Could Germany have successfully invaded Britain by sea without air superiority?

Oct 2014
36
Toronto
#1
Following the Luftwaffe's failed attempts to take out the royal air force during the Battle of Britain, if Hitler had decided to mobilize his troops across the English channel anyways and invade Britain by sea with the assistance of the Kriegsmarine and then land, is there a chance he could have successfully pulled it off and occupied London without the need for air superiority over Britain?

In my view it would have been more likely to be successful than an invasion of the soviet union with 2 fronts and it would have knocked Britain out possibly by mid-1943 or early 1944, following which Germany could focus strictly on the eastern front and taking over the Soviet Union with the western front already won.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,666
#2
What Kriegmarine? It was pitiful force at this time after the losses in norway, and even before that massively outnumbered by the Royal Navy.

Sealion was to rely on river bargs, 2/3 unpowered and under tow. We're tlaking 5 knots. It's a very slow, very vunerable , almost unescorted invasion force. If destroyers let alobne cruisers got amongst the barges it would be a turkey shoot of the highest order. Armed Trawlers posed a serious threat, british submarines were faster under water.

Barbarossa has serious problems but Sealion needs super bat aliens more than Barbarossa to work.
 

Edratman

Ad Honorem
Feb 2009
6,460
Eastern PA
#3
Following the Luftwaffe's failed attempts to take out the royal air force during the Battle of Britain, if Hitler had decided to mobilize his troops across the English channel anyways and invade Britain by sea with the assistance of the Kriegsmarine and then land, is there a chance he could have successfully pulled it off and occupied London without the need for air superiority over Britain?
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The answer is a resounding, No!

As pugsville said, German nautical resources were hugely insufficient for the task. Maybe they could have tried the old "Look over there" trick?
 

Mrbsct

Ad Honorem
Jul 2013
2,617
USA
#5
Even with air superiority, they can't invade Britain. Luftwaffe are not the US Navy air arm. They don't have the training or equipment to attack ships.
 
Jan 2015
3,244
Front Lines of the Pig War
#6

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
2,551
Crows nest
#7
No, to the OP. The only way, IMO, that Germany could have forced a British capitulation in 1940 was if they had destroyed or taken into captivity pretty much all of the B.E.F, and then hoped for major upheavals both within parliament and the population to sue for peace. So they could have forced a defeat by treason, but not by military power projected across the channel.

I think that in a scenario where the bulk of the B.E.F was lost, and a Battle of Britain still took place, that the bombing would have strengthened resolve against capitulation, at least I would like to think that it would. If, after total humiliation, well, worse than it actually was, in 1940, the Germans had offered reasonable terms before sending over the bombers, such terms may have been accepted. Churchill's "Fight them on the beaches" speech was made on the fourth of June, the day that operation Dynamo completed the evacuation from Dunkirk. If no evacuation had taken place, and it was a close run thing, could he, would he have made that speech, we'll never know.
 
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Likes: Edratman

GogLais

Ad Honorem
Sep 2013
5,046
Wirral
#8
My usual contribution to this debate is that ok, Germany might not have been able to mount a successful invasion in 1940, although Britain was a lot less relaxed about it then than we are now. However, I’m sure that Germany would have been able to invade successfully had Hitler chosen to dedicate sufficient resources, including time, to the project. Thankfully for us he had another bigger target in mind.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,666
#9
My usual contribution to this debate is that ok, Germany might not have been able to mount a successful invasion in 1940, although Britain was a lot less relaxed about it then than we are now. However, I’m sure that Germany would have been able to invade successfully had Hitler chosen to dedicate sufficient resources, including time, to the project. Thankfully for us he had another bigger target in mind.
he can't devote resources he does not have. Germany lacked the resources and skills required for a cross channel invasion. He had a pitiful navy. River barges. Blown into very small pieces. resources are not just interchangeable. He had lots of resources jut snot effective way to transmit those resources in an effective way across the channel.
 
Oct 2015
735
Virginia
#10
Seriously, with total air and naval superiority, nearly unlimited resources and more than two years to prepare (including scary experiences at Dieppe, in Morocco, Sicily, Salerno and Anzio), the allied invasion of France was still a "near thing". Improvising a large scale, opposed invasion is simply not a practicable operation of war.
 
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