Intended FJ role in Sealion

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by phylo_roadking » 31 Aug 2011 19:01

IIRC synthetic silk in useable quantities - as in the tens of thousands of yards required for parachutes annually - only came into circulation by very late 1940/into 1941 - this is the "Macoo" you'll occasionally find mention of. So the research programmes DID bear fruit - but not in time for Sealion. I also sadly as yet haven't found production rates for it. Also, apparently it could only be used once; the stresses upon the material woven from Macoo in use meant 'chutes couldn't be used twice.
On the other hand, I do not believe shortages to bear so heavy in the Summer 1940, when large stock-piles and caches of the low countries and France had just fallen into German hands. That must also have included plenty of parachutes too. Since the managed to supply all their Luftwaffe personnel with parachutes I cannot think why silk production should have had any influence on the airborne weapon in 1940 operations whatsoever.
I think...if you turn this equation around, you'll see why the FJ might have been short of parachute silk! If the Luftwaffe was being 100% equiped with parachutes, there might not be much left from strategic stocks for the FJ! Especially after x-amount had been used in Holland etc. After all, we don't know exact details of the Germans' standards/ratings for parachute silk, they might not have been able to reuse the real silk 'chutes either 8O Oh, and don't forget - as they used heavier and heavier equipment, that required multiple parachutes, and each Ju52 stick required another two for their drop containers/wicker baskets!

And after all - don't forget a lot of the Luftwaffe's silk was being...ahem..."expended" during the summer of '40 and lost to the Germans for future purposes! :P (I don't suppose there have been any studies done on the usage of parachute silk during the BoB???)
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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by Zuylen » 31 Aug 2011 19:20

As long as no reputed source tells me of critical silk shortages in the Summer of 1940, I am not going to be bothered about it. Btw, the synthetic silks were already used since 1936, so I don't know where you get your 1940/1941 accounts from, but I don't think it is accurate.

The parachutes in Holland (as well as the airborne weapons canisters) were all assembled for re-use. Like the Germans assembled all military stuff for re-use and re-cycling. Whole loads of canisters and parachutes were flown back into Germany. So I gather re-use was obvious. That must have taken care of quite some material needs. Again, I don't buy claims that presumed silk shortages caused the airbornes to be influenced in their developments. Too obvious a reason to be missed out by many airborne historians who recently published. Anyone on the German side would know, don't you think. Or are we dealing with a well kept secret?

By the same time silk was about to become rare commodity in Germany, the UK suffered from more shortages than the Germans whatsoever.

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by Andy H » 31 Aug 2011 21:10

Leandros wrote:-
but I am getting rather fed up in discussions that all end up in trying to prove that the German were amateurs at the time. They weren't, you know. They were the pros. Then.
I don't think you'll find that many would consider the German military as amateurs or amateurish but neither were they supermen able to defy logic just because it must be so.

Logistics however boring are the most vital component of any conflict and whilst you may find the detail tiresome, it doesn't make it un-important. Now if the Silk shortage is a myth then fine! I would just like some proof other than it' doesn't appear in Students book' to disprove it.

I have no problem with other German planes towing the Gliders but I would also expect that the same planes cannot be at the same time bombing or escorting elsewhere. However that rarely happens as we are subjected to lists of numbers showing X German planes being in three places at once depending on what particular facet were discussing and all to prove the overwhelming numbers the Germans could bring to bare.

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 31 Aug 2011 21:39

Leandros, I'm afraid that I'd have to disagree with you on the particular point about the Germans being amateurs because in this particular case, that is an assault landing from the sea, they most definitely were amateurs with no conception whatsoever of the problems involved. Just reading Schenk and their plans for the turn around of the transport ships proves they were amateurs.

Andy, If they had put their minds to it the Germans could easily have found tows for the gliders, they used old biplanes fighters for this in their trainig schools and, for example, there was no shortage of the Avia B-534.
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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by phylo_roadking » 01 Sep 2011 14:51

Btw, the synthetic silks were already used since 1936, so I don't know where you get your 1940/1941 accounts from, but I don't think it is accurate.
Ye s- but was it available in the quantity required and the standard required for parachute silk???
The parachutes in Holland (as well as the airborne weapons canisters) were all assembled for re-use. Like the Germans assembled all military stuff for re-use and re-cycling. Whole loads of canisters and parachutes were flown back into Germany. So I gather re-use was obvious.


First of all - "The parachutes in Holland (as well as the airborne weapons canisters) were all assembled for re-use" Actually, I would severely doubt they were ALL assembled for re-use - what about the ripped 'chutes, and the badly damaged containers? I think you mean they were all assembled for examination and possible re-use.
That must have taken care of quite some material needs. Again, I don't buy claims that presumed silk shortages caused the airbornes to be influenced in their developments. Too obvious a reason to be missed out by many airborne historians who recently published.
As long as no reputed source tells me of critical silk shortages in the Summer of 1940, I am not going to be bothered about it.
So you're going to be first off the stocks and call MacDonald disreputable???

For information - though he's not specific which source is used for which datum in Chapter two of The Lost Battle, MacDonald does give a very detailed bibliography per chapter. His source for the FJ in this chapter include Student and Goetzel (Lucas if you remember liaised directly weith Goetzel for his Storming Eagles), Kuhn, and Kurowski, and the von Rhoden Collection of Luftwaffe documents at the U.S. NAtional Archives.
Anyone on the German side would know, don't you think. Or are we dealing with a well kept secret?
Logistics however boring are the most vital component of any conflict and whilst you may find the detail tiresome, it doesn't make it un-important. Now if the Silk shortage is a myth then fine! I would just like some proof other than it' doesn't appear in Students book' to disprove it.
Well, let's not forget that one of the commonly-used sources for the FJ, Student...was in a sanatorium for half the summer of 1940! MacDonald notes that he kept a "lively interest" in all Putziger's discussions and attempt to alter/expand the role of the FJ in Sealion, but it's questionable of the day-to-day minutiae of logistics were brought to his attention. He didn't leave hospital until August, and then Göring told him at his medal presentation at Karin Hall that Hitler wouldn't be invading England, and..."Nothing will happen this year at any rate".....and he wasn't to trouble himself with the preparations but to concentrate on his health! Student didn't see his superior again until the end of September...
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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by Andy H » 02 Sep 2011 09:52

Alanmccoubrey wrote:Andy, If they had put their minds to it the Germans could easily have found tows for the gliders, they used old biplanes fighters for this in their trainig schools and, for example, there was no shortage of the Avia B-534.
Hi

No doubt they could have and would have, but I think its important to note any possible consequences of this. I don't have the expertise on these old biplane fighters etc to know how there towing characteristics/performance varied from say the Ju52 or the other planes mentioned by Leandros etc and the impact it would have on any operations.

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by Zuylen » 29 Feb 2012 13:53

@Phylo

Pardon me for not reflecting earlier to your reply. I was under the (obviously wrong) impression that I would get a warning mail when a new poster came but obviously that didn't work or I left out the box that brings me notification.

As to the silk issue. Silk had nothing to do with the modest number of airbornes in 1940 or 1941 for that matter. It had all to do with other limitations. Like for example the fact that only after the Westfeldzug suddenly (as a consequence of Hitler's directive thereto) recruits were literally pushed into the airbornes. Since the airborne school (Stendal) had been abondoned in May 1940 - its instructors all operationally occupied - a new school had to be organized in June 1940. A second one followed soon. At that point in time there were airbornes left for one regiment alone. There where three regiments had been planned beforehand. From this one regiment three were to be built. That didn't happen overnight. Another issue was the lacking transportation. The Dutch campaign had taken half the transportfleet out of action. Available pilots were primarily used to man battle planes. The schooling of airbornes was another issue.In all my literature and sources on the Fallschirmjäger I have not ever come across the issue of silk as a reason for the choked growth of the airbornes in 1940. People, transport-room and schooling are the main arguments that contained the (rapid) growth of the Fallschirmjäger.

MacDonald is not a reputed source. You may find him one, but that doesn't mean he is. I have studied the FJR for ages and I have never come across a certain MacDonald as a leading source, let alone one of reputation. My sources go back to the BDF, BA/MA and the German airborne authors and veterans. And to be frank, I know very little British or American authors that I consider worth addressing as a 'reputed source'. I find them mostly ill reputed, poorly informed and jumping to conclusions. I posses hundreds of books on WWII, particularly on the first two years (1939/1940), and that is exactly the period that English speaking historians and authors are quite poorly informed on. Obviously, the events of the BEF excluded. For that they have plenty of sources. On the German part however, they know too little to be taken seriously on the continent. I am sorry to say.

Kurt Student didn't return from sanitation until January 1941. I don't know where you see him go lose again in the late Summer of 1940, but in those days Putzier still ran the show. In September 1940 he was moved to the Hansa clinic in Berlin, from where he got sideways involved in the fast development of his division.

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by Knouterer » 15 Mar 2012 21:41

Regarding Lympne airfield, for what it's worth, on another forum (can't find it right now) someone claimed that according to the Defence Scheme of 45 Division it was held by 2 companies of the 8th battalion Queen's Westminsters (part of 31 Brigade Group guarding the Royal Military Canal). In addition, there was (allegedly) a company-sized RAF unit with 3 Beaverettes and 4x40 mm Bofors guns. 4x20 mm guns also mentioned, but what type?

If this is correct, it would have cost the FJ some time and serious losses to dislodge these troops, especially if they were well dug in (as they should have been after the abovementioned bombing attacks on the field).

According to contributors to the Kent History Forum, explosive charges were dug in all over the field to crater it and make it unusable. Later during the war, digging them out again proved to be a tricky problem.

Even if the FJ had managed to overcome local resistance and clear the country miles around from British troops, I would suppose Lympne would still have been brought under fire by various heavy railroad guns at Ashford, Eythorne, Shepherdswell and other locations. I do not claim to be an expert, but it seems difficult to operate a small airfield when 9.2" (380 lb/172.75 kg) and 12" (750 lb/340 kg) shells keep falling on it at irregular intervals.

Finally, even if the Germans in spite of the above had somehow managed to operate the airfield, would it have made much of a difference? Supposing that one Ju52 could land and be unloaded every 10 minutes - a VERY optimistic assumption - that would make 100 a day at most. Which is say 1500 men and 100 tons of supplies. Not enough to turn the tide of battle, IMHO.
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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by phylo_roadking » 15 Mar 2012 23:48

Kurt Student didn't return from sanitation until January 1941. I don't know where you see him go lose again in the late Summer of 1940, but in those days Putzier still ran the show. In September 1940 he was moved to the Hansa clinic in Berlin, from where he got sideways involved in the fast development of his division.
I suggest you do a little more research. Student was released from hospital in August 1940, and visited Göring at Karinhall on the 2nd of September, where he was presented with his Goldenes Fliegerabzeichen mit Brillianten. It was during THIS visit that he raised his objections to the existing plans with Göring and was told by Göring that Hitler wouldn't be invading England in 1940. It's mentioned in Student's own memoirs, pages 172-3 and in Kuhn (both German sources, I believe?). After that Göring told him to concentrate on recovering his full health. He later visited Göring's hunting lodge at Rominten for a few days at the end of September 1940, where he records in his memoirs that Göring wasn't overly perturbed about the LW's lack of success in the BoB....and Göring again confirmed that there would be no invasion in 1940 anyway. This visit is ALSO recorded in Student's own memoirs. AND Kuhn again.
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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by phylo_roadking » 15 Mar 2012 23:52

Regarding Lympne airfield, for what it's worth, on another forum (can't find it right now) someone claimed that according to the Defence Scheme of 45 Division it was held by 2 companies of the 8th battalion Queen's Westminsters (part of 31 Brigade Group guarding the Royal Military Canal). In addition, there was (allegedly) a company-sized RAF unit with 3 Beaverettes and 4x40 mm Bofors guns. 4x20 mm guns also mentioned, but what type?
Hi Knouterer - two companies of regular troops was indeed the standard British Army contribution to airfield defence during this period, according to David Newbold's thesis on the defence of the UK in 1940, which I've found in the meantime :wink:
According to contributors to the Kent History Forum, explosive charges were dug in all over the field to crater it and make it unusable. Later during the war, digging them out again proved to be a tricky problem.
That's a good confrimation; I've come across accounts of the field being mined several years later...and older mines still being in place and noone knowing how to defuse/neutralise them ;) but that's a useful confirmation that they were in place in 1940.
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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by Zuylen » 16 Mar 2012 00:04

phylo_roadking wrote: I suggest you do a little more research. Student was released from hospital in August 1940, and visited Göring at Karinhall on the 2nd of September, where he was presented with his Goldenes Fliegerbzeichen mit Brillianten. It was during THIS visit that he raised his objections to the existing plans with Göring and was told by Göring that Hitler wouldn't be invading England in 1940. It's mentioned in Student's own memoirs, pages 172-3 and in Kuhn (both German sources, I believe?). After that Göring told him to concentrate on recovering his full health. He later visited Göring's hunting lodge at Rominten for a few days at the end of September 1940, where he records in his memoirs that Göring wasn't overly perturbed about the LW's lack of success in the BoB....and Göring again confirmed that there would be no invasion in 1940 anyway.
I suggest that you look up the term/word 'sanitation'. Student only returned to active duty in January. That he was sideways consulted is another affaire. As I said, Putzier was running the show. Get your facts straight.

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by phylo_roadking » 16 Mar 2012 00:17

I suggest that you look up the term/word 'sanitation'. Student only returned to active duty in January. That he was sideways consulted is another affaire. As I said, Putzier was running the show. Get your facts straight.
I suggest YOU check what Student says about his own movements, and Kuhn. I suggest you also look back and check exactly what *I* said; I did not say he was back in active command of the FJ in the summer of 1940. What I DID say was...
Well, let's not forget that one of the commonly-used sources for the FJ, Student...was in a sanatorium for half the summer of 1940! MacDonald notes that he kept a "lively interest" in all Putziger's discussions and attempt to alter/expand the role of the FJ in Sealion, but it's questionable of the day-to-day minutiae of logistics were brought to his attention. He didn't leave hospital until August, and then Göring told him at his medal presentation at Karin Hall that Hitler wouldn't be invading England, and..."Nothing will happen this year at any rate".....and he wasn't to trouble himself with the preparations but to concentrate on his health! Student didn't see his superior again until the end of September...
...whereas your comment "I don't know where you see him go lose again in the late Summer of 1940, but in those days Putzier still ran the show. In September 1940 he was moved to the Hansa clinic in Berlin" would indicate that YOU believed he was still bed-ridden or kept in hospital. Now we see he most definitely wasn't - for a bed-ridden general he seems to have been doing a lot of visiting in the late summer. Including the day immediately after you say he was admitted to the Hansa Clinic.

It's also worth noting what Student himself says of the planning that was done for Sealion - that he would have advocated a largescale drop within three weeks of DYNAMO, to make the most of British confusion and chaos after the evacuation from Dunkirk...
"...a jump into the harbours and taking them out of service would have been a catastrophe. There were no real forces that could have stopped us. But during that time, I was still at home, convalescing."
I think you'll find there's a difference to being IN a hospital or clinic, as opposed to being under the care of a hospital or clinic :wink:
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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by phylo_roadking » 16 Mar 2012 00:56

I've also just noticed ANOTHER interesting sentence in Volkmar Kuhn's book...something I've been wondering about ever since MILFORCE's counterattacking and ground-clearing role in the late summer/autumn of 1940 was brought to my attention; I've always been very suprised at how specifically tied to the FJ's plans MILFORCE's were! 8O In relation to the FJ's preparations for the drops to secure Lypmne (and Hawkinge) Kuhn states -
Meanwhile the British had learned that the main assault would be delivered in the Folkestone area and had taken energetic steps to repel it. Natural obstacles had been strengthened and a "reception committee" assembled to greet the invaders.
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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by Zuylen » 16 Mar 2012 11:07

Volkmar Kuhn? That is an alias for Franz Kurowski. That is NO source to me. Kurowski is a pulp writer, not an historian. If you don't believe me, contact Kurwoski's agent. Kuhn/Kurowski has not written one word of value about the Fallschirmjäger. The man produced the most grotesk beloney. And still does.

Sanitation means a more or less contineous treatment. The German health system was excellent. Hospitals for first line treatment, sanitation and spa's for recovery and rest, and high ranking officers with private nursering staff at their very homes too. Sanitation does not mean being hospitalized. Student was not restored to active duty until 21 January 1941.

Student's memoirs are more than modest on his contributions during the rest of 1940. Opposed to what you suggest I do not consider Student a bed committed patient. I have pictures of him in sanitation. He was up quite soon again. But the brain damage and skull lifting operation that he underwent on 14 May 1940 had been a most serious medical intervention. Richard Putzier took care of things (not Putziger) until end January 1941. It is pretty much nonsense that it is suggested that Student became active in August 1940, or even modestly important. That Hermann Götzel and Kurt Student themselves liked to think that good old Kurt was pulling all the strings in the Summer of 1940 goes without saying. Perhaps it is nice to study the next episode, when we see Student sort of 'last minute flown in' for the Crete operation, although much to the irritation of his fellow generals who considered Student a very mediocre tactisian, which he in fact was. For example, in Holland, where things could have gone south if the Dutch would have had an army that had actually known one or two things about the trade, Student totally collided with his staff. He took absurd risks. They paid out, but they proved that he was more of an opportunist than a tacticus. After Crete everybody knew that. Even good old Adolf, who advocated gambling generals in the 1939-1942 era. Later he realized that most of these clowns were much overrated by him.

I love to debate on elms of the FJR war. But as I said, get yourself some proper sources.

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by Urmel » 16 Mar 2012 14:22

Zuylen wrote:Volkmar Kuhn? That is an alias for Franz Kurowski. That is NO source to me. Kurowski is a pulp writer, not an historian. If you don't believe me, contact Kurwoski's agent. Kuhn/Kurowski has not written one word of value about the Fallschirmjäger. The man produced the most grotesk beloney. And still does.
Here is a list of the late Mr. Kurowski's aliases:

Heinrich Schulze-Dierschau
Franz K. Kaufmann
Johanna Schulz
Heinrich H. Bernig
Karl Alman
Gloria Mellina
Jason Meeker
Volkmar Kühn
Rüdiger Greif.
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