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Saturday, 18 February 2017

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"Still, one wonders . . ."

If one is a masochist?

No, Henry, just the idle thoughts of an idle man!

Had the RAF "lost" the Battle of Britain and the Germans attempted invasion, the result would have been a one sided slaughter as the Royal Navy annihilated the invasion barges. Of course, this does not fit the narrative from the crabs who claim that only they were involved. If the invasion had sailed, it would have been at night when the RAF, like the Luftwaffe, had demonstrated a complete inability to hit a moving target in darkness. This does not impugn their bravery, merely that the legend and the facts are more than a little different.
Even the Germans were under no illusions as to what would happen.

You may be right, Mr. Angry, but Mr. Roberts will not have it so. According to him, the RN ships would have had to fight their way through several 'wolf packs' of submarines gathered in the North Sea for that purpose.

As an ex-Corporal with a history of being sea-sick, I remain neutral!

"The Third Reich now extended from John O’Groats to the Polish border with Russia, as the huge swastikas all the way down the Mall from Kriegsflotte Arch to the former Buckingham Palace signified"
What exactly is a "swastika"? Is it the German term for that little ring of stars on a blue background we used to see?

'W', Sie sind ein sehr frecher Junge!

Given the enthusiastic implementation & "gold plating" of EU Directives that has hamstrung UK business for over 30 years, the Civil Service here would have been quite amenable to instruction from Berlin as opposed to London.

We would not have to go through Merkel and the 4th Reich attempting to take over!

David

One wonders, even if the RAF had been shattered, would Hitler's desire to invade Russia have taken precedent.

One wonders, if a de facto cease fire could have effectively ended British-German hostilities.

Question, what would the overseas territories have done?

The USA would have divided the world up between Germany , the USA and Russia.

I have to agree with Mr Angry. Fine as the effort by the RAF was it was not the sole ingredient in preventing an invasion.

The average depth of the English Channel is 45 metres to 120 metres with the shallow bit at the narrowest crossing which would have had to have been used by any German invasion fleet given their circumstances and the ad-hoc invasion fleet they would have had. At those depths submarines are extremely vulnerable and in the shallow part would have been no better than poorly armed surface vessels vulnerable to the small and faster surface vessels of the RN. This would have left the invasion fleet at the mercy of the heavier armed cruisers and battle ships.

The RN at that time was the most powerful navy in the world and much of its strength was in home waters. Any attempt at invasion would have resulted in a massacre of the German units of unprecedented proportions.

Like most Continental dictators [Napoleon included] Hitler did not understand that control of the sea [as well as the air in WW2] is needed to launch any seaborne invasion. This is abundantly clear in the refusal of Hitler to supply the 300 U-boats Doenitz wanted to conduct his campaign in the Atlantic. That was the one real area in which Germany could have effected Britain's survival.

Aircraft alone are not sufficient to support an invasion fleet getting its troops ashore. There is abundant evidence of that in the D-Day invasion. The principal softening up of the landing beaches was by naval gunfire requiring command of the sea and heavy naval artillery - neither of which the Germans had.

An interesting "what if" but not one that is all that credible.

You should review https://www.strategypage.com/cic/docs/cic443b.asp for an alternative view.

And if we'd had today's media Churchill would never have become PM in the first place. Medical "experts" would have been wheeled out to "prove" that he was an alcoholic and irrational.

But again, AussieD, Roberts isn't suggesting the RN would fight the subs in the Channel but they would have had to fight their way down the North Sea from Scapa Flo through packs of submarines. In addition, of course, they would have had no air cover and we all know what happened to the Prince of Wales and the Hood in 1941 off the coast of Malaya!

The 'armChairExpert' above poses a fascinating scenario but of course it is predicated on the idea that the RAF had *NOT* lost the battle of Britain. I must nudge our local wargames expert (aka: SoD) into re-fighting that scenario.

Duffers they weren't all at Scapa

The 1940 distribution of the RN at home can be found at

http://www.naval-history.net/xDKWW2-4006-15RNHome1.htm

The scenario has been played out many times over the years.

As for Prince of Wales and Renown they were two ships on their own. A scenario that would not have been the case in home waters. In the Pacific "the cousins" found their heavy high altitude bombers were ineffective against surface ships. Torpedo bombers were the effective aircraft and the Germans were light on in that respect.

Well, I dunno, Duffers. What wolf packs of U boats? The Jerries only had about twenty at sea in June '40 and about 45 in June '41 according to http://uboat.net/ops/combat_strength.html
And air superiority wouldn't have been enough; they needed air supremacy.
What's more, the German generals, impressed by the defence shown by the British army, were not sanguine; they were obliged anyway to take the most pessimistic view of the reception an invasion would receive. And how mount an invasion? On strings of Rhine Barges, loaded with tanks and heavy artillery, with a freeboard of about two feet, easily swamped by the passage of a high speed destroyer? How and where would they be unloaded? In June '44, the Allies had the advantage of specialist ships and artificial harbours, and the experience gained by the landings on Japanese islands in the Pacific.
True, the Germans wouldn't have faced the strength of the defending force we had to deal with in '44, but their generals couldn't have known that. And, of course, the German Army of '40 was nothing like as battle-worthy and experienced as three years in Russia had made it.
And when could an invasion of Britain have been mounted? Not in 1940,I think.
But there again, you outrank me, and the senior man is always right!

I will put forward a stout defence of my (ill-informed and ill-qualified) scenario. The German's had very detailed plans for the invasion which indicates some considerable confidence. After Dunkirk, I can't see the British army mounting much of a defence, they were out-fought and out-manouvred in France and left most of their weapons on the wrong side!

Equally, in an all-out effort the Germans might have been able to put out 30 subs which would have taken a toll in the North Sea. And they would have had air *supremacy* because if they had bombed our airfields to rubble and destroyed the fighter defences then the front door was wide open.

Thus sayeth ex-Corporal Duff!

"The Taste of War," by Lizzie Colllingham, makes the case that Germany had to invade Russia and Ukraine because Germany and occupied Poland did not have enough food to sustain them through any prolonged war. Yes, they tried to extract what grain they could from Poland, but there's the problem with that sort of warfare: Destroy the peasant base, and who will raise the grain for the invaders to exploit? So, for deep strategic reasons, they turned away from Britain, which was being fed, in spite of the U-Boats, by the US and the Commonwealth. Ms. C is a Socialist, so she is obsessed with the idea that more central planning of agriculture would have increased yields, as were the mandarins in the US government, but her overall view, that Germany needed the grain, is pretty unassailable, as far as I can see.

She also holds that the need for grain explains why the Germans returned to unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917, bringing in the Americans, because they did not have enough food in storage to hold out through another three years of war. I know that about half of my family were still in agriculture, a hundred years ago, and they knew qute clearly the strategic importance of their farming, because a number of them were still alive into my adult years, and they told me so.

Michael, I suspect that whilst the wheat fields of the Ukraine were an attraction, it was hatred of Stalin and his communist regime that motivated Hitler. Also, bear in mind that if Germany had conquered Britain then the Eastern Atlantic (and the Med) was theirs to control so foodstuffs could have been imported - even from America which was still decidedly neutral!

Sealion has been thoroughly war-gamed, once, memorably, at Sandhurst with veterans like Adolph Galland acting as umpires. The verdict is that it would (almost certainly) have been a failure. Logistics - which the Germans under Hitler never got right - would have been the fatal spanner in the works. The Kriegsmarine didn't have enough of anything - particularly submarines - and their ramshackle invasion fleet was nowhere capable or big enough to take on the Royal Navy or to adequately supply the invading forces. The whole operation would have run out of steam very quickly. The following article explains it very clearly.

Needless to say, I will listen with great respect to anything Lawrence has to say on this particular subject.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/19/inside-operation-sea-lion-real-life-plan-nazi-invasion-britain/

Richard, I read that article, thanks, fascinating stuff.

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