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Air cover for Sealion


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Sorry for beating the horse a bit hard on this - I did a paper on the subject (Could Sealion have succeeded?) a while ago now, and the more I got into the topic the more I was amazed how little chance it really stood, and how much of what people currently think of it is wartime or immediately-post-wartime propaganda.

My paper was 15 years ago now - I still have it somewhere - and there might be additional info available in the meantime.

Another paper I did was "could Galliopoli have succeeded?"

I got a non-standard answer for that one too - a huge resounding YES - but in the same way that Barbarossa could have - if better decisinos had been made (well I think BB could have - but I haven't done a paper on that!! lol)

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Originally posted by Mike:

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.

On what ground can you say the Germans wouldn't have enough crew to man captured ships? That is crap, no offense, but it is. The Germans put 40.000 men to man the uboats alone. Now that France fell in 1940, very early in the war, the Germans had tons of future crew to draw upon. Your argument of "not having manpower" simply doesn't hold ground.

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 )

You're trying to say 1667 panzers were all the Germans had? Perhaps in 1939 that was it, but they produced over 5000 tanks in 1941, and their total number is tenfolds what you suggested.

They could also get resources from other civilian production lines if needed (cars, etc)

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!!

They needed more tanks to go against USSR than to go against UK. If UK was primary target, then they could use more steel on ships and aircrafts easily. Why not? You think they need 4~5 million men just idling around, in outstanding tanks, with no purpose, when what is really needed is another ship? smile.gif

Germany built a carrier (in fact they made 2), it's name was Graf Zeppelin. It's construction was was halted among other reasons, because Goering and his Luftwaffe did not want to divert aircrafts for this ship. It's guns were taken off and sent to Norway, but they kept the hull. They continued work on it, and it was near completion in 1942, while the Germans had set a timeframe on it to be completed in 1945. The allies didn't like this much, so they kept sending RAF on it during the 1942's and beyond, so work on it was halted as they hadto move it from shipyard to shipyard in order to evade the British intelligence and RAF. USSR captured it after the war.

They also built the hull for another German carrier called Peter Strasser, but because of the internal fuss about the Graf Zeppelin, the hull was put back into the burner and they discontinued the work on it.

They could do theese things and yet they had enough steel and resources to continue the "real" war on all fronts. In 1944 they produced 40.000 planes, near 30.000 tanks, over 360.000 artillery pieces, and so many tons of munitons that I cant even say it out loud. smile.gif Much more were in the production line, but were hampered by strategic bombing etc. Where do you think all this steel was coming from? Of course Germany had access to steel, if they wanted a carrier, all they hadto do was to build it (I think they proved that......) If they needed more resources than they had themselves, then they could get it from some other European nations (including Sovjet, who traded, ie gave them, resources such as this with Germany prior to Barbarossa).


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!!

As I already pointed out, a battle in the English Channel would not have given the RAF any advantage in terms of shorter flight times. More aircrafts? If we count what they had, then they began on even terms. And as I already stated, putting Sovjet on infinite hold would have given the Germans more resources to get even more planes going. Add the help of the Italians and UK don't have any advantage with more planes, forget it. Radar yes, but not the other.

Later in Sea Lion, when the Germans are marching north, then as you pointed out yourself, RAF was ready to hide pretty far north. Now that would make some long travel lines for their planes.

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

Of course. Being part of the Third Reich is a great honor!! :D

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.

You just made an argument, that UK did not have enough resources to even form the bulk of their own army. They were so short on supplies, that they hadto ask the other Commonwealth nations to send them help. This is how it was with all other resources, they depended on outside help in order to stand up to Germany (and Germany wasn't alone, UK was cut off). Regardless, the land based power that UK had was it's disadvantage when compared against Germany, as Germany's landpower were possibly the best in the world right there and then. Not saying the Brits were bad, just saying they didn't have the same kind of mapower or sheer brute force on land. Take Italy 1943 and 44, Germany just sent a couple armies and tank units from the Eastern-front in order to stall the British advance there, and they still had beyond 200 divisions fighting on the eastern front in 44. Who has the real massive manpower here? Not Britain, or Commonwealth for that sake.

Anyway, you are arguing that UK would be able to defeat the Axis in a deathmatch 1 on 1, in 1940 or 41 (depending on when Sea Lion is launched). This is a very bold assumtion. Though it is not impossible that the Brits would have won (nothing is impossible of course), but the Germans had more raw power and industrial might backing them up than the Brits had at the time. Sovjet would have continued dealing with the Axis, as they historically did.

If you want, we can play this out on SC sometime smile.gif


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Well, guys, I did a little bit of looking things up yesterday, too. smile.gif I had not much time, but still I could retrieve some pertinent figures.

First of all, I'm always surprised what errors one does make when recounting things from memory alone.

- I do not know how I came up with general Kuechler. The chief in command for Sealion would have been Rundstedt, and then for the three major armies Busch, Strauss and Reichenau. 41 divisions were scheduled to participate. Two of these would have been airborne, and a whooping 6 armored.

- I also do not know what is it with the number 800 I recalled for the vessels which were assembled. Captured confidential navy papers of 21.9.1940, taking stock of the situation in the aftermath, speak of losses of 21 transports and 214 barges to British airattacks which, according to the source, would amount to 12% of the assembled ships. So there must have been more than 800 vessels (and maybe this was the number of vessels which would haveto be towed?)

- The critical period for the RAF (according to both Shirer and Churchill!) was between 24.8. and 6.9.1940 just before the Luftwaffe switched to bombing the cities. During this time, 6 of the 7 vital key command sectors were destroyed (plus one radar station). 466 British fighters were lost, while only 214 fighters by the Germans (they also lost 138 bombers). But the most important factor was pilots: the British lost 103 dead plus 128 seriously wounded, which amounts to 1/4 of all available fighter pilots at that time. (If you compare this with the production: it is always interesting to see that all nations produce much much more stuff than they can man.) Churchill himself writes that the scales were tipping in favor of the Germans during that forthnight.


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Norse you keep trotting out figures from 1941 through to 1944 to jutify your concept of what was happening in 1940 - it's just not relevant.

Sure the Germans trained up 40,000 men to man U-boats - they did it over 6 years with a training establishment that included at least 20 training U-boats.

How do you propose they would have found however many men would have been required to man the French Navy, trained them up on unknown ships and a new language (at least they all used metres for measurements so that might not have been too bad!!) in the time period of the last few months of 1940?

Straha I don't believe your figures on how many command centres were KO-ed - bombed perhaps, but it usually took no more than a few hours (overnight) to get them back up and running at full speed. since there was no fighter activity overnight such "kills" had no effect!

Are we perhaps talking different things? I was refering to Sector Airfields, where the fighter controllers were stationed. Only 1 of those was every knocked right out of action.

Same with Radar - the Germans kept trying to bomb teh aerials, which were very hard to damage, instead of the little huts with all teh electronics in thema few hundred yards away that were irreplacable (well virtually).

you also don't mention anything about German pilot losses.

I'll check again, but I'm sure the British had over 1.5 pilots per fighter at their most dire straights, vs the German MAXIMUM of 1.1 pilots per Me-109 - the Germans could afford losses much less than the Brits could.

Also the German pilot training was much more complete and comprehensive than the British training, BUT that meant they couldn't ramp it up quickly to increase their replacement rate.

The Brits on the other hand took competent pilots from anywhere. Many of them already had experience with Merlin-engined monoplanes with retractable undercarriages - the pilots of the much despised Battle bomber were prime Hurricane candidates.

They also shortened their courses to the minimum necessary and really went onto a war footing in every way possible. sure their pilot graduates weer not as experienced as their German counterparts, but there were more of them, they didn't all have to fight Luftwaffe fighters (bombers are a much better target for new pilots!), they weer competent, and if they got shot down they had a decent chance of getting back into battle as they could bail out over friendly country - so the lucky ones could build up experience.

the Luftwaffe on the other hand started with a hugely experienced pilot pool, and went down hill - every pilot shot down over England was lost for good, whether killed, wounded or captured.

I can see I'll have to find my paper and quote the sources smile.gif

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I used Shirer's and Churchill's works. Both not the newest sources, but the only ones I could get my hands on quickly in blitz-visiting the nearest library. smile.gif (I also thought they would be ok because they surely would not be biased in favor of the German side.) I simply could not find numbers for German pilots killed/wounded in the time from 8/24 - 9/6. I wish I had more time on my hands!


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