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

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,296
Interesting point about Burma - but I suspect that the British would attempt to maintain control there to protect India, the last real vestige of Empire and an important resource for Britain (one Sikh flew in the Battle of Britain as well). The Japanese were very keen to push the British out of Asia. Useless? The problem was that the British were not really prepared, logistically or psychologically, to fight an effective war in that region. The Japanese were - they referred to the jungle as their 'friend' whereas the British did not cope well though they improved with firmer leadership and motivation later.
 
Jul 2019
38
london
Interesting point about Burma - but I suspect that the British would attempt to maintain control there to protect India, the last real vestige of Empire and an important resource for Britain (one Sikh flew in the Battle of Britain as well). The Japanese were very keen to push the British out of Asia. Useless? The problem was that the British were not really prepared, logistically or psychologically, to fight an effective war in that region. The Japanese were - they referred to the jungle as their 'friend' whereas the British did not cope well though they improved with firmer leadership and motivation later.
The fighting in Burma was also aimed at opening a land route to China - the Ledo Road, which would be a replacement to the old Burma Road, and indeed incorporate some of it.

This was an objective that the Americans, and especially President Roosevelt, was set on. Whether it was really that worthwhile is very much open to question I believe.
 

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,296
All concerned with turning the war against Japan, surely? Allied territories had been attacked in the first place damaging both American and British interests. China was still at war with Japan thus it seems logical that some measure of cooperation would occur, although Russia was not well placed to come in against her long standing enemy (though they did in the closing weeks of the Pacific War)
 
Jul 2019
38
london
All concerned with turning the war against Japan, surely? Allied territories had been attacked in the first place damaging both American and British interests. China was still at war with Japan thus it seems logical that some measure of cooperation would occur, although Russia was not well placed to come in against her long standing enemy (though they did in the closing weeks of the Pacific War)
The leader of China, Chiang Kai Shek was an extremely corrupt and untrustworthy man. He often seemed more interested in letting the Americans defeat the Japanese, and preserving his forces for the civil war which he believed, correctly, would break out with the communists afterwards.
 
Mar 2019
1,465
Kansas
All concerned with turning the war against Japan, surely? Allied territories had been attacked in the first place damaging both American and British interests. China was still at war with Japan thus it seems logical that some measure of cooperation would occur, although Russia was not well placed to come in against her long standing enemy (though they did in the closing weeks of the Pacific War)
Not really - Russian and Japanese forces clashed a couple of times in the late 30s

Battle of Lake Khasan - Wikipedia

Battles of Khalkhin Gol - Wikipedia

Particularly the Khalkhin battle influenced Japanese strategic planning for years
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,779
Stockport Cheshire UK
Yes you have missed the point. I have not claimed that the Cabinet, government, or political leaders were in any disinterested or non-consultative about potential shortages of food. What I suggested - for the third time of explaining it - is that the British government would not have broadcast that to the public or media of the time in order to prevent upsets in civil order and public morale.
You are right the government would not have discussed it in public if the situation had been that dire. However the point you are missing is that the cabinet and various governmental agencies would have been very much discussing it in secret and they would have been formulating plans to cope with it long before it got to this stage, and yet there is not the slightest evidence they did even though the cabinet papers for this period have been released to the public domain
 
Likes: Davidius
Oct 2015
838
Virginia
I think that Lord Fairfax (in post #370) is saying that if the import situation to the UK truly became critical, the British government could have curtailed shipping being used for military requirements and used it to ensure sufficient imports of food and raw materials to the UK. Burma and SEAC, being a less critical front than the Middle East, was the natural choice to give up shipping for higher priority requirements in 1943. His Lordship will correct me if I'm wrong.(?)

It is indicative of the fact that world-wide allied strategy in WW2 was always contingent on the availability of merchant shipping.
 
Jun 2012
793
Yes you have missed the point. I have not claimed that the Cabinet, government, or political leaders were in any disinterested or non-consultative about potential shortages of food. What I suggested - for the third time of explaining it - is that the British government would not have broadcast that to the public or media of the time in order to prevent upsets in civil order and public morale.
I agree they would not have broadcast the situation to the public. I am not looking at public broadcasts from the time. I am looking at the cabinet papers, the record of the cabinet meetings, that were automatically classified and not released to the public until decades afterwards. You can look at them yourself, they are available on the National Archives website.

The cabinet were briefed on food in the context of the overall supply situation. That showed some concern with the long term position. At no point was there talk of an imminent crisis.

If the food situation was so dire, why did the cabinet not discuss it among themselves? Not in public, not in parliament (which was public), but in cabinet meetings held in secret?
 

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,296
I await your research on that with interest. However the above post...
However the point you are missing is that the cabinet and various governmental agencies would have been very much discussing it in secret and they would have been formulating plans to cope with it long before it got to this stage, and yet there is not the slightest evidence they did even though the cabinet papers for this period have been released to the public domain
...

Of course there were plans. Rationing, the widespread allocation of gardening plots and use of public space for food production, but I do note that secret logistical reserves were primarily military with little thought given to food supply at all. This might be considered typical of a country dependent on imports from the start. it either reaches them, or doesn't. ASW was primarily naval in the early part of the war, with Coastal Command reduced in pilot numbers by the Battle of Britain, and struggling to find suitable aeroplanes as much as resources to operate them. They never did get the Lancaster bombers they wanted. One might well assume that plans for coping with food shortages were limited to trying to get as many merchantmen into port as possible, especially in the light of some very severe losses by U-Boat action early on.

Britain was initially fighting for survival and coping with drastic shortages of food in the public sphere was probably impossible in the short term. If Britain lost to Germany's forces then food supply was not a matter of any real importance, since the government was well aware, along with everyone else, of what might well happen if Hitler imposed the Third Reich on British territory (and they weren't wrong. The plans for Britain after German victory amount to dismantling British society, re-allocation of property to German ownership, and the mass transport of slave labour to the continent).

A good example of Britain under German occupation might be extrapolated from the Channel Islands.

Not really - Russian and Japanese forces clashed a couple of times in the late 30s
Battle of Tsushima - Wikipedia
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,779
Stockport Cheshire UK
I await your research on that with interest.
While you are waiting do you think it at all possible that you could provide evidence for your claim that food stocks in Britain were at one point down to 3 days.
Thank you.


Of course there were plans. Rationing, the widespread allocation of gardening plots and use of public space for food production, but I do note that secret logistical reserves were primarily military with little thought given to food supply at all. This might be considered typical of a country dependent on imports from the start. it either reaches them, or doesn't. ASW was primarily naval in the early part of the war, with Coastal Command reduced in pilot numbers by the Battle of Britain, and struggling to find suitable aeroplanes as much as resources to operate them. They never did get the Lancaster bombers they wanted. One might well assume that plans for coping with food shortages were limited to trying to get as many merchantmen into port as possible, especially in the light of some very severe losses by U-Boat action early on.,
None of the measures you mention are concerned with an immediate crisis, they are merely ways to reduce Britains long term reliance on food imports
Britain was initially fighting for survival and coping with drastic shortages of food in the public sphere was probably impossible in the short term. If Britain lost to Germany's forces then food supply was not a matter of any real importance, since the government was well aware, along with everyone else, of what might well happen if Hitler imposed the Third Reich on British territory (and they weren't wrong. The plans for Britain after German victory amount to dismantling British society, re-allocation of property to German ownership, and the mass transport of slave labour to the continent).
The period in question is 1943 by which time the threat of invasion by Germany of the British Isles was effectively zero. Therefore the claim that military matters would have over ridden worries about a major crisis in food stocks in cabinet discussions is clearly not feasible.