Operation Sealion

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by spidge, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    Did anyone see the programme on British TV last night in the short current series on the Home guard?

    They basically took us through the great Sea Lion wargame played at Sandhurst in 1974 using actual German and British plans for invasion. This showed the Germans defeated by about the thrird day, although both sides suffered large numbers of casulties. The isolation of the invasion force by the Royal Navy turned out to be decisive.

    Note: the German side had some of the German officers from 1940 involved as consultants in this game.
     
  2. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    With Galland as one of the officers!! wargame in 1975?? not sure...That rarest of things: Top Television on ww2, i'd reccomend it to everyone (bound to be on UKHistory ad nauseum) "The real Dad's Army".
     
  3. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    All though there were times when dads army was humorous, for the most part it was run with the same military discipline of the Regular army.What made it so difficult was the long hours of work that many of us had to put up with while trying to serve in the HG.

    I look back on my time in the Home Guard as damned hard work Both in Southampton and at Poole. where a lot of our time was spent enemy sea mine drop watching around Pool harbour.

    I put out a call for any remaining HG members, and got nothing in return.
    Old Members are few and far between now.
    Sapper
     
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    A lot of Home Guard members were 1914-18 men.
    They knew what was required of them.
    I think we do them a dis-service mocking them as has been done many a time.
     
  5. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    To carry out a landing on the coast of England, a seaborne invasion force would have had to get past the Royal Navy. During earlier actions off Norway and elsewhere, almost every capital ship in the German Navy had been sunk or damaged. By September 1940 that force had no battleship or battle cruiser fit for action. To cover the planned invasion of England it could only muster 1 heavy cruiser, 3 light cruisers, 9 destroyers and about 30 U-boats. In contrast, to counter such an attempt, the Royal Navy had assembled 5 battleships, 11 cruisers, 43 destroyers and 35 submarines in home ports, all ready to go to sea at short notice.
    At that time the Luftwaffe had no effective torpedo-bomber force. Only a few low performance Heinkel 115 floatplanes were equipped for the role and the type of torpedo they carried were known to be unreliable.
     
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  6. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    The Home Guard performed a vital role in the dark days of 1940 when invasion seemed likely. when did they stand down? I know that they were in their hey day in 1940 but were they still serving after D-Day?
     
  7. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    Became a book called "Sea Lion," and it's very good, both the alternate history that makes up the first two-thirds and the remaining third of essays on the actual plans on both sides. The German invasion plan for Sea Lion is unbelievably amateurish compared to the Allied armada that hit Normandy and the other late-war beachheads. The article on that subject is fascinating. They even thought about using wine-casks to hold up unpowered barges.
     
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  8. raf

    raf Senior Member

    am i right in saying that some german generals stated that sealion wasnt a real plan to invade the uk..

    in this case do you think the plan was really to make Britain think there was an invasion meaning that Churchill would hold back most of the men rather than deploy them somewere else and giving Hitler time to focus on Russia and north africa.

    ta
     
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  9. lancesergeant

    lancesergeant Senior Member

    Off the top of my head, I think German ambitions would have been mainland Europe. They would have needed perhaps some amphibious capability to cross say the Volga or Dneipr or similar. I don't think many gave amphibious operations serious thought until the Higgins boats and the amphibious operations against Japanese positions in the Pacific. We are talking a 20 mile plus stretch of water with the enemy having greater numbers of ships.
     
  10. lancesergeant

    lancesergeant Senior Member

    This is at the narrowest point is it 17 - 19 miles, there are other parts of course but you are talking perhaps 30 + miles in barge type boats. This with the troops in a position say similar to the paratroopers in say Crete.
     
  11. martin wi

    martin wi Discharged

    hi everyone my name is ross i've been on ww2talk.com for 2 months now
    i am 11 years old and my dad is called lee wisener
     
  12. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    And welcome aboard!
     
  13. Desert Dog

    Desert Dog Member

    The German "amphibious" invasions (Norway and Crete) were definitely "amateurish" compared to D-Day. They only suceeded because of lack preparation by the Allied side to repel them at the start.

    An invasion of Britain would never have worked for the Germans, not only due to the Royal Navy but also the RAF would have chewed up most of the "little" boats that the Germans could have mustered for such an effort.
     
  14. lancesergeant

    lancesergeant Senior Member

    I thought Crete was an airborne invasion?
     
  15. Desert Dog

    Desert Dog Member

    It was an airborne invasion in that paratroops were dropped to secure landing strips to fly in enough troops to take over a harbour to use in shipping the required equipment and the bulk of the troops. And most of the ships used were basicaly wooden motor launches.

    As whole German effort was an adhoc feel to it. In fact, the whole thing would have failed if it hadn't for General Frebergs(?) decision to retreat from the airodrome his Anzacs were defending. If they remained, they would have defeted the paratroopers and prevented any reinforecements from reaching crete.
     
  16. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    The Germans sent several convoys to Crete, but the Royal Navy intercepted all but one by night. The one that made it landed far away from the actual battle.

    It was a bit like Guadalcanal...the Royal Navy ruled the scene by night, the Luftwaffe by day. At the 'Canal, the US air units dominated by day, the Japanese Navy by night.
     
  17. Desert Dog

    Desert Dog Member

    Crete is definitely one of the biggest what ifs. What if the Allies prevented the German paratroopers from gaining the aerodrome and thus defeated the airborne assault. Could they have managed to reinforce the island enough to repel any further invasion attempts by the Germans?

    The problem being that there were hardly any extra troops available at the time, with trying to relieve the siege in Tobruk and the planned Middle East campaigns in Iraq, Syria/Lebanon and Iran. Perhaps they could have sent some from East Africa as the campaign against the Italians was comming to a close. At the same time, Hitler was probably pretty antsy at starting Operation Barbarosa so that perhaps they wouldn't have of bothered.

    Now the big question is: With the RAF and RN in Crete, would they have made any difference in the North African campaing? Im thinking no and all it would have meant was another place to send limited resources to.
     
  18. lancesergeant

    lancesergeant Senior Member

    Thanks Kiwiwriter and Desert Dog for the input, another piece fits into place.

    One plus that did come out of it, was that it put off the German High Command from executing mass drops of this nature again.
     
  19. smokey stover

    smokey stover Member

    I do think we should also remember (and apologies if this has been mentioned before) but crossing the channel in 1940 with what the wehrmacht had to do it in would have been incredibly dodgy. Even in good conditions (calm seas) the Germans were going to tow canal barges with the bow cut off across the channel? Ok, say the Luftwaffe had cleared the skies over southern Britain. What chance would these ad-hoc vessels have had against the might of the Royal Navy..... If the bombing of ships in the channel prelude to the air battle in '40' was to go by, hitting a ship, even one as big as a destroyer or battleship was not an exact science by any means. Plus Britain had multiple aircraft carriers. Ok, the Fairey Swordfish was obsolete, but it managed to cripple the Bismarck. And the Stuka's were also obsolete. There were rumblings in the German Navy and army about exactly who and more importantly how they would achieve a landing against England. I suspect none of them wanted the main responsibility incase of a total disaster. And i believe the Kriegsmarine were worried of just that happening. Im not taking any credit away from the RAF. But considering how poorly the Germans intelligence was during that period, plus Britain did have some back up squadrons held back far north (admittedly training crews and old aircraft like the Gladiator + Bulldog + Fury its not like there would not have been a single British fighter in the air. Im dubious of the plan to set the channel coast on fire, but the psychological effect it had on the Germans was enough to put doubt/fear into their minds. I just think operation Sealion was perhaps drawn up as a serious plan. But ultimately it was unrealistic and down right risky. And even a madman like Hitler understood that!
     
    Chris C likes this.
  20. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    I'm unclear on how close to readiness the Germans actually were. Maybe we should spin it off into another thread?
     
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