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Air cover for Sealion


Aloid
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Hubert,

It seems to me that Axis air units should be able to protect transports from sea attack, in a similar fashion as attacks from air.

As it is now, Allied ships get a free ride in from outside Axis covering air unit range.

While the air units can hit the attackers after they move, the real damage is done.

Something to ponder for a possible patch, or SC2.

Otherwise I'm having fun, but wish my game was in the mail already.

Enjoy!

Aloid

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Sea Lion was a fantasy. It was impossible under the conditions existing in 1940-41. German fighters lacked the range to effectivly cripple the Brits. Nazis lacked sufficient transport capability to transfer troops to England. Also lacked naval capability to prevent interception and destrucion of such an effort. Luftwaffe was unable to obtain control of the channel. Not to mention - the Nazis did try and fell on their faces. A3

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Originally posted by Hubert Cater:

It's an interesting idea, but I don't think it will change. Sea-lion should be tough and this might throw out the balance and make it entirely impossible to ever stop.

Hubert

After sleeping on it... smile.gif

Agreed, fully... ;)

Aloid

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I would agree that Sealion was certainly an operation entailing enormous risks. However, impossible? I am not so sure. In his memoires Erich Von Mainstein himself addresses this and even points out that had the luftwaffe not been drawn away from it's true objectives namely the RAF and Shipping in the english channel. it would have been entirely possible to neutralize it. At least over the channel. Most accounts that I have read even emphasize the hazards to allied shipping in the channel leading up to Eagle day during the Battle of Britain smile.gif . The consequnces to a failed invasion would have been high casualties certainly. But would it have hurt the Germans more than say, Barbarossa? Also I would point out that the Germans were in a far better position to absorb the losses than the British. smile.gif

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The Luftwaffe was never going to "subdue" the rAF in 1940.

1/ The Brits were outproducing the Germans in fighters by 2:1 (Spitfiers, Hurricanes adn Defiants vs Me-109's and -110's) - 400 to 180-190 per month.

2/ The RAF had a strategy of preservation. They weer quite prepared to withdraw behind London if things in Kent got really bad.

3/ The RAF had 50% MORE pilots per plane than the Luftwaffe. Much is made of the "fall" in RAF pilot numbers to 1.5 pilots per serviceable aircraft. But that doesn't include the pilots of teh strategic reserve (.2 per aircraft), and ignores the Luftwaffe ratio of 1.2 pilots per a/c!!

4/ remember the problems the Brits had intercepting German strikes on Channel shipping, when they had radar?? Well imagine the problems the Luftwaffe would have had maintaining CAP over their own convoys and beacheads WITHOUT radar!!

Standing patrols by the Luftwaffe would have encounterd the same problems the Brits had - exhausting pilots and aircraft, being in the wrong place, and using up endurance so intercepts wouldn't be effective even if they were attempted.

5/ the Brits had over 60 Destroyers available, plus about 15-20 light cruisers. The Germans had somethign like 25-30 destroyers adn large torpedo boats. the Brit fleet could be based outside Me-109 range from the continent and do night raids into the channel.

Oh, and the Brits had 60 subs available too, vs 20 or so for the Kriegsmarine.

6/ And back to air - the Luftwafe had NO (ZERO, NONE, NIL) effective anti-shipping capacity in 1940. There was 1 experimental Staffel of He-111 torpedo bombers, and that was it. They didn't have armour piercing bombs, and their stuka pilots did not have any anti-naval training.

The Brits, on the other hand, had Coastal Command, which included several squadrons of Beafort torpedo bombers trained for night time ops.

Now think of the German invasion fleet anchored off teh Kentish Coast for 3 nights to offload the troosp (that was what the plan was!!).

How many ways can you spell "Massacre"?

It's a bit of shame for the world that Sealion wasn't tried, because it would have shortened the war by years!! Waht with the Germans losing 300-500,000 of their best (pre-war regular) troops in one hit - yugo not being invaded, Hungary, Bulgaria & Roumania having 2nd thoughts about joining the Axis, etc........

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Good points, mike

But say the german economy had been shifted to total war much earlier. i think they would eventually have outproduced the brits in every field. not to mention the brits were nearly beaten by constant attack on military targets. the only reason the RAF stayed alive was because hitler decided attacking cities was wiser than RAF bases. Had the economy shift happened at the beginning of the war, and had germany gone with utterly destroying the RAF bases, sealion would have indeed been possible and might very well have succeded by, perhaps, 1942.

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Umm...actually only 1 RAF Sector Airfield was EVER KO'ed by bombing - Biggin Hill IIRC, and for all of 24 hours.

The bombing campaign against RAF and airfields was a total failure and was never going to be a success. The Luftwaffe simply did not have the equipment required to do the job!!

Going to a war footing in 1939 would certainly have helped the German cause no-end, but they didn't, and IMO it was completely impossible for Sealion to succeed given what the Germans DID have in September 1940, regardless of what they did with it.

Oh - and it's interesting to note that by the end of October 1940 the Germans had 283 serviceable Me-109's available (which were really the only german a/c that mattered), vs 700 serviceable Spits, Hurri's and Defiants (and yes Defiants matter because they could and did attack bombers and Me-110's!!).

(editied 'cos even I get sick of my c@rp spelling sometimes!!)

[ July 22, 2002, 07:39 PM: Message edited by: Mike ]

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Originally posted by XCSC3:

I would agree that Sealion was certainly an operation entailing enormous risks. However, impossible? I am not so sure. In his memoires Erich Von Mainstein himself addresses this and even points out that had the luftwaffe not been drawn away from it's true objectives namely the RAF and Shipping in the english channel. it would have been entirely possible to neutralize it. At least over the channel. Most accounts that I have read even emphasize the hazards to allied shipping in the channel leading up to Eagle day during the Battle of Britain smile.gif . The consequnces to a failed invasion would have been high casualties certainly. But would it have hurt the Germans more than say, Barbarossa? Also I would point out that the Germans were in a far better position to absorb the losses than the British. smile.gif

This is an issue where the opinions seem to have changed considerably over the years. After the war it was declared a bluff (especially as the German generals in the Nurenberg trial deliberately made it look that way). But later, the captured documents showed that there were very serious preparations for the operation which was ordered to start in September 40. For example, more than 800 vessels (transports, barges etc.) were already assembled. The operation was finally called off as the Luftwaffe failed to create an important precondition, namely to clear the skies of enemy fighers. The thing is that they almost succeeded, but then botched it largely because Goering neglected to bomb the radar stations the importance of which he didn't understand, and also (because of a negligible British raid on Berlin) it was suddenly decided to terror-bomb civilian targets in London, which gave the battered RAF the badly needed reprieve. Today, Sealion is generally regarded as a risky, but nevertheless serious option. The hard part is, of course, to get the troops over safely. But once ashore, general Kuechler's already prepared army would have easily defeated the British because of the ca. 25 British divisions less then half had *any* artillery or armour at that time. Due to incorrect intelligence they were also wrongly positioned at the British eastern coast, while the Germans would have attacked the southern coast.

Btw what hampered Sealion most was the preceding "Weseruebung". For this operation did cost the Germans dearly with respect to their navy, and this made the protection of the troop transports much more difficult.

Finally, I do not know at the moment how the factor of poison gas (which Churchill intended to use) would have to be assessed in the context of operation Sealion.

Straha

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Straha you miss a lot of relevant points.

For example there were 7 or 800 British Tanks available - of which about 200 wire infantry tanks IIRC - the Germans planned to invade with 100 or so.

Now take out casualties........

Also the Germans would never have gotten half their artillery onto land either.

Many of the 800 vessels you mention were powerless barges. They were to be towed to England behind powered vessels.

Now add to all of that eth fact that the SAME vessels were expected to return to France to pick up the 2nd wave, and to subsequently keep the lot supplied.

Plus remove any thought from your head that the RAF was battered at any time. That was wartime propaganda to make teh victory look better - there was NEVER any actual prospect of defeat.

The best the Germans could have done was shift the RAF north of London in order to avoid casuaties (which were never actually crippling).

Had this happened the Luftwaffe would have said - Hey - we've beaten the RAF!", Sealioni would have happened, the RAF and RN would have completley wrecked it, and the 25-or-so Allied divisions in England would only have had to pick up the pieces.

That is the only credible scenario for anyone who has actually studied the situation objectively.

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lol XC - that's a very pertinant point!! smile.gif

However it does bear upon whether or not the German air fleets should be a ble to protect their sea transports - IMO there's no historical basis for them to be able to smile.gif

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The outproducing in fighters did not matter at the envisioned time of September 40. This only proves that Sealion would not have been possible later, e.g.in May 41, which was diskussed in the OKW, too. Hitler correctly saw that this is out of the question, though he placed the emphasis more on the British rearming in artillery and armor. I'm sorry that I do not have the numbers right now, but before the fatal stratgical decisions of Goering, the scales in fact shifted heavily *against* the RAF which lost too much of its overworked pilots in an alarming rate, and began to loose the all important flight coordination centers.

Btw while German torpedo planes were virtually non-existent, the effect of dive bombers and strafings on shipping should not be underestimated. More than enough vessels were sunk by the Luftwaffe.

Straha

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I'm just glad there is a computer game that you acutally Can invade England. It's not like Axis And Allies where you are basicaly constrained to the same formula for either side(at least it doesn't appear that way). Although I am sure the odds of doing so successfully with a human opponent are fairly low.

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Originally posted by Mike:

Straha you miss a lot of relevant points.

For example there were 7 or 800 British Tanks available - of which about 200 wire infantry tanks IIRC - the Germans planned to invade with 100 or so.

Now take out casualties........

Also the Germans would never have gotten half their artillery onto land either.

Many of the 800 vessels you mention were powerless barges. They were to be towed to England behind powered vessels.

Now add to all of that eth fact that the SAME vessels were expected to return to France to pick up the 2nd wave, and to subsequently keep the lot supplied.

Plus remove any thought from your head that the RAF was battered at any time. That was wartime propaganda to make teh victory look better - there was NEVER any actual prospect of defeat.

The best the Germans could have done was shift the RAF north of London in order to avoid casuaties (which were never actually crippling).

Had this happened the Luftwaffe would have said - Hey - we've beaten the RAF!", Sealioni would have happened, the RAF and RN would have completley wrecked it, and the 25-or-so Allied divisions in England would only have had to pick up the pieces.

That is the only credible scenario for anyone who has actually studied the situation objectively.

Sorry Mike, I didn't see this post before already typing the next one. smile.gif I take your arguments very seriously, but I would have to look up the numbers in my sources again to assess them. Since the end of the war, the numbers btw had to be corrected all the time btw because *both sides* gave wrong figures. I'm really convinced though, that there *was* a period during the airwar where things got critical for the RAF.

Hmm, I remember having recently seen some relatively new book solely about Sealion - I'll try to find that ...

Straha

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The beauty of SC, is that I can spend my cash on more Axis shipping, and other things, to support my Sealion efforts. I can also bring Italians into the mix (other than the few aircraft that briefly showed up).

This makes mute the arguement that the actual Germans of 1940 couldn't do it.

Though it's fun to talk about, eh?

Aloid (where's my full game?)

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Whether it was possible or not, it's surely a good thing that they didn't pull it off! Himmler at least, had already detailed plans for everything. They included transplanting the whole male population between the age of 17 and 45 to the continent to avoid uprisings!

Straha

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I think everyone is making lots of good points here - both about history and the game! smile.gif

Straha the outproduction WAS in Sept 1940 - the Brits had gone berserk producing fighters under Lord Beaverbrook, to the extent that it interferred with introduction of later types, especially the Spit 9 to counter the FW-190 in 1941 (so SC gets that bit right - the Brits have to choose between an air fleet and fighter tech!!).

Much the same happened with the Sov's and the T34 of course - they kept up with what they had when they needed it.

But I digress.....

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Originally posted by Mike:

The Luftwaffe was never going to "subdue" the rAF in 1940.

1/ The Brits were outproducing the Germans in fighters by 2:1 (Spitfiers, Hurricanes adn Defiants vs Me-109's and -110's) - 400 to 180-190 per month.

Germany produced exactely 10257 aircrafts in 1940, and 11776 in 1941 (this number only increased, till a whopping 80000 in the production line in 1944, under half made it to the skies due to lack of petrolium, allied strategic bombing etc)

Germany started the war with 8295 aircrafts, and Great Britain had 7940.

For the Battle of Britain, UK produced about 400 aircrafts each month in the last half of 1940, while Germany added on average 200 more aircrafts each month for the Battle of Britain.

2/ The RAF had a strategy of preservation. They weer quite prepared to withdraw behind London if things in Kent got really bad.

<snip>

5/ the Brits had over 60 Destroyers available, plus about 15-20 light cruisers. The Germans had somethign like 25-30 destroyers adn large torpedo boats. the Brit fleet could be based outside Me-109 range from the continent and do night raids into the channel.

Oh, and the Brits had 60 subs available too, vs 20 or so for the Kriegsmarine.

In September 1939, Germany had:

* 49 operational U-boats (began the war with 57, and had more than 200 operational U-boats in January 1943)

* the battleships Tirpitz and Bismarck

* the battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau

* the pocket battleships Deutschland, Graf Spee, and Scheer

* the heavy cruisers Hipper, Prinz Eugen, and Blücher

* the raiders Atlantis, Orion, Widder, Thor, Pinguin, Komet, Kormoran, Michel, Stier, and Coronel

* if you add the ships in the production-line, to the ships in operational use, then the total number of German major warships is 88 in 1939, a number that kept increasing steadily till 1943/44.

<snip>

It's a bit of shame for the world that Sealion wasn't tried, because it would have shortened the war by years!! Waht with the Germans losing 300-500,000 of their best (pre-war regular) troops in one hit - yugo not being invaded, Hungary, Bulgaria & Roumania having 2nd thoughts about joining the Axis, etc........

Well, it is certainly possible that you are right. Maybe the Germans would have been massacred, anyway that is not my point.

Hitler ordered the German generals to make invasion plans against the USSR very early. They fought the Battle of Britain against a scheduale. This is one of the reasons why the Germans began to bomb the English cities (which is argued by historicans as the reason why the Germans lost BoB), because their aim was to breake the English fighting spirit and have them sue for peace, however the British spirit remained intact and they kept on fighting. That was the German idea with the u-boat warfare as well. They figured if they could maintain 350 operational u-boats in the atlantic over time, then they would sink enough supplies heading to UK, that the Brits would ask for a cease-fire.

So now we know that Germanys main goal was to get UK to ask for peace, so they could focus on USSR.

We know for fact that the Germans had serious plans to invade Sovjet, and were building up forces to go against Sovjet even while the Battle for Britain was raging at its worst.

So here is the real question to ask, could Germany have invaded UK if they had focused as much as possible against UK, and put Sovjet on an infinite hold? We do know that Germany did NOT focus all their forces against UK, and one of the reasons the Brits won BoB was because the Germans took too much casaulties - and they needed their Luftwaffe intact for the assault on Sovjet, so they withdrew from BoB. (I have the casaulties list somewhere, roughly speaking the Germans lost alittle more than 2 aircrafts per aircraft the Brits lost)

One of the reasons the Germans only recived about 200 new aircrafts for the Battle of Britain per month, was because they used alot of their resources to prepare against Sovjet at the very same time.

If the Germans had made UK their one primary goal and put everything else on a hold, then they did have the strenght to launch operation Sea Lion. Yes, it would have been bloody. But Germany were prepared to take heavy losses as long as they would win the war. Likewise, at the time, Germany had access to most of Europe's resources while UK were cut off and depended on merchant ships coming with supplies of all kinds.

Now imagine the Germans launch Operation Sea Lion. The Germans would make a long list of casaulties in the beginning, but the result of the major fighting around and on the British Isles hurts all merchant supply ships heading for UK, and UK is getting much less supply in than what they did historically. The fact that the actual battling would be on English soil would also hurt the British infrastructure alot. Germany is having access to most of Europe's resources and is not having any problems with chunking out more and more uboats and aircrafts to join the Battle of Britain. Likewise, the fact that the Brits would haveto throw everything they had against the English Channel means that the Germans would be able to fight them on much more equal terms than what they did historically. What I mean with that the short range on their aircrafts and all that would be insignificant, as the actual fighting would be as close to their airbases as possible. All their Stukas etc would join the battle as well, historically thoose were withdrawn early in BoB.

So both sides are taking heavy losses. But, if the Germans are able to proceed with the invasion of Britain, then they will get the upper hand more and more (because of everything I stated above and more resources to throw into the combat).

Also consider that the Germans would have more forces to throw against UK, than what they had historically, because their resources would go to the Sea Lion, instead of against USSR.

I belive Germany would be able to bring their superior resources to bear against UK and win the conflict. But, the Brits definately had a shot at winning to. The Brits would haveto win a decisive victory so the Germans would be unable to continue the invasion. Anything but a decisive British victory would lead to ultimate disaster.

Question now is what would USA do, and to say USSR would attack Germany is mere speculation. Stalin might have wanted England to be completely devestated (wasn't like he cared about the other European nations), though I doubt USA would want that.

~Norse~

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Oh I forgot to mention that if UK was the main target, then Italy could send some aircrafts to help (atleast 1 airfleet in the size of SC). If any of you belive the Italian fleet could somehow manage to move thru the Gibraltar strait and join the combat, then the Italians had 240 major warships in 1939 (I already said Germany had 88 in 1939). I don't think they would be able to send their fleet, but they would most likely send aircrafts.

~Norse~

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Yeah, but of those U-boats a large proportion (20-30) were obsolete training or coastal boats of doubtful value.

The Graf Spee had already been sunk, the Bismark was only completed in August 40, Tirpitz wasn't completed until 1941, there was a cruiser sunk in Norway who's name escapes me, etc.

They also had a couple of old pre-dreadnought battleships being used as training vessels that might've been of some use as floating batteries.

But the whole lot would have been destroyed IMO.

And note that I was only talking about British and German FIGHTER production, not the relative sizes of their airforces.

Ultimately it all came down to the number of single-engined 1-crew fighters that each side had, adn the Brits decisivly outproduced the Germans in that area in the 2nd half of 1940.

I don't think the Germans were putting all that much effort into a war with Russia in the 2nd half od 1940 - some planning certainly, but essentially nothing in the way of forces except for the normal garrison of Poland, but I'd be interested in knowing jut what forces they had put there the might've been spared.

But I don't think the number of infantrymen or tanks mattered - Sealion was going to be won or lost by the fleets and airforces.

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Originally posted by Mike:

And note that I was only talking about British and German FIGHTER production, not the relative sizes of their airforces.

Ultimately it all came down to the number of single-engined 1-crew fighters that each side had, adn the Brits decisivly outproduced the Germans in that area in the 2nd half of 1940.

I don't think the Germans were putting all that much effort into a war with Russia in the 2nd half od 1940 - some planning certainly, but essentially nothing in the way of forces except for the normal garrison of Poland, but I'd be interested in knowing jut what forces they had put there the might've been spared.

But I don't think the number of infantrymen or tanks mattered - Sealion was going to be won or lost by the fleets and airforces.

Bleh, I knew the list in my book wasn't adequate. The number 88 is certain though, I was just waiting on you or someone to comment on what ships weren't in use, so I can get out that red pencil and write the actual dates behind them :D Let me dig up some information on Barbarossa for you, gimme a few.

BTW, the German fleet would take heavy casaulties (I already said that), but it is ok, as long as the Royal Navy suffers too. UK is having a harder time building new carriers and battleships, than Germany has in building more uboats (they chunked out quite a few ya know). The size difference between the Royal navy and the German navy is reduced by the fact that the Stukas and the rest of Luftwaffe (that was pulled back from the historical BoB etc), would be put into combat to hit the Royal Navy getting itself into the English channel.

~Norse~

[ July 22, 2002, 10:32 PM: Message edited by: Norse ]

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Hmm, is going to take some time to find exactely what I want on Barbarossa.

What I am looking for though, and which is my point, is the German resources spent on creating tanks, artillery etc. The steel and factory bandwith used to make this could have been, atleast to a certain degree, been used to produce more aircrafts and naval forces for Sea Lion. Perhaps someone else can make this job easier for me.

Ugh, here is another point that comes to mind. Most of the French battleships etc that were captured by the Germans, were chopped up.

I used to live in Tønsberg in Norway, and as kids we used to hang out in bunkers from ww2. The bunkers were armed with huge cannons that the Germans had taken off the French battleships, and they were now seeing coastal guard service.

If the Germans main objective was Sea Lion, then IMO I don't think they would chop this up. Do you?

~Norse~

[ July 22, 2002, 10:44 PM: Message edited by: Norse ]

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Good point about the French ships - I don't know how many the Germans captured intact tho - I think the French scuttled a lot of them, and of course the Germans would have a hard time persuading the French to actually fight against the Brits - and probably wouldn't have had enough manpower to crew the ships themselves.

so perhaps taking the guns out and using the steel for panzers wasn't a bad option for them??!! :D

say you can get 20,000 tons of steel from the scrapped hull of a French battleship - that's 667 30 ton Panzers, or about 2 panzer divisions worth.

But to build a German battleship (50,000 tons) requires enough steel to build 1667 30 ton panzers - or about as many as were in existance!! (well plus or minus a bit - but it's well up there!! redface.gif )

So basicall no, I don't think the Germans could have jsut diverted steel from panzer production to the Kreigsmarine without doing BULK damage to their ground forces - to get competitive with the RN they'd need another 2 BB's, a CV would've been handy and a few more cruisers and a couple of score destroyers!!

And yes, the RN would probably have taken a lot of damage too in a Sealion, but I don't see that as important. They would ahve wiped out the surface Kreigsmarine, and probably destroyed a lot of subs too. They would ahve destroyed a lot of Rhine barges and other small vessels important to the internal economy of Europe, and they would have destroyed a huge proportion of the German army that defeated France.

Plus the Luftwaffe would have taken a hammering too - trynig to maintain standing patrols over the beacheads and ships, attacking the Commonwealth forces on the ground and the RN at sea, and all against an enemy with radar, shorter flight times and more fighter aircraft!!

I think the Brits would be quite happy with that result!!

As an aside - a lot of the Commonwealth forces in England at teh time were not British - there were Indian, Canadian and New Zealand divisions that I know of, maybe Australian too. Many of these were pretty well trained, up to speed with equipment and not at all overawed by the defeat of the BEF.

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