Air Action in event of seaborne invasion of UK

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phylo_roadking
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Re: Air Action in event of seaborne invasion of UK

Post by phylo_roadking » 26 Apr 2011 00:11

Governmental level and yes, it would have been ABs role to order its use as he saw fit ..
The "government level" as you put it had already been taken care of; why do you think the Ministry of Supply was funding ICI's mustard plant construction? The only "government level" approval required at this point is the Minister of Defence's, for it's a military decision, to do with the conduct of the war; then it devolved onto Brooke for operational decisions.
Thorough and professional. Thorough in that madcap ideas were allowed to be designed, developed and tested, professional in that they were soon dismissed.
Unprofessional in that they weren't stopped at an earlier stage and cost x-amount of time, energy and money. Lowdell's idea is just one example; crossong over to Fletcher and British tank production in the early war period for a FAR more expensive folly...
...both of them monuments to a disgraceful waste of money and effort at a time when Britain could ill-afford either"
...in relation to TOG1 and TOG2. Then we have the many aircraft companies that were designing and prototyping "interim" fighter types in the summer of 1940, along with the money spent on strange aberrations like the slip-wing Hurricane and the Hilson Fighter!

What we were doing in the summer of 1940 in MANY areas of defence spending in relation to the threat of invasion smacks of desperation, not professionalism; to all these, add the already-discussed-elsewhere subject of the Ministry of Works abandoning any cost or quality constraints on the civvie contractors building the country's invasion defences, Augustus Agar's abortive but expensive "fire ship" plan, the very expensive (and underachieving) "burning seas" plan...and Winston's own ridiculous "Cultivator No.6" idea :lol:
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Re: Air Action in event of seaborne invasion of UK

Post by Gooner1 » 26 Apr 2011 00:26

phylo_roadking wrote: The "government level" as you put it had already been taken care of; why do you think the Ministry of Supply was funding ICI's mustard plant construction? The only "government level" approval required at this point is the Minister of Defence's, for it's a military decision, to do with the conduct of the war; then it devolved onto Brooke for operational decisions.
Wrong. It was the official Government policy that Britain would never use gas first. The idea that Churchill acting as PM/Minister of Defence could (or would) unilaterally reverse policy that is bonkers.
:roll:
Unprofessional in that they weren't stopped at an earlier stage and cost x-amount of time, energy and money. Lowdell's idea is just one example; crossong over to Fletcher and British tank production in the early war period for a FAR more expensive folly...
Meh. Virtually every penny and man-hour spent on invasion defences was wasted.

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Re: Air Action in event of seaborne invasion of UK

Post by phylo_roadking » 26 Apr 2011 00:35

The idea that Churchill acting as PM/Minister of Defence could (or would) unilaterally reverse policy that is bonkers.
We've already seen he did just that on 30th June/1st July 1940...
Meh. Virtually every penny and man-hour spent on invasion defences was wasted
Only as of @03:15:01 on Sunday, 22nd June 1941...
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Re: Air Action in event of seaborne invasion of UK

Post by Gooner1 » 26 Apr 2011 09:24

phylo_roadking wrote:
We've already seen he did just that on 30th June/1st July 1940...
No, Churchill did not. He ordered planning on the use of gas.

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Re: Air Action in event of seaborne invasion of UK

Post by phylo_roadking » 26 Apr 2011 17:44

He ordered planning on the use of gas
....in the event of invasion - not in the event of the Germans using it first. Hence the Air Staff's document being titled "Contamination of beaches as an anti-invasion measure".

In fact - that terminology would actually hint at a pre-emptive measure I.E. the beaches would be contaminated before the enemy landed, as a preventative measure.

Ditto for the tarsprayers etc. that were mustered to spray roads leading to/from the beaches etc., otherwise ...I have this horrible mental image of an RASC driver trying to pilot his lorry and tooting his horn in and around oncoming panzers :lol: ...
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Re: Air Action in event of seaborne invasion of UK

Post by Gooner1 » 26 Apr 2011 22:59

phylo_roadking wrote:
He ordered planning on the use of gas
....in the event of invasion - not in the event of the Germans using it first. Hence the Air Staff's document being titled "Contamination of beaches as an anti-invasion measure".
'In the event of invasion' still does not make its use legal.
In fact - that terminology would actually hint at a pre-emptive measure I.E. the beaches would be contaminated before the enemy landed, as a preventative measure.
...
:lol: :lol: Hysterical.

Anyway, back to mundane reality. Expected to be read by every officer and most warrant officers Military Training Pamphlet No. 23 Part V. - The Use of Gas in the Field (1940)
"The British Government has no intention of initiating the use of gas. The British Army must, however, be prepared to protect itself against use of gas by an enemy. A study of the methods by which gas might be employed in the field is therefore necessary, but such methods would only be adopted by the British Army if it were deemed that retaliatory measures were required."


Before tying yourself into more knots, the pamphlet makes clear how far from a wonder weapon gas was.

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Re: Air Action in event of seaborne invasion of UK

Post by phylo_roadking » 26 Apr 2011 23:26

'In the event of invasion' still does not make its use legal.
The legality of using it is something else entirely.
Hysterical.
Why? Unless the beaches are contaminated if possible BEFORE the Germans arrive - if the decision to do so is taken after CROMWELL is sent to all commands...then the success (or not) of doing so is dependent on a whole variety of other factors - air superiority over the beaches, etc. etc..

Ditto especially for the plans to contaminate roads etc. - above I was joking, but how were they expected to spray them from spraying vehicles etc. once the Germans have actually arrived??? :wink:
the pamphlet makes clear how far from a wonder weapon gas was.
Of course it's not a wonder weapon, it makes life as complicated in many circumstances for the prospective defender as well as the attacker...but at this point in (non)history the British would need EVERY advantage, large or small, that they could gain...
Military Training Pamphlet No. 23 Part V. - The Use of Gas in the Field (1940)
And written/published when in 1940? I.E. what month? Before or after Dunkirk.... :wink:

And you honestly think that in extremis I.E. if it was a matter of national survival, that statement wouldn't go by the board??? As I said, we already know that Churchill, Brooke, the Air staff etc. etc. were "planning" its use in the event of invasion without the Germans using it first...
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Re: Air Action in event of seaborne invasion of UK

Post by phylo_roadking » 26 Apr 2011 23:37

From Fleming...
Ruminating afterwards on what would have happened if the Germans had got ashore in strength, Churchill wrote: " They would have used terror, and we were prepared to go to all lengths." This would seem to be a veiled reference to the British decision, surrounded by secrecy at the time and ever since, to attack the German beacheads with mustard gas if the need arose; the gas was to be sprayed from low-flying aircraft, and was regarded as a last resort, to be used only if more conventional methods of defence looked like being overcome.

In the small circle to whom it was known this expedient arose controversey. One of the main arguments used by its critics was that it was certain to lead to retaliation in kind and that as a target for chemical warfare Britain was many times more vulnerable than Germany, and must remain so as long as the powerful GErman bomber force threatened the islands at point-blank range, But these objections were outweighed by the paramount importance of denying the invaders a lodgement; and although in the event it is likely that this would have been acheived by the normal weapons of the three fighting services, the British would not, in a crisis, have forgone the use of gas....
The two bits in bold would indicate -

1/ there WAS a decision made;

2/ that decision was made by a SMALL group - thus not the full government, and

3/ how could they be worrying about retaliation in kind if THEY hadn't intended to be the FIRST to use it if necessary??? :wink:....
"Troops must be made to realize that the first time they fire their weapons on these shores in the defence of their own land, they may be wearing respirators, if these respirators fit badly, they may soon be dead men."
Army Training Memorandum, September 1940....
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Re: Air Action in event of seaborne invasion of UK

Post by phylo_roadking » 27 Apr 2011 00:59

As a P.S. - from A world at arms: a global history of World War II By Gerhard L. Weinberg, P.146....
"On June 15 the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Sir John Dill, had argued for the use of poison gas against any German forces that had succeeded in getting ashore and could not be immediately repulsed. After initial objections by some, Churchill obtained the agreement of the Cabinet for such use of gas on June 30."
So Churchill DID obtain group approval for the use of gas with the only criteria being that the enemy could not "be immediately repulsed" - NOT that the Germans use it first. Down the chain of command then, Churchill would pass this to the Staff Chiefs Committee who would pass it to Brooke as C-in-C Uk Home Forces for operational use at his discretion.

I'll have to chase that down, be interesting to know if it was the full Cabinet or his small "War Cabinet"...
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Re: Air Action in event of seaborne invasion of UK

Post by Gooner1 » 27 Apr 2011 13:18

phylo_roadking wrote: Why? Unless the beaches are contaminated if possible BEFORE the Germans arrive - if the decision to do so is taken after CROMWELL is sent to all commands...then the success (or not) of doing so is dependent on a whole variety of other factors - air superiority over the beaches, etc. etc..
The British contaminate their own country without knowing the Germans would even arrive there? :lol:
Ditto especially for the plans to contaminate roads etc. - above I was joking, but how were they expected to spray them from spraying vehicles etc. once the Germans have actually arrived??? :wink:
What plans? Seriously the only mention of gas in any of the War Diaries I've read is about the enemy using it.

Of course it's not a wonder weapon, it makes life as complicated in many circumstances for the prospective defender as well as the attacker...but at this point in (non)history the British would need EVERY advantage, large or small, that they could gain...
The RAF document pretty simply shows that using gas instead of H.E. would be a disadvantage in most circumstances.

No surprise Churchill was keen but Alan Brook, who was of course an artilleryman, should have known better.
I wonder if he added that text later to his diaries to spice it up a little - for the sales.
And written/published when in 1940? I.E. what month? Before or after Dunkirk.... :wink:
January 1941. But exsactly the same text as the previous years edition.

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Re: Air Action in event of seaborne invasion of UK

Post by phylo_roadking » 28 Apr 2011 16:20

January 1941. But exsactly the same text as the previous years edition.
To repeat - when "in the previous year" I.E. 1940 was it released?
No surprise Churchill was keen but Alan Brook, who was of course an artilleryman, should have known better.
He might indeed have been fully aware of the limitations of artillery to deliver gas, something that was recognised and accepted since WWI - but what's to know better about than a weapon that could be used to dislodge/discommode an enemy...and that once the enemy is defeated I.E. driven off the beaches etc. they can be decontaminated again?
The RAF document pretty simply shows that using gas instead of H.E. would be a disadvantage in most circumstances
For the RAF's bombers' ideal role in countering an invasion I.E. tactical and close air support. That doesn't mean that C-in-C UK Home Forces would view it similarly...
The British contaminate their own country without knowing the Germans would even arrive there?
As I said...
Unless the beaches are contaminated if possible BEFORE the Germans arrive - if the decision to do so is taken after CROMWELL is sent to all commands...
I.E. between the RAF or RN spotting that the Germans are loading vessels, setting sail etc. - and them actually landing.
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Re: Air Action in event of seaborne invasion of UK

Post by Dunserving » 28 Apr 2011 17:03

Gooner1 wrote:
phylo_roadking wrote:
He ordered planning on the use of gas
....in the event of invasion - not in the event of the Germans using it first. Hence the Air Staff's document being titled "Contamination of beaches as an anti-invasion measure".
'In the event of invasion' still does not make its use legal.
In fact - that terminology would actually hint at a pre-emptive measure I.E. the beaches would be contaminated before the enemy landed, as a preventative measure.
...
:lol: :lol: Hysterical.

Anyway, back to mundane reality. Expected to be read by every officer and most warrant officers Military Training Pamphlet No. 23 Part V. - The Use of Gas in the Field (1940)
"The British Government has no intention of initiating the use of gas. The British Army must, however, be prepared to protect itself against use of gas by an enemy. A study of the methods by which gas might be employed in the field is therefore necessary, but such methods would only be adopted by the British Army if it were deemed that retaliatory measures were required."


Before tying yourself into more knots, the pamphlet makes clear how far from a wonder weapon gas was.
'In the event of invasion' still does not make its use legal.

Ye Gods..... If this happened in 1940 when we were still on our own and there would have been grave doubts that anyone would have invaded us and saved us from doination as we did to France in '44........... Invasion meant we were finished as a nation, beaten, subjugated. So its use would not have been legal.... So what? Who gives a toss? If we are about to go under the jackboot the gloves are off, anything goes, and to hell with the rules of war. Only one thing matters and that is stopping them. War isn't about dying for your country, its about making sure some other poor devil dies for his.

"The British Government has no intention of initiating the use of gas."

Well, surely you don't expect there to be a publication detailing what would have been a very closely guarded secret!

"Before tying yourself into more knots, the pamphlet makes clear how far from a wonder weapon gas was.[/"

True, but once the feldgrau clad hordes are on their way and/or are starting to put leather onto sand then everything that can hurt them is going to be used. So it is not a wonder weapon... So what? Neither is a rifle, bullets have a habit of missing more often than hitting in a combat situation. But, when our backs are to the wall... Everything available could and should be used.

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Re: Air Action in event of seaborne invasion of UK

Post by Gooner1 » 28 Apr 2011 22:40

phylo_roadking wrote:[To repeat - when "in the previous year" I.E. 1940 was it released?
January IIRC.
For the RAF's bombers' ideal role in countering an invasion I.E. tactical and close air support. That doesn't mean that C-in-C UK Home Forces would view it similarly...
MTP 23 mentions similar advantages and disadvantages of gas. What means did the army have for dispensing gas?
I.E. between the RAF or RN spotting that the Germans are loading vessels, setting sail etc. - and them actually landing.
Which part of the country would then be chosen for gassing? And what about the defenders? On the plus side the Germans might be laughing too hard to retaliate.

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Re: Air Action in event of seaborne invasion of UK

Post by Gooner1 » 28 Apr 2011 22:49

Dunserving wrote: Ye Gods..... If this happened in 1940 when we were still on our own and there would have been grave doubts that anyone would have invaded us and saved us from doination as we did to France in '44........... Invasion meant we were finished as a nation, beaten, subjugated. So its use would not have been legal.... So what? Who gives a toss? If we are about to go under the jackboot the gloves are off, anything goes, and to hell with the rules of war.
Yes, yes, but who gives the order to start using gas, anyone?

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Re: Air Action in event of seaborne invasion of UK

Post by phylo_roadking » 28 Apr 2011 23:01

Yes, yes, but who gives the order to start using gas, anyone?
Brooke. He's C-in-C Uk Home Forces and would be responsible for fighting the invasion and giving the order; he may not of course do so UNTIL he had consulted with his Minister for Defence, but it's Brooke who would issue the order to his commands.
Which part of the country would then be chosen for gassing?


See the list posted above. That's what the RAF anticipated ahead of events. Army requirements of the moment might differ AFTER the Germans landed - but then again, that would be the Germans forcing the change...
On the plus side the Germans might be laughing too hard to retaliate.
This would be the same Germans who, according to Schenk, weren't going to carry their gasmaks but bring them ashore locked in their various wheeled carts that they were carrying food, ammunition etc. in?
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