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Yet another "Operation Sealion" what if?

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by John Dudek, Feb 24, 2006.

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  1. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    The .30-06 SMLE is the British designated No 3 Mk I and I* and were the US designated M 17 or M1917 rifle and sometimes refered to as P 14s in British service. Yes, they are different creatures from the No 1 Mk III and III*.
    And yes, all the WW 2 made SMLEs (except for the few No 5s made were No 4 models.

    Anyway, the point I was making was not to pick nits on the model of the rifle but to highlight its caliber. If let's say 100,000 were delivered with 10,000,000 rounds of ammo that only gives 100 rounds per gun right off. Since the ammunition is not interchangable with standard British service ammunition that left the Home Guard with another problem...an ammunition shortage.
     
  2. Webley

    Webley recruit

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    Ther is No such animal as a 30-06 SMLE (Short Magazine LEE ENFIELD) an Enfield bolt, Not a Mauser bolt as in the M17 or the Pattern 14. An M17 is in 30-06 and a pattern 14 is in .303,other wise they are basicly the same.
    As far as that goes even a no4 mk 1 is not called a SMLE.
     
  3. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    Ran across this. Don't who this Schenk is, but this is his data.

    All barges had to meet following naval requirements…
    ...
    However the barges exceeded these figures , here’s a quote from Schenk “Invasion of England 1940” Translated 1990, pp 70

    Quote:
    "For the first criteria it was calculated that the barges would need a freeboard of at least 2 m and would have to be in a good state of repair. ...."

    ...
    Schenk notes there were 1336 x type A1 "Péniche" barges @ 39 meters long 5 m ; wide & 2.3m high , with a capacity of 360 tonnes.

    If you assume the barge is a rectangular solid and multiply 39x5x.3 ( to leave 2m freeboard) this is ~ 58 cubic meters. Which displased ~ 58 metric tons. what is the height mentioned?
    Quote:

    In addition there were 982 larger "Kampinen" type A2 barges @ 50 meters long 6.6m wide & 2.5m high and a capacity of 620 tonnes [able to carry 4 tanks]
     
  4. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    The problem here is that all these barges had to come from somewhere, and in fact they had all been collected from the French, Belgian, Dutch and German river and canal traffic, from the Loire, Seine, Maas, Rhine, Ems, Weser, Elbe, etc. systems.

    At the time this carried a large volume of goods in waterways, and today this is still very important. The fact that so many craft were immobile in the Channel ports (and subject to the attentions of the RAF) was already causing strain to the economies of these countries due to paralisy of transport means.

    Of course later on the Allies had the time and means to build a dedicated fleet for the purpose, naturally the Germans had to improvise and get whatever craft were available from the civil economies, with bigger or lesser consequences.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Hmm, can't edit the message above, have to put up a new one.

    Still re the pic above of a Rhine barge, although fine for river and canal work it doesn't look too adequate for open seas. Of course you may have days in which the English Channel is smooth as a mirror but you will only have a limited time frame for that, and in the sea nothing is guaranteed, remember how rotten weather was in the immediate days befor June 6,'44?

    Besides there is another matter. Where is this going to be unloaded? This craft can only be loaded/unloaded when tied alongsade a quay as compared to the built for the purpose one below.

    [​IMG]

    That barge (and it's +/- 2,500 sisters) is clearly not an beach assault craft. To be able to use it needs to have a minimally equipped harbour, with a quay and lifting tackle. This harbour must have been taken beforehand so the barge flotilla can have somewhere to unload.

    Taking this into consideration and also Anzac's post of Jan 31st, it doesn't not augur very well for the Operation Sealion, perhaps a better title would be Operation Shipwreck.
     
  6. Stefan

    Stefan Cavalry Rupert

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    I'm afraid Webley is right, the SMLE and P14 are different weapons with different mechanisms and designed by different people. Both are .303 caliber however, the P14 being designed during WW1 with the intention of supplying to the British Army. It was good rifle but didn't see much service and so the US began to produce a version in their own standard service caliber. You're last statement is also false, the SMLE was produced up until at least 1942, possiby later in India. The Lee Enfield No.4 is again different from the SMLE being a slightly simpler weapon in terms of finish.

    I think that is the point, whilst many P17s were supplied to the Home Guard, old WW1 SMLE's and P14's (both of which are .303) were far more common.

    Got to agree with Za Rodina on the barge issue, as someone pointed out on here a while ago, it took the allies 3 years of planning and preparation to launch a successful attack on France, there is no way the Germans could have managed it.
     
  7. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    Good points on barges, however many 'were' fitted out with ramps. & attack on France an entirely diferent kettle of fish to a cross channel attack in 1940 simply because they Brits had no channel wall or hardware to compare on their side to the Germans gun implacements & such on the French coast in 44.
     
  8. Stefan

    Stefan Cavalry Rupert

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    True, however I seriously don't think a few months with a few bodge job ramp fitted barges (not incidentally comparable to the allied ones, these ramps took significant effort to lower etc) could have succeeded. I also reckon the issues of British Sea power would have more than made up for the lack of concrete coastal defences.
     
  9. ANZAC

    ANZAC Member

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    As others have said, there was virtually zero chance that the Germans ad hock operation could cross the Channel and successfully invade Britain.

    German planning and preparation, especially in the area of logistics, were inadequate for a sustained operation.

    I remember a doco on Sea Lion, where German veterans who worked on the barge conversions were interviewed, all agreeing that they were more or less a joke, and had next to no chance of making the crossing.

    The Germans were fortunate Sea Lion never came to pass.
     
  10. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    So how do you transform this

    [​IMG]

    into this?

    [​IMG]

    Can you show us any pics? And how many were transformed out of the 2200-2500 available to make up a significant number? And how do you plan to make those low freeboard do an open sea passage without capsizing?

    (more here: Google Image Search for "péniche" )

    I grant you that there were better, non-improvised craft more qualified for this kind of work, but I wouldn't bet on large numbers... And here am I, doing your homework :D

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Owen

    Owen O

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    Why would the Rhine or "Dutch style" barges capsize across the Channel?
    A British couple took their narrow boat across the Channel a few years ago.
    See some pictures here. I've read the book, it sounds hairy but it was done .
    http://www.narrowdog.com/lunaticscheme.htm
     
  12. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    I see what you mean, but you are talking of a covered craft, built or modified to be fully waterproof and cozy for a family. The cargo barges I have in mind (see the google link in my previous post) are much rougher day-to-day work affairs, with uncovered holds. A bit of undulation that comes above the gunwales and you're down the drink.
     
  13. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    From Derek Robinson "Invasion 1940"

    For Germans:

    This was the enormous gamble of Sealion. Its planners assumed that all would go well, or at least fairly well.They could tolerate losses of 10 or 20 per cent in the crossing, but they must have enough shipping to get back to France, re-load, return, and hustle reinforcements to the men on the beaches who, after 48 hours, of fighting, must be running out of strength and hope and ammunition. The RN existed to shatter that plan. Even if it sank only half the enemy ships each night, that was enough to kill off Sealion.

    ---------

    What evidence is there that the RN was competent to find and to smash Sealion at night? Here is what it did in September 1940.

    On 11 SEptember , every port from Holland to Cherbourg got entered and shelled. Next night, British destroyers, MTB`s and fast gunboats from the Nore, Portsmouth and Plymouth carried out what was almost a tour of inspection, entering the mouth of the Maas, Flushing and the Scheldt, Ostend, Dunkirk, Calais, Boulougne, Le Touquet and even heavily fortified Cherbourg surveying them for signs of invasion preparations and shelling...any vessels..they encountered. All the attackers got back to England unharmed.And so it continued. The biggest operation was in the early hours of 11 October. The Battleship Revenge, with an escort of seven destroyers, bombarded Cherbourg harbour and left it in flames. A week later Calais got similar treatment. A total of 45 salvoes hit the harbour. No British ships were lost.

    If the RN, night after night, in fair weather or foul, could penetrate the invasion ports and sink enemy ships, there can surely be no doubt that the same British warships could find the Sealion fleets in mid-Channel, and reduce them to wreckage and corpses. The German Army and Navy expected to land 60,000 men on S-day. Few would have lived to see the dawn.
     
  14. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Say again, invade what?
     
  15. John Dudek

    John Dudek Member

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    I read too that several hundred Thompson Submachine guns were also sent to England along with the consignment of rifles, artillery pieces and other war materials.
     
  16. leopold

    leopold Member

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    According to Manstein's "lost victories" the channel was 'smooth like a pond' for most of the august and the beginning of September 1940.
    Considering the relatively short length of the trip, surely the barges are not that impossible option. - People have crossed the channel in completely open fisherman boats.
    (There are better options though...)
     
  17. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    For Germans the channel length might not be the problem but the speed of the barges would be. If also the wind would slow them down then they would be just sitting ducks in the channel.
     
  18. leopold

    leopold Member

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    The pictures of barges on the river usually shown here are somewhat misleading , since the barges shown are fully loaded (for obvious economical reasons and since there aren't any big waves in the rivers).
    However the typical hull dimentions of a barge are above 3 meter high ,
    (See the link : http://www.barges.us/bargedrafttable.html)
    therefore if it's only ~ 50% filled it'll be :
    a) 1.5-2 meters above the waterline. (Reasonably close to the landing craft used on D- Day)
    b) Have a significant spare buyoncy for the intake of occasional wave that crosses its gunwale.
    (Again - I think there were better ways to make the Sealion work than the barge fleet, but let's not get too nasty on the good old barges...)
     
  19. leopold

    leopold Member

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    Is it possible that you are reffering to some other battleship, since there doesn't seem to be reference to any such action in the HMS Revenge's list - it only states that it was removed from operational service in october due to bad condition...
    http://www.ibiblio.org/maritime/photolibrary/index.php?cat=1069
     
  20. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    Kai Petri...can you cite a source for those British raids. I will be able to make good use of it elsewhere.:)
     
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