alecsandros wrote:Hi Francis,
I read once about the composition of operational LW forces in France summer 1940. They had a very good number of dive bombers (~ 1000 IIRC), which proved quite effective at Dunkirk (allthough not deployed in large numbers) and then harrassing traffic in the Channell.
Acutally the LW didn't prove itself very effective at Dunkirk or Norway or even Crete vs warships at speed with a decent supply of AA ammo and the ability to maneuver at will. Most of the hits on those three occaisons came from warships that were stopped or moving slowly, or had very limited AA ammo, or were overcrowded with evacuees.
The total force of LW in summer 1940 was actualy larger than that, as a good deal of warplanes were located in Norway (Luftflotte 5) and Germany (squadrons in recuperation).
So how long does it take to get them and their associated support facilities and personel to France and set up in airfields there.
The period of 2 weeks during Battle of Britain in which LW directly attacked the RAF pretty much showed that the British were losing the battle rapidly, and if it werent't for Goring's genius move to stop bombing the airfields and targeting London instead, the battle may have taken a dramatic turn.
Acutally the opposite is true. The Germans started the battle with a substantial edge in fighters by the end of the first week or two it had evaporated to the point where they were on a par with or even had fewer fighters than the RAF. The RAF thought they were loosing because they significantly overestimated the LW fighter and pilot production. The LW thought they were winning because they significantly underestimated the RAF fighter and pilot production.
The evacuation of Crete in spring 1941 showed what massed air attacks could do against warships... [and those attacks, again, didn't come close to the total force available by LW in summer 1940]
And it certainly shouldn't have been reassuring to the LW. Nor were they able to stop the destruction of the amphibious portion of the invasion of Crete or the withdrawl of singificant numbers of British troops from the island.
...Indeed, a night attack on the sea would be quite unpleasant for the Germans, but summer nights are short, thus leaving only a small window for warships to intervene without the risk of getting caught in the open and bombed and sunk.
Even if such an attempt woudl be done (and almost certainly would be done), the warships would be intercepted while en-route to the Channel...
Based on the events of Dunkirk and Norway the risk is a lot lower than you seem mto think. The long hours of daylight can be a problem in and of themselves to the LW.