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Hitler invaded Ireland?

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by Kai-Petri, Dec 10, 2002.

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  1. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    In 1941 Hitler even argued that "a neutral Irish Free State is of greater value to us than a hostile Ireland", but nevertheless earlier that year he also made General Kurt Student work out an invasion plan for Northern Ireland. Student's plan was to land 32,000 paratroopers and airborne troops by night in two areas; while the larger force would land north of Belfast, capturing RAF airfields at Aldergrove, Langford Lodge and Nutts Corner, the other group would be dropped near Lisburn, to destroy the planes at Long Kesh and to cut the rail connection between Belfast and the south. The next morning, Luftwaffe planes from Brittany would land on the captured airfields. But this plan was eventually abandoned for the sake of other airborne invasions, like the one on Crete.

    Would there be any chance of success for this plan, what do you think??
     
  2. AndyW

    AndyW Member

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    The RAF would liked that idea: "The great Ju-52 turkey shooting".

    And I think the Kriegsmarine would have had problems to supply Ireland against the Royal Navy and Bomber Command.

    Cheers,

    [ 10. December 2002, 10:03 AM: Message edited by: AndyW ]
     
  3. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Interesting stuff, Kai - I must confess I never knew of such a plan.

    I think that this would have been a real disaster - for the Germans, that is, not for 'us'.

    One major problem would have been the accurate dropping of such numbers of men at night ; especially given the inevitable interception by nightfighters. And then the 'old' problem - how to supply them once established ? The Royal Navy would surely have been a major factor and the RAF would have had great 'fun' - the Luftwaffe lack-of-range as evidenced in the BofB/Blitz would have been a crippling disadvantage.

    All in all, I think that this plan would have benefited Britain far more than did the Crete invasion.

    As an afterthought, it was Student who famously said ( at Arnhem ) : 'Oh, if ever I'd had such means at my disposal. Just once, to have as many planes as this !'

    And even with all that superiority, the Allies lost that one.....
     
  4. CrazyD

    CrazyD Ace

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    Yeah, I think the chances for this operation would have been similar to those of Sealion- practically impossible.

    The problem with airborne operations was supply- how to keep the troops who have "dropped in" adequately supplied. This would have been a huge problem if the germans tried ot invade Ireland. Even if we assume that the german paratroopers were actually able to land and meet up, re-supplying them would have been impossible. For the landings, the germans (might!) have been able to suprise the Irish/British. But the real problem would be the next day/days. The Irish and Brits would certainly know that the germans were there once any combat started- and this would kill any possibility of the germans either A. Capturing any airfields (successfully landing planes and troops in enemy territory? When the enemy knows you are coming???)... or.. B. Re-supplying the troops already on the ground (considering the stable flight required to successfully airdrop supplies, the RAF would have had a turkey shoot with the german planes.

    So the end result would likely be either complete initial failure, or, best case for the germans (!!!), a bunch of stranded and captured paratroops in Ireland.
     
  5. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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    How would the Germans resupply the airbourne troops?
    Once the Germans had lost the element of surprise, they would not be able to get a single Ju-52 through to Ireland, and as for getting heavy equipment there, How, in a sea which was totally controlled by the British?
    This plan is a no-no

    [ 10. December 2002, 03:17 PM: Message edited by: redcoat ]
     
  6. De Vlaamse Leeuw

    De Vlaamse Leeuw Member

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    After capturing Great Britain this would be possible.
     
  7. CrazyD

    CrazyD Ace

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    Of course, capturing Britian would have been practically impossible for the germans, so...
    :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
     
  8. Bish OBE

    Bish OBE Member

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    Youv'e just aswered something i've woundered about for some time Martin. I the movie' A Bidge to Far', its Willy Bittrich who says this, though not quite he same words.

    I often woundered why the commander of two SS Pz Divs would be envious of lightly armed airboune troops.

    I agree with the rest, an assault on Ulster would have been a no-no. Imagine all those Ju-52s winging their way over England. What would have escorted them.
     
  9. Sniper

    Sniper Member

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    Such an assault would have been sheer suicide. No wonder they didn't go ahead with it.

    The shortest route for the Ju's would have been straight across England. And that would have suited the RAF nicely. Not one plane would have made it.

    The next alternative would have been from Brittany, just as bad, worse for anyone bailing out of an aircraft. You'd have over 200 miles of sea to cross before you got to land.

    Any way you look at it, the plan was doomed to failure.

    They would have been better off parachuting into Scotland from Norway. If they landed in some of the remoter parts it would have been months before anyone knew they were there. :D :D Plenty of time to set up bases/airfields and be resupplied.... Imagine 30-odd thousand German paras marching into Edinburgh :eek:

    _____________

    "Americans have different ways of saying things. They say "elevator", we say "lift" ... they say "President", we say "stupid psychopathic git."
    Alexai Sayle.
     
  10. CrazyD

    CrazyD Ace

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    That's optimistic! Thousands of german troops going un-noticed??

    btw, Sniper, nice sig line :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

    So how do you Aussies say beer?
     
  11. mp38

    mp38 Member

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    I don't see any value with an invasion of Ireland? It had no military or strategec importance.

    Crazy, I do believe that the Germans could have successfully invaded Englad though. However, in order to do so, they would need complete air superiority. Just look at Crete. The British controlled the seas, and outnumber the Germans in both men and equiptment by 4 to 1! Yet the Germans captured the island completely by air! Sure they took heavy casulties, but they still succeeded! This was due to the Luftwaffes' contol of the sky!

    England would be the same way. But they definately needed complete control of the sky in order to have any hopes of success. I do think it was possible though.

    Matt :cool:
     
  12. AndyW

    AndyW Member

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    Ireland would have been of huge strategic importance for the Germans for controlling the North Atlantic Sea, in blockading England and as a jump-off-position for both invasions and air strikes against England.

    Cheers,
     
  13. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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    And that's something they would never be able to achieve :rolleyes: .
    The British had fighter aircraft operating from airfields in N.Ireland, and Ireland was also well within the range of British fighter aircraft operating from Britain
    Unfortunately for the Germans, Ireland was out of range of all its fighters [​IMG] .
    So the British would be the ones with total air superiority :D .
     
  14. mp38

    mp38 Member

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    I disagree Redcoat.
    The RAF was almost knocked out! The only thing that saved them was the German leadership! They began attacking cities and ports rather than bombing airfields. This gave the RAF the restspite it desperately needed, and they got back on thier feet. Eventually they beat the Germans through an air war of attrition, by out producing them in production of fighters.

    Andy,
    As for your statement, how could they do this when they didn't have control of the seas to begin with? Just because you control an island, you don't automatically control the sea lanes around it! You need to get troops, supplies, aircraft, ships, tanks, and tons of other stuff to the island. This would have been impossible! The concequences would far outweigh any advantages!

    Matt :cool:

    [ 14. December 2002, 03:45 PM: Message edited by: mp38 ]
     
  15. AndyW

    AndyW Member

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    mp38,

    If you read my earlier post you would recognize that an IR-invasion by the Germans wasn't possible. That don't change the fact that the strategic relavance of Ireland for Germany wouldn't be anything but huge. Irland WAS very important to the Germans, but just can't have anything you want.

    As for the German raids on London and other "vital" areas - the strategic purpose was just similar to the U.S. air doctrine since 1943 against the Germans: go for a target which the enemy just _has_ to defend, which was, in this time, London City.

    The RAF just _had_ to defend London; that's why the Luftwaffe attacked it: to attrition down the RAF.

    Cheers,
     
  16. dasreich

    dasreich Member

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    Theoretically Ireland was a HUGE strategic location. However realistically, this is not the cae. As AndyW said, it simply wasnt possible to invade it.

    Great Britain COULD have been taken, but not in the context of Operation Sealion as we know it. It would have required the Germans to do some things different earlier on. Assuming GB is under German control, then Ireland can be invaded, and it then becomes a boon to Germany dominating the north Atlantic.
     
  17. CrazyD

    CrazyD Ace

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    Not to mention landing craft (of which they had basically none), Amphibious training (again, little to none), and, drumroll... a logistics network that could KEEP german troops in England supplied and reinforced. This, they DEFINETELY did not have. Crete was a small island with a relatively small garrison. England was a slightly different story...
    So they needed just a bit more than air superiority. :rolleyes:

    Andy, redcoat, well put...

    Dasreich, I'd agree- "It would have required the Germans to do some things different earlier on". But, I would throw in- "to do some things drasticly different very much earlier on". In theory, Sealion was essentially a sound plan... establish air superiority, then send troops across a relatively small body of water to invade. Problem was, theory did not mirror pracrice. The luftwaffe was never able to establish enough air superiority. And the equipment and supplies needed to invade were never/could not have been assembled. Hence, Sealion cancelled. For this to have been different...
    Let's just say for argument's sake (and it is definetely not an easy one on either side...) that the Luftwaffe could have established air superiority over as much of England as they could reach. For one thing, the german naval industry would have had to accomodate landing craft... which would inherently lessen production for something else. Uboats? Plus, huge portions of the german army, navy, and air force would have to train and prepare for the invasion. And when would they do this? If we go by the idea that they did things different early on, and had more advanced planning for the invasion of britian, what about France? If they planned for/attempted this invasion after france's defeat, the invasion of russia is pretty much out of the picture for at least 1-2 years... and that is if the germans actually had any success invading.
    Even if we make all these assumptions, the invasion of britian would still have been difficult. The Luftwaffe, even with bases on the French coast, could not reach all of England with their fighters, correct? So they would likely never have been fully able to dominate the air unless they actually completed their invasion. And if air superiority is a pre-requisite, well,...
    And we run into this re-ocurring notion that the British for some reason would not have been able to defend themselves or their homeland. I find it no end of amusing that almost all discussions about Sealion/german invasions of Britian center on the aspects (which there were plenty of) that prevented the germans from attempting such an operation. I think at least Martin, Bish, and some others ;) will back me up on my theory that, umm, the British probably would have resisted such a german invasion. In fact, they might have even shot at the germans. More than once.
    Now THAT would have really interrupted german plans...

    In a nutshell, had things been done VERY differently by the germans from the beginning of the war, and had tons and tons of circumstances gone as much their way as possible, then a german invasion of England would have been an operation that would have been possible to successfully attempt- but it would have been one hell of a fight for the germans to win...

    Although, dasreich, by doing things differently, I hope you aren't suggesting an entirely airborne invasion of England?
     
  18. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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    Sorry, but you are repeating one of the Greatest myths of WW2. :rolleyes:

    The switching of targets from the airfields to London did not cost the Germans the battle, because they were never winning it in the first place. ;)
    The reason the Germans switched targets had more to do with the fact that they knew they weren`t winning the battle, than revenge for British attacks on Germany.

    Why can I say the Germans weren`t winning the battle before the switch to London?

    The answer,
    At the start of the battle in July the RAF had approx 600 serviceable fighters and 1,200 pilots available to fly them.

    On the 6 September, the day of the switch to attacking London, the RAF had approx 750 serviceable fighters and 1,381 pilots avialable to fly them.

    So after all the attacks on the airfields, the strength of RAF Fighter Command had increased by approx 150 fighters and 200 pilots. :eek:

    Sorry, but at no point did the Germans come close to winning the air battle over Britain. ;)
     
  19. mp38

    mp38 Member

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    Crazy,
    With complete air superiority, the Germans could have flown in troops and supplies! In 1940 they had the ability and numbers of aircraft to do this! Just look at the Luftwaffe paratroopers drop in Sicily in 1943. Most of them were dropped from HE-111s, with no fighter escort! The German paratroopers' on Sicily fought off all the British advances, without any air support, or naval support! They even wiped out the British paratroopers that were dropped on Sicily! (and took even more prisoners!).

    In 1940 I believe that with air superiority, the German paratroopers would have dominated in England. Sure the British would have fought hard, and tried to stop them, but saying that is one thing, and achieving it is quite another! The British moral was low, supplies were low (from u-boats), and if the RAF was wiped out, moral would be even lower! Now add the fact that you have combat tested Luftwaffe paratroopers in you back yard! I think the British would have fought hard at first, but once the German captured thier first objective, I believe that the British would be very eager to surrender rather than be wiped out! (just like the French!). That is the reality of it.

    Just my opinion. Don't mean to piss off any of the Tommies at all! ;) I think the same thing would have happened if the Japanese had invaded Hawaii, or the West coast. I don't think the Japs would have won, but I do think that they would have gotten at least to the Mississippi before we would stop them! I'll start a new thread on that!

    Matt :cool:
     
  20. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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    But :confused: , if this was the case, why would they need to invade ?
     
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