Battle of Britain

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today.
Paul Lakowski
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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by Paul Lakowski » 22 Jul 2016 18:32

I gather the Luftwaffe conducted a secret war-game in 1937 on waging war with the RAF. The assumption was WW-I start, with Germany operating from the "Low Lands, with out the Ural Bomber". The conclusion was the LW could not win such a battle with out these bombers, therefor -from 1936-37 on, the LW was re-tasked from a deterrents force to a tactical air force to mainly support the army.

That was the only real way they could fight.

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stg 44
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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by stg 44 » 22 Jul 2016 19:23

Paul Lakowski wrote:I gather the Luftwaffe conducted a secret war-game in 1937 on waging war with the RAF. The assumption was WW-I start, with Germany operating from the "Low Lands, with out the Ural Bomber". The conclusion was the LW could not win such a battle with out these bombers, therefor -from 1936-37 on, the LW was re-tasked from a deterrents force to a tactical air force to mainly support the army.

That was the only real way they could fight.
IIRC the first wargame against Britain that was conducted was by Felmy in 1938 and they determined the best course of action was naval mines deployed around British ports at night by level bombers, there wasn't any judgement on whether it was 'impossible to win', but there were options. My source was James Corum's "The Luftwaffe: Creating the Operational Air War"

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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by ThreadCutter » 03 Sep 2016 20:08

stg 44 wrote:
Paul Lakowski wrote:I gather the Luftwaffe conducted a secret war-game in 1937 on waging war with the RAF. The assumption was WW-I start, with Germany operating from the "Low Lands, with out the Ural Bomber". The conclusion was the LW could not win such a battle with out these bombers, therefor -from 1936-37 on, the LW was re-tasked from a deterrents force to a tactical air force to mainly support the army.

That was the only real way they could fight.
IIRC the first wargame against Britain that was conducted was by Felmy in 1938 and they determined the best course of action was naval mines deployed around British ports at night by level bombers, there wasn't any judgement on whether it was 'impossible to win', but there were options. My source was James Corum's "The Luftwaffe: Creating the Operational Air War"
I am always surprised by how naval mines are disregarded before and after wars. They are brutally effective. Naval mines sank far more Japanese shipping than any other type of weapon and in the Vietnam war, prevented any resupply of SAM batteries by sea. Although most of the focus for a revisionist BoB is on keeping the Luftwaffe focused on airfields, I think it would have been far more productive to build up the naval aviation arm of the Kriegsmarine and heavily mine all around English ports at night, then focus on mine sweepers and escorts trying to clear the fields during the day. That would have forced the fight over the water, which removes a lot of RAF advantages, as I understand it. Plus, minesweeping is very technically difficult and resource intensive-- far more so than minelaying. It would be a good way to attrite RN personnel as well, since minesweepers are rather slow and unprotected, and if you escort them with destroyers, there are fewer DDs to counter the U-boats.

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stg 44
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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by stg 44 » 03 Sep 2016 21:39

ThreadCutter wrote: I am always surprised by how naval mines are disregarded before and after wars. They are brutally effective. Naval mines sank far more Japanese shipping than any other type of weapon and in the Vietnam war, prevented any resupply of SAM batteries by sea. Although most of the focus for a revisionist BoB is on keeping the Luftwaffe focused on airfields, I think it would have been far more productive to build up the naval aviation arm of the Kriegsmarine and heavily mine all around English ports at night, then focus on mine sweepers and escorts trying to clear the fields during the day. That would have forced the fight over the water, which removes a lot of RAF advantages, as I understand it. Plus, minesweeping is very technically difficult and resource intensive-- far more so than minelaying. It would be a good way to attrite RN personnel as well, since minesweepers are rather slow and unprotected, and if you escort them with destroyers, there are fewer DDs to counter the U-boats.
A huge part of the problem with that, besides Goering, is that the Navy stupidly used them very recklessly in small numbers and early in the war in late 1939 they dropped one unarmed by accident on British soil, which was captured and disarmed and enabled the Brits to develop countermeasures. Previously the Brits were at a loss about how to cope with the new German naval mines that they couldn't figure out how to defend against. That was a bigger blunder than having the faulty torpedoes. The German Navy was probably one of the most incompetent arms early in the war. What is worse is they completely ignored their previous agreement not to use the magnetic air dropped mines until they had built up a reserve of some 5000 and the Luftwaffe could help out, i.e. after seizing the Lowlands in 1940. But they just started using them at the beginning of the war with a handful available and got one captured, both revealing their secret weapon and handing the Brits an example to develop countermeasures against.

Now even after that mining was still highly effective and the Germans screwed up in 1940 by not taking advantage of the reorientation of British shipping to the Merseyside ports and mining the hell out of that area. 90% of transatlantic trade came in through the Mersey river and Liverpool docks, mining that in August 1940 would have devastated British shipping at it's lowest and most vulnerable ebb, even using the magnetic mines that the Brits had developed countermeasures for, as they still need to sweep for them and degauss ships, which was very time consuming.

Luckily for the world the Nazi leadership was horribly incompetent.

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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by Takao » 04 Sep 2016 02:33

ThreadCutter wrote: I am always surprised by how naval mines are disregarded before and after wars. They are brutally effective. Naval mines sank far more Japanese shipping than any other type of weapon
Source please, as the JANAC findings say other wise. The top 4...
Submarines 1,113 merchant ships
Carrier-based air 359 merchant ships
Mines 247 merchant ships
Army aircraft 240 merchant ships

As to mines effectiveness against Japanese naval warships, the accounted for a paltry 19 warships
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/Japan/ ... ses-2.html
See Table 2.
Although we should be mindful that the JANAC only counted sinkings of merchant ships of 500 tons or more.


Naval mines "effectiveness" comes not from ship sinkings, but from delaying shipping traffic for a period of time before the mines can be thoroughly cleared, at which time shipping can move freely - this could vary for some days to a couple of weeks.

Of course, it was not until the war was nearing it's end, that the Americans had enough long-range B-29s in the Marianas that the could conduct an effective mining operation - Operation Starvation. Several good PDF can be found online covering this operation.

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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by Paul Lakowski » 04 Sep 2016 04:21

stg 44 wrote:
ThreadCutter wrote: .
A huge part of the problem with that, besides Goering, is that the Navy stupidly used them very recklessly in small numbers and early in the war in late 1939 they dropped one unarmed by accident on British soil, which was captured and disarmed and enabled the Brits to develop countermeasures. Previously the Brits were at a loss about how to cope with the new German naval mines that they couldn't figure out how to defend against. That was a bigger blunder than having the faulty torpedoes. The German Navy was probably one of the most incompetent arms early in the war. What is worse is they completely ignored their previous agreement not to use the magnetic air dropped mines until they had built up a reserve of some 5000 and the Luftwaffe could help out, i.e. after seizing the Lowlands in 1940. But they just started using them at the beginning of the war with a handful available and got one captured, both revealing their secret weapon and handing the Brits an example to develop countermeasures against.

Now even after that mining was still highly effective and the Germans screwed up in 1940 by not taking advantage of the reorientation of British shipping to the Merseyside ports and mining the hell out of that area. 90% of transatlantic trade came in through the Mersey river and Liverpool docks, mining that in August 1940 would have devastated British shipping at it's lowest and most vulnerable ebb, even using the magnetic mines that the Brits had developed countermeasures for, as they still need to sweep for them and degauss ships, which was very time consuming.

Luckily for the world the Nazi leadership was horribly incompetent.

I thought only LW flew the planes and any gruppe assigned to naval support still were flown by LW pilots? The navy was the least prepared of the service branches because that's what Hitler wanted.....they were still harbouring the delusion that war would not happen for another 5-10 years, so they still had plenty of time.....a delusion that Hitler encouraged.

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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by stg 44 » 04 Sep 2016 14:58

Paul Lakowski wrote: I thought only LW flew the planes and any gruppe assigned to naval support still were flown by LW pilots? The navy was the least prepared of the service branches because that's what Hitler wanted.....they were still harbouring the delusion that war would not happen for another 5-10 years, so they still had plenty of time.....a delusion that Hitler encouraged.
The Luftwaffe typically had all land-based aircraft, but float planes were owned by the Navy. It was a mining floatplane of the Küstenflieger that dropped the unarmed mine on British soil in either October or November (I've seen conflicting reports). Yeah the German Navy was not a great service, especially early in the war. I've seen a quote that stated their mine handling procedures early in the war were abysmal and shockingly bad, worse even than the Luftwaffe, which wasn't even a naval service. Basically the Navy violated the agreement to reserve use of the secret magnetic aerial mines until they had a lot of them and bases in the Lowlands to really deploy them, but Raeder understood that meant until the Luftwaffe was in a position to take over the war against Britain from the air, so basically like a spoiled child looking for the prestige lacking to his service early in the war when they were pretty confined to the North Sea, started using the mines to be able to show Hitler he was doing something of value. And voila the Brits got the secrets to the new mine before they were really used in number:
https://warisboring.com/how-britain-bea ... .o7hj51qce
BTW War is Boring is usually a terrible blog, but on this issue the article was generally pretty solid.

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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by Paul Lakowski » 05 Sep 2016 20:29

I read the blog but had issues with it. We've discussed this before and critics have pointed out that you can't just shift 120 x 1610 t Subs into 5000x38t tanks. The industries are just too different. TYPE-XXI was designed for mass production and utilized simplified mild steel construction as much as possible. While the pressure hull was STS 52 steel , nothing like armored steel was used. cost of Krupp RHA would have been twice that of STS 52 steel and if you compare cost- we have 2 million RM x 120 XXI /150k RM tanks = 1600 Panthers or 1/2 as many Tigers. If you look from resource POV 120 XXI might = 5000 x 25 ton tanks like Pz-IV but that doesn't include the gun...which could be diverted from PAK production...in theory :wink:

Besides their is strategic roles to consider. The U-Boat primary mission was to throttle Britain, thus severing the life line from American , while super tanks were to defeat soviet hordes sweeping Europe and the jets were to prevent the allied bomber force from 'bombing Germany back to the stone age'. Strategically all three roles were critical for survival.

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SEELÖWE, the landing on 21st of July 1940

Post by AlthistXX » 15 Jan 2017 17:42

Hi, just read an alternative history novel, Seelöwe, the landing in England on the 21st of July 1940. Lots of senseful information on the planning and surprise landing in July which is primarily an Luftwaffe op.
There is an Ebook at: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B01N7LIVT9 and also a paperback version.
Reminds me a bit of Tom Clancys Red Storm Rising, comparable style.
I think it falls a bit short,regarding the logistical situation of the Luftwaffe in June and July in France. Would it really have been possible for the Wehrmacht to do this stunt?
What do you think?
Regretfully only in german language, though I hope an english version will follow.

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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by Paul Lakowski » 16 Jan 2017 00:31

Churchill acknowledged to First Sealord that the KM could repeat the April 1940 Norway operation with a number of 'overnight -port to port raids', that could land 100,000 troops. But the Sealord remarked they could double this deployment and would be damn difficult to dislodge afterwards, which Churchill accepted.

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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by redcoat » 18 Mar 2017 20:12

Paul Lakowski wrote:Churchill acknowledged to First Sealord that the KM could repeat the April 1940 Norway operation with a number of 'overnight -port to port raids', that could land 100,000 troops. But the Sealord remarked they could double this deployment and would be damn difficult to dislodge afterwards, which Churchill accepted.
With the number of German warships either sunk or under long term repair after Norway I think Churchill and the First Sea Lord were wildly overestimating German capabilities.

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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by Paul Lakowski » 19 Mar 2017 02:39

redcoat wrote:
Paul Lakowski wrote:Churchill acknowledged to First Sealord that the KM could repeat the April 1940 Norway operation with a number of 'overnight -port to port raids', that could land 100,000 troops. But the Sealord remarked they could double this deployment and would be damn difficult to dislodge afterwards, which Churchill accepted.
With the number of German warships either sunk or under long term repair after Norway I think Churchill and the First Sea Lord were wildly overestimating German capabilities.
Well they were much closer to the event than you, so I will listen to with them.

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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by Knouterer » 20 Mar 2017 14:40

On the mining question, see this thread: viewtopic.php?f=54&t=121850 It seems highly unlikely that the Germans could have laid the minefields as planned, and even if they had succeeded in doing so they would hardly have formed impenetrable barriers.

In reality, the Kriegsmarine managed to lay about 600-700 mines in the Channel in the period up to the end of Sept. 1940. The most effective field was laid on the night of 28.-29.9.1940 off Falmouth by the destroyers Hans Lody, Karl Galster, Erich Steinbrinck, Friedrich Ihn and Paul Jacobi . Given that these ships could carry 60 mines each there may have been 300 in all. Five or six British vessels, mostly smaller ones, were sunk by these mines in the following weeks until the Royal Navy managed to clear them all.

Interestingly, the S-Boote were laying some captured Polish mines at this time, which may indicate there was a shortage.
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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by Explorator » 05 May 2017 21:51

In a What If scenario, the Germans could opt for the building of a large fleet of speedboats.

I wonder whether it would be possible to efficiently hinder such a fleet from crossing with anything the RN could throw at them (especially if they circulate at night).

No need to have air superiority if the RAF is involved in constant dogfights for their life over the Channel.

Are dive bombers, submarines and artillery not enough to keep the RN away from the bridgeheads?

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Re: Battle of Britain

Post by sitalkes » 10 May 2017 03:56

the chiefs of staff did discuss the speedboat option in July 1940 and decided it could not be stopped - but it's not a practical suggestion

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