Intended FJ role in Sealion

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LWD
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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by LWD » 06 Jul 2009 17:24

phylo_roadking wrote:.... To ME that looks as if the Meindl's and Brauer's troops need to hike ten miles across country to rendezvous with the Second Wave....before the both of them move to surround the airfield....that would indicate a delay of AT LEAST two hours after dawn before the two waves combine, more if there are difficulties crossing country, and more if the Stenzler's second wave is in ANY way delayed!...
5 Mph on foot going crosscountry through unfamiliar country at that seems very optomistic. Especially since it's going to take them a bit to get organized after the drop. Then all it takes is one or two home guard taking pot shots at them and everything slows way down. If I were planning it I'd guess at least 3 and more like 4 hours and that's without running into any significant opposition.

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by phylo_roadking » 06 Jul 2009 20:29

5 Mph on foot going crosscountry through unfamiliar country at that seems very optomistic. Especially since it's going to take them a bit to get organized after the drop. Then all it takes is one or two home guard taking pot shots at them and everything slows way down. If I were planning it I'd guess at least 3 and more like 4 hours and that's without running into any significant opposition.
First of all - the two elements of the First Wave have to find each other. The element dropping furthest east is dropping on top of high ground a kick in the @rse from Hawkinge...and almost certainly visible silhouetted against t dawn in the East - and the other element is dropping around a village in a river valley; they have to find each other first. Then they have to find their way west-sou'west to the DZ for the second wave; I assume the first wave was to come and rendezvous with the second...for doing anything else as a rendezvous takes them further away from the objective!...THEN they have to advance and surround the airfield, while they wait for the "Third Wave" - the gliders and tugs - to arrive.

If the remaining church bells had still been allowed to ring the stations of the day, I could honestly see the FJ sitting under hedges around Lympne airfield at noon waiting for the big attack...if they could hear the bells and town clocks agains the rumble of artillery and the noise of aircraft and combat overhead!

And there is simply NO way that four massed paratroop drops could go unnoticed - given that ONE was only a mile or so from the edge of the airfield (Sellindge)...and the FIRST two were within sight of the suburbs of Folkstone and Hawkinge! If people didn't by some chance see them...they were bound at the very least to HEAR them! 8O

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by phylo_roadking » 06 Jul 2009 20:38

Here's yet ANOTHER issue for the Germans...See the green line wiggling across the bottom of the pic?

Image

THAT is the Royal Military Canal! Now a lot more shrunken than it's 60-foot width of 1940 - and it was dotted on the NORTHERN side - facing the airfield - with...pillboxes! 8O

Now....look how close it runs to the southern perimeter of Lympne??? At most, 3/4s of a mile. So how on earth are the FJ to surround the airfield without being spotted by the regular British Army troops positioned there on the Canal?

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by Markus Becker » 06 Jul 2009 21:04

I got some info from the other forum and the user said he does not think RAF Lympne had no significant defences of its own but there was a division from New Zealand in the area and a unit called 8 RTR. I guess that stands for 8th Royal Tank Regiment. The user is very confident they could have defeated anything the Germans could have dropped. Me too.

I´ll see if I can dig up the book with the map of the drop zones and so on.

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by LWD » 06 Jul 2009 21:33

Well if there was a heavy fog especially for the first wave they might not be seen. On the otherhand where they land and in what condition would be a lot more problematic. How often do they have heavy fogs there in Sept and Oct?

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by phylo_roadking » 06 Jul 2009 21:56

he does not think RAF Lympne had no significant defences of its own
This would have made sense IF it was just an unoccupied auxiliary/diversion field for Eleven Group...but I doubt now it would be left completely open if there was an Army Co-op squadron there.
was a division from New Zealand in the area and a unit called 8 RTR.
Only in the last 24 hours have I come across it being referred to as New Zealand", more commonly its "Australian"; there were two "short" divisions in the south of England, each not much bigger than a brigade group.

As for "8th RTR" it was only there for a time - it was one of the formations sent to the Middle East in August IIRC -
When war was declared on 3rd September 1939 found 8th RTR stationed at Pelham Down, Wiltshire, under Southern HQ command. It served with 1st Army Tank Brigade (an independent unit) during the Fall of France in May 1940. After being evacuated and re-equipped the Battalion went to the Middle East as part of the 3rd Armored Brigade, 2nd Armoured Division in North Africa, in later 1940
Interestingly - it was the first unit in the British Army to be equiped with the new Valentine...

That's the problem with the defenders - they changed so much across the summer as units from France were re-formed, re-equiped etc....and Territorial units still forming at the Fall of France came into service.

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by phylo_roadking » 06 Jul 2009 22:04

Well if there was a heavy fog especially for the first wave they might not be seen. On the otherhand where they land and in what condition would be a lot more problematic.
A heavy fog would screw the whole thing - for want of a better word LOL Imagine if the two drops in the first wave were dropped just a few miles off-target...over the roofs and chimneys and telephone lines and poles of Folkestone... 8O

Conversely - the autumn of 1940 was one of the finest people of that generation remember; "season of mist and mellow fruitfulness" an' all that tosh :lol: A heavy SEA fog would always be possible - that far inland however is doubtful. A little light mist in hollows would be seasonal though, not enough for real issues. And burns off within an hour of sunrise.

And given the questions over the suitability of the vast majority of Sealion's ..."landing craft" :lol: - I think the germans would want PERFECT weather anyway! Fog would prevent the LW protecting the invasion fleets, etc.

EDIT: actually, it should be possible to find out precisely. The "7-day readiness order" was due to be issued by Hitler at the end of the first week of September...and he delayed it day-by-day for some time...which means the invasion window was somewhere between the 15th and 18th, possibly as late as the 20th; there should be information available about flying conditions and RAF operations on those days...given that it was slap-bang in the middle of the BoB!

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by The_Enigma » 06 Jul 2009 22:54

Only in the last 24 hours have I come across it being referred to as New Zealand", more commonly its "Australian"; there were two "short" divisions in the south of England, each not much bigger than a brigade group.
The Oz and Kiwi troops didnt arrive in the UK until 16 June, where they disembarked at Clyde. In total there appeared to be 15,000 men. Playfair states one brigade group of each nationality.

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by phylo_roadking » 06 Jul 2009 23:15

The Australian was definitely stationed south of London as of the 30th of June, I believe the other passed through the London area very soon after that. The 30th was the dinner at Chequers when it was brought to Churchill's attention that the 1st Canadian was the only fully equiped full infantry division available as of that date for the defence of Kent...and his inspections of earlier that day led him to issue the orders for the prduction of mustard gas and Operation Banquet. (IIRC his directive on the Auxiliary Units dated from the same set of meetings/inspections/dinners LOL)

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by phylo_roadking » 06 Jul 2009 23:25

One thing to remember about all the possible delays and various POFs that could affect the FJ operation...the RAF had plans to simply plough up grass runways and flightlines - like Lympne :wink: - and make them useless in the short term!

Image

How many hours' warning would it need to fly of 26 Sqn's aircraft and plough up the runway??? Lympne could be made useless to the Germans hours before they ever get there...

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by phylo_roadking » 07 Jul 2009 02:27

Hold the front page - I've just made a discovery...
Just three days after the attack by the Dornier 17’s another raid took
place, when at 1130 hours on Thursday 15 August 1940, R.A.F. Lympne was
heavily bombed by in excess of fifty Stuka Ju87 dive bombers of II/StG 1, which
were escorted by Messerschmitt Me109s. Although the raid was of only a short
duration, it again severely damaged the airfield and buildings, the majority of
which had been hit by the Dornier’s bombs just three days before, and in addition
to other buildings, the damaged hangars were hit again. R.A.F. Lympne was
evacuated, and only available as an Emergency Landing Ground until mid-
September 1940
, during which time R.A.F. Lympne suffered another raid by
about 20 enemy aircraft at 1554 hours on Friday 30 August 1940
http://www.kentfallen.com/PDF%20REPORTS ... RFIELD.pdf

It would appear No. 26 Squadron was there AFTER its evacuation from France on the 19th of May...but was one of the squadrons moved OUT again after the 15th of August. At THAT point it hadn't yet converted to Tomahaks, that seems now to have been later in the year; it was still flying Lysanders in the summer of 1940. The temporary closing of Lympne would also explain the relatively weak defences that some posters have noted! :wink:

BUT it brings up an interesting possibility; if the Germans didn't know that - and as they mounted a raid against an empty airfield...! - they're planning a very complicated operation, with hundreds if not thousands of troops, scattering them across rural Kent, that's going to cost them many transport aircraft...and which leaves the parachute forces open to attack by local defenders at Hythe and Folkstone, possibly even Hawkinge...for an empty and probably undefended objective!

That's a hell of a cost to pay... :wink:

EDIT: given THAT situation - on receipt of the CROMWELL alert...would the RAF send men, or order whatever maintenance staff that were at the emergency landing ground...to simply plough up the airfield ANYWAY as a precaution? 8O That close to the coast it would be regarded as vulnerable anyway, obviously...vulnerable, but too valuable an asset to leave to the Germans in the event of an invasion from whatever direction or by whatever means :wink:

HOWEVER - note that historically...Lympne was back in "action" by mid-September, right on the dates for Sealion! 8O A single flight of rather-fatigued MkI Spitfires from No. 421 Flight flying "Jim Crow" spotting sorties - before it gained its later enviable reputation as No. 91 "Nigeria" Spitfire-armed fighter squadron, one of the very few to remain Spitfire-equiped in some form through the entire war - was moved there :wink: I can't find a PRECISE date...just "mid-month". So - BEFORE those aircraft and support crews were sent there...on receipt of a CROMWELL alert - the airfield would probably be put beyond use as a precaution. AFTER the No. 421 Flight aircraft were stationed there - the airfield's few defences would be manned as normal.
Last edited by phylo_roadking on 07 Jul 2009 03:16, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by phylo_roadking » 07 Jul 2009 03:10

Okay, zeroing in now!

Fighter Squadrons In the Battle Of Britain, Anthony Robinson, 1987, P.202 -
After setting its starboard engine on fire and knocking out the mid-upper gunner, the two pilots watched as the bomber crashed into a field near Lympne. Wade then landed at the airfield at Lympne to re-arm and refuel, but as neither ammunition nor petrol was available there, took off again and flew to Hawkinge where he and Williams landed.
So - the Spitfires from No. 421 Flight weren't there as of the 10th of September...for there was NO operating stock of aviation spirit there. (Some Emergency Landing Ground!!! :lol: ...or had it intentionally been removed? :wink: ) Or else Pilot Officer Wade of No. 92 Sqn would have been able to refuel.

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by phylo_roadking » 07 Jul 2009 03:52

Here's a modern picture of what's left of Lympne airfield - it's long history as a flying club field came to an end in 1974 IIRC, and as you can see, a big chunk of the site is now an industrial estate...but it's still a VERY informative picture for several reasons...remember - you're looking directly North to South, that's the coast ahead, obviously LOL where it curves out to Dungeness, the modern nuclear power stations just out of site beyond the top of the pic.

Image

Now - see how the picture suddenly gets fuzzy along the line of trees just south of the airfield??? That's not JUST trees...it's the edge of a STEEP CLIFF! 8O See the Royal Military Canal coming in from the left and disappearing OUT OF SIGHT - at the foot of the escarpment? The airfield and the village of Lympne - you can JUST see a few buildings of it at the south-eastern corner of the old airfield, on the left at the end of the runway you can still see - ARE ON TOP OF A LINE OF HILLS. It's going to be really difficult to labour up to and surround the airfield 8O Especially after a ten-mile hike up hill and down dale carrying all your equipment...

Interestingly - you can see just how close the coast is :wink: I believe THAT is why Lympne was chosen; it means it's ideally not going to be very difficult at all for the invasion forces to reach and relieve the FJ...thus removing the Heer's fears of a repetition of Holland. That stretch of beach and coast is where the initial "wide front" version of Sealion planned to land up to ten divisions!!! For information and context - all the land in the distance in the top left of the picture...is Romney Marsh; New Romney, Dymchurch, Lydd etc.

The little bit of built-up area you can JUST see sitting right on the coast on the left is the western outskirts of Hythe.

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by Gooner1 » 07 Jul 2009 11:01

Markus Becker wrote:I got some info from the other forum and the user said he does not think RAF Lympne had no significant defences of its own but there was a division from New Zealand in the area and a unit called 8 RTR. I guess that stands for 8th Royal Tank Regiment. The user is very confident they could have defeated anything the Germans could have dropped. Me too.

I´ll see if I can dig up the book with the map of the drop zones and so on.
Not quite in the area

"East of Maidstone there was 5 Brigade, north of the Maidstone-Charing road was 7 Brigade, now commanded by Brigadier Falconer, and at Charing there was Milforce, an armoured group, commanded by Brigadier Miles and formally constituted the following morning.

Their instructions were specific and detailed. Seventh Brigade would deal with airborne landings in the Chatham-Maidstone area; Milforce and 5 Brigade would prepare to counter-attack in the direction of Dover and Folkestone. They immediately carried out exercises along all possible routes. There was no need to emphasise their importance. With the Battle of Britain then reaching its climax, the exercises were obviously rehearsals for what might take place in the next few hours. The days began with stand-to at dawn; the training exercises went on with bomber formations roaring over towards London and fighter screens weaving their vapour trails across the autumn skies; and then dusk came down with all troops standing-to again."
http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2Gree-c2.html

8th RTR at this time were equipped with Matildas (the majority actually Matilda Is IIRC)

Milforce comprised:
Tps: "C" Sqn. Div. Cav.
32 A/Tk Battery
"C" Coy. 21 Bn.
M.G. Coy.
Sig. Dett.
"C" Sqn. 8 R Tanks

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Re: Intended FJ role in Sealion

Post by phylo_roadking » 07 Jul 2009 13:40

That's interesting - the British had an armoured force specifically designated "to counter-attack in the direction of Dover and Folkestone"...

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