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DD_NL
08-24-2004, 11:13 AM
This might be a dumb question, but did the Germans ever cross the channel by air, or made an attempt, or even got close to British soil?

http://home.tiscali.nl/ddonline/IL-2/nighthawk.jpg

DD_NL
08-24-2004, 11:13 AM
This might be a dumb question, but did the Germans ever cross the channel by air, or made an attempt, or even got close to British soil?

http://home.tiscali.nl/ddonline/IL-2/nighthawk.jpg

NorrisMcWhirter
08-24-2004, 11:21 AM
er...The Battle of Britain might be a good place to start http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif


Cheers,
Norris

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92SqnGCJimbo
08-24-2004, 11:21 AM
during the bob a huge armada was made ready but this never left for british soil.
however there were small cammando units (rather like the british) that would drop in destroy something then use a sub to escape .
other than that no no germans army ever landed on british soil

http://groups.msn.com/_Secure/0RwAAAKYUV9WohzlTekrEej5FgrwxWyQ0S3cejYO2W5yCX7kWI qN7NAF5NXMr5DiDrxaAeMyIENpTJL8fBCRH3F0Q*37BNoLmDuO BgZw7pgA/dhm2110.jpg?dc=4675481137574892891

92SqnGCJimbo
08-24-2004, 11:21 AM
during the bob a huge armada was made ready but this never left for british soil.
however there were small cammando units (rather like the british) that would drop in destroy something then use a sub to escape .
other than that no no germans army ever landed on british soil

http://groups.msn.com/_Secure/0RwAAAKYUV9WohzlTekrEej5FgrwxWyQ0S3cejYO2W5yCX7kWI qN7NAF5NXMr5DiDrxaAeMyIENpTJL8fBCRH3F0Q*37BNoLmDuO BgZw7pgA/dhm2110.jpg?dc=4675481137574892891

AlexDavies
08-24-2004, 11:27 AM
don't forget hess.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v37/T_O_A_D/alexcopy.jpg

DONB3397
08-24-2004, 11:35 AM
One of the documented blunders in the German plan was it's failure to prepare for landing troops on a heavily defended shore. Hilter's early goals didn't include an invasion of Britain.

The navy didn't have anything like the allied landing craft. Admirals spent much of the time during the BoB trying to round up barges and small craft to ferry troops and equipment. At the same time, while the wolfpacks could destroy whole convoys, the navy was unable to control the Channel on the surface, so a covering barrage was unlikely. Even air cover would have been tough to maintain because of range limitations.

In his book, "Duel of Eagles," Peter Townsend wrote that the Germans lacked both preparation and resolve for an amphibious attack. Hitler was more interested in the East. The British, of course, didn't know this and hastily assembled a tiered defense system of sorts.

The short answer, I think, is no.

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LEXX_Luthor
08-24-2004, 11:41 AM
AlexDavies:: <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>don't forget hess.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Hess yes I was thinking of his successful crossing to Brit soil too. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

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NorrisMcWhirter
08-24-2004, 11:45 AM
Hi,

I see the thrust of your question now and I don't recall any incidences of the Wehrmacht turning up on British soil unless they were POWs.

The 1940 invasion plans changed but at some time revolved around the LW achieving air superiority over a small area of the English coastline to permit a landing to occur. Of course, this never happened because the LW never managed a sustained kill ratio to permit superiority.

Cheers,
Norris

================================================== ==========

: Chris Morris - Blue Jam :
http://cabinessence.cream.org/

: More irreverence :
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: You've seen them... :
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'Bugs? What bugs?'
'AAA steals online kills, crash landing if good landing but out of fuel, muzzle flashes, kill given for planes that have landed OK, AI steals offline kills, gauges not working, Spitfire never overheats, FW190 view, P63 damage model, weird collision modelling...'
'Yeah, but look on the bright side - at least the 0.50s are fixed!'
Moral: $$$ + whining = anything is possible

F19_Ob
08-24-2004, 11:51 AM
In short, the 'Battle of Brittain' (BoB) was prolonged beyond the Germans calculations, and it was too late to get air supriority over England before autumn and the poor weather came. It was to dangerous to make an assault and landing by sea also, even if the distance was fairly short. So the weather in a way stopped Hitlers plans that time. And the English then had time to strenghten their defenses.

hmm...perhaps too short?

Jungmann
08-24-2004, 11:59 AM
British reconaissance took pictures of the Germans gathering barges in the French and Dutch channel ports. They could count them--they knew there weren't, at any time, enough of them to support an invasion from the sea. Still, the Brits, in their wisdom, didn't let on--hence the stirring saga of the BoB, the Home Guard, etc.

Hitler made lots of mistakes re England. Had Goering continued the raids on British airfields and aircraft factories, the RAF could have been put out of business in weeks--but he shifted his attacks to London, in reprisal for a British attack on German soil (Hamburg?--check me on this).

Hitler's greatest blunder in Bob, IMHO? Underestimating radar. The Germans largely ignored it, after a few attacks on the coastal towers failed (try to hit a steel lattice pinpoint from the air).

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Jungmann

Chuck_Older
08-24-2004, 12:11 PM
I don't think it was mentioned, but the proposed German invasion was called Operation Sea Lion.

The way I recall, an He-111 that was lost accidentally dropped it's bombs on London one night.

England bombed Berlin.

Hitler declared that Germany would pound London to bits

And so, the attacks on RAF airfeilds were given up in favor of bombing London

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leadbaloon
08-24-2004, 12:36 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Jungmann:

Had Goering continued the raids on British airfields and aircraft factories, the RAF could have been put out of business in weeks--but he shifted his attacks to London, in reprisal for a British attack on German soil (Hamburg?--check me on this).


Jungmann<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


I believe it was in response to the raid on Berlin, which itself was in response to a German bomber dropping his bombs on London (accepted as an accident, the bomber was lost and shed his bombs before heading home).

Dunkelgrun
08-24-2004, 01:44 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by DD_NL:
This might be a dumb question, but did the Germans ever cross the channel by air, or made an attempt, or even got close to British soil?

http://home.tiscali.nl/ddonline/IL-2/nighthawk.jpg <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes. Germany invaded the Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney & Sark) in 1940, after the fall of France, and held them for the duration of the war. Britain made no real attempt to defend them, or recapture them because of their proximity to the Cherbourg peninsula. This was the only part of Great Britain under Nazi occupation.
Cheers!

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Dunkelgrun aka 242Sqn_Cat

92SqnGCJimbo
08-24-2004, 03:52 PM
what really happened is this...
3 ju88's got lost looking for a RAF airfield at night and dumped thier bombs on what they thought were open fields.... this turned out to be coventry. the next night berlin was attacked. then hitler told georing to blitz london and the surrounding cities

http://groups.msn.com/_Secure/0RwAAAKYUV9WohzlTekrEej5FgrwxWyQ0S3cejYO2W5yCX7kWI qN7NAF5NXMr5DiDrxaAeMyIENpTJL8fBCRH3F0Q*37BNoLmDuO BgZw7pgA/dhm2110.jpg?dc=4675481137574892891

Kurfurst__
08-24-2004, 03:59 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by DD_NL:
This might be a dumb question, but did the Germans ever cross the channel by air, or made an attempt, or even got close to British soil?

http://home.tiscali.nl/ddonline/IL-2/nighthawk.jpg <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>



IIRC there was some tiny island on the La Manche channel along the French coastline, with some Brit population, that was techically British soil, part of the UK etc. That one was 'invaded' by something like a German squad with an officers, and they put out their flag.

http://www.x-plane.org/users/isegrim/nw2004set7.jpg

We're walking in the air
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WTE_Galway
08-24-2004, 05:00 PM
yep ... Operation SeaLion was the plan in question

a lot is made of the fact that the mainland Britain was virtually undefended after Dunkirk with something like 4 matilda tanks defending the whole southern coast

HOWEVER .. given the fact that the British Fleet had overwhelming superiority at the time teh chances of SeaLion suceeding is doubtful even if the BoB had been won by the Luftwaffe

Here is a good link that assesses the relative positions and outlines the flaws in SeaLion:

http://www.flin.demon.co.uk/althist/seal1.htm

Dunkelgrun
08-24-2004, 05:29 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Kurfurst__:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by DD_NL:
This might be a dumb question, but did the Germans ever cross the channel by air, or made an attempt, or even got close to British soil?

http://home.tiscali.nl/ddonline/IL-2/nighthawk.jpg <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>



IIRC there was some tiny island on the La Manche channel along the French coastline, with some Brit population, that was techically British soil, part of the UK etc. That one was 'invaded' by something like a German squad with an officers, and they put out their flag.

http://www.x-plane.org/users/isegrim/nw2004set7.jpg
_
We're walking in the air
We're floating in the midnight sky
And everyone who sees us greets us as we fly_<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/351.gif Not quite. Read my post above. Pre-war population of 104,000 so not such a tiny island.
This is the first link I came up with on Google. http://www.ahier.demon.co.uk/occ1st.html

If anyone is thinking of visiting the Channel Islands then they are well worth it.
Cheers!

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Dunkelgrun aka 242Sqn_Cat

Xiolablu3
08-24-2004, 06:46 PM
He was never gonna invade, it was a bluff to try and make the UK accept Hitlers land gains he had made on the Czechs, Poland etc.

All he wanted was peace with England and saw us as his 'British Cousins'

ImpStarDuece
08-24-2004, 08:43 PM
Go and read 'Sealion' by R (?).Flemming

Its an amazingly detailed and thoughtful account of the invasion/anti invasion preparations made on both sides of the channel from early to late 1940.

Written by Ian Flemmings (the guy who wrote the James Bond novels, and yes for all you post-literate, Hollywood nspired, computer gurus they were books well before the movies were ever made) brother in the early 50's it draws on interviews from both british and German sources, official documentation, newspaper and magazine articles as well as 'man on the street' interviews with British citizens who lived in London, on the coast or near a major port at the time.

As for landings there were several (2 or 3 i think) small parties of poorly trained and laughably brief and equipped sabouters who were dropped into various parts of the British mainland, as well as German agents dispacthed to Ireland, Wales and Scotland. All of which were rounded up within a few days, some were caught within hours of landing (either by parachute or by submarine). I think one party even motored into a seaside town on the Channel coast and tried to get out at the local wharf, while wearing pieces of German uniform, none the less!

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woofiedog
08-24-2004, 10:49 PM
http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif During WW2 Germany occupied the Channel Islands.
Here's a picture of one of the Buckers on the Jeresy Island.
http://www.jerseybunkers.freeservers.com/images/mp3.jpg
http://www.jerseybunkers.freeservers.com/images/liz-1.jpg
Heres a link.
http://www.jerseybunkers.freeservers.com/about.html


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v438/woofiedog/WOOFIEDOG.jpg

[This message was edited by woofiedog on Tue August 24 2004 at 10:13 PM.]

WUAF_Badsight
08-24-2004, 11:00 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Dunkelgrun:
Yes. Germany invaded the Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney & Sark) in 1940, after the fall of France, and held them for the duration of the war. Britain made no real attempt to defend them, or recapture them because of their proximity to the Cherbourg peninsula. This was the only part of Great Britain under Nazi occupation.
Cheers!
Dunkelgrun aka 242Sqn_Cat<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

wow , never knew that

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ploughman
08-25-2004, 11:15 AM
I do but wonder at people who say things like
"Hitler never intended to invade England", Hitler never intended to invade Greece or Yugoslavia or Crete but invade he did, all the same. Had the Luftwaffe been able to acheive air superiority over the Channel then maybe Hitler would have attempted a landing, maybe not. Who knows?

jugent
08-25-2004, 03:50 PM
An seabourne invasion is a tricky thing to do.
It took the allieds three years to do it. And they did many rehearsals. North africa, Pacific ocean italy.

In 1940 the germans where un-prepaired of it.
Remember the occupation of Norway was done becasuse they neede navy-bases against England. The quick fall of france came as a surprise for the germans and the rest of the world. Stalin liked the idea of Germany attacking france and England. His three oponents in europe killing each other This would give him time to build up the Red Army to help and bring the freedom of workers and farmers to the surpressed working class of europe.

The germans never seriously planned to invade england from the chanel. They scrambled some misfit ships to this, like Rhine-barges carrying tanks etc etc. A dont think that the german army had a single landing-craft. The invasion of Crete was done by flying in soldiers wiht junkers, and some companies on Greek Kaiks. Hitler hoped that England would ask for a peace-threaty.
The soviet union was Hitlers primary target.
A mad mans vishful thinking.
The whole world has suffered this. WWII ended really first when the Warsaw-pact disbanded.

moksha
08-25-2004, 04:51 PM
Impstarduece-it was Peter Fleming who wrote Sealion-thanks for reminding me of it, I'll go re read it.
Jungmann-IMO the "Goering could have won BOB by not switching to London" is a myth, an excuse for defeat. At no point were the RAF under enough pressure to buckle.
The often cited stat about loads of planes but no replacement pilots is not accuarate (I know you don't quote this but it crops up often). There were always 2-3 fighter Groups in reserve (able to rotate should 10-11 Group take a real beating).
There was hard fighting but the LW didn't come close, even when concentrating solely on the RAF, to knocking out Figher Command or acheiving superiority over the Channel.
That's not to say the LW were in any shape or form inferior-that was proved when shoe was on other foot and RAF got the worst , in terms of kills, in ops over France/Low countries 42-43.
But win or acheive their objectives was beyond their means.
WTE Galway-I disagree, air power beat sea power in WWII as the poor sods in the Prince of Wales and the Repulse found out.

IRC the LW got best kill ratios during fighting over London-not sure bout this though.

[This message was edited by moksha on Wed August 25 2004 at 05:46 PM.]

WTE_Galway
08-25-2004, 05:39 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
WTE Galway-I disagree, air power beat sea power in WWII as the poor sods in the Prince of Wales and the Repulse found out.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


Moksha .. at the time of sealion the LW had very poor anti-ship capability though this improved as the war went on .. this is evidenced by the fact that of 36 odd destroyers present at Dunkirk, most not even making way and easy targets, the Luftwaffe only managed to destroy three or so.

Add to this the fact that most of the barges being prepared for Sealion were rhine river inland waterway barges that would swamp easily at sea and the THIRTY HOUR crossing at the ludicrous slow speed the barges could be towed at by tugs you had the making of a monumental disaster if it had ever been attempted.

moksha
08-25-2004, 06:44 PM
Galway,
the numbers of destroyers lost at Dunkirk maybe lessened by RAF prescence in force? Though must admit never thought of this before!
I don't think the LW had poor anti ship capability-maybe not as good as IJN, especially torpedoe planes, but I don't doubt the RN would have been knackered without air cover.
Channel convoys were hammered when not protected just prior to BOB.

Ob.Emann
08-26-2004, 01:46 AM
I beg to differ on the absence of dedicated Kriegsmarine landing craft though.

http://www.german-navy.de/kriegsmarine/ships/landingcrafts/index.html

And yes they did see usage during WWII, although in multiple roles.

Der Oberst von schlechten Piloten

budvar62
08-26-2004, 10:34 AM
Interesting link Emann!

It also mentions a german carrier that was built. I don't ever remember hearing that the germans had an aircraft carrier - due you know if it saw active service in the war?

panther3485
08-26-2004, 12:18 PM
Hi guys!

The debates about just how close the Germans came to defeating Fighter Command and whether a German landing was feasible or not are very interesting. Some further perspective may be helpful.

After the fall of France in 1940 and the loss of much of the best part of the British Army (at least, most of the equipment) the speed and completeness of the German victory had dazzled the World. The Germans themselves were surprised at the degree of their success!

After this impressive display of military accomplishment, Hitler was hoping that the British would be suitably sobered and not continue to oppose his ambitions. He was surprised and disappointed by their persistent defiance. Far from wanting to come to the negotiating table, they adopted a position of almost daring him to attack.

Puzzled at first by what he believed was British unwillingness to admit that their position was hopeless, Hitler formed the opinion that a further demonstration of German superiority was needed to 'force them to see sense'. Goering assured him the Luftwaffe was up to the job and that the British upstarts could be crushed in short order.

Hitler was very susceptible to this idea because it suited his plans. He wanted any potential threat from Britain dealt with before the end of 1940, so he could turn his full attention to the East in the following campaigning season. Most of all, he sought to avoid the potential disaster of a war on two fronts, which could become even worse if there was any chance of an alliance between Britian, the Soviet Union and the United States.

To avoid any prospect of such a horror scenario, Britain HAD to be brought to heel, and QUICKLY. The window of opportunity to commence war against Stalin was narrow. The Soviets were still in the throes of increasing their industrial base and improving their armed forces. With their enormous population and vast resources, they could become so strong that there might soon be no prospect of a successful campaign against them.

Hitler felt that the only effective way to consolidate Germany's gains and guarantee the future of the Reich (both economically and for security) was to crush the Russians and acquire vast Eastern territories and the resources that came with them. He would also need to neutralize the potential threat from the West, preferably by talking peace with the British, if they could be persuaded to come to the table.

Hitler's intent, therefore, was to convince the British to come to terms. An overwhelming display of Luftwaffe superiority, leading to the destruction of Fighter Command, would allow the Germans to exercise air superiority over the English Channel and portions of southern and south-eastern England.

From this position, the Germans could seriously disrupt channel shipping and give the Royal Navy a fairly hard time into the bargain. A situation of relative British helplessness would also, it was hoped, lend more credibility to the threat of invasion.

There could be no doubt, then, of the seriousness of the stakes for both sides and much would depend on the outcome of the Battle of Britain.

As for how close the British came to losing BoB, it IS possible to exaggerate how desperate their position was and some Historians have done this. But it is also possible to go too far the other way, down the same road as the 'British never came close to cracking' argument we also hear.

It is not simply a case of how many planes and pilots each side had at any particular point in the battle, or even necessarily of merely how fast they could or could not replace their losses.

In such situations, all other factors being equal, the following basic principles apply for the attacking and defending sides:

Regardless of any disadvantage they might suffer, the attackers have the initiative and the advantage of concentration of force, at least initially and in most instances well into any particular engagement.

Regardless of any advantage they might enjoy, the defenders cannot exercise any great initiative but merely respond as best they can. They must spread their force to defend the entire perimeter that might be attacked. If they are forewarned of enemy intent, some movement of units can be allowed to bring a measure of concentration to meet enemy thrusts but whilst doing so, they still need to maintain some forces at all remaining possible points of attack, in case other enemy thrusts develop.

But in the Battle of Britain, all other factors were NOT equal.

The Germans attempted to use these principles (among others) to break the RAF's defence. They became frustrated and puzzled as to just HOW British fighters continued to be highly capable of intercepting their attacks, seemingly regardless of the losses they must be suffering. Week after week, the Lufwaffe was telling itself that British defences must be on the verge of collapse but week after week there was no real sign of them doing so.

The answer was the effective use of radar, combined with highly developed command, control and communications (CCC). The British were able to use their numbers much more effectively than the Germans imagined to be possible. They could make 700 fighters work like 1700. They had the inestimable advantage of what was, at that time, the BEST AIR DEFENCE SYSTEM IN THE WORLD.

The British could 'see' the Luftwaffe forming up over occupied territory, often long before they crossed the English coast, giving them valuable time to co-ordinate well directed intercepts. The whole machine of command and control was honed to an exceptionally high state of efficiency and readiness. Of course, the system wasn't perfect and there were occasional gaps and failures but, by and large, it worked very well indeed.

Of course, if such a system was a primary reason for the effectiveness of the British defence, it followed that destroying this system would give the Luftwaffe their best possible chance of a favourable outcome. Had the British radar chain and the communications that co-ordinated their defence been seriously hit and then kept even half 'in the dark', the situation would have become desperate for the RAF. There would have been much less warning and far fewer co-ordinated intercepts. To cover many areas, time and fuel wasting standing patrols would have been necessary, further thinning the RAF's numbers that were only adequate in the best of circumstances.

Combine that with more intensified attacks on airfields (which was never an all-out effort even at its worst), resisting the temptation to attack London in daylight (a minor disaster in its own right) and sticking to fighter tactics that kept the advantage on the Luftwaffe's side (Goering keeping his nose out). With all due respect, I believe that such a scenario could have pushed Fighter Command to the brink of collapse, ceding air superiority over the channel and at least a portion of SE England to the Germans.

Of course, this scenario doesn't just depend on the Luftwaffe not making any of the aforementioned mistakes. It also depends on the Germans having fully understood the way Fighter Command was controlled, in particular its unprecedentedly high dependence on radar and communications. Clearly, they did not fully grasp this until some time afterwards.

It is true that Fighter Command ended the battle in greater strength than it had started, but there WAS a crisis of some degree during what might be termed the 'mid phase' - a crisis that could have been much worse and turned the tide of the battle decisively against Fighter Command, if the situation had been anything like the one outlined above.

Opinions are still bound to vary, of course, but I think most would agree with the following:

The Germans' failure to persist with attacks on radar and communications facilities, their shift in emphasis away from attacks on airfields, concentrating on London, the tactical hand-tieing of their fighters because of Goerings orders to fly closer escort, are among the better recognized factors that diminished whatever chances of success the Germans might have had. In fact, with the benfit of hindsight (and hindsight is always 20-20 vision, as we know) it is possible to state that given such errors the Luftwaffe had NO CHANCE WHATSOEVER of achieving its goals.

Best regards to all
panther3485

Ob.Emann
08-26-2004, 12:38 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by budvar62:
Interesting link Emann!

It also mentions a german carrier that was built. I don't ever remember hearing that the germans had an aircraft carrier - due you know if it saw active service in the war?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The aircraft carrier mentioned was the KMS Graf Zeppelin, which was launched in 1938, but only partially completed. Was lying in port awaiting completion, but was left to rust after Operation Sealion was called off. Work was partially resumed in 1942 but finally ceased in 1943.

The ship was to carry the navalised Bf 109t (complete with arrestor hook, 70 made), Ju87 for dive bombing, and Fiesler Fi167 for torpedo bombing.

More information and some rare photos (http://www.geocities.com/pentagon/2833/kriegsmarine/carrier/grafzeppelin/grafzeppelin.html)

Der Oberst von schlechten Piloten

dieg777
08-26-2004, 12:54 PM
Nice post panther3485

Adolf Galland was particularly scathing about tying the fighters to the bombers thus robbing them of height and speed advantage and the licence to hunt . They also had to use too much fuel weaving to slow down to maintain station with the bombers and so limited their time over the field of operations.

It always puzzled me why they didnt think of fitting external fuel tanks to their fighters

The British air defence was state of art and gave the fighters the advantage of situational awareness prior to the fight but it was a close call. The RAF had to respond and were usually climbing into the fight.

British, commonwealth and allied pilots that fought the battle will always claim a win while some call it a draw with other factors like the Russian offensive taking precidence and forcing the LW to withdraw but there was no offensive against the island and Britain was able to recover with help.

It is interesting to note that the loss ratio almost exactly reversed when the RAF went on the offensive and flew sorties over France, then the LW was prewarned and could pick the time to fight.

Hitler did have invasion plans, these were advanced , the SS had plans for colonisation but thankfully none of these came to fruition.

It was their finest hour

S

GUNNER
Gunner get a decent signature
Gunner learn to fly
Gunner learn to shoot
Gunner not run out of bullets just as I get on his six

panther3485
08-27-2004, 12:14 AM
Hiya, dieg777,

Yeah, thanks. Your additional points are valid and well worth noting.

Perhaps one of the most important reasons for neglect of external fuel tankage on the Bf 109 was the intended role of the Bf 110, which was meant to be the German's premier long-range destroyer/fighter (zerstorer). But experience against good quality single-engined fighter opposition, such as the RAF's Hurricanes and Spitfires, ruthlessly exposed the weaknesses of this concept. Too late, the Germans were compelled to take enhancement of the 109's range more seriously. By the time the solution was in widespread use, the Battle of Britain was over.

As for the British 'winning' BoB or merely achieving a draw, I would respectfully submit that such a 'draw' was, in this case, a clear win both for Britain and for the Allied cause. We need to look at the aims of both sides to come to this conclusion.

To make any convincing impact on the British, the Germans needed to pretty much destroy Fighter Command. Given the right conditions (including good intelligence and appraisals of enemy capability) and with better direction from Goering, it is arguably possible that they might have achieved this.

The British could fulfil their purpose merely by successfully resisting the German assault. They had no prospect of destroying the Luftwaffe and there was no requirement to do so. What they had to do was endure, inflict a bloody nose on the Luftwaffe (bloody enough to force abandonment of large scale daylight assaults) and still be in fighting shape at the end of the battle.

They achieved ALL of the above. In these circumstances, a 'draw' WAS winning. It meant that Britian would remain in place as a viable enemy of Nazi Germany and sowed vital seeds for the eventual defeat of the Third Reich.

In my view, a victory by any reasonable measure.

Thanks for your contribution,
enjoy your gaming/simming,

best regards,
panther3485

WTE_Galway
08-27-2004, 12:53 AM
If you are getting into "what ifs" you also need to seriously discuss the "big wing" contoversy.

Basically Air Vice-Marshal Keith Park, the commanding officer of Fighter Command 11 Group supported a tactic involving meeting raids with small groups of one or two squadrons.

The alternative, the "big wing" was endorsed by 12 Group commander Air Vice-Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory and Douglas Bader and involved using larger groups of a minimum of 3 to 5 squadrons.

The "big wing" was trialled a few times but never implemented.

The relevance here is that the "big wing" was tactically less flexible but resulted in far fewer losses for the RAF. If the luftwaffe gained ascendancy in the BoB it seems likely that the proponents of the "big wing" tactic would have won the day and the nature of air combat over England in 1940 would have been quite different.

panther3485
08-27-2004, 09:33 AM
Hi

panther3485
08-27-2004, 12:23 PM
Hi there, WTE_Galway,

Yes, thanks for that one - another valid point! The so-called 'big wing controversy' is worth discussing in the context you suggest.

Although the 'big wings' were not utilized a great deal during most of the battle, there were good reasons for this.

These reasons were only in small part associated with factors such as logistics and CCC (Command, Control and Communications). Also, in the decades immediately following the war, much was made of the strong differences of opinion within Fighter Command but the significance of this has also been overstated by some historians.

The most important reasons were a combination of time factors and the way the tactical situation shifted during the course of the battle. To explain this better, we should consider the Battle of Britain as being divided into three distinctive, tactically different phases.

Phase One:

The Luftwaffe concentrates primarily on channel shipping, ports and targets near the coast. Their objective is to goad Fighter Command into attritional combat on terms most favourable to themselves, bleeding away British fighter strength for minimal cost.

The British fighters were to be enticed to fight as far out from their bases as possible, so the Germans would not have to operate too far from theirs. The German bomber formations, of course, would be protected by fighters that would almost always enjoy a generous altitude advantage.

German hopes of bleeding Fighter Command white in this way were thwarted by Dowding's carefully restrained response. Although he was of course obliged to make interceptions, he refused to fully commit, holding back the bulk of his force for the next phase that would surely follow.

Phase Two:

The emphasis of the German attack shifts to targets further inland, communications (mostly only initially) and, more significantly, British airfields. Fields on the hit list are mostly those in the south-eastern part of England. These more direct assaults now forced the British to exert their maximum possible response.

Though not quite as favourable to the Germans as Phase One, their bombers still operated pretty much within the range of effective escorts, which retained the advantage of height and numbers in the great majority of engagements. It is in this phase that the Luftwaffe got into a position where it could have dealt out the maximum possible punishment to the RAF.

Phase Three:

The Germans shift the main emphasis of their assault away from airfields and onto London. This has a number of telling effects.

First, it places the Bf 109 escorts at the very limit of their endurance. This, combined with Georing's edict tying the fighters to the bombers, almost entirely negates any tactical advantages they had hitherto enjoyed.

Second, it takes much of the pressure off 11 Group's airfields, allowing them to recover.

Third, it forces the Luftwaffe to penetrate deeper into British airspace. This keeps them over England significantly longer, which in turn allows Fighter Command time to assemble larger formations of fighters to intercept.

Fourth, with more time to engage the enemy, there are now real opportunities for the British fighters to gain competitive altitude - a luxury enjoyed much less often in the earlier phases.

Fifth is the fact that these very large German formations can now be regularly attacked by squadrons from BOTH 11 Group AND 12 Group.

And the significance of all this?

It was shown that when larger formations of British fighters could be successfully brought to bear against the Luftwaffe, the results were well worth the effort.

The problem was that it was almost impossible to effectively achieve this during MOST attacks in the first and second phases of the Battle. Even with the extra warning the British got from the use of radar, there was often just barely sufficient time to scramble individual squadrons and get them to a half-reasonable altitude at the same time as they were being vectored to the intercept. The extra time required to assemble them into wings and THEN vector them in simply wasn't available. On those occasions when more than one squadron was available for a particular intercept, Fighter Command did try its best to co-ordinate them but they would generally be vectored in from different directions at different times.

Only during the third phase of BoB would it prove to be regularly possible to vector in wing-sized formations of British fighters. The records show that this did in fact happen often enough to vindicate the concept, even if it wasn't always done in precisely the fashion advocated by Leigh-Mallory, Bader and others.

But by then, it was pretty much a moot point, because the Germans had already thrown away any chance they might have had of winning the battle - simply by changing the main emphasis to attacks on London.

Best regards and thanks for your thoughtful contribution,

Enjoy you gaming/simming,

Best regards,
panther3485