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

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,861
Stockport Cheshire UK
The War Game in 1974 included Galland and Ruge on its panel of umpires,. It utilised plans as known at the time, though it was not then realised the Germans would attempt landing of much support material on day one also- possibly overoptimistic. The game assumed the Luftwaffe did not have air superiority but did not attack London and that upwards of 90,000 men got ashore on Day 1.

The decisive action was British naval intervention subsequently which ultimately wrecked the support fleet. Unable to supply or reinforce the troops ashore, the invasion failed and only 15,400 were deemed to have returned to German territory.
The war game was conducted at Sandhurst, the military training school of the British Army, and because of this it was agreed that the invasion force would be allowed to land a sizeable force before any serious interference from the Royal Navy took place in order to judge the ability of the British army to resist the invasion.
 
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Feb 2011
1,113
Scotland
The war game was conducted at Sandhurst, the military training school of the British Army, and because of this it was agreed that the invasion force would be allowed to land a sizeable force before any serious interference from the Royal Navy took place in order to judge the ability of the British army to resist the invasion.
Quite so- without this assumption, the game could have been over very quickly!
 

Poly

Ad Honorem
Apr 2011
6,698
Georgia, USA
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.

No.

Even with total air superiority (which was never attempted Btw) Sea Lion was impossible in 1940 or any other year.

It was just a bluff as the evidence shows.
 

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,704
San Antonio, Tx
I have to ask, following the French Fleet being sunk at Oran which French naval assets would Hitler have used??, how exactly would he have got the Italians to leave the med when they had to support the shipping for an Italian army in North Africa. And even with these three naval services combined how would they have hidden the preparations, could the Italians have left the med unmolested. Could Germany solve its troop transport problem and would they land a large enough force, in the face of the royal navy which had carrier born aircraft, an asset Germany lacked although Italy had a limited carrier force.
What carrier force did the Italians have during WW2. I’m unaware they had any.
 
Jun 2016
1,562
Oregon
Highly unlikely they could have passed Gibraltar without being sighted or fired on. Civilian neutral ships would have noted their presence also. I am not aware of any Italian carriers that became operational during the war the Aquila was still not finished when the Italians surrendered and changed sides. As to a journey to England. I'm not sure the Italians had the fleet tankers necessary to supply such a force leaving the Med.
 
Aug 2014
300
New York, USA
Without air superiority it is simply impossible.
With air dominance, perhaps mass re-arming Luftwaffe planes with 500kg bombs and torpedoes and using France as an 'aircraft carrier' you could potentially neutralize the Royal Navy. As US/Japanese experience showed, it turns out battleships are very vulnerable to air raids, and can never have enough AA guns to provide sufficient cover.
 
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Jun 2016
1,562
Oregon
It would also take quite some time to re-equip and more importantly to retrain the air crews for ship attack. Again such an action would probably not be sufficient as the British fleet would have switched to night actions against the German invasion forces. Thereby eliminating such naval air attacks - at least at short range. British forces would operate in the channel at night (short in the summer thou).
 
Aug 2014
300
New York, USA
It would also take quite some time to re-equip and more importantly to retrain the air crews for ship attack. Again such an action would probably not be sufficient as the British fleet would have switched to night actions against the German invasion forces. Thereby eliminating such naval air attacks - at least at short range. British forces would operate in the channel at night (short in the summer thou).
In our hypothetical scenario, if Germans are serious about actually invading Great Britain, presumably they would be already training pilots for this type of combat for years.
Also, I don't know if royal navy night actions would be possible, as by morning the ships would not be out of German air strike range. The Japanese were only able to conduct battleship raids at night with no air cover when the ships had enough time to get away before sun came up, or there were no US aircraft carriers in the vicinity, otherwise these were literally suicide op runs.
Royal navy time would also be very limited, since Germans would have the luxury of illuminating their airfields in France at night, so that aircraft can conduct launch and landing operations at night time. Most of the time that was very dangerous on aircraft carriers.
 
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Lord Fairfax

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,422
Changing trains at Terrapin Station...
In our hypothetical scenario, if Germans are serious about actually invading Great Britain, presumably they would be already training pilots for this type of combat for years.
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No, the OP made pretty clear that alternate planning would follow the BoB

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