visibility, with no enemy, in good weather, after travelling only a short distance, with no navigation hazards or beach defences, less than half the troops were got ashore where they could have done what they were supposed to do.

    The exercise was officially judged to have been a "great success".

    Ref the motor transport hmmm I did think hence why I asked where all this motor transport was coming from.

    Thats a similar vain to the replys you keep coming out with such as 'they would have known about that', 'the Germans could have worked that out', Just because they could have done something or known about something does not mean they did, that is why evidence is quite important. Mention is made of the deficiencys of the British forces but German deficiences are glossed over as not important.

    Ignoring things like any ship smaller than a destroyer in the channel ports then writing off the smaller craft like the AS/MS ships along the South as being armed with nothing more than a lewis gun shows a lack of research. Where and what would the British Subs have been doing since most RN focus seems to have been on the Surface big ships.

    I have seen this statement made in various words. The RN would not risk its ships in the Channel due to German local air superiority over the invasion routes?
    Lets look less than a year later at Crete, what happened to the German Seaborne Invasion Fleet which did not just have local air superiority but had total air superiority in the whole region. Oh thats right it failed due to the RN, the troops were flown in instead at great cost in lives and transport aircraft (few heavy weapons and none of those lovely tanks like the KV2 which was supposed to go over).
     
  4. fredleander

    fredleander Senior Member

    Za, the "what if" consideration is fine as long as it does not become an alternative to reality.
    Whilst being very much aware of the "Sealion"/ "Did Hitler intend to invade GB" thread which never lost its grip on reality this one is fast moving away from what took place.
    Given the short time to prepare , the lack of suitable craft , lack of escorts , shortage of air transport , few gliders, no control of airspace, it is difficult to see the Germans being able to mount a successful invasion or even deeming the attempt to be worthwhile - what may have influenced them as much as anything was there own lack of resources and the lack of time to set any pre- prepared plan in order.
    The loss of so many naval vessels in Norway did impact on any plan which existed to invade GB should the opportunity have presented and part of that opportunity had to be the control of the air over the Channel or at least a degree of control which would have allowed a decision to be forced in favour of the invading Germans .
    Defeat for the Germans could never have been an option , they had a reputation to maintain one which they traded on and intended to exert political influence with there were other fish to fry and whilst invading England would have been the icing on the cake as the summer wore on , with losses mounting and Goring's promises coming to nothing ( so it seemed ) it was easier to see other options being more important as the window of opportunity to deal with England faded.
    The Luftwaffe in attacking Britain had taken on a role which it was not prepared for and Goring was a poor leader.
    It could be equally argued that it was not the Royal Navy who won the Battle of Britain but the failure to prevent the evacuation of REF and French from Dunkirk.
    Nothing stands in isolation yet all contributed in their own part to what took place in the summer of 1940, good luck , good judgement, poor planning , good planning , time lost, time gained , the part played "the weather Gods" .
    Hindsight is a wonderful thing, it really is we can make judgements on the past without truly knowing or feeling the potential of the stakes which were being played for , fortunate for us.
    In 1940 Invasion was a real possibility , the Germans planned and prepared for invasion - Sealion was no joke it had physical form and was a plan in being and a work in progress. Thankfully circumstances dictated that it never came to pass and all the players (British and German) shaped those circumstances and influenced the outcome.
    To say that victory alone belonged to the Royal Navy is to exclude the others , not least the Germans and above all for them a failed attempt would have been worse than postponement.

    As we all know Sealion "was never was" as much as it is " a what if" and no matter how impressive it looks on paper the invasion force had to arrive in good order, had to be sustained once it was ashore and given the resources which the Germans had when they would have committed themselves to invading their window for success would have been small and fraught with difficulty.

    Fred Leander


    Fred, I would beg to differ with you.
    In the first instance yes - "History is written by the Victors" - it is an almost natural order that it will be but with time that changes, the men who wrote how they won the war were human after all and they told it as they saw it and in some cases they ( being human) didn't want to make themselves look bad , mistakes were often glossed over or played down.
    When you look at some of the early histories of WW2 what you say does in part hold water but can you really say that today , could you have said that in the late 1960's - I don't really think so.... and that is 40 odd years ago.
    "Victors History" is propaganda and historians today can set that aside , just as they can "propaganda" from any conflict.
    As far as German accounts from WW2 go I have read my fair share of them and the same human frailties which exist in accounts from Allied sources exist in them as well.
    I have heard quite a few German reenactors" talking about "Victors History", this usually leads on to a rather one sided view of what took place "looser's history" if you want to call it that.
    A balanced view of WW2 does exist and it has been around for quite sometime, if I might point you back to "The World at War" series - early 1970's 35 plus years ago yet very balanced and non judgemental in how it was made - you will not find that the German veterans and Commanders interviewed received anything less than a level playing field.
    James, I apreciate your civil manner. Really.

    Fred
     
  5. fredleander

    fredleander Senior Member

    Leccy,
    I shall give you a reply in the evening. Now I am off to the beach. Please appreciate that all this is quite time-consuming for me since so many of you (and I need to work on replies to all) seemingly lack general knowledge of the planned operation and the German army specifically. I have already used a lot of my time writing a book on the subject.

    Not to say that I do not find these discussions worthwhile for future expansion and improvements on my book but it is a little too much all the time. Of course, it is much my own fault at all to mingle into these threads but it is difficult to keep out when I see obviously wrong information posted.

    Fred
     
  6. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    Leccy,I shall give you a reply in the evening. Now I am off to the beach. Please appreciate that all this is quite time-consuming for me since so many of you (and I need to work on replies to all) seemingly lack general knowledge of the planned operation and the German army specifically. I have already used a lot of my time writing a book on the subject.

    Not to say that I do not find these discussions worthwhile for future expansion and improvements on my book but it is a little too much all the time. Of course, it is much my own fault at all to mingle into these threads but it is difficult to keep out when I see obviously wrong information posted.

    Fred
    I would say don't forget to credit this site and the people who's information you use in this expansion to your book but I don't think they would want that. I've got to be honest, Fred, I'm not really liking your reasons for being here or the contributing to this one thread.
     
  7. leccy

    leccy Senior Member

    Ooops the KV2 was for operations on Malta but the op was cancelled due to the high costs of the Crete operation, I knew they had something to do with Crete (Doh).
     
  8. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Thats a similar vain to the replys you keep coming out with such as 'they would have known about that', 'the Germans could have worked that out', Just because they could have done something or known about something does not mean they did, that is why evidence is quite important. Mention is made of the deficiencys of the British forces but German deficiences are glossed over as not important


    One cannot help but think of the German officer who wondered why, when marching to swimming practice, his men had to walk further out across the beach every day...

    Or the one whose Merc got overtaken by the tide....

    In other words - THIS - "Just because they could have done something or known about something does not mean they did" - is ONE side of the problem...

    What about the things they didn't know or didn't grasp effectively enough??? ;)

    I have seen this statement made in various words. The RN would not risk its ships in the Channel due to German local air superiority over the invasion routes?
    Lets look less than a year later at Crete, what happened to the German Seaborne Invasion Fleet which did not just have local air superiority but had total air superiority in the whole region. Oh thats right it failed due to the RN, the troops were flown in instead at great cost in lives and transport aircraft (few heavy weapons and none of those lovely tanks like the KV2 which was supposed to go over).


    Exactly...

    And let's not forget that even AFTER they'd taken losses north of Crete...and supposedly learned not to operate in such an environment...they participated fully in the evacuation from Crete by day and night - STILL within range of the Luftwaffe.

    And once again - let's not loose sight of that fact that ALL these operations took place AFTER the Royal Navy should have supposedly learned its lesson off Norway ;)....AND Dunkirk! ;)

    The inescapable fact is that in establishing the shallowER-draught anti-invasion destroyer flotillas we see their Lordships at the Admiralty dividing their forces into assets they didn't want to risk in the Narrows....and instead formed a force of those they were FULLY prepared to use.

    And even after THAT - we have examples right through the naval war (particularly in the Med after that...) of the Navy being prepared to take on board the risks of operating in an adverse environment. They didn't shy off - Malta for instance held BECAUSE it was resupplied from the Delta, thereby risking naval assets in a Central Mediterranean dominated by the Axis. Yes they took losses doing so - because they were prepared to take losses.
     
  9. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    As for this....

    Of course, it is much my own fault at all to mingle into these threads but it is difficult to keep out when I see obviously wrong information posted.



    You don't do a very good job of correcting any of it...for instance - when major differences appear between your ideas and the historical reality, you've shown willing to rubbish authoritative primary rsources...while for other things relying on questionable tertiary sources!

    As Za comes close to noting, and I've noted here and elsewhere - between this, and ignoring a wide range of issues and questions completely, the rest of us necessarily come to the conclusion therefore that you can't correct it.

    Za - I find the AHF attitude to proofs in general a very good standard; here's the major element of it...

    If a poster stops asking questions and begins to express a point of view, he then becomes an advocate for that viewpoint. When a person becomes an advocate, he has the burden of providing evidence for his point of view. If he has no evidence, or doesn't provide it when asked, it is reasonable for the reader to conclude that his opinion or viewpoint is uninformed and may fairly be discounted or rejected.


    ;)
     
  10. fredleander

    fredleander Senior Member

    I would say don't forget to credit this site and the people who's information you use in this expansion to your book but I don't think they would want that. I've got to be honest, Fred, I'm not really liking your reasons for being here or the contributing to this one thread.
    How should I get time to contribute to other threads? And there is a need for contribution on the subject. I would like to post a paragraph from the introduction chapter of my book:
    The subject of Sea Lion is popular, but the debate is often so heated that reason quickly goes overboard. The topic obviously touches on powerful sentiments. As I have experienced the debates, cemented fronts are quickly created, a powerful Allied and a much weaker German one. Quickly the German side will be called Krauts or Nazis and the conclusion of the discussion is rapidly reached. Those advocating the German side are perceived as somebody who really wanted the (eventual) invasion to succeed, even if that person only wants to evaluate certain historic points. Because my conclusions about Sea Lion are somewhat different than the popular ones, I have found myself on the receiving side of this treatment many times.

    I was astonished by the ridiculing of this operation that was discussed so often and enthusiastically on the web. Could the German military leaders at that time really have been as amateurish as they were described? It did not fit in with the contemporary events. As my interest was awakened I discovered an operation that was fascinating in concept and planned execution and of which I, in spite of my lifelong interest in military history, knew so little about.


    As you understand my book was actually inspired by the web discussions on the subject.

    James puts it down well when he comments on my statement that the victors write the history, his conclusion is that this has changed a lot. He is correct and I believe that discussions like here has contributed to that.

    Your other remark I find, well, a little insulting. I am very critical to moderators that mix into the threads with their personal opinions on the subject. Some Foras' moderators are very good at not doing that.
     
  11. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Fred -

    I've got to be honest, Fred, I'm not really liking your reasons for being here or the contributing to this one thread


    I would like to post a paragraph from the introduction chapter of my book:


    I really don't think you've really grasped what Gage was trying to say....;)
     
  12. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Your other remark I find, well, a little insulting. I am very critical to moderators that mix into the threads with their personal opinions on the subject. Some Foras' moderators are very good at not doing that


    Fred, Moderators are users+..."superusers" for want of a better term. They are often selected because, like literary editors, their knowledge of a given subject allows them enough of an overall grasp to act as referees.

    It does NOT obviate them from having their own opinions - only obligates them to expressing them within the rules of any given forum.
     
  13. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    Your other remark I find, well, a little insulting. I am very critical to moderators that mix into the threads with their personal opinions on the subject. Some Foras' moderators are very good at not doing that.


    Well that's not me.
    A number of members have asked questions that you haven't answered, it's time you started doing so.

    Fred, you're only here to sell your book or take info for an expansion - tell me that isn't so.
     
  14. leccy

    leccy Senior Member

    fredleander

    You have published your books and so I would have assumed you have all your notes in order to be able to reference them. Since you have been on many sites pushing your seelion book I would also assume you would have ready answers or at least easy access to them instead of asking others to show where they get their info from. Hmmm research by proxy.

    As a technical author I had to think of every conceivable situation and some wild cards. I had to write manuals for the same piece of equipment but at different levels depending on the target audience. Full tech specs, sales, user handbook, operator manuals, lesson plans, maintenance schedules, fault finding, etc, etc.
    When asked a question by the contractor or end user I had to come back with a ready answer or at least a 'I do not know the answer to that one, I will endeavour to find it and return to you with an answer'. This showed that I admitted to possibly overlooking something.

    Saying people who ask you questions have a lack of knowledge of a subject is slightly disrespectful to say the least. If I said that I would be classed as arrogant or bluffing my own lack of knowledge but not wishing to admit I had been caught out.
     
  15. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    One should always remember that there have been certain questions that Fred has been VERY unwilling to answer - particularly the question on what sources he used for the British defence preparations, which remains unanswered both here and on Feldgrau...where this little exchange troubled me not a little -

    phylo_roadking wrote: leaving you exposed for some considerable time to artillery and MG fire...-...

    What fire - from whom - at whom...?.....I can give you details on force compositions for the landing forces at the four beaches. Can you detail the defence for me? I would appreciate that very much.


    ;)
     
  16. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    The same issue later arose on AHF, when Fred answered a rather detailed query with an answer predicated on Churchill's rather selective memoir of the period - "selective" in that it didn't mention ULTRA...

    And with the query on British sources remaining unanswered on Feldgrau, I replied -

    Remember - Churchill's own account of the wartime years was intentionally flawed as we now know, in that it contains no metions of ULTRA or Bletchley Park's work...

    And you weren't previously aware of David Newbold's thesis, where it's made clear that on a number of occasions key decisions by the defenders regarding the siting of reserve forces, their ability to send tank forces abroad etc. were dependent on SIGINT.

    How useful therefore is it relying on acknowledged flawed sources? The British side of Sealion preparations is, as I've noted elsewhere on AHF, severely lacking in that there is no British-POV "Schenk"....tho' Newbold's thesis goes some considerable way to rectifying this, and Brian Lavery's We Shall Fight On The Beaches is a great step forward from Fleming. Even Fleming - on whom you seem to rely considerably - contains the caveat that he cannot mention much in the way of detail because a lot of said detail was as of the time of writing still covered by the 25-year Rule I.E. was Secret.

    I find therefore the thought of a comparison between the best of modern research and writing on one side....with recognised-as-flawed secondary sources that are decades out of date on the other...at best unscholarly, and at worst - a terrible example of partisanship and intentional oversight.

    Which was it?


    Just as a P.S. - Fred didn't answer that last little question either...:p
     
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  17. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    As an aside...

    one egregious one I remember was a guy proposing doing a Tom Clancy's Red Storm in 1940, the Germans taking Iceland just before the Yanks occupied it and then to be supplied by air


    Za, you didn't encounter an early incarnation of the troll formerly known as "Black Hornet"/"Chromeboomerang", did you??? ;)
     
  18. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Is your book on Sealion self-published?
     
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  19. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    Fred , I would differ with you on your perceived ignorance that others have regarding the German Army.
    (It is a while since I for instance have read anything on Sealion but the German Army is no stranger to me).
    The German Army in 1940 was not the all powerful force that it is often portrayed, it had its limitations and lucky for them France was within their limitations.
    An attempt to cross the Channel was something new to them, if you pardon my saying so "they were out of their depth" and their crash course in getting their cross Channel act together was less than impressive, anything which could float was pressed into service, not a good basis for success.
    Now if the German Army had managed to get ashore in good order (unlikely), yes they would have been off to a good start and we would have had problems but so to would the Germans.
    Supply would have been very difficult and without a working "baggage train" the Germans would be going nowhere and it is extremely doubtful that they could have ensured this and IMO the German decision "not to come" is based very much on these twin inabilities.

    Fed, I went over to read the thread on AHF and an interested in this.

    Fred .
    The problem with discussing Sea Lion is that there is a clique of guys that has been backslapping each other for years on how good they are on subject, and how stupid it is to imply anything else than what they have agreed upon. Anybody that does is set upon by a horde of wild horses. It is freaking sick. The introduction in my book puts it down exactly.


    Can you elaborate this "clique of guys that have been backslapping each other for years on how good they are on the subject" ?

    I do not see it as a case of being put upon but so far this thread since the discussion centred on your book has pretty much gone the way of the AHF thread , it has become one of questions and doubts being raised whilst you seemingly evading by means of word play, this does put me off buying your book.

    What are your sources which say that the Royal Navy would not have gone through hell and high water not to prevent a successful German landing ?
    I would be grateful if you could give a listing of the sources .


    Fred, you mentioned that the Germans had achieved air superiority in early August 1940.
    Some problems with this .
    From Jak Showell's "Fuehrer Conferences on Naval Affairs, 1940" page 113.
    "The War Against England" dated 7th July.

    2. To what extent can the landing be supported by a parachute attack ?
    (Highest priority to be given to the production of transport aircraft.)

    3. "The Commands of the three Services should co-operate in evolving a plan for the transport of the maximum number of troops with the minimum of shipping and aircraft space.

    4. The invading forces must be undertaken on the basis that the invasion is still only a plan,and has not yet been decided upon.Knowledge of preparations must be restricted to those immediately concerned."

    The author (Showell) notes that this is the very situation which Raeder had sought to avoid and that whilst no date had been fixed there was the expectation from Hitler that an invasion was to take place shortly.

    The author points out that what followed from this was a series of inter-service disputes in which the Navy demanded that the Army and Air Force state their intentions in respect of the invasion.
    The Navy again emphasised the importance of transport and the Straits of Dover was their landing area of choice. (For obvious reasons.)

    Showell goes on to state that the operation was not yet considered necessary, and at the next Naval Conference Hitler was more preoccupied with Norway than he was with invading England.
    He notes that "Raeder, keenly aware of British seapower, pointed out the extreme difficulties of executing "Sea Lion". Hitler was sympathetic, and more interested in the development of Norway.

    A shortage of transport aircraft to be made up in a matter of weeks, the admission that resources were limited , maximum troops , minimum transport = critical losses when a vessel is sunk or disabled.

    You imply that the Germans had the air superiority they needed in August , a mere three weeks after this rather doubtful outcome of a Furhrer Conference and a state of some disarray within OKW.

    The conference of 11th July
    8. "The C in C Navy, considers that an invasion should be used only as a last resort to force the British to sue for peace".
    "The C in C Navy, cannot therefore, advocate an invasion of Britain as he did in the case of Norway.
    Prerequisites are complete air superority and the creation of a mine free area for transports and disembarkation. It is impossible to tell how long it will take to clear such an area and whether it could be extended right up to the enemy coast"

    From other comments made it is clear that by 11th July no order to invade had been given although preparations were being made.
    What is also clear is that by the 1st week in August the Navy was still far from ready to support an invasion, so your statement of the Luftwaffe having achieved the complete air superiority is meaningless.

    Also worth noting - a few days later "Hitler changed his mind " and on 16th July ordered that invasion be ready at any time from 15th August onwards.
    Now given what had been discussed a few weeks earlier do you honestly think that the Germans could have invaded given the major problems which still had not been overcome ?

    On 19th the fielded their reply to the Fuhrer's directive of 16th July .

    The task allotted to the Navy in operation "Sea Lion" is out of all proportion to the Navy's strength and bears no relation to the tasks that are set to the Army and the Air Force"

    The Navy went on to list 8 major issue they had , clearing mine s, laying mines , the provision and protection of transport , complex navigation issues, the nature of the Channel currents all come into play before any mention is made of the Royal Navy.
    Raeder makes a special note that the enemy had been careful in his use of their naval forces but in the event of invasion he would not be confident that the Luftwaffe would be able to keep the royal navy out of his transport fleet.
    (Remember again , maximum troops for minimum transport = critical losses).

    In the conference of 31st July two periods for invasion are identified 20-26th August and 19-26th September.
    August was discounted as it was "impossible to finish preparations by then" and from the dialogues which went on major problems still existed and decisions were not made - a clear cut plan did not exist and no one had any idea of what the outcome would be.

    The date then slips to October and then it is postponed altogether....... in reading over this series of conferences and reports on preparation everyone seems to compromise and in the background the basic conditions for the invasion are not achieved.
    So how can you think that success was going to be an outcome had the Germans "taken to the water" ?

    Having spent the afternoon reading over the notes from Naval Conferences in Jak Showell's book on "Hitler's Naval Conferences" there is really nothing positive to say about "Sea Lion", it was a high risk plan which increasingly few saw any chance in its success , by September Hitler was increasingly looking eastwards and still the problems of getting to England had not been solved and there is a note that the desired air superiority had not been achieved, indeed there is no note of it ever having been achieved. ( Ref. Fred's assertion that it had been accomplished in the first week of August).
    As far as Hitler's will to invade goes - notes made say that he saw it as a loss of face to call it off and preparations went on in the hope and trust that the desired conditions would be achieved and the problems of the navy could be over come - there is nothing in the Naval Conference notes which would indicate that either seemed likely and without the Air Force or the Navy the Wehrmacht was staying firmly in France.
     
    CL1 likes this.
  20. fredleander

    fredleander Senior Member

    Well that's not me.

    I see. Please strike my membership.

    Fred
     

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