An Opportunity Missed by the Luftwaffe ?

Discussion in '1940' started by Drew5233, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    On the 11th June 1940 British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill along with the Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, General Ismay the Secretary of the War Cabinet and General Spears , Liasion Officer with the French Government arrived at the town of Briare on the Upper Loire, France to discuss with the French Premier, Reynaud, Marshall Petain, General Weygand and De Gaulle about a major review of strategy.

    Needless to say the meeting didn't go particularly that well and the following day after a short meeting Churchill and his entourage left for England. The party had arrived the following day with a fighter escort of 12 Hurricanes but due to cloud they were not present for the return flight. Churchill was assured that there was likely to be cloud cover all the way back to London so they decided to leave without an escort.

    As Churchills plane reached the coast the cloud cover cleared and two German fighters were spotted. Fortunately for Churchills party the two German pilots were too busy engaging fishing boats to notice the Flamingo transport plane and Churchill reached Hendon Airport unscathed.

    I know it is a bit of a 'what if' and 'we' don't do 'what if's' but one can not help but wonder if Britain would have continued fighting if Churchill and Eden were killed.

    Sourced from: Dunkirk and the Fall of France


    You can call it the Fog of War. Many things are decided by fate
    or luck as others may call it.

    It was a risky flight to take and it succeeded.

    Given a sharp eyed Messerschmitt pilot and history could have been changed in an instance.

    As for the great story evolving, I agree with Ger, a new thread would be very appropriate.

  2. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    As for the great story evolving, I agree with Ger, a new thread would be very appropriate

    Can some kind Mod or SysAdmin move them over, and leave a link here?
  3. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    On the flip side of this thread, I've often wondered why the Allies did not attempt a Yamamoto style ambush of senior German officers. One would think that Ultra intercepts would have given them many opportunities and the Mosquito was tailor made for such operations.
    Does anyone know if they didn't want the Germans repaying the favour, didn't want to compromise the Ultra intelligence or simply weren't inclined.
    Other than the North African attempt to kill Rommel, I'm not aware of any planned operations.

    The Luftwaffe 'opportunity' with Churchill was simply one of chance vs a dedicated effort. Much like the strafing of Rommel's car in 1944.
  4. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    ULTRA decrypts weren't actually THAT useful ;) For instance - LW unit moves into Western France and the Low Countries for the BoB weren't ordered by encrypted messages sent over the air waves....they were done by movement orders sent hard-copy to confirm landline conversations, that sort of thing.

    ULTRA was far better for medium-level communications - and lots of it....thus reports back to Beppo Schmid in Berlin after raids and recces could be intercepted, requests for spares, munitions, low-level staff matters etc.. ULTRA got the British an astonishingly huge amount of information for building up the "big picture" - but it had to be like gathering circumstantial evidence to build a case, or doing the outside of the jigsaw puzzle first! :lol:

    THEN there was the issue of how to risk using it! :p The British decided very often NOT to act on the knowledge they gained - simply because there was NO other way they could possibly have gained certain specific bits of intel...and so IF they had acted on it, it would confirm to the Germans that their communications were as leaky as a tap! They opted therefore only to use intel that could possibly have been got by another source, such as human intelligence...

    The one place they risked it AND nearly blew the gaffe was of course...CRETE! "The best chance for killing parachutists" as Churchill put it. After MERKUR the Germans very nearly DID work out the secret - a breach of comms security was something they seriously considered themselves! - but in the end decided that given the thousands of troops embarking at the Pireaus in broad daylight, the hundreds of Ju52 flying into makeshift airstrips, and the FJ marching to departure points etc. the secret of MERKUR had been reported to the british be friendly Greeks! :rolleyes:

    If there had been word for instance that General Hans was flying from A to B....and word of it was ONLY EVER sent by Enigma-encrypted wireless message...then if General Hans is shot down, it would mean Enigma MUST have been compromised ;)

    Just as an aside - the Germans made the classic mistake of intelligence analysis a couple of times during the war; they would decided on the outcome they wanted...THEN looked for intel that CONFIRMED that it was actually happening!:mellow: Instead - you should have ALL the possible outcomes in mind, then look at BOTH confirming intel and disagreeing material and decide which outweighs the other!

    Hitler did this in June 1940 - interpreted very thin evidence of reaction to the Germans' psi-war ops against the UK in the six weeks after the Armistice with France as proof that it WAS working - as opposed to looking at the vast amount of evidence in newspapers, radio broadcasts etc. about how the British were hunkering down to resist the threat of invasion! (See Fleming's Operation Sealion)...Beppo Schmid is the classic example; he decided that the LW WAS destroying the RAF on the ground and in the air, and interpreted his material accordingly! And after Crete, the Germans looked at the possibility of Engima being compromised...decided Naaaaah, of course it's too secure to break! - THEN looked for alternative explanations!!!

    They cut themselves badly on Occam's Razor! Time after time...
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    From a 1940 Churchill meeting to Conspiracy to Ultra and Crete...I'm impressed. :lol:
  6. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    "A thread unworthy of threadjacking is unworthy of being" - Lao Tse.

    All this info provided by Phylo above puts some people into a very bad light. Halifax I always had thought of as a yellow belly rattlesnake (no offence to rattlesnakes) but the Queen Mother???
  7. slaphead

    slaphead very occasional visitor

  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Oooooo and now we are upto the 1970's and the IRA and Chiftan tanks (whatever they are).

    Shall we talk about Hitler on the moon too? It must be true-I read it in the Daily Sport years ago.
  9. slaphead

    slaphead very occasional visitor

  10. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Any more posts about anything except the mentioned flight and they will, end up on the moon!!!!. Already been ignored once, wont happen a second time.

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