operation sea lion

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by The Nerd, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. The Nerd

    The Nerd Member

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    What might have happened if Germany had sent its entire force of troops in their transports might have been escorted by the German navy along with the air cover by the Luftwaffe? Would the invasion been more successful than the air raids?
     
  2. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    A large scale invasion of England in mid 1940 was a logistic impossibility. Never mind total air or sea control or the strength of the German army. In an operation sense, it was totally undoable.

    The initial calculations made by the German high command were that the invasion of England would require 34 divisions, and it would take 2 1/2 months to get them disembarked, if they were unopposed. German plans called for the complete control of the English Channel for a minimum of 11 days and a clockwork bus schedule of cargo barges that ignored the infamous Channel weather, to get just 9 1/2 infantry divisions and their equipment across in the initial assault phase, including two airborne divisions and 1 1/2 assault divisions landed on the first day.

    The Sealion plan was then revised down to 11 divisions as they realised that they had less than a third of the transport assets that they required. It was further revised downwards to 9 divisions as the High Command studied the operation and its requirements in more detail. If Dover and the other ports further south were not usable (due to sabotage) or not captured in the first 4 days, it was concluded that Germany would be only be able to support 4 divisions in the field. Given that the ports were among the first things marked for destruction by British forces in case of invasion, it was unlikely that they would of been captured intact.

    Unlike the Allied cross channel effort in 1944, Sealion had no provision for paralysis of communications or transport in the landing area, no initial bombardment by heavy bombers, almost 0 organic artillery support (just 36 converted barges with 37mm guns and a 75mm howitler), no naval artillery support (the German Navy was assumed to be fully busy with a RN that outnumbered it 5 to 1 in surface combatants), no specalised beach assault craft and no specalised training for its troops, apart from the 2 mountain divisions detacehed as 'cliff climbing' troops.

    Germany never got more than 2/3 the number of barges, tugs and motor launches that it calculated it needed to launch a cross channel invasion. Army commanders were almost self-delusionall about the difficulty of the crossing, terming it a 'river crossing on a wide front'. Coming off the victories in France and Poland there was a pervasive belief that the German army could simply roll up the British army with ease. However, the plans for Operation Sealion didn't include sufficient logistic support to allow large armoured or artillery formations to operate.

    Sealion was a serious possibility only in the early days of May, when there were almost no heavily manned or fixed defensive positions along the southern coast. By August, the British had created a much better defence network on the southern and eastern coastlines. Before that time it may of been possible to land a small raiding force (1-2 parachute and glider divisions and 2-3 infantry divisions) and capture airfields and small ports in southern England intact. Reinforcements could of been brought in, but given the wastage rates of earlier battles, even this small number of divisions would of completely absorbed most of the barge traffic and cargo capacity in Northern Europe .
     
  3. KraziKanuK

    KraziKanuK Banned

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  4. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    I agree totally with Jabberwocky, the Germans did not have the logistics that the Allies had in 1944 to attempt an invasion, let alone make it a success.
     
  5. Gemhorse

    Gemhorse Member

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    Brilliant post, Jabberwocky...

    If I may add...
    Up to 15th Sept. 1940, Hitler had been fairly satisfied with the Air Offensive against Britain of Goering's Luftwaffe, which was to prepare the way for invasion, but from that very day on, the heavy losses and with Autumn at hand, it changed his attitude to the Invasion.....

    The German Naval Staff hoped ''if the air war and weather conditions develop favourably...'' they may possibly get it off in October...

    Goering was thus committed to the unenviable task of continuing the Air Offensive until futher notice, regardless of casualties, and against an increasingly more powerful Fighter Command....

    On 12th October Hitler finally decided to bring the fiasco 'Sealion' had become to an end. His invasion fleet had remained a priority target for Bomber Command during the late summer, with the result that much of the original assemblage had been dispersed and 214 barges and 21 transporters sunk in harbour, yet Hitler insisted that a vast number of ships be kept at immediate readiness. At last, repeated pressure from Admiral Raeder and other Commanders had it's effect and Hitler gave permission for Sealion to be abandoned....although vaguely hinting about next Spring or Summer.....He released alot, but kept a 1000 barges around for awhile.....

    For Goering, it was the start to a long decline of Hitler's favour, as everything he did henceforth with the Luftwaffe reminded Hitler of his failure of the Battle of Britain.....

    When you look at what the Allies had to put into D-Day, Sealion was unrealistic, even back then, the Germans were just still on a 'high' from all their previous easier European conquests right up to the Channel coasts.....

    One thought, if the Luftwaffe had have been able to convert their Bf-110's for 109's, that may well have overwhelmed Fighter Command at that crucial phase of the BoB.......

    [Commez-vous???]
     
  6. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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    that's a fantastic site on operation sea lion! and i agree it wouldn't have worked, even if they had made it across, every man and boy in the south east of england would have been ready for them with some sort of weapon.........
     
  7. V-1710

    V-1710 Member

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    I don't think the German High Command was really serious about Sea Lion. They didn't have the resources to carry it out (maybe the German troops wouldn't need landing craft, they could just jump from deck to deck on the Royal Navy ships that would be in the Channel). I think the plan was to destroy the RAF and bomb civilian targets until the British capitulated.
     
  8. trackend

    trackend Active Member

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    My old man was ready Lanc he spent the first year of the war in the Home Guard before he was old enough to join up. Issued with a Ross rifle and five rounds he asked the Sgt (an old WW1 vet) "what the fuck am I supposed to do with five rounds?". The old boy said "shoot one German as there are 100,000 Home Guards if they all do as I say the invasion will fail".

    Seriously though I agree with 1710 even if it had cost a hundred destroyers it would have still left 84, plus 7carriers ,15 battleships 66 Cruisers,60 subs etc etc it was never going to be successful and the German high command knew so they just went through the motions to satisfy Adolf and his cronies.
    Barges with the front lopped off are not landing craft.
     
  9. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    As said logistically it was not possible plus the Germans need complete Air Superiority to pull it off, which they did not have as we know what happened in the BoB.
     
  10. Aggie08

    Aggie08 Active Member

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    It would have been interesting to see if sealion had been performed, if it had failed or been successful. If it were to fail, that's a huge amount of wasted resources and troops. If it were to succeed, it would have been bad bad news....
     
  11. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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    but there is absolutely no way it was gonna happen, read the site KK posted, and remember the british would be fighting for their homes unlike the germans on D-Day, we haven't been successfully invaded for nearly 1,000 years, we rather like it that way and would do absolutely anything to stop an invasion "whatever what the cost may be"...........
     
  12. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    :lol: :lol: - I hope by war's end this Sgt was a General!!!!
     
  13. delcyros

    delcyros Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. I doubt that the outcome of BoB influenced these plans heavily. The assoult plans of Barbarossa were closed as soon as late 1940. There was little or no time for any operation concerning england, not to speak of the already mentioned difficulties of missing sea and air surpremacy. I also doubt that the german high command estimated that the France campaign would be as short as it was.
     
  14. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    It was too much of a risk and even Hitler knew that. If they had launched Sea Lion and it failed which it more than likely would have anyhow, then the end of the war would have been very very very near.
     
  15. Aggie08

    Aggie08 Active Member

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    That's why it would have been interesting- i don't doubt the brits would have given them hell, and i also have no doubt that an invasion of any sort would have disrupted britain's war effort.
     
  16. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    No I just truely believe it would have failed. The logistical problem was too great for the Germans. Had it failed the German army would have been devistated and then the war would have been over quite soon.
     
  17. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    The problems for German are mainly of preparation and mobility.

    If unopposed, they could land troops quite easily in the assualt phase, no question.

    However, they faced opposition from 4 areas.

    First, the initial fixed beach and port defenses, including mines and obstacles, but also troops stationed on or near the assault position.
    Second, prepositioned troops inland, who could move in while German forces are still landing
    Third, attacks from the Royal Navy on transport and landing operations.
    Fourth, attacks from the Royal Airforce on transport and landing operations.

    Once a beachead has been established, the German forces then require the ability to carry out operations. For this they need transport and armoured support. Sealion had little provision for both. Just 340 tanks were allotted to be transported the first 9 days, not including the 200 German 'schnorkel' Pz Mk II conversions. Vehicular transport would of alos been in short supply. Most of the formations in the assault phase were light infantry divisions or airborne divisions. It was almost impossible to ship across sufficient transport and logistics vehicles to allow mobile operations. Similarly, French and British forces had always performed best against German forces when their advantages in mobility had been reduced.
     
  18. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    All goes down to logistics.
     
  19. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    I would surmise that the logistical effort the Allies had to contend with in the first couple of weeks of the Normandy landings is exactly what the Germans would have to contend with. And the Germans wouldnt have the wide variety of naval craft required to discharge men and material on beaches without infrastructure in place.
     
  20. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I would agree with you on that, however the allies had an advantage in being able to supplie those troops and reinforce them better than the Germans would have been able to.
     
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