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Could The Germans Have Successfully Propagated Sealion Without Air Supremacy


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22 hours ago, PCallahan said:

Glenn, 

I'm not sure you are correct that Germany's only two options in 1940-1 were to either prosecute some version of Sealion or launch Barbarossa. 

Agreed, but those were the two were the ones that Hitler most seriously considered.  The available evidence seems to suggest that Sealion's lousy operational characteristics were a factor in the outcome.  But also, Hitler seems to have overrated his chances in a long war, badly miscalculated the strength of the Soviet Union, and also miscalculated British determination to boot.

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Frankly, they could have simply sat on the defensive on the Eastern Front, without breaking its alliance; it is not clear that Stalin would have launched a war of his own.  The decision to launch or not launch Sealion is not tied to Germany's decision to launch Barbarossa.  

The decision Hitler was making in this period was whether to finish the war with Britain before turning east, or to turn east before finishing with Britain.  So there must have been some sort of link between Sealion and Barbarossa in strategy.

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In addition, while getting their ass handed to them launching Sealion might have convinced the Germans not to launch Barbarossa... it also might not have -- they could have simply delayed a year to recover, etc.

The key feature being that if the Germans are focused on Sealion, they are not invading Russia.  To win the war, Britain needs two things.  The USA, and Germany to invade Russia.  Sealion, for all its stupidity operationally, strategically was Germany doing the wrong thing for Britain to win the war. 

If, as you say, the British had really smashed up a German invasion, do you think American opinion would become more or less interventionist?

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German defeat in Sealion would probably cooled down threat to US and public opinion could be more isolationist but we can't forget influence from money income from weapon  production / sales

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Posted (edited)

Pardon the thread necrophilia, but I came across this stuff the other day and it seemed like a fine way to get a little light at the end of so much heat and friction. 

From pages 314-315 Naval Mine Warfare, Politics to Practicalities  by Cpt RN(rtd) C O'Flaherty

 

 

image.thumb.jpeg.5dcdf1121c1bd9f1474a0ed7fc9a5e29.jpeg

 

image.thumb.jpeg.8db8f8c15fe491ca91cb4c2b1e16e1b4.jpeg

 

 

Edited by Argus
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9 minutes ago, Argus said:

Pardon the thread necrophilia, but I came across this stuff the other day and it seemed like a fine way to get a little light at the end of so much heat and friction. 

From pages 314-315 Naval Mine Warfare, Politics to Practicalities  by Cpt RN(rtd) C O'Flaherty

 

 

image.thumb.jpeg.5dcdf1121c1bd9f1474a0ed7fc9a5e29.jpeg

 

image.thumb.jpeg.8db8f8c15fe491ca91cb4c2b1e16e1b4.jpeg

 

 

Interesting data is always welcomed 😊

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On 4/5/2022 at 11:38 AM, Angrybk said:

The only interesting (I'm certainly not saying it's correct) alt-history that I've seen about a failed Sea Lion is that the trade-off might have been a few destroyed German divisions vs a gutted Royal Navy, which might have worked better for the Germans in the end. Again I disagree with it, but it was at least sort of creative. 

Not on;y a gutted Royal Navy. but a gutted RAF too. The RAF would have had to devote almost all its bombing capacity to destroying the German invasion fleet in port. and to  to destroying the build up areas around the ports. This would have saved the Luftwaffe from having to fly to London and southern England to attack and entice the RAF to come up and fight.  Basically the Luftwaffe will end up fighting over French territory that they already control. Makes for shorter missions and better pilot recovery of down Luftwaffe aircrew. They could have bled the RAF.

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, On the way said:

...Basically the Luftwaffe will end up fighting over French territory that they already control. Makes for shorter missions and better pilot recovery of down Luftwaffe aircrew. They could have bled the RAF.

Kind of reversed "Battle for Britain"

Edited by Perun
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6 hours ago, On the way said:

Not on;y a gutted Royal Navy. but a gutted RAF too. The RAF would have had to devote almost all its bombing capacity to destroying the German invasion fleet in port. and to  to destroying the build up areas around the ports. This would have saved the Luftwaffe from having to fly to London and southern England to attack and entice the RAF to come up and fight.  Basically the Luftwaffe will end up fighting over French territory that they already control. Makes for shorter missions and better pilot recovery of down Luftwaffe aircrew. They could have bled the RAF.

The only problem with that theory is that RAF Bomber Command was bombing the build-up ports, quite successfully, and with few losses. They were doing it at night and the port areas proved easier to target than the inland cities of Germany. Which leaves the Luftwaffe vulnerable, given they did not have sufficient air power to contest the air space over southern England as the BoB had already demonstrated. In fact, given the need to commit the slightly rebuilt and barely Stukagruppen the more likelyu ending would have been the bleeding of the Luftwaffe and the likely final destruction of the Stukagruppen and Transportgruppen. The later, BTW, destroys the capability of the Luftwaffe to replace its multi-engine aircraft crews and destroys its blind-flying capability.

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6 hours ago, On the way said:

Not on;y a gutted Royal Navy. but a gutted RAF too. The RAF would have had to devote almost all its bombing capacity to destroying the German invasion fleet in port. and to  to destroying the build up areas around the ports. This would have saved the Luftwaffe from having to fly to London and southern England to attack and entice the RAF to come up and fight.  Basically the Luftwaffe will end up fighting over French territory that they already control. Makes for shorter missions and better pilot recovery of down Luftwaffe aircrew. They could have bled the RAF.

The RAF was already bombing the German Invasion fleet in port. :)

 

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9 minutes ago, RichTO90 said:

The only problem with that theory is that RAF Bomber Command was bombing the build-up ports, quite successfully, and with few losses. They were doing it at night and the port areas proved easier to target than the inland cities of Germany. Which leaves the Luftwaffe vulnerable, given they did not have sufficient air power to contest the air space over southern England as the BoB had already demonstrated. In fact, given the need to commit the slightly rebuilt and barely Stukagruppen the more likelyu ending would have been the bleeding of the Luftwaffe and the likely final destruction of the Stukagruppen and Transportgruppen. The later, BTW, destroys the capability of the Luftwaffe to replace its multi-engine aircraft crews and destroys its blind-flying capability.

The Luftwaffe didnt really become adept at nightfighting till late 1941, so Im not very surprised. It was a pretty lousy place for the Germans to intercept right on the coast in any case.

 

On 5/16/2022 at 7:27 AM, Argus said:

Pardon the thread necrophilia, but I came across this stuff the other day and it seemed like a fine way to get a little light at the end of so much heat and friction. 

From pages 314-315 Naval Mine Warfare, Politics to Practicalities  by Cpt RN(rtd) C O'Flaherty

 

 

image.thumb.jpeg.5dcdf1121c1bd9f1474a0ed7fc9a5e29.jpeg

 

image.thumb.jpeg.8db8f8c15fe491ca91cb4c2b1e16e1b4.jpeg

 

 

This is very interesting, is there anything for the West Coast?

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The RN mine maps are yet another indicator that the British were way ahead of the Germans WRT cross-Channel operations. While much of the Dover mine barrage was anti-submarine, all would have an effect on a German crossing attempt. Many seem to focus on the German mine laying plans, but miss that it was a two-way street. Given that the German minesweeping force was dragooned into acting as ad hoc assault transports and fire support vessels, you have to wonder just how effective they would have been at clearing British mines in route.

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On 4/6/2022 at 5:27 AM, glenn239 said:

For a site that does not want to talk about Sealion, the topic never seems to die.

The problem with Sealion for the Germans was that operationally their means were a mess. The problem with Sealion for the British was that strategically it was the wrong thing for Germany to be doing for Britain to win the war.

Put those two together, and you get what Nobu said as the result - if the Germans double down on the Sealion strategy, Barbarossa is cancelled and WW2 takes a turn into a dark forest because between 1941 and 1943 at least, Stalin is calling the shots - not Hitler, not Churchill, and not FDR.

How is Stalin even remotely calling the shots in 1941 to 1943? If the Germans were in the west trying to conduct sealion and waging an aerial war with England, what was stalin going to do? Invade the rest of Poland and then Germany? That's laughable. His army's performance in the opening months of Barbarossa was what he would have gotten if he went west. Which would have meant heavy defeats for him.

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8 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

The RAF was already bombing the German Invasion fleet in port. :)

 

I don't think they were trying too hard. They were also bombing Germany and the heaviest bombers they had were twin engine Wellingtons. They had to pretty much send over their entire fleet of light bombers like Blenheims, Hampdens, etc. to even have a chance of making a dent in the german invasion fleet. I don't see why the Luftwaffe wouldn't wipe them out if they did that.

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4 minutes ago, On the way said:

How is Stalin even remotely calling the shots in 1941 to 1943? If the Germans were in the west trying to conduct sealion and waging an aerial war with England, what was stalin going to do? 

Invade Turkey, invade Finland, invade Iran, and go to war with Japan in Manchuria would all be possibilities.  Communist governments for everyone.

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2 hours ago, RichTO90 said:

The RN mine maps are yet another indicator that the British were way ahead of the Germans WRT cross-Channel operations. While much of the Dover mine barrage was anti-submarine, all would have an effect on a German crossing attempt. Many seem to focus on the German mine laying plans, but miss that it was a two-way street. Given that the German minesweeping force was dragooned into acting as ad hoc assault transports and fire support vessels, you have to wonder just how effective they would have been at clearing British mines in route.

PING!

Exactly why I posted it :D

Plus:
a/ The Dover Barrage was laid 'across' the channel as you'd expect of a barrier trying to control a choke point - but they didn't change it as the role shifted from ASW/Sea Control to anti-invasion. The could have gone out and infilled blocks between the existing lines. But nope, no need, they knew anyone trying to cross the channel at invasion speeds had to go up and down channel with the tide, crossing those mine lays anyway. 

b/ Back to the OP, why did Germany need air superiority? To sweep the mines. I don't know if anyone else mentioned it in the last 55 pages, but it is a bit of a show stopper. Being able to cross the mine barriers does seem a sine qua non, and there 'aint no one sweeping those at night in 1940. Oropesa Sweeping as they would have been using in this context, is like doing close order drill across a minefield with a team of tractors towing 20 bottom plows - it takes a bit of practice.  Doing it at night under blackout conditions is a whole new level of difficulty. Then throw in a scatter of underwater obstructions and sand bars while compensating for the channel's tides....  in the words of my people, yeah-nah. Sweep a swathe sure, but one that presents a useable breech other ships could find, follow and trust? 

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10 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

This is very interesting, is there anything for the West Coast?

 Not in this book Stuart, sorry. 

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4 hours ago, Argus said:

 Not in this book Stuart, sorry. 

I doubt they saw much need, since Western Approaches was the center of all things that kill U-Boot. The original reason for the Dover Barrage was the same as in the Great War, force the U-Boot into the North Sea and around the British Isles the long way. The fall of France kind of screwed that up, but the Barrage still did good duty, knocking off a number of the early U=Boot lost.

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4 hours ago, Argus said:

PING!

Exactly why I posted it :D

Plus:
a/ The Dover Barrage was laid 'across' the channel as you'd expect of a barrier trying to control a choke point - but they didn't change it as the role shifted from ASW/Sea Control to anti-invasion. The could have gone out and infilled blocks between the existing lines. But nope, no need, they knew anyone trying to cross the channel at invasion speeds had to go up and down channel with the tide, crossing those mine lays anyway. 

b/ Back to the OP, why did Germany need air superiority? To sweep the mines. I don't know if anyone else mentioned it in the last 55 pages, but it is a bit of a show stopper. Being able to cross the mine barriers does seem a sine qua non, and there 'aint no one sweeping those at night in 1940. Oropesa Sweeping as they would have been using in this context, is like doing close order drill across a minefield with a team of tractors towing 20 bottom plows - it takes a bit of practice.  Doing it at night under blackout conditions is a whole new level of difficulty. Then throw in a scatter of underwater obstructions and sand bars while compensating for the channel's tides....  in the words of my people, yeah-nah. Sweep a swathe sure, but one that presents a useable breech other ships could find, follow and trust? 

👍

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12 hours ago, glenn239 said:

Invade Turkey, invade Finland, invade Iran, and go to war with Japan in Manchuria would all be possibilities.  Communist governments for everyone.

How the heck was he going to do that after purging the Red Army in 1939? The Red Army was so badly led after that, that even 2 years later in 1941, Operation Barbarossa exposed all their weakness in tactics, leadership and equipment. He could not even beat Finland in the Winter War of 1939-1940, how was he going to defeat Turkey, Invade Iran, attack Japan, etc.? And invading and attacking these countries is considered calling the shots? I think not. 

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21 minutes ago, On the way said:

How the heck was he going to do that after purging the Red Army in 1939? The Red Army was so badly led after that, that even 2 years later in 1941, Operation Barbarossa exposed all their weakness in tactics, leadership and equipment. He could not even beat Finland in the Winter War of 1939-1940, how was he going to defeat Turkey, Invade Iran, attack Japan, etc.? And invading and attacking these countries is considered calling the shots? I think not. 

Finland lost the 1939 war and Japan lost each of the border battles with the Red Army, and then lost the actual war in 1945.  The German invasion of 1941 did indeed press the Red Army to a degree like nothing seen in a successful defense probably since Hannibal crossed the Alps, but none of that suggests that Turkey or Iran was in the slightest able to hold off a Soviet assault, had the opportunity presented itself to the Soviets in, say, 1941 or 1942.

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22 hours ago, RichTO90 said:

I doubt they saw much need, since Western Approaches was the center of all things that kill U-Boot. The original reason for the Dover Barrage was the same as in the Great War, force the U-Boot into the North Sea and around the British Isles the long way. The fall of France kind of screwed that up, but the Barrage still did good duty, knocking off a number of the early U=Boot lost.

I suspect Stuart might be talking about the 'Deep Trap' ASW fields laid off the West Coast, they worked well enough that the story only came under the 50 Year rule. Got three or four U-Boats IIRC, laid the mine fields in known hot spots at patrol depth to get subs as they bimbled about under the MPA umbrella. 

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On 5/18/2022 at 8:07 AM, On the way said:

How the heck was he going to do that after purging the Red Army in 1939? The Red Army was so badly led after that, that even 2 years later in 1941, Operation Barbarossa exposed all their weakness in tactics, leadership and equipment. He could not even beat Finland in the Winter War of 1939-1940, how was he going to defeat Turkey, Invade Iran, attack Japan, etc.? And invading and attacking these countries is considered calling the shots? I think not. 

Turkey would be crushed by total Soviet manpower/airpower and materiel superiority in 1941. It would be a grind, but total USSR indifference to losses combined with untried Turkish combat proficiency and Turkish political isolation (no one is crazy enough to declare war against Russia with a decision in the West still in question) would prevail.

The logical choice to lead it would be Zhukov, who unfortunately did well against the Kwangtung Army in 1939.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/18/2022 at 8:46 AM, glenn239 said:

...but none of that suggests that Turkey or Iran was in the slightest able to hold off a Soviet assault, had the opportunity presented itself to the Soviets in, say, 1941 or 1942.

The opportunity did present itself in 1941, and the Iranians lasted about a week against a fractional Soviet effort representing what little it could spare against the Wehrmacht at its peak.

Against the entire thing, it only gets worse for Iran and Iranians.

 

Edited by Nobu
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In fairness the Iranians were also under attack from the south and west. I doubt the outcome would have been that much different without the British... or that the same couldn't be said for the British if the Russians had stayed home. But even so they were being king hit.

Oh yeah, I don't think the Russians could have applied the full weight of their power if it was free either, the logistics were pretty tight IIRC. 

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