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Old April 12th, 2017, 07:32 AM   #1

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Operation Sealion


I have recently read a lot about Operation Sealion and correct me if I'm wrong but it seems like the Germans didn't have much of a chance of winning. The home fleet of the Royal Navy was more powerfull than the Kriegsmarine, the RAF had air supremacy and if the german had landed they would bave to deal with the British army and partisans. Most of the German officers seem to have expected it to fail.
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Old April 12th, 2017, 08:04 AM   #2
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I have recently read a lot about Operation Sealion and correct me if I'm wrong but it seems like the Germans didn't have much of a chance of winning. The home fleet of the Royal Navy was more powerfull than the Kriegsmarine, the RAF had air supremacy and if the german had landed they would bave to deal with the British army and partisans. Most of the German officers seem to have expected it to fail.
They made a map exercise about Operation Sealion in Sandhurst Military Academy in 1974 a joint work involving both British and German officers. Result was in every case and eventuality Germans lost big time even if (a very big if) their initial wave suceeded landing to British isles without follow up and logistical tail they would be rounded up and forced to surrender.
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Old April 12th, 2017, 08:08 AM   #3

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Well initially it could have worked. However, he changed to attacking big cities, and at the outset he did have a bigger air force.

He also needed to disable the Royal Navy, and damange infrastructure, which he didn't order , for it to be a success. In a way, Overlord was a good example of what he should have done, achieve air supremacy, destroy key infrastructure, gain a materiel advantage, and have a tactical and strategic edge.
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Old April 12th, 2017, 08:10 AM   #4

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If the Soviets had Capitulated i can see it succeeding with the sheer amount of power being shifted to the area. but as it was the Royal navy were just too strong for any attempt at landing.
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Old April 12th, 2017, 08:27 AM   #5
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Given that it took the Allies at least two years to accumulate enough landing craft for D-Day, it would have taken at least that long for Germany to accumulate a similar number of landing craft.

According to Von Manstein in his book "Lost Victories" Hitler never thought more than two or three months ahead. He was surprised at how quickly France had fallen, and had given no thought to what would happen after the fall of France. Hitler first ordered the planning for Operation Sea Lion only in July 1940. At the time he had no idea how complex such an operation would be. Throughout the summer and fall of 1940, as those difficulties became increasingly clear, Hitler slowly let the idea drop. Even if Germany had won the Battle of Britain, there never would have been an invasion of England.
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Old April 12th, 2017, 08:53 AM   #6

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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.
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Old April 13th, 2017, 03:43 PM   #7
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If the Soviets had Capitulated i can see it succeeding with the sheer amount of power being shifted to the area. but as it was the Royal navy were just too strong for any attempt at landing.
Since the time period precedes Barbarossa, I don't understand this point.
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Old April 13th, 2017, 04:36 PM   #8
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If you compare the German preparations for Sealion to the American/British/ Canadian preparations for Overlorld, it's fairly easy to see just how far out of their league the Germans were.
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Old April 13th, 2017, 05:45 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Socrates of Athens View Post
I have recently read a lot about Operation Sealion and correct me if I'm wrong but it seems like the Germans didn't have much of a chance of winning. The home fleet of the Royal Navy was more powerfull than the Kriegsmarine, the RAF had air supremacy and if the german had landed they would bave to deal with the British army and partisans. Most of the German officers seem to have expected it to fail.

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.
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Old April 13th, 2017, 05:47 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Sam-Nary View Post
If Germany could have gotten across the Channel, it's entirely possible that they could have won.....

And that's the nub...

Faced with the largest navy in the world at the time, there was no way Germany could invade

To echo the words of a previous Sea Lord..."I cannot promise that the enemy will not come...all I promise is that he hill not come by sea"
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