Would Hitler really have invaded Britain?

Discussion in 'General' started by spidge, Nov 26, 2008.


Did Hitler really have the intention to invade Britain or was he bluffing?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  1. L J

    L J Senior Member

    Very good post. I hope this will end the speculations on a sucessfull invasion .
    From the German POV,Sealion was not an invasion,but the sending of an ocupation army,if ,because of the loss of the BoB/the Blitz,there was chaos in Britain .
  2. spidge


    Just to reiterate the original question. Really not meant to be whether it would be successful or not.
    Would Hitler really have invaded Britain?
    What is your personal view. Did Hitler really have the intention to invade Britain or was he bluffing?

    Yes or No!
  3. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Is it possible to vote yes for Aug 1940 and no for all other times before and after? I'm not being a wise guy with the question. That's what I think, the more I read about it.
  4. spidge


    Is it possible to vote yes for Aug 1940 and no for all other times before and after? I'm not being a wise guy with the question. That's what I think, the more I read about it.

    Hi Dave,

    Can't see why not.

    There are many that think if he had not done it by the end of August it was never going to be a feasible operation.

    As no one knew exactly what was really going on in that head of his, he and many of his senior officers may have thought it to be possible.

    I for one believe his preparation showed intent. What occurred later for him to finally cancel the proposed operation is a different matter.


  5. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Not sure whether or not this article on the BBC site has been posted here before.

    Apologies if it has.

    BBC - History - Hitler plans the invasion of Britain (pictures, video, facts & news)
    More information about: Hitler plans the invasion of Britain

    "Eliminate the English motherland"

    Following six weeks of fighting in May and June, France yielded to the Nazi invasion. After the French armistice was signed on 22 June, Britain was the only country resisting Germany. Hitler did not particularly wish to invade Britain; after the fall of France, he assumed the British would simply surrender.

    Hitler was therefore surprised when Britain did not surrender. On 16 July, he issued 'Directive Number 16'. This authorised detailed preparations for an invasion landing in Britain, codenamed Operation Sealion. It stated: "The aim of this operation is to eliminate the English motherland as a base from which war against Germany can be continued, and, if this should become unavoidable, to occupy it to the full extent".

    Defeat the RAF, then invade

    Initially, Directive 16 envisaged a landing along the southern coast of England, from Lyme Regis in Dorset to Ramsgate in Kent. The German navy would contain the Royal Navy in the North Sea and the Mediterranean, and would sweep the English Channel for mines.

    Most significantly, the German military leadership agreed that the Luftwaffe must defeat the RAF before the invasion could take place, so that it could not attack the German forces from the air as they were transported across the Channel.

    German forces planned to begin the air attack on 5 August. They set no specific date for the invasion, as it was dependent on the success of the air battle. However Hitler wanted all preparations to be completed by mid-August. As the Germans now controlled the entire coastline of the North Sea and France, the Luftwaffe were within easy striking distance of most of Britain. Hermann Goering, the head of the Luftwaffe, drew up plans to destroy RAF Fighter Command in just four days.

    Arrest political leaders, writers and journalists

    Other preparations for the invasion included locating all available sea and river craft in Germany and training troops in amphibious landings. The Nazis also set out how the occupying German authorities in Britain would be organised. Amongst other tasks they planned to arrest key people who could pose a threat to their regime. The SS’s "Black Book" contained a list of targets, including Churchill and other political leaders, and writers and journalists such as Noel Coward, H.G. Wells and E.M. Forster.

    Whilst the Germans savoured their victory over France and began detailing their preparations for the invasion of Britain, the RAF was steeling itself for the critical battle to come.

  6. In my opinion he definitely planned to invade Britain. The statement that would have sent out and the momentum he would have taken from such a coup would have been epic and the pattern of the war very different. The sea saved us.
  7. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    In my opinion he definitely planned to invade Britain. The statement that would have sent out and the momentum he would have taken from such a coup would have been epic and the pattern of the war very different. The sea saved us.

    But what statement would have been sent if his army had been marooned and then captured on a foreign shore? :)

    Isn't the bottom line that if he thought the invasion would succeed, he would have ordered it? Maybe not, I guess, if he didn't want to distract from his plans for Russia, but I think he would have if he thought Germany would win. Why not?
  8. arnhem44

    arnhem44 Member

    ... if he didn't want to distract from his plans for Russia, ...

    Often so quoted, but..what is the truth in that opinion?

    +Why is it that Hitler wanted "immediately/desperately" to invade Russia ..asap after France/BOB ?
    ...True, he finds Communism a threat and despicable, yet he made a deal with Stalin, and according to Hitler's remarks he finds the russians not capable of putting up a resistance..not in 1939 (Finland proof) not in 1940, not in 1941..so why would he have feared 1942 ?
    Remember, nothing of the T34 or KV1 and KV2 or Sturmoviks production or plans were known to the Nazis!
    Given this background..it would have been ever so more important to have Britain "out" of the war (be it occupied, be it a truce) than to start a russian invasion on a set deadline.

    +If Hitler indeed found it crucial to defeat Stalin at least from the Ukraine and Belarus area (the main Lebensraum area)..then why didn't he invade russia/soviet occupied Poland/Ukraine FIRST in 1940 ?
    ..The french and BEF armees showed NO AGGRESSION WHATSOEVER on the -phoney war- western front. NOT EVEN (heavy) BOMBERS were sent to the Ruhr to attack Germany before may 1940.
    There were not even PLANS within the French HQ how to invade Germany and what to do..

    +Hitler did not seek war with France and Britain in 1939 over Poland and believed they would stay clear of a war declaration.
    So , he knew/felt that a war with the greater european powers was not good for Germany. And germany needed more time before taking on Russia or France.
    So how did that feeling change in 1940 ? 1941 ? Yes..the success in France is part of a positive explanation, but on the other hand the tanks, planes and troops in 1941 were not sufficiently strong/convincing to be sure to win the battles with Russia... Even Hitler would have felt that way.

    So I am a bit on loss what to make of the "vital" invasion in russia from Hitler's/Wehrmacht's view point (in the spring 1941 situation/knowledge) .:huh:

    Edit note: I was thinking: All through the WW2 and (WW1) campaigns the germans (HQ) always favoured fast/blitz/surprise/firstblowishalfthebattle attacks (be it strategic, or on tactical level) over well deviced defense doctrine.
    Examples: Battle of Ardennes (rather than use for defense/reserves), blitzkrieg 1940 west and in Norway, Mannstein's counteroffenses rather than stay in defense in 43, etc.

    So it could well be (conspiracy antenna's up) that in (early) 1941 the germans got wind of Stalin's plans to attack Germany (at a given moment within a year ) and that rather than to put up spread out defenses along the common border and 'wait' for the soviets, the germans opted (from experience of their campaign against France) for offensive attacks on the USSR to ensure greater efficiency.
    Of course knowing well how the war developed, the soviet propaganda and the press in the west would n-e-v-e-r disclose that Stalin did have developed plans to attack Germany in 1941...and so it seems now, that Hitler and HQ was simply foolish to attack Stalin in 41...

    I don't think Hitler was 'that' stupid in the early 40's... and all the stories of how stupid many of the infiltrations and (counter)espionage attempts were of the nazis in USA and UK in midwar time, I am certain there were many occasions (especially in the mid/end 30's) where nazi spies were very effective.
    The key is a convincing/committed spy network. Within the newly overrun baltic states and Ukraine by the soviets in 1940 I am certain many useful and reliable information would have come from those regions in early 1941 to warn the nazis.

    Dave55 likes this.
  9. Little Friend

    Little Friend Senior Member

    I think it was more of a case of; Could Hitler have really invaded Britain?
    I think not ! Look at how terrible it was for the Allies to invade Normandby in 1944. An area that the Germans weren't really expecting an invasion.
    I know that thanks to our Short-sighted politician's we were not ready to repel an invasion, even though it was obvious where it would take place, my opinion is that it was the channel that was our initial saviour. No disrespect to Bomber Command who lost more during the Battle of Britain than Fighter Command did. Also Radar played it's part along with the wonderful Pilots known as the FEW.
    Dave55 likes this.
  10. CommanderChuff

    CommanderChuff Senior Member

    Would Hitler have invaded England?

  11. Biggles115

    Biggles115 Member

    My dad told me a few years ago that my great uncle, who had fought in Spain and was a labour party councillor in Edinburgh was apparently trained to lead a resistance group in the Edinburgh area around the time of the battle of Britain and that weapons had been stockpiled in a secret location in the event of invasion. I have no doubt these groups were already established but i'm not sure how effective they would have been.
  12. JohnS

    JohnS Senior Member

    To quote a veteran (who lived in London in 1940) after I asked him if Britain would have surrendered in 1940: "No. Us Brits were too stupid to know when we were defeated. We would have fought on to the end."
  13. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Hitler's plans for the invasion of England in the end came to nought.Procrastination took a hold of him despite his confidence in September 1940 that he was the master of events.

    As he stated in September 1940 at an Winterhilfe gathering" When people are very curious in Britain and ask, Yes but why doesn't he come? We reply, Calm yourselves! Calm yourselves! He is coming! He is coming! "

    Then in his directive No 21 in December 1940 he stated The German Armed Forces must be prepared to crush the Soviet Union in a quick campaign even before the end of the war with England....Preparations are to be begun now.....and are to be completed by 15 May 1941.

    His territorial ambitions in the East took first priority against an ideology which he proclaimed threatened Europe...at least that was his excuse after Stalingrad as a self appointed champion of Europe against communism
  14. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Are we supposed to yes to the intention or yes to the bluffing?

    Or is it no to the intention or no to the bluffing?

  15. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Whilst we can all enjoy going around in circles making counter-factual arguments with numerous 'what if' scenarios, there are some salient facts which cannot be escaped.

    First, a plan existed. Irrespective of when it was originally brought up, by whom, or even its chance of success, there must have been at least some degree of intent contained therein.

    Second, that plan never came to fruition. Moreover, they hardly made much of an effort to bring it to reality and walked away from it in pretty quick order, Why?

    I would argue that there was indeed an intent for a very short while and that intent was as weak as dishwater. In otherwords, it was the intent based upon the sudden whim of an (mentally) unstable leader with little or no serious thought preceeding it. Once that 'thought' had been processed, it was quickly disregarded. The reasons why are numerous and open to much speculation as to their importance relative to one another.

    So, to conclude, intent was undoubtably there; intent based upon mentally incoherent thought. It existed but it was not credible.
  16. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    On this day of remembrance of Winston Churchill, may I respectfully refer you to my posting No.242 ?

    My views are unchanged.

  17. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    By 1942, the only threat of invasion across the Channel was from our side.

    Once the US finally decided to take part in the conflict, it was just a matter of time and place.
  18. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Barges in Operation Sealion

    Unlike the British and American Navies, the German Navy, the Kriegsmarine, had no special purpose-built amphibious landing craft. Therefore, they were forced to improvise for Operation Sealion, and they planned to do so by adapting barges (principally used on Europe's inland waterways) into landing craft.

    The obvious problem of course is such barges are not really suitable for use at sea - they are lacking in seaworthiness (so much so that they could be sank by the wake of a destroyer simply passing nearby even in good weather). Moreover many of the barges lacked engines, and so would have to be pulled by tugs.

    Additionally, the Germans planned to build rafts, and pull these behind the barges - with their horses standing on the rafts! In testing, the rafts tended to fall to pieces, and it is unclear how the horses would have reacted.

    Finally, as if this were not enough problems to contend with, the Germans also discovered they simply lacked enough personnel with nautical experience to sail all these barges. Ideally they, needed 20,000 men with suitable experience, but even after pulling away men from the fighting vessels of the Kriegsmarine, and looking everywhere they could find, they still only could find 16,000. This would have been that many of the barges would have had to sail without even one experienced sailor aboard!

    in terms of the barges that they Germans collected, they classified them into two main types:
    1. The peniche which was about 125 feet (38.5 meters) long and could carry 360 tons of cargo. The Germans collected 1,336 peniches.
    2. The Kampine which was about 165 feet (50 meters) long and could carry 620 tons of cargo. The Germans collected 982 Kampines.
    Of course, as the barges came from many different sources, they were not standardized. So small peniches were classified as type A1, and large peniches as type A2 for example.

    The barges were then modified as follows:
    • Type A: peniche barges were modified by creating an opening in the bow and adding a wooden ramp for off-loading troops and vehicles, welding beams and braces to the hull to increase seaworthiness, and pooring concrete onto the floor of the barge so it could carry tanks. A type A1 barge (made from a smaller peniche) could carry 3 tanks, and a type A2 (made from a larger peniche) could carry 4 tanks.
    • Type AS: These were type A barges with additional protection (by lining the sides with concrete), and to carry assault boats. Type AS barges were intended to be used by infantry during the initial landing. 18 (later increased to 23) of these craft were ordered.
    • Type AF: Type A barges generally lacked their own power, so at the Luftwaffe's suggestion, some barges were outfitted with airscrew propulsion using surplus aircraft engines. These craft had limited range, very limited manoeuvrability, and were deafening for anybody on board, but nevertheless they could move under their own power. 128 of these barges were available at the beginning of October, and by the end of the month the figure had risen to over 200.
    • Type B: This was a type A barge modified further so as to be able to off-load submersible tanks (Tauchpanzers). 60 (later increased to 70) of these were ordered.
    • Type C: This was a barge converted to carry upto four Panzer II amphibious tanks (Schwimmpanzers). 14 of these were available by the planned invasion date.


  19. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    I wish I'd seen this thread before - I still need to re-read it.
    My initial point would be, having been living on the east coast at the time, many people did take the threat seriously. Elaborate preparations for defense were made, within the economic and manpower limits of the time.
    I agree with MarkN that it was more like the whim of a megalomaniac. Plus Hitler knew he would have many supporters among the aristocracy at the time. Who knows if they were encouraging him?
    The maps shown by Wills on Jan 10 2013 are very scarey - so many showing my local River Tyne.
    And why did he change his mind? I think Ron mentioned at one point, perhaps a miracle.
    And the previous post - more evidence?
  20. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    CL1 - this bit....

    ...really needs to be read before THIS bit...

    Schenk makes it clear that the improvements to the various barge types - the extra bracing, the poured concrete ballasting and the railway rails set into it...gave the barges far better sea manners than previously, they were able to stand quite high sea states and windspeeds afterward as they were a lot more rigid than their original metal-box-on-a-canal...ness.

    Yes, many of the barges gathered were engineless - but the idea as that each motored barge was to tow at least one un-motored one...with the tugs used for longer strings and heavier loads. The armed trawlers in the invasion fleet were also to be used as tows. So really, with the motored barges, the tugs and the fishing boats, the tow trains or "strings" weren't going to be more than a knot or two slower than the motored barges on their own. And the individual barge "strings" were never more than three vessels' long, two of which could be powered.

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