A couple of comments:RichTO90 wrote:Naw, I just like to argue, doesn't have to have tracks or be painted green.
And I'm afraid I was pretty much ignoring the air dimension on purpose, since it essentially would have been useless.
1). The German assault convoy approach was at night, with the landings scheduled to begin at circa 0630 hours IIRC. How does the Luftwaffe, find and strike RN vessels at night? It's likely the Royal Navy will be amongst the convoys and their escorts before daylight when the Luftwaffe arrives amid the considerable confusion....do I need to define "fratricide" for anyone?
2). Luftwaffe antiship capabilities were extremely poor at this time. Their aerial torpedos literally did not work (those used in the spring of 1941 and later against shipping were initially borrowed and then copied from Regia Aeronautica designs that did work). Their bombs worked....sort of. Unfortunately though again at that time only against unarmored or lightly armored vessels. Most of the German bomb inventory were SC (General Purpose) and SD (Semi-armor Piercing) types with poor antiarmor capability (essentially Revenge and any other vessel with a 3-inch armor deck or turret/conning tower roof were more or less impervious to penetrations, which leaves blast effects that would likely not have much result against a battleship and might not be serious versus a cruiser. And worse, none of the Luftwaffe units were trained in antiship operations - they were good against stationary anchored targets (the destoyers lost at Dunkirk were either stopped or moving slowly and not maneuvering because of the shallows), but woefully incapable against moving targets, especially small fast ones like DD and cruisers (total losses of moving vessels in the Channel to Stukas during the whole of August was four armed trawlers and a netlayer IIRC). Essentially the only specialized antiship assets they had at he time were the Küstenflieger and Bordeflieger and they were all either inappropriate or fully occupied in naval reconnaissance operations, and there were only about three dozen of them anyway, so a very finite asset.
It wasn't until 1941 and the arrival of numbers of PC (AP) bombs, Italian torpedos, and a lot of additional practice that they got good at antiship operations, and even then it was hit or miss, their actually performance against an unprotected, target rich environment at Crete wasn't really all that great. The heyday, such as it was, of KG 40 out of Bordeaux was 1941-1942, they just didn't have the capability in 1940.
3) The result would have been losses to the RN, of course, but the notion that they had the capability to actually halt a determined Royal Navy attack on the invasion convoys is simply untenable. To take Crete as an example again, four RN cruisers and 8 destroyers were lost directly or indirectly to Luftwaffe attacks. Except they were lost over six different days over a ten-day period of operations where there the Luftwaffe had complete air superiority and well-nigh air supremacy. And the worse loss was 22 May when three cruisers and a destroyer were sunk....except that York was lost in Suda Bay to cumulative damage that had occured over the last days.
So our baseline really has to be that the maximum expected damage done by the Luftwaffe would be two or three cruisers/destroyers on the day of the invasion. You could argue for doubling that to account for the quicker turnaround time flying from France to England versus from Greece to Crete, but then I could counter with the full force of Fighter Command (only about 60 percent of which was ever committed at one time to the Battle of Britain). And that is a true pinprick when the initial size of the force committed would have been on the order of 1 BB, 5 CL, 47 DD, and 12 sloops and torpedo boats, plus literally hundreds of smaller warships and auxiliaries.
- I think you've got the number of ships sunk in the Channel during August wrong. Going off the top of my head, during the 'convoy battles' (or were they in July? Still relevant, either way) the Luftwaffe was able to sink several steamers and at least one destroyer.
- IMO the only examples that should be used are Dunkirk and Norway, as they accurately represent Luftwaffe anti-shipping capabilities of the time. A couple of telling examples:
Of the 9 destroyers sunk at Dunkirk, only five were sunk by aircraft, though the majority of the 19 put out of action were because of the Luftwaffe. It should be noted that many destroyers were so overloaded they feared capsizing, and kept wartertight doors open to fit more men in. There at least one example of a destroyer (Esk) keeping a steamer (Scotia) afloat while transferring 2,000 French soldiers from one to the other. That the Luftwaffe could not halt the evacuation despite long absences of the RAF speaks volumes about their anti-shipping capacity at the time.
There's also the case study off Norway where 'for three hours ninety bombers lashed at the Home Fleet as it steamed off the Norwegian coast. The destroyer Ghurka was sunk, and two cruisers were lightly damaged; so was Rodney, hit by a heavy bomb which failed to explode but splintered her armoured deck." (Miller, War At Sea, p. 65-66). If the best conversion the Luftwaffe can get off 90 bombers is two hits, then the invasion fleet is in a world of trouble.