Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > Themes in History > War and Military History
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

War and Military History War and Military History Forum - Warfare, Tactics, and Military Technology over the centuries


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old April 13th, 2017, 05:20 PM   #11
Suspended indefinitely
 
Joined: Mar 2012
From: In the bag of ecstatic squirt
Posts: 18,030

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam-Nary View Post
If Germany could have gotten across the Channel, it's entirely possible that they could have won. The British army had been badly mauled in the Battle of France and was lacking in heavy equipment to resist the Germans with. And many of the men that were there were lacking in training, and thus wouldn't fair too well against the Germans. In this, it was a force that wasn't likely to really do anything against the Germans...

And before the whole logistics/Royal Navy argument comes in... keep in mind that Germany was NOT incapable of supplying their army from the air. They did it on the Eastern Front with some measure of success, though there only at the small unit level. The Luftwaffe didn't have the full capacity for a large scale airlift... However, it'd still mean the Germans wouldn't be without supplies entirely, and with little heavy equipment, even if their supply losses turn the German advance into an advance on foot and leaving their tanks behind... it's not as if they're going to be encountering massed British armored formations or highly trained troops. And the Germans fought through the war in many places with little to no supplies, and did not cave easily or quickly. And this would put the British at an uphill battle.

The real points of contention over Sea Lion is how well could the troops be landed. When the Allies landed in Normandy in 1944, they had already conducted amphibious operations in French North Africa, Sicily, and Italy in the European Theater and the US brought some measure of tactical lessons from the Pacific theater as well and the British brought in lessons learned from Gallipoli in WWI. The Allies had a lot of experience with Amphibious warfare and knew how to get their men ashore. Germany really didn't have that. They managed to successfully land in Norway, but this was against a neutral and unprepared nation. The German landings were essentially to sail into harbor and disembark as if they were a bunch of tourists. Not something that would work well on a contested beach. And while the British army was weak after the Battle of France, it wasn't non-existent and was putting out some weapons. If the Germans don't have a real idea on how to land their troops... they run the risk of ultimately leaving their forces too few in numbers to overpower the British, regardless of how weak they were.

The Royal Navy was a major threat and dealing with the RAF would surely be problematic, but not entirely insurmountable. The Luftwaffe remained more than capable of supporting operations over the channel and southern England that they could have provided some cover for their ships, though it would likely mean only running convoys during the day and it would mean that the Luftwaffe would also need to perfect it's interdiction of British warships... but in general, that skill DID improve over time. The Navy's biggest issue was ultimately with Raeder, who sought to protect what ships he had after Norway. Despite conquering the country, the German surface navy had been badly mauled and Raeder didn't want to risk what he had... In this, he proved Sea Lion's biggest opponent and was pushing for its delay as much as he could...

In pure theory the Germans were in a place that could have enabled them to win... but many of the deficiencies in the German high command and in their amphibious capabilities would mean that despite the advantages they had and the position the British were in, any such victory would NOT be easy or light.
Provision of supply by Luftwaffe to their forces on the ground was going to be so difficult:

Quote:
During the Battle of Britain, the Luftwaffe was dealt an almost lethal blow from which it never fully recovered. Although Fighter Command suffered heavy losses and was often outnumbered during actual engagements, the British outproduced the Germans and maintained a level of aircraft production that helped them withstand their losses. The Luftwaffe, with its lack of heavy bombers and failure to fully identify critically important targets, never inflicted strategically significant damage. It suffered from constant supply problems, largely as a result of underachievement in aircraft production. Germany’s failure to defeat the RAF and secure control of the skies over southern England made invasion all but impossible. British victory in the Battle of Britain was decisive, but ultimately defensive in nature – in avoiding defeat, Britain secured one of its most significant victories of the Second World War. It was able to stay in the war and lived to fight another day. Victory in the Battle of Britain did not win the war, but it made winning a possibility in the longer term. Four years later, the Allies would launch their invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe – Operation ‘Overlord’ – from British shores, which would prove decisive in ultimately bringing the war against Germany to an end.
8 Things You Need To Know About The Battle Of Britain | Imperial War Museums
dagul is offline  
Remove Ads
Old April 14th, 2017, 08:08 AM   #12
Dilettante
 
Joined: Sep 2013
From: Wirral
Posts: 4,273

I can understand that Sealion might not have been successful in 1940. What I find impossible to believe is that Britain could have held out indefinitely against a Nazi Germany that didn't choose to get distracted by attacking Russia.
GogLais is online now  
Old April 14th, 2017, 08:26 AM   #13

Bish's Avatar
Pain in the butt
 
Joined: Dec 2011
From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.
Posts: 8,069

Quote:
Originally Posted by GogLais View Post
I can understand that Sealion might not have been successful in 1940. What I find impossible to believe is that Britain could have held out indefinitely against a Nazi Germany that didn't choose to get distracted by attacking Russia.
I think this is the real problem people have when thinking of WW2 and the German war against Britain. It was not Russia that was the distraction, it was Britain and France. Russia was where the real war was always intended to be fought. But we Brits like to think the war was all about us, its one of the things that confuses me about SS-GB.
Bish is offline  
Old April 14th, 2017, 08:27 AM   #14

Bish's Avatar
Pain in the butt
 
Joined: Dec 2011
From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.
Posts: 8,069

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poly View Post
You are correct. Sea Lion was a bluff by Germany / Hitler and nothing more

It was never a credible plan....

The Battle of Britain - despite the propaganda - was an attempt to force the British government into agreeing a peace

But even after attacks on British shipping in the English Channel
Even after raids on aircraft factories and ports
Even after attacks on RAF fighter stations in the SE of England
Even after bombing raids on London and other British cites

Britain refused to give up the fight...

There was never a threat of invasion....thought the British took the threat very seriously at the time

Ultimately Hitler gave up and dismissed it all as a longshot that didn't pay off...and turned his attention to his real goal - the conquest of the USSR.
This sums it up perfectly.
Bish is offline  
Old April 14th, 2017, 08:38 AM   #15
Dilettante
 
Joined: Sep 2013
From: Wirral
Posts: 4,273

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bish View Post
I think this is the real problem people have when thinking of WW2 and the German war against Britain. It was not Russia that was the distraction, it was Britain and France. Russia was where the real war was always intended to be fought. But we Brits like to think the war was all about us, its one of the things that confuses me about SS-GB.
I thought I was phrasing it badly. I meant distracted by Russia in the sense that Germany should have finished off Britain first.
GogLais is online now  
Old April 14th, 2017, 09:08 AM   #16

Lord Fairfax's Avatar
Tickling the Dragons tail
 
Joined: Jan 2015
From: Rupert's Land ;)
Posts: 2,770

Quote:
Originally Posted by GogLais View Post
I thought I was phrasing it badly. I meant distracted by Russia in the sense that Germany should have finished off Britain first.
How Exactly?
In 1941 Britain is building more cargo tonnage than U-boats can sink, and they've already failed in the BoB.
They lack the means to invade Britain
Lord Fairfax is offline  
Old April 14th, 2017, 10:01 AM   #17
Scholar
 
Joined: Apr 2016
From: Netherlands
Posts: 900

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Fairfax View Post
How Exactly?
In 1941 Britain is building more cargo tonnage than U-boats can sink, and they've already failed in the BoB.
They lack the means to invade Britain
Well not invading Russia means vastly more resources can be spend on the battle of the Atlantic and since the luftwaffe isn't needed on the Eastern Front there could be a buildup for future raids on the UK.

Germany could have also kicked the UK out of the Mediterranean, Northern Africa and the Middle East.
CPTANT is offline  
Old April 14th, 2017, 11:30 AM   #18
Archivist
 
Joined: Oct 2014
From: Poole. UK
Posts: 235

Quote:
Originally Posted by GogLais View Post
I can understand that Sealion might not have been successful in 1940. What I find impossible to believe is that Britain could have held out indefinitely against a Nazi Germany that didn't choose to get distracted by attacking Russia.
Indeed,

So many people say they are not using hindsight, but they do! The UK should have done more here, there and everywhere. They should have deployed forces all over the place rather than keep huge air and land forces at home. After all there was no chance of a German Invasion of the UK in 1940 as well as after 1940? Yes, we know that now, but the people making the decisions at the time could not look into the future.

Clearly Britain over estimated German capabilities, but the fact remains, that for Germany, take out the UK and the war is won, and the decision makers in the UK knew this. In late 1940, victory in the BOB only gave the UK a breathing space as far as the top brass were concerned, it was not the end of the invasion threat. Only when the Germans became bogged down in Russia at the end of 1941 did the threat of invasion end.

So yes, a Germany still at full strength, not geting involved in Russia would be able to fill the gaps in it's capabilities and do a better job in Sealion 2.
aghart is offline  
Old April 14th, 2017, 12:22 PM   #19

Bish's Avatar
Pain in the butt
 
Joined: Dec 2011
From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.
Posts: 8,069

Quote:
Originally Posted by aghart View Post
Indeed,

So many people say they are not using hindsight, but they do! The UK should have done more here, there and everywhere. They should have deployed forces all over the place rather than keep huge air and land forces at home. After all there was no chance of a German Invasion of the UK in 1940 as well as after 1940? Yes, we know that now, but the people making the decisions at the time could not look into the future.

Clearly Britain over estimated German capabilities, but the fact remains, that for Germany, take out the UK and the war is won, and the decision makers in the UK knew this. In late 1940, victory in the BOB only gave the UK a breathing space as far as the top brass were concerned, it was not the end of the invasion threat. Only when the Germans became bogged down in Russia at the end of 1941 did the threat of invasion end.

So yes, a Germany still at full strength, not geting involved in Russia would be able to fill the gaps in it's capabilities and do a better job in Sealion 2.
No it isn't, the war has not even begun. When will the British drop this arrogant attitude in believing that the war was between us and Germany and that Russia was no more than an afterthought. Even the British at the time must have known war with Russia was going to come at some point, even if they did feel that invasion was a real threat in 1940.
To occupy the UK, Germany would not have to just fill some gaps but completely alter the way it wages war, especially the Luftwaffe.
Bish is offline  
Old April 14th, 2017, 12:32 PM   #20

Sam-Nary's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Jun 2012
From: At present SD, USA
Posts: 6,509

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Fairfax View Post
How Exactly?
In 1941 Britain is building more cargo tonnage than U-boats can sink, and they've already failed in the BoB.
They lack the means to invade Britain
But Britain also lacked the land based power to attack into Germany on their own. They NEEDED a strong ally to support them, be it France, the Soviet Union, or the US. They looked to France in 1939-1940 to do what it did in 1914-1918... to carry the bulk of the actual work of fighting the Germans while the British built up their strength to be in a position where they'd be able to exploit weak points. After the Battle of France and as the US and Soviets joined the war, they looked to these new allies to do the same role... to take on the bulk of the work to provide the necessary power to take the Germans head on on the continent.

And while the U-boats never really a threat to strangle Britain, the U-boats were never on their own going to be the means to invade Britain. Invading Britain was going to depend on a combination of air power and sea power to get across the channel to allow for the army to engage the British on the ground. And that's really where Sea Lion runs into its potential problems. As the German surface fleet had been badly mauled off of Norway in 1940 and Raeder didn't want to lose what ships he had left afterward. As such he was resistant to Sea Lion and only went along with it provided air superiority was won. Now, in 1940, that was lost... And thus the operation was delayed and ultimately postponed permanently postponed when the Germans decided expanding the war to include the Soviet Union was the smarter option...

However, keeping a focus on Britain and perhaps putting a bigger focus on Sea Lion, would have given the Germans better choices by 1941. Sure, the Luftwaffe would have at best only been able to contest the skies, by that point, the German navy would have to a degree recovered from the fighting off of Norway and they could commit the Scharnhorst, Gneisneau, Bismarck, and Tirpitz for shore bombardment actions and potentially even escorting their convoys... It wouldn't be the most typical means of escort... (or perhaps even the smartest), but in a way, it would open up the options to allow for landings to be made...

And while the Royal Navy would surely be stronger by 1941, that doesn't mean they're going to have all their battleships in the channel. They didn't do that in WWI with their blockade and they didn't do that until 1944 when they moved to support the Normandy landings in history. And while Bomber Command could be a threat to the invasion convoys... keep in mind that in the Channel Dash in 1942, the German Navy subjected the Scharnhorst, Gniesneau, the Prince Eugen, and an assortment of light craft were subject to British bombers and naval attacks as they tried to make for German territory. Not a single German ship was sunk, which WAS the British objective. Yes the German warships would be blockaded in German waters, but their goal in the channel dash was to make it back to German waters...

So in this, while the Luftwaffe may have struggled in 1940-1941 with bombing British warships, one shouldn't just write off Sea Lion as impossible or a bluff because bomber command hadn't been touched. Bomber command struggled to hit warships just as much as the Luftwaffe did.

In this, the operation is entirely possible. The real question is on how well the Luftwaffe and German Navy could sustain themselves to give the German army time to defeat the British once ashore.
Sam-Nary is online now  
Reply

  Historum > Themes in History > War and Military History

Tags
operation, sealion



Search tags for this page
Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Review of Robert Forczyk's "We March Against England: Operation Sealion 1940-41" Sam-Nary History Book Reviews 38 October 12th, 2017 05:34 PM
Operation AVALANCHE and Operation RAINCOAT JonathanVoorwinden War and Military History 1 June 29th, 2017 05:40 PM
Operation Sealion: Was it all that far fetched? Richard Stanbery Speculative History 153 August 31st, 2014 01:46 PM
Operation Sealion- what could have happened and the aftermarth willrocks10 Speculative History 32 November 18th, 2011 09:21 AM
Operations Yellow, Red and Operation Sealion Names jmleon War and Military History 6 December 13th, 2010 08:35 AM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.