On this day during WW2

Discussion in 'All Anniversaries' started by spidge, May 31, 2006.

  1. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    On the date of 17 September 1940,Hitler decided to pull out of Operation Sea Lion in preparation for ventures new.He required his military strength for building up his air arm for the assault on Russia.Operation Sea Lion was never on the military agenda thereafter.

    At this point Hitler did not fear Great Britain for while he assessed the country as unsubdued,he thought that there was little to fear from Great Britain.There was a more attractive prize in the East...Russia,where his vision of Lebensraum could be easily enacted since his assessment of the Red Army after Stalin's military purge of 1937 was to his advantage.

    As regards the planned invasion of Great Britain,Hitler's thinking was that it was a botched plan,a plan put together as late as 12 July 1940 when the Wehrmacht OKW put together a memorandum about the invasion of the old foe,England.The author was Jodl who presented it as being in the form of "a river crossing on a broad front".He entitled it Operation Lion.

    Hitler reviewed the memorandum and incorporated it into his Directive No 16 with content as "on preparations for a landing operation against England".Hitler obviously thought that the task would require more than crossing a river and renamed the the initiative as Operation Sea Lion.
     
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  2. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    In late September 1940 Hitler started announcing that various things would have to wait until ‘a satisfactory conclusion of the war with England’ would permit them.1 Pressure was put on Mussolini for an Italian advance to Alexandria and at the next December 1940 conference in Berlin Molotov was offered a free hand for the Soviet Union to invade India in 1941 as part of a carve up of the British Empire by the Axis .2
    Whilst an outright invasion may have been abandoned Hitler was still seeking to force Britain to the negotiating table first.

    1 Christopher R. Browning, The Origins of the Final Solution, William Henemann, London, 2004. Page 116
    2.Roger Moorhouse, The Devils' Alliance: Hitler's Pact with Stalin, 1939-1941, Penguin 2016
     
  3. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The other night on BBC 4,I saw a documentary on Eric Brown,the famed test pilot who recalled interviewing Goering after his capture by the Americans.Goering and Brown got round to discussing the Battle of Britain.Goering maintained that the aerial battle was a draw as the RAF were losing more men than the Luftwaffe but Hitler wished to maintain the strength of fighters for Barbarossa. That was the main point that came out of the interview of Goering by Brown.

    Barbarossa held the absolute motivation for Hitler who showed no interest in the Luftwaffe assault on Britain for as he saw it,there was the opportunity of a quick successful war against Russia...6 weeks to victory, he envisaged ..."one only has to kick the front door in and the house will come tumbling down".The western front,he thought is secure,the British are in no fit state to invade Europe.Hitler's intention was that Sea Lion was a gamble to intimate the British and her collapse.The ability of the British to read Directive 16 by decoding Goering's radio signals of its content which were circulated to his Air Fleet commanders gave the British the comprehensive intelligence of the invasion plan.Sea Lion....a lapse of security on Goering's part in handling a Top Secret document. WSC's rousing speech to the nation of fighting the invader on the beaches followed.

    As regards Goering's claims.While the RAF lost about 500 pilots during the Battle of Britain, Bomber Command lost 800 aircrew in the so called Battle of the Barges as the command sought to destroy the hurried effort of the Third Reich to put together adapted vessels which would carry all the aspects of an invasion force.This would be spread over a wider front than that of Jodl's memorandum.
     
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  4. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    But the trend on history TV seems to suggest that the only reason Germany lost the war is that Hitler didn't listen to his generals. ;)
     
  5. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    That's certainly true as regards dismissing advice from his military leadership.It was a case of Hitler often referring to his service in the Great War in the front line and he knew best.If he had listened to some of the military leadership in the late 1930s then he would have gone to war at all. After all for the military leadership to accept and the German population,to herald, he possessed the winning formulae,delivering the sensational victories of 1939 and 1940.From Hitler's dominance in successfully waging war his generals had their commands subject to his "expert" intervention down to battalion level...failure to follow orders from Hitler who in many situations was not in a position to be fully aware of the local situation...... led to a practice not unlike "hire and fire"

    He proved that he was an opportunist who was likely to take a gamble,for example with Barbarossa and his intended lighting war,contrary to his vision was transformed into a war of attrition and having to fight on two fronts with Germany again blockaded as the Great War. The regime bled manpower that the Reich could ill afford.It proved to be a contribution to the downfall of the regime.

    There is also a case that Hitler could not delegate.It appears that Goering was without his direction at times.Looking at the plans for Sea Lion,Goering assumed power for the Battle "for" Britain and declared he was personally in charge.Then came the aftermath and Goering put the failure to conquer England at the feet of the Luftwaffe. Koller,Goering's Staff Officer recorded"the Reichsmarschall never forgave us for not having conquered England" .Goering, not too disappointed with life, took 3 months leave to follow his favourite sport....hunting.

    Taking advice from his military leadership,there cannot be a better example of Donitz's relationalship with Hitler.The couple spent a considerable time with each other discussing the prosecution of the war."One might conclude that they were as thick as thieves". Donitz was a dedicated and completely loyal Nazi .His support of Hitler and the regime was primary responsible for indoctrinating the Nazi dimension into the Kreigsmarine. Looking at Donitz's career progression,it is obvious he was a favourite of Hitler and unsurprisingly featured as the short term Second Fuhrer of the Third Reich at its collapse.

    I think that there was only one point that Hitler disagreed with Donitz on the service of the Kreigsmarine and that was the deployment of capital ships at sea.Hitler with his mind going back to the loss of the Graf Spee and later the Bismarck only saw disaster for the regime with their deployment but allowed Donitz to have his head on the matter.Hitler was correct for apart from the fact that these ships were bottled up for most part,when they managed to get into the high seas,failure and loss followed.
     

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