Battle of Britain

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bf109 emil
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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by bf109 emil » 09 Jan 2012 20:58

You need to read Brian Lavery's "We Shall Fight On The Beaches" - I don't think it's that simple; Forbes was Britain''s equivalent of Darlan, once his viable role was fulfilled he'd have removed the Home Fleet to Gibraltar to await events...
so he never had to answer to the war cabinet nor came under there rule? still think the guy with the cigar was in charge and thus lower followed his orders or command of the war cabinet :wink:

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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by phylo_roadking » 09 Jan 2012 21:05

so he never had to answer to the war cabinet nor came under there rule? still think the guy with the cigar was in charge and thus lower followed his orders or command of the war cabinet
Jim, you might remember a long discussion elsewhere about how the British Army was commanded in 1940?

Churchill sat in on the Staff Chiefs Committee - and they directed strategy....but normally Forbes answered to the Their Lordships at the Admiralty/the Navy Board for various different aspects. There are plenty of times Churchill demanded things done and got his way - the TIGER convoy and the bombardment of Tripoli being two examples in a short time...but he was actually VERY often overruled.

SOMEONE had to keep his feet on the ground :roll:
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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by bf109 emil » 09 Jan 2012 21:13

SOMEONE had to keep his feet on the ground
in summer 1940, with the newly formed war cabinet and a German landing on the beach and Forbes not having to take direct orders from the war cabinet and acting on his own against the wishes of Churchill?? 8O

Do you believe this and Forbes would 100% be absolute and never sail his capital ships down the channel even after being ordered to do so and a German assault landing having taken place upon British soil?? wow good thing the Wehrmacht and Reader never knew this as the defense of England would only come under the home guard and remaining RAF with the RN standing pat or aside in the defense of there own nation at stake!

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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by phylo_roadking » 09 Jan 2012 21:21

in summer 1940, with the newly formed war cabinet and a German landing on the beach and Forbes not having to take direct orders from the war cabinet and acting on his own against the wishes of Churchill??
The War Cabinet did not command the services. Their own chains of command did - and THEY topped out at the Chiefs of Staff...tho' the Staff Chiefs could be asked to Cabinet meetings to report/give opinions into grand strategy.

And do you honestly think Churchill DIDN'T know what Home Fleet's dispositions and intentions in the event of Sealion were? 8O
Do you believe this and Forbes would 100% be absolute and never sail his capital ships down the channel even after being ordered to do so and a German assault landing having taken place upon British soil?? wow good thing the Wehrmacht and Reader never knew this as the defense of England would only come under the home guard and remaining RAF with the RN standing pat or aside in the defense of there own nation at stake!
Jim, I take it from that you are NOT aware of the preparations for invasion the Royal Navy DID make???
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bf109 emil
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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by bf109 emil » 09 Jan 2012 21:52

And do you honestly think Churchill DIDN'T know what Home Fleet's dispositions and intentions in the event of Sealion were?
sure he did....I just find it hard to believe your claim that no matter what, Forbes would NEVER sail her capital ships down the channel even if directly ordered to do so by Churchill or the war cabinet irregardless of a standing plan or prior defensive strategy set forth as a contingency of a possible sealion invasion :roll:
The War Cabinet did not command the services. Their own chains of command did
so Forbes could never be replaced or someone along the chain of command by Churchill or the war cabinet he controlled as deemed necessary or if so inclined...maybe as Churhcill seemed to be able to change whom commanded the army such as in North Africa, whom appointed command in the far east...guess the RN never had to answer to the war cabinet nor Churchill if and had a change of action deemed it necessary...EVER :wink:

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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by phylo_roadking » 09 Jan 2012 22:03

I just find it hard to believe your claim that no matter what, Forbes would NEVER sail her capital ships down the channel even if directly ordered to do so by Churchill or the war cabinet irregardless of a standing plan or prior defensive strategy set forth as a contingency of a possible sealion invasion
Sail down the Channel - and present the perfect target to the Luftwaffe in the Narrows with greatly reduced manouvering options?

Say the British defeated Sealion...what were they going to do for the rest of the war without a fleet? 8O
irregardless of a standing plan or prior defensive strategy set forth as a contingency of a possible sealion invasion
Do you know what the plans were?
so Forbes could never be replaced or someone along the chain of command by Churchill or the war cabinet he controlled as deemed necessary or if so inclined
With far greater difficulty that he seemd to get rid of generals, that's for sure! It took a LOT to get rid of an Admiral Churchill didn't like.

The other thing is ..."he controlled"??? Jim, that's not quite how Cabinet government works...especially in a coalition National government.
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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by bf109 emil » 09 Jan 2012 22:40

apparently as Forbes Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet until late 1940, still underneath the admiral of the fleet and commander and chief, yet was abstained from any order from Churchill or from policy's made by Chamberlains war cabinet in sept. 1939 and Churchill's realignment of the war cabinet in 1940...
Sail down the Channel - and present the perfect target to the Luftwaffe in the Narrows with greatly reduced manouvering options?
there is no denying this not is it challenged, quite obvious
Say the British defeated Sealion...what were they going to do for the rest of the war without a fleet?
say sealion was going poorly? :idea: and yet according to you Forbes would never sail his capital ships down the channel irregardless of Churchill or the cabinets request 8O
Do you know what the plans were?
plans for an invasion that never took place or plans for one which having turned bad still saw RN capital ships turn a blind eye and Forbes never sailing to GB aid or threat as deemed necessary as currently present or real?

I don't know...maybe i will raise a white flag...but your claim that NO capital ships would EVER sail down the channel irregardless of a tragic or peril tragedy that doing so could curtail or thwart and deemed NECESSARY as a LAST RESORT to avoid an invasion seems quite a tall stance or claim to make and stand by...IMHO :milwink:

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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by phylo_roadking » 09 Jan 2012 23:01

plans for an invasion that never took place or plans for one which having turned bad still saw RN capital ships turn a blind eye and Forbes never sailing to GB aid or threat as deemed necessary as currently present or real?
Jim, I''ll take that as a no - for one particular reason that become clear in a moment.

The Royal Navy gathered three separate twelve-destroyer flotillas each flaggshipped by a cruiser at Southampton, Portsmouth and the Medway. That's nearly a third of the Royal Navy's entire destroyer force around the world as it stood in the summer of 1940 after various losses. They weren't kept permanently there; they were told off as convoy escorts around the UK, out a few days' distance into the Atlantic, and nightly patrols over to the other side of the Channel etc.. But all within at most a couple of days' fast dash if "Cromwell"/"Stand To" was sent.

That's 36 destroyers - when the Germans had exactly twelve left in their entire navy after Norway.

On top of that - the RN had its coastal forces - early MTBs, MGBS, MLs etc - around the equivalent in numbers as the Germans' coastal forces And the 600+ armed yatchs and fishingboats of the Auxiliary Patrol; the coastal forces and Auxiliary patrol were useful in that they could operate inside the RN's minefields, and could attack German landing forces right up to the shore.

The point is that the Germans were going to use THEIR coastal forces and armed trawlers as escorts for the invasion fleet...their destroyers and their few remaining larger units were tod emonstrate in the North Sea and attempt to black the passge of the Home Fleet south. Thus in actually reaching Great Yarmouth, the Home Fleet would have ALREADY had to encounter...and likely beaten to a pulp - the weakened KM after Norway. There was to be nothing German in the Channel that was the equivalent of the destroyers/cruisers of the anti-invasion flotilla. The Germans were hoping their re-laid minefields and a screen of uboats at the south end of the Narrows would be enough to halt them.

To return to this..."which having turned bad still saw RN capital ships turn a blind eye"

If the invasion turned bad for Britain - Home Fleet entering the Channel would be even more vulnerable to the Luftwaffe. It would be even more valuable intact - both to cover any withdrawal to elsewhere in the Empire, be it Northern ireland or Canada or wherever...and theoretically as a bargaining chip as the French Fleet was. But Home Fleet would ALWAYS be extremely vulnerable entering the Channel; it would be right under the Luftwaffe even if the Luftwaffe was held by the RAF over England; and no matter how the invasion went - nothing was going to touch those heavy guns gathered on the French coast - even if the Germans were driven back into the surf, those guns would be still there covering half the Channel's width.

But the point is that Home Fleet wasn't the primary invasion-defeating naval force.
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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by LWD » 10 Jan 2012 14:59

If you look at the German plan they also had a role that suited them quite well also. I.e. taking care of any raiders that sortied and there was a decent chance of engaging the decoy force as well.

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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by bf109 emil » 11 Jan 2012 20:29

But the point is that Home Fleet wasn't the primary invasion-defeating naval force.
I never questioned nor doubt this...just the statement that the home fleet would under no circumstances sail down the channel, nor would Forbes ever do so even if order so and if and should the primary invasion-defeating naval force proven to be inadequate...

this was never done so it is mostly tit for tat...but interesting to now know the home fleet would run if and should Germany's invasion have ever succeeded when they might have been a foe which could have thwarted such an incident. 8O

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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by phylo_roadking » 12 Jan 2012 17:30

Jim - everything is actually against this being a practical option - the Luftwaffe dominance over the Channel, the lack of manouvering room for various geographical reasons, the minefields that would have to be cleared, the coverage of half the width of the Channel from France...

Personally, the fact that Forbes ordered his captains not to exercise indirect gunnery on shore targets in liaison with the Army is particularly telling as to his intentions; apart from anything else, it's a skill that needs honed, like any other...or else you might just cause a horrendous level of friendly fire casualties! There are examples of ships directly engaging shore targets in sight in the 1940-41 period...but indirect fire hadn't yet been rolled out.
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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by sitalkes » 22 May 2014 02:09

The Home Fleet had a healthy respect for air attacks after seeing a near-miss on the Repulse and a cruiser return with its decks awash during the Norwegian campaign. They were aware that their anti-aircraft fire control system was defective. There was no point in having them sunk as then there would be no escape for the British government to Bermuda or Canada etc. However, they did not say they wouldn't go into the Channel under any circumstances - they said they wouldn't go there as long as the Germans didn't move any of their capital ships there also. The War Cabinet was told twice that the home fleet wasn't going into the channel in the event of an invasion and agreed to this plan - they thought that the 40-50 destroyers and cruisers plus hundreds of smaller boats were sufficient for the task and they didn't know that the Kriegsmarine's capital ships were all laid up for one reason or another (except Hipper, which did launch a raid on the Atlantic a few months later)

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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by sitalkes » 13 Jun 2014 01:47

An interesting reference, though it required three attempts per file to download them:

http://www.afhra.af.mil/studies/numbere ... 51-200.asp No. 157: Operation SEA LION and the Role of the Luftwaffe in the Planned Invasion of England, by Karl Klee (1955).

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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by phylo_roadking » 13 Jun 2014 19:55

...although unfortuantely minus Vol 1, which doesn't seem to be available anywhere :(
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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by 2020hindsight » 22 Jul 2016 14:44

I think that attacks on the airfields in the south would merely have meant that the RAF would have moved north a bit. The Luftwaffe had bombers with the range to attack northern England, but they would have been decimated due to the lack of a long-range escort fighter. The Bf109 had short legs, the Bf110 was no good against other fighters despite its speed. A Bf109 with drop tanks? That would have helped, but it was still no Mustang, and would not be usable unless the Germans landed and acquired enough real estate for airfields in England.

The other issue: Overlord took a great deal of planning and preparation, and among other things, the production of suitable boats. Let us assume that Hitler was serious about Sealion and actually launched an attack in September 1940. His only option would be to capture a port and hope it did not get too smashed up, as he would be relying cargo ships and maybe some destroyers to lands his troops and armor. The Allies found out at Dieppe that it might not work. Assuming that they succeeded, you next have the logistics problem of not merely landing the men but of supplying them. Britain after Dunkirk was desperately short of heavy equipment such as artillery and tanks, but I suspect that the Wehrmacht would ultimately have been halted somewhere around the line of the present-day M1. Would they have taken London and maybe Birmingham? Possible. At any rate the British casualties would have been horrendous, especially among the hapless and under-armed Home Guard.

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