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Thread: Operation Sealion

  1. #16
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    Ah we love the what if's on this site.

    Its a big what if though, the Invasion of the UK. You have to balance out what the germans were actually capable of doing with what the British were actually capable of doing. But you have to keep in mind that you have to use the forces available at the time and not at a later time, hence no Torpedo carrying Axis aircraft, no bombs that can penetrate UK warships etc.....

    ?
    Jerry would have poured ashore and the yanks would have needed to expidite development of the trans-Atlantic bombers like the B-32.
    Then of course you have to think about when the B-36 was actually conceptualised and what experience of building long range bombers had to happen before this arrived.

    Its a bit like saying, what if the Wright Brothers skipped the little flyer and just made a 747 instead

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twitch1
    If the Germans gained a foothold in Britain it means they would have had control of some coastal airfields so supplies and more troops would have been easily brought in. A sizeable number of Ju 52s existed since the type had been in service since 1934. GB was actually ringed with U-boats so that in reality she was just weeks away from complete isolation.

    Once the Luftwaffe had planes based on the island the 109's range problem would have been history and bomber escort sorties would have insured full coverage to and from targets. The 109s would have had ample fuel to stay and play with the interceptors.

    And if we're not talking an isolated group of German paratroopers here, most certainly the seizing of a port would have been top priority. So between the Ju 52s and Kriegesmarine transports, Jerry would have poured ashore and the yanks would have needed to expidite development of the trans-Atlantic bombers like the B-32.
    They couldn't keep the Sixth Army supplied in Stalingrad with air transport, what makes you think they could have done any better supplying the UK?

    As for supply via the sea - against the country with the most powerful navy in the world? Their transports would have been slaughtered.
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  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twitch1
    If the Germans gained a foothold in Britain it means they would have had control of some coastal airfields so supplies and more troops would have been easily brought in. A sizeable number of Ju 52s existed since the type had been in service since 1934.
    Have you ever done the numbers on the actual airlift capability of a Ju-52? I've seen what appears to be a highly plausible set done from what they actually carried in practice, and it averages out at something over 1 tonne per day per aircraft. Making what I suspect is a somewhat generous assumption that they could scrape together 250 serviceable aircraft per day and that they had ample fuel at the far end (see below for how likely I think that is) you're looking at 300 tonnes per day of supplies arriving at a few discrete points on the bridgehead. They would then have to be manpacked (the Germans had no plausible plans for landing motorized transport beyond a handful of tanks or any horses until the invasion was well underway) to wherever they were needed. 300 tonnes is IIRC about the amount needed to keep a single leg infantry division going, although I would be glad to be corrected if we have any logistics guys on the forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Twitch1
    GB was actually ringed with U-boats so that in reality she was just weeks away from complete isolation.
    And yet despite the complete lack of an invasion they didn't work. There just weren't enough in 1940, and what boats there were were simply not advanced enough. It wasn't really until the Oberon class level of technology/SSNs that this became feasible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Twitch1
    Once the Luftwaffe had planes based on the island the 109's range problem would have been history and bomber escort sorties would have insured full coverage to and from targets. The 109s would have had ample fuel to stay and play with the interceptors.
    Assuming you can get fuel somehow. What fuel you did capture from the RAF (and remember that fuel burns very nicely when a match is applied) would be the wrong octane rating and will also quite probably have several kilos of sugar, sand and ground glass per tankful. Chances are you'd have to fly in your fuel, which in itself limits your airlift capacity even more and will pretty much soak up all your remaining capacity with the fuel, munitions and spares you need.
    Furthermore, the chances are that the airfields would be within range of British artillery for at least some of the time. That will NOT make them any more habitable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Twitch1
    And if we're not talking an isolated group of German paratroopers here, most certainly the seizing of a port would have been top priority. So between the Ju 52s and Kriegesmarine transports, Jerry would have poured ashore and the yanks would have needed to expidite development of the trans-Atlantic bombers like the B-32.
    Ummm... WHAT port? The only substantial ports between the Wash and the Lizard at the time were London and Southampton/Portsmouth. Portsmouth is pretty much the home of the RN, so any seabourne attack would be massacred while London is the communications nexus for England. Any landings would find themselves rapidly outnumbered, and in any case taking a city of 8 million which is pretty heavily garrisoned isn't likely to happen by coup de main.
    Incidentally, you're thinking of the B-36 not the B-32. It would probably have become available at around the same time as nuclear weapons, meaning Germany would either get nuked on a Japan scale or IMHO more likely get a terminal dose of instant sunshine in around 1947 and effectively become extinct as a culture. A gentleman by the name of Stuart Slade has written an excellent alternate history series based on exactly this premise.
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  4. #19
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    Furthermore, The channel is especailly choppy so the invaision barges would have had an interesting time trying to cross the channel. Also all of Britain's coastline was covered in barbed wire, landmines and a strange device made from an oil barrel that when detonated covered the whole beach is burning petrol. Plus Britain had already organised a resistance movement of 70,000 called the auxunits (or auxiliary units) whom were well armed and trained and ready to cause absolute havoc in the invader's rear areas. The Germans would not have had a fun time.
    "There is no country on the face of the earth to which the principle of citizen-soldiership is so well adapted as our own, for the freedom possessed by Britons is of so general and real a character as to cause the humblest in the land to feel deeply the neccessity of preserving the safety and independence of the nation of which he is a part"

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  5. #20
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    Well the initial concept of the thread seemed to be if the Germans got ashore and got a foothold.... Hence extrapolating from there they would have endeavored to accomplish the aforementioned goals. Could they? is the ripe question. Not likely, but it is never smart to completely discount your enemy's capability. As we view things knowing what we know 65 years hence it is an unfair advantage that clouds us with prejudice. It wasn't so much that the Germans could have done it but that they didn't bother to try.

    The long-range bomber program was based on- "January of 1940, the Army issued a set of formal requirements for the "superbomber", calling for a speed of 400 mph, a range of 5333 miles, and a bomb load of 2000 pounds delivered at the halfway-point at that range."

    The B-29 and B-32 were the direct results of those specifications. In 1941 the requirement was "...the Army Air Corps drew up requirements for an intercontinental bomber. Something that could fly from the U.S. to Germany, drop its bombs and return."

    Initial contingency plans that routed bombers from Gander Newfoundland to Russia were within both planes' range perameters. Russia Shuttle missions were carried out from other starting points during the war. This was a viable possibility.

    That's where the B-36 came in. The US already had plenty of big bomber experience with the B-17 and the giant XB-19 so a true intercontinental bomber was a logical next step that actually occurred anyway. In the impetus of war the B-36 probably would have reached fruition earlier. As it was the B-36 program was put on the back burner with little attention due to attention to the amped up emphasis on B-29 and B-32 production. At any rate the B-36 was no impossiblity as someone thought. Certainly any American bombing campaign commencing on the west side of the Atlantic wouldn't have been started before like 1944 thus lengthing the war a lot.

    As far as Ju 52s in Russia vs England its an apple an oranges thing. The severity of the climate, distances and treacherous conditions in Russia bear no resemblence to Spring time over the Channel. There actually were, by the way, 571 Ju 52s available in Western Europe in May 1940.

    Discounting the aircraft's capabilities is dangerous in that in May 1941 the Luftwaffe's greatest airborne assault and involved the landing of 22,750 men and their supplies on Crete. Of these, 10,000 were parachuted in from 493 Ju 52s used.

    And simply to talk up the big Brit coastal defenses is empty bragadocia since far tougher stuff shielded the Continent and the Allies landed anyway.

    Between June and December 1940 U-boats sent three million tons of shipping to the bottom. Only an average of 16 U-boats were on patrol at any given time and they inflicted this damage. In the Med 105 subs operated. By the end of 1941 before the yank influx U-boats were 250 strong. This was an ample amount to deal with any RN surface activities if it had been necessary to support an invasion. Would the Germans have gotten beat up? Sure, but if they were motivated they cerftainly wouldn't have given up once any foothold in Britain was gained.

    During the years of 1940-41 the German war machine grew immensely before the drain in the East began. It was in late 1941 Churchill was most concerned of the U-boat threat during which time the isle was in peril of collapsing.

    As for seizing a port I would expect the Germans not to assault Southhampton but something lesser such as Dover, Brighton, Hasings or something else small once a sizeable force had come in by air or chute. And there are lots of sceanrios for fuel procurement with transfer from larger aircraft for one method. Wouldn't be easy but feasible in the esoteric sense.

    It's easy to poo-poo the notion of a concerted landing but if the Germans were so soft why did they roll over so many enemies and fight doggedly even after the tide turned against them? Man to man they were the equal or superior to any fighting force in existence at the time.

    Yeah it didn't happen and "probably" wouldn't have but events in history have a way of being open to multiple courses before one is decided upon and fate is set in irreversable motion.

    There's tons of interesting possibilities. What if Washington hadn't crossed the Delaware? What if Germany had developed long range bombers? What if Custer had brought his Gatling gun? :?

  6. #21
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    Have to agree that you argue your case well, kudos to you. I guess we will never know though for sure.

  7. #22
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    The thing is that the Germans never had to mount an amphibious landing against a concerted defence and they probably couldn't because they didn't have the ships.
    The British coastal defences may have been weak compared with the Atlantic Wall but then the British knew that what they had to sink was large, slow barges, barely supported by Capital ships because the RN would slaughter them. The Atlantic Wall on the other hand, was designed to repel capital ships but wasn't prepared to be swarmed by smaller, faster landing craft.

    A word about German Parachutists, they only really worked reliably when they had surprise on their side and were rapidly supported, there would have been no surprise in 1940 in England - the place was paranoid.
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  8. #23
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    Was there a German plan? If so we can use this as a basis for our hypothesis.

    Oh and was there a British plan too?

  9. #24
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    A couple of points:

    The figure of 3 million tons for shipping sunk is for the whole of 1940 from ALL means. We lost 7 MILLION TONS in 1942 & survived.

    The German Fallschirmjager were decimated in the Crete landings & only prevailed due to serious tactical errors by the defence. They were never again used tactically.

    IMO, Sealion was never a serious option & was more likely an ateempt by Hitler to make us sue for peace, in order for his troops to be freed up for Barbarossa.
    Things are going to get a whole lot worse from now on.......

  10. #25
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    Hitler was so stange in that his personal meddling in things certainly helped the Allies. Attempting to make the Me 262 a bomber when it was the best interceptor in the world. Stifling masssive production of the STG 44 which could have made the Wehrmacht the best armed in the conflict. Rolling up to Britain's door and not going in and many other quirks where his will screwed things up for Germany and helped the Allies, thank goodness.

    If he had wanted to invade England in 1940-41 before and commitment to the Eastern front occured he would have found a way. It's as simple as that. When he had his fingers in things subordinates were forced to do his bidding no matter how outlandish something was. If he'd have demanded a flying tank they would have done their damnest to make one.

    It's all just a fanciful "what-if" that we can concoct over any other event in the war that could have played out differently. If we stretch this further, let's say the Germans attempted a landing and had massive losses due to the fact thet Hitler demanded success or death of all involved. If German forces were hugely decimated perhaps the war and Hitler's strategy would have been greatly altered. Perhaps HE would have sued for peace and never messed with the Russians. He'd been assassinated and that was that. Myriad alternatives.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twitch1
    As for seizing a port I would expect the Germans not to assault Southhampton but something lesser such as Dover, Brighton, Hasings or something else small once a sizeable force had come in by air or chute.
    Err... have you ever been to any of these "ports"? In 1940 Dover was the only one of these with anything resembling port facilities, and even then was limited to a small number of passenger/rail ferries. It's a small area of flat land at the base of some cliffs, with the port being an area of sea sheltered behind a (postwar) manmade breakwater. Brighton (very near where I live) has a steep, pebbly beach and at one end has a small (postwar) breakwater built for yachts. Both it and Hastings may have had some form of harbour for fishing boats however, although I think this is unlikely as most of the boats would have been small enough to run up the beach.
    Incidentally, if you're not taking London or Southampton, you're limited to river barges for your sea transport. They're pretty much incapable of crossing the Channel from September-October until about March due to the sea conditions. If you don't have a proper port by then, your army will starve.
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  12. #27
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    To put the problem in perspective it would be useful to look at a map.




    The problems of the harbours on the south coast are well explained in this wikipedia entry for Cinque ports.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinque_Ports

    Dover probably the biggest is very difficult to get out of due to the cliffs which are a fortress. Other port had the attention of Palmerston, when the French looked like coming across for a visit in 1950 ish.

    You should also take into consideration that a lot of the small harbours are covered by the Goodwin sands, a grave yard of many a ship.

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  13. #28
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    To anyone who entertains the briefest notion that Sealion was in any way viable, I suggest you dig out your copy of Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships and check the numbers of destroyers in the Royal Navy and Kriegsmarine. Notice how the British entries tend to be half a column long, whereas the German ones are each usually an inch or so (for a laugh, look at the US section - the Fletcher Class takes up two entire pages, written in text the size of an ant's winky). Then notice how half of the German ones sort of ceased to exist one afternoon in April that year, when they got into an arguement with the Warpite.

    I don't think the heavy forces would have been commited (though "Death Ride of the Queen Elizabeth" would have been a great movie) even after a landing - there were plenty of DDs and cruisers of all flavours to do the job. Crikey, a few coastal patrol vessels or armed trawlers could have probably done the job welll enough.

  14. #29
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    I don't believe Sea Lion AS IT WAS cobbled up is worthy of jack either. The point stands that if a serious desire was in Hitler's soul there would have been a completely different real plan developed. I'm not alluding to any expert knowledge of some stategy other than the fact that without American assistance ringed by 250 subs Britain was in dire straights and a concerted invasion without the distraction of Russia would have ultimately proved successful. If Britain was Hitler's only priority a serious, not half-baked plan would have been conceived.

    We have the advantage of looking back 65 years hence and knowing the outcome. In 1940 no one was certain of ANYTHING.

  15. #30
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    ANY thought of invasion was scuppered when the Luftwaffe failed in its attempt to destroy the RAF (a condition set in stone by the Kriegsmarine).
    Without the removal of the RAF, the German naval losses would have been tremendous.
    Things are going to get a whole lot worse from now on.......

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