New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Non-naval discussions about the Second World War. Military leaders, campaigns, weapons, etc.

Which was the historic action in which Germany was defeated

Dunkirk, 1940
1
7%
Battle of Britain, 1940
1
7%
Battle of the Atlantic, 1940-1943
2
13%
Changing the axis of advance from Moscow to Kiev, summer 1941
2
13%
At the gates of Moscow, fall and winter 1941
2
13%
Declaring the war to USA, winter 1941
3
20%
Battle of Stalingrad 1942-1943
4
27%
El Alamein and North Africa 1942-1943
0
No votes
Daylight strategic bombing over Germany, 1943-1944
0
No votes
Kursk, summer 1943
0
No votes
Normandy, June 6th, 1944
0
No votes
Battle of the Bulge, winter 1944-1945
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 15

Bgile
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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by Bgile » Sun Aug 17, 2008 3:17 pm

The US went to full mobilization for war as soon as it could be put in place ... Germany didn't. Rather odd in hindsight that the ones who really needed to didn't.

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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by Vic Dale » Sun Aug 17, 2008 6:42 pm

Hi Dan

I have myself wondered why Hitler delacared war on the USA, but as has been the case so often, the minute I remind myself that most military and world historical commentary is based on hindsight, it becomes clear why Hitler underestimated the Americans. The full weight of US arms production and military involvement had not yet been revealed and could not be known until much later. The Torch landings were a farce and on the first occasion where US troops met Rommel's men, they got badly chewed. US troops had little or no experience in action, whereas Germans had been at it for years.

It has been suggested by elements on the left that Hitler realised that he was going to lose the war and looked to US involvement as a way of saving Germany from the red menace. I personally don' think much of this theory, since Hitler not only lacked foresight, he really didn't care for much for anything outside his own ego - there would be no Germany without him and his Reich.

Hitler cannot be blamed if he did not see what would only be revealed in the fullness of time. I believe he took Roosevelt's delay in getting into the war as weakness, so in that event, throwing his political weight behind Hirohito made sense in terms of cementing the Axis. It is simply a matter of balance which which seems to have eluded him yet again.

Vic

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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by iankw » Mon Aug 18, 2008 4:11 pm

Ditto RNfanDan.

Vic, I find it hard to understand how someone who posts some really incisive posts re many topics can come up with a scenario for the invasion of Britain that relies on throwing so many 6s. I haven't seen one post that refutes any of lwd's points, only restatements of the same optimistic "facts". I just don't get it!!

regards

Ian

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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by Vic Dale » Mon Aug 18, 2008 5:40 pm

Ian.

It is all too easy to take what was in time of war at face value. Churchill comes across as being supremely confident, but given the real situation he was at best complacent. He like Hitler was a very poor military leader and had to be constantly checked by the likes of FM. Alan Brooke (GIGS) and before him, Dowding. Dowding had to fight churchill and risked his position because he refused to send fighters to France prior to the collapse. Had he been overruled by Churchill he might easly have lost the Battle of Britain. I believe Churchill eventually had him sacked precisely because he had defied him over sending those planes.

Take very careful note of the title - not the Battle of the RAF, but of Britain and that is an expression of the desperation of the situation as it was seen by people at the top in the summer of 1940. Read Bryant's Turn of the Tide and you will learn how the military was split after Dunkirk, with a considerable section convinced that focus should be directed towards the Middle East and let the UK fend for itself.

The scernarios I have presented show just how uncertain defence of Britain had become and newsreels were generated to try and keep the population satisfied that they were safe by showing how landings would be repelled by setting fire to petrol from static pipes in the sea. This is laughable, but it does go to show how desperate the situation was at the time. Some have bridled at my ridicule of the home guard, but in all honesty did the Volks-Wehr actually slow the advance into Germany? Bluster has it's place as the port bottle is passed and perhaps across the dispatch boxes in parliament, but whilst Herr Hitler was being ridiculed as a goose-stepping strutter who would be shown cold steel by the old guard, desperate measures were being put in place just in case he wasn't.

There is no way that Britain could survive after it had lost air superiority. All of world history shows how the most inventive strategists won the day. Success does not rely simply on tried and tested formulas, there is no set recipe for success in invasion. You have to catch your enemy with his pants down and pile eveything in, that includes decoys, feints and heavy force - force where he is least expecting it, or when he is at his weakest.

Churchill had everyone convinced that invasion would be repulsed and on balance that may have been true. But Hitler assuerd his people the same, yet the most powerful military force in European history which had been preparing for years was penetrated and eventally overcome and the only reason the landing in '44' was able to stick was air-power. Germany could barely put a plane into the air without losing it over the landing areas and beyond and it is for this reason alone she could not move her tanks. Had she been able to move tanks they would have cut the landing to ribbons. Given parity in air power on D-Day, the allied force probably would have been repulsed, even though the initial phase was successful.

The opening gambit in an air battle between equal forces is at first cautious and operations are more to do with probing the enemy's strength, finding his weaknesses and once you have intelligence on where your enemy concentrates his aircraft, you attempt a lightening strike to rob him of numbers on the ground. An advantage here will mean that he has to be defensive in the air. If you can keep your enemy on the defensive, you will likely defeat him.

If Germany was going to successfully invade Britain she would have to win the battle for the skies and that could only be made certain in a concerted attack which brought the RAF up in large numbers. It is clear that the German High Command knew the importance of air power for a successful landing, but the problem was they did not know how best to go about it. Goring had everyone convinced that air strikes alone would bring Britain to her knees and that was the biggest mistake of all time, though to be fair, this was the first time such an attempt had been made. As Galland said; the air battle should have been part of an invasion, then the RAF would have been forced to fight.

Vic

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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by lwd » Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:16 pm

Vic Dale wrote:...He like Hitler was a very poor military leader ...
Hitler is rather problematic. He made some leadership decisions that were quite good others just the opposite. His biggest problem seamed to be that he didn't take advice very well. Churchill however did. Both were distractable by hardware from what I've read. I wouldn't feel comfortable catagorizing either with such a simple evaluation as "very poor military leader"
Take very careful note of the title - not the Battle of the RAF, but of Britain and that is an expression of the desperation of the situation as it was seen by people at the top in the summer of 1940.
Alternatly Battle of the RAF simply doesn't scan as well. Since more than just the RAF was being attacked it might not have seamed the most accurate if it even occured to anyone. Churchills flare for the dramatic would hardly have settled for anything less dramatic than the BOB.
The scernarios I have presented show just how uncertain defence of Britain had become ...
Where are these scenarios? Certainly the ones you've presented here don't.
and newsreels were generated to try and keep the population satisfied that they were safe by showing how landings would be repelled by setting fire to petrol from static pipes in the sea. This is laughable, but it does go to show how desperate the situation was at the time.
Why do you find it laughable?
Some have bridled at my ridicule of the home guard, but in all honesty did the Volks-Wehr actually slow the advance into Germany?
In June of 40 the home guard were clearly not the strongest of military forces. Within a couple of months they were much stronger. Comparing them to the Volks-Wehr is also very misleading. I think you will find the latter were not as well equipped and faced much more formidable foes than the British would have faced in the fall of 40. Since the British regular forces would have outnumbered the invaders the HG would have been quite useful in many places.
...
There is no way that Britain could survive after it had lost air superiority.
Just because you refuse to acknowled reality doesn't mean it is any less real. In the absence of German air supremacy Germany had almost no chance of taking Britain out of the war and even had they achievd air supremacy it's far from certain they could have kept it for long enough to successfully invade Britain. Then of course there was the problem that the British could and indeed planned to deny Germany air supremacy.
All of world history shows how the most inventive strategists won the day.
That's another one that's very difficult to prove. Indeed I can think of a number of examples off the top of my head where it is not the case.
Success does not rely simply on tried and tested formulas, there is no set recipe for success in invasion.
Well there are some. For instance invading in the face of superior numbers on ground, sea, and air certainly invites defeat.
You have to catch your enemy with his pants down and pile eveything in, that includes decoys, feints and heavy force - force where he is least expecting it, or when he is at his weakest.
Not really. Look at some of the Pacfic invasions. Both sides knew what was coming and where.
Churchill had everyone convinced that invasion would be repulsed and on balance that may have been true. But Hitler assuerd his people the same,...
Note however that he convinced almost none of his higher military leaders and was not always so sanguine himself.
... the most powerful military force in European history which had been preparing for years was penetrated and eventally overcome and the only reason the landing in '44' was able to stick was air-power.
Hardly. Even without airpower the D-day invasion would likely have succeeded. It would likely have been more costly to both sides but the allies had an overwhelming force at the beach heads.
Germany could barely put a plane into the air without losing it over the landing areas and beyond and it is for this reason alone she could not move her tanks. Had she been able to move tanks they would have cut the landing to ribbons.
Tanks really don't fair all that well vs naval guns. Panzers counter attacking the beaches would have suffered severe attrition. Once they were gone the breakout would have been faster and easier.

The opening gambit in an air battle between equal forces is at first cautious and operations are more to do with probing the enemy's strength,
This hardly seams to apply to most of the Pacfic battles. Say for instance PH. Or the Marianas. or Midway. or Wake, or ....
... you can keep your enemy on the defensive, you will likely defeat him.
A bit of a tautology here. Although there are cases where even this is wrong. Say for instance the First Winter War.
... is clear that the German High Command knew the importance of air power for a successful landing, but the problem was they did not know how best to go about it. Goring had everyone convinced that air strikes alone would bring Britain to her knees and that was the biggest mistake of all time, though to be fair, this was the first time such an attempt had been made. As Galland said; the air battle should have been part of an invasion, then the RAF would have been forced to fight....
Even today none have really indicated a good way for the Germans to win. The RAF fought in sufficient numbers that they were winning the battle of attrition. Bringing more RAF fighters into the game would hardly help the Germans. An air battle as part of an invasion would invite the near complete destrution of the German nautical forces involved. The German military was simply not structured in such a way that a successful invasion was possible. If you think it was kindly give details on how it would go.

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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by Bgile » Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:48 pm

IIRC one Brooklyn CL broke up a German Armored assault on the beachhead at Anzio.

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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by Vic Dale » Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:10 pm

There is much about the Battle of Britain which is being skated over here.

Dowdings squadrons were permitting the bombers to bomb their targets and were hitting them on the way out. That is largely how the interceptions worked. This meant that the Fighter squadrons had more time in the air on contact with the enemy than if they had been flying standing patrols.

In an all out battle, dowding would not have been spared his respite, because his fighters would have had to protect ground and surface forces wherever they might come under attack once they entred the arena. That job would have stretched them to breaking point and it is one way the Luftwaffe would have had the advantage. They would have held the attacker's initiative and very soon the inequality of numbers would have worn the RAF down.

Heavy warships would not venture into an area which was not protected from the air, because if they did they risked being sunk for no gain, which with an empire to police is simply not an option.

I can see no way that ground and surface forces would be able to gain advantage without air cover, simply because they would not be able to move by day without suffering air attack. Ther is a logic or pattern to how an enemy marshalls his forces for attack and that is a dead giveaway as to the method most likely to succeed. Instead of attacking factories and cities the Luftwaffe would be attacking military targets, precisely what they were intended for.

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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by Bgile » Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:22 pm

CAP wasn't very good at stopping air attacks. By the time you could intercept the enemy he had usually already attacked the target. To stop an attack you have to be able to intercept the enemy before he gets there. That is why fleet air defense in the Pacific wasn't really effective until there were radar picket ships with air controllers aboard, many miles forward of the intended target of the Japanese attack. If you don't have that capability you have to rely on hurting the enemy so he eventually has to stop making the attacks because his losses are too great.

Because of this, the British navy would have suffered from German air attack, just as the German invasion force would have been absolutely slaughtered by a combination of air and naval attack and shore based artillery. Neither air force could be everywhere at once, either attacking or defending the other guy's naval forces.

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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by lwd » Tue Aug 19, 2008 1:38 am

Vic Dale wrote:There is much about the Battle of Britain which is being skated over here.
Again we find something to agree on.
Dowdings squadrons were permitting the bombers to bomb their targets and were hitting them on the way out. That is largely how the interceptions worked. This meant that the Fighter squadrons had more time in the air on contact with the enemy than if they had been flying standing patrols.
I'd like to see some substantiation of that. From what I recall reading the fighters were launched when an incoming raid was detected. For those that hit targets near the coast the intercepts may have taken place after the raid but that was not always the case and I suspect as the British intercept practice improved it happened with decreasing frequency.
In an all out battle, dowding would not have been spared his respite, because his fighters would have had to protect ground and surface forces wherever they might come under attack once they entred the arena. That job would have stretched them to breaking point and it is one way the Luftwaffe would have had the advantage. They would have held the attacker's initiative and very soon the inequality of numbers would have worn the RAF down.
You've got this exactly wrong. The LW would have first of all had to increse it's activity substantially hitting the ports and any naval assets in the area not to mention protecting both the mine laying and mine sweeping efforts of the KM. The RAF would still have had the advantage of it's radars and even if the intercepts were after the bombing the attrition among the bombers would have been severe. Then once the invasion fleet is launched the LW has to soften the invasion beaches, be prepaired to attack RN ships that threaten the invasion fleet, and protect the invasion fleet as well. Once (if) any troops land they also have close support requirements. The RAF on the other hand can concentrate on attriting the LW during the early phases. Note that during the BOB the LW fought mostly against one fighter group. The British would have been capable of committing at least 2 and at times more vs an invasion. Then there's the fact that the RN can start out of range of the LW and close on the invasion fleet at night (it's a real pain when your invasion fleet has a top speed of 6 knots and won't be able to make close to that due to sea and tide). They indeed have a decent chance of getting beyond easy intercept range before the LW can respond. And once troops are ashore the invasion fleet is fixed until they finish unloading (the Sea Lion plans called for 10 days to finish unloading the first wave and that was the optimistic figure).
Heavy warships would not venture into an area which was not protected from the air, because if they did they risked being sunk for no gain, which with an empire to police is simply not an option.
That's counter factual. They did on a number of occasions and the LW especially early in the war didn't have much of a record vs heavy warships. Again list the number of RN warships that were sunk while traveling >20 knots and with any significant amount of AA ammo on board. Hint it's not a very long list.
I can see no way that ground and surface forces would be able to gain advantage without air cover, simply because they would not be able to move by day without suffering air attack.
You are assuming that naval forces are much more vulnerable to air attack than they would have been and that the RN couldn't operate well at night. The LW would have flown itself into the ground trying to prevent both naval and land movement in and around Britain. They didn't have hear the strength that the allies had in 44. Furthermore the LW losses in taking out the RAF would have been prohibitive (since their correlation of forces was declining throughout the BOB) . Even without the RAF operational losses and AA fire would have attrited the LW even more.
Ther is a logic or pattern to how an enemy marshalls his forces for attack and that is a dead giveaway as to the method most likely to succeed. Instead of attacking factories and cities the Luftwaffe would be attacking military targets, precisely what they were intended for.
But military targets are harder and better defended in general again remember that the Stukas were withdrawn from over the channel due to prohibitive losses. They'd have had an even worse time over Britain especially as there was no way the LW could gain air supremacy. The best they could hope for was temporary air superiority.

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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by RF » Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:18 am

Bgile wrote:The US went to full mobilization for war as soon as it could be put in place ... Germany didn't. Rather odd in hindsight that the ones who really needed to didn't.
Germany didn't because the Nazies didn't want to cut out peacetime production and make the war unpopular - as happened in WW1.
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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by RF » Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:24 am

Vic Dale wrote: It is all too easy to take what was in time of war at face value. Churchill comes across as being supremely confident, but given the real situation he was at best complacent. He like Hitler was a very poor military leader.....

There is no way that Britain could survive after it had lost air superiority.

Vic
I don't think Churchill was a poor military leader at all. He was enthusiastic, but generally made the right strategic decisions.

Losing the Battle of Britain would not necessarily doom Britain to defeat - the Germans would still have to invade. I think an invasion attempt could have succeeded, but the most likely scenario is that the Germans would have botched it. And with no strategic heavy bomber force Britain could not have been bombed like Germany was 1943-1945.
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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by Bgile » Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:10 pm

I think that if it really looked like the UK was really going to lose the air war there would have been a huge migration of "volunteers" from the US Army Air Corps, along with their aircraft.

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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by Vic Dale » Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:25 pm

RF wrote:
Vic Dale wrote: It is all too easy to take what was in time of war at face value. Churchill comes across as being supremely confident, but given the real situation he was at best complacent. He like Hitler was a very poor military leader.....

There is no way that Britain could survive after it had lost air superiority.

Vic
I don't think Churchill was a poor military leader at all. He was enthusiastic, but generally made the right strategic decisions.

Losing the Battle of Britain would not necessarily doom Britain to defeat - the Germans would still have to invade. I think an invasion attempt could have succeeded, but the most likely scenario is that the Germans would have botched it. And with no strategic heavy bomber force Britain could not have been bombed like Germany was 1943-1945.

Hi RF

Your last line touches the root of my feelings about this. I don't think Hitler could have pulled it off. His miltary strategy was lack-lustre and he did not seem able to capitalise on any of his gains. He strangled his panzers and let the British army off the hook at Dunkirk - that was really smart.

I think his actions show a determined attitude. He wanted Britain either to capitulate, or to be invaded and overrun but the manner in which he prosecuted that aim doomed it to failure. The latter was the least favouravble and it is possible that the build-up was simply done to convince Britain, but with no real intention of using the forces. Possibly then, the concentration of invasion barges, was a show of strength, when precisely the opposite would be on the order books, for a successful invasion. Brauchitsch complained of lack of secrecy, lack of planning and a lack of logistical support, making invasion a doubtful prospect at the best.

From that perspective NO, Britian would not be successfully invaded, but that is a long way from saying that it could not be done and done using the forces available at the time.

A brief study of the naval situation at the time and the attitudes of the commanders in chief show that the weight of action against an invasion would have to be carried by the destroyers, since strategically placing cruisers and battleships would make them tempting targets, for U-Boats, E-boats and aircraft, attacks would be mounted to try and reduce their numbers and even specifically organised actions carried out, to try and get them.

Britain had 56 destroyers, though she had lost a number during the Dunkirk campaign and now had less than 50, they were a sizeable force, being fast and heavily armed, but it should be noted that air attacks on Dover had driven the Dover Command out and they now resided at Portsmouth. In the event that an invasion was imminent, the day-to-day routine of attacks on covnoys would be suspended and concerted attacks launched against warships in the Channel, and the North Sea. Air attacks would be carried out specifically against naval bases and anchorages, in the hope of further reducing enemy numbers.

With such a small Navy, Germany would need to concentrate effort against British naval assets and the RAF could be forced up to fight that way, but it is likely that the Admiralty would move it's ships right out of the areas effected and rely on the destroyer's speed, making it possible for them to intervene within the first 25 hours. The destroyer action would be a very bloody affair, but if the invasion included large numbers of decoys, effort would be diluted and this would lengthen the time during which they were subjected to air attack. One train of thought in the British Admiralty said that invasion should not necessarily be totally repulsed, but instead a landing could be permitted and then the forces attacked and reduced on land, whilst the navy concetrated on prventing resupply or the landing of a second wave. Invasion was a very real possibility.

The choke points at Dover/Calais and Cherbourg/Isle of Wight would be the places to concentrate U-boats and E-boats and if not actually to fill those points, to have the ability to get to them within a short time, so surface forces could be kept in reserve at French ports with U-Boats remaning on station.

Probing actions by the Parachute Brigades operating at company strength could be dropped in selected areas with a view to creating panic and distruption to communications, even destruction of batteries and fortifications where there was not liklely to be heavy resistance. The surprise element derived from focussing on areas over a wide stretch of the South Coast would permit men to get off the beaches by canoe or be taken off in E-boats once the job had been done. Intelligence could be gathered this way also. This element was completely missing from Hitler's campaign and once more reinforces the idea that he thought Britain would simply fall into his lap.

There were plenty of suitable landing beaches and harbours even, though Dover would remain the prize. A landing at Hastings or Rye for example, would establish the bridgehead from which to wheel round and take Dover. So the element of surprise could be available. After all, D-Day was a toss-up between Calais and Normandy, whilst Cherbourg was the prize. The first aim would be to gain an airfield, if not an existing one then an area of land which could be used for the Junkers Transports which would bring in men and anti tank guns. Armour and heavy transport would not become available until a suitable harbour had been taken.

The Luftwaffe would be carrying out lightening low-level raids on enemy airfields and military positions as well as shipping in and around the channel. RAF fighters would have to commit in large numbers or let the invasion pass and German fighters flying top and medium cover could pounce and take them out. It is Goering's insistence on high-level bombing raids which strangled the effectiveness of the Luftwaffe and the final straw came when he insisted that the fighters flew in close order with the bombers. The Luftwaffe was designed as a low level attack force for work in support of the army. It was long range artillery and would bring the enemy into range even before he had managed to get his forces into formation for attack.

Elements of the KM should have been regularly patrolling the Channel and ships of differing kinds sent out as feints to try and draw the RAF. Mock night invasions should have been organised so as to cause the enemy to become complacent and lull him into thinking that each new warning was just another scare, so that he would not be ready when the real invasion started. Again there was none of this type of activity, which would have provided good training for those involved.

Those who have written accounts of how Sea lion could not work are conststent in dealing with the action as it occurred, with the Germans commiting piecemeal and not using their forces in a combined attack. I believe that such an approach has led to a general complacency over the question of invasion - an event which was rightly being taken seriously in Whitehall among the British military estblishment. It was complacency which permitted the German army to circumvent the Maginot Line.

Vic

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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by lwd » Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:56 pm

Vic Dale wrote: .... He strangled his panzers and let the British army off the hook at Dunkirk - that was really smart.
It may have been the operational readiness rates of the panzer waffe was pretty low at that point. An immediate attack with the British supported by the fleet might well have been a disaster.
...He wanted Britain either to capitulate, or to be invaded and overrun but the manner in which he prosecuted that aim doomed it to failure.
He viewed Britain as a natural ally. He didn't expect them to keep fighting.
...A brief study of the naval situation at the time and the attitudes of the commanders in chief show that the weight of action against an invasion would have to be carried by the destroyers, since strategically placing cruisers and battleships would make them tempting targets, for U-Boats, E-boats and aircraft, attacks would be mounted to try and reduce their numbers and even specifically organised actions carried out, to try and get them.
While the anti invasion effort was initially planned to be mostly light forces it was because they didn't think more would be necessary. The Battle fleet could engage if required it just wouldn't be.
... but it should be noted that air attacks on Dover had driven the Dover Command out and they now resided at Portsmouth.
Your point is? You don't think they could easily intercept the invasion fleet from there? Portsmouth is actually closer to about half the invasion beaches.
Oh here's a naval OB from:
http://web.archive.org/web/200705040342 ... /seal1.htm
RN Kriegsmarine
5 capital ships 1 capital ship
11 cruisers 1 cruiser
53 destroyers 10 destroyers
23 destroyers on convoy duty 20-30 submarines
Note that it doesn't include the force at Gibralter or the RN submarine force.
In the event that an invasion was imminent, the day-to-day routine of attacks on covnoys would be suspended and concerted attacks launched against warships in the Channel, and the North Sea.
Just how much force do you think the British would have had in the Channel and North Sea that the LW could hit? Are they just going to have the LW sit around if they don't have any targets? If not how do they have the force to take something out. Sounds like a situation where the Britts could set up ambushes for the LW to me.
... if the invasion included large numbers of decoys, effort would be diluted and this would lengthen the time during which they were subjected to air attack.
You keep harping on decoys. They simply didn't have the shipping for decoys. From the site mentioned earlier by mid September the Germans had the following for transporation:
Eventually, 170 cargo ships, 1277 barges, and 471 tugs were gathered.
Now you want to use some of these as decoys? Note that each cargo ship lost a significant amount of their logistics capability whether it's a decoy or not.
...The choke points at Dover/Calais and Cherbourg/Isle of Wight would be the places to concentrate U-boats and E-boats and if not actually to fill those points, to have the ability to get to them within a short time, so surface forces could be kept in reserve at French ports with U-Boats remaning on station.
The channel was a potential death trap for the U-boats that couldn't get anywhere quickly. The E-boats couldn't get to the invasion fleet in time if they were being hit by the RN.
Probing actions by the Parachute Brigades operating at company strength could be dropped in selected areas with a view to creating panic and distruption to communications, even destruction of batteries and fortifications where there was not liklely to be heavy resistance.
Transport planes would be a prime target for surviving RAF fighters. There would hardly be much of a surprise and even the Home guard could defend fairly well vs paratroopers especially if they had taken heavy losses. The E-boats are going to be way to busy to be picking up paratroopers.
.. This element was completely missing from Hitler's campaign and once more reinforces the idea that he thought Britain would simply fall into his lap.
Actually I believe there was some thought to seizing an airfield or two ala Crete. Net results is by day two or three there is little likely hood that anything significant would have remained of the German paratroop force and the transport planes would also have been severely attrited.
...So the element of surprise could be available....
How? The preinvasion activity would pretty much give it away. Oh in case you didn't realize here's how the ground forces were stacking up in September:
Looking at Just 9th army from the previously quoted site:
In the immediate vicinity of 9 Army, the British had the following:
* 2 Territorial Divisions
* 1 Brigade from India
* 1 Brigade from new Zealand
* 1 Armoured Division
* 1 Canadian Division
* 1 Army Tank Brigade
And from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_ ... _of_battle here's what 9th Army would have looked like:
* 9.Armee — Generaloberst Adolf Strauss
First Wave
* XXVIII.Armee-Korps — General Erich von Manstein
o 26.Infanterie-Division
o 34.Infanterie-Division
* VII.Armee-Korps — General Walter Heitz
o 6.Gebirgs-Division
o 8.Infanterie-Division
o 28.Infanterie-Division
Second Wave
* XV.Armee-Korps — Generaloberst Hermann Hoth
o 4.Panzer-Division
o 7.Panzer-Division
o 20.Infanterie-Division (mot.)
Third Wave
* XXIV.Armee-Korps General Leo Freiherr Geyr von Schweppenburg
o 15.Infanterie-Division
o 78.Infanterie-Division
Of course the Germans planned on it taking 10 days to get the first wave completely ashore. Then going back for the second and third.
The Luftwaffe would be carrying out lightening low-level raids on enemy airfields and military positions as well as shipping in and around the channel. RAF fighters would have to commit in large numbers or let the invasion pass and German fighters flying top and medium cover could pounce and take them out.
You are neglecting the fact that the Germans would have to cover the invasion fleet during day light. If they committed all their fighters to this they couldn't have more than 1/3 of them over the invasion fleet at any one time but of course they had to support the bombers making raids as well. The net result is the first day the RAF can pick and choose when to attack and do so with overwhelming force.
It is Goering's insistence on high-level bombing raids which strangled the effectiveness of the Luftwaffe and the final straw came when he insisted that the fighters flew in close order with the bombers. The Luftwaffe was designed as a low level attack force for work in support of the army. It was long range artillery and would bring the enemy into range even before he had managed to get his forces into formation for attack.
Low level attacks vs an unsurpressed unsurprised defense leads to significant losses. That's why the JU-87 were pulled back from the "Channel Kampf"
Elements of the KM should have been regularly patrolling the Channel and ships of differing kinds sent out as feints to try and draw the RAF.
The Germans did plan on using their CL's and a few transports as a feint. However the British would probably have responeded with their battle fleet rather than the RAF
Mock night invasions should have been organised so as to cause the enemy to become complacent and lull him into thinking that each new warning was just another scare, so that he would not be ready when the real invasion started. Again there was none of this type of activity, which would have provided good training for those involved.
The problem with this sort of activity is that the British knew the Germans were relying on river barges for a large part of their transport. When your effective top speed is under 5 knots it's kind of difficult to make a confincing feint without taking some significant losses
Those who have written accounts of how Sea lion could not work are conststent in dealing with the action as it occurred, with the Germans commiting piecemeal and not using their forces in a combined attack. I believe that such an approach has led to a general complacency over the question of invasion - an event which was rightly being taken seriously in Whitehall among the British military estblishment. It was complacency which permitted the German army to circumvent the Maginot Line.
The Germans coldn't bring their entire force to the battle they simply did not have anywhere near the transport. Just how do you think the Germans could have committed their forces in a combined attack? Lets see some details not just hand waving and generalities.

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RF
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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by RF » Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:33 am

Vic Dale wrote:
Hi RF

Your last line touches the root of my feelings about this. I don't think Hitler could have pulled it off. His miltary strategy was lack-lustre and he did not seem able to capitalise on any of his gains. He strangled his panzers and let the British army off the hook at Dunkirk - that was really smart.

I think his actions show a determined attitude. He wanted Britain either to capitulate, or to be invaded and overrun but the manner in which he prosecuted that aim doomed it to failure. The latter was the least favouravble and it is possible that the build-up was simply done to convince Britain, but with no real intention of using the forces. Possibly then, the concentration of invasion barges, was a show of strength, when precisely the opposite would be on the order books, for a successful invasion. Brauchitsch complained of lack of secrecy, lack of planning and a lack of logistical support, making invasion a doubtful prospect at the best.

Vic
Hitler was not determined at the time - June/July 1940 - at all. He basked in the glory of defeating France and vacillated over what to do about Britain, in fact it was about his most indecisive action of WW2. The first paragraph in the quote is correct, and I basically go along with the analysis about the prospects of invasion in the rest of your post. In fact it does pose an interesting thought - if Eisenhower was in command of the German forces in the early summer of 1940, could he have made an invasion of Britain succeed?
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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