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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 problem here is one of metacentric height in addition to simple freeboard and bouyancy. The barges were designed to haul a substancial load of heavy bulk material on inland waterways. Using them as landing craft presents two naval engineering problems:

    The first is that the new craft will not be hauling a heavy load but rather one that has considerable space requirements, eg., men. The vehicles again take up alot of space with respect to their weight. This leads to the second problem: Metacenter.

    Metacenter in simple terms is a mathematical model of the ship's stability. It is measured as the difference between its center of gravity and its center of bouyancy. While a light load gives the barge better bouyancy it also raises its metacentric height considerably. On a smooth river this is of little concern. At sea what it means is that the barge bobs around like a cork. The Germans tried to fix some of this by adding concrete ballast. But, only so much could be added before they ran out of space.

    So, the choice is do the barges rock and roll like corks in a toilet bowl or do the Germans load them down for stability and take chances with low freeboard? Of course, if the first course is taken the passengers are likely to not be in great shape by the time of the landings also.
     
  2. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    From my limited experince with landing craft, there may be problems with steerageway, & drift off course, from the boyancy/high center. Also suspected is making way against the winds & currents of the open sea will raise fuel consumption over that of the a river or cannal passage.

    Finally in the case of Sea lion I am wondering if the Germans really had enough seamen experinced both in handling boats on open waters and in handling the barges. From the several descriptions of their 'exercise' I've read one would guess not.
     
  3. John Dudek

    John Dudek Member

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    Your point has been amply proven to me that in every way, case, shape or form, the Germans were undermanned, understaffed and undersupported on land, on sea and in the air to make a successful Sealion invasion, especially in the face of overwhelming British air, land and seapower.
     
  4. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    I have my doubts about the use of the word "overwhelming" connected with air and especially land power. What I do not believe is in the ability of the Germans to do a crossing with the quantity and especially quality of mean available.

    But we should perhaps stop [​IMG] as we have stopped adding anything new here for some time.
     
  5. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    Theres a expression "That dog dont hunt" which has the same meaning. To streatch the anology folks with no experince with dogs have be educated if they are going to 'hunt'.

    If I had time to burn I'd go back thru all the discussoin boards where this subject comes up and organize all the arguments & information into a single essay. Then when it appeared before me again all the data, staticstics, facts, quotes, sources, bibliographys, refutations and expert witnesses could be posted in a single entry.
     
  6. FramerT

    FramerT Ace

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    How about drop-tanks on the German Me 109s?
     
  7. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    The Germans did develop a drop tank for the Me 109 prior to the invasion of France. There were a couple of problems with its use:

    1. The tank was made from 'non-strategic' materials...ie wood primarily, and had serious problems with leakage. They also tended to deteriorate quickly when left out in the weather.

    2. Most Me 109 in the inventory were not equipped to take the tank having neither the mounting point nor the associated piping etc., to use it.

    3. The whole program had low priority so no one was really taking a proactive role in making sure these would be available in the near future.
     
  8. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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  9. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    Thanks for the link & into on the battleship riad in 1940. Elsewhere folks have insisted that neither of the Allied navys would ever risk a battleship anywhere near the German occupied coast for a simple raid.
     
  10. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    I read once that a German general (cant remember which one) planned to launch an attack on England just days after France surrended.

    He planned to use every airborne soilder he had along with as many fighters as were available, They were to be dropped into England around an area that had several air fields. These were to be secured and then fleets of Ju 52 transports carrying 2 divisions of Germanys best Infantry would land.

    They would then start spreading out, Firstly towards the beach, and then inland. While this was happening Fighters would use captured air fields and Ju 52 transports would continue to bring up more troops and equiptment.

    The plan was shown to Goering who approved it, But when Hitler found out about it who orded it stopped, He wanted to give England the chance to surrender. I wouldnt know why he would do such a thing.

    At the time England had only a few fighters, Almost no army. They only had one fully equipt division except it still had only minor motorisation. In some cases they had a single artillary gun to defend a 2km area of beach. While yes a naval group would suffer casualties on there way over on the landing there forces would ripp the British troops apart.
     
  11. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    When France fell, Fighter Command had 346 Spitfires/Hurricanes at operational readiness in the UK.....
     
  12. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Dropping the single available parachute division (the 7th) into England on its own would have been suicide. This division had just sustained heavy casualties in their drop into Holland and was not that large to begin with. To drop the full unit would have taken about 3 lifts with available Ju 52 aircraft due to losses in the French campaign.
    The entire unit would have amounted to about 6,000 men with no heavy weapons to speak of.
    The British response would have been to commit the fully motorized, fully equipped, and well trained 1st Canadian Infantry Division then in Southern England to crush this drop. Given that this division had about 25,000 men in it and could have been supported by various smaller units, including armor, the Germans would have been in a very bad spot.
    This is just another German improvisation done without thinking through the situation. It would have been disasterous.
     
  13. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    If the German troops were meant to be transferred by air planes only, then it definitely was doomed from the beginning. And like T.A. mentioned the German fallschirmjäger had suffered heavy losses so they would not be useful in such short notice.
     
  14. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    They were not just gonna transfer an entire army by air alone, The initial strike force was gonna be sent by air to secure airfields and a section of beach and/or a port. Then men could be sent by ship aswell.
     
  15. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Then it´s the Royal Navy facing the German troops, which definitely sinks the ships whatever there is to be used (?).
     
  16. Balderdasher

    Balderdasher Dishonorably Discharged

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    2 years ago on TV there was a series called "Hitler's England" or Britain, I think. I believe it was based upon a book using recently released Secrecy Act files including some startling Churchill statements.

    For example.
    According to it, Churchill was willing to violate the Geneva Convention on Bio-chemical weapons and bombard the invasion beaches with Nerve Gas/agents.

    But it also went into the conventional plan and lines of defenses.
    It even mentioned that in the real war alot of the British gov't and national treasures had already been transferred to Canada where a new UK Parliament would operate from. The Crown already had its own residences but it went into interesting detail.

    Though the series went on to assume that even with the Nerve gas used, Britain would be occupied. Then it went into the Resistance movement.

    Does that help?
    Anyone confirm the name of the book or series?
     
  17. Roddoss72

    Roddoss72 Member

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    Correct i saw the series and the biological weapon of choice was Anthrax and Churchill authorized that in the event of an invasion vast quantities of Anthrax would be released along the invasion front. Churchill was fully aware of the civilian casualtie that would eventuate and the political fallout within the populace but was willing to doo all that was available to Britains survival.

    And also that the Series did in fact convey that secret British document stated that Britain could not hope to hold off an invasion had the Germans had launched Operation Sealion. Mainly due to the fact that the RAF was running out of trained pilots if the Germans had kept up the pressure on the RAF for two weeks more then the RAF was a spent force, plenty of planes but no one to fly them.

    And also i think i have read that the RN heavy units (Battleships, Battlecruisers and Aircraft Carriers) were indeed expressly forbidden to be used in the role of Invasion Fleet interdiction, they were to be expressly used in the transferrence of Royal and Government members and assets to Canada.
     
  18. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    They did give the signal Cromwell on Sept 7th 1940... Oops!

    September 7th 1940

    The signal for this alert is "Cromwell", a code name that was used only by the Army. And one of those Army battalions that were alerted was the 18th Australian Infantry that was based at Amesbury Abbey. The report came through at about 9.30pm. The 18th Infantry Brigade was at this time, only at about half strength because half of the brigade was on leave, many of them now trapped in London because of the bombing. But was hard to keep such a secret, church bells started to peel, road blocks were set up and even plans were put in place for the blowing up of some of the bridges.
    For those that were on duty, they were told to stand by for an immediate move. By midnight, no further information or orders had been received so the men were allowed to return to their billets, but were to be prepared to move at one hours notice should the invasion be confirmed.
     
  19. John Dudek

    John Dudek Member

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    The Royal Navy call sign equivelent to the Army's CROMWELL Alert was "Blackbird". This was the signal that the German invasion fleet was sighted, identified and inbound. All Royal Navy warships within reason were instructed to return to the nearest RN base ASAP, re-fuel, re-arm and make ready to do battle against them in the channel. This meant that RN destroyers would abandon their convoys and make a mad dash back to base to re-arm and re-equip.
     
  20. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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    No.
    Anthrax was never considered for use against any invasion force, just Mustard gas.
    Again no.
    There was no realistic way the Germans could hope to protect the invasion fleet from being sunk by the largest navy in the world at that time, the RN.

    Guess what ;) Its another No.
    On the date of the switch to bombing London the RAF had more operational single seat fighter pilots than the Luftwaffe. The shortage of pilots Dowding was worried about, were experienced Squadron and flight leaders.

    Must admit, I'm getting a little fed up with using this word :)
    No, they weren't forbidden, its just that the RN didn't plan to use them. They considered the 20+ cruisers, the 50+ destroyers, and the hundreds of auxiliary craft were enough to deal with any invasion force
    Ho Hum
    No, they weren't
     
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