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

lwd
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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by lwd » Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:07 pm

No the question is can the Germans mount a credible invasion force. Describe when and where and we can go from there. In the event of no invasion no force is required. Time to put up or shut up. So far you have contributed nothing in the way of sources or hard data. Time to do so.

Vic Dale
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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by Vic Dale » Fri Aug 22, 2008 8:19 pm

I hope everyone takes full note of the tone of LWD's contribution and the low-life language he thinks he can use against me. I take exception to this sort of abuse. I do not use it on others and I expect in turn to be able to contribute to these discussions without it

LWD clearly can't find an answer to my simple question and that clearly has angered him so I will help him out.

Germany was not without landing craft, she simply didn't have enough such craft or craft of the right type to make a forceful landing with armoured strength in the summer of 1940. Sealion intended attacks against targets from Ventnor in the Isle of Wight to Ramsgate and beyond, with heavy armour support. If armour, transport and sufficient numbers of men could have been got across the Channel then they would have been able to roll toward London to storm it or surround and seige it.

In the abscence of suitable craft to get the armour across, it would be necessary to settle for a different type of landing, one which would get sufficient men across the Channel to secure and hold one or two ports and for this I suggest 20,000 men in 10 separate landing areas, so as not to provide the enemy with a concentrated force. The main targets would be beaches to the east and west of Rye and Folkstone Harbours and possibly even as far west as Hastings.

Paratroops would be dropped during the night before the invasion with a view to disrupting enemy communications and knocking out batteries and pilboxes from behind. They would then fall back on designated concentration areas and their actions coordinated to meet up with the invasion proper.

The first wave of the invasion would land just just about dawn and be part of a whole array of activity to include air strikes on airfields and selected miltary targets enemy vessels and anchorages. Feint-landings would approach shores as far afield as Suffolk, and even Scotland with shore bombardments by heavy and medium units of the KM. The aim is to deny the enemy knowledge of where the actual invasion will go ashore until the last minute.

As soon as the secrecy element has been rumbled by disembarkation of troops, all force from Luftwaffe units and naval forces within reach should concentrtate effort to protect the landing.

The landings themselves of 2,000 infantry each should fight their way inland and wheel east and concentrate in order to be able to fall onto Rye and Folkstone with the aim of securing and holding them. If it appeared that the infantry was becoming overstretched then Folkstone should be abandoned and all force concentrated on Rye and the surrounding area.

This would provide a useful harbour for the disembarkation of stores and later, transport and armour and at this stage most importantly flat landing areas for air transports to bring in more troops and to eastablish advanced fighter squadrons.

The enemy could be expected to fight back and the Luftwaffe would be tasked with suppressing RAF attacks, protecting the airfields and preventing enemy destroyers from approaching the harbours. Enemy ground forces should be expecting an advance on their positions, but possibly a lateral movement of German troops to the harbours would not be expected and might not be seen until too late. Such a movement would also facilitate flanking maneovres.

Second and third waves landing would concentrate where the first waves were due to establish positions and firmly secure the harbours. Once sufficient ground force had been esatblished a defensive ring should be built up so as to hold against an enemy assault. And all seaborn activity concentrated on the harbours.

The RAF could be expected to commit heavily, but experience in other landings (with hind-sight) show that this is not necessarily the case and that the aIr element could be held in reserve ready for the breakout. This would buy valuable time to firmly establish the landing and bolster numbers even further.

The aim would be a for a steady build-up of force eventually including armour and heavy transport brought in by ship, once the issue of air cover had been resolved. At given junctures according to how the invasion force is built up, attempts to breakout and establish further positions would be made so as to eventually hold army groups with their full compliment of heavy and medium armour and transport ready for the assault on London.

There should be no hurry about this build-up, since the weather would not be a great problem. If it took until spring 1941 to fully complete the build up of necessary force, that could be sustained. The reich had taken control of important industrial centres in the occupied countries and they would eventually be supplying vast amounts of hardwear for the army.

Vic

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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by Bgile » Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:56 pm

Vic,

You are proposing to land troops more or less equivalent to the US effort at Omaha Beach. Did the Germans really have transport capable of putting that many troops on a beach at that point in the war?

Also, you are violating the principle of concentration of force. Any local counterattack is likely to wipe out any one of your small beachheads.

more later ...

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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by iankw » Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:20 am

Having stated the general principles of winning any battle, are you going to give any details? The paratroops for instance - it seems they know the area better than the troops stationed there, since they are going to destroy pillboxes and disrupt the communications that they know all about, and they do this at night too! Let us remember also that road signs had been removed by this stage, presumably to make such an operation harder! In the beginning it was to be a landing with heavy force, which now boils down to 10 packets of 2000 troops with no armour or artillery. Once again the LW are multitasking whilst the RAF have switched off all the early warning radar and sit waiting for the sound of German engines.

I have seen nothing that answers any of lwd's questions in anything other than general terms, especially re the roll of the LW and the losses it can expect to take - to many sixes Vic. It would only need one day of rough weather over France and the RAF and RN would obliterate your invasion totally. I don't think any reasoning CinC would take such a ridiculous risk. If I am wrong please supply some detailled answers to the questions lwd has asked.

Frustrated of Rotherham!! (Ian)

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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by Vic Dale » Sat Aug 23, 2008 2:44 am

Hi Ian.

I have only dealt with the simple question of numbers and objectives, because that is what I calculated could reasonably be put ashore using the resources which were and would be available by the end of August. The landing should neccesarily be diffuse so that the RAF would not have a clear target, concentration is set for the second phase after the troops have left the beach. The aim being to conceal the main objective until it is almost within grasp.

I have also left a clear margin for unexpected losses by permitting Folkstone to be ignored and for concentration on Rye alone, should that become necessary. In the event that bot harbours were reached prior to feeling over stretched then the force should fall back on Folkstone and allow the recapture of Rye.

Paratroops are expected to be able to find their way by compass over country so road signs are ruled out as a problem. Luftwaffe over-flight would identify likely targets, which even if they turned out to be decoys would give valuable information to the invasion force. Also, the continuation of this type of action would serve as on the job training for inexperienced paratroops ready for the breakout planned for later.

The Luftwaffe would be tasked as I said, for strikes against enemy vessels and ground forces. They would fly low level attacks obviating the need for escort and this would also keep them relatively safe from flak. The fighter arm would then be free to concentrate effort against any attempts by the RAF to bomb or straffe positions held by the invasion force. If the RAF commited in strength then the Battle of Britain would be fought in the skys at that point, but largely over Geman held territory, so the RAF would be lucky to get their pilots back, whereas the German pilots could be recycled after surviving being shot down. At the very least the biggest imbalance in the Battle of Britain - loss of german pilots - would be evened out.

As far as aerial combat is concerned I would be hoping for heavy commitment on the part of the RAF, so that my preponderance in aircraft numbers, better tactics and greater numbers of experienced pilots would come into effect. However, I would not necessasrily expect this and if I didn't get it then the air attacks would be lessened, giving my ground forces a better chance.

Each new development of the invasion would demand fresh action by the enemy and whilst the first and second waves were making their way toward the harbours, ships carying many more troops plus anti-tank weapons would be waiting ready to go in and disembark them, once the harbours had been secured. There is no possiblity of doing any of this without incurring heavy losses, but that would not be a problem provided the losses could be made up and I think they could. There were hundreds of thousands of battle hardened troops already in France, with their equipment, the only factor lacking for a successful invasion was landing craft and this scenario is expected to compensate for that because of it's limited aims in the short term bulding to full scale capability in the long term.

If you have to move a railway truck it is easy enough if you have locomotive. If you have no locomotive, you need to get a pinch-bar under one wheel and move it slowly.

Yes, weather can wreck any invasion, Suppose the panzers had been made available on D-Day and the allies took heavy losses, the breakdown of the weather which wrecked Mulberry A might have had a decisive effect.

From the British side it seems the intention was for troops to be stationed around the coasts, so as to throw any invasion attempt back into the sea. However, I have a bit of fore knowledge to play on and that is that Montgomery had the Southeastern command and tended to keep the main body of his troops concentrated far back so as to be able to move up rapidly to intervene in force wherever the invasion mainfested itself. I have advanced knowledge as I say, but all that would be seen was a lack of resistance at the coast where I would have expected some, so in that event the first phase might go better than planned. However, taking account of the contrary situation, my forces would encounter stiff resistance and the Luftwaffe would have to play it's role to the hilt in preparing our ground.

This phase of the operation is to take and hold two harbours and penetrate to a depth of about 20 miles.

If the invasion held initially, then I think the enemy's strategy would base itself on decisive defeat during the breakout. I would expect heavy build-up in and around London and that would take resources away from attacking my forces hedghogged on the southcoast. A succession of feint landings around the Kent coast and perhaps elsewhare, might prevent the enemy concentrating in my area.

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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by lwd » Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:15 am

Not a lot of time tonight and you are still pretty short on details but
Vic Dale wrote:.... Sealion intended attacks against targets from Ventnor in the Isle of Wight to Ramsgate and beyond, with heavy armour support.
Take a look at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_ ... _of_battle
Do you see any armored units? Especially in the first wave. As far as I know the German plan was to sieze a port before landing any significant amount of armor. Even the infantry units planned to leave a lot of their transport and artillery for later waves if I remember correctly.
In the abscence of suitable craft to get the armour across, it would be necessary to settle for a different type of landing, one which would get sufficient men across the Channel to secure and hold one or two ports and for this I suggest 20,000 men in 10 separate landing areas, so as not to provide the enemy with a concentrated force. The main targets would be beaches to the east and west of Rye and Folkstone Harbours and possibly even as far west as Hastings.
I'm pretty sure the British were prepared to wreck the ports before they allowed them to be captured. If that happens your 20,000 men are going to be in deep trouble.
...[/quote]
When is this attack going to take place?
Where are they going to launch from?
Note that British radar would spot the paratroopers coming in. They might not be able to do much about it but the ground forces would be on alert before the paratroopers dropped. Also night drops of paratroopers were not known for their accuracy.

More later.

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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by Vic Dale » Sat Aug 23, 2008 1:32 pm

Radar would not spot paratroopers. They would spot planes yes, but they would not know what they contained and by the time they couild react, the men would be on the ground. I did not envisage deep penetrations for these formations. I am surprised that more operations of this type were not carried out during the summer of 1940 - the fear value alone would have been incalculable and the experience gained about what to expect in the English countryside would have been very useful too. I used to know a submariner, who had been part of combined operations and he was frequently dropped behind enemy lines to conduct exactly the kind of operation I have outlined. They had to play it all by ear and despite early cock-ups became very proficient saboteurs in readiness for D-Day. He began his first operations in 1940 in Norway.

I have not fully developed the extent of the Paratroop operations, since to do this for all aspects of the operation would require about five chapters in a sizeable book. Very difficult to condense into a page of this forum. So forgive me if I present things piecemeal. I would deploy paratroops in selected areas, to establish anti tank batteries using the Pak 36 which could be brought in by glider. This operation would need to be delayed until the perimiter was secured, but it would make for quick deployment of anti-tank batteries instead of lugging them up by hand from the beach. Other equipment such as mortars and ammunition could aso be dropped by parachute at night inside the perimeter. Very quickly, what began as a purley infantry invasion would have all the accoutriments of a reasonably well equipped army, for strong defence at least.

With regard to radar, I have deliberately left this out, since WE know the significance of these installations but the nazis seemed content to largely ignore them. If their significance had been fully realised, they could have been included in the paratroop attacks.

I am trying to avoid as far as possible, taking advantage of hindsight and instead going with what was known or available, or what could have been made availabe at the time.

The original German plan did include armour in the first wave, because of the need to carry the blitzkrieg tactics to the enemy and catch him off guard and had someone like Manstein beeen running the show without Hitler's interference and without Goering's inflated views on the capabilities of his air-arm, he would have made damned sure that ships were converted in sufficient numbers to carry it and that the Luftwaffe was properly tasked to protect them.

Ifs and Ands;

My intention here is to show simply that a landing could have been carried out on a much smaller scale in terms of objectives than might been envisaged for Sea Lion. Concentration with heavy force on a limited front employing the full weight of the luftwaffe would be very difficult to crack - not impossible, but very difficult - and the condition of the British army, in terms of equipment and morale after Dunkirk would not have helped.

Concentration areas for the landing vessels would be from Cherbourg to Rotterdamm. The ships were quite safe, since the RAF during the summer of 1940 rarely ventured across the Channel, for fear of incurring irreplaceable losses, when the final battle might be brewing. Recconnaisance flights will have revealed the build-up, as they actually did, though little was done about it.

The British most certainly would have tried to destroy their harbours before a landing, but just like the bridges, they were taken and taken intact in many cases. It all depends on the element of surprise. If you think about it, a series of convincing feint attacks could have wiped out all of Britain's harbours as an edgy enemy blew them up to prevent capture. Incidentally, bringing down a bridge with explosives is a different matter to trying to destroy a harbour. Generally all that can be done is to use blockships, but they have to be got to location and once there usually only last a few days. Harbours are very difficult things to destroy.

Vic

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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by Bgile » Sat Aug 23, 2008 1:58 pm

There is quite a difference between dropping an English paratroop on the French or Norwegian countryside and doing the same with a German in the English countryside. Survival is much more likely in one case than in the other.

Paratroops are often dropped miles from their intended zone. There is no certainty that supplies or weapons or whatever will get dropped in the same place. Almost impossible actually if done at night. You stand a chance when it is a division drop zone and you control a large area, but even then it's very hard. If you are in a very small area you might as well forget it.

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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by lwd » Sat Aug 23, 2008 2:36 pm

Vic Dale wrote:... They would spot planes yes, but they would not know what they contained and by the time they couild react, the men would be on the ground.
As you say they would spot the planes. Once spotted they would track them and alert the defenses. If the planes happened to pass over any AA positions they would be alert and at significant risk given that they would be flying low and slow. Night bombing raids were notoriously inaccurate so these planes approaching southern England wouldn't have made much sense as a bombing raid the other option is a paratroop drop. Combined with likely intelligence from Ultra and agents in Europe the paratroop drop is not going to be a huge surprise and the beach invasions even less so.
... I am surprised that more operations of this type were not carried out during the summer of 1940 - the fear value alone would have been incalculable and the experience gained about what to expect in the English countryside would have been very useful too.
Why throw away expensive and scarce elite troops, air transport, and naval assets. After the first few British moral would likely have gone up and the experience in the English countryside would have been useless.
I used to know a submariner, who had been part of combined operations and he was frequently dropped behind enemy lines to conduct exactly the kind of operation I have outlined. They had to play it all by ear and despite early cock-ups became very proficient saboteurs in readiness for D-Day. He began his first operations in 1940 in Norway.
There's a big difference between England vs Norway or France. In England every hand would be turned against you where in Norway or France active help was often available.
I have not fully developed the extent of the Paratroop operations, since to do this for all aspects of the operation would require about five chapters in a sizeable book.
How about just numbers. Planes, troops, and landing points. Very difficult to condense into a page of this forum. So forgive me if I present things piecemeal. I would deploy paratroops in selected areas, to establish anti tank batteries using the Pak 36 which could be brought in by glider. This operation would need to be delayed until the perimiter was secured, but it would make for quick deployment of anti-tank batteries instead of lugging them up by hand from the beach. Other equipment such as mortars and ammunition could aso be dropped by parachute at night inside the perimeter. Very quickly, what began as a purley infantry invasion would have all the accoutriments of a reasonably well equipped army, for strong defence at least.
[/quote]
If you do it during daylight your run a severe risk of loosing the transports and the equipment if you do it at night you are more likely to land the gliders and other equipment in the ocean or British occupied area than anywhere near where you want it.
[googler
The original German plan did include armour in the first wave, because of the need to carry the blitzkrieg tactics to the enemy and catch him off guard and had someone like Manstein beeen running the show without Hitler's interference and without Goering's inflated views on the capabilities of his air-arm, he would have made damned sure that ships were converted in sufficient numbers to carry it and that the Luftwaffe was properly tasked to protect them.
[/quote]
First of all you said heavy armor. The Germans didn't really have any at this point in time. From what I've read they did have some PZ I or IIs scheduled to go ashore early. Not much to make any sort of extended armored thrust though. When are you going to convert the ships? how? Have you calculated the lift requirements of armor vs infantry? In the Sea Lion plan I believe that some of the barges were to be converted for vehicle shipment but those aren't going to be available in the Summer of 40 and the rest depended on capturing a functional port (which the British would not allow) or getting a sabotaged one functional again (something that would likely have taken months).
My intention here is to show simply that a landing could have been carried out on a much smaller scale in terms of objectives than might been envisaged for Sea Lion. Concentration with heavy force on a limited front employing the full weight of the luftwaffe would be very difficult to crack - not impossible, but very difficult - and the condition of the British army, in terms of equipment and morale after Dunkirk would not have helped.
Certainly a landing could have been attempted and a few troops gotten ashore. But this is of little utility. In this scenario the LW is in worse shape than in the BOB. They have to support the beach head in the face of what will be a growing AA presence. They have to put a lot of pressure on the RN again in the face of heavy AA fire. They have to attack numerous targets in the South of England again many of them will be defended. They also have to contend with the RAF. Since they were loosing just contending with one fighter command group fighting more while contending with a higher optempo and greater exposure to AA fire is unlikely to improve their position.
Concentration areas for the landing vessels would be from Cherbourg to Rotterdamm. The ships were quite safe, since the RAF during the summer of 1940 rarely ventured across the Channel, for fear of incurring irreplaceable losses, when the final battle might be brewing. Recconnaisance flights will have revealed the build-up, as they actually did, though little was done about it.
The RAF destroyed 10% of the invasion fleet hisorically. They also mined the likely routes out of the harbors allong with the RN of course.
... Generally all that can be done is to use blockships, but they have to be got to location and once there usually only last a few days. Harbours are very difficult things to destroy...
Harbors may be but ports aren't and the Germans need functional ports. Destroy the cranes and the port becomes marginally functional. Destroy the piers and it's pretty much non functional. Clearing block ships also takes considerable skill and equipment which the Germans didn't have in abundance and which was non trivial to get to England especially without a port.

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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by lwd » Sat Aug 23, 2008 2:48 pm

Vic Dale wrote:..The landing should neccesarily be diffuse so that the RAF would not have a clear target, ...
The RAF would not be targeting the troops. It's targets would be the LW and as a secondary target the German naval assets.
..
Paratroops are expected to be able to find their way by compass over country so road signs are ruled out as a problem.
For a compass to be useful you first have to know where you are.
.. They would fly low level attacks obviating the need for escort and this would also keep them relatively safe from flak.
While this keeps them safe from heavy flak it makes them vulnerable to light AA and rifle fire. Low level attacks were judged to be very dangerous by the allied air forces even late in the war.
... If the RAF commited in strength then the Battle of Britain would be fought in the skys at that point, but largely over Geman held territory, so the RAF would be lucky to get their pilots back, whereas the German pilots could be recycled after surviving being shot down. At the very least the biggest imbalance in the Battle of Britain - loss of german pilots - would be evened out.
Hardly. The fighting over the beachheads would be more over British territory than German and any German pilot landing in German controlled territory in Britain is out of the fight for a while if not the war.
As far as aerial combat is concerned I would be hoping for heavy commitment on the part of the RAF, so that my preponderance in aircraft numbers, better tactics and greater numbers of experienced pilots would come into effect...
The tactical factors should give the RAF a numerical advantage in most of the fights.
Each new development of the invasion would demand fresh action by the enemy and whilst the first and second waves were making their way toward the harbours, ships carying many more troops plus anti-tank weapons would be waiting ready to go in and disembark them, once the harbours had been secured. There is no possiblity of doing any of this without incurring heavy losses, but that would not be a problem provided the losses could be made up and I think they could. There were hundreds of thousands of battle hardened troops already in France, with their equipment, the only factor lacking for a successful invasion was landing craft and this scenario is expected to compensate for that because of it's limited aims in the short term bulding to full scale capability in the long term.
Landing craft weren't the only limiting factor. Sea lift was another major one and if you have ships waiting outside the ports it's going to become even more limited extremely quickly. Then there is also the limited number of KM assets available and again this will spend them quickly.
...This phase of the operation is to take and hold two harbours and penetrate to a depth of about 20 miles.
How long do you think it would take? You also don't have enough troops.

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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by lwd » Sat Aug 23, 2008 2:49 pm

Vic Dale wrote:...
The enemy could be expected to fight back and the Luftwaffe would be tasked with suppressing RAF attacks, protecting the airfields and preventing enemy destroyers from approaching the harbours. ...
They couldn't do this at Dunkirk why do you think they could do it in England?

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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by Vic Dale » Sat Aug 23, 2008 10:18 pm

It isn't the case that the Luftwaffe couldn't prevent the destroyers doing their job at Dunkirk. We know the enemy was not commited to stopping the retreat.

So you've hit the nail on the head at last - the RAF would be forced to fight over the sea and the losses in experienced pilots would be equalled out. That is where I have wanted the RAF, committed to stopping the invasion and that is where the Battle of Britain should have been fought.

Yes it could go either way, but that is the whole point with invasions - nobody knows the outcome until the battle is finished.

Anyone can navigate their way to a coast with a compass. If you have been dropped in Southern England head south - you'll get there. The difficulties of paratroops navigating their way to their own lines would be no greater than at any other time on the advance through France and the low-lands. Southern England is a patchwork of fields and maps can be made from photographs. These will show you exactly where you are.

If the tactical situation was going to give the British preponderance, why did Dowding fight a defensive battle and not commit in strength? Dowding was able to allow the German bombers to hit their targets and then get them on the way back when fighters tasked for support would be low on fuel and the RAF fighter squadrons would be freshly fuelled and on the hunt. In the invasion situation, Dowding would have no choice but to intercept bombers on the way in and the escorting fighters flying top and medium cover would be ready to pounce.

At Dieppe 2 years later, the British tried to get the Luftwaffe to commit full scale in order to try and gain air superiority, but the Germans did not commit at that stage and the British lost over 1000 aircraft to flak and interception during that summer. For the same reasons I have doubts as to whether the RAF would commit. If they didn't, the invasion would pass relatively unmolested, if they did commit, the luftwaffe would get the chance it had always wanted. RAF losses during the retreat through France exceeded those of the Luftwaffe. That is why Dowding refused to send planes and pilots to France even against Churchill's promise to the French to the contrary.

A major factor in all this is to present the RAF with an inescapable task and then to hammer them if they try to carry it out. If they let the threat pass you get off scott free, if they fight it out then you can have decision in the skies and on more equal terms than Goering was prepared to settle for.

Because the RAF targets would be within the landing areas and the perimiter of German operations the air battles would be concentrated over German held ground. German strikes against shipping and ground units would be low-level operations over a wide area requiring no escort and would be relaively safe from flak. That is largely how the luftwaffe was designed and was not intended for high level bombing.

The RAF bombers would not find clearly identifiable targets on land, until the armour and motor transport was landed. It is possible then that they would be kept in reserve until they were needed. Their only targets would be at sea, which by the time of the invasion would be concentrated in a relatively small area. Attacking aircraft would be very visible and their quest all too obvious. Bombers would be attacked and shot down unless covered by heavy fighter support, they would also encounter heavy flak from portable units supplied to the invasion vessels themselves in large numbers.

You say I have not enough men- 20,000 to secure and hold a 20 miles wide and 20 miles deep pocket, plus heavy air cover and paratroop battalions, glider-born anti tank battle groups - and with the certainty of reinforcement in coming hours and days???

What more do we need? If you think there is a deficiency, I will look at it again and I reserve the right to insert what is needed - provided it is available in the general scenario of late a August 1940.

I have calculated for both dispersed enemy defence and for Montgomery's concentrated positoning, ready for rapid deployment. In the first scenario moderate resistance would be encountered especially after a pounding from the luftwaffe, but if this reduced numbers of my troops significantly the operation can be scaled down to focus on just one harbour. If the second scenario applies relatively little resistance would be encountered initially and greater reliance would be placed on the Luftwaffe to keep Montgomery's head down, hopefully for long enough to get the anti-tank companies in place.

Time scales.

I would expect the troops to be ashore and engaging enemy positions within the first 2 hours. The concentration of troops after this phase will give an idea of casualties and reserve strength for proceeding to the next phase; attacking the harbours. The troop pockets landed close to the harbours should be able to get in close contact with those enemy positions quite quickly after landing, so an early estimate of likely opposition can be made and sufficient numbers of troops deployed to take them.

Rye is not a good harbour, so it is likely that it would not be as heavily defended as Folkstone. If strong oppositon is encountered at Folkstone and it is thought unlikely to be taken without incurring casualties which could seriously effect the outcome of the operation, then Folkstone would be abandoned and strength concentrated on Rye. Either way, the one or both objectives should be secured by the day's end and link-up with the advanced paratroop battalions should create a boundary extending 20 miles inland.

The anti-tank companies would come in that night and set up the defensive ring ready for an armoured counter attack. Luftwaffe suppression should keep enemy armoured brigades out far enough to prevent them reaching attack positions before dawn, whereupon they would come under further air attack. In the event that the Luftwaffe failed or partly failed in this, it would be essential for the anti-tank companies to be in place ready to deal with them, so the gliders would have to go in as soon after dark as possible. All serviceable roads should between identified armour battalions and the perimeter should be heavily bombed and with a number of delayed fuse bombs. This should cause the tanks to move over country thus slowing their advanace.

When the perimeter has been secured, suitable airfields should be identified, cleared and flarepaths arranged so that Junkers transports could begin bringing in supplies and reinforcements by night. The actual timing of this part of the operation would depend on what condition the fields were in. Until the fields were cleared and made safe for landings, supply would have to rely on parachute drops. This method is actually quicker than landing supplies but it would present a problem for getting additional men into the area. To this end it might be considered necessary to give parachute training to normal infantry battalions in advance of the invasion.

As soon as the harbour has been made ready, the first large sea transports will move up to begin transferring 100 of tons of supplies and specialist army detachments. The build-up can now begin.

Vic

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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by Bgile » Sat Aug 23, 2008 11:08 pm

Well Vic, Dieppe didn't go all that well, did it? It gives some idea of how a German invasion of England would have gone, only the result would have been even worse.

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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by Vic Dale » Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:36 pm

I have put three times as many men into the breech and they are supported by very heavy air cover, with a view to reinforcing them within hours and in the coming days eventually bringing in armoured brigades.

Dieppe was doomed from the start due to lack of security, and lack of an idea of lasting beyond just a few days. The RAF lost more than 1000 aircraft over Northern France that summer, trying to gain superiority in much the same way as Goering between the 1st of July and September 15th 1940. Oddly this failed air-battle has not found it's way into the annals of air History as the Battle of Britain has, yet the aircraft and pilot losses are about equal.

The RAF did succeed in forcing the Luftwaffe to engage all out at Dieppe and though it lost twice the number of aircraft as the enemy (170 vs 340) it managed to protect the beaches from air attack during the landing and the period after. With no objective beyond a simple landing, Dieppe was doomed to fail - withdrawal was incorporated into the plan.

Taking and holding a beach is a very dangerous undertaking, because it presents a concentrated target in an easily recognised area. In this operation, the troops are expected to land and get off the beaches asap and having moved inland, to wheel left and attack the enemy in his flanks, then to make for the harbours. Bombing attacks on the harbours once secured would be expected, but it is a very difficult job destroying a harbour. The enemy would need to concentrate on the ships and they would be literally plastered with flak batteries of their own, leaving the Luftwaffe to protect an outer ring through which the RAF would have to fly in order to reach their targets, then having survived that they would be at the mercy of concentrated flak. The aim would be the reduction of the RAF by attacking them on the way in and on the way back from their targets. For every ship which entered the port with supplies, five other empty vesels would be remin off shore, presenting attractive and more easily attacked targets, in the hope of drawing the pilots towards the softer option. These ships would still be bristling with guns, but the pilots would only have to contend wiuth them and not the combined weight of the ships in the harbour and the flak which would begin to spring up as the hours and days passed.

From what was shown at Dieppe, possibly the RAF would commit and given the lack of experienced pilots as compared to the Luftwaffe this might well tip the scales.

There is another variant which needs addressing, and that is aircraft production. In order to meet the need this would have to be stepped up, in contrast to the lack-lustre attitude of Hitler and his chums who did nothing to produce the numbers. If things had gone on as they were going in 1940, without the Battle of Britain, Britain would eventually have outmatched Germany for aircraft numbers. Another failure for Hitler.

I don't propose anything different than equal production figures, though I believe Germany held the ascendency in production capacity at that time.

The navy would have to send destroyers into the invasion to try and disprupt the flow of supplies and reinforcements, but that would require steaming through freshly sewn minefields between Cherbourg/Wight/Portsmouth and in the Dover Straits and also running the gauntlet of E-Boats by night and aircraft by day. In desperation to prevent them getting near the harbours and supply ships they would be targetted by bomb and torpedo attacks and in all honesty I can't see them getting through. They certainly would not be able to wait on station for an invasion to develop and their anchorages would come under repeated attack in the run up to invasion driving them farther North or West. Even this action, if it didn't sink them, it would cause them damage and reduce some of their punch. Some would have to be recycled for repair.

The Kreigsmarine would most certainly be tasked to conduct diversionary operations during July and Agust, nuisance raids, in order to try and draw off as many of the enemy's ships as possible in the northern sectors. If the Luftwaffe had managed to drive the destroyers north during those two months and the KM stepped up it's own activity, the Admiralty might - MIGHT - be tempted to try and hunt the enemy units down. This would be more likely if the complacent attitude about invasion expressed in some quarters held sway. The destroyers in that event would be drawn farther away and be less able to intervene during the most critical phase of the operation - getting the troops ashore.

Vic

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Re: New Poll: critical moment for Germany

Post by lwd » Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:35 pm

Vic Dale wrote:It isn't the case that the Luftwaffe couldn't prevent the destroyers doing their job at Dunkirk. We know the enemy was not commited to stopping the retreat.
Because the army wasn't bent on destroying the BEF doesn't mean the LW wasn't trying as hard as they reasonably could. Looking at the wiki article at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of ... _Countries
During the Dunkirk battle the Luftwaffe flew 1,882 bombing and 1,997 fighter sweeps.

Looks to me like they were trying pretty hard.
So you've hit the nail on the head at last - the RAF would be forced to fight over the sea and the losses in experienced pilots would be equalled out. That is where I have wanted the RAF, committed to stopping the invasion and that is where the Battle of Britain should have been fought.
I see no reason why the losses would even out. British pilots would either be over or close to friendly soil and if the RAF commited them in major raids vs the invasion force they would outnumber the LW. The LW is highly unlikly given their performance in the BOB to gain assendancy over the RAF in time to save the invasion force.
...Anyone can navigate their way to a coast with a compass. If you have been dropped in Southern England head south - you'll get there. The difficulties of paratroops navigating their way to their own lines would be no greater than at any other time on the advance through France and the low-lands. Southern England is a patchwork of fields and maps can be made from photographs. These will show you exactly where you are.
Navigating to the coast is not the problem. The problem is navigating to the objective then navigating to the pickup point within a reasonable time frame.
If the tactical situation was going to give the British preponderance, why did Dowding fight a defensive battle and not commit in strength? Dowding was able to allow the German bombers to hit their targets and then get them on the way back when fighters tasked for support would be low on fuel and the RAF fighter squadrons would be freshly fuelled and on the hunt. In the invasion situation, Dowding would have no choice but to intercept bombers on the way in and the escorting fighters flying top and medium cover would be ready to pounce.
You keep saying that the tactic of attacking the bombers on the way home was a deliberate one. Can you document it? Even if it was given that the LW must maintain a CAP over the invasion fleet if the RAF decides to attack it can attack there with numerical superiority. If the Invasion fleet is destroyed or heavily damaged the invasion fails no matter what the LW bombers do. If the British decide to attack the bombers on the way in there is nothing to prevent them from attacking in waves. Also note that what you are describing as far as escorts go was not LW doctrine at the time. They did the same thing the allies did initially and practiced a close escort policy. There goes your height advantage. Note that the wave effect was also one of the problems the LW had. The spitfires often got there first and tangled with the LW fighters leaving the follow up fighters often Hurricanes a free run (or at least a less impeded one) at the LW bombers.
At Dieppe 2 years later, the British tried to get the Luftwaffe to commit full scale in order to try and gain air superiority, but the Germans did not commit at that stage and the British lost over 1000 aircraft to flak and interception during that summer.
They didn't need the LW to commit to gain air superiority. Note also the losses to flak above. The LW is going to be in a similar or perhaps worse postion attacking the RN and targets in Britain in support of the invasion.
For the same reasons I have doubts as to whether the RAF would commit.
Why? The invasion means the game is for all the marbles. That's why Dowding held back a significant amount of the RAF.
If they didn't, the invasion would pass relatively unmolested,...
Excepting the RN. Look what happened to German invasion forces at Crete that the RN caught.
... if they did commit, the luftwaffe would get the chance it had always wanted. RAF losses during the retreat through France exceeded those of the Luftwaffe. That is why Dowding refused to send planes and pilots to France even against Churchill's promise to the French to the contrary.
The RAF was also at a disadvantage in the retreat across France. But lets look at this in a little more detail. All the British fighters in France were either Hurricanes (7 squardons) or Fairy Battles(8 squadrons) although some additional Hurricane squadrons were sent in mid May. Note that the source states lack of airfields as a major reason no more RAF fighter squadrons were deployed. As far as the RAF losses exceeding the LW losses note
and the RAF took terrible punishment,with over 900 aircraft lost,including 453 Hurricanes ... Terraines analysis shows that 378 of them "were either destroyed on the ground, or were aircraft under repair that had to be abandoned.."That leaves a maximum of 75 Hurricanes lost in combat.In the same campaign the Luftwaffe lost 367 fighters,mostly ME109s, and probably not destroyed on the ground.
This is not to suggest that 75 Hurricanes fell while knocking down 367 Messerschmitts; the air war was far more complex than that. But few historians of the assault on the West point out that it cost the Luftwaffe 1,389 aircraft of all types
So the LW lost 1,389 planes in France and the RAF lost something over 900. Doesn't look to me like the LW took lower losses than the RAF.
info from:
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... &p=1242868
And looking at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of ... _Countries
Over 120 Stukas were destroyed or damaged during the campaign (mostly to ground fire), which represented nearly one-third of the Stuka-arms strength.
Note how vulnerable to AA fire the Stukas proved. The RN had some pretty capable heavy AA as well.
And then consider:
The battle for France had cost the Luftwaffe 28% of its front line strength, some 1,428 aircraft destroyed. A further 488 were damaged, making a total of 36% of the Luftwaffe strength negatively effected.
Keep in mind looking at the BOB.
From July to October 1940, the Luftwaffe lost a total of 1,733 aircraft against RAF losses of "only" 915
http://www.olive-drab.com/od_history_ww ... n_1940.php
That's almost 2:1. Not a very good way to win a war is it? Note also that's planes not pilots.
A major factor in all this is to present the RAF with an inescapable task and then to hammer them if they try to carry it out. If they let the threat pass you get off scott free, if they fight it out then you can have decision in the skies and on more equal terms than Goering was prepared to settle for.
The problem for you is that invasion presents the LW with an impossible task that is inescapable without dooming the invasion force. The RAF on the otherhand has a number of alternatives that are acceptable.
Because the RAF targets would be within the landing areas and the perimiter of German operations the air battles would be concentrated over German held ground...
No. The landing areas at least at first will be quite small. Especially to planes flying 200+ mph. Consider that your 20 mile zone around the port takes only 6 minutes to clear at that speed if you are right over the port. The other thing is there is no reason for the RAF to target the landing areas. They are much better tasked with eliminating the LW and attacking such shipping as escapes the RN.
..German strikes against shipping and ground units would be low-level operations over a wide area requiring no escort and would be relaively safe from flak. That is largely how the luftwaffe was designed and was not intended for high level bombing.
???? Low-level opearations are hardly safe from flak. They are less suseptable to heavy flak perhaps depending on altitude but they are much more suseptable to light and medium flak. Indeed attacks vs warships are going to face some pretty high levels of heavy flak as well. Furthermore if they are not escorted they are going to get shot to peices when the RAF intercepts. Note I said when not if as sooner or later it will occur. Addtionally you are suggesting the LW operate against their doctrine.
The RAF bombers ... Their only targets would be at sea, which by the time of the invasion would be concentrated in a relatively small area. Attacking aircraft would be very visible and their quest all too obvious. Bombers would be attacked and shot down unless covered by heavy fighter support, they would also encounter heavy flak from portable units supplied to the invasion vessels themselves in large numbers.
Coming at the invasion fleet from either landward approaches or out of the sun they are not too likely to be spotted much ahead of time. It makes a lot of sense for the British to launch a major fighter sweep ahead of the bomer attack after all they can put more fighters in the air over the invasion fleet at any one time as the Germans have to maintain a standing CAP. Transport AA is likely to be relativly ineffective and ammo supplies are not likely to be all that great. The KM doesn't have many ships to start with and will take signficant lossess fairly quickly as will the transports. Odds are at least some British DDs and light craft will be attacking the transports from before the troops start to shore until they surrender.
You say I have not enough men- 20,000 to secure and hold a 20 miles wide and 20 miles deep pocket, plus heavy air cover and paratroop battalions, glider-born anti tank battle groups - and with the certainty of reinforcement in coming hours and days???

What more do we need? If you think there is a deficiency, I will look at it again and I reserve the right to insert what is needed - provided it is available in the general scenario of late a August 1940.
I didn't say that but lets do a bit of calculation. Say you have a semi circle 20 miles in radius. That's a circumfrance of ~60 miles or a bit over 300 men/mile if they are all on the perifary and you've takne no losses. Given that a significant number of men nead to be interior to the perimeter, yes that's very thing. A Home guard Company could probably punch through. Especially considering that it would probably have a considerable advantage in artillery.

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