Operation Sealion

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Markus Becker
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Operation Sealion

Post by Markus Becker » 17 Dec 2005 20:56

Lets ignore logistics for a moment. I know logistical shortcomings alone would have doomed this undertaking, but what could the British Army have done, if the Germans had somehow managed to land?

How many Divisions did Britain have, what was their combat readyness(weapons+training), where were they stationed and so on. And before I forget it, did Britain know where the Germans intended to land?

Links to websites are especially appreciated.

Markus

taylorjohn
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Re: Operation Sealion

Post by taylorjohn » 17 Dec 2005 22:25

Markus Becker wrote:Lets ignore logistics for a moment. I know logistical shortcomings alone would have doomed this undertaking, but what could the British Army have done, if the Germans had somehow managed to land?

How many Divisions did Britain have, what was their combat readyness(weapons+training), where were they stationed and so on. And before I forget it, did Britain know where the Germans intended to land?

Links to websites are especially appreciated.

Markus
I don't believe that Sealion was doomed because of logistical shortcomings. See Peter Schenk's book - 'Landung in England Das geplante Unternehmen "Seelöwe" for an indepth analysis of German invasion preparations.

Regarding the state of Britain's own defences in 1940 the best source on this is 'The defense of the United Kingdom' by Basil Collier. He details the deployment and readiness of the UK's ground forces.

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Post by Andreas » 17 Dec 2005 22:34

Also see this thread, it may contain some info:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 44&start=0

All the best

Andreas

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Markus Becker
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Post by Markus Becker » 18 Dec 2005 13:19

Andreas wrote:Also see this thread, it may contain some info:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 44&start=0

All the best

Andreas

Thanks for the link, but there is no information about the British Army, just about the Navies, Air Forces and logistics.

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Post by Andreas » 18 Dec 2005 18:44

Hello Markus

I did not read, just knew it is going on at the moment.

Try this one for starters. http://www.flin.demon.co.uk/althist/seal1.htm

Probably the best equipped division on the British side was 3rd British Division (The Iron Division) under the command of Major-General B.L. Montgomery.

Regarding your question, it fundamentally depends which dates you are looking at. The British situation in July was pretty dismal, but by September it had improved considerably, AIUI.

Alles Gute

Andreas

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Markus Becker
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Post by Markus Becker » 18 Dec 2005 20:54

Thanks, I already found that one with goolge. The invasion can´t happen before September, because first France has to be defeated and second the RAF must be finished off. So it´s Dunkirk->Battle for France->BoB->Invasion. I already got some inormation from another forum. In September the Brits had 17 fully and 8 partially equipped Divisions. IMO enough to deal with a first wave of 5 Divisions.

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Post by Andreas » 18 Dec 2005 21:34

Kenneth Macksey's alternative history of Sealion 'Invasion 1940' deals with a potential jump across the channel in July. In my view however he ignores a number of problems that would have prevented this, in order to make it work.

So yes, if we go into September, there is a quite a bit more, but I have my doubts about 17 fully equipped divisions at that stage. That seems high, considering that by early July there was only one (according to its history), 3rd Division.

German landing divisions under the order of 27 July were 13 divisions (presumably mostly combat elements of these divisions): 7, 8, 12, 17, 26, 28, 30, 31, 32, 34, 35. ID, 1., 6. Gebirgs. Some of the fast troops may have been scheduled for an early landing too: 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10. PD, 20, 29 ID(mot), 3. SST-Div. This has definitely changed by September, since 12. ID changed from 1. Treffen to 2. Treffen inbetween, according to Teske 'Bewegungskrieg'.

In any case, I agree with an assessment that by September there would have been sufficient forces at hand to defend against a landing, at least hemming it in (if not destroying it), considering the nature of the terrain in Kent and Sussex, and the difficulties the Wehrmacht would have faced in supplying its forces 'across the river'. IIMU that the various wargames held at Sandhurst in the 1960s confirm this outcome (described in the atrocious 'Operation Sealion' by Robert Cox http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=5718).

All the best

Andreas

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Post by Andreas » 18 Dec 2005 21:36


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Post by Michael Emrys » 19 Dec 2005 19:26

This was again recently discussed in s.h.w.w-w-ii and one point that was made was that even with no interference from the RAF and RN, the Germans are going to have a tough time landing their troops. Not having specialized landing craft meant that a lot of the barges, lighters, etc. were going to be single use items. The success of the invasion hangs on early capture of deep water ports that allow seagoing ships to pull right up to the docks and unload heavy equipment. Most of the ports on that part of the coast are small fishing ports, unsuitable for the purpose. All the larger ports were prepared for demolition and would have taken too long for the Germans to get into operation. Imagine D-Day without the Mulberries. Or even LSTs, LCIs, LCTs, etc., etc., etc.

Michael

taylorjohn
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A note of German/UK Ground forces

Post by taylorjohn » 19 Dec 2005 23:37

Markus Becker wrote:Thanks, I already found that one with goolge. The invasion can´t happen before September, because first France has to be defeated and second the RAF must be finished off. So it´s Dunkirk->Battle for France->BoB->Invasion. I already got some inormation from another forum. In September the Brits had 17 fully and 8 partially equipped Divisions. IMO enough to deal with a first wave of 5 Divisions.
I never ceased to be amazed by the way people invent numbers in order to support their own arguments.

In fact, out of a total of 27 divisions in the UK in September 40 only 4 were fully equipped while just 8 were partially equipped. At the planned site for the German invasion only two divisions were deployed.

The first wave for the German invasion consisted of elements of 9 divisions.

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Post by JonS » 20 Dec 2005 00:42

NZ had a Div(-) in England during this period. Their exploits - and some peripheral information - can be found here: http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-corpus-WH2.html

You will need to trawl through to find which 3 inf bns were involved, but also included were some Arty, MGers, Engineers, Div Cav, and other div troops. There is also covereage in the campaign volume 'To Greece' here: http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2Gree-c2.html (which, BTW, gives the bns as 21, 22, 23, 28, and 29). Also, check the 'Problems' and 'Documents' volumes for addl material.
Last edited by JonS on 20 Dec 2005 00:49, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A note of German/UK Ground forces

Post by JonS » 20 Dec 2005 00:43

taylorjohn wrote:I never ceased to be amazed by the way people invent numbers in order to support their own arguments.
[snips]
The first wave for the German invasion consisted of elements of 9 divisions.
Teehee :lol:

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Dispositions of German/UK forces

Post by taylorjohn » 20 Dec 2005 00:50

JonS wrote:NZ had a Bde Gp in England during this period. Their exploits - and some peripheral information - can be found here: http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-corpus-WH2.html

You will need to trawl through to find which 3 inf bns were involved, but also included were some Arty, MGers, Engineers, and other div troops. There is also covereage in the campaign volume 'To Greece' here: http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2Gree-c2.html (which, BTW, gives the bns as 21, 22, and 23). Also, check the 'Problems' and 'Documents' volumes for addl material.
Yes, but in the immediate area of the invasion just two divisions were stationed - one of which was a reserve formation - to the 9 German divisions in the first wave of the invasion I could also have added the 7th Flieger division which would have engaged the NZ formation which you refer to.

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Post by JonS » 20 Dec 2005 00:54

Well, since I said 'in England' ...

Besides, from the second link:
[5 September] The order from GHQ Home Forces ran as follows: ‘Emergency Move. NZ Force and 8 R Tanks under command General Freyberg will move to area EAST of TUNBRIDGE WELLS to be selected by Commander 12 Corps. On arrival this area FORCE will come under command of 12 Corps and will be held in reserve for counter offensive role.’ For further information the General went to GHQ Home Forces, where he learnt what the commander had not been willing to say over the telephone—that after the heavy bombardment of Dover from Gris Nez, Mr Churchill had ordered that if an invasion took place and Dover was captured it must be retaken at all costs. To take part in this all-important counter-attack the New Zealand brigades were being transferred to the outskirts of the Dover-Folkestone area. The signals strength for this role was increased by 100 British signallers ...

The brigades left Aldershot late on 5 September, stopping and starting all through the night, listening to the drone of aircraft on their way to bomb London and eventually settling down under cover in the woods before first light. 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. ...

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Post by edward_n_kelly » 20 Dec 2005 02:40

All have assumed that the Luftwaffe would have had to have destroyed the RAF BEFORE Operation Sealion could be launched.

What if, instead of wasting themselves for several months trying to achieve that, the Luftwaffe instead concentrated on a week campaign to destroy the southern airfields and infrastructure (including transport). The invasion could then be launched and would in turn draw the RAF into the ground that had the most advantage to the Luftwaffe – over the battlefield - at a comparatively short range for the single engine fighters.

It would have an additional benefit of allowing the return of crews where their aircraft was incapable of re-crossing The Channel and had to crash land in England (an otherwise total loss under the way the campaign was fought in real life).

Remember the RN could not intervene with large warships for about a day after the invasion was launched because of where they were based (Rosyth, Orkneys, etc) and their light forces could be “bottled up” in harbour with mines or indeed sunk during the concentrated pre-landing phase.

German casualties would be grievous under this scenario but would it have succeeded and would it have been possible to have been launched by the Germans during August 1940 at the latest ?

Edward

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