What if Germany Won the Battle of Britain?

Edratman

Forum Staff
Feb 2009
6,708
Eastern PA
What would have changed if Germany did win the Battle of Britain? It was possible. The British bombing raid of August 26th may have been stopped by weather and/or defenses. The Germans may not have over-reacted to the limited damage from that raid and continued their campaign against the RAF. Something else??

The Germans would have (short term) air superiority over Britain, but the factories turning out Spitfires, Hurricanes...... were out of bomber range and in a few months replacement aircraft and pilots would have become available. The Luftwaffe losses in men and aircraft were substantial and the German air forces lacked heavy bombers, moderating their ability to inflict sever damage to the island.

German nautical resources were hugely deficient in their ability to protect an invasion from the Royal navy. An invasion would likely have been mauled in the channel, at the loss of a number of Royal navy ships. Whatever losses the Royal navy suffers would have been counterbalanced by the fact that the Germans probably would have lost nearly every vessel capable of transporting troops across the channel with limited ability to replace these boats in short or medium term, by which time the RAF would probably be reconstituted.

Even if the Germans managed to successfully land some ground forces, armor and supply were huge issues to overcome. Living off the land was not an option in the Blitzkrieg tactical doctrine.

It appears to me that the outcome of the Battle of Britain is over-hyped and nothing would have changed if it historically went the other way.
 
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Lord Fairfax

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,422
Changing trains at Terrapin Station...
What would have changed if Germany did win the Battle of Britain? It was possible. The British bombing raid of August 26th may have been stopped by weather and/or defenses. The Germans may not have over-reacted to the limited damage from that raid and continued their campaign against the RAF. Something else??

The Germans would have (short term) air superiority over Britain, but the factories turning out Spitfires, Hurricanes...... were out of bomber range and in a few months replacement aircraft and pilots would have become available. The Luftwaffe losses in men and aircraft were substantial and the German air forces lacked heavy bombers, moderating their ability to inflict sever damage to the island.

German nautical resources were hugely deficient in their ability to protect an invasion from the Royal navy. An invasion would likely have been mauled in the channel, at the loss of a number of Royal navy ships. Whatever losses the Royal navy suffers would have been counterbalanced by the fact that the Germans probably would have lost nearly every vessel capable of transporting troops across the channel with limited ability to replace these boats in short or medium term, by which time the RAF would probably be reconstituted.

Even if the Germans managed to successfully land some ground forces, armor and supply were huge issues to overcome. Living off the land was not an option in the Blitzkrieg tactical doctrine.

It appears to me that the outcome of the Battle of Britain is over-hyped and nothing would have changed if it historically went the other way.

Success would then basically entail damaging British SE airfields enough that Fighter Command is pushed back north of the Thames, or West of Sussex.
Remember, that German needed to shoot down British fighters by at least 2-1 (to overcome defender's advantage) in air combat, yet they lost more aircraft than the British in each and every week of the battle.
 
Apr 2014
404
Istanbul Turkey
Luftwaffe would have made short work of RN.
That would happen only in fantasies of German military fans :)


The historical fact is : Luftwaffe had no air dropping torpedoes (they would have in very limited numbers only in 1942) nor armor piercing bombs to penetrate decks of battleships and cruisers (which Royal Navy had plenty of at Home Fleet based in Scapa Flow) in 1940. First anti shipping squadrons of Luftwaffe became operational only in January 1941 in Mediterranean and even under neutral/friendly skies of Central Mediterranean they failed to sink HMS Illustrious or were unable to subdue Malta. RN Mediterranean Navy continued to raid and sever Axis naval supply routes in Mediterranean during 1940-1942 and that was when they lacked air cover in Central Med. Think about what they could do in close to their shores at English Channel with even limited air support. Even worse Luftwaffe had no cooperation or coordination with German Navy. That inter arms harmony aspect was so bad in German Armed Forces during February 1940 Luftwaffe accidently bombed and sunk two German destroyers in North Sea in one of the worst friendly fire incidents of war and afterwards still not moved an inch to improve cooperation levels with German Navy.
 
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Edratman

Forum Staff
Feb 2009
6,708
Eastern PA
The Luftwaffe had already demonstrated its deficiencies attacking ships at Dunkirk. Nothing had changed over the few months in question.

(PS. merdiolu has a better response in a simultaneous post.)
 
Jan 2012
443
South Midlands in Britain
I seem to recall that in the Seventies someone war-gamed Operation Sea-Lion and concluded that the Nazi forces would have eventually been repelled.

I do know from family recollection that it was planned to turn London into something much like what happened to Stalingrad. Every house fought over, every street a battlefield with the standing order that `you take one of the enemy with you'.
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,593
Dispargum
I do know from family recollection that it was planned to turn London into something much like what happened to Stalingrad. Every house fought over, every street a battlefield with the standing order that `you take one of the enemy with you'.
It sounds like your family recollection is a memory of Churchill's radio address that included: "We will fight on the beaches, we will fight on the landing fields, we will fight in the cities... We will never surrender!" I don't know how literally we can interpret that. Does anyone know of specific plans for street fighting in London?
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,593
Dispargum
What does it mean when we say that the RAF has lost the Battle of Britain? I rather doubt the RAF would fight to the last plane and pilot. At some point as losses mounted the RAF would pull their remaining planes back to Scotland and Northern Ireland to let them rest and recover before renewing battle at some point in the future.

So the next question is 'How much time passes between the end of the BoB and the beginning of Sea Lion's land invasion? Is there enough time for the RAF to recover and get back into the fight?'

After defeating the RAF the Luftwaffe's next task would be to destroy the Royal Navy, and I note the difficulties mentioned above. The attacks on the navy could easily take several weeks and still might not be completely effective. Sea Lion is not just a single wave crossing of the English Channel. There are also follow-on troops and resupply all increasingly vulnerable to interdiction by what's left of the Royal Navy and a diminished but rested RAF. Before the invasion, Britain had to spread its defenses to cover all possible points of attack. Once the invasion begins those defenses (ground, sea, and air) concentrate at the point of danger. Sea Lion is still a high risk, perhaps impossible operation.
 
Jan 2012
443
South Midlands in Britain
It sounds like your family recollection is a memory of Churchill's radio address that included: "We will fight on the beaches, we will fight on the landing fields, we will fight in the cities... We will never surrender!" I don't know how literally we can interpret that. Does anyone know of specific plans for street fighting in London?
No it wasn't.

My paternal grandfather was a senior railway manager at the time based in Central London. I learned from him as a teenager that the railways had a plan. He did not enumerate it as I suspect a similar plan applied during the Cold War. He died in 1966.

My late father was involved in the final round-up of German civilians in the summer of 1940. By early 1941 he was working for Colin Gubbins who had by then become Churchill's irregular warfare chief.

There were no plans published, again for obvious reasons not unrelated to the later Cold War, but by all accounts local Home Guard units were given objectives and were specifically trained and equipped to fulfil them. Some were quite bizarre but that was necessary given the poor and out-dated equipment available to them. The general idea was to pin the Nazi forces down on the main routes and then harry them from the side roads and alleyways often with little more than Molotov cocktails and gas-pipes with carving-knives brazed into the end.

The experience of fighters from the Spanish Civil War was invaluable in training.

Elite units trained in guerilla warfare were established by Gubbins as illustrated by David Lampe in his book `The Last Ditch' pub 1968. Gubbins had served against the IRA in Ireland prior to 1922 and cheerfully cribbed their tactics.

In his book `Invasion 1940' pub 1957, Peter Fleming after much discussion gives the reason why the Nazis never invaded was because Hitler was quite unable to understand the British outlook.

Personally, I believe that things could have become very difficult without those Polish pilots who by the autumn of 1940 the RAF reluctantly allowed to enter the fight. They were an enormous support and highly respected by the British people.
 
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Mar 2019
1,956
Kansas
It sounds like your family recollection is a memory of Churchill's radio address that included: "We will fight on the beaches, we will fight on the landing fields, we will fight in the cities... We will never surrender!" I don't know how literally we can interpret that. Does anyone know of specific plans for street fighting in London?
Yes the British had very well developed plans for a stay behind army. Trained servicemen acting individually to make life as difficult as possible for the invaders. There is no chance London would have gotten turned into a 'Stalingrad' Democratic governments don't like seeing their voters shot. Sort of destroys their poll numbers
 
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